Physically, Space is a compact device, a little smaller than the footprint of a DVD case. It's built as solidly as you'd hope for a pedal designed to be bashed by the feet of axe-wielders, but weighs only 1kg, so it's as suited to studio work-tops as it is the floor. Port-wise, audio connections are made at the back, with stereo ins and outs allowing for mono operation via the left-only channels. Additionally, there's an Auxiliary Switch input and room too for an Expression pedal. The USB port is used for MIDI transfer and for firmware updates, while traditional MIDI In and Out ports are housed on the side. In case you're wondering why MIDI is so fully implemented on an effects unit, the answer lies in the clocked LFO effects on offer, which can be sync'd to a host over MIDI.
The upper surface is where the fun starts, with twelve effect algorithms—Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, Reverse, Shimmer, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, Blackhole, MangledVerb, TremoloVerb and DynaVerb—variously employed through 100 presets with similarly tempting names, hinting at the darkness and depth of this unit's capabilities. Selection is made for these via a dedicated Preset dial which displays the number and preset name with large, red LED characters. These have been scaled to be readable by a guitarist in low-lighting conditions but their out-sized design somehow really appeals in the studio too. Once selected, a preset then displays which of the algorithms lies at its heart and the remaining dials allow you to tweak it to taste. These include controls for Mix level between dry and wet signals, Decay (time), Size, Delay (feedback), Low and High EQ controls as well as configurable parameters including Xnob and Ynob.
Of course, you might decide that you want to change the reverb algorithm at the heart of any preset and this can be done simply by pressing the Preset button and scrolling through the options. A green LED will light to show you the current program has been edited and if you're sufficiently happy with any sounds you tweak, they can be stored to memory. Similarly, the three footswitches, which lie along the bottom edge of the upper panel can operate in different modes, the most straightforward of which is that the left switch toggles an effect on and off to trigger bypass mode, while the middle and right-hand switches move up and down between presets respectively.
Alternatively, the switches can also be configured to other uses, such as tapping a tempo to lock time-related effects to a pulse of your choice. There are two modes for the switches, Preset and Play. In Play mode the middle switch is a configurable Hot Switch which allows you to toggle between two versions of the currently loaded preset, as parameters (as they relate to the knobs above) within the preset are modified in some way. Suppose, for instance, you wanted a version of a preset with both a long and a short Decay time—you'd simply modify this parameter and assign it to the Hot Switch so that you could play with it during performance. Programming the Hot Switch couldn't be simpler, as you just need to load a preset, hold down the Hot Switch button and move the dials above to hold those settings so that you can stomp them on and off.
All of which makes Space a joy to use and program. But what of the algorithms? Well, in one word, they sound phenomenal. The majority of presets call on several effect types at once, as most algorithms are multi-effects, capable of producing reverb, delay, reverses, flangers, phasers and many more effect types from a single program. The reverbs sound full and rich but the more out-there algorithms such as MangledVerb, BlackHole and ModEchoVerb are where this unit really comes alive.
Most of us enjoy having our reverbs and effects available in the box and, at just over 400 euro, Space represents a significant outlay, particularly if your understanding is that this is just a guitar effects pedal. I can assure you this isn't the case, and if you have a chance to spend a little time playing with this unit, I'm fairly convinced you'll fall for it as quickly as I have.
Ease of use: 4.5/5