So, you’re in the search of the best reverb pedal out there, but don’t know where to start?
You’ve come to the right place.
This guitar effect is very widely used, and for a good reason.
Whether you use it discreetly to give your guitar that slight boost in presence and ambience, or to its full potential by emulating the acoustics of a church and flooding the stage with sound, finding a good reverb pedal isn’t always easy.
Together, we will go over the most prominent specs and features, as well as reverb pedal reviews of some of the best selling and most popular models on the market.
Let’s dive right in!
- Best Reverb Pedal 2018 Buying Guide
- Top 10 Reverb Pedal Reviews
- Best Reverb Pedals from Different Price Ranges
Best Reverb Pedal 2018 Buying Guide
What Does a Reverb Pedal Do?
In order to fully understand what certain specifications and features have to offer, you first need to have at least a rough idea of what the reverb effect does and how it’s used.
While this is a pretty simplified explanation, it will suffice.
The main purpose of this effect is to add something like a 3rd dimension to your, already, stereo sound.
Every sound you ever heard in your life has at least some natural reverb, as there is always something for the sound to bounce off and reflect.
In terms of music, reverb is important because it adds a spatial dimension to the sound, that is most likely recorded in a studio with sound isolation.
Basically, it gives you a more natural feeling of each note played.
Reverb vs. Delay
Chances are that you’ve already heard about, or even know something about delay pedals.
How is a reverb pedal different from a delay pedal?
While both of these effects are known as temporal effects, meaning that they modulate certain time-related aspects of your signal, there is still an important difference.
Though reverb can be considered as a type of delay or echo, the time period between the actual sound and its delayed counterpart is very short, if not almost immediate.
Sure, you could use a delay pedal, set the parameters correctly, and it will sound pretty much like a reverb pedal.
But, if you plan on using this type of effect regularly, going with a dedicated pedal makes more sense.
What is a Reverb Pedal Used For?
Although we’ve gone over the basic explanation of what a reverb pedal does and how it sounds, there are a couple of different circumstances you’d want and need this kind of effect.
Many guitarists simply use a reverb pedal all the time. However, the settings are probably tuned down so it doesn’t stand out too much. It’s more of a subtle addition to an already shaped sound.
Pretty much every kind of atmospheric/ambient genre or subgenre of music utilizes this effect.
It’s pretty obvious why, as you truly achieve a much more broad soundstage and the riffs and melodies you play sort of fill the space around you more evenly and naturally.
Faster genres such as thrash, heavy, or death metal probably once again use just a pinch of reverb because if they used any more than that, everything would sound just too mushy.
So, ask yourself, why do you need a reverb pedal? Think about the genre or style of music you’ll be playing the most.
This way, you can have a better idea of the type of reverb you need, as well as the features you may find to be useful.
Different Types of Reverb
Generally speaking, there are multiple different variations of the reverb effect. However, in order to keep things simple, we can talk about just a few main types.
As the name suggests, this type of reverb emulates the sound of your instrument being played in a large room or hall.
Most pedals of this type offer a knob for controlling the “size” of the room in question, giving you the option of having the sound of a mid-sized room, up to a church with the effect being very noticeable.
When this type of reverb first appeared, an actual metal spring was used!
Nowadays, you can find a real spring reverb in some amps, but most pedals use an emulation, so, depending on the quality of the pedal, the results can be pretty different.
Much like the previously mentioned spring reverb, a plate one uses the vibrations of a metal plate.
Emulating these old-school effect types has gotten better over the years, so definitely check out some audio samples online to make sure that the sound suits your needs.
Once you get a good idea about the differences in sound and application, ask yourself this question: Do you need a bunch of different types and presets of the effect, or just one that will most likely sound better than having numerous options?
How to Use a Reverb Pedal?
What are the most commonly found controls on a reverb pedal, and what exactly do they do?
Dry/Wet – This knob basically determines how much of the effect is present in the signal. Dry means there is little to none, and wet means the signal is rich with the effect.
Use this knob to tune in the exact amount of reverb you want to be heard.
Time (Rate) – This parameter is used for setting the length of the echoes the reverb pedal makes.
Depending on the type and tempo of your music, you can go for very short echoes, long ones, or anything in between.
Different models offer different ranges with which you can play around with.
While these are the basic controls, chances are that most models will offer more. In the review part of this article, I’ll make sure to cover what each additional knob brings to the table!
Signal Chain Positioning
If you’re using more than one pedal simultaneously, the actual positioning of each effect in the array can make a huge difference in terms of the end result and sound.
Reverb and delay pedals are generally placed at the end of your pedal chain, right before the amp.
If you placed a reverb pedal before, for example, an overdrive effect, both the original and duplicated sound would be colored by the overdrive, which is something that you, in most cases, don’t want.
While this is a rule of thumb, don’t be afraid to experiment!
Reverb Pedal vs. Amp Reverb
If you already have an amp with a built-in reverb effect, should you get a pedal?
Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for and how the built-in reverb sounds.
If you have a tube amp with a real plate or spring reverb, you probably don’t need an additional pedal.
If, however, you have a modeling amp or something similar, with a digital simulation of this effect, chances are that it doesn’t sound really good.
Unless you can control that built-in reverb via a footswitch, it’s practically unusable when playing on stage.
So, once again ask yourself what kind of reverb do you want and need, and if you really need it!
True Bypass vs. Buffered Bypass
This factor often gets neglected when talking about reverb and delay pedals.
While most guitarists would go for true bypass pedals without even thinking about it, there are certain cons of this feature that are important.
True bypass basically lets the natural signal and sound of your guitar through the pedal when it’s turned off.
Although this is something you’d generally want to look for, with reverb pedals it’s a different story.
When you turn off a true bypass pedal, the actual reverb that the pedal produced gets immediately cut off.
This results in a bad sounding effect and simply isn’t something you’d want.
Buffered bypass pedals don’t have this problem, but do alter the sound of your instrument while the pedal is turned off.
The optimal solution for this problem would be going for pedals that offer bypass toggling, so you can choose which mode you want in different circumstances.
Because not all pedals have this feature, I’ll make sure to point out the ones that do in the top 10 reverb pedals part of this article that’s coming up next!
Top 10 Reverb Pedal Reviews
How much does a good reverb pedal cost? Who makes the best reverb pedals? Let’s find out!
Best Reverb Pedals from Different Price Ranges
After all those different models, each with its unique sound, features, and approach, which model should you go for?
While your personal preferences are the crucial factor, some pedals definitely take the cake in certain categories.
Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of our list.
Best Cheap Reverb Pedal – Biyang Rv-10
For under $50, you get what you pay for and even more.
Best reverb pedal under $100 – TC Electronic HOF Mini
The TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini is a simple yet effective plug and play solution.
Best Reverb Pedal Under $150 – Digitech Polara
The sheer combination of build and audio quality and the fact that it offers a high level of versatility make this model an excellent choice.
Best Reverb Pedal Under $200 – MXR M300
A good balance between tonal characteristics and various reverb presets.
Best Reverb Pedal Under $300 – Electro-Harmonix Cathedral
Pretty much each and every reverb pedal feature crammed in a solid and good looking device.
Which one did you find to be the best for your needs?
This pretty much wraps this article. I hope that now you have a better idea of the reverb pedal you’re looking for.
As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you in the next one!