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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don’t often post about new gear (only done it once before), but I thought that this pedal which doesn’t seem to get a lot of love deserves some attention.

I picked up a Strymon Riverside recently as I’ve been trying a few different options to get various amounts of gain with the same tone. I have to say that I am quite impressed, especially given some mixed reviews I’ve read.

I have a Bogner La Grange and love that tone. It has an expression option, but it didn’t really work quite as I was hoping, and putting a boost in front wasn’t really getting the tone I was chasing either. But the Riverside seems to be the only drive pedal that retains a great sound when changing the gain knob, and also don’t need the level re-adjusted.

A box of a million tones it is not, but it does its thing very well. I can get pretty close to the same tones as the low and medium settings on the La Grange (I rarely touched the high setting).

There are a few things I wish it could do. I wish the expression setting for the Favourite could be saved separately, and I wish one of the options for the external Miniswitch was to turn the mid-push on & off. I’m also not particularly fond of the gain cranked all the way up, but it sounds great to me from 0-85% (but again, I’m not really a high-gain guy to begin with).

Overall, I can get the La Grange to sound just a tiny bit better, but the versatility of the Riverside is going to keep it on my board. I can use an expression pedal to go from low to higher gain sounds and everything in-between thanks to Strymon’s variable circuit tuning... it really lives up to the marketing in that respect.

If you have this pedal and aren’t using an expression pedal, you should consider getting one. It is a remarkable feature of the Riverside that I haven’t seen matched anywhere else (the Chase Bliss Brothers kind of does expression, but not as well in my opinion).

It seems there is more love on the interwebs for the Strymon Sunset, but I think that’s because it is easier to understand. The Sunset is a stompbox trying to sound like a bunch of stompboxes, while the Riverside is a stompbox trying to sound like an amp. I wanted something that was amp-like that could achieve various levels of gain while retaining a great sound at all levels rather than various characters of gain, so the Riverside seems to be a better fit for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What does the expression pedal input control?
Any or all knobs. You push and hold both buttons, move the expression pedal to the heel position and set knob(s) as desired, then move to the toe position and adjust knob(s) again. So expression can control any knob from a custom min & max in any direction. If you don’t touch a knob during the expression setup, then it will not be affected by the expression pedal at all.

I was thinking I would adjust the EQ somewhat along with the increase in gain, but because of the variable circuit tuning, it wasn’t necessary.

The pedal also has a built-in noise gate that works very smoothly, and has a post-gain boost (up to 6 dB) with an external Miniswitch.
 

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Sorry to pester, but any single control or any combination of controls? Just curious. Setups like the Chase Bliss pedals let you select which combination of controls are affected by the expression pedal, and Line 6 will save the individual toe/heel-down positions for as many as 5 parameters, as shown in the editting window. To the best of my knowledge, the Riverside has neither dipswitches nor editting window, so I'm unclear as to whether, or even how, the user could set the toe/heel-down positions for more than one control. Or is it the case that one can do them one at a time and then execute a "master save"?
 

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Sorry to pester, but any single control or any combination of controls? Just curious. Setups like the Chase Bliss pedals let you select which combination of controls are affected by the expression pedal, and Line 6 will save the individual toe/heel-down positions for as many as 5 parameters, as shown in the editting window. To the best of my knowledge, the Riverside has neither dipswitches nor editting window, so I'm unclear as to whether, or even how, the user could set the toe/heel-down positions for more than one control. Or is it the case that one can do them one at a time and then execute a "master save"?
LMGTFY

Googling is super easy these days and very helpful, he's wicked smart. Here is a video that should explain all your wonderment, I even cued it up to the expression part.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry to pester, but any single control or any combination of controls?
You can control a single knob or multiple knobs. When you hold both footswitches for a few seconds, you are put into an expression editing mode. Then you can set the heel and toe settings for any or all knobs as described above. I think this is pretty similar to all Strymon small-box pedals.

I briefly had the Chase Bliss Brothers, and while it had expression control, it didn’t seem to be quite as granular. For example, if I wanted to change the gain knob with expression, I could go from the gain at min (bottom) to what the knob was set at, or from what the knob was set at to max (top). I could also do the inverse of either of those. But I couldn’t set the expression to sweep from 9:00 to 3:00, for example. I could be wrong about this as I only had the pedal for a short while. But even if I could get the sweep I wanted, I’d still have to adjust the overall level to compensate for the increased gain, or the tone because maybe the gainier sound was too harsh. But with Strymon’s variable circuit tuning, that is not really necessary. (Although I can adjust both the level and EQ with expression to compensate if I really wanted, but it isn’t needed with this pedal.)
 
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