Korora Audio is based out of Seattle, WA, and they recently sent me their Spira to check out. I have to first start off by saying, this thing… is quite awesome. If you’re into modulation, this is your guy. It’s a mix of a few items. There is phase, there is flange, there is tremolo, but all mixed together in an awesome modulate stew.
Doing some research into the pedal, I see it was inspired by the Shepard Tone defined by Roger Shepard in 1964. I love it when I run into stuff like this. The first time I heard about the Shepard Tone was in relation to Hans Zimmer’s work on the Dunkirk movie. If you want to nerd out.. definitely check out this video about soundtrack for Dunkirk.
Wikipedia defines the Shepard Tone as this:
A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the bass pitch of the tone moving upward or downward, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.
Here is the official description of the Spira
Inspired by the Shepard Tone first described by Roger Shepard in 1964, Spira uses a bank of resonant bandpass filters to create the illusion of a never-ending, layered, overlapping glissando. The glissando effect is produced using the resonance of the filters, and can be applied to any instrument.
Spira sounds as if it is continually and infinitely sweeping either up or down, creating musical tension and energy. Its texture and sweeping motion are perfect for psychedelic, drone, and ambient styles, and anywhere else you want to add movement to your sound.
When I immediately plugged this in, I did zero research on this (I usually like to discover features without reading the manual – you know.. for fun). Immediately, I thought, hmm.. this is a great sounding phaser, but as I started to play with the Filter Slope and the Filter Interval in conjunction with the Blend, Rate and Res controls, the effects began to get extreme. The swirl effect is amazing, and I see massive potential with multiple instruments. The rate can get you into that tremolo chop which is super cool. The Up/Down switch is quite cool as well.. changing the direction of the filter sweeps.
Check out this video for a great and full demo of functionality:
The Spira also has DIP switch options. By taking off the base plate, you can change the following behavior:
- OFF: Default to bypass at power on, ON: Default to effect on at power on.
- OFF: Default to ramp down at power on, ON: Default to ramp up at power on.
- OFF: Pulsing LEDs, ON: Non-pulsing LEDs.
The Korora Audio Spira is available for $299 at Amazon.com or can be purchased directly from their site. Overall, I thought this pedal was really quite impressive. I really loved the connection with the Shepard Tone and how extreme this pedal can go. This is a sound machine. Let me know what you think by commenting below!