EQUIPBOARD GEAR REVIEWS

9 Best Reverb Pedals for Guitar

Best Reverb Pedal
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Updated July 2019
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9 Pedals

Equipboard was founded in 2013, and is the largest database of music artists and the gear they use. The founders of this site - Michael Pierce and Giulio Chiarenza - are gear geeks who are on a mission to test out as much music gear as possible, helping you find the best musical instruments and equipment for your money. Read more about our review process here.

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WHY THIS ONE? BUYING OPTIONS
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb PedalTC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal

When it comes to recommendations for a reverb pedal, the TC Electronic Hall Of Fame 2 is the undisputed king. High marks for customizability, great sound, and a great price.

Available new on

AMAZON

13 available used from $105.00 on

REVERB
DigiTech Polara ReverbDigiTech Polara Reverb

Beautiful Lexicon-powered reverb, solidly built and versatile, with an attractive price tag. Aside from difficulty in reading its knobs, there's little to dislike about the Polara.

Available new on

AMAZON

33 available used from $95.00 on

REVERB
Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb Effects PedalBoss RV-6 Digital Reverb Effects Pedal

A strong competitor to the DigiTech Polara, the Boss RV-6 combines the best of its predecessors, the RV-5 and RV-3. With a gorgeous Shimmer reverb and Boss quality and craftsmanship, it's great.

Available new on

AMAZON

29 available used from $85.13 on

REVERB
Walrus Audio SlöWalrus Audio Slö

The Slö is an lush ambient reverb pedal for people who want plenty of rich modulation and latching for creating soundscapes in a traditional pedal format.

Available new on

AMAZON

2 available used from $170.00 on

REVERB
EarthQuaker Devices AfterneathEarthQuaker Devices Afterneath

An ambient reverb crafted from loads of delay creating a truly unique and cavernous sound.

Available new on

AMAZON

8 available used from $170.00 on

REVERB
Biyang RV-10 Tri ReverbBiyang RV-10 Tri Reverb

With six lush and full sounding reverb modes, strong build quality, true bypass, stereo operation, and multiple comparisons drawn to the EHX Holy Grail, the Biyang Tri-Reverb's low price tag is almost ridiculous.

Available new on

AMAZON

4 available used from $30.00 on

REVERB
Strymon BigSky ReverberatorStrymon BigSky Reverberator

Incredibly full featured with beautiful lush reverbs, the BigSky’s gorgeous sounds coupled with its virtually unlimited configurations and superb build quality make it ideal for musicians looking to create intricate soundscapes.

20 available used from $400.00 on

REVERB
Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Multifunction Digital Reverb Effects PedalElectro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Multifunction Digital Reverb Effects Pedal

11 reverb types with multiple modes in a small box, the Oceans 11 is EHX's best reverb yet with favorites that only Electro-Harmonix can bring like Flerb and POG effects.

Available new on

AMAZON

9 available used from $109.00 on

REVERB
Eventide Space Reverb PedalEventide Space Reverb Pedal

A premium pedal in every aspect, the Space from Eventide sounds wonderful and can create and tweak any reverb sound you can imagine. This is a professional grade pedal that delivers sound, build quality, and personalization.

Available new on

AMAZON

27 available used from $325.00 on

REVERB

9 Best Reverb Pedals

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal

»High marks for customizability, great sound, and a great price.

TC electronic hall of fame 2 unboxing
The TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 comes with a USB cable to access TonePrint.

If you’re no stranger to our music gear buying guides, you know the winner is based on overall number of recommendations from guitar communities across the web, as well as our experience using the gear. Unsurprisingly, the top spot usually gets taken up by the gear that just hits that perfect sweet spot of versatility, durability, quality, and price, and the TC Electronic Hall Of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal is exactly that. The Hall Of Fame came in first place by a moderate margin, and came up time and time again on every “what reverb pedal should I get” discussion. It’s worth noting that the Hall Of Fame 2 is the new and improved version of the original Hall Of Fame. It does everything the original did, plus it adds MASH technology, Shimmer reverb, and three total TonePrint slots (we’ll explain all of this shortly). One of our Equipboard staff writers owns this pedal, so we were able to draw on his experience and spend a good amount of time testing it out. Let’s get into it!

Before getting into the sound, let’s talk a bit about how the Hall Of Fame is built, and what controls and features it offers. If you have any experience with TC Electronic, you know they make solid gear, and this reverb pedal is no exception. It’s solidly built, as the particular unit we’re testing has held up to considerable live use. It’s definitely a workhorse of a pedal. It’s also True Bypass, so you can rest assured the pedal won’t mess with your guitar’s tone when it’s switched off. The Hall Of Fame offers stereo ins and outs, which is something we’d use more in a recording scenario, but it’s nice to have the option.

Operation is very simple, with four knobs and a small toggle switch. You’ve got DECAY (how long the reverb is), TONE (adjusts brightness or darkness of just the reverberated signal), FX LEVEL (how much reverb vs dry signal), and an 11-point selector knob to pick the reverb style. There is also a small toggle switch to change the PRE-DELAY from short to long (this basically means how long it takes for the reverb to start sounding after you play a note, which if set to long helps preserve the attack of the note). Three of the 11 reverb types are TC Electronic’s TonePrint slots, which let you load up custom reverb tones into this pedal via USB, or even beam them wirelessly to the Hall Of Fame using their iOS app. We’ve played with this feature before on other TonePrint enabled pedals and it’s pretty awesome. There are dozens of TonePrints available to use on TC Electronic’s website, many crafted up by famous artists themselves. We want to stress that this is not a gimmicky add-on, and truly adds to the greatness and versatility of the Hall Of Fame. Even if you can’t find a reverb you like from the built in styles, using TonePrint you can dial in your own. TC Electronic pulled off the whole TonePrint thing very elegantly, and it’s a pleasure to use.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect is how a reverb pedal sounds. The TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal is not the best at any one reverb sound, but it is great at a lot of sounds. And look, as true gear-heads, it’s our job to be picky here. To the untrained ear the reverbs this unit generates are fantastic, and plenty good for most music genres and playing styles. The Hall Of Fame can generate some big epic reverbs with the Hall, Plate, and Church settings, and some more funky stuff with Mod and LoFi. The Decay and Tone knobs respond beautifully, as does the FX Level to balance it out, which lets you dial in the exact reverb character you want. With this much versatility it’s going to take you a while to explore everything the Hall Of Fame is capable of.

There are better reverb pedals out there if your aim is to achieve a crazy amount of ambience. The Hall Of Fame’s Spring reverb emulation is not as good as, say, the EHX Holy Grail. The Spring reverb is passable, but not its strong suite (of course, we didn’t play with all of the TonePrints available, so there’s a good chance one of those improves upon the stock Spring reverb). Another minor annoyance is having to remove the bottom panel to access two switches to control optional buffering of signal, and a wet-only setting for use in effects sends. But, again, it’s better to have those options than not.

We can’t wrap up this review without mentioning the MASH feature, which essentially turns the pedal’s on/off footswitch into a pressure-sensitive expression pedal - the harder you press on it with your foot, the more intense of an effect you achieve. A small LED light labeled “MASH” in the middle of the pedal lights up brighter as you press harder. Each of the built-in reverb types responds differently to MASH, but typically it has something to do with affecting the level and decay of the verb. Using the freely available TonePrint Editor for PC or Mac, you can assign different parameters to the MASH control, which gives you a staggering amount of options. At worst MASH is fun to play with, but given the TonePrint Editor you can turn it into something useful for whatever style you play.

Notable pros using the Hall Of Fame on their pedalboard include Robben Ford, Steve Vai, Joe Perry, Jared Followill, Albert Lee, and Troy Van Leeuwen, amongst many others.

Bottom Line: The TC Hall Of Fame 2 Reverb is fantastic because it’s a Swiss Army Knife of reverb. There are certainly more specialized, more boutique (read: expensive) reverb pedals out there, so perhaps the Hall Of Fame 2 is not the best choice if you’re looking for that particular sound. As is often the case, it’s a trade-off between quality and versatility. That said, the reason the Hall Of Fame is so good is because it sounds lovely!

TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Reverb Pedal

Available new on

AMAZON

13 available used from $105.00 on

REVERB

DigiTech Polara

»Beautiful Lexicon-powered reverb, solidly built, and versatile.

Digitech polara unboxing
The Digitech Polara is a muted green box with great graphics and comes with a rubber knob cover to prevent accidental adjustments and precut velcro.

The DigiTech Polara Reverb Pedal is DigiTech’s update of their RV-7 HardWire reverb, which in itself was already a great value for the money. With the Polara, it gets even better. One of the big reasons why is that Harman, the company that owns DigiTech, also owns Lexicon, who are legends in reverb. This pedal has access to both companies’ know-how, which combines to form a mashup of Reverb awesomeness. Smart move for Harman, as it brings together two of their companies’ expertise and the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts, in this instance.

The DigiTech Polara looks quite striking, with its unique art nouveau style graphics. Unfortunately, we’ve been able to confirm several owners complaints about not being able to read the knobs, since the graphics make the already small text even harder to see. Speaking of knobs, there are no big surprises with the Polara. Level adjusts the wet/dry mix, Liveliness controls the brightness of the verb, Decay is how long the reverb tail continues for, and the fourth knob lets you select between seven styles of Reverb. All the usual reverb suspects are available including Room, Plate, Hall, and Spring, and some fancier, more extreme verbs like the very unique Halo setting. The TAILS toggle switch is very cool, as it lets you control what happens to the reverb tail when you switch the pedal off. You can have the reverb continue, or have it stop completely.

And speaking of switching the pedal off, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s True Bypass, and the footswitch is a wonderful “soft-click” style which doesn’t make an annoying clicking noise when you press it. After experiencing this, we wish all footswitch style pedals had this and we bet you'd agree. In terms of build quality, while we don’t have a gig-tested model handy, it feel well-built, and the knobs turn smoothly. The Polara reverb pedal features stereo in and out, which is awesome since many players have reverb as the last effect in the signal chain, and you can have a stereo out to your amps with no issues.

At its core, the DigiTech Polara has Lexicon reverb algorithms, and this is massively important, because they sound awesome. For us, the quality of the reverb tones goes toe-to-toe with its boutique mom & pop shop equivalents. The Hall setting sounds fantastic and is our personal favorite, it’s tasteful, simple, and warm. For something a little more out there and extreme, the Halo setting is very enjoyable, it’s a modulated reverb that we can best describe as a choir backing you up - very cool stuff. The Spring reverb sounds pretty good, definitely a notch better than the TC Electronic Hall Of Fame spring. Each reverb type responds a bit differently to the Liveliness and Decay knobs, so it’s definitely worth experimenting. The reverb knowledge of Lexicon really shines through, and makes for reverbs that sound incredibly lush. One small downside - the Modulated reverb is not infinite, so if you’re really after experimental atmospheric ambient sounds, perhaps looks at other reverb pedals.

Bottom Line: The game changer here is the inclusion of Lexicon’s legendary reverb algorithms. There are truly very few downsides we could think of when playing with the DigiTech Polara. It sounds fantastic. Sure, some boutique, more specialized “one trick pony” pedals that cost twice (or more) as much might sound better in the end, but it’s difficult to complain here. This versatile pedal will have something you love no matter which style of reverb you are into. If you don’t care for the Hall Of Fame’s TonePrint customization, we would recommend this one for a superior reverb sound.

DigiTech Polara Reverb

Available new on

AMAZON

33 available used from $95.00 on

REVERB

Boss RV-6

»A gorgeous Shimmer reverb and Boss quality make it great.

Boss rv-6 unboxing
The Boss RV-6 includes 3 more reverb modes than its RV-5 predecessor.

The Boss RV-6 Reverb Pedal came in a dead heat with the DigiTech Polara in our final tally, and when we spent some quality time with the RV-6, it totally makes sense. All the things to love about the Polara - the build quality, the gorgeous reverb sounds, the versatility, and the attractive price tag - the Boss RV-6 has them too.

One immediate and obvious advantage of the RV-6 is that it’s a Boss stompbox, and that equates to quality craftsmanship and reliability. Built like a tank, as people like to say. You can throw Boss pedals out of 20 story windows and they’ll remain intact and gig-ready (though, we strongly recommend you don’t do that). This is also a very attractive pedal, with a pewter Boss enclosure.

The controls on the Boss RV-6 won’t surprise you at all. Nothing here is out of the ordinary - you’ve got E.LEVEL which stands for effects level, and is just the volume of the reverb sound. TONE is the sound coloration of the reverb, TIME adjusts the length of time of the reverb sound, and finally the mode knob selects the reverb effect mode you want from eight different types: Modulate, Spring, Plate, Hall, Room, +Delay, Shimmer, and Dynamic. The RV-6 is the successor to the Boss RV-5, and those latter three are new reverb modes introduced in the RV-6. There are no extra toggle switches, and like the Hall Of Fame and Polara this is a stereo in/out reverb pedal.

The fun started when we got the chance to plug in our electric guitar and hear this thing in action. We were blown away by how good the RV-6 sounds. All eight reverb modes are very good, and have their place. Our favorites are definitely Modulate and Shimmer, which are a perfect fit for more ambient/atmospheric/spacey applications. The +Delay mode is fun too, since it combines reverb and delay (although truth be told we prefer a dedicated delay pedal). Here’s a great tip:

I discovered you can use the 'wet channel' (plug in the Input B and Output A) to record whatever you like with no presence of the dry sound.

We did not experience any “tone suck” or degradation at all from the RV-6. None of the reverb settings disappoint. Lots of guitarists judge a reverb by the quality of its Spring reverb setting, and we can report that the RV-6 is good. If the Polara does an 8/10 Spring emulation, the RV-6 would be a 6.5 or 7.

For subtle general reverb, the plate setting is great.

Bottom Line: What the Boss RV-6 is not the best at everything it does, it’s great at a lot of things and is consistently good. It is not the most unique reverb offering, but it adds a lot of arrows to your quiver for a very reasonable price. Moreover, they are almost all useable. All these qualities make the RV-6 a can't go wrong reverb.

Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb Effects Pedal

Available new on

AMAZON

29 available used from $85.13 on

REVERB

Walrus Audio Slö

»For the ambient player looking for lush modulation in a traditional pedal.

Walrus slö unboxing
The Walrus Slö is beautiful and comes in “lollipop blue” with surreal art of a couple of people hanging out on a crescent moon over a reflective body of water.

The Walrus Audio Slö multi texture reverb is a modulated reverb with three different algorithms that allow ambient players to create soundscapes with lush reverbs. The controls include the knobs DECAY, FILTER, MIX, which includes a helpful line around 2 o’clock where the wet and dry signal is 50/50, X, and DEPTH. There is a toggle switch with three different reverb modes; DARK, RISE, and DREAM. The input and output jacks are mounted on the top of the pedal to save space on your pedal board.

You can also use the toggle switch to select different wave shapes between SINE, WARP, and SINK. Sine is a smooth wave, while warp pitches up asymmetrically and sink detunes down. The Slö features two footswitches for BYPASS and SUSTAIN. The sustain switch momentarily ups the decay and maxes the trails until you release, except in DREAM mode, where it controls latching.

The Slö can engage and disengage trails mode by holding the bypass switch for 1 second while applying power to the pedal. As with all things Walrus, they recommend an isolated 9V power supply and the Slö has a 100mA minimum draw or there is a risk of glitching.

Michael Pierce
Michael's Pick

The Slö sounds gorgeous. It covers my bases from a specific subtle always on reverb (I like the Dark mode with lower settings on the mix and decay) to getting crazy ambient textures when the mood strikes me without being more pedal than I need.

DARK mode adds a lower octave to your reverb trail, and sounds wickedly cool. In this mode, the X knob sets the level of the lower octave signal. This sound is foreboding and created some menacing sounds and sounds amazing combined with some dirt. Hands down, this was our favorite mode. It can sound uniquely sinister and haunting in isolation. With some distortion added in, we could create some synth-inspired space sounds.

RISE mode by contrast gives you an ambient auto-swell where the X knob sets the swell time. Rise sounds like big blooms under your original note, and it sounds best with plenty of spacing to breathe. We found that with tighter notes, much of the subtly of the gorgeous swell was lost. The rise and fall of this mode is beautiful and it makes chords sound terrific.

DREAM mode is a latching pad where the X knob sets the depth of vibrato on the trail. This mode is really unique and fun for ambient players with super long trails. It creates huge soundscapes by latching on to your notes and will hang on until you tell it to stop with the footswitch while playing over the top. The texture you can get from this layering is deeply satisfying. Also, with the vibrato on the trail set high, this mode has very interesting dynamics.

Bottom Line: The Slö is a very cool ambient focused reverb with three modes. It can cover subtle useful verb to hyper modulated ambient creations. It is best suited for players looking for sleepy long trails and ambient sounds, although with the decay set low, all three modes are more versatile than you might expect from an ambient pedal.

Walrus Audio Slö

Available new on

AMAZON

2 available used from $170.00 on

REVERB

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath

»For the ambient knob tweaker searching for an epic cavernous sound.

Earthquaker devices afterneath v2 unboxing
The Afterneath features appropriate artwork of a wizard in a cave.

The EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath otherwordly reverberator uses tons of delays that blend into a giant cavernous reverb. EQD’s “wizard in a cave in a box” shouldn’t be mistaken for a traditional reverb. EarthQuaker fans generally know the company pushes the creative envelope, but from the jump you should know it doesn’t do classic spring, hall, plate, etc. This reverb is for ambient players that want something completely different that is simple with not a lot of secondary menus.

The controls are straightforward by ambient reverb standards. LENGTH controls the decay. DIFFUSE adjusts the spread of the reverb from a sharp attack to an ambient wash. DAMPEN is basically a tone control. DRAG separates the delay lines on the Afterneath. Since this pedal is based on a bunch of digital delays, this is the magic knob on this pedal. More delay is counterclockwise and more reverb is clockwise. REFLECT controls the regeneration of the reverb, which self oscillates and gets wild as you get into high levels. MIX blends your wet and dry signals.

The build from Akron feels great. It is powered by a 9 V drawing 74 mA and has the input and output jacks on top. It is true bypass and has a limited lifetime warranty. The illustration of a cave is spot on. Some potential limiting factors for an ambient pedal is the Afterneath is mono, and there is no expression control.

This is definitely a pedal for getting weird in the studio, and it is so much fun. Even with a heavy wet mix the original guitar tone remains bright and clear. For all the textures the Afterneath affords, it is remarkably responsive to picking dynamics. Just selecting different pickups really altered the sound to a noteworthy degree.

Earthquaker devices afterneath v2 sample settings
EarthQuaker provides some suggested settings that are a good place to start to see what the Afterneath is capable of in the operation manual.

The drag response is definitely the control that most dramatically alters the tone, choosing the balance between reverb and delay. It’s fun to hear the sound warp as you twist the knob and create big ambient sounds.

The Afterneath sound has a similar flavor across its settings compared to the pedals on this list that cram tons of reverbs in one pedal. Where the Afterneath sounds best is for folks that love epic depth. Ambient players will love maxing the mix and playing with regeneration, while people that just want a fuller signal can roll back, but if that’s all you plan to do we’d suggest a different pedal.

It is so unique it feels strange to call the Afterneath a reverb pedal. It feels like an infinite stack of delays to craft these vast soundscapes, so it’s difficult to classify compared to other reverbs.

Bottom Line: In context, you can make it subtle and add a nice layer to most styles of music, but that is not what makes the pedal great. If that is what you are after, go for a Boss, Oceans 11, Hall of Fame, or a reverb that flexes well into different capabilities. The Afterneath, on the other hand, shines when taken to extremes to create huge ambient cavern reverb. This is for the experimental player that wants ambient, textured sounds that are impossible to achieve with a standard reverb.

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath

Available new on

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8 available used from $170.00 on

REVERB

Biyang RV-10 Tri-Reverb

»Six full sounding reverb modes, true bypass, stereo operation, and ridiculously low price.

Biyang RV-10 Tri Reverb

One reverb pedal that surprised us with its price-to-quality ratio, and came consistently recommended in all the “budget reverb pedal” and “what is the best reverb pedal under $100” discussions is the Biyang RV-10 Tri-Reverb Pedal. Coming in at less than half the price than the next-cheapest pedal in our top 5, the price is certainly right… but does it perform as well as its more expensive counterparts? You might have guessed the answer is yes considering it’s in our top 5 of our best reverb pedals! Let’s find out why.

Right from the unboxing you can see Biyang keeps things simple with the Tri-Reverb. This Chinese-manufactured pedal is rather small, which is good for fitting on smaller (or already crowded) pedalboards. The pedal looks rather underwhelming. We know this is highly subjective, but the aesthetics have a cheap comic book look to them. We’ve found it’s not too uncommon for the more budget pedals to skimp on look and feel, so we’re not surprised. Thankfully, the build quality - which is arguably much more important than looks - feels great. The pedal feels well-built and looks to have quality components (we watched a video which confirmed the external and internal components are indeed good quality).

The available controls differ a bit from the likes of the Hall Of Fame, Polara, and RV-6. The Biyang has two primary knobs - BLEND which is responsible for the wet/dry mix, and TIME which controls the length and size of the reverb. The top 3-way toggle switch lets you pick between three types of reverb - Hall, Spring, and Room. The bottom 2-way toggle is for an A and a B mode, which are two distinct reverb modes we’ll talk about shortly. To be completely frank, we don’t love this layout compared to other reverb pedals we tested. A/B mode is unintuitive unless you read about it or try it, and we prefer knobs we can rotate to choose the verb mode, as opposed to tiny toggle switches. All in all, these are minor complaints, and honestly it’s not like the pedal is that complicated to use. On the plus side, the Biyang RV-10 Tri-Reverb is true bypass when switched off, and operates in stereo; both very nice inclusions for a pedal in this price range. The blue LED light is also nice and bright (great for live use in dark and smoky venues).

So, how does the Biyang Tri-Reverb sound? In two words, very good. Very, very good if you factor in its price point. While it doesn’t have all the crazy, atmospheric, and modulated reverb types that other pedals might offer you, it covers the basics. The Hall, Spring, and Room are all fairly lush and expansive. Spring is a bit of a weak point to our ears, and we definitely favor the Spring from the Boss RV-6 or DigiTech Polara. Still, the Biyang is nothing to scoff at. While it seems like you only get three reverb modes, you actually get six. The A/B toggle can be applied to the three, and changes the sound. A mode is a bit darker, “grittier”, and more bass heavy, while B is more of the classic reverb sound. We’re not exactly sure why it was designed this way, but it works. On a side note, use it with a power adapter, since the Biyang Tri-Reverb is very quick to suck battery life.

All in all the reverb here is solid, lush, and very usable. In our research we found a lot of comparisons between the Tri-Reverb’s tone and the EHX Holy Grail, which is high praise. Some user review quotes we like:

...definitely the best verb in its price range...

It can go from adding a subtle thickness to a note to a full blown ridiculous cacophony of bouncing reverb.

Bottom Line: In this price range, we’re convinced it’s hard to find a better reverb. Sure, the controls are a tad unintuitive with the A/B toggle, you don’t get fancy modulated reverb tones, and it’s a bit less refined than much pricier boutique reverb pedals. If you can reconcile these things, then this is a fantastic reverb pedal to add to your board. That, or maybe you’re not a reverb “junkie”, or simply don’t want to spend a good portion of your paycheck on a reverb pedal.

Available new on

AMAZON

4 available used from $30.00 on

REVERB

Strymon BigSky Reverberator

»Incredibly full featured with beautiful lush reverbs, the BigSky is ideal for creating intricate soundscapes.

Strymon bigsky reverberator
Strymon's BigSky multidimensional reverberator is larger than your average reverb pedal to accommodate its vast capabilities.

The Strymon BigSky is one of, if not the, most popular premium full featured reverb. Strymon stuff typically sounds great to us, so it’s no surprise this reverb sounds amazing. This pedal is a jam packed customizable reverb. You may know that Strymon already produced a great reverb called the blueSky, but this takes optionality to a completely new level. What we mean by that is with this pedal, you can really tweak and modulate the reverb to your taste with an astounding degree of customizability. The BigSky can create unbelievable sounds based on 12 distinct reverb machines; Hall, Plate, Spring, Swell, Bloom, Cloud, Chorale, Shimmer, Magneto, Nonlinear, Reflections, and Room. Since the descriptors can be non-obvious, head to Strymon’s BigSky page to read full descriptions and listen to audio sample’s of each.

The Type knob lets you navigate the reverb type via a green LED indicator. When you click the type knob, you can manipulate the values of the various parameters in each patch. These different reverb types can then be individually manipulated via the seven front-panel tone shaping knobs: Decay, Pre-Delay, Mix, Tone, Mod, Param 1, Param 2 (The Param knobs are assignable per the preset selected).

The memory bank allows 100 presets to be saved and named per each of the 3 channels. Yes, you read that correctly, there are 300 easily accessible and namable presets. That is why this pedal is popular with people that want unique and customizable reverb effects to create lush soundscapes. That is where this pedal dominates simpler (even if excellent sounding) one trick ponies. The sheer volume of options the BigSky offers are unreal.

So how did Strymon get the reverb to sound so good? Unlike many digital reverb pedals, the BigSky keeps an analog dry signal path and then mixes a digital processed signal on top of that clean dry signal. All you really need to know is it sounds pristine.

As we mentioned earlier, Strymon have quite the reputation in the premium pedal market. We will be the first to tell you it is well-earned. The build quality reflects that and the materials used and craftsmanship are on point. The stump switches feel good and tactile. The anodized aluminum chassis speaks to the quality and looks great to boot. Everything from the pots to switches is quality and feels sturdy, as you would expect.

Bottom Line: If you’re the type of player that has to be able to adjust every detail and aren’t scared of minutiae, this pedal is a dream. The BigSky’s gorgeous sound coupled with its ability to be configured to ridiculous levels make it perfect for the player that heavily incorporates the effect and relies on lush reverbs for creating soundscapes. If you seldom adjust the parameters on reverbs, you will likely be satisfied with the other pedals on this list that forego the levels of customization the BigSky commands a premium for. However, if you want the most versatile reverb pedal on the market and nothing but the best will do, you’ve met your match.

Strymon BigSky Reverberator

20 available used from $400.00 on

REVERB

Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11

»11 reverb types with multiple modes makes this EHX's best reverb yet.

Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Multifunction Digital Reverb Effects Pedal

The Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 holds way more capabilities than its small form factor would suggest. It’s the same size as the Holy Grail, which was featured on a previous version of our best reverbs list, but has way more functionality.

As the name would suggest, the Oceans 11 has 11 different reverbs which are accessed through the rotary REVERB TYPE knob; hall, spring, plate, reverse, echo, tremolo, modulated, dynamic, auto-infinite, shimmer and polyphonic effects.

The other controls are the FX LVL or output, the TIME knob, the TONE knob, and the MODE button. There is also an internal TAILS switch that can be accessed by removing the back plate. We should also mention that in addition to the standard input and output jacks, there is an INFINITE jack, which allows you to plug in a momentary footswitch. It is mono, so if you absolutely need stereo out, this isn’t your pedal.

The pedal comes with an included power supply, the EHX 9.6VDC-200mA and draws 150mA.

Five of the reverb types (echo, tremolo, modulated, dynamic, and polyphonic) have more than one mode. When you cycle through these by pressing the mode button the LED indicator will change color to keep you in the know.

As if that wasn’t enough, every reverb type has parameters that can be tweaked using the secondary knob mode, which is accessed by holding down the mode button for a second, that changes the TIME and TONE knobs functionality.

If you’re thinking this is a lot of controls for a stomp box with no digital display, you are correct. It took us some time tinkering with this pedal to memorize some of the adjustments. Thankfully, EHX included a helpful reference sheet on page 8 of the instruction manual. While we’re at it, presets would be a welcomed upgrade to this pedal because of how deep you can go in various settings.

They reverbs produced by the Oceans 11 are amazing, even by Electro-Harmonix’s standards. The spring reverb, based on a 1962 Fender 6G15 unit, does a really convincing emulation and has that authentic drip sound. In this mode, you can even double tap the footswitch to simulate the sound of kicking the amp.

Another standout is the shimmer. EHX describes it as “a rich octave-shifted wash of harmony in a reverberant cloud.” We would say that is an accurate description. The infinite reverb effect, which is engaged by holding down the footswitch, is available on most of the reverb types. Using this effect in shimmer brings into existence a dreamy soundscape shoe gazers and ambient players are sure to love.

The echo reverb on the Oceans 11 is a digital delay and plate reverb combination that can be set with tap tempo. The Modulated setting is where the old Flerb setting from the Holy Grail is located, along with some other more extreme sounds, like Flerb and chorus combined. EHX also provides some sample settings for the Oceans 11. We had more fun that we would have suspected pretending the guitar was an orchestral instrument with the Cello setting.

Bottom Line: The Oceans 11 is of the best sounding and most full-featured reverb pedals you can get in a small chassis. The lack of presets and limited knobs means it does take some time to dial in custom sounds but the Oceans 11 produces studio quality sounds, many better than pedals that cost multiple times more.

Available new on

AMAZON

9 available used from $109.00 on

REVERB

Eventide Space Reverb

»Professional grade pedal that delivers sound, build quality, and personalization.

Eventide space unboxing
Eventide includes a power supply, user guide, preset guide, and quick reference guide with the Space.

Building from a great track record based on their rack based effects, Eventide put the best of their effects into a stompbox. Think of the Space Reverb like the Eventide H8000 in a form factor that will fit on your pedalboard.

It’s hard to find fault with the Eventide Space. Just as with the BigSky, it is popular with both guitarists and producers running synths through it alike. It also has 12 styles of reverb basic algorithms that can be configured to your exact specifications. The styles are described as; Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, Blackhole, Shimmer, Reverse Reverb (a really interesting sounding delay and decay… going backwards), ModEchoVerb (Modulation section feeding into an echo feeding into a reverb), DualVerb (two separate reverbs that are individually adjustable), MangledVerb, DynaVerb, and TremoloVerb.

Don’t worry, I won’t list all the 100 factory presents or all the artist presets. Guitarists like St Vincent to electronic musicians like Richard Devine and countless others have presets on Eventide’s website. Combining all these effects with delays, reverse decays, or anything your heart desires makes effectively infinite combinations of possible tones.

Eventide H9 app
Eventide also makes tweaking the presets super easy with the H9 app.

From Eventide:

With H9 Control, you can manage parameters, presets and settings with an easy to use interface. Get instant access to over 500 presets that push the boundaries of delay, reverb, pitch-shifting, modulation, distortion and more. H9 Control is available on Android, iOS, Mac and PC.

The app provides a really clean interface to play with the endless possibilities the Space gives you. However, you can also alter the tones on the board. All of the effects are Tap Tempo adjustable and work with and MIDI Clock Sync/Generate so hook it up straight to your computer, use it with a midi controller to control your selections, or use an expression pedal to blend multiple effects. There is line level inputs and outputs, and mono or stereo operation. The downside here is all these options add complexity and it takes some time to learn how to manipulate the pedal, but that time investment is well worth it and allows you to create lush and exotic layered custom reverbs.

The Eventide definitely sits in the premium pedal space and the rugged cast metal construction remind you of it. Fiddling with it, everything felt great and well made, as it should at this price point. It feels durable enough to properly stomp on it whilst energetically rocking out. It also works well on your production desk if you’re planning on using it with synths thanks to it’s rubber bottom. The LEDs and screen are bright, big, and easy to read, which is great when there are so many options to explore. Arguably, if you like the minimal look, it could be considered the handsomest pedal on the list.

Bottom Line: Without question, the Space and the Strymon BigSky are the two pedals with the most capability. You can lock yourself away in your studio and not emerge for weeks just playing with reverb options (It’s a great time in history to be a guitarist). And yes, these two are the most expensive options on this list by quite a margin. However, we feel compelled to add that while they are definitely premium products, the price per the options available to customize the sound isn’t bad at all. You get unparalleled options in a small footprint. Ultimately, it all comes down to your budget and playing style. If your reverb is switched on non-stop and you’re experimenting with custom shoe gaze sounds, we whole heartedly endorse getting something like the Space. If on the other hand, you use reverb sparingly, we’d opt for the still versatile but budget friendly options like the Hall of Fame 2 or Boss that come in at less than half the price.

Eventide Space Reverb Pedal

Available new on

AMAZON

27 available used from $325.00 on

REVERB

What Exactly Is Reverb?

It goes without saying that reverb is one of the most important and prevalent effects in the audio world. There are probably very few recordings out there that don’t have at least a touch of reverb applied. Reverb is basically the sound that “lingers in the air” after it happens, due to the sound waves reflecting off of surfaces. The more reflections happen and the larger the space you’re in, the more dramatic the effect. Picture being in a cathedral and letting out a yell. Your voice will reverberate quite a bit and it will sound like your yell is extended, and the volume will eventually taper off into silence. The same thing happens when you sing in the shower, though the reverb “tail” might not be as long as in a huge cathedral. Conversely, imagine you’re in a small sound deadening booth with foam walls. If you let out a yell, the sound waves will be absorbed by the foam and thus won’t reflect back to your ears, so there will not be a reverb effect.

Listen to Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah for a great example of a song where the reverb gives his delicate guitar and vocals an immense sense of space and presence.

Reverb is not the same thing as echo! An echo occurs when a sound wave reflects off of a surface and reaches your ear past one tenth of a second after the original sound wave. Imagine you’re at the bottom of a canyon and yell “hello!” The sound wave might take some time to reflect off of a surface and come back to your ear, and you’ll then hear a distinct repetition of your voice saying “hello.” That’s an example of echo.


Types of Reverb

When you buy a reverb pedal, there’s almost always a knob that lets you select the type of reverb that you want. Here are some of the more basic types of reverb explained:

Hall Reverb: As the name suggests, this type of reverb emulates a concert hall, generally offering reverb that lasts between 1 and 3 seconds. Typically, hall verbs start with plenty of audible early reflections, followed by a full reverb body and then a tail that rolls off on the high end. For this reason hall verbs are often quite warm.

Chamber Reverb: Chamber reverb gives a short decay time, resulting in a little more clarity. Typically, chamber reverbs last between 0.4 and 1.2 seconds, and are also quite warm in sound.

Room Reverb: Room verb normally lasts between 0.2 to 1 seconds. Room reverbs are often quick acting, with lots of early reflections, and end with a quick decay and little frequency rolloff.

Plate Reverb: When we’re talking about digital reverbs, this is an emulation of an analog reverb in which sound vibrations were sent through a plate of metal that itself vibrated, resulting in reflections of the sound. Plate reverbs are often very full sounding and have a very “smooth” sound. They sound great on lead vocals, but also on guitar in situations where the reverb does not need to take too much attention away from the listener.

Spring Reverb: As mentioned before this is an analog reverb, emulated in digital verbs, that has a fairly sharp sound compared to other reverbs, with it seeming like there is a rolloff of bass frequencies.


Reverb Tails

Reverb tails, sometimes referred to as reverb trails, occur after the initial impulse and early reflections in a reverb signal. Think of the original sound, or initial impulse, as the dry signal. Next, you hear early reflections. Finally, the decaying sound is the reverb tail. This reverb tail is sonically denser than the early reflections and more complex due to the features of the space (or simulated space) and has different characteristics than the early reflections.

Reverb signal
This illustration displays the different components of a reverb signal. Image credit: Garry Clennell

To learn more about the other factors and variables behind reverb, we recommend checking out Music and Computers.


How We Tested These Reverb Pedals

To bring you the best reverbs out there, we keep current and extensively research new products. We periodically review and revise this list as new pedals are released.

We run them through different combinations of guitars and amplifiers, since changing the signal chain can greatly affect the sound of a reverb pedal.

We ran these reverbs through our tube amps, solid-states, and even headphone amplifiers. In terms of electric guitars, we used a variety of single-coil and humbucker pickups, as well as solid body, semi-hollow, and hollow body guitars.

In short, we listened to these reverbs in as many signal chains as possible before formulating our opinions of them.

Some of the guitars and amplifiers we used to test these reverb pedals
Some of the guitars and amplifiers we used to test these reverb pedals.

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About the authors
Michael Pierce

Michael bought his first guitar, a Fender California Series Stratocaster in Candy Apple Red, in 1998. He likes rock of all types, from classic to punk to metal. Michael co-founded Equipboard to satisfy his curiosity around what gear his guitar heroes use. Read more

Giulio Chiarenza

Giulio co-founded Equipboard with his friend Michael. He plays the piano, guitar, drums, and had a brief stint signed to a label as an electronic music producer. Read more


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Comments 6

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+6
eric_b_wood
eric_b_wood
371 about 4 years ago

+1 for the BlueSky. It's absolutely phenomenal and extremely versatile...you can get some serious space noises as well as classic spring reverbs (surf rock anyone?)

+1
markanderic
markanderic
416 about 3 years ago

I bought a TC Hall of Fame, and found it a little too bright. Any tips on how to change this? Would an EQ pedal be helpful?

+1
ernesto_valk
ernesto_valk
238 almost 3 years ago

I use the Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb, really nice Spring Reverb =)

+1
peter_glavanov
peter_glavanov
287 over 2 years ago

You gotta try Neunaber Immerse reverberator...it is the size of HOF but the sound is much more rich...even i like it more than Strymon Bluesky which is also a wonderful reverb!

+1
ant_g
ant_g
32 over 2 years ago

Hi there. I have a Blackstar HT-1R small valve amp with built in digital reverb that emmulates a spring reverb (supposedly). There is no FX loop with this amp. Does anyone know if it is worth spending money on any of the above pedals, or is the built in reverb as good or better? I cant really find this comparison on line and the shops are a bit funny about be testing out specific pedals on specific amps. I would really appreciate your help

+1
samuel_stephen
samuel_stephen
100 about 2 years ago

Neunaber Stereo Wet anyone? or the Neunaber Immerse