If you don’t know the backstory, the Alpine started life as an acclaimed pedal called the Cloud9 reverb. The Cloud9’s builder was getting out of the industry and JHS bought out the company. They took the Cloud9, made some tweaks and improvements and the result is the Alpine reverb.
Sound: The Alpine is a workhorse. It sounds very warm and organic. It covers everything from Spring reverb to “spaces” like halls, rooms and caves.
One of the major changes that JHS made was to replace the main processing chip with the newest iteration of the classic Belton Brick, which essentially changed the pedal from a Hall to more of a Spring reverb. I A/B’d it with my Fender Princeton’s Spring Reverb and it was very close. The Alpine doesn’t have the gain that a Tube Driven reverb does, but compared to the verb on a Blue Jr. it would be about the same and light years ahead of the spring found in an AC15.
If I were playing through an amp without it’s own reverb (Tweaker15, VibroChamp, AC4, Tone King Falcon, etc) then the Alpine would be a no brainer for me. As it is, I do have a very good spring reverb on my amp, and I’m still thinking about putting this pedal permanently on my rig.
Features: Aside from the processing chip, JHS made major improvements on the features. The pedal retains the “shift” knob. It’s been described as a preset, but it’s really like a “more” switch. The idea is that you set the pedal how you want, and the Shift knob overrides the Reverb knobs setting, meaning you can get more reverb or less with a press of a button instead of dropping down and changing knobs.
Now, the shift isn’t a true present, you can’t go from Spring to hall, but you can go from an amp like spring to an outboard like spring, or a small hall to a large arena.
The Alpine also has an FX loop so you can run it with a POG, chorus, flange, delay, second reverb or anything else you can think of. The FX loop is also assignable so the shift function can activate it or turn it off.
Value: I had to think about this one hard. $249 isn’t cheap, but value isn’t about price point alone. There are a lot of reverb pedals out there that cost about the same that do a lot less, and many reverbs that do a little more but don’t have the Alpine’s sound quality.
How would I use it in church: As I’ve already said, the Alpine is a workhorse of a pedal. I would use it as my everyday reverb, lightly warming up and filling out my tone, and then employing the Shift mode to get things big when the moment calls for it.
Let me say that I was demoing some other pedals at the same time, and kept leaving the Alpine on. 1st, because it sounded so good, but also because it was transparent enough to let the other pedals really shine. Truthfully, the only reason I turned it off was to give the other pedals their fair shake.
The Alpine is a solid pedal that won’t “wow” you will bells and whistles, but leave you coming back for more with it’s solid sound, construction, and functionality.