We review 7 of the best Reverb Pedals available today including options from EarthQuaker Devices, Boss, EHX & more.
Reverb is one of the most important effects in the world of music. Just like salt & pepper on a dinner table, reverb appears in almost every studio, live and recording environment - I’ll let you argue over what the other effect might be! Put simply, reverb is an essential tool and can be the all-important difference between a completely dead sounding performance and one full of lively, warm nuances.
Once the benefits of reverberation were discovered in rooms and halls, and then eventually harnessed in Medieval times, cathedrals, amphitheatres and places of worship were actually constructed with performances in mind. A building’s natural reverb was used to bring out the best sonic nuances in choirs, musical performances and even add weight to spoken word. Fast forward to modern times and musicians and producers will choose to record in certain studios/environments based on the reverb effects inherent within the building.
Fortunately, these days, you don’t need to travel to the Sistine Chapel to record the best guitar sound (although it might be a cool idea) or construct an entire building to get the best Hall reverb as there are a myriad of different amps with reverb built-in and reverb pedals that can essentially replicate these coveted sounds, whilst adding their own spin on things.
When Spring Reverb was created and eventually patented in the 1930’s it paved the way for amplifier manufacturers to capture the sound of an entire Hall in a box. This meant that you could add lush reverb to your guitar sound anywhere, anytime. A few decades later, we now have an arsenal of reverb pedals to choose from packed full of different reverb sounds including, Spring, Hall, Flerb and so much more. These days you can sound like you're performing in Walt Disney Concert Hall or on top of a mountain when you're sat in your bedroom.
So which reverb pedal is right for you? There’s so many pedals to choose from and finding the right one for your sound can be a little daunting. So today we’re looking at some of the best reverb pedals that we think you really need to hear. Here’s our top 7!
1) EarthQuaker Devices Transmisser Resonant Reverberator Pedal
First up we have the EarthQuaker Devices Transmisser. Designed by ex-Black Keys tour manager and hand built by the EarthQuaker Devices team in Akron Ohio, the EarthQuaker Devices Transmisser has that awesome boutique sound the sonic architects (and hipsters amongst us) out there will really appreciate. Thanks to the unique voicings within, the Transmisser adds a particularly fresh dynamic to your playing and contains a signature reverb sound that is entirely its own. The 6 knobs provide superior control over your reverb sound and although it may look a little complicated, it’s really easy to use. Go from subtle reverb tones to beef up your chords, or make it sound like you're playing in the middle of a cave - the choice is yours.
You have control over the decay of the reverb, how bright or dark you'd like your effect to sound as well as frequency, rate and mix. However it's the Warp effect reverb lovers will really appreciate, as it adds an entirely new element to your reverb sound. This allows you to dial in how long you want the modulation to last, whether subtle or completely in-your-face warbling- a great feature. This nifty pedal allows users to get more out of their reverb effect without becoming too complicated.
If you like the way this sounds, check out the best EarthQuaker Devices pedals too!
2. Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb Pedal
Although brand new on the scene, the Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb Pedal is gunning for throne thanks to the fact you have 11 studio quality reverb effects built in, including all the most popular options from the Electro Harmonix catalogue. You have the classic Hall, Spring and Plate reverb effects that put the likes of the Holy Grail on the musical map, but there’s the addition of the REVRS (revers) Echo, SHIM (Shimmer) and more that really sets this pedal apart from the competition.
An internal Tails switch allows you to fade out your reverb naturally or end abruptly whilst you have the option to keep your reverb going indefinitely by holding down the footswitch. This takes inspiration from the Freeze pedal released a few years ago but allows you to enjoy a more ethereal tone whilst you play a completely fresh reverb effect over the top. Super easy to operate and you can blend effects together too – nice!
For just over £100 you’re getting some of the greatest reverb effects known to man. Well worth it.
3) Electro Harmonix Nano Holy Grail Reverb
The Electro Harmonix Nano Holy Grail reverb pedal is a scaled down version of the coveted EHX Holy Grail – which is now out of production. Fortunately, you don’t have to trawl the 2nd hand market to get your hands (and ears) on the classic Holy Grail sound as the Nano option is pretty much identical.
Used by rock, emo and country players, the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano is by far one of the best reverb pedals ever made thanks to the epic sound within this tiny casing. Versatile and easy to use, the Nano Holy Grail is a plug and play reverb powered via 9V power adaptor or 9V battery and features an input and output – easy.
There’s three reverb effects to get to grips with such as Spring, Hall and Flerb and they can be quickly accessed via the toggle switch. Adjust the amount of reverb you want via the single knob and choose from subtle surf style reverb or go all out with epic, reverb drenched sounds.
Check out our review below.
4) Marshall RF-1 Reflector Reverb
The Marshall RF-1 Reflector Digital Reverb pedal is one of the best reverb pedals available today, providing players with 6 luscious reverb sounds that range from mind-bending reverse reverb textures to studio plate reverb sounds, as well as classic spring reverbs and everything in between.
The RF-1 makes our best reverb pedals list thanks to the fact it sounds great (of course) is particularly hard wearing and is extremely easy to use. Simply select your reverb effect, adjust the damping and tell the pedal how loud you want the effect to appear in the mix and you’re good to go.
With 6 reverb settings including Hall, Plate, Room, 2x Spring reverb voices and the awesome Reverse, you have an arsenal of reverb effects to choose from perfect for the stage, home recording and studio. Ideal for those who want a variety of reverb options but don’t want to mess around with too many settings. Watch our review below.
5) Boss RV6 Reverb
The Boss RV-6 reverb pedal is yet another in a long line of superb quality stomp boxes from the brand. Within this great pedal, you have 8 extremely versatile reverb effects ready to be sculpted to your ideal sound including Delay (reverb with delay), Shimmer, Dynamic, Room, Hall, Plate, Spring and Modulate. It’s quick and easy to use and built like an absolute tank, so it’s ready to stand up to years of touring.
A huge benefit here is the fact it can be used within a mono and stereo environment. Hook it up to your fx loop and enjoy shimmering reverb with lush delay sounds or simply plug direct into the front of your amp and get stuck into the ethereal sounds on offer via the mono connection. The choice is yours!
For the discerning reverb users out there, you’ll love the fact you can connect an optional expression pedal which allows you to take complete control over your effect. Enough talking! Listen to the Boss RV-6 reverb below!
6) Strymon Blue Sky Reverberator
Since the Strymon range of pedals burst onto the scene a few years back, they’ve quickly become some of the most widely used effects pedals in music. Thanks to their lush array of sonic options, almost indestructible build quality and versatility, Strymon pedals have been appearing on professional pedalboards across the entire spectrum of musical genres more and more.
The Strymon BlueSky Reverberator is now considered an industry standard thanks to the sheer scope of reverb sounds on offer and the fact you can use it in a stereo setting. You have access to Plate, Room and Spring reverb modes to choose from and can manipulate them further thanks to the Normal, Mod and Shimmer settings. Change up the Decay, Low Damp, Pre Delay, High Damp and Mix of your reverb sounds too!
The high-end SHARC processor and 24-bit 96kHz A/D and D/A converter within means you can use the BlueSky as a reverb guitar pedal, but also hook it up to your mixing console too – versatile is an understatement.
Check out the Strymon BlueSky Reverberator pedal and try not to fall in love – we dare you!
7) Fender Marine Layer Reverb Pedal
Ok, the Fender Marine Layer Reverb Pedal is basically 3 reverb pedals in 1, and easily one of the best reverb pedals you’ll ever play. It may look complicated considering the fact there’s 4 dials and 3 toggle switches to navigate, but once you get stuck in, it’s extremely easy to get your perfect reverb sound.
Now we mentioned that there's 3 different types of reverb built in, but thanks to the "1 & 2" settings, each reverb has 2 different types of sounds. So you're actually getting 6 different types of reverb built in - which is great!
The 'Special' mode deserves notable mention as it's actually a shimmer style effect on setting '1' whilst the '2' setting gives you a more modulated sound. We could go on all day about why this pedal deserves that space on your board, but we'd rather let Sam explain below!:
View a full range of effects pedals over at PMT Online.