Reverb can be viewed as the first effect for the electric guitar. Spring reverb can be found in many old tube amps, as well as in separate units designed to help lend a bit of a helping hand to an otherwise dry, flat guitar sound. Nowadays, the best reverb pedals can provide a digital emulation of this classic effect, alongside a bunch of other types of reverb including plate, hall, shimmer and even more exotic reverb types. Some people like to use reverb as an ‘always on’ effect to help bring their main sound to life a little more, however it can always be used as a more dramatic, wild effect.
There are loads of options on offer, and the best reverb pedals may have one type of reverb on board, or many different types - it all boils down to what you need. But, before we look into the top options out there right now, it’s worth talking about what reverb is.
Reverb is a little bit like an echo in that the effect takes place after a note is placed. You know if you clap in a big, empty room and you can hear the sound carry on? That’s the sound dissipating; hitting different parts of the room and decaying. Different spaces and rooms and spaces will therefore produce different types of reverb as the sound decays at different times.
In a spring reverb, sound causes actual springs in the unit to move - this back and forth motion gives you the reverb you hear. Plate reverb is also very popular - here, vibrations from a moving metal plate caused by an audio signal are captured by pickups and then fed back to the audio. All these types of reverb and many more are all covered in our list of the best reverb pedals out there right now.
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Best reverb pedals: Our top picks
Acting as possibly the best reverb pedal out there, all things considered, is the Electro-Harmonix Ocean’s 11. This has 11 types of reverb on board, all of which sound pretty killer, plus it’s super easy to use and it’s really well priced.
The obligatory hall, spring and plate sounds are as lush as you could hope for, but it’s the more out-there modes where the pedal really shines, such as the inspiring tremolo, modulated and reverse settings, while the pitch-shifted shimmer modes are among the very best in class.
There are even a host of secondary parameters that can be tweaked for each mode, while holding the footswitch activates an infinite sustain function. For reverb newcomers and experts alike, the Oceans 11 is an essential pedal.
If you want something more powerful and involved, then take a look at offerings from two of the biggest names in the pedal world - the Boss RV-500 and the Strymon NightSky.
Best reverb pedals: Product guide
The lower left rotary switch knob on the Oceans 11’s front panel gives the strongest indication of the complexity lurking within this diminutive device. Here, users will find 11 different settings that consist of hall, spring, plate, reverse, echo, tremolo, modulated, dynamic, auto-infinite, shimmer and polyphonic effects.
Several of these effects - tremolo, modulated and dynamic - have three different sets of parameters that can be selected with the mode switch. The mode switch also selects tap tempo divisions for the echo setting and engages either interval or mix edit parameters for the Poly setting. Other controls include an FX level, time (decay) and tone knobs, with the latter two also providing a secondary set of parameters that are accessible by holding down the mode button for about one second.
The sound quality of all of the effects is stellar, boasting smooth tails and pro studio-quality noise-free performance. The spring reverb setting is based on a 1962 Fender 6G15 reverb unit and delivers some of the best spring reverb effects you’ll ever hear. Echo combines delay and reverb, while tremolo applies a tremolo effect to both wet and dry hall reverb.
Shimmer is an ethereal, octave-up reverb effect with a long, sustaining tail that produces a synth-like texture, and the polyphonic reverb applies two programmable pitch-shifts to the reverb tail to also generate complex, synth-like sounds.
Whether you want outstanding versions of bread and butter reverb effects, complex and unusual special effects or a combination of both, the Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb is a worthy and highly affordable contender for any pedalboard, large or small.
Read the full Electro-Harmonix Ocean's 11 review
Boss’s RV-500 is a large-format powerhouse, with 32-bit AD/DA, 32-bit floating point processing and 96 kHz sampling rate. The jam-packed unit boasts three footswitches, digital delay options and 12 modes with 21 unique reverb types – all with a wide range of adjustable parameters, from decay, density and modulation to EQ, ducking and more. For good measure, there’s also Roland classics like the SRV-2000 Reverb and RE-201 Space Echo.
Additionally, the RV-500 features an A/B Simul mode, making it possible to use two reverb patches at once, close to 300 onboard patch memories, selectable buffered-bypass or true-bypass operation and the capability to interface with MIDI control devices. A seemingly endless array of options and combinations, all in Boss’ most powerful and versatile reverb processor to date.
Even for those used to complex pedals and software plug-ins, the NightSky is initially daunting. However, its saving grace is that more-or-less every parameter is accessible quickly via a control on the front-panel.
There's three main modes. Sparse is a tap-delay based reverb, Dense is more of a plate-style reverb, and Diffuse, as the name implies, is more of an ambient reverb. The tap delay mode can put you in the ballpark of more standard delays as well, further adding to the versatility of the NightSky.
There's dedicated controls on the front panel for adding harmonic intervals, shimmer reverb tails and modulation to the core reverb sound, plus a footswitch to trigger an infinite reverb mode.
Finally, there's also a step-sequencer in the NightSky, presumably to add experimental options akin to those in the Hologram Infinite Jets and Microcosm. It's not clear that it's a USP in the context of the NightSky, which is more of a studio reverb workstation than an esoteric weirdo box.
Read the full Strymon NightSky review
It took MXR a while to come out with a reverb pedal, but it was worth the wait and fully deserves the number 3 spot in this best reverb pedals guide. The M300 is a compact, low-noise unit constructed with the usual MXR attention to detail. The simple layout features just three knobs - Decay, Mix and Tone - with the last of those also employed to cycle through the pedal’s six verbs: Plate, Spring, Epic, Mod, Room and Pad.
There’s also a hi-fi analog dry path with 20 volts of headroom and an Exp jack that makes it possible to connect an expression pedal and blend between two different setting configurations. A trails bypass mode - a particularly cool feature - allows the reverb effect to fade out when you switch the pedal off, instead of cutting off the effect abruptly. Smart, straightforward and great-sounding, the M300 is an absolute winner.
Eventide’s Space boasts a wide variety of spatial effects, including basic reverbs, delays and unique combination effects, with 12 of the company’s studio-level reverb combo algorithms - Room, Plate, Spring, Hall, Reverse, Shimmer, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, Blackhole, MangledVerb, TremoloVerb and DynaVerb - on board.
There’s also more than 100 factory presets, guitar and line-level in/out, MIDI control via USB or MIDI in, real-time control with 10 knobs, MIDI or an expression pedal, tap tempo and MIDI clock sync, mono and stereo operation and much, much more. And while Space doesn’t come cheap relative to other pedals, the unit can readily do the job of more pricey rackmount processors, making it an incredibly useful stage and studio tool.
Walrus Audio’s entry into multi-function reverbs keeps its boutique credentials in check while offering a practical array of thoroughly usable reverb types - hall, plate, lo-fi and Sonar - each with a preset-specific parameter.
The hall and plate settings really shine here, while lo-fi’s filtered tones offer some gnarly textures for more ambient players. Sonar adds high and low octaves to the reverb trails, and although it’s not the strongest shimmer available from a compact pedal, it’s a neat extra to have in your back pocket.
The pedal’s greatest strengths are the ability to add modulation to any sound, as well as the onboard sustain footswitch, which maxes out the decay for infinite reverbs.
One of Strymon’s “large-format” pedals, the BigSky provides 12 different reverb effects that encompass standard reverbs and special effects like swell, bloom, cloud, chorale, shimmer, magneto, nonlinear and reflections. Seven control knobs on the front panel allow users to instantly adjust parameters like decay, predelay, mix, tone, parameter 1, parameter 2 and modulation, while new settings can be saved in any of 300 preset memory locations.
Presets are accessible in separate banks of three presets (A, B and C), which are accessible via the pedal’s three footswitches and/or the rotary value control knob. The large LED displays preset info, including its number and a programmable name. The LEDs surrounding the rotary reverb-type control change color from green to amber to let users know when a preset has been modified.
What’s more, the quality of the BigSky’s reverb sounds is simply phenomenal and actually much better than many famous digital reverb rack units from the past three decades. The reverb tails are incredibly smooth, and the special effects rank right up there with those usually found on studio gear costing well over $2,000. Playing through the Big Sky instantly provides that elusive professional sheen both onstage and in the studio.
Unlike most studio reverb units that require advanced degrees in physics and audio engineering to program and operate, the Neunaber Immerse Reverberator MKII has a simple “plug and play” design that delivers the goods with minimal effort. A rotary switch located dead center amongst the front panel controls provides eight distinct reverb effects: W3T (wet version 3), Plate, Hall, Spring, Sustain, Echo (reverb + delay), Detune and Shimmer. The other controls consist of mix, reverb depth and two other knobs that adjust different parameters (tone/echo time/hold time and pre-delay/modulation/blend) depending on which effect is selected.
More importantly, the Immerse Reverberator MKII sounds extremely expressive and musical. The Plate, Hall and Spring reverbs are exactly that, each with the distinct character that defines those effects. The modulation of the Hall, Spring and Sustain effects is seductively rich, and the Detune effect generates lush chorused reverb with crystalline clarity. An impressive selection of effects with the sound quality of the finest pro-audio digital reverb units, in a compact format that’s both pedalboard and guitarist friendly.
Read the full Neunaber Immerse Reverberator MKII review
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This pedal features delay alongside reverb. Ignoring the delay for now, the Keeley Caverns V2 can create some really interesting sounds. You’ve got a switch that lets you select either spring, shimmer or modulated reverb; all of which sound incredible, but very different to one another.
The shimmer setting allows for some lush, dreamy octave-soaked reverb, whereas spring is more of a classic sound. The modulated reverb adds in some phaser/flanger/chorus flavour in with the reverb tails. You’ve got plenty of control over the parameters and then on the other side, you’ve got the delay settings.
Reverb and delay go together incredibly well, so whether you’re seeking some pretty standard sounds for use all the time, or you want to use it more as a dramatic effect, then the Keeley Caverns V2 has you covered.
The sequel to TC’s best-selling Hall Of Fame takes the successful formula - which spans the typical spring, plate, church settings, plus mod and lo-fi sounds - and adds a host of extras.
Besides a polyphonic shimmer mode, the HOF2 boasts TC’s pressure-sensitive MASH technology, which allows you to adjust the intensity of the reverb depending on how hard you push on the footswitch.
Three slots are onboard to store TonePrint presets, too - you can use TC’s computer or app-based editor to create your own sounds, as well as download artist presets.
The Ventris comes from digital pedal experts Source Audio, and its killer app is the ability to run two fully independent reverbs from one modestly proportioned pedal. So, you could send one reverb left, and one right, stack one into another, or run both at once in parallel for epic trails.
It's these flexible routing options that make the Ventris such an inspiring unit to play, but the sounds are what seal the deal. Source Audio's spring emulations is one of the most accurate you'll hear, while the pedal's array of ethereal settings (E-Dome, Shimmer, Offspring) are sure to meet the needs of the most fastidious soundscapers.
The Ventris is super-easy to use right out of the box, but you can edit the whole lot and access deep parameters via Source Audio's Neuro Editor app, too.
Granular reverb can create pads and textures from audio inputs by chopping up and re-playing small grains or buffers of audio. Of course, this is pretty much how all delay pedals work, if you kind of squint, and so the fact that the Particle is a granular reverb pedal means it also has powerful delay modes too.
The grains are controlled by the chop and parameter controls, and in many of the modes, the particle is more of a delay pedal than a reverb. However, push the chop control into freeze territory, or experiment in the 'random' mode, and you'll discover a granular reverb in the Particle geared perfectly toward guitar use.
The version two of this already popular pedal moves the freeze control from the chop knob to a separate footswitch, making an already excellent pedal even more expressive.
For many players of an older-school persuasion, reverb peaked with Fender’s ’60s tube amps, and those iconic sounds are exactly what the guitar giant set out to capture with this vintage-voiced pedal.
Reverbs include a ’63 ‘brownface’ reverb tank, ’65 ‘blackface’ reverb tank and a studio-style plate reverb emulation, with impressive accuracy, while the optical, bias and harmonic tremolos do a great approximation of these classic effects, too.
Naturally, this isn’t the place to look for grand, soundscaping reverbs, but if you’re after vintage amp effects in one box, this is a nicely priced offering from the company behind the original sounds.
Best reverb pedals: Buying advice
How to choose the best reverb pedal
The best reverb pedal for you will depend on what you want out of it, however, all the pedals on this list will provide you with great sounding reverb, are reliable and road-worthy, and are easy enough to dial in. However you plan to use it, and for whatever style of music, there will be something here that’s right for you.
Different players use reverb pedals in different ways. If you want to add a little bit of texture to your tone, to make it less dry sounding, then you may only need a simple pedal, with just one, or a few types of reverb on there - many guitarists, once they have it set right, will leave the pedal on all the time. It’s not used so much as an effect, more that it gives their core sound a bit of extra spice.
The most obvious consideration is size: if you’ve got the space on your pedalboard (and the cash), you could invest in what essentially amounts to a studio-grade workstation, such as the Strymon BigSky or the Eventide Space.
For genres where reverb is at the absolute core of a band’s overall aesthetic - such as post-rock or more ambient, textural playing - the ability to utilize presets and customize to the nth degree could prove essential. If soundscaping is your bag, you may also want to make sure your chosen ’verb is packing polyphonic tracking for its shimmer settings.
If reverb is more of an occasional effect in your pedal collection, we’d advise investing in a more compact (and usually more affordable) offering. There are plenty of inventive twists on this formula, too, with the Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11, Walrus Audio Fathom and TC Electronic Hall Of Fame 2 all offering momentary footswitch functions, enabling you to manipulate the reverb signal on the fly for infinite sustain.
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What types of reverb are there?
If you want options, then it’s worth seeking out a reverb pedal with lots of different types of reverb on board. You’ll be able to choose between hall, church, spring, plate and many more reverbs. There are even types of reverb that are based on spaces that don’t physically exist in the real world that give some incredible sounds. Shimmer reverb has become popular in recent years too - this gives you some extra sparkly octaves that can make for a really nice, ethereal sound.
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Other features to consider
Some of the best reverb pedals with lots of options also have multiple footswitches that allow you to switch between reverb types, or your favourite presets. Others even have some other effects built in that compliment reverb nicely, like certain modulations and delay.
Think about how much control you want over the effect as well. There are pedals out there with perhaps just one or two knobs; this will be great for those that prefer ease and simplicity, but players who are more specific about their tone will likely want a little more control over various parameters of the reverb.
Do you need a reverb pedal if your amp already has reverb?
You might also wonder whether or not you need a pedal if your guitar amp already has reverb on board. Some guitarists like to have a different ‘flavor’ of reverb to switch between, so you might have a spring reverb on your amp that’s on a little all the time, then switch to a more dramatic reverb for certain sections of a song or section of a live set. You might also want to be able to add to your amp’s reverb with another - combining different types can lead to some pretty cool results.