The Best Reverb Pedals for Guitar

The best reverb pedals

Reverb refers to the reflection of sound as it bounces off physical objects, and manipulating this effect continues to fascinate guitarists, so much so that it has become a staple feature in many guitar amplifiers. Because of the need for hands free control, manufacturers long ago built the effect into the stompbox format and they continue to improve on its design, thanks to advancements in Digital Sound Processing (DSP) technology.

Subtle use of reverb is the norm, and is used for discretely adding realism and warmth to your guitar sound. It can also let you create unique sound textures and even totally change your sound as you play with the settings. This versatility and usefulness make reverb pedals a valuable tool to have regardless of your playing style. Here we present you with the best reverb pedals in the market along with important pointers, and a detailed look into its specs and market sentiment.

Methodology

We first looked at all widely available reverb pedals on the market, to see which ones were popular and rated highly. We limited our selection to stand-alone reverb pedals, avoiding multi-effects units with reverb built-in to ensure that we don't stray from the focus. We then gathered both user ratings and expert opinions on these pedals and fed the information into the Gearank algorithm. The result is the list below which features top rated pedals sorted by their Gearank score. For more information see How Gearank Works.

Things to Consider When Buying a Reverb Pedal

  • Reverb Types

    Digital Signal Processing and Convolution technology have allowed us to better replicate the ambience of actual physical rooms, modify their parameters and even create our own rooms. Below are the most common reverb types along with a feature on special types that don't fall under the four main types.

    • Room

      As the name suggests, it replicates the quick sonic bounces of a regular room. With its early reflections and quick decay of no more than a second, room reverb is the most discrete of the lot, so it is often used for adding subtle warmth and realism.

    • Hall

      Hall reverbs are usually based on the actual acoustic space of a large music hall, only digitized for use with your pedal. Since the virtual space is bigger, the decay is usually longer, ranging from 1 to 3 seconds. It is usually employed to give the guitar sound a three dimensional ambience to emphasize certain parts. especially in rock music.

    • Plate

      The plate reverb mode found on guitar pedals is a digital simulation of an analog plate reverb which was widely used in the past. It works by sending your guitar signal to a virtual metal plate that vibrates to create the reflections and echoes that are usually very quick and full. This reverb type tends to be brighter, and is commonly used for subtle enhancement.

    • Spring

      Like plate mode, the spring reverb mode is a digital emulation of an actual analog reverb unit that is driven by a metal spring. The resulting reflections are fast and decay quickly, while the bass frequencies roll off as the sound decays. This makes the resulting sound brighter than other types, making it the ideal reverb for many guitar styles that emphasizes the upper frequencies, including surf, country, and blues.

    • Special Reverb Modes

      With so much processing power at our disposal, manufacturers have been experimenting with other ways of providing reverb, outside of the usual room emulation. This has resulted in special reverb types that include Reverse (reverses the sound reflection), various types of Modulation (applies modulation effects to the reflections including flanger, chorus, phaser etc), Filter (applies sweeping eq filter effects to the reflections) and many more. These reverb types are usually employed for more experimental and modern sound ambiance.

  • Parameter Controls

    The general idea is that more control knobs allow for deeper editing and better personalization, at the cost more complex setup and interface. So if you are looking to add subtle reverb that's always on to enhance your sound, you're better off with tried and tested classic pedals with as few configuration controls as possible. The opposite is true if you want more control and options, be it for customizing or for crafting the textures of your sound reflections.

  • Budget and Pedalboard Space

    Right at the get go, you can narrow down your choice by establishing a reasonable budget range. Note that you'll want to invest a bit more if reverb is a primary part of your sound, especially for ambient and experimental guitar styles. We know that pedalboard real-estate is also an important consideration, so we have provided the dimensions of the pedals below.

  • True Bypass vs Buffered

    Some guitar tone purists look for true bypass pedals as they totally 'bypass' the pedal's circuitry when the effect is switched off - leaving it just like you're plugged directly in to the amp. However one thing to be aware of with reverb pedals is true bypass will cut off the reverb decay as soon as you hit that switch. Some people might find this a little jarring. Buffered bypass pedals continue to feed their output actively so the tail end of that huge cathedral sound can continue to sweep over as you're starting to play the next 'dry' part. A number of these pedals can be configured to either true or buffered bypass. Of course if you're planning to leave your reverb pedal switched on the whole time then it's always being buffered so there's no difference.

  • The Best Reverb Pedals for Guitar

    Below are the top rated reverb pedals along with detailed descriptions of their features as well as the pros and cons that were reported by both experts and regular users. Regardless of your playing style, you will find a pedal here that can help you end your axe's dry spell.

Boss RV-6

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Boss RV6 Digital Reverb Pedal

Taking the top spot in this list is the compact and affordable digital reverb pedal from Boss. The RV-6 is the latest iteration of their reverb pedal, and is currently the most well loved reverb pedal in the market today. With its 8 reverb types, there's literally quite a lot of room to breathe for your guitar signal, from subtle room to modern shimmer and echo-delay. It has enough versatility and features for even experienced players and professional musicians to appreciate, while retaining an intuitive interface that even novice players can use. Artists that are known to have used the Boss RV pedal include Joe Bonamassa, Brian Welch Gary Moore, KT Tunstall, J Macsis, John Fogerty and many more.

Features:

  • 8 Reverb Types: Hall, Room, Plate, Spring, Modulate, Dynamic, Shimmer, Delay
  • Controls: Level, Tone, Time
  • Input: Stereo 1/4", Expression Pedal 1/4"
  • Output: Stereo 1/4"
  • Power: Optional Power Supply or 9V battery
  • Bypass Type: Buffered Bypass
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 2.375" x 2.875" x 5.125"
  • Weight: 1 lb

Pros

Excellent, amazing, very good and great are just a few of the many positive adjectives that the Boss RV-6 has been receiving from their many satisfied and happy users. Many describe the sound as pro-level recording quality, matching more expensive rackmount digital reverbs that only the privileged few have access to. The room, hall, plate and spring reverb modes were mentioned frequently in a positive manner, while others found the shimmer setting to be perfect for modern ambient and sonic texture crafting. Other commonly mentioned good traits of the RV-6 include its versatility and ease of use.

Cons

There was one customer who found the reverb trails to be lacking in realism - but almost everyone else found to sound to be exemplary, even the few that received the pedal with minor production issues like a sticky knob, who still rated the pedal highly.

Overall

With its great balance of affordability, versatility, and quality, the Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb pedal gets our top recommendation.

Strymon BigSky

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$479
Strymon BigSky Reverb Pedal

The California based boutique pedal builder Strymon has built quite the reputation for their quality effects, and the BigSky Multidimensional Reverb is one of their most sought after products. From artists to church musicians, there is so much hype surrounding the brand, and the high ratings that the BigSky receives only helps to confirm and further establish their popularity. With 12 reverb types you have a wealth of virtual space options for your guitar signal, while the expanded control options allow for deep customization. Other features that make this pedal a true professional's favorite include advanced input/output options, 300 customizable presets and its MIDI compatibility. This pedal has a long list of professional artist users including Dweezil Zappa, Dave Kilminster, Tom Quayle and many more.

Features:

  • 12 Reverb Types: Room, Hall, Plate, Spring, Swell, Bloom, Cloud, Chorale, Shimmer, Magneto, Nonlinear, Reflections
  • Controls: Value, Decay, Pre-Delay, Mix, Tone, Param1, Param2, Mod, Type
  • Input: Stereo 1/4", Expression Pedal
  • Output: Stereo 1/4"
  • Power: 9V center-negative DC 300mA Power Supply
  • Bypass Type: Configurable to True Bypass or Buffered
  • 300 customizable presets
  • MIDI Controllable
  • SHARC DSP
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 6.75" x 5.1"
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs

Pros

The overall sentiment of many users confirms Strymon's claim that this unit offers studio rack quality reverb effect in a pedal form factor. Many users even found time to think-up unique and interesting adjectives to describe how happy they are with the unit, including magical, heaven in a box, super, epic, and many more. A big number of users rated the Strymon Bigsky highly for its studio quality sound, while a big chunk of experienced players found the pedal's versatility to be its strongest point. Quiet noise free operation, which is a requirement for studio gear, was also mentioned a number of times.

Cons

There really aren't any specific complaints about its features or sound, but there are a few who would've been happier if the price was more accessible.

Overall

When budget is not an issue, and you're looking for a top shelf reverb pedal that can double as your studio reverb rack, then get the Strymon BigSky.

Eventide Space Reverb

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
Eventide Space Reverb

Just one glance at the Eventide Space Reverb's array of knobs and you know that this is not your average reverb pedal. With multiple knobs for controlling deep settings, 12 different reverb types to choose from, and 100 presets, this pedal offers a lot of tweaking options. But it's not just about versatility because this pedal features the same reverb algorithms as found on Eventide's rack processors. Modern control options are also available, including MIDI compatibility, MIDI clock sync and tap tempo. Known Eventide Space Reverb users include Tim Reynolds, Alex Skolnick, Nigel Hendroff and many more.

Features:

  • 12 Reverb Types: Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, Reverse, Shimmer, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, Blackhole, MangledVerb, TremoloVerb, DynaVerb
  • Controls: Mix, Decay, Size, Delay, EQ (Low, High, Contour), Preset, Xnob, Ynob, FxMix
  • Input: Stereo 1/4", Footswitch, Expression
  • Output: Stereo 1/4"
  • Power: Power Supply
  • Bypass Type: Configurable to True Bypass or Buffered. Also has a Buffered Bypass option that cuts off the tail end of the reverb.
  • 100 factory presets
  • Tap Tempo, MIDI clock sync
  • MIDI control via USB
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 4.8" x 7.5" x 2.12"
  • Weight: 2.15 lbs

Pros

Sound quality is what impressed most of the reviewers. The general theme of what they are saying is that the Eventide Space Reverb simply sounds great. Versatility also got a lot of thumbs up, especially from more experienced users who want precision control over the reverb effect. Interestingly, even non-guitarists were impressed by the pedal's sound quality, including musicians who are into ambient style music, reporting that they were able to conjure inspiring and unique soundscape.

Cons

There were some who raised concern about the complexity of the interface and overall learning curve. A few reviewers complained about the quality of the knobs considering the price, and speaking of price tag, some users would've given the pedal a higher rating if the price was a bit lower.

Overall

The Eventide Space Reverb pedal is for you if you have the budget and are into modern ambient music, or if you want a reverb pedal that will give you hours of deep editing fun.

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal

The list of virtuosos that have been associated with the Hall of Fame (HOF) Reverb pedal is impressively long, and full of familiar names that include Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, Larry Carlton, John Scofield, Andy Summers, Steve Morse and many more. While one can argue that endorsement plays a big role, we also have to consider that these guitarists are at the level where they can use any pro reverb gear they want, and yet they choose the HOF pedal. Using the same reverb algorithms that are found in their studio processors, this pedal is meant to be a compact stompbox version, with the added versatility afforded to by the pedal's 10 reverb types and Tone Print technology, which lets you load the settings that artists use or help create. The four knobs of the pedal may seem lacking, but using the Tone Print Editor allows for in-depth parameter control, that goes beyond what conventional reverb pedals offer.

Features:

  • Reverb Types: 10 Types (Room, Hall, Spring, Plate, Church, Mod, Lofi, Tile, Amb, Gate, Tone Print
  • Controls: Level, Decay, Tone
  • Input: Stereo 1/4"
  • Output: Stereo 1/4"
  • Power: Power Supply or 9V battery
  • Bypass Type: True Bypass or Buffered Bypass switch and Kill-Dry on/off
  • TonePrint Technology
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 1.97" x 2.83" x 4.8"
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs

Pros

The overall sentiment of most reviewers about the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb pedal is that it gives you more than what you'd expect from the money, it simply does more than what other pedals in its price range offer. And it's not about versatility because the reviews are full of positive remarks about the quality of its many reverb algorithms, from subtle room reverb to classic spring reverb emulations to modern chorused echoes that the Tone Print editor allows for. Interestingly, a lot of users also found the pedal easy to use, while more experienced users were very happy with the deep editing functionality of the Tone Print editor.

Cons

There were a few who found some of the reverb algorithms to be uninspiring, while others wanted a few more knobs for old school tweaking, instead of having to use the Tone Print feature. While not often reported, there was one who found the battery to drain faster than he expected.

Overall

Priced lower than most reverb pedals while having incredible flexibility, the TC electronic Hall of Fame Reverb is very easy and safe to recommend.

Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 275+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$222
Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb Pedal

Electro-Harmonix joins this list with the versatile and powerful Cathedral Stereo Reverb, featuring 24-bit AD/DA conversion and true stereo input output compatibility. It feature 8 reverb algorithms, from old school reverb types like Hall, Room, Plate and Accu Spring, to modern algorithms that include Reverse, Grail Flerb, Grail Spring and Echo. All these modes are then tweakable to your preference via the six knobs, while handsfree realtime operation are afforded by the two foot switches. All these features are packed in a colorful stompbox that's around twice the size of regular stompboxes.

Features:

  • 8 Reverb Types: Grail Spring, Accu Spring, Hall, Room, Plate, Reverse, Grail Flerb, Echo
  • Controls: Blend, Reverb Time, Damping/Tone, Feedback, Pre-Delay, Mode, Tap Tempo Switch
  • Input: Stereo 1/4"
  • Output: Stereo 1/4"
  • Power: 9VDC Power Supply
  • Bypass Type: Buffered Bypass
  • Tap Tempo to set pre-delay time up to 2 seconds
  • 24-bit AD/DA converters
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 2.5" x 7.25" x 5"
  • Weight: 2 lbs

Pros

While some did mention churchy and atmospheric, the word "heavenly" best matches the both user sentiment and the label of the pedal. While it's not the be all and all, reports of the EHX Cathedral Stereo reverb's versatility are plenty, with many stating that they were able to conjure various sonic landscapes, from classic surf to infinite reverb ambience. Reliability and the artistic decal on the front fascia of the pedal were also well received, matching the pedal's ear candy with eye candy that easily stands out in a pedalboard.

Cons

While versatility is always a good thing, there will always be some who will be deterred by complex controls and tweaking, and a few of them shared their comments via reviews. There was a user who complained about the EHX Cathedral not working too well with his acoustic-electric guitar.

Overall

If you're looking for a versatile reverb pedal that allows for more experimental algorithms like reverse and infinite reverb, then check out the EHX Cathedral.

EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverb

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$225
EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverb Pedal

The EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath is not your cookie cutter reverb pedal, it works more like a delay pedal that utilizes multiple short delays to create unique ambience. This makes it distinct from conventional reverb pedals that let you pick between expected reverb modes via switching algorithms. This difference in design allows for interesting new sonic textures and ambience that are simply not possible with regular reverb pedals, it also means that some of the familiar reverb modes will not be available. Controls include Length, Diffuse, Dampen, Drag, Reflect and Mix, all of which can be adjusted to mimic familiar Room/Hall reverb settings, or to create distinct sounding ones.

Features:

  • Reverb Types: Room/Hall
  • Controls: Length, Diffuse, Dampen, Drag, Reflect, Mix
  • Input: 1/4"
  • Output: 1/4"
  • Power: Optional Power Supply
  • Bypass Type: True Bypass
  • Analog Dry Signal Path
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 2.25" x 2.5" x 4.62"
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs

Pros

Bizarre, dreamy and otherworldly are good summations of how many feel about this pedal, allowing for interesting reverb sounds that are simply unavailable from conventional reverbs. The general consensus is that it allows for unique and interesting soundscapes that are very useful for guitarists who want to use the reverb as a sound sculpting tool, putting it at the forefront of their tone instead of the usual subtle use. Finally, many guitarists found the pedal to be a fun tool at their dispersal that deserved a special spot on their boards.

Cons

Because of its unconventional design, those who wanted multiple reverb modes found this pedal to be limited, ironically they still rated the pedal highly because of its unique abilities. There was a few that rated the pedal low for its darker, warmer sound, as opposed to the usual brighter ambience that other reverb provides.

Overall

If you're looking to spice up your sound with unique sound scapes and complex sonic textures, then get the Afterneath Reverb.

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Mini

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 450+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$100
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Mini Reverb

As the name implies, the Hall of Fame Mini is a miniature version of the original pedal of the same name, carrying over most of its features - including its Tone Print technology - while keeping the form factor small and stripping down the controls to just a single knob and footswitch. While realtime control on the pedal is obviously limited, the built-in Tone Print technology inside the pedal allows you to load different reverb types onto the pedal, which essentially makes it as versatile as the regular sized version. With Tone Print, you can load up familiar reverb algorithms or use presets that were created by virtuosos like Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Steve Morse and many more. And since you can do deep editing to a wide range of parameters via the Tone Print editing software, you actually have as much detailed control over the resulting reverb effect as you would with the bigger pedal.

Features:

  • Digital Reverb
  • Reverb Types: Tone Print
  • Controls: 1-Knob Reverb
  • Input: 1/4"
  • Output: 1/4"
  • Power: Optional Power Supply
  • Bypass Type: True Bypass
  • Compact Design
  • TonePrint Technology
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 4" x 2.8" x 2.5"
  • Weight: 0.5 lbs

Pros

The HOF Mini's versatility, sound and built in relation to its compact size helped it win the approval of many reviewers. Many were simply astonished with how flexible this compact pedal can be, given that it can also help save precious pedalboard space. For the price, sound quality was not compromised, as alluded to by majority of their users.

Cons

There are some who did not like the quality of certain Tone Print presets, but still liked the pedal overall. One notable concern however is about the pedal requiring an isolated powersupply, with a few reporting subtle high pitch noise when powering the pedal with the power supply they have on their pedalboard.

Overall

If pedalboard real estate is running low, or you want to save on cost but still want good flexibility, then check out the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini.

Digitech Polara

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 150+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
Digitech Polara Reverb Pedal

The Polara reverb pedal features an interesting mix of classic and modern reverb types, and some of the algorithms are based on staple studio gear from Lexicon. This interesting combination makes it a viable pedal for both the minimalist and those who want to experiment with the reverb effect. The Halo reverb is of special mention because it allows for interesting sounds with its cascading octaves and reverb decay, a unique reverb type that's only available from the Polara. And since essential reverb types are included, you get the chance to switch from old school to new school with just a few knob twists.

Features:

  • Digital Reverb
  • Reverb Types: Room, Hall, Plate, Reverse, Modulated, Halo, Hall and Spring.
  • Controls: Level, Liveliness, Decay, Reverb Type
  • Input: Stereo 1/4"
  • Output: Stereo 1/4"
  • Power: Power Supply 9V DC
  • Bypass Type: Configurable to True Bypass or Buffered
  • Lexicon Reverb Technology
  • Dimensions: 4.40" (L) x 2.65" (W) x 2.0" (H); 11.18cm
  • Weight: 1 lb

Pros

The quality of the Lexicon reverbs included in this pedal got a lot of thumbs up, even experienced users who have actually used studio quality gear found it to be of good quality. Many commend the natural and organic sound of the cookie cutter reverb types, making this an ideal for subtle always-on use. More adventurous users found the Halo and Modulated modes to be fun and inspiring to experiment with. The colorful graphic of the pedal that make it visually stand out was also well appreciated.

Cons

There were a few who mentioned having an issue with the stereo capability of the pedal, in that the signals slightly bleed into each other. Interestingly, there are some who found the graphic on the front fascia and the small fonts used on the knobs to be distracting, making adjustments quite a task in lowly lit stages.

Overall

The DigiTech Polara is a good choice for a workhorse reverb pedal, especially if you want the essentials to be of good quality while still having the option to play with more experimental reverb types.

Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$159
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max Reverb Pedal

The Holy Grail Max is part of Electro-Harmonix popular line of reverb pedals, with this one carrying a few more features for sonic versatility while still keeping the interface and control options within old school territory. For a pedal with a wide palette of reverb sounds, this pedal features a simplistic set of controls that allow for reverb type switching, and adjustments for the time and blend parameters. Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Josh Klinghoffer has been seen using this pedal to lay down the complex and funky guitar lines that his band requires.

Features:

  • Digital Reverb
  • Reverb Types: Hall, Spring, Plate, Reverse
  • Controls: Time, Blend, Reverb Type
  • Input: 1/4"
  • Output: 1/4"
  • Power: 9.6 DC Power Supply
  • Bypass Type: True Bypass
  • Dimensions: 3.2" x 6.2" x 7.2"
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs

Pros

Sound quality and ease of use are the top two reasons provided by users who gave this pedal top ratings. To be specific, the quality of the spring reverb mode impressed a number of gear heads, who found that the reliability and consistency of the pedal makes it a viable alternative to their more expensive vintage spring reverb units. The pedal's easy operation and the quality of the reverse mode also got a lot of thumbs up. Many recommend the Holy Grail Max as a great set and forget pedal for those who just want to add subtle reverb to their tone.

Cons

There was one user who found the Hall, Plate and Spring reverbs to be of low quality, but his complaint is drowned by others who found the pedal to be of top quality. Other concerns include the pedal's bulky form factor and non-standard shape, which is the case for most EHX pedals.

Overall

If you are looking for an old school reverb pedal that will get the job done without much complication then the EHX Holy Grail Max is highly recommended.

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