Walrus Audio Descent Review – Best Octave/Shimmer Reverb Effects Pedal?

Reviewed by:
On August 14, 2014
Last modified:October 7, 2016



Walrus Audio have developed a reputation for crafting high quality analog guitar pedals over the last few years. There’s also no mistaking that they make some of the coolest looking and beautifully designed pedals as well, particularly attributed to their eye-catching graphic artwork. But while gazing at their pedals may induce love at first sight, it’s the tone-obsessed artwork under the hood that really makes Walrus Audio pedals something special. From the moment I first got some hands-on time with Walrus Audio’s Janus fuzz/tremolo pedal, I knew this company would continue channeling their indy spirit into pushing the boundaries of pedal design and sonic creativity. The Descent, Walrus Audio’s first digital effects pedal, is yet more proof of just that.

The Descent is Walrus Audio’s bold attempt at crafting a cutting edge digital reverb pedal with a few interesting surprises. There are 3 modes of operation – Hall, Reverse, and Shimmer – for plenty of reverb shaping possibilities. There are also slots for 3 onboard presets, handy for recalling your favorite sounds in a live setting. Most notable, however, is the Descent’s ability to create additional +1 and -1 octave tones and feed them into the reverb. Octave synthesis is generally the essence of “shimmer” style reverb effects, and it’s interesting that the Descent features optional higher octave and sub-octave voices that may be used across all 3 reverb modes. This is produces shimmering and thick ambience for a potentially unique reverb experience across all of its modes of operation. Tone tweaking is handled from the pedal’s convenient surface mounted knobs (or optional expression pedal), a treat for those who despise digital menus and prefer the instant feedback of knob control. Is this the best octave/shimmer reverb effects pedal around? We’ll excavate the answer in our Walrus Audio Descent review.


3 modes of operation: Hall, Reverse, and Shimmer.

Descent can store 3 user presets indicated by blue, green, and red LED lights.

Control knobs for Dry Mix, Reverb Time, Diminish, Tweak, Wet Mix, Dry Signal, -1, and +1 (Functions vary per mode).

Footswitches for Bypass and Preset

Mono Input.

Stereo Outputs (for Mono use Left Out only).

Exp input for using an optional pedal to knob single or multiple knob functions.

Remote input allows control of Bypass and Preset selection via an optional 2-button footswitch (sold separately), letting you place the Descent at the back of your pedalboard to free up space at the front.

Requires 9VDC power supply capable of suppling 140mA (Note: The Walrus Audio Aetos Isolated Power supply will power this pedal from the higher current 250mA outputs).

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Sound & Performance:

I’d been waiting to get some time in with the Descent since its first public showing at Winter NAMM 2014 as it’s certainly one exciting looking pedal for Walrus Audio fans who love reverb. Right away you can tell it exhibits the same impeccable craftsmanship typical of the artisan effects from Walrus Audio, feeling like a rugged, roadworthy pedal that’ll withstand the gigs ahead.

Of the 3 unique reverb modes on offer, I started with the Hall mode to see what sounds I could dig up (Hooray for puns!). Even at low Reverb Time settings, the Descent produces some fairly big room/hall sounds. The reflections are plate-like and somewhat grainy at low Diminish settings, and I found that bringing the Diminish up a bit helps to round out the sound for smoother reverb textures. As you push up the Reverb Time the virtual hall extends, creating a deep expanse of reverb that sounds like you’re plummeting into a subterranean cavern. Bringing in the -1 octave only enhances this thunderously massive effect although I wish I could have pushed output volume even higher. If you want something more ethereal, the +1 octave will add some shimmering highs to your reverb. I really the Descent’s super long hall reverb with some +1 octave in the mix. While I typically don’t prefer octave pitch-shifting effects that warble, this detuning effect gets lost in the stream of heavy reverb and blends with the Diffusion to create a satisfying overall sound that emphasizes the octave. If the +1 octave is too bright you can use the Tweak knob to reduce the high-end frequency content in the wet reverb signal.

The Reverse mode is a pretty unique way to add some rhythmic ambient variation to your playing. When turning down the Diminish, the Reverb Time knob essentially sets the timing of a delayed repeat of your playing. It’s like a single repeat delay. Bringing in the Diminish adds a swelling reverb trail that leads into the repeat to create the reverse reverb effect. The repeat itself plays forwards. Adding either the +1 or -1 octave will allow those tones to swell in the reverb as well, culminating at the point the repeat is heard. It’s also interesting to cut the Dry Mix level so that your initial playing is softer, swelling to a louder duplicate of your riffs. The Reverb Time and Diminish controls are interactive in this mode allowing you to find the perfect response of your reverse trails. Here the Tweak knob serves to lighten or darken the overall tonal response.

The Shimmer mode is yet another highlight of the Descent, delivering sounds ranging from small/medium room ambience to crystalline cavern reverbs. Turning the Diminish control down and adjusting the Reverb Time to the left of noon will reveal subtle room-like reverb effects that are more gentle than the lowest Hall mode settings. It’s when you start cranking the Diminish control and boosting the Reverb Time past noon that shimmer effects kick in as the Decent stacks your signal and adds a natural sounding octave up sheen on top. Boosting the +1 octave adds to the intensity and generally makes the verbs even more shiny. The Tweak knob can reign in those highs if it gets too intense for your tastes. Also, bringing in the -1 octave makes for an even bigger sound, and again, it’s impressing how the warbling of the digitally pitch-shifted octaves is rendered a non-issue within the expanse of the majestic reverbs created by the Descent.

Saving presets is easy. Just dial in your reverb sound, then push and hold the Bypass foot-switch for a few seconds to save your creation to one of the 3 presets. Pushing the Preset foot-switch cycles through the 3 presets, indicated by a blue, green, or red LED. A cool hack for having access to a 4th sound in a live situation is to have the knobs set to a sound you like, then push and hold the Preset foot-switch for a moment until the LED turns off. You’re now playing the Descent with the setting where the knobs are currently set. Also, all knob parameters can be modulated via expression pedal, and yes, all expression pedal settings are savable per preset. You can even use an expressional pedal to morph between 2 entirely different sounds in the same mode, each set to the toe and heel position. With an expressional pedal and foot-switches, you can have quick access to up to 7 different sounds in a live situation, no knob turning required.


The Walrus Audio 2-Channel Remote Control Switch is also a handy accessory worth considering to go along with your Descent. It allows you to place the Descent towards the back of your pedalboard to conserve easily accessible pedal positioning and use the small remote switch to recall presets and activate/bypass the pedal. All you need is a standard male to male ¼” TRS cable. It’s a useful implementation that shows how the Descent really is a pedal designed by guitarists with guitarists in mind. Very, very cool.

Want a full stereo reverb? The Descent features stereo outputs, and there’s also the option of feeding the pedal a stereo signal via its TRS input. Just unscrew the backplate from the pedal and flip the positions of the 2 internal dip-switches. The ability to use the Descent in either mono or full stereo means it’ll find a place in any mono or stereo guitar rig.


Yes, the Descent’s In jack may be used in stereo with a TRS cable!

Just flip the 2 internal dip-switches as shown above…

Now you can place the Descent after your favorite stereo delay pedal! Sweet!


There is one minor technical issue to be aware of. Anytime an LED blinks on or off, you’ll hear a slight “click” in your signal whether the pedal is engaged or bypassed. This is only glaringly noticeable while making changes to a preset. When a preset is altered the Preset LED light will flicker on and off, resulting in an audible rhythmic clicking sound in time with the blinking. If you’re going to change knob settings in realtime while playing, be sure to exit from any preset by holding down the Preset foot-switch for a couple seconds until the Preset LED turns off. Then you can make adjustments without the LED blinking and causing an audible noise in your signal. This doesn’t have to be a problem that affects your signal when performing, but it is a minor issue that I’d like to see addressed if there is a 2.0 hardware update at some point. (UPDATE: Walrus Audio already fixed this with a firmware update! Now the preset LED turns white when making changes to a preset, canceling the previous flickering issue.)

All in all, the Descent was worth the wait and is an awesome first foray into the realm of digital effects processing for Walrus Audio pedals. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for guitarists next! Let’s see the final result.



The Walrus Audio Descent is an inspired take on digital reverb processing with an emphasis on its built in +1 and -1 octave effects that may be used with all 3 of its Hall, Reverse, and Shimmer modes. For those who like reverbs that shimmer, this pedal will be a haven of majestic reverb sounds. The -1 octave makes for some cavernous, booming reverb worthy of its subterranean namesake. And you’ll find some great traditional reverb sounds and cool reverse reverb effects as well. If you’re looking for the best octave/shimmer reverb effects pedal, the Descent offers some sounds quite unlike any other pedal and is definitely worth more than an audition.

That concludes our Walrus Audio Descent review. Thanks for reading.


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  1. Hey Gabriel, greetings from France! I recently discovered your reviews and you’re the best guy around when it’s about testing effects! This pedal is a must have!

  2. I would really love to own this pedal, if I win it great, otherwise I fear purchasing this pedal will result in a lifetime lost in its hypnotic trance. Great job Gabriel.

  3. I love the level of depth you can get with this thing. Im really enjoying atmospheric sounds right now. Sounds like Pink Floyd in a peddle.

  4. One pedal of my dreams. The pedal of the best. Just a pedal of walrus audio but this pedal has a secret: IT HAS EVERYTHING WHAT I EXPECTED AND WANT!

  5. Walrus Audio has quickly become one of my favorite pedal companies, despite the fact that I don’t even own one of their pedals. I always watch their demos on YouTube and check out their site. Really would love a descent reverb from them.

  6. Very nice, it has some very eerie sounds in it, love the octaver. Why do people keep making these things, I’m gonna be broke forever.

  7. Excellent review. I enjoyed reading the article and watching the demo. I love this pedal. It’s awesome and walrus audio is very reliable. Cheers

  8. Love all walrus audio pedals and the design of this one… ooh – it buys me over again. Reverse reverb is one of the most interesting things in here. Wish I could have one…

  9. Love this pedal. Pristine is the the word that comes to mind. There is so much variety to explore in the tails. Cheers to this giveaway!

  10. This may be one of the cooler combo pedals I have seen. I really would like to win one to give it a test drive. Good luck everyone, this is a very cool pedal. :D

  11. So ready to ditch the old “Holy Grail” and fall into Descent! Loving Walrus Audio! I already have the Janus and can’t get enough of it.

  12. Great pedal ! Really cosmic , atmospheric with a lot of possibilities almost like a synth . I love the reverse function , unique !

  13. The Descent looks amazing! I’m very interested in this, especially for the shimmer effect.
    I’ve been using virtual plugins for reverb but really need to get a quality hardware reverb.

  14. I already have the Janus, and it is ridiculously awesome. I am considering selling one of my guitars to get the money to grab one of these things. This pedal is in my opinion the most versatile reverb and I love the descent’s take on sparkle. Walrus is definitely my favorite pedal maker.

  15. As always a ‘better than the other guys’ review. You’ve really become my go-to for pedal reviews, I think because you’ve done your homework and spent some real time with the gear finding some of the good tones they’re capable of.

  16. I’m really looking forward to seeing this new delay that Walrus has spoken about. They make solid pedals and I’d love to have a few hours with the Descent.

  17. Super impressed by what I’ve seen from Walrus thus far, and I can’t wait to try out some of their stuff at my local boutique shop.

  18. I didn’t think that I needed a new reverb pedal, ha ha, but this one just looks and sounds so darn good! Walrus is definitely one of the hippest boutique pedal companies going today.

  19. If this thing sounds half as good in person as it looks it will easily be my favorite pedal. The clips are great. I’m seriously nuts over the artwork.

    It does exactly what I’m looking for in my next pedal. Well done Walrus!

    Did I mention the graphics are awesome?

  20. I’d love to win this Descent. It looks super versatile and that shimmer mode is to die for. Would be a great addition to anyone’s collection I’m sure!

  21. Beautiful pedal like always, the soundclips sound great, can’t wait to try out the first digital box from Walrus Audio in person. Hopefully I win this, and you guys make it easy for me to test out!

  22. there should be more companies making reverb pedals that actually add to the musical experience. This sounds amazing and the features are inspirational!

  23. This pedal seems to be the key to getting an awesome over the top style reverb. You could send a fuzzed up tremelo style signal into it to get that wavey walking down a psycadelic hall fills with mirrors kinda sound. Among others

  24. This seems like a fantastic pedal! The only thing its missing is my pedal board ;) and you can never know how good a pedal is unless you jam with it yourself so if you want to let me win this, GREAT :D! On a more serious note! The variety of reverbs (Shimmer, Hall and Reverse) AND the presets probably adds to its appeal by far! If I don’t win it, sigh, it will take a while but it will be mine! (Make it mine pleeeeease :D)

  25. I was going to consider getting a big sky and a micro pog but this definitely made me change my mind. Does exactly what I want and in one pedal. Sounds absolutely amazing. Win or not, definitely gonna be on my pedalboard in the near future.

  26. Being a designer, the artwork on this pedal drew me in, but the sound possibilities are equally interesting. Thanks a lot of the pedal overview / review.

  27. This pedal sounds great and making me question my purchase of the earthquaker afterneath. Would be great to have both. An afterneath review would be fun to read

  28. The Descent is bar none the best reverb pedal I have ever heard. It wants to come home with me, it’s just waiting on bestguitareffects.com to give it permission. Besides I need it to keep my Walrus Audio Deep Six Compressor company. She’s lonely….very lonely.

  29. I have been hearing about this pedal the past week and I have to say it sounds pretty good will have to check one out in person for a true sound test.

  30. real deep space in a box! so raaad!! i am torn between this pedal and the blackout effectors cadavernous pedal. both are prrrrreeeeemo reverb

  31. The Descent looks amazing. I want to try it out some time. Hopefully, I win this one.
    And to be honest, both, the Descent and the Janus look so good, that I may resist myself from stomping it.

  32. This is one of those pedals you wish you could afford but.. The Descent will work great for the film sound tracking & audio scape work I do! And it looks AWESOME!

  33. I really want to win this bad boy, the Rev & Octave are too much for me to handle melts my brain when I think of how cool it is. I need me one of these. I’m dirt poor and always trying to expand my pedal board so winning this would make my freaking year.


  35. Great reverb pedal: +1 octave -1 octave in a reverb pedal is this possible? (In the good meaning). However I am so displease that walrus audio is not so diffused. (In Italy where I live is extremely rare find this pedals)

  36. Adding the -1 octave is an awesome touch vs a traditional ‘shimmer’ effect. This allows for some awesome ‘synth pad’ like sounds rah used to require multiple pedals. More great stuff from Walrus Audio!

  37. This pedal is absolutely, mind-blowingly exceptional ! The reverb that it produces practically drips over and through my ears in an extremely sensual way. I really dig to wicked, far out sound that the reverse setting produces and how the sound that runs out of the “Descent” absolutely fills up every nook and cranny of space that needs to be filled ! The “Descent” is properly different in the sea of reverb pedals that i often find myself drowning in, and is a fresh and delicious pedal to be released.

  38. This is by far the most versatile and best sounding reverb I have ever played through. This can do anything that any other popular reverb pedal on the market can do. This is a MUST HAVE pedal.

  39. the sub-octave effect is really cool! I bet you could do some great soundscapes with that feature engaged, max reverb time & some nasty distortion!

  40. The art design on these pedals is rivaled only by the crazy out-of-the box soundscape possibilities. I don’t have any Walrus pedals (YET,) but each piece offers so much versatility, from a “normal” reverb/delay all the way to unearthly spacey, cavernous sounds that don’t even sound real.

  41. After reading extensively the walrus decent sounds like its awesome for originally crafted reverb sounds that can seperate a guitarist from others with a truly originL reverb of their own ..im especially interested to hopfully be able to trick the reverse reverb ..as I have a snarling dog wawa reverse pedal that if harnessed and patiently practiced can create a sound once thought lost to the archives of rock …in a very hendrix way ..albeit much practice is necessary for one to smoothly pull it off in preforming to empress the crowd of fans ….I would love to part with the part of my soul that is the snareling dog pedal to have one of these inovative walrus decent bad mofos and I hope I get the oportunity here or ill just have to.purchase one ..it seems that crucial ..im all in …torturedgarden out !!!

  42. This pedal easily has some of the most gorgeous artwork I have ever seen on a stompbox. Entering the giveaway because as much as I would love to explore the sounds, I’ve already overspent on my yearly “reverb budget”. Looks amazing though.

  43. I was seriously considering getting this and I still am. Just waiting to recover from my spending spree on all the other pedals.

  44. The octave feature is key for me, gotta have one! That shimmer sound and orchestra sound is purely divine Just wish it had stereo input but that’s ok.

  45. After spending years being really sick, tons of surgeries and all sorts of problems associated with Crohn’s disease, ive decided to emerge from this thing with a new style of playing and new tone. Completely redesigning my board, and this descent has just got to be a member of my new effect family! I’ve watched a bunch of demos, and each one shows me some new great use and sound this generates. Wow…. Just wow! Want!

  46. I am looking for a reverb pedal currently and having just watched the demo I think I am in love, the ambience and surreal ness is just awesome, I need to try this out for sure

  47. It was pretty naive of me but I had no idea that a reverb pedal was capable of so much, I always thought reverb was a subtle background effect but with this it can be quite the opposite and I want it now!

  48. This pedal is like none other! I’ve never played it personally, but I know that anyone with this pedal is sure to be completely satisfied with it’s performance, tone quality, and awesome sounds it creates all along with an easy interface and sick design…and all for a lower price than the Strymon Big Sky??? Dang… Walrus has done a phenominal job with this one and any guy who could get this (including me) would consider himself one lucky dude!

  49. I think it would be a too Long Story decribing all the very cool Features of this pedal. To make it short: go to your local dealer and tyr out this Walrus Audio Descent!
    I Play blues as well as worship in a church and the Sound of this pedals really can be used for both. Thats why it is an very interesting pedal for my board.

  50. It is a very complete Reverb with a lot of options, sounds and variables to make anything that goes around your head, and the octave feature adds it a surround characteristic… I would like to try it!!!

  51. The bypass and preset footswitches are an amazing and useful feature, besides this pedal has so many options that one could spend hours exploring this nice piece of paradise wraped in a metal case.

  52. The hall preset really gives me the chills. Its very nice to seeee companies besides strymon and TC electronic to produce such great pedals with these many knobs to tweak to each and everyone’s taste.

  53. One of the 2 things I need so badly right now! Reverb is THE thing most missing from my effects board…the remote is a really cool addition. Great review as always!

  54. The creative possibilities with this pedal is endless. Just listen to the superb hall effect. Would love to get one of this!

  55. Really unique pedal, there isn’t anything else like there. It’s capabilities when combined with an expression pedal and simply stunning!

  56. The Descent has promise to be incredible. The amount of versatility on top of the the high sound quality makes it something to build your pedal board around. I’ve really been wanting pedal to add octaves and a shimmer, and this one takes care of both.

  57. This is just an amazing Reverb for Ambient and spacey sounds. I’d love to try this one next to my Ehx Cathedral. I really like my Cathedral but I guess the Descent will blow it away.

  58. Looks really interesting, specially because of the presets. My only concern is when the shimmer effect has lead to the making of any interesting songs..

  59. This reverb is so unique, with the lower/upper octave ability as well as the ability the full stereo. Gotta have one of these to create that ambient space I’ve been searching for.

  60. From the demos I’ve heard, this thing is incredible. I love that it can give that great shimmer effect but also just be a more traditional reverb. Really plays the whole field well. Would love to get one of these on my hands.

  61. This is awesome. I especially love the -1 octave sound, so boss. The reverse option is also great, and the fact it comes with the remote pedal and has 3 presets! This is too good.

  62. This is the space reverb that I have been waiting for! The octaves really spread the dimensions of the reverb in a way I’ve never heard before and would love to utilize!! Such a profound tool…a workhorse for psychedelia!!! I would definitely try this before the BigSky or any other infinite verb :) right now I’m using a Holy Stain which utilizes the Holy Grail from EH plus a drive,clean, and fuzz setting…it also has you choose between the reverbs and a tremelo as well as a pitch shifter- so this reverb would be amazing to and I could utilize the pitch shift with with some truly angelic proportions :))

  63. Such an interesting pedal. It was at the top of my list of things to buy before it came out, yet I haven’t even tried it. Really gotta play one

  64. Wow! Beautiful. And some beautiful playing here as well. Does more than the new Earthquaker Afterneath, especially the preset functionality – but I’d be curious to hear em A/B’d.

  65. The Descent sounds absolutely beautiful – it’s not always easy to find a good Hall, Reverse & Shimmer in one reverb pedal, but Walrus Audio really seems to have done a great job. I think it’s great how you can make angelic sounds, but so make some unreal noise with this.

  66. Wow, this pedal is the BOMB! I can imagine myself just playing the most psychedelic licks with it. This one is most definitely THE one one my wish list.

  67. That demo is a lot more interesting than I’ve come to expect from a shimmer reverb. I’d like to do weird and disturbing things with that pedal.

  68. This looks like it fits well in competition with other modern reverb pedals that are coming out recently. The octave shimmer would be great with some ambient songs I like to create.

  69. This is a complex reverb on steroids, allowing you to access a ton of different tones and modes, most with a stomp of your foot, for easy use and brilliant sound. Plus, you can run it in STEREO…awesome.

  70. There are a lot of amazing “Big Verb’s” out there at the moment, Strymon-MrBlack-RedPanda-Et all; but this is the one that captured me. Presets, Exp, Stereo Out, Remote, all the bells and whistles checked. But goddamn, that pitch-shifting and dry mix just make it kick the f*#k out from the rest. Damn you New Zealand, why is there no distributor here, as so that I can drive them mental trying this pedal out for hours on end. Maybe that’s why.

  71. I would like to see this one paired with the blue sky. Ambient for days. I love the capabilities this thing has. I’d love to get my hands on this.

  72. I think it is a brilliant pedal. Blending options are great and the sounds demonstrated were awesome. One thing I would have liked to have seen in the demo is how it reacts if you were to add gain but also to get an idea of what chord playing would sound like. My initial impression is that chord playing may be workable using the 2nd preset but I don’t know. I love the footswitch that is an incredible feature. As far as the power supply issue I will have to check what I have as far as power supplies to see if they would be usable otherwise I would have to make another power supply purchase. I love the pedal myself and would thoroughly enjoy playing with and the statement about the footswitch being great for stage-use is absolutely spot on. I would love to win this pedal!

  73. Haven’t tried one yet, but I think it has some very cool features that other reverbs don’t have. It sounds great, as al Walrus Audio effects.

  74. Great review, Gabriel. It’s an amazing reverb pedal. The looks alone make it a want-to-own pedal for me, but beyond that it’s an incredibly versatile reverb. I can see many many hours slipping away playing with this thing…

  75. I’m surprised there is no Spring Reverb setting, but I love the shimmer. I don’t have a reverb pedal. I’ve been looking for one and this is pretty nice, I also like the included foot switch. I don’t think this sounds as “digitally processed” as some others out there. Great ‘Verb!!

  76. has anyone tried this out yet? wondering if the reverse mode can do the Kevin Shields / My Bloody Valentine sound… similar to the Hardwire RV-7.

  77. I saw a video of this pedal from summer NAMM and just knew I had to have it! I’ve been waiting for an all inclusive, versatile reverb pedal like this one. I would love to have some Walrus Audio on my pedal board.

  78. The reverse mode sounds real nice. I have no effects on my new little tube amp. A reverb unit like this would be an good place to start.

  79. I don’t have anything like this and I imagine it’d be particularly useful for some of the more experimental/ambient stuff I mess around with.

  80. I don’t have any Walrus pedals….yet. I do need a reverb pedal, and I have had my eye on this. SO many to choose from, but that artwork on the casing is amazing. Sound aside, it could clinch it.


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