Zorx Electronics
Mercury 7 - Meris

Mercury 7 - Meris

by Ian Rapp

From spring to software, I’ve got too many reverbs on hand to count. Heck, I have three different sizes of spring reverb tanks in my modular case, from a large one that spans almost 100 HP to a tiny blue one that looks like it came out of a vending machine. It’s not that I’m on a quest for the perfect do-it-all holy grail reverb (which, of course, doesn’t exist) the way that a guitar player might seek out the perfect fuzz, it’s just that reverb—almost no matter what type—can always find an application in my music, whether it’s for lead vocals, synth snare, or just ambience. While it’s fun to try out different ones, the ones that I normally reach for are the reverbs that have a vibe of their own right out of the box. Such is the Meris Mercury 7.
Inspired by the movie Blade Runner, with the famous soundtrack by Vangelis, the Mercury 7 has a mood all its own. I must admit that I hadn’t seen the movie until a few years ago, and I watched it because of the pedal. I grew up in a household with no TV, computer, video games, etc., which I suppose is why as an adult I’m obsessed with TV, video games, etc., and until my mid-thirties hadn’t seen too many movies. I’ve been on a tear ever since, probably watching too much of everything, and after my initial viewing of Blade Runner (I’ve seen it twice now), I fell under the spell of its soundtrack, much like the folks at Meris must have, finding enough inspiration in it to create their only reverb pedal to date as an homage.
Mercury 7 is a lovely-sounding pedal. With two modes, Ultraplate and Cathedra, it covers a surprising amount of ground. Ultraplate is a go-to for me when I want more grounded, earthy reverbs, but it’s Cathedra (yep, no “l’) that gets me every time. Putting it on almost anything takes me somewhere, and puts me in a particular headspace and zone that I just don’t get with any other reverbs that I’ve tried. It’s a magical, mysterious, slightly metallic sound and it’s very engaging with plenty to shape the sound with as well.
Six interactive controls (and two footswitches), each with an alternate function that you can tweak by holding down the light-up ALT button, let you sculpt. There’s nothing noting the alternate functions on the pedal itself (or any of Meris’ pedals), but they do offer helpful, inexpensive overlays ($7 incl. shipping in US), which I purchased for this pedal directly from their website to help me with my sometimes fatigued memory, as well as to please the completist tendencies in me.
Space Decay controls the overall space of the effect, the size of it, and at its largest setting is like staring into the haunting neverending vastness of space. If you’ve ever wondered what it must feel like to float in space, tethered to nothing, slowly drifting into infinity (or until you burn up or get obliterated by flying space garbage), this is the soundtrack, and it stretches and stretches and stretches…The alt function for Space Decay is Pre-Delay, something I always seem to avoid, but is actually a cool feature. I guess I’m impatient; I don’t want to have to wait for my reverb to kick in, I want it now! I’m being serious.
The Modulate control sets the reverb depth and its alt function is Mod Speed, which sets the modulation speed of the reverb. In some ways, I feel like the Mod Speed is a more tweakable parameter and I really like it cranked as it adds a bit of uneasiness to the feel of the sound. There’s a Mix control with an alt function of Pitch Vector Mix, and Pitch Vector (alt function Attack Time) adds either an octave down, a little pitch up or down, a 5th up, an octave up, or shimmer to the modulated sound. This works in conjunction with the other controls, as well as the ones that flank it, Lo Frequency and Hi Frequency, to shape the sound further. I swear I hear a chorus of Replicants on the Shimmer setting, Sirens calling me to walk down a dark, empty, sad alley. But why would I do this? And yet…There’s a lot here to add to the sound, and depending on how other parameters are set you can run the gamut from low gurgling, moody reverb (with the octave down) to the aforementioned Sirens.
The Lo (alt function Density, which sets the amount of buildup for the reverb echoes pre-reverb) and High Frequency controls are really helpful in getting the most usable sound out of Mercury 7, but they don’t operate as EQ controls as I expected. When turned up, the Lo makes the room seem bigger, the reverb a little more heavy-handed. You can almost visualize the air moving harder throughout the space with a certain amount of propulsion. The High Frequency is a little more what you’d think, setting the high frequency duration for the reverb space. The alt function for this adds a vibrato to the reverb tails and it’s a nice way to add more movement to the reverb, though I wish there could somehow be a little more control over the speed of this as a super slow vibrato is something I love.
The Swell button serves dual functions, as with a press it stays on and engages the auto swell and when held down it sustains the Space Decay. I’m a sustain junkie and when running a more performative patch, I found myself constantly reaching for the swell to stretch out the space.
Running my vocals through Mercury 7 in both Ultraplate and Cathedra settings proved to be more than worthwhile, especially with the hands-on tweaking you can do while singing (or looping/running a vocal sample through it) and the availability to EQ and add a lower octave, 5ths, etc. I used to sing in a band and used one of those vocal floor pedals that I thought sounded great, but the reverb didn’t sound anywhere near as magical as the Mercury 7. I didn’t have a band to sing with this time, so I’m not sure how well it would sit in a mix since I sorta drenched it in the reverb, but singing along and ad libbing vocals to whatever current patches I had going was pretty cool, and I was able to customize the tone to make it work quite nicely with various patches.
Something I really love about Meris pedals is that there’s not a ton of text, knobs, switches, DIP switches, etc., and that the global settings work the same from pedal to pedal. Like the rest of the Meris line, Mercury 7 can be configured as a mono or stereo effect, and you can adjust the input level to suit guitars or synths so you don’t need to attenuate the incoming signal to avoid clipping at the input (thank you, Meris!). In the Global settings, you can also assign an expression pedal destination, though I do wish there was some way that the MIDI/Exp jack could work with CV for more integration with my modular. In Global, you can do other setup type of stuff to make the pedal as you wish, and I really like how they do this. No screen, no app, just some buttons and the manual to get your pedal setup the way you want.
I’m in love with the sound of this pedal. It brings something that I haven’t found in any other pedal, software, or module, and I find myself using it so much for my mix reverb in many of my patches, so much so that it’s become a large part of my sound.

Price: $299