When it comes to guitar effects, there are none that are more historical or more widely used than reverb.

While reverb exists all around us, and it’s a part of virtually every recording you’ve ever heard, it wasn’t until the late 1940s, when The Harmonicats released their hit song “Peg O’ My Heart” that musicians began to experiment with adding additional reverb to their recordings.

This song opened the floodgates, and by the 1950s, reverb was being used liberally on some of the hottest songs of the era. Amp manufacturers began incorporating reverb units into their amplifiers, and the reverb revolution was born.

Most guitar players still have an onboard reverb on their amps to make use of, but they rarely provide the functionality of a dedicated reverb pedal, which is capable of unlocking a whole new world of rich and saturated tones that can breathe new life into your music.

Today, we’re going to dive deep into the world of reverb pedals to learn which pedal is going to be best for your needs. From there, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most excellent reverb pedals that are on the market today.

What is the Best Reverb Pedal?

What exactly is a reverb pedal and what does it do?

Reverb is an effect that’s created when sound waves bounce off the surfaces in a room or other space before reaching your ear. The sound waves reach your ear at different times, but they arrive so closely together that our ears are unable to interpret them as individual sounds reaching your ear on a delay.

The result is a sound that’s more lively and has more character than if there was no reverb present. During the early days of modern recording, engineers and musicians relied on the character of the room they were recording in to generate reverb.

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin famously recorded his drum parts for “When the Levee Breaks” in the hallway of a three-story staircase to generate the signature reverb that can be heard throughout the track.

Thankfully, these days it’s easier to achieve that beautiful big room sound without the need to record in a staircase or a cathedral. Pedal manufacturers have been able to simulate these classic reverb sounds and shrink them down to stompbox size so that any guitarist can tap into a myriad of rich reverb tones with the turn of a few dials.

What makes a great reverb pedal?

With so many different reverb pedals on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down the field to find the best reverb pedal for you. One of the most helpful things you can do is identify the different characteristics that are present in the best reverb pedals. Whether you’re going for one on our list, or a different pedal altogether, you’ll want to make sure they deliver the following:

  1. Multiple reverb types
  2. Versatility/Additional Features
  3. Robust build quality
  4. True bypass wiring

Multiple Reverb Types

Reverb is far from a “one size fits all” effect, and there are a handful of different types of reverb, such as:

  • Room
  • Hall
  • Chamber
  • Plate
  • Ambient
  • Spring

There’s more, too, but this should give you an idea of the different types of reverb there are out there. Some types of reverb simulate a specific setting, such as a large hall, small room, or a chamber. Other types of reverb, like plate or spring reverb, are characterized by the methods they use to generate reverb.

The different kinds of reverb all have applications where they sound the best, and having multiple types at your disposal will significantly increase the versatility of the pedal. Look for reverbs that allow you to tap into at least five different types of reverb so that you can incorporate the right kind of reverb for the song you’re playing.

Versatility/Additional Features

Today, reverb pedals run the gamut. Some are small plug and play style options, while others have a myriad of different parameters you can manipulate to achieve the tone you’re looking for. When you’re evaluating different pedals, you can save yourself a lot of time by deciding early on if you’re looking for a pedal with basic functionality, or something more advanced.

More advanced reverbs include features like stereo inputs and outputs for running the pedal into multiple amps, amp modelers, or for recording purposes. Some even include MIDI ins and outs for syncing your reverb to other MIDI devices, so that you don’t even have to control the pedal yourself.

Many of the most popular reverb units also include additional footswitches that allow you to toggle between different presets you’ve set up in the pedal, so you can seamlessly switch between different settings on the fly.

Some reverb units even feature LCD screens that you can use to manipulate the different parameters for each type of reverb in the unit.

As you’d imagine, these additional features can add significant costs to the pedal, but for many guitarists, a few extra dollars is a small price to pay for all the additional functionality they’re able to unlock with a more full-featured reverb pedal.

Robust Build Quality

One of the most important things to look for when shopping for any pedal including reverb is that it’s built to stand up to whatever you throw at it.

As guitarists, we often underestimate the beating that we dish out on our gear. Those dings, dents, and drops all take their toll, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up having to replace a piece of gear prematurely because it couldn’t stand up to the abuse you dish out.

The best way around this is to go for pedals that are built to last. Look for things like die-cast metal casings, knobs (potentiometers) that feel smooth and even as you rotate them, and heavy-duty input and output jacks. When you pick the pedal up, it should feel solid and weighty in your hand.

With more affordable pedals, manufacturers are forced to cut corners to hit a certain price point, and the build quality is one of the first things that gets sacrificed. Try and avoid pedals that are made from plastic or have components that feel mediocre in quality.

Even if you rarely gig out or move your gear from your home studio, pedals that are built to last will provide you with more reliable operation than a cheaper pedal over their lifespan.

True Bypass Wiring

When it comes to effects pedals, there are two different methods of wiring that influence how the pedal functions.

Many pedals have what is called a buffered bypass. These pedals function sort of like a pre-amp, amplifying your signal before sending it into the effects generator. Buffered bypass pedals are typically a little quieter than a true bypass pedal, but the benefits end there.

A pedal with a buffered bypass will inherently change the natural tone of your set up, even when the pedal is off. This becomes an especially large problem if you use a bunch of different buffered bypass pedals. Each time the signal travels through a different pedal, it colors your tone, and before you know it, you’ve completely lost the natural sound and character of your guitar and amplifier.

With true bypass pedals, the effect engine is wholly bypassed when the pedal isn’t engaged. This allows your guitar’s signal to travel along its signal path without any interruption. No additional color is added to your tone, and you can rest assured that the sound of your guitar is precisely what makes its way to your amplifier.

True bypass pedals are notorious for producing a slight “pop” when the pedal is engaged, but if you ask us, that’s a small price to pay to ensure that your guitar sounds the way it’s supposed to.

Reverb Pedal Reviews – Our Top 5 Recommendations

TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2

Best Overall

What Makes It Special?

The Hall of Fame 2 packs an incredible amount of features in such a tiny package. The Hall of Fame 2 allows you to choose between eight unique delay modes, and three user-defined presets. The pedal also features stereo inputs/outputs and innovative features like the mash footswitch and unique shimmer reverb mode.

  • Eight different delay modes
  • Innovative footswitch also functions as an expression pedal
  • True bypass with the option to use buffered bypass
  • Three user-defined presets

Players on a budget, rejoice! The TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 is among the most versatile and full featured reverbs on the market, and it’s also more affordable than most of the higher end options on our list. This pedal features an impressive selection of eight reverbs with three user-defined presets for a total of eleven different delays you can access from the selection dial.

Controls for decay, tone, and level let you set the parameters for each reverb mode. This pedal also features TC Electronic’s innovative mash function, which turns the footswitch into an expression pedal, allowing you to exercise even more creative control over your music.

The shimmer mode takes your reverb repeats and pitches them up on octave to provide a celestial, shimmering sound that’s unique to the Hall of Fame 2. That mode alone makes this pedal well worth the price tag, which is still significantly cheaper than many of the top reverb pedals on the market.

What Customers Like

  • Shimmer mode allows you to achieve exciting new tones and textures
  • “Mash” footswitch
  • TonePrint app enabled

What Customers Dislike

  • Easy to engage the mash function on accident
  • Some modes lack the warmth of an analog delay

Donner Verb Square 7-Mode Reverb

Best For the Price

What Makes It Special?

The Verb Square from Donner is a no-frills pedal that packs in seven different reverb modes and true bypass construction to preserve the quality of your tone. Available for under $50, you simply won’t find a more affordable reverb pedal that delivers so many different reverb options.

  • Seven different reverb modes
  • True bypass construction
  • Level, decay, and tone controls
  • Solid aluminum alloy casing

Donner is a relatively new company that has cemented a reputation for producing great pedals at budget prices, and the Verb Square is another in a long line of value-driven effects pedals. This pedal features seven different reverb modes, including room, hall, church, spring, plate, studio, and mod.

The pedal has controls for the effect level, decay, and tone so you can tweak each reverb mode to find the ideal tone for you. A solid aluminum chassis and heavy-duty input and output jacks ensure that the pedal is built to last. Unfortunately, you can’t run this pedal with batteries, but it is compatible with most 9V power supplies.

What Customers Like

  • Affordable
  • Warm and expressive reverb tones
  • True bypass construction

What Customers Dislike

  • Can’t run on batteries
  • Doesn’t include a power supply

Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb

What Makes It Special?

The industry standard delay for several decades, the Holy Grail offers arguably the best spring reverb you’ll ever find outside of a recording studio. The innovative Flerb mode adds flanger to the wet signal for a unique effect you won’t find in other reverbs.

  • Spring, hall, and Flerb modes
  • True bypass construction
  • Intuitive controls
  • Includes power supply

Guitarists all over the world have relied on the Holy Grail to deliver a beautiful, spacious, and harmonic reverb sound to help take their songs to the next level. Specially optimized for guitarists, the Holy Grail features a single knob to control the effect level. No other controls are present, and after you hear the Holy Grail in person, you quickly realized no other controls are necessary.

The pedal features three different modes: a classic spring reverb, hall reverb, and Flerb, which adds flanger to the wet signal to create a unique tone that sounds like what you’d expect to hear on your way to the Pearly Gates. The hall reverb, in particular, is exceptionally musical, and it adds a depth and character to your tone that few other reverbs can compete with.

What Customers Like

  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Studio-quality reverb tone
  • Built to last

What Customers Dislike

  • Doesn’t allow for much user manipulation
  • Doesn’t run on standard 9V power (included power supply is 9.6V)

TC Electronics HOF Mini

Best for Beginners & Students

What Makes It Special?

For those who are just getting their start as guitar players, simplicity and functionality are key. The HOF Mini delivers by providing the easiest to use reverb on the planet. The nano housing also makes it perfect for stashing in your gig bag on the way to lessons or rehearsals. Most importantly, it delivers a rich and musical reverb that sounds far more expensive than it is.

  • Simple and intuitive controls
  • TonePrint enabled
  • True bypass wiring
  • Pedalboard-friendly nano enclosure

At first glance, the HOF Mini looks like the simplest pedal you’ve ever seen. This pedal provides TC Electronics’ signature hall reverb sound with a single level to dial in the effect level. But, there’s more to this pedal than meets the eye. Enabled with TC Electronics’ revolutionary TonePrint software, this pedal can effortlessly access hundreds of different presets online.

So, while it looks like a simple little pedal, you can use it to access presets from some of the top guitarists in the world, including all of the wildly popular different reverb modes available on the Hall of Fame 2 pedal. True bypass construction and robust build quality add to this already impressive little reverb pedal that’s ideal for beginners and students.

What Customers Like

  • Incredibly easy to use
  • TonePrint enabled
  • Built to last

What Customers Dislike

  • Kind of one dimensional unless used with the TonePrint app
  • No way to control decay or level

Behringer Digital Reverb DR600

Best on a Budget

What Makes It Special?

Essentially a copy of Boss’ popular RV-6 stompbox, the DR600 provides high-end features such as stereo inputs and outputs, multiple reverb modes, and dedicated controls for manipulating the level, decay, and tone of each reverb mode.

    • Stereo in/out
  • Six different delay modes

For players looking to squeeze the most functionality out of affordable gear, Behringer has always answered the bell, providing guitarists with quality effects at bargain basement prices. The DR600 reverb provides a handful of different solid sounding digital reverbs, including a modulation mode, which adds a chorus-like modulation effect to the sound of the pedal.

This pedal features stereo ins and outs, which is a feature rarely seen on bargain-priced pedals like this one. The DR600 runs on either batteries or 9V power, which makes it quite versatile as well. While this delay can’t go toe to toe with the higher end options on the market, the reverb sounds this pedal allows you to achieve are impressive, and there’s plenty of room to manipulate each style of reverb to your liking.

What Customers Like

  • Six different reverb modes
  • Stereo inputs and outputs

What Customers Dislike

  • Mediocre quality components
  • Not as warm or musical as high-end pedals

6 More Really Good Reverb Pedals

Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb

No best reverb pedal list would be complete without a tip of the cap to the Ventris from Source Audio.

As one of the most excellent reverb pedals on the market, the Ventris houses two separate 56-bit reverb engines inside a single pedal. This allows you to switch between reverb modes on the fly, or blend two modes together. Users can save up to four presets that they can reference on the fly as well.

The Ventris features an astonishing 14 different reverb modes, each with dedicated controls for time, mix, pre-delay, and treble. There are also two different controls with functionality that varies depending on the delay mode you’re using.

Beyond the fact that this pedal produces some of the most beautiful and authentic sounding reverb tones, there are several impressive features such as MIDI capability, stereo ins and outs, and the ability to edit presets in much greater depth with the use of Source Audio’s app.

Many players will find all the bells and whistles of the Ventris to be overkill. But, those of you who are deadly serious about their tone should undoubtedly give this pedal a test drive.

Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb

A tried and true favorite, Boss’ digital reverb pedals have found a home on the pedalboards of discerning guitarists for several decades. The RV-6 features a litany of essential features that every musician is sure to appreciate, including some innovative new features that prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

In addition to classic reverb modes like spring, plate, hall, and room, the RV-6 also includes some creative new settings including modulate, delay + reverb, shimmer, and dynamic.

The modulate mode adds a chorus-like modulation to the reverb tone for a bell-like, celestial sounding tone. The delay + reverb mode adds a touch of delay to the wet signal for a spacey, ethereal kind of tone, the shimmer mode pitches up the reverbs repeats adding a shimmering quality to your high-end, and the dynamic mode automatically adjusts to your playing.

So, while the RV-6 is loaded with classic sounds, the innovative and modern additions we described above are what separates this pedal apart from the many copies it’s inspired over the years. Stereo ins and outs and an expression pedal input allow you to exercise even greater control over your sound.

MXR M300 Reverb

The M300 from MXR is one of the most unique pedals on our lists, and we recommend everyone in the market for a high-end delay pedal sits down with one before making their decision.

This pedal features six different reverb modes, including classics like spring, room, and plate. Controls for decay, mix, and tone allows you to tailor each setting to your liking. The four additional modes are what make this pedal so unique, and they feature some characteristics that are unique to the category.

The epic setting is a combination of multiple reverb modes and some light modulation, and it provides a unique sound that’s perfect for taking your solos to the next level. The MOD setting is based on a classic plate reverb with the addition of some chorus-like modulation, which adds a very musical character to your playing.

The final mode is perhaps the most interesting. Within PAD mode, adds both sub-octave and octave up echoes of your original signal, along with a modulation that’s almost reminiscent of a Uni-Vibe type sound. This extremely spacey delay mode is perhaps the most interesting mode of any reverb pedal we’ve ever heard.

This pedal also allows you to toggle the echo trails on and off, and it’s compatible with the Dunlop DVP expression pedal, which will enable you to take additional control over your effect with your foot.

Strymon Big Sky Multidimensional Reverb

Considered the holy grail of reverb units by professional guitarists and audio engineers, the Big Sky from Strymon is packed with high-end features that other pedals can only dream of. This pedal is truly in a league of its own in terms of functionality and versatility.

This pedal features twelve different delay modes that range from classic to modern, to abstract. Users can save an incredible 300 different presets on the unit, and considering how many different ways you can manipulate each mode, you may want to take advantage of all 300 of the available patch slots.

Once you’ve selected your reverb mode, you can manipulate it with controls for decay, pre-delay, mix, tone, and modulation. There are two additional controls which can be assigned differently depending on the mode you’re working in. A large LCD screen makes it easy to make adjustments and save your settings.

The Big Sky provides mono and stereo functionality, MIDI ins and outs, and it’s compatible with most expression pedals. We’d suggest investing in an expression pedal if you go with this pedal because you can unlock a truly impressive array of additional functionality through the EXP pedal.

While this pedal is truly in a league of its own, so is its price. Most players find that while the Big Sky is an incredible pedal, they can’t justify dropping that kind of money on a single effect unit.

Earthquaker Devices Afterneath V2 Reverb

A genuinely unique reverb pedal, the Afterneath V2 from Earthquaker Devices forgoes traditional reverb modes in favor of more modern controls which are designed to provide guitarists with greater tonal freedom.

This pedal provides a range of beautifully musical tones that seem to blur the lines between a traditional reverb and a digital delay. Instead of a multitude of delay modes with a few controls to manipulate each mode, this pedal features controls for length, diffuse, dampen, drag, reflect, and mix.

While they have some quirky names, their functions are easy to understand. Length controls the decay, diffuse controls attack, dampen is a tone control, reflect controls how long the signal reverberates for (similar to a digital delay) and mix allows you to set your wet/dry mix.

The truly interesting control on this pedal is the drag knob, which controls the spacing between the delays in the reverb. This knob is especially sensitive and expressive, and it allows you to tap into some truly interesting tones you won’t be able to reach with other pedals.

Some players may find that this pedal falls short in delivering traditional reverb, and they may be right, but this interesting and unique pedal is worth a closer look for any player who is looking to push into new tonal territory.

Boss RV-500 Reverb

For players who need the additional functionality of pedals like the Strymon Big Sky or Source Audio Ventris, there aren’t many alternatives on the market that deliver similar features at a more palatable price point. Thankfully, the Boss RV-500 fits the bill.

This full-featured reverb provides 12 different reverb modes, space to save 297 different patches, and the ability to run two reverb modes simultaneously, much like the Big Sky. It also provides stereo and MIDI inputs and outputs, and an expression pedal out.

While this pedal doesn’t pack quite as much processing power as the Big Sky, it does provide virtually all the same functionality at a more attractive price point.

5 FAQ’s About Reverb Pedals

How do you use a reverb pedal?

Reverb pedals can be used in several different ways to add more character and emotion to your playing.

Many players leave a reverb on at all times to add depth and character to their sound. Instead of sounding like you’re in a dead room, a little reverb can breathe life into an otherwise stale sounding tone. A bit of spring reverb tends to work best for these scenarios, but you can achieve different textures with other reverb modes.

Reverb can also be used in much more dramatic ways to add a thick echo to your guitar’s sound. Look to the legendary surf rock band The Ventures for some inspiration on using reverb to completely change the tone of your guitar.

Today’s modern reverb pedals usually include some more “far out” modes that add modulation, delay, or other effects to the sound of the reverb. These modes are all great to experiment with and can add unique, spacey textures to your playing.

Most reverb pedals provide some recommended settings in the owner’s manual. We recommend giving those presets a shot and using them as a baseline to dial in your own signature tones.

Where do you place a reverb pedal (in the chain)?

Believe it or not, the way you set up your different pedals can have a profound impact on your tone. There’s a bit of science to placing your pedals in the chain and ensuring your pedals are in the proper order will help you avoid many of the pitfalls that are associated with large pedalboards.

When setting up your pedals, you want to start with any dynamic effects you have, such as a compressor, EQ pedal, or volume pedal. Next, add any filter effects you have, such as a wah or envelope filter. From there, add your gain effects, such as distortion, overdrive, or fuzz. Next up is your modulation effects, like chorus, flanger, or phaser. Finally, place time-based effects, like delay and reverb.

You may want to experiment a bit with how you place certain pedals. For example, you can achieve some different tones if you change the placement of a volume pedal or a graphic equalizer. But, you should probably avoid any other creative setups.

There’s one more area to cover concerning how you place your pedals, and that’s effects loops. An effects loop is an input and output that’s built into most amplifiers that allows you to place your pedals after the preamp section but before the power section.

An effects loop can be especially useful when it comes to time-based effects like delay and reverb. You may want to experiment with placing your time-based effects into the effects loop, as it may help you achieve a warmer and more musical tone.

What are the top reverb pedal brands?

While there’s a seemingly endless amount of companies producing reverb pedals, a few of those companies are the cream of the crop. Some of the most popular reverb pedal brands include:

Electro Harmonix is one of the most well-known producers of effects on the market. They’re well known for producing heavy-duty pedals with true bypass construction that offers the warmest and most accurate representation of any effect on the market. Their Holy Grail reverb pedal has long been an industry standard.

TC Electronic is another heavyweight pedal manufacturer that produces a selection of different reverbs, including the storied Hall of Fame 2 pedal, which offers an impressive eleven different reverb types. TC Electronics newer pedals also feature TonePrint, an impressive app which allows you to tap into a library of different presets from some of the top guitarists in the world.

Boss is arguably the largest and most well-known producers of effects pedals. Owned by the Roland company, Boss makes a handful of pedals that have been immortalized on some of the biggest songs in rock ‘n roll history. Their RV-6 reverb pedal is considered a classic.

How much does a good reverb pedal typically cost?

Good reverb pedals run the gamut when it comes to price, so it’s difficult to put a singular price tag on what a good reverb should typically cost.

In your search, you’ll find bargain-priced reverbs that are available for $30-75, higher-end and more full-featured reverbs that are in the $100-200 price range, and then the highest end pedals that can cost upwards of $300.

You can indeed find a great reverb pedal in the $75-125 range. Our recommendation would be to check out pedals in that range and see if you’re able to find the features you’re after at this price point. If you find these pedals provide more functionality than you need, you may want to look into cheaper options. Meanwhile, if those reverbs don’t have the features you’re after, you may need to look at higher end reverb pedals.

Where can I learn more about reverb pedals?

Band Lab is a great resource for aspiring audio engineers, and they provide a myriad of resources related to recording and producing music. They also have a ton of helpful information on reverb that’s directly applicable to guitar players. The link above has helpful information and audio samples that provide a detailed look at many of the most popular reverb types out there.

Fender is best known for its historic guitars and amplifiers, but their new website also features some fantastic educational resources that can better understand your instrument, amplifier, and pedals. The link above is an excellent source of info on all things reverb.

Justin Guitar is another valuable resource for guitarists of all skill levels. This site provides lessons, tips and tricks, gear info, and some useful info about different effects, including reverb. Check out their article on reverb, and then browse around the rest of the site to find some other excellent playing and gear tips.

Conclusion

Adding a dedicated reverb pedal to your setup is a surefire way to add rich texture and emotion to your playing. Whether you opt for one of the incredible pedals on our list or blaze your own trail with a pedal we haven’t covered, be sure that the pedal you select provides you with multiple reverb types, the extra features you need, and heavy-duty build quality.

When shopping for a reverb pedal, many guitarists also check out these effects as well:

  • Delay
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
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