Best Reverb Pedal In 2017…. Time To Get Wet!

The best reverb pedal will be an important addition to your pedal board in order to really texturize your tone. To find what you need in terms of sound, you must know what you need and want out of the pedal.

Do you want something cheap to start out with or a something rock solid that will last a decade... or six? Or maybe you want something with a bit more flare that will allow you to use it creatively?

In this review we go over the top reverb pedals going into 2016 based on their sound, controls, and price. But first, lets look at the history of this awesome effect. 

History of The Reverb Effect

To understand reverb, we must first take a look at the root of its name. Reverb is short for reverberation and is defined as the collection of reflected sounds from the surfaces in an enclosure.

You have most likely experienced it for yourself if you have ever yelled in a gymnasium, or talked loudly in a church. The effect occurs is when a sound bounces off of something and is returned to your ear slightly changed from the original sound. Using the church example, if you yell at the top of your lungs, although I wouldn’t recommend doing this in a church, the sound wave coming from your mouth will expand throughout the room hitting the walls, ceiling and nooks of the church. Then the sound will bounce back in different ways causing your ear to hear the sound differently.

In music, reverb has been in play since the beginning of time and is probably the first “effect” that was ever utilized. However, back then, controlling reverb was basically changing rooms to get a different sound. Musicians played in huge halls, churches, caves and other acoustically varying venues that produce different reverberation. Lucky for us, in the modern day we have technology that can replicate this and bring it even further.

At the beginning of the recording boom in the 30’s engineers started to play around with different ways to record a solid reverberation artificially. Back then, one common way was to record a sound in an acoustically dampened room, play back the sound using a loud speaker in a larger room, tunnel or some sort of stack and then record the resulting sound as the reverb.

Hall Of Fame | The Lead Guitar

This effect and recording technique is still used in some studios today, as some would argue there is no better reverb than it occurs naturally! However, not everyone has a spare dungeon to record into at band practice…

Then came the invention of digital reverb where a circuit is used to create a line delay digitally and creates reverberation within the signal resulting in the desired effect. The first ever effect pedal was the EMT 250 in 1976 and it started a gold rush in reverberation technology. The results of which can be seen in the below pedals and can be plugged straight into your pedal chain.

It should be noted that reverb pedals should be added in the pedal chain as a texturizing pedal. This means, add it to the back or end of your pedal chain. You will essentially want it to color the rest of your pedals and if you put it before then you will most likely lose the effect to the rest of the chain and it will sound muddy.

Reverb is all about texturizing your tone. It is an essential tool but by no means the only pedal that can help texture shine through. Check out our reviews on the best chorus pedal, the best phaser pedal, and best delay pedal options for a start. 

In General, The Best Reverb Pedal Options of 2016:

TC Electronics Hall Of Fame Reverb Pedal

Best Reverb Pedal Hall: Of Fame

The TC Electronics reverb pedal is one of the most versatile reverb pedals on the market for its price point. It has a simple to use design controlling 11 different tones. As well, the TC Electronics pedal has a special option of being able to download and install different tones to the pedal through a USB chord, which are available through the TC Electronics website.

The best thing about this pedal is the fact that it has 11 different types of reverb built right in, including some of the most popular and well- known types including spring, plate and hall effects. It also has controls for reverb decay, level, and tone to maximize the tone differentiation of the pedal, even within the different types of reverb.

It comes it at a fairly modest price point for a solid pedal, of course, there are cheaper varieties out there but you get what you pay for like most guitar pedals. It also is built very well so you can rest assured this pedal will last the test of time. It also is a fuller sounding reverb then the lesser quality counterparts.

Since it has such variety in terms of sound it is best heard on the below video by Pro Guitar Shop Demos. You can hear the difference between all types of reverbs as well as some differing tone settings:

Electro Harmonix Holy Grail

Best Reverb Pedal: Holy Grail

The Holy Grail is well named. It is a strong unit that produces a solid tone for all sounds so it can be thought as the best reverb that gives you “life”. It doesn’t have the same amount of controls that the Hall of Fame does, but it does have three different modes that you can alternate between in order to get the best tone needed for a particular song.

The controls on this pedal are fairly straightforward. It consists of a click button switch, a knob that controls the level of reverb as well as a three level switch that dictates the type of reverb created. The style can alternate between a hall, a spring and a “flerb” reverb.

The first option of reverb is the “spring” reverb. Which is a classic the sound of a bouncing spring verb. It is a bright sounding reverb that can be described as “slap back”, essentially slapping the sound back to the ear. The spring reverb when turned up can create an awesome sounding “surf” style of guitar. Think of the beach boys as well as the song “Wipeout”.

The hall effect is essentially replicating the sound of being in a large hall. It has a bit more “wetness” then the spring effect and sounds a bit fuller which can be nice touch to any indie, rock or alternative sounding song. The hall verb is a classic sounding reverb and can really texturize any guitar tone and style of music as if you are playing in a large hall or room. Technically it can be described as having a long decay.

The “Flerb” reverb is a mix between a Flanger and a reverb pedal. If you haven’t heard what a Flanger pedal can do, make sure to check out our review on the Flanger pedal. Basically the Flanger is an oscillation of the same signal creating a swirling sound. Mixed with a reverberation effect it can create a very interesting sound

Boss Reverb Pedals: The RV-5 and FRV-1

Best Reverb Pedal: Boss RV-5

As you may have read in our other reviews like the Fuzz, Distortion and Overdrive reviews, you may have heard us say that Boss is a standard in guitar pedals. This is because of the construction of these pedals and the sounds they are able to produce at such a reasonable price.

The Boss RV-5 is a great pedal that has 6 different tones built in to emulate different room types. The six different types include the basic and standard room, hall, plate and spring verbs as well as a gate reverb and a modulate effect. The modulate effect can be quite wet and results in a fairly out there and “trippy” sound when used properly.

As well, the RV-5 has controls for the level, tone and time of the reverb to make sure your tone is right for the sound you want! Like all Boss pedals it has a solid construction that will last the test of time. It is a full sounding reverb and all and all would be a solid choice for your first  pedal to get used to the sound.


Best Reverb Pedal: Boss FRV-1

Boss and Fender came together to create the FRV-1 modeled after Fender’s classic ’63 reverb amp, a classic sounding amp used for anything from surf to blues. Fender is and was a pioneer in sound technology so it is only suiting that the Boss pedal masters and Fender teamed up to create this legendary pedal.

Like the spring setting on the Holy Grail, the sound that comes out of the FRV-1 is a bright sounding effect with a ton of action. However, this pedal is specifically designed to only be a spring reverb and does not have any other settings, thus it would be the only downside for this pedal. If you are looking for a great sounding spring reverb pedal, then this would be a solid option as one of the best spring verb pedal options out there!

The controls on the FRV-1 are straightforward and easy to use. There is a mixer knob, a tone knob and a dwell knob that can basically be thought of as a time or length knob.

​Electro Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb

Best Reverb Pedal: Cathedral Stereo Reverb

The Cathedral is a monster of a pedal. It comes stacked with 8 different reverb options including two options from the Holy Grail pedal, the spring and flerb settings. Plus the pedal has 5 different control knobs to truly customize your tone.

The different options within this pedal are the grail spring, an “accu” spring, a hall, room, plate and reverse reverb plus the grail flerb and an echo setting.

The five different control knobs on the Cathedral are blend, time, damping/tone, feedback and pre-delay. These five knobs plus the 8 different reverb options allow you to get extremely detailed in regards to your tone. Which makes this pedal a strong contender your next choice in reverberation technology.

It can be dialed back to give a slight reverb sound and also, like the name would suggest, can be maxed out to get some very ethereal sounds from it. It is one of the most versatile reverb pedals on the market, but also allows for intense creative ability.

The Cheaper Reverberation Options Out There

As always, we wanted to include some options out there for beginners or anyone who may be on a tighter budget. However, I will say with reverb it is an effect that you may want to splurge on since it is such an important aspect of tone. But it is understandable if that is not an option so the below pedals will do you good, at a lesser price. 

Behringer Reverb Machine

Best Cheap Reverb Pedal: Reverb Machine

The reverb machine is a great pedal for beginners who want to have a taste the effect and all its glory. The reverb machine combines 11 different effects that allow you to experiment with different sounds all from within the body of a cheaper pedal.

The controls on this pedal include mix, decay, tone and time like most of the other effect units we've seen. However, there is one feature that is different from some pedals which is the trails section, which you can turn on and off. This aspect of the pedal controls the resonance of the pedal, when it is on the pedal rings more abundantly then when it is off.

Donner Reverb

Best Cheap Reverb Pedal: Donner

Like most Donner pedals, the Donner reverb comes in the same body style. It is a tough and well-built cheaper reverb pedal. It sounds fairly full for the price point and is definitely a plus.

The controls on the Donner pedal include a level control, tone control, reverb amount control as well as a switch that controls three different types of reverb. It is fuller sounding then the Behringer, however, it doesn’t have as much versatility (only 3 reverb options vs 11).

It is a great pedal for a beginner or someone who is on a tight budget. Like all Donner pedals it is a solid quality even though it is cheap, probably because of their use of the pedal body through most of their pedals.

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it folks. ​

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