Meris MercuryX review – is this a Strymon BigSky killer, or so much more interesting than that?

Meris MercuryX review – is this a Strymon BigSky killer, or so much more interesting than that?

As a kid I was fascinated by the classics of 1980s science fiction, and clearly I’m not alone – the good folks at Meris seem similarly enamoured with one film in particular. The Mercury7 reverb was a wonderfully expressive and powerful pedal, inspired by the iconic Vangelis Blade Runner score. It was also one of the pedals that really put Meris on the map and ensured that the company would exist beyond a moment lost in time, (like tears in rain, ahem).

READ MORE: Strymon BigSky MX review – what’s changed? Should you upgrade? And is it still the world’s best reverb pedal?

Then last year they went even bigger – borrowing the double-wide chassis the company had created for the revolutionary LVX pedal to create something bigger and more powerful than the Mercury7. All I want from this review are the same answers the rest of us want. Does it sound good? Is it easy to use? Is it a BigSky killer? And all I can do is sit there, and try to find out.
What does the Meris MercuryX do?
Despite its shared name, the MercuryX is far more than just a bloated or iterative take on the Mercury7. Like the LVX, the MercuryX features some amazing tech under the hood, such as an advanced ARM processor coupled with a super high-quality analog signal path and 24-bit AD/DA with 32-bit floating point DSP.

With eight custom reverb algorithms (Ultraplate, Cathedra, 78 Room, 78 Plate, 78 Hall, Spring, Prism, and Gravity), configurable reverb structures, types, and processing elements, the MercuryX is capable of everything from a subtle spring tank drip to the lush sci-fi verbs of the 1980s.
All of this is nestled comfortably within its 99 preset locations divided into 33 user banks, coupled with the same impressive interface with full-colour LCD screen. More reverb than reverb? Let’s find out.
What does the MercuryX sound like?
As this is a good ol’ fashioned review and not a Voight-Kampf test, I’m happy to make do with my trusty PRS S2 Vela and my Matchless Nighthawk 15 for our purposes. Did I bite off more than I was expecting? Yes! But in the best way possible.
Scrolling through a few of the MercuryX presets, I’m quickly charmed by the ones that give me a small sample of the eerie synth-like pads the MercuryX is capable of. Tape Symphony ebbs and flows with a pad-like texture that would be right at home on a Vangelis score. Spectrum Shift offers one of the most beautiful hi-fi shimmers that I’ve ever heard. It’s completely musical and never comes across as gimmicky in the way that so many ‘weird’ reverbs can. Even if you’re someone who hates the dreaded shimmer reverb (hello!), this is a hugely musical and usable sound.

Equally impressive is Amp Room – a sound that shows off the MercuryX at its most subtle. But this understatement is almost more impressive than the bells and whistles sounds you’ll see on demos. It offers a wonderfully realistic simulation of an amp bouncing around a large room. Quite an experience to live in high fidelity, isn’t it?
At this point, maybe you’re fed up. Maybe you want to be by yourself. Who knows? You look down and see another pedal, Leon. It’s crawling toward you… anyway, the Meris LVX really shines when you pair it with some of these other pedals. If crafting everything from ambient pitch shift delays drenched in the dark pads of 80s sci-fi sounds appealing to you, using a delay in front of the MercuryX opens all sorts of creative possibilities that go beyond any big box combo I’ve experienced before.
So is the Meris LVX better than the Strymon BigSky?
If you’re looking for a hugely creative and customisable reverb sound, the MercuryX is easily one of the best-sounding examples on the market. But to compare it with the BigSky almost feels unfair to both models – they are both high-end big box reverb pedals, but they’re clearly aiming to do quite different things.

The Meris is a pedal about innovation, and pushing the boundaries of what you can do with a reverb unit – like Blade Runner, it’s unassumingly immersive and profoundly deep in a way that I haven’t found with any other reverb pedal.
But, like the replicant owl in Tyrell’s office, that innovation comes at a cost. Must be expensive? Very. But this is an entirely different kind of reverb pedal, and probably the most unique take on the big box formula to date. It’s a true testament to the big brains at Meris for creating something this musically interesting. I’ve heard things you people wouldn’t believe…
Meris LVX alternatives
If you want a slightly less imposing take on the ‘Blade Runner reverb’ concept then the Mercury7 from Meris ($299/£349) is still a hugely inspirational pedal. You can’t talk about big box reverbs without the Strymon BigSky MX coming into the conversation ($679/£699), and if you want something equally expressive but a bit more vintage-focused (and the price doesn’t scare you) then the Chase Bliss CXM 1978 ($899/£879) is a wonderful pedal.
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