Strymon Flint Review 2023: A Modern Dual Pedal Classic
The Strymon Flint is undoubtedly one of the most popular reverb pedals in the market. With a sleek, simple interface and a variety of reverb modes, the Flint is almost universally lauded among reverb and tremolo enthusiasts.
The Strymon Flint is undoubtedly one of the most popular reverb pedals in the market. With a sleek, simple interface and a variety of reverb modes, the Flint is almost universally lauded among reverb and tremolo enthusiasts. In this review, we’ll dive into the sounds of the pedal and explore why it’s found its way onto so many pedalboards from players of all genres.
Tremolo and reverb are a natural pair as they are often found together in many acclaimed amps throughout history. Players often lust after amps such as the Fender Twin or Princeton for the combination of warbling tremolo and lush reverb. This effect combination was used frequently throughout popular music history, with notable genre examples including surf, blues, indie rock, and even film soundtracks. The Flint uses Strymon’s advanced SHARC DSP programming to create incredibly detailed reverb and tremolo effects.
- Price: $299.99
- True Bypass: Yes, and Switchable to Buffered With Trails
- Stereo Functionality: Available, with a single 1/4" (switchable to TRS stereo) input jack, and two 1/4’’ output jacks (labeled L/mono, R)
- Power: 9v DC - 300 mA
- Created by Strymon Engineering
Emulating the Best Studio Reverbs in History
Spring reverb is one of the most quintessential effects in the guitar world as the most revered vintage amps often featured excellent spring reverbs. At their best, spring tanks create percussive splashes to add life to playing, and the Flint certainly lives up to the expectations. Despite owning a couple Fender amps with true spring reverb, I find myself leaning to the Flint spring for a reliably good sound. Taken to extremes, the Flint’s spring reverb will even show off a hint of spring “drip” without being too overbearing. The ‘60s Spring can range in tone from dark and brooding to bright and bouncy, and increasing the decay or mix will reveal complex reflections in the wet reverb signal.
The ‘70s Plate setting pays homage to the electronic plate reverbs of that decade, notable for being some of the first of its kind. This algorithm uses many filtered and smeared delay lines to create a dense yet pleasing reverb signal. The plate modes trails are crystal clear, and the algorithm’s composition of varied delay lines create smooth reflections that are perfect for all types of playing.
The ‘80s Hall algorithm is Strymon’s recreation of the rack reverbs that were commonplace in the late ‘80s. I was initially attracted to the Flint for its superb Spring setting, but the ‘80s Hall very quickly won me over as the favorite mode. I am an absolute sucker for huge, modulated reverbs and the Flint nails that sound. The effect found in this mode is immediately familiar and harkens back to 80’s pop and rock anthems. The Mix knob takes this setting anywhere from subtle to cavernous, and the ‘80s Hall mode’s modulation adds warmth and movement to the dramatic and slow-building nature of the Hall reverb.
Tremolo Options for All Types of Players
Harmonic tremolo is a somewhat rare feature as it was only initially available in a handful of pre-blackface amp models from the early ‘60s. As a result, it’s a highly-desired effect today. The ’61 Harmonic tremolo is unique as it features dual-band filtering on the highs and lows of the effects – this results in a chewy “phaser-like” pulse that can even sound univibe-like at times. This is by far my favorite tremolo mode on the Flint.
’63 Tube Bias
This is the mode players might be most familiar with as it’s a simple sine-wave circuit with a dirty pulsing feel. Strymon absolutely nail the warmth found in classic tube tremolos. Although the mode will seem simple at first, playing around with the input signal will reveal a wide array of harmonic distortion.
The ’65 Photocell recreates the photo-trem circuits of mid-60s American amplifiers. These circuits used a physical light with a light-dependent resistor and resulted in a square-wave like tremolo sound. This effect is much more dramatic and hard-sounding compared to the other two tremolo circuits. This setting absolutely nails the choppy rhythms found in songs like “How Soon is Now?” by The Smiths or “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day
Exploring the Secondary Functions
The Flint has more features than what is written on its face! Unlike other pedals with hidden parameters, the Flint’s hidden parameters are more of the “set-it-and-forget-it” type. These hidden parameters can be accessed by holding down both footswitches and turning a knob to a desired setting.
On the tremolo side, the Flint offers a secondary boost/cut function on the top-left knob, which is perfect for avoiding the dreaded tremolo perceived volume drop, and a setting to choose the tap tremolo tap subdivision setting (sixteenth, triplet, eighth and quarter.)
On the reverb side, the top-right knob also controls a boost/cut function, and the middle knob chooses the effect order (certain vintage amps put their tremolo circuit after the reverb circuit). The Flint’s secondary functions allow players to really dial in their personal preferences on effect level and routing.
Not Just For Traditional Sounds
While the Flint excels at traditional studio reverb sounds, the decay, mix, and color parameters are able to be stretched into ambient goodness. I’ve found that many reverbs can get muddy when paired with dirt pedals, but I never have that problem with the Flint. Adding on some heavier reverb from the Flint is a great way to add some weight and emphasis to your playing.
In the featured sound clip, I stack an Electronic Audio Experiments Longsword with the Flint’s ‘80s Hall reverb set with a long decay for a drenched and distorted sound. The Flint retains clarity even with a sizeable amount of distortion being pushed into it. This type of sound could easily find its way into a shoegaze environment!
Routing Options and Other Technical Information
On the back of the Flint, the input is configured for mono but internal jumpers can be set to TRS stereo input. The pedal features stereo outputs, as well as a jack for other external connection options:
- an expression pedal for control over any one selected parameter
- a Strymon “Favorite” switch for quickly recalling a preset
- a tap-tempo switch for the tremolo rate
How Does The Flint Compare to Other Reverb/Tremolo Offerings?
It’s worth noting that the Strymon Flint was first released in 2012, but even at the time of writing this piece, the sounds and functionality still go toe-to-toe with more recently released reverb pedals such as the Red Panda Context v2 and the Boss RV-500. The Flint’s longevity in relevance is truly a testament to Strymon’s quality sound design and UX experience.
When compared to other reverb pedals in its price range, the Strymon Flint clearly aims to hit a balance between functionality and sound in order to please a wide range of players. The Flint’s effect parameters are wide-ranging, but pedals like the Boss RV-500 and Eventide Space allow musicians to have much deeper control over the sound. Although the Flint can be pushed to create otherworldly, cavernous sounds, other DSP-based reverb pedals in the price range such as the Death By Audio Rooms can certainly get weirder.
Choppy and Dramatic Photocell Tremolo
Classic Amp Spring
Retro Harmonic Vibes
Stadium Hall Reverb
Swampy Tube Tremolo
The Strymon Flint is a wonderful jack-of-all-trades effects pedal with many stellar sounds under its hood. Its versatility easily lends itself to any pedalboard, so it’s no wonder its one of the top-selling pedals in the market (Reverb.com ranks the Flint as a #2 seller in Reverb and #1 in Tremolo!). The presentation is sleek, simple, and most importantly, sounds great. With the Flint, there’s no need to spend more than a few moments finding your favorite tones – every setting sounds good! This pedal can easily be recommended to a player looking for a wide range of familiar sounds in a small package.
The sound samples presented in this review were created by using a Fender Jazzmaster loaded with Bootstrap Lake Surfer pickups and a Tone King Gremlin Amplifier. Other pedals used for distorted sounds were an Electronic Audio Experiments Longsword and a Rimrock Effects Mythical Overdrive (Vintage Spec). Recording was done with a Shure E609 and a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 v3 Audio Interface.
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