Some months ago I wanted to buy a reverb pedal. In fact, I wanted to buy the best reverb pedal. But, with so many models available on the market, how the heck could I pick the best among them? Is there any best reverb pedal at all?
Well, let me be honest with you: there is no such a thing as the best reverb pedal. At least, not in absolute terms. It depend on your needs, and ultimately on which one YOU like the most. The best reverb pedal for me may be the worst for you, and vice versa.
Now, what is this post about then?
First, I’ll be covering general stuff about reverb pedals, what is reverb, are reverb pedals something you need to consider, most common features and controls, etc. Just some general knowledge in case you are not familiar with these kind of devices.
The main goal here is not trying to convince you about which is THE BEST reverb pedal, but helping you figuring out if you need a reverb pedal first, and then helping you selecting the best reverb pedal that fill your needs.
Later in the post, I will describe my conclusions (and my personal opinion) about which are the top 15 best reverb pedals that I like the most, from those that I’ve had the opportunity to try myself…
You’ll have the opportunity to listen to them in a dedicated youtube playlist.
You’ll find some links to deeper reviews of each reverb pedal in their description too.
At the end, I will tell you my conclusions.
This post is structured as follows:
- What is reverb?
- What is a reverb pedal like?
- Do I really need a reverb pedal?
- Reverb pedals: features and controls
- What would you ask to the best reverb pedal?
- Summary of the Top-15 best reverb pedals
- Youtube playlist with Top-15 best reverb pedals in action
- Conclusion: the best reverb pedal by category
What is reverb?
As I’ve explained in the Part 4 of the “Guitar pedals explained” series, Reverberation can be defined as the persistence of a sound after it has been produced. Reverb is commonly experienced in an empty, unfurnished room, or really in any chamber with walls, where multiple short echoes with long delays build up to an atmospheric recurring delay in the sound created in that room.
Think about the difference if you play in a small room full of furniture or in a big church. In the first case, the sound is very raw, because it is mostly absorbed by the furniture and the walls. However, in the second case, the acoustic waves are reflected on the walls, and you will hear a long decay in the sound from the reflections coming from the walls at different distances.
The described effect is known as ambient reverb, or natural reverb, because it is just what happens with the sound depending on the environment. You’ll have reverb pedals emulating this kind of effect, for different room sizes. This way, you’ll have studio, room, hall, stadium, cathedral, church, etc. kind of reverbs.
On the other hand, early reverb effect units used artificial means to emulate natural reverb sounds. These were plate and spring units (more info about how they work here). There are also some reverb pedals that recreate these kind of reverbs. In addition, some of the most popular (and numerous) reverb stompboxes are spring reverb pedals.
What is a reverb pedal like?
Let me first tell you that reverb pedals are great. Perhaps not very popular (at least not as popular as overdrives and delays). You may think that you don’t need one because you’re very happy with the built-in reverb of your amp, but these guys can make you sound great.
Even though reverberation can be considered as a unique effect that occurs when some number of different echoes (at different delay times) add up to the decay of the sound of your guitar, reverb pedals try to emulate different types of reverbs.
Some of them are very simple devices with a single kind of reverb. Other are like true synthesizers with tons of parameters and reverb types. Stereo or mono (stereo sounds amazing, giving you a 3D surround sound). Small or big… as you see, plenty of options.
Here are the most common types of reverb you will see in most reverb pedals:
- Room reverb try to emulate the kind of reverberation you may have naturally in a chamber. That is, in a relative small closed space, where you don’t expect to have long reverb times.
- Hall reverb accounts for bigger spaces. Imagine yourself playing the guitar in a cathedral, or in a big cave. Similarly to the Room reverb, Hall emulates a reverberation that occurs naturally.
- Plate reverb was an electromechanical way to reproduce natural reverberation in the late fifties. By using an electromechanical transducer, they create vibration in a large plate of sheet metal. A pickup captures the vibrations as they bounce across the plate, and the result is output as an audio signal.
- Spring reverb is kind of similar to the plate reverb, because they also use an electromechanical transducer to create vibration in a spring (or more than one). A pickup captures again the vibrations of the spring. A lot of vintage tube amplifiers had built-in spring reverbs in them.
- Shimmer. It is a kind of reverb that introduces additional notes (usually an octave up) that gives you a choral sensation. It is a sort of ghost-like effect that will give you a strange (but sweet) sustained tone.
Do I really need a reverb pedal?
Honestly, I’d say that everybody should include a reverb pedal on the pedalboard. A natural reverb sound (like the one you’d experience in a good sounding room) will always make your sound better. Even if you’re using distortions and other effects, adding a natural reverb makes a real difference. The difference is even bigger if you’re playing in stereo.
In any case, you may take the following aspects into consideration to think about if you really want (or need) a reverb pedal.
- Do you already have reverb in your rig? Your amp will probably have a built in spring reverb. You may be fine with that. But the spring reverb is a very peculiar kind of reverb. Think about if you want to have more flexibility by recreating more natural reverberated environments like rooms or halls. I’m a huge fan of reverb. Even if you already have any means of reverb, there’s always room for another reverb pedal
- What type of music do you play? If you love raw sounds, perhaps reverb is not for you. However, you don’t have to think about reverb like sidereal space-like stadium reverberated sounds. For any kind of music, just a little amount of reverb will provide you with a more natural sound.
- What are your priorities? Perhaps is not a good time for buying a reverb pedal (yet). In order to have a great tone, you’ll need a good base, i.e. guitar and amp. Maybe you prefer to invest now in other kind of pedals, like a few overdrives, or a tremolo, a delay, or a whammy… That is ok for now.
But trust me: no matter what music you play, if you already have reverb in your rig (even a reverb pedal), if you have other buying priorities… there is always room for a great reverb pedal. It’ll simply make you sound better.
Most common features and controls
Although reverb pedals may seem different from each other, there are some common features. Here I list their most common features. I’ll also describe some of the controls you will see in reverb pedals. Be aware that there each reverb pedal may incorporate a different set of controls, although they will be a lot of similarities.
Some pedals allow you recreating different reverberated sounds, either natural ambiences (room, hall, studio) or artificially generated reverbs (spring, plate). You’ll usually see a knob or a switch to select the reverb mode.
As in any guitar pedal, you will find an input jack for the power supply, as well as IO jacks. In some cases, you’ll only see a single input and a single output (mono). In other cases, you will see a single input and a double (L/R stereo) output. Finally, there are some pedals that are considered true stereo, with double jacks for both input and output.
The single control that you’ll see in any reverb pedal is the amount of reverb added to the sound. In any case, there are different ways to do so. These are the most common controls:
- Level. As in most guitar pedals, the level knob in your reverb pedal (also called Mix, Blend, etc.) changes the volume of the reverb. If you turn this knob at its minimum, you’ll only have the dry signal (without any reverb). Turn it all the way up, and you’ll only hear the reverberated sound in some cases. This knob will allow you to dramatically change the presence of your guitar, whether if it feels at the very front (dry) or behind any other instrument (fully wet).
- Mode. Some pedals implement different kind of reverbs (i.e. spring, room, hall, etc.) With this kind of knob, you’ll be able to change the type of the reverb.
- Time. With this knob you will control the decay of the reverberation, i.e. how long does the sound takes to vanish. With less time, the reverb will emulate smaller spaces, whereas larger times stand for larger environments.
- PreDelay. This knob controls the time until the reverb sound happens.
- EQ. Some pedals implement different means to equalize the tone of the reverberation. In most cases, this EQ will be related to high frequencies, in order to change among brighter or darker tones.
- Switches. You may also see some switches on reverb pedals to select between different modes of operation, or different functionalities for a single knob, etc.
What would you ask to the best reverb pedal?
As I’ve said at the beginning of this post, there is no such a thing as the best reverb pedal (in general terms). Instead, you could find the best reverb pedal for you. Now, what makes you prefer a pedal over the rest? Think about your budget, features, simplicity to use… Here are a few aspects that you have to take into account when looking for the best reverb pedal for you.
- Value. How much do you want to spend in a reverb pedal? Not only the price in absolute terms is what matters, but the value (i.e. the ratio between price and features/sound)
- Simplicity. Do you like playing with knobs? Think about if you prefer a pedal that is simple to use, just a couple of knobs to adjust the amount of reverb and tone, that’s all. Now, think about if you want to have control over tons of parameters related to the reverb, navigate between preset banks, etc.
- Features. There are some features to consider for (your) best reverb pedal.
- True bypass. Do you prefer a buffered pedal or a true bypass switch?
- Stereo. Are you going to use the reverb pedal with a single amp? Then mono IN/OUT is enough for you (like most spring reverb pedals have). If you’re using two amps in stereo or want the pedal also for recording, then go for stereo. It’ll make a huge difference in ambient sounds.
- Dry analog path. It could be important for you that the dry signal stays fully analog In case the whole signal is digitized, pay attention to the quality (resolution) of the ADCs. I think 24 bits are a standard now.
- Reverb modes. There are pedals with a single kind of reverb. This way, you can find spring reverb pedals with a single control knob on them, just like some amps have built-in. However, some other pedals have infinite possibilities do to the amount of reverb modes (and controls) they include. Take as an example the Strymon BigSky, without any doubt, (one of) the best reverb pedal ever made.
- Quality. The build quality of a pedal really matters. Are the electronic components top quality? What about the stomp switch, is the pedal robust? What about noise?
- Size and look. Look matters. I love guitar pedals also because how they look. They are little art pieces for me. If you’re like me, the look of the pedal will help you making a decision when you’re in trouble. On the other hand, there are reverb pedals in many sizes. Think about the room you have on your pedalboard.
- Power consumption. When you’re using a power supply for your guitar pedals, you’ll have to pay attention to the power consumption of the reverb pedal. Make sure that your power supply is able to provide the current required by the pedal. Pay attention too to the voltage supply of the pedal (most of them will have 9V center negative supplies, but it may be different).
Summary of the Top-15 best reverb pedals
Now, how should the best reverb pedal be like? Only incorporating spring reverb, or perhaps you prefer to have every reverb types in a single stompbox? Is it a tiny little stompbox or it is boxed in a bigger-sized shinny purpled enclosure? I told you before, it depends on what you need, what you want, or what you like.
Now I’ll list my personal selection of the Top-15 best reverb pedals in no particular order. I’m not able (and honestly think nobody can) to sort them from 15 to 1, because all of them are great.
You’ll see a short description of each of them. For a more in depth review, click on the links below.
- JHS Alpine Reverb
- Electro Harmonix Cathedral
- Catalinbread Topanga Spring Reverb
- Strymon BigSky
- Eventide Space Reverb
- TC Electronics Hall of Fame
- Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb
- Wampler Pedals Faux Spring Reverb
- Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb
- Earthquaker Devices Afterneath
- Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano
- Mooer ShimVerb
- T-Rex Room Mate Junior
- Strymon blueSky
- Mr Black Deluxe Plus
The JHS Alpine Reverb is the first reverb pedal by JHS pedals. It is based on the Sky Cloud 9, keeping its main core features, but taking it into the next level.
The Alpine reverb has a 9V negative power supply connector, drawing a current of about 100mA. It’s got an instrument input (mono), instrument output (mono) and an effects loop (EFX loop) connectors. You can connect to the Alpine a TRS stereo to 2 mono cable and add any pedal you want into the loop. This way, you can create great shimmer effects with an additional octaver, or endless reverbs by adding a delay pedal.
The JHS Alpine Reverb has 5 controls: reverb, depth, highs, length, shift, and two stomp switches, one for activating the pedal, and another one that activates the shift knob. This switch can be used to activate the effects loop too.
This pedal looks gorgeous, and sounds awesome. Apart from the sound, my favorite feature of the pedal is the EFX loop and the shift function, which allows you dramatically changing the sound of the reverb.
When doing my research about reverb pedals, I instantly fell in love with the JHS Alpine Reverb. I must admit that it was because how it looked first. Then because how it sounded like by watching reviews in youtube (see the playlist above). Finally I could try it and my experience was great. Short, but great. Loved the different ambiences I was able to recreate with just 4 knobs, in a few minutes.
If you want a great sounding reverb pedal for your guitar that is easy to use, the JHS Alpine Reverb is a great choice.
The EHX Cathedral is one of the most popular choices for reverb, due to its versatility and sound quality. It has 7 different types of reverb and an echo mode. You can also set one preset for each mode, so you can save all your favorite tones and recall them by pressing the mode knob.
The Electro Harmonix Cathedral has a 9V negative power supply, drawing a current of 200mA. It has true stereo input and output connectors, and it is true bypass. Thanks to its 24-bit ADCs, the effect of the pedal is totally transparent.
The EHX Cathedral has 7 controls: blend, reverb time, damping/tone, feedback, pre-delay, and mode. It also has 2 stomp switches, one for activating the pedal, and another one with tap/infinite features.
I love this pedal (it is on my pedalboard…)
It is very versatile thanks to the built-in reverb modes and its controls. However, it may result a bit difficult to make it sound great at the beginning, but you won’t be able to stop playing with it and will get its juice right away.
It added magic to my amp, and you will get amazed if connect it stereo.
Apart from the two Strymons (BigSky and blueSky) and Eventide Space Reverb, I haven’t heard such as 3D ambience in any other reverb pedal I’ve had the opportunity to play with.
I must say this: in my opinion, the Catalinbread Topanga Spring reverb is the best spring reverb pedal I’ve ever played.
It looks beautiful, and it has a je ne sais quoi that makes it sound think, warm, and very realistic. It sounds like a tube-driven spring tank from the sixties.
This pedal is conceived just as vintage reverb tanks were, to be connected at the input of your amp. You won’t want to use this pedal in the effects loop. This guy will provide you with holy vintage sounds by driving your preamp. By using its volume knob, you can boost the sound so the reverb is a little saturated by your amp, creating a more intense sound.
Catalinbread Topanga spring reverb is very simple regarding its connectivity: it’s got mono in and out, and is powered by 9V negative power supply. It requires some 80mA of current.
The controls of this pedal are the typical ones you will find in most spring reverb pedals, but with an additional Volume control, which takes more juice out of the Topanga. It has 4 knobs: Dwell, Tone, Mix and Volume, and a single stomp switch.
From the moment you stomp on it, you can find the difference. It sounds great easily, because the knobs do what they as suppose to do. It’s true that it’ll give you its best by connecting it just before your gain pedals (or preamp of your tube amp).
Unless you’re using fuzz, its reverb sound will get sweetly and warmly distorted, but the reverb doesn’t get like dirty or noisy. It’s just great!!
Let me say this: The Strymon BigSky is the best reverb pedal I’ve ever played. It is not just a stompbox pedal: it includes 12 reverb machines with studio quality, allowing you to generate whichever reverb sound that you could imagine.
Plug into BigSky and instantly lift your sound into the stratosphere.
It includes 12 reverb modes: Room, Hall, Plate, Spring, Swell, Bloom, Cloud, Chorale, Shimmer, Magneto, Nonlinear and Reflections.
The Strymon BigSky is also hugely versatile concerning connectivity. It has right and left in/outs for true stereo, and expression pedal control. It also features MIDI in and out, and a Cab Filter speaker emulator, to connect the BigSky directly to the PA or recording console. It is powered via 9V negative power supply, drawing some 300mA.
It has 9 controls (type, value, decay, pre-delay, mix, tone, param 1, param 2 and mod) and 3 stomp switches (A, B, C). The switches allow you to activate/bypass each preset, navigate among different banks, and freeze or (infinite) sustain your reverb.
There is nothing related to reverb that this guy can’t give you. You’ll get any type of “classic” reverb sound, plus many other sidereal interstellar-like tones. Not to say the great versatility that it offers with its parametrizable controls and switches.
Ok, the price is high, but if you want more than just another reverb pedal, the Strymon BigSky is the one you should pick. Needless to say that this pedal will give you its full potential at the studio, in full stereo.
The Eventide Space Reverb is another great reverb unit, kind of similar in features and quality of sound (and price range) than the Strymon BigSky. It includes12 built-in reverb modes: Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, Reverse, Shimmer, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, Blackhole, MangledVerb, TremoloVerb and DynaVerb.
The connectivity of the Eventide Space is total: Apart from the stereo input and output, it includes a connector for an expression pedal and an additional programable output switch, MIDI connectivity trough USB and In/Out-Through. You can also adjust the level of the input and the output. It is powered via a 9V positive power supply, drawing 1200mA.
It has 11 controls (Mix, Decay, Size, Size, Low, High, Xnob, Ynob, FxMix, and Contour and another one navigate through the different presets, you can store up to 100) and three stomp switches: the left-hand switch always turns the effect on and off, while the other two have different functions, depending on the mode you’re using the pedal in.
This is another great pedal (well, it’s Eventide, what did you expect?). It features any kind of reverb you may imagine, and even more as it can add other effects (like modulation, tremolo, etc.) to the mix.
It sounds great, and you can tweak any reverb mode thanks to its 10 controls, though it can be sometimes a little tricky, as some of the knobs functionalities change with the reverberation mode.
TC Electronic is very well known for their rack mounted effects for guitarists and recording studios. Now they’ve included the features of their great reverb machines into a stompbox: the TC Electronic Hall of Fame.
It features 10 types of reverb: Room, Hall, Church, Spring, Plate, MOD, LOFI, TILE, AMB, GATE, and Toneprint, which allows you to greatly parametrize your reverb sound with an App (Toneprint Editor) and download the setting to your pedal.
This pedal has 2 inputs and 2 outputs for stereo connectivity, and is powered via 9V negative supply, drawing a current of some 100mA. It also includes a Mini-B USB to download your favorite Toneprints from your computer (Mac and PC).
The Hall of Fame has 4 knobs: Mode, FxLevel, Decay, and Tone, a toggle switch to change the pre-delay features and a single stomp switch to activate the pedal.
How does it sound like? Great. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see this pedal in that many pedalboards out there. This guy is super popular.
I think this pedal is the perfect solution for setting a permanent reverb sound to your guitar tone, and let it there onstage. You will have a great time by playing with the Toneprint Editor, and you can download your presets with a cool feature: Tone Transfer.
The Boss FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb pedal is a (great) attempt to reproduce the reverb sound of a vintage Fender Tube Reverb, the popular spring tube-driven reverb tank that contributed shaping surf and blues music in the early sixties. And you know what? Boss really nailed it.
The stompbox is very simple concerning its connectivity: it has an instrument input (mono) and instrument output (mono), and it’s powered with a 9V negative power supply, driving about 37mA of current.
As the original unit, it has 3 knobs: Mix, Tone and Dwell, and a single stomp switch:
Now, how does it sound like? Of course, like with any other digitally modeled effect, the sound the Boss FRV-1 will get is not exactly like the one of a vintage tube-driven unit. But it’s indeed very close. It would definitely challenge you in a blind test.
Once thing that I like about this pedal is how easy is to make it sound great. It is not my favorite spring reverb pedal though, but it’s a good choice if you one to get the approximate sound of the ’63 unit reissue, but in a stompbox size (and for less than one fifth of the price).
The only thing that I didn’t like about its sound is when I turned the Tone control all the way up. I was using a Fender amp with its EQ controls at noon, and it sounded a little harsh. But it is ok, you may not need to go that bright anyway…
Pedal designer Brian Wampler, owner of Wampler Pedals, is fanatical about great tone.
The Wampler Faux Spring Reverb is a great example of that. It goes right to the point: instead of including reverb modes that you’ll never use (like reverse plate reverbs) unless you’re bored at home, you’ll get the sound of an old school, vintage spring tank.
As most spring reverb pedals, the Faux Spring Reverb is very simple when speaking about connectivity. It’s got mono in and out, and is powered with a 9V negative power supply, requiring about 80mA of current to operate.
It includes the common knobs that you’ll see in most spring reverb pedals too. In this case, you can adjust the level, length and tone of the reverb with 3 knobs: Level, Depth and Shade controls. It has a single stomp switch too (true bypass).
This is another great sounding pedal. As it is true bypass and the dry sound stays fully analog, its presence will remain unnoticeable until you need it.
Despite it may seem a little pricy for “just” a single mode reverb pedal, you can be sure that, if you love the vintage old school sound of a spring tank, you will be happy spending what it cost.
Perhaps one thing that some people may find a little annoying is the length of the reverb. It goes up to 2.8s, which could be a little short for those lovers of cavernous deep sounds.
Mad Professor is a synonym of sound quality, and the Silver Spring Reverb is a great example of it.
The dry signal stays fully analog and only the reverb is digitally filtered. It’ll be killer when placing it within your FX loop, but it won’t get nasty if placed before the overdrives and distortion pedals. It is super easy to use, and you won’t ged mad just trying to sound great.
As most of spring reverb pedals, the Silver Spring Reverb is mono, so you’ll only see single input and output connectors. On the other hand, this stompbox is powered with a 9V negative power supply, requiring at least 80mA of current.
The controls of the Silver Spring Reverb are pretty standard too. It has 3 knobs: Time, Tone and Reverb, and the true bypass stomp switch. This is how the knobs will affect your sound like:
I’ve already said that the Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb sounds great. It’s capable of recreating studio-quality room reverbs with different sizes: from a small warm studio and a plated bathroom to a big church.
But here comes something that some people may argue about. Despite including the Spring word in its name, I don’t personally think that you’ll get a spring reverb sound with this pedal. At least, not the sound of the old school, vintage tube-driven spring tanks.
I didn’t have the chance to enjoy playing with it for a long time, but I wasn’t able to hear those characteristic sounds of springs anyway.
You won’t get disappointed if you’re looking for a simple reverb that just sound great, is simple to use, and can get along perfectly with your amp and distorted sounds.
The Earthquaker Afterneath is not, strictly speaking, just a reverb pedal. This pedal essentially provides a special kind of reverberated sound that is made up of a bunch of short delays.
Even though is not like the other guys in the best reverb pedal buying guide, I decided to include it just because it’s different, and it’s great. It is worthy bringing here just because of the fact that it’ll take your playing to places you wouldn’t go otherwise.
It is powered with a 9V negative power supply, and it requires a minimum current of 65mA. It as mono connections at both input and output.
The controls of this pedal are very different from what you may see in any other reverb pedal. It has 6 knobs: Length, Diffuse, Dampen, Drag, Reflect, and Mix. It also has a single (true bypass) stomp switch:
I can’t just say that this reverb pedal sounds great, but it does. Put another way, this reverb can’t sound great (from a pure reverb sound perspective) because it isn’t like other reverb pedals, but it sounds great because it is a crazy device that will take to unexpected places when you play with it.
You can check the videos in the playlist below to see what this pedal is capable about and think about if you like what it does more than the classic reverb tones will give you.
One thing is clear: the Afterneath is not a simple device; you will have to spend some time to catch up with it, but you’ll enjoy doing it…
If you are looking for the best reverb pedal from Electro Harmonix, get an EHX Cathedral.
Then, you may think “why to include in this list another pedal from EHX whose features are included in the Cathedral?”. The answer is clear to me: because the EHX Holy Grail is an icon. It had to be here. However, I’ve bring it in its new (and smaller) version: the Holy Grail nano.
The Holy Grail features three types of reverb: Spring (the kind of spring reverb built-in vintage tube amplifiers), Hall, and Flerb, which is a cool mixture between reverb and flanger that you won’t find in any other pedal (apart from the EHC Cathedral). It will get right to the point because it is super easy to use: you just select the type of reverb and roll the Reverb knob for the amount of reverb you want. Easy.
This pedal is mono, and it’s powered with a 9V negative power supply. I haven’t tested the current consumption, but it’s for sure lower than the 200mA that you’re supposed to provided at least, according to EHX.
The Holy Grail has just a single Knob (Reverb) and a small switch, to select the reverb type (spring, hall, flerb). It also has a true bypass stomp switch.
As every single pedal made by Electro Harmonix, the Holy Grail sounds awesome. The easiest reverb pedal to use, just like the Reverb knob in any vintage tube amplifier with built-in spring reverb.
And know what? You won’t need any other control. For sure that additional tone and depth controls would give you more versatility with the reverb, but these parameters have been preset in such a natural way that you won’t miss them at all.
Another thing worth mentioning is the Flerb. It’s a unique feature, and it’s not just a reverb and a flanger blended together. You’ll discover that when playing with the Flerb and the Reverb knob there’s plenty of sweet spots than will take your playing to places any other reverb pedal will.
I absolutely love the Micro series of Mooer pedals. They are small, you have a wide selection of pedals to chose from, they look nice and they sound awesome. And, if you are looking for budget gear, you should check them out.
This pedal is powered via 9V negative power supply. Even though Mooer says that the pedal requires 128mA of current to operate, I’ve read some reviews saying that the Shimverb only draws 10mA, which will allow you to daisy chain a lot of these pedals with a standard power supply.
This pedal has three knobs (Level, Color and Decay), a small switch for changing the type of the reverb (Room, Spring, Shimmer), and a single stomp switch (true bypass) to activate the pedal. This is how the knobs of the pedal work:
Now it’s time to talk about how it sounds. Well, the Mooer Shimverb is the cheapest pedal of this list, and you can be sure that it won’t sound like the others. However, I think it sounds pretty good too.
In my opinion, the Room mode sounds warm and feels analog. You can set small studio-like reverbs or bigger hall ambiences. On the other hand, I love the heavenly sweet sounds that the Shimmer gives you by adding a 5th.
However, the Spring reverb doesn’t sound as realistic as it does in other spring reverb pedals. It feels a little digital. Once thing that I noticed is that the output volume is kind of reduced when using this pedal, so better use a boost in front of it.
T-Rex only makes high quality pedals. And this one is another example. The T-Rex Room Mate Junior is something like the little brother of the T-Rex Room Mate, another great top-of-the-range reverb pedal with an awesome tube-driven analog circuitry.
The Room Mate Junior will let you play with four modes of reverb: room, hall, spring and LFO.
The Room Mate Junior is powered with an standard 9V negative power supply, requiring something about 85mA of current for its operation. It has three jack connectors, one for the input and two for a stereo output.
The controls that you’ll see in this pedal are simple. It has five knobs: four of them are on the top of the pedal (Mix, Level, Decay and Mode) and the other is on the righthand side (Input Gain). It’s got a single (true bypass) on/off stomp switch.
This pedal sounds pristine. The rooms and halls are warm and they reproduce real reverberation ambiences.
On the other hand, the Spring Reverb sounds very clear, and not noisy at all. Well, this might be good for some, but not for me. I love how vintage spring tanks sound, and they are many things but clear a noiseless… Some means of changing the high frequency response of the reverb could be great for having darker sounds.
However, the Room Mate Junior could be a great choice to use it with other acoustic instruments. In fact, as you may see in the pedal’s user manual, the LFO mode is a Reverb embellished with chorus, perfect for acoustic guitar.
The features of the blueSky are reduced with regard to those of the SkyVerb. You won’t have that many reverb machines, nor that many controls and parameters, and you won’t be able to store presets. It is more like any other regular reverb pedal. But it is not just like any other reverb pedal…
The Strymon blueSky is also true stereo. You’ll find the four jack connectors in the back of the pedal, aligned with the power supply socket. The blueSky is powered with a standard 9V negative power supply, and you will need to feed it with at least 250mA. It is an awesome pedal, so you’ll need an awesome power supply too.
The pedal have 2 small switches, one of them controlling the type of the reverb (plate, room, spring), and the other to add an additional effect to the reverb: norm (no effect added), mod for some modulation, and shimmer. It also has 5 knobs: Decay, Mix, Low Damp, Pre-Delay and High Damp, and two stomp switches: one for activating the pedal and the other to select a preset, where you can store your favorite sound.
This pedal is true bypass and the dry signal stays fully analog.
You’ll have amazing experiences when playing through any Strymon pedal. I took it easy trying this pedal in a guitar store in Paris during a work trip, and I got shocked. You won’t have such a great dynamics with another pedal, it responded great to both Strat and Les Paul.
It is a little pricy too, but you have to pay for the best stuff.
Apart from my poor english vocabulary (I’m sorry for that), there is nothing I could say that makes justice for how this pedal sounds like. As it’s said, a single image is worth a thousand words, so check out the videos in the playlist below to listen to the Strymon blueSky.
The Mr Black Deluxe Plus recreates the reverb of those holy spring tanks of vintage tube amps, but also the tube-driven tremolo of the early days. This pedal sounds vintage indeed. Without any doubt, my favorite old school spring reverb pedal along with the Catalinbread Topanga.
With the extra feature of having, in a single stompbox, a great sounding tremolo too!
Just like in the vintage tube amplifiers that included both built-in reverb and tremolo, the tremolo stage comes after the reverb in the Deluxe Plus. But, in the case of this pedal, the controls have been implemented with much wider ranges.
Reverb and tremolo are two of the most distinctive sounds of the guitar history, mainly from the early sixties. They both sound great when mixed together, creating the characteristic guitar sound of what was called Americana music. In this pedal, you can use both effects at the same time, or each of them individually.
This pedal has instrument input and output mono jacks, and is powered with a 9V negative power supply, requiring 60mA of current to operate.
It’s also very simple with its controls. It has three knobs, one of them to control the reverb (Reverb) and the other two for the tremolo settings (Intensity, Speed). It also has a true bypass stomp switch.
As you will probably noticed if you read the other reviews from the best reverb pedal series, you will find better sounding pedals than the Mr Black Deluxe Reverb. But none of them is based on the concept of vintage tube amplifiers: a tremolo and a reverb with very simple control knobs, integrated in a single stompbox.
Some people my argue that this pedal would be more versatile if implementing two separate stomp switches, one for the reverb, one for the tremolo. If you need to switch the effects separately when playing live, this could be a drawback for you.
In any case, both effects sound great individually, and they feel great when blended together.
Conclusion: the best reverb pedal by category
I told you at the beginning of the post: there’s not such a thing as the best reverb pedal. It’s just a matter of which is the best pedal for you, considering what you want, what you need, what you like and what it makes you feel.
In any case, I’ll give you my personal view of which are the best reverb pedals considering different points of view.
- Best spring reverb pedal: Catalinbread Topanga Spring Reverb
- Best reverb pedal for value: TC Electronic Hall of Fame
- Best reverb pedal for quality: Strymon bigSky
- Best reverb pedal for features: Eventide Space Reverb
What is your opinion? What is your best reverb pedal? Drop your comments below, and let’s start the discussion…