There is sometimes some confusion over exactly what a reverb pedal is and does. The clue is in the word. Reverb, shortened from Reverberation from the verb to Reverberate. It simply means echo, but it is much more than that, and this is where the confusion comes in, especially when you add a further effect to the mix, delay.
Basically, we can describe echo as a sound that arrives with the listener after a short delay — a bit like hearing it twice. Delay is when a device takes a sound and then plays it back with a time ‘delay.’ The time delay you have total control over.
This can be one or multiple times and can be used to create the sound of an echo that is fading.
Reverb, however, is a repeating sound that is all around us reflecting off every surface it comes into contact with — quite an important area of consideration in the construction of recording studios and particular rooms within those studios.
The terms are sometimes wrongly used as interchangeable and often confused with each other as to their function.
Here we will be dealing with reverb and finding the best Reverb pedal.
It’s going to be quite a journey.
Reverb. Where would we be without it?
- What Is A Reverb pedal?
- Top 10 Best Reverb Pedal To Buy In 2020 Reviews
- 1 TC Electronic HOF Mini Reverb Pedal
- 2 Zoom ZMS70CDR MS-70CDR MultiStomp Chorus/Delay/Reverb Pedal
- 3 Electro-Harmonix HOLY GRAIL NANO Reverb Pedal
- 4 Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb
- 5 TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal
- 6 MXR EQ Effects Pedal
- 7 Catalinbread Talisman Classic Plate Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal
- 8 Electro Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb
- 9 Digitech EQ Effects Pedal
- 10 Biyang Reverb Guitar Pedal
- Best Reverb Pedal Buyers Guide
- So, What Do We Think Is The Best Reverb Pedal?
What Is A Reverb pedal?
As we have discussed, Reverb occurs when a sound comes into contact with any hard surface, bounces around a bit and then is reflected back to the listener with varying times and depth. It is if you like a very complex echo.
But this sound actually is far more than that it carries information to the listener about the space that is creating the sound. For instance, can you hear the difference between a concert hall sound and your local gig? The physical space is different, so the reverberation of sound will be different, thus creating a different sound.
The reverb pedal creates this sound and awareness of differing spaces. You can, therefore, have your concert hall sound or your intimate club effect. A reverb pedal will create that for you. And some of them create it to a level that is quite incredible.
Your reverb pedal will re-create or simulate and then if you wish, exaggerate the effect of that ‘sound bounce’ and place it at your fingertips, or at your toe tips depending on where you place your Best Reverb Pedal.
We have worshipped at the feet of the ‘master’ studio engineer Bill Putnam Snr. in previous reviews, but he effectively was the first to use the idea back in 1947. He had what he fondly called his ‘reverb chamber.’ We know it better as a bathroom!
Danelectro brought out a couple of versions in the 50s, but it was in the 60s, of course, that reverb devices really took off.
Reverb pedals are now a staple on a pedalboard and create a large part of our sound. What on earth did we do without them?
Raise a glass to Bill Putnam.
So, let’s have a look at the best Reverb pedals and find out which is the perfect one for you…
Top 10 Best Reverb Pedal To Buy In 2020 Reviews
1 TC Electronic HOF Mini Reverb Pedal
The Hall of Fame reverb pedal is driven by TC Electronics TonePrint technology. It gives you access to some of the great reverb tones created by some of the world’s top players at the touch of a button. More than that, it also allows you to create your signature reverb sound.
It puts a whole world of great sounds on your pedalboard all downloaded straight to the pedal through TonePrint. The library is quite extensive, and you will find a variety of different reverb sounds that will fit what you are looking for.
It is a simple process. There is a free TonePrint app for iPhone or Android that can download. Then simply just choose the sound you want to hear, and the signal is sent from your phone to your guitar and into your pedal. No cables, just a world of opportunity.
Using the Toneprint editor, you are able to create your own set of presets that you can call up for use at any time.
It is not only quite simple to operate; it is physically a small pedal that will easily fit into what might already be a packed pedalboard. It’s easy to use one knob control saves a lot of control issues in a live situation.
It has true bypass so when the pedal is off, none of your tone is lost. It runs off a 9v battery, or any 9v power supply is fine.
It’s well built from metal and will stand the rigors of the live performance. It is designed in Denmark and manufactured in Thailand.
A good reverb unit that uses modern IT power to extend the possibilities for use and to give you so many options, especially access to some great reverb sounds others have used.
2 Zoom ZMS70CDR MS-70CDR MultiStomp Chorus/Delay/Reverb Pedal
Zoom seems to have gone overboard with this pedal. They claim it is the first of its kind to have a complete range of effects processors in one unit. This will, of course, give you the potential of having a lot of sounds in one box. But the question will inevitably be asked with so many effects packed in how good are any of them as individual sounds. Big is not always best.
It has a large LCD control screen for ease of use, and you can choose from over forty pre-modeled effects and eight different amplifiers to create the sound you want. And it also has fifty user memory based presets where you can design and save your own particular sounds.
It sounds like it’s a bit like walking into a large store and taking a piece of equipment from various places to create your sound. You can choose from a selection of modern to vintage amps and even pick your own speaker cabinet if you wish. That is all before you even start applying effects.
And it feels like the reverb unit is a side issue in all of this decision making.
There are three controls for the parameters that also serve as buttons that let you delve into the dark corners of your settings to get the perfect effect. And a set of cursor keys controlled by a footswitch allow you to go through the complete library and them in.
I suppose you’ve just got to ensure the song hasn’t finished by the time you’ve done all this. In total it has 86 effects to contend with 29 of which are reverbs, the others being delays, choruses, etc.
Price is set at a reasonable level, but that doesn’t include someone to show you how to make it all work!
3 Electro-Harmonix HOLY GRAIL NANO Reverb Pedal
No, Monty Python hasn’t found it, Electro-Harmonix have tried to create it.
This is a company that is never slow or afraid to try new things with effects pedals, and sometimes they work, sometimes they are not so good. They are often a little bit on the expensive side for what they are, but the quality of whatever they try to achieve is high.
This is a pedal that is a digital reverb. Nothing more, nothing less. It has three completely separate algorithms for three completely different effects, one of which, the Flerb, has a very ethereal effect which resembles a sound we can’t quite put our finger on. Very spacey kind of sound.
The effects are designed for guitar but will work on keyboards and vocals and even bass guitar. Control of which effect to use is through a simple switch on the top of the unit.
Controls are simple and really rely on your use of the reverb control. It acts like a wet and dry control in that when it is at the naught setting, you will hear more of your instrument, but as you rotate it clockwise, you begin to hear more reverb and less of your instrument.
As you turn it to its full capacity, you drift off to see where Gene Cernan left his daughters initials on the surface of the moon.
It’s a brilliantly simple design and typical of Electro-Harmonix. The more you turn the dial, the more reverb you get and you can set it exactly as you want with no fuss or other IT involved. Just you, your guitar, the pedal, and your ears. Just how a lot of people like it.
Expensive? Maybe a little, but worth every penny. Great reverb unit. Great sounds.
4 Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb
Our old friends in the effects world Boss. Wouldn’t be the same if they weren’t here showing us something. Interesting though that usually you can see a Boss pedal a mile down the road with its big heavy duty footswitch and bright colors. Not so this one. The big switch is there but the color rather drab.
Its how it sounds that is important though so let’s take a look and listen. Boss seems to have upgraded previous reverb units for which they were noted, and put those refinements in this pedal. The RV-6 is certainly a step forward.
They are giving you eight reverb effects in this pedal, selected by a switch on the top, that add body and depth to your basic tone. There are the favored standards, Room and Hall, etc. But there are some vintage offerings as well, that the Beach Boys would have appreciated and a new shimmer effect offers something a little innovative. Try a bass guitar through it, and you will see what we mean.
This best reverb pedal has a dynamic mode of operation that will hear your playing style and adjust the depth of the signal produced to match to ensure your sound is always crisp and clear.
It’s compact, well-built, tough and sturdy and built to work hard. It is designed to be easy to operate, and it is, but it carries a warm and flexible sound that is impressive.
This is a typical Boss pedal. Great effects and not overcooked with stuff that most people will never use, tough, resilient, and well made. We talked about the color scheme at the beginning. You know, it doesn’t matter.
We used to love our multi-pastel colored Boss pedals, but it’s the sound with this. Forget it if it looks a bit drab, the sound certainly isn’t.
Certainly a contender for the best reverb pedal.
5 TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal
We have already reviewed here the Hall of Fame mini reverb. So it’s time to say hi to its big brother. The Mini delivered some big sounds using its TonePrint technology.
And this HOF2 takes it all just a little bit further with Mash technology. By adding something new in expressive control courtesy of the footswitch, which is foot sensitive and adds a shimmer effect.
There are some interesting algorithmic ideas built in, one of which will remove your reverb sound up an octave to create a very ethereal sound.
TonePrint is operable of course and allows you access to all the reverb sounds stored in the downloadable app. The app will operate as an editor with PC, Mac, and iPad. You can, of course, create your own and store them.
Controls are quite simple and self-explanatory. There are the standard decay, tone, and level dialed controls, and it also has a pre-delay short/long switch. Pre-delay is an interesting idea in that if it is used carefully, it will really improve the reverb effect. There is also an eleven position selector dial for pulling up reverb settings.
Stereo in and out gives you a lot of flexibility and will allow it to operate in most environments, such as running it after a stereo delay to keep the stereo image perfect. And it has a nil loss of tone with True bypass.
All of this seems too good to be true that you can get so many reverb sound options in one package. And you do get them for a price that is not through the roof, in fact, it is very competitive.
But. If you are going to invest in the pedal, then you need to be willing to spend quite a bit of time understanding and learning all of its features. If you don’t, you won’t even use half of them which would be rather a waste. And there really are a lot of options onboard.
It operates on a 9v battery or power supply (not included).
6 MXR EQ Effects Pedal
MXR always deliver a quality product, and their reverb pedals are usually very good. What is always good about MXR kit is whilst they have some good tech onboard, they are always easy to use, with the minimum of fuss and bother.
Just a look at this best reverb pedal will give you some idea of what we mean. Standard size with controls that we are all familiar with – Decay, Mix and Tone – but also a further six options, and it is these options that make this pedal somewhat special.
All of this simply operated in the usual sized box but also added to this through Constant Headroom technology a hi-fi analog with 20 volts of headroom.
To work your way through the tones, all it takes is one click on the Tone button and you are transported through some great sound options. Half analog and half digital paths add to the richness with the dry path one hundred percent analog. There is a stereo capability when using TRS cables.
We won’t go through all the descriptions of the various reverb sounds on offer other than to mention two. The Plate setting has always been a standard in recording studios with its wash of reverb that pours over the instrument. And the authentic reverb sound from the tube amp days comes from the Spring setting.
Each setting is what you would expect to find in the best rack-mounted reverb units or plug-ins, and they are here beneath your foot, and just a click away.
A great pedal that does exactly what it is supposed to – provide great reverb.
7 Catalinbread Talisman Classic Plate Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal
Catalinbread, is widely known in some circles but almost unknown in others. If you happen to be in the latter group this company creates masterful boutique pedals and their Talisman Plate reverb is a good example.
Some would correctly argue that the plate reverb was the first type of artificial reverb created. They used a metal plate with tension applied by springs to give it movement. And when a sound was played into it, that created reverberation. That sound was enshrined forever in early Pink Floyd recordings who worked with a studio Plate reverb.
Catalinbread has worked very hard to reproduce that original authentic sound for this pedal and in doing so have included many of the side chain effects that helped create the sound.
The controls are quite easy and self-explanatory. The pre-delay will set the space between your stroke of the string and when the reverb actually kicks in, and the High Pass control will roll off low frequencies to stop the sound becoming messy, especially when loud.
The mix control takes you from totally dry to one hundred percent wet as you dial through the sound. The internal buffer switch with the Mix, time, and Volume controls gives you total control over the sound.
It is well-built with a tough metal casing that will take a few knocks. It has a true-bypass switch
This is a quality reverb, and if you just love the early authentic studio sounds of reverb, then this pedal is going to be well worth a listen. It is designed for guitar though, and we are not sure how well it would work with vocals or other instruments.
This best reverb pedal a little on the expensive side, but there is much development in a product like this, and that is certain to hike it up a bit. It is a quality pedal, and if you are a fan of old-style reverb, it could be for you.
8 Electro Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb
Another offering from Electro Harmonix, this one the Cathedral stereo reverb. Partly utilizing previous reverb pedals, it has two Spring modes.
The first is based on their Holy Grail emulation, which gives a high-quality Hall, Plate, and Room sound. The other being an extension of the Holy Grail’s Flerb but on the Cathedral there is a great amount of choice for adjustability.
The controls feature seven different types of reverb, all of which give you a stunning stereo sound effect. There is also a digital echo option.
The unit is programmable, which allows you to set your sounds and then recall them when needed. The controls are easy to manage, so this operation is quite simple.
It is fitted with an echo mode. This is in effect a two-second pre-delay operation that allows for the reverberated sound to echo around, creating a new sound option.
A tap tempo facility on the footswitch can set the pre-delay time. When you are using it in reverb mode, the tempo of you tap will alter the amount of pre-delay. When in echo mode, it changes the rate of the sound repeats.
It is principally designed for guitar, but as with most pedals, it will also take a bass guitar nicely. Normally you might say it will take it, but how good it sounds is a different thing. But the bass through a Cathedral is fine and clear sounding.
It is a well-made quality pedal with a lot of sound options. The operation is simple, but the effect each sound option has on your guitar is very impressive.
9 Digitech EQ Effects Pedal
With a design for the top of the pedal which is straight out of a 60s album cover by The Beatles (Revolver) or Cream, this gives you an idea of what this pedal is going to be about.
They have taken some classic reverb sounds and developed them a little further to produce a pedal that will cover the full range of reverb sounds.
Digitech’s well-known reverb sounds, Modulated, Spring and Plate are all included and added to this big sounding Hall and cozy Room to the ‘Wheels on fire’ sound of Reverse. Added to these is a new offering the Halo. This features octaves that cascade through the reverb delays giving them a very ethereal feel.
This new Halo effect produces a series of ambient peaks and troughs that bring back memories of a bygone age. A stunning effect.
Liveliness, Decay, and Level controls give you total control over your sound and what the pedal has to offer Seven reverb sounds that open up a new field of creative sound shaping.
It has a footswitch and true bypass and stereo inputs and outputs and reverb on and off switch.
There is a lot of power and technology packed into this best reverb pedal, and if you like your sounds just a little old school, you are going to appreciate this. The evolution of the pedal might be new, but the thinking behind it is let’s go back to basics and create great reverb.
Where Reverb pedals are compared, this will be mentioned.
10 Biyang Reverb Guitar Pedal
Biyang might be a new name to some, but they are making noises and deadly serious about creating their own space in the music business. Quite well-known in Asia and especially in their base country, China. They have recently signed up American guitarist Neil Zaza to be their product promoter, and at a recent promotion show in Shanghai, this reverb pedal had an outing.
If you can ignore the design of the pedal cover, please try, which looks like it may have been designed for the CEO’s ten years old, there is a decent pedal in there.
It has a basis of three effects, Hall, Spring, and Room, and it also has an A/B switch which effectively means there are six onboard sounds. These range from the small intimate room through to the big halls. It has stereo inputs and outputs but can also be used in a mono environment.
The controls are as you might imagine very basic. There is a time knob that will control the reverberation time. And a Blend which adjusts the amount of depth and the degree of reverb applied to the instrument. There is an LED indicator light that really just indicates on or off.
It is quite well made. Metal casing means it will stand some punishment and the stomp switch is particularly sturdy.
We are sure there will be people who take one look and dismiss it out of hand, but this pedal has things to offer. Price-wise it is right at the bottom of the scale, and it does produce decent sounds. I don’t suppose Dave Gilmour will be rushing out to buy one but for anyone wanting a cheap reverb pedal that creates a decent sound then take a look. It really is very good value for money.
Best Reverb Pedal Buyers Guide
Types of Reverb Pedal
There has long been some confusion about reverb pedals and what they actually do, and we hold our hands up and say at one time we were a part of the number. It goes further than that, and you must then ask how do use them and when?
The idea is that a processor turns a source sound, maybe a guitar or a voice, into a reverberated version of itself. To do this, it uses an algorithm — a clever piece of mathematics.
You can, in a very general sense, group reverb sounds into five categories — Room, Hall, Chamber, Plate, and Ambiance.
There are pedals that will create probably all of those sounds in one device, but sometimes they will specialize in one or more of the sounds. For example, they might have a great design for a Plate reverb and promote that as part of a reverb package.
There are some pedals that deviate away from the core subject, producing reverb, and begin to include other effects such as delay or echo.
The type of reverb pedal that you require will depend on what sound you want to make with it and to a certain extent what you are putting through it.
Best Reverb pedals for guitar do not equal best reverb pedals for vocals for instance.
Big or Small?
Size is something to be considered if it is to fit on your guitar pedalboard, which may already be overflowing, as is build quality. With the best intentions in the world, there may be times in the heat of battle you stomp on it a little hard. It’s got to be built to take it.
There are a variety of reverb pedals. Some do similar jobs with differing results; others draw in a variety of extra tools to broaden the scope of the pedal.
They all have one small thing common, though. They are pieces of quality technology that these days we cannot live without.
We have reviewed the best reverb pedals..
Only you can answer that question, and it will depend on a number of issues.
The first thing to consider of course is why you want it and what you propose to use it for. It is likely that you may already have a reverb pedal and are therefore upgrading to something you feel is better. Why is it better do you think? Why is your existing pedal obsolete now?
Some will want just great reverb, and that’s it. The five basic sounds and various derivations of them but purely and simply reverb for your guitar or maybe a voice. There are some great options for what we might unfairly call the ‘basic’ versions.
We say unfairly because with the number of options and tech on board these days they can hardly be referred to as basic. They will give you your five options and give you enough sound shaping facility to do what you feel like to create your sound. And all of those sounds can be stunning.
Then there are those that take the whole thing a rather big leap forward. The internet and apps are included. Items to be downloaded and access to hundreds of sounds, some created by others. You can store and save your own sounds and call them up when you feel like it.
For some, this is going to be just wonderful for others slightly intimidating.
What will be the problem with these kinds of pedals is the man-hours you need to invest to learn how to get the best from the myriad of applications and options involved. Some of you, of course, are reading this and cannot wait to get started.
How about a completely new sound as standard built into your pedal that you don’t have to work too hard to find. There’s one of those in the reviews and just amazing it is.
When you are deciding it is always a good idea to look a little into the future to think what you might use it for. Music takes us in all sorts of directions sometimes so be prepared for a little experimentation.
Well, there’s really not an awful lot between most of them. We have a couple of budget models that total newcomers might want to consider but if you want a quality reverb, prices as far as pedals go, are quite high but they are all similar to each other.
So, sit down and consider why you are buying, why, if you are, upgrading, and what it is that you think will make your sound better. This is the fun of it, so enjoy.
So, What Do We Think Is The Best Reverb Pedal?
We want a pure reverb pedal. One that will give us our favorite type of reverb at a high quality. One that is going to perform all the basic functions and then has a bit more to give that has authenticity written all over it.
We love the sound of Plate reverb, and so a pedal that produces that sound to a high standard is going to provide us with what we want.
We have therefore decided on the…
A great pedal that produces stunning reverb sounds so reminiscent of another time and yet so appropriate for today as well.
We compared Reverb pedals. And we think this is the best reverb pedal of them all!