A effect that a great reverb has on the sound of a guitar (or bass) cannot be overstated. Sure, there are plenty of guitar amps on the market that have built-in reverbs but a top-level reverb pedal can really give our sound that space and depth it deserves. Not to mention that pedals are much more adjustable and can easily be disengaged if need be.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top 13 best reverb pedals for guitar and bass. Of course, there are plenty of other fantastic reverbs out there and this list could easily be 31 (or more) rather than 13.
That being said, my highly subjective picks should point you toward an excellent choice if you’re looking to snag a beautiful reverb for your rig.
Top top 13 best reverb pedals for guitar and bass guitar are:
- Electro-Harmonix Cathedral
- Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11
- Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max
- Boss RV-500
- Boss RV-6
- MXR M300 Reverb
- Strymon BigSky
- Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb
- Meris Mercury7
- Neunaber Immerse Reverberator
- Spaceman Effects Orion
- Catalinbread Topanga
- Empress Effects Reverb
Let’s discuss each pedal on this list and the reasons why they are the best.
Again, please note that any “best of” list like this is subjective. I stand by my choices and would expect you to have your own top 13. Hopefully, there’s plenty of overlap!
What Are Reverb Pedals & How Do They Work?
Reverb pedals, as the name suggests, produce the effect of reverb in an audio signal.
Reverb, as an audio effect, aims to recreate the effect of natural acoustic reverberation in an audio signal. As we’ll discuss shortly, reverb effects are achieved by different means, including springs, plates, analog BBD circuits, digital circuits, and the clever use of playback and microphones in physical space.
This reverb-effected signal is then often mixed back in with the original “dry” signal to give a greater sense of space to the overall audio signal.
Reverb, as an audio effect, sounds great on practically all sound sources because it’s rooted in the real natural world.
Most reverb pedals are digital, including almost every pedal on this list. The DSP within a reverb pedal will emulate the sound of one type of reverb or another. Many units will model several “types” of reverb.
The “types” of reverb effects to be aware of are:
- Acoustic emulation reverb (Room, Chamber, Hall, Cathedral, Ambience): natural reverb of an acoustic space.
- Spring reverb: reverb created by vibrating a spring with an audio signal via a transducer.
- Plate reverb: reverb created by vibrating a plate with an audio signal via a transducer.
- Convolution reverb: reverb synthesized from samples of a physical space.
- Bloom reverb: an unnatural swelling reverb.
- Shimmer reverb: reverb where the wet signal is pitch-shifted (typically by an octave).
- Gated reverb: reverb where the wet signal is gated (muted once it drops below a certain level).
We also have reverse reverb: a mixing effect by which a recorded reverb tail is reversed and often put before the dry signal that originally produced it. We will not find this effect in a pedal since we can’t go back in time!
Reverb pedals fall into the category of time-based effects (like delay) and typically sound best at the end of the guitar rig/pedalboard signal chain.
Related article: How To Order Guitar/Bass Pedals (Ultimate Signal Flow Guide)
With that being said, let’s talk about some reverb pedals!
For more in-depth information on reverb pedals, check out my article What Are Reverb Pedals (Guitar Effects) & How Do They Work?
Let’s begin this list with the now-discontinued Electro-Harmonix Cathedral (link to check the price on Amazon). Sure, this multi-setting stereo reverb pedal is no longer on the market but its sound is incredible and there are plenty of units out there to pick up on the used market.
This well-known digital reverb pedal (24-bit AD/DA converters) has both a stereo output and a stereo input. As we can see, its layout is very straight forward, making it very easy to use in the studio and during live performance. It features the following reverb settings:
- Grail Spring: this is the same spring reverb setting as that from the EHX Holy Grail, which we’ll get to shortly.
- Accu Spring: emulation of a medium decay, 17” Accutronics spring tank with 6 springs.
- Hall: a smooth and lush sounding reverb algorithm that emulates the sound of a hall.
- Room: a medium-sized room algorithm.
- Plate: emulation of a metal plate reverb commonly found in high-end recording studios during the 1960s and ’70s.
- Reverse: creates a reverse reverb effect after a note is played.
- Grail Flerb: this is the same Flerb (flanger + reverb) setting as that from the EHX Holy Grail.
- Echo: a digital echo effect.
We are able to save a preset to each of these reverb emulations. These presets are then accessible via the Mode knob. Altering the other control knobs while a preset is loaded will not affect the sound.
The controls of the Cathedral are basic but powerful, covering all the bases of a fully functional reverb. These controls include:
- Blend: mix the reverb-affected signal with the direct signal
- Reverb time: control the length of the reverb tail (or the modulation rate or smearing of repeats in the Flerb and Echo settings, respectively).
- Damping/Tone: affects the frequency shaping of the pedal among other things.
- Feedback: control the amount of effected signal that is fed back through the processing.
- Pre-Delay: sets the amount of pre-delay time for the reverb.
The Tap/Infinite control allows us to control the pre-delay time via tap tempo and can also trigger infinite reverb if we hold the footswitch down.
So the Cathedral has plenty of options as a reverb (and delay) pedal. Its sonic character is of the highest quality as well, in both mono and stereo modes. If you’re looking for an excellent reverb pedal and have the opportunity to pick up an EHX Cathedral on the used market (in good condition), I say go for it!
Electro-Harmonix is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11
The Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 (link to check the price on Amazon) is second on this list and is an incredible and compact reverb unit.
EHX defined the Oceans 11 as their “best reverb pedal yet”. This compact and affordable pedal is jam-packed with advanced functionality. It has 11 awe-inspiring reverb styles to choose from, including the essentials and the experimental verbs. These settings are:
- Hall: the rich reverberant sound of a grand concert hall.
- Spring: pays homage to the classic Fender® 6G15 tube spring reverb
- Plate: the lush, warm reverb that got its name because a large metal plate was originally used to create it
- Revrs (Reverse): emulates the quirky reverse reverb effect where a note’s reverb fades-in backward.
- Echo: sends a recirculating echo thru the Plate reverb. The crisp clear delays get tastefully smudged by the airy plate reverb
- Trem (Tremolo): reverb plus tremolo that’s applied to both the wet and dry mix of a Hall reverb, your choice of three different tremolo shapes
- Mod (Modulated): modulated reverb, three modes. Chorus laced onto the reverb tails creates a luscious atmospheric effect. Flanger wraps around the reverb tails and weaves a hypnotic tapestry. Chorus and flanger combined.
- Dyna (Dynamic): Swell, gate, and duck. Swell silences your notes’ attacks before blooming the tails back into the soundscape. Gate passes the reverb tail thru a noise gate that opens when it detects playing. (Phil Collins popularized the technique by applying it to drums.) Duck compresses the reverb tail while you’re playing and fades it back in when you’re resting.
- Auto-Inf (Auto-Infinite): Auto-infinite reverb that triggers a reverb wash for each note or chord. When a new one is struck, the previously resounding reverb crossfades to the new one
- Shim (Shimmer): Shimmer generates a rich octave-shifted reverb wash that modulates and blossoms behind your signal
- Poly (Polyphonic): Polyphonic reverb, two configurable bi-directional pitch shifts operating on your pre-reverb signal. Combine dissonant intervals with near infinite decays to create disorienting soundtracks, or choose perfect/major intervals to generate creative harmonies when jumping around a key signature
Each reverb type can be altered via the Time and Tone knobs to dial in the specific reverb sound you need for your creative endeavours. The FX Level knob lets us adjust the relative wet/dry mix of the output.
The Oceans 11 also offers a tail option that allows us to either stop the effect immediately as we bypass the pedal or to allow the tail to fade out when we set the pedal to bypass.
If you’re looking to produce an infinite reverb effect with the 11, plug an external stompbox into the Infinite jack and use it as a momentary switch to trigger frozen/infinite reverb.
It’s really amazing how much EHX packed into such a small pedal. For the price and footprint, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something as functional that sounds as clean and powerful as the Oceans 11.
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max
EHX makes its third appearance with the legendary Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Max (link to check the price on Amazon). Yes, another EHX pedal (they’re just that good)! I promise you this is the last EHX pedal in this article.
As of the time of this writing, EHX has 5 reverb pedals in its “Holy” line (the Holy Grail, Holy Grail Neo, Holy Grail Plus, Holy Stain and, of course, the Holy Grail Max). Though any of these pedals could make the list, I chose to include the Max version for its 4 incredible reverb options.
The Holy Grail Max, like the other Holy pedals from EHX, is very simple (some may argue limited) but sonically incredible in the reverb it produces. There’s no bell and whistle in this pedal, just awesome reverb!
It only has a mono output, a blend knob and time control (which alters the decay time, or reverb length/size). Simple and effective.
The 4 reverb options of the Holy Grail Max are:
- Spring: a simulation of the spring reverb found in many classic guitar amps.
- Hall: a simulation of the reverberations heard in large spaces such as a concert hall or cathedral.
- Plate: an emulation of a metal plate reverb commonly found in high-end recording studios during the 1960s and ’70s
- Reverse: creates a reverse reverb after the note is sounded.
Each of these reverb options sounds stunning. The simplicity of this pedal makes it a great choice for performance. The sonic character makes it great for everything!
The big bad Boss RV-500 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a fantastic reverb unit from the legendary Japanese pedal manufacturer Boss.
This pedal is a bit pricier and intimidating (like any pedal with an LCD screen) than the pedals mentioned previously. However, this pedal is powerful. Boss, a highly-reputable and industry-leading pedal manufacturer states that the RV-500 is their most powerful and versatile reverb processor ever.
For those of us who like highly-programmable pedal and superior sonic quality, the RV-500 reverb pedal is right up our alley.
Not only does the RV-500 have 12 reverb modes, but it also has 21 algorithms within these 12 modes. Let’s investigate the modes:
- Room: small, medium, large, and ambience.
- Hall: varying hall sizes.
- Plate: classic studio-style plate reverb emulation.
- Spring: 1, 2 or 3 strings.
- Shimmer: 2 voices of pitch-shifted reverb.
- Fast Decay: reverb with quick decay for increased clarity.
- Early Reflection: envelope parameters to shape unique sounds.
- Non-Linear: includes gated, reverse, and granular types.
- SFX: Lo-Fi, Slowverb, and Storm.
- Dual: 2 independent reverbs that can accept a full-range or frequency-divided input.
- SRV: Recreates the Roland SRV-2000 rack reverb from the 1980s.
- Space Echo: Recreates the Roland RE-201 Space Echo from the 1970s.
Each mode has plenty of parameters that can be changed to suit our specific needs. Potentiometer-type parameters include the typical Time/Value, Pre-Delay and Effect Level knobs along with Low and High-frequency adjustments.
We can save patches as presets and recall them using the A, B and Tap/Control footswitches. There are 99 banks (each with its own A, B and Tap/Control functionality) to save presets within.
The Tap/Control footswitch is multi-functional and user-defined. It can be used to edit patches and to control patches. We may set the Tap/Control switch to momentary or toggle modes and can use it to control warp, twist, tap tempo as well as to change banks.
Editing, saving and bank scrolling can all be done via the button controls. The RV-500’s screen tells us useful information about what’s going on in each patch. We can also access several parameters not included in the pots/knobs (carryover on/off; sensitivity, etc.).
The RV-500 sounds incredible and has vast sonic potential.
On top of all this, it can by synchronized directly to a DAW or External MIDI device via its USB and MIDI I/O, respectively. It can also have its parameters controlled by an external expression pedal or footswitch via the CTL/EXP input.
The RV-500 has both stereo inputs and outputs to really widen the sound of the reverb if we so choose.
The RV-500 is part of Boss’s awesome 500 series of pedals. The DD-500 delay pedal is also worth checking out over at My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Delay Pedals For Guitar & Bass.
All of this functionality comes in a durable unit with a rather small footprint, considering everything that’s packed into it. We’d need a dedicated article to get into everything. Just know, from this article, that the Boss RV-500 is an incredible reverb pedal worth checking out for your rig!
Boss is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Boss gets another mention with its compact RV-6 (link to check the price on Amazon) reverb pedal.
Compared the to aforementioned RV-500, the RV-6 is plain and simple. However, its still a highly functional pedal with amazing choices of reverb. The footprint and price tag are also significantly smaller!
As we can see, the RV-6 has 4 knobs. One controls the reverb effect level; one controls tone; one controls reverb time, and the last knob controls the mode/type of reverb being outputted.
The design is uncomplicated and straightforward, making it a great pedal for performance and for those of us that just need a great reverb without all the tweakability.
The reverb types available in the RV-6 are as follows:
- Modulate: adds modulation to hall reverb.
- Spring: simulates a spring reverb built into a guitar amp.
- Plate: simulates a plate reverb.
- Hall: simulates the reverberation of a hall.
- Room: simulates the reverberation of a room.
- Dynamic: automatically sets the depth of the effect according to your performance.
- Shimmer: reverb combined with pitch-shifting for a sparkling high-frequency range
- +Delay: reverb combined with delay.
The RV-6 has stereo inputs and outputs if we choose to use them. We can choose to go mono by only plugging into the A input and output. We can also choose to only output the reverb signal by only plugging into the B output.
The pedal also has an expression input that allows us to control reverb depth with an expression pedal.
Simple, effective and with excellent-sounding reverb, the RV-6 can find a home on nearly any pedalboard!
MXR M300 Reverb
MXR is a well-respected pedal brand and the MXR M300 Reverb (link to check the price on Amazon) is a perfect representation of the company.
This MXR Reverb packs 6 magnificent reverbs into a compact and easy-to-use stompbox. With one footswitch and three knobs, the only listed pedal simpler than the M300 is the aforementioned EHX Holy Grail Max (which only has 4 reverb options)!
The 6 options we have with the MXR Reverb are:
- Plate: classic studio plate reverb.
- Spring: classic guitar amp reverb.
- Epic: multiple interconnected modulated delays.
- Mod: modulated studio plate reverb.
- Room: simulates a small room.
- Pad: a blend of octave-down and octave-up synth sounds with a reverb effect.
We can easily switch between reverb types by pressing the Tone knob (it doubles as a footswitch). The pedal can be set to bypass the effect immediately as the pedal is bypassed or to ring out naturally as the pedal is bypassed.
The EXP output allows for the blending of two setting configurations via an external expression pedal.
The M300 can still output stereo even though it only has a single output. Toggle the pedal to stereo mode and use a TRS to 2 TS splitter cable to achieve a stereo output.
The dry signal in the MXR Reverb remains 100% analog while the wet signal is processed through high-end DSP to achieve amazing reverberant effects.
MXR is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
The Strymon BigSky (link to check the price on Amazon) sounds incredible across all its versatile sounds.
The Big Sky is a powerhouse. This machine, which Strymon refers to as a “multidimensional reverb”, comes off as intimidating even with its pretty blue colour.
Though it looks rather involved, the highly functional Big Sky is fairly straight forward.
We’ll begin with the 12 unique reverb machines within the Big Sky that are accessible via the Type knob:
- Room: a versatile room algorithm that creates environments ranging from well-tuned studio ambience to larger night club acoustics.
- Hall: diffused reflections and slower-building density.
- Plate: a rich, fast-building reverb that creates depth without early reflection cues to a specific environment.
- Spring: complete customization from warm and mellow to splashy and dripping with its Tone and Mix Controls, Dwell parameter, and a selectable number of springs.
- Swell: brings in the reverb gradually behind the dry signal for subtle evolving textures, like having a volume pedal on the wet signal.
- Bloom: a slow-building envelope that ‘bloomed’, resulting in big ambient reverbs that sit nicely with the dry signal even at high Mix levels.
- Cloud: a gorgeously big, ambient reverb that draws from techniques developed in the late ’70s.
- Chorale: a vocal choir to accompany your music.
- Shimmer: two tunable voices add pitch-shifted tones to the reverberated signal, for resplendent, unearthly ambience.
- Magneto: a multi-head echo with all heads on with adjustable feedback.
- Nonlinear: a variety of physics-defying reverb shapes are available for special effects and unique textures. Choose from three ‘backwards’ shapes (Swoosh, Reverse, and Ramp), or a Gate and more.
- Reflections: a psycho-acoustically accurate small-space reverb.
Each of these reverbs sounds incredible and make the Big Sky well worth its cost.
But there’s so much more functionality to the pedal than its 11 r2 superb reverb types.
Decay, pre-delay, mix (wet.dry), tone and modulation can be adjusted for each type. Two additional assignable type-specific parameters can also be adjusted.
Dial the parameters in and save the settings as a preset that can be recalled later. Each of the three footswitches allows us to engage or bypass these presets. With 100 banks, the Big Sky offers a whopping 300 programmable presets. Scroll through banks via footswitches or the Value knob.
Plenty more options are available via the Value dial. Assign and edit parameters; scroll through banks and menus; name presets; assign expression pedal controls, and more.
Speaking of expression pedals, this Strymon reverb pedal has an expression input along with MIDI I/O for added control and synchronization.
The stereo inputs and outputs give us even more sonic control for this pedal.
This is one of the best-sounding pedals on the market, and with such versatility, it is fully deserving of a spot on this list!
Strymon is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb
The Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb (link to check the price on Amazon) is a beast of a pedal and is fully deserving of a spot on this list.
The Ventris is a mean-looking pedal on the outside with powerful and beautiful reverbs on the inside. In fact, the pedal is essentially two amazing reverbs in one with its two independent 56-bit reverb processors.
This powerful pedal boasts 14 expert-crafted reverb engines:
- Room: simulates the ambient reverberations of a real acoustic space.
- Hall L: patterned after the lush sounds of studio rack units from the 80s
- E-Dome: “Enormo-Dome” produces long reverb trails with a lovely smooth and lush modulation.
- True Spring: captures the sweet idiosyncrasies of a vintage spring reverb tank.
- Plate: simulation of vintage plate reverb units for the 50s and 60s.
- Lo-Fi: includes distortion, oversaturation, and pitch fluctuation.
- Modverb: emulates the combination of tremolo and spring reverb found in many vintage guitar amplifiers.
- Shimmer: engages a pitch-shifting reverb engine to mix traditional room sounds with octave-up reflections.
- Echoverb: simultaneous reverb and delay effect.
- Swell: applies a volume swell effect to your instrument’s dry signal, which is then fed into the reverb effect.
- Offspring: a unique combination of delay and reverb.
- Reverse: produces a reverse reverb effect after notes are struck.
- Outboard Spring: aims to emulate outboard spring reverb units like the Fender 6G15 and SurfyBear Reverb.
- Metal Box: simulates reverberations of a very small space with extremely reflective walls.
The dual signal processors essentially make the Ventris a pair of high-end reverb pedals. This massive processing power makes features like unlimited Preset Spillover (changing from one preset to another without abruptly cutting off the reverb tail) and the ability to combine two reverb effects with either parallel, cascading or independent channel signal routing possible.
Up to 8 presets can be saved on the pedal with the touch of a button. An additional 128 presets can be saved and recalled with an external MIDI controller. The MIDI interface can also be used to engage/bypass the pedal; to alter parameters, and much more. Its USB functionality (combined with MIDI) allows it to plug-and-play with your DAW and other software on Mac and Windows OS.
Speaking of presets and computers, the Ventris is part of Source Audio’s One Series. Therefore, the Neuro Desktop and Mobile App Editors give users access to advanced effects editing and signal routing options along with presets made by the community.
Other notable One Series pedals include:
- Nemesis Delay (featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Delay Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Aftershock Bass Distortion (featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Distortion Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Lunar Phaser (featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Phaser Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Mercury Flanger (featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Flanger Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- Vertigo Tremolo (featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Tremolo Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
- C4 Synth (featured in My New Microphone’s Top 10 Best Synth Pedals For Guitar & Bass).
Control knobs 1 and 2 can be set to alter various parameters for each reverb type. The secondary footswitch can also be assigned different tasks depending on the preset. This pedal also has an input for connecting external expression pedals and footswitch pedals to give the Ventris even more functionality.
What we have with the Source Audio Ventris is a highly functional and sonically superior reverb pedal suitable for any guitar rig!
Source Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
The Meris Mercury7 (link to check the price at Meris) is an awesome-sounding unit and make it to spot number 9 on this list. It’s designed for any electronic instrument and even for line level signals, meaning this unit could work equally well as a guitar pedal and an insert in the studio.
I love Meris pedals but wow are they ever difficult to explain in simple terms. The Mercury7 “Off-World Ambience” reverb pedal is no exception but I’ll try to convey it in a straightforward fashion.
You’ll notice that, unlike the pedals we’ve mentioned thus far, the Mercury7 does not have a dial dedicated to various reverb types.
The pedal has a single input jack which can be set to mono or stereo (unbalanced TRS). It has true stereo outputs (left and right channels) though a mono out can be achieved by only plugging into the left output.
Another 1/4-inch “expression” jack gives users 4 different options for additional control: expression pedal, external switch, 4-button preset switch, and MIDI (which can potentially take case of the the previous 3 controls and more).
The Mercury7 has 16 internal preset locations, 4 of which are accessible via a compatible 4-button footswitch. All 16 presets are accessible by MIDI Program Change messages. Presets are user-defined.
There are two different reverb algorithms in the Mercury7:
- Ultraplate: inspiring & lush plate with a fast build.
- Cathedra: massive & ethereal algorithm with a slow build.
We can pretty well get any reverb we want out of the Meris Mercury7 will enough tweaking. Each of the 6 knobs has an alternate function. The Alt settings are accessible via the Alt button above the Swell footswitch.
Perhaps the best way to describe this pedal is by looking at each of the controls:
- Space Decay: sets the decay energy of the reverberation space.
- Predelay (Alt): sets the amount of time that elapses before the onset of reverberation.
- Lo Frequency: changes how low frequencies react in the reverb algorithm.
- Density (Alt): sets the amount of initial build-up of echoes before the reverb tank.
- Modulate: sets overall modulation depth of the reverb algorithm.
- Modulate Speed (Alt): sets the dominant modulation speed of the reverb algorithm.
- Pitch Vector: sets intra-tank pitch interval to octave down, slight pitch up, slight pitch down, 5th up, or octave up.
- Attack Time (Alt): sets the attack time for the swell envelope.
- Mix: adjusts Mix of Dry and Wet signals in the analog domain.
- Pitch Vector (Alt): adjusts mix between intra-tank pitch-shifted reflections and normal reflections inside the reverb tank.
- Hi Frequency: changes how high frequencies react in the reverb algorithm and alters the high-frequency absorption of the reverb space.
- Vibrato Depth (Alt): adds vibrato to the reverb input for lush, haunting trails.
The swell footswitch can be engaged for auto-swelling or held for sustain.
The Mercury7 is incredibly powerful. Try it out for yourself to hear the incredible reverberant sounds made possible with this fantastic pedal.
Meris is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top Best Boutique Guitar/Bass Pedal Brands To Know & Use
• Top Best Audio Brands For 500 Series Modules/Equipment
Neunaber Immerse Reverberator
The Neunaber Immerse Reverberator MKII (link to check the price on Amazon) may be a bit unknown but is an incredible pedal worth bringing up in this article.
Neunaber may not be the most famous pedal company but its designs certainly make it a great brand. The Reverberator MKII is a perfect example of a superb design from the company.
The Immerse Reverberator MKII features 8 stunning stereo reverbs:
- W3T: Neunaber’s flagship 3-dimensional reverb
- Plate: simulates the bright and diffuse like a studio plate reverb.
- Hall: simulates the lush, open sound of a concert hall.
- Spring: simulates the distinctive twerp of a tube-driven spring reverb.
- Sustain: a reverb based on the W3T that can be configured as a sustainer or infinite reverb.
- +Echo: combining the W3T reverb with stereo echo.
- +Detune: adds a detuned double of the dry signal with reverb.
- Shimmer: a pitch-shifted reverb signal reminiscent of a synth pad.
There’s tons of functionality jammed into this compact pedal and its reverb effects are among the best. Each of the 8 algorithms (selectable by one knob) can be controlled/altered by the other 4 knobs. The controls are:
- Mix (up to 100% wet)
- Reverb Depth
- Tone / Echo Time / Hold Time (depending on effect)
- Pre-Delay / Modulation / Blend (depending on effect)
The Kill Dry switch removes the dry signal, even when bypassed, which is great for parallel effect loops.
The Trails switch allows the effect to naturally trail after the pedal is bypassed.
Durable build quality, low noise, zero latency and a buffered bypass make this pedal a solid choice for the studio and the road.
Spaceman Effects Orion
At number 11, I’d like to introduce the sleek and highly-effective Spaceman Effects Orion (link to check the price on Amazon).
Remember at the beginning where I wrote “Most reverb pedals are digital, including almost every pedal on this list”. Well, the Orion is one of the few exceptions to this rule and the only true analog pedal to make this list.
Since the pedal is analog, it doesn’t have any DSP emulation and, therefore, only gives us one reverb effect. More specifically, it gives us a true spring reverb.
This analog stand-out is actually the smallest real spring reverb pedal ever. At only 6.25″ by 4.75″, this small-spring unit will fit nicely onto a pedalboard while still being able to give us a great spring reverb sound.
The input signal is sent to a transducer that vibrates the dual internal springs of the Orion. A second transducer converts the vibrations as audio. The dry and wet signals are then mixed together (via the Blend knob) at the output. While the other pedals emulate this effect, the Orion does it for real.
The Dwell knob controls how hard the dual springs will be pushed while the Tone knob affect the EQ of the wet signal only.
Amazingly, the Orion pedal does not suffer from spring splash when it’s stomped on and off. Most spring and plate units will output reverb if they’re vibrated at all due to the nature of the design.
Of course, kicking the pedal hard enough will illicit some spring (test it our to know it’s real). However, the typical force of a footswitch stomp or the vibrations of a kick drum on stage will not cause issues.
The Spaceman Effects Orion sound incredible; is expertly crafted; built to last, and is one of the best reverb pedals out there, let along the best analog reverb. Brag to your friends about how you’ve got the real analog deal with the Orion.
The second last spot on this list holds the Catalinbread Topanga (link to check the price on Amazon).
The Catalinbread Topanga was inspired directly from the outboard Fender 6G15 spring reverb from the 60s. Great inspiration combined with technical expertise at Catalinbread produced this awesome spring reverb pedal.
Like the aforementioned Spaceman Orion, the Topanga only offers a superb spring reverb sound. Unlike the Orion, the Topanga is an emulation pedal, featuring analog and digital circuitry.
The Mix and Volume knobs are pretty self-explanatory. The Dwell knob control how hard the pedal’s virtual spring circuit is being driven. The Tone knob controls a low-pass filter for the reverb signal coming out of the spring tank.
The Topanga is a perfect solution for those of us who want, but don’t have, a spring reverb circuit in our amplifier. Though the pedal is relatively simple, it packs a wide range of reverberant tones.
We can pretty much get any spring ‘verb sound we want out of this fantastic pedal, giving it a well-deserved spot on this list!
Catalinbread is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Boutique Guitar/Bass Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Empress Effects Reverb
Last but certainly not least is the highly versatile Empress Effects Reverb (link to check the price on Amazon).
The Empress Effects Reverb pedal has a simple name and is actually quite simple given the large form factor and the amount of controls. This unit, like all Empress pedals, sounds amazing. It’s powerful, yet straightforward, giving us the best of both worlds when it comes to digital reverb emulation pedals.
Let’s begin with the 12 algorithm types.
- Hall: modeled from a large and fairly reflective space.
- Plate: modeled after an electro-mechanical plate reverb device.
- Spring: modeled after a spring tank.
- Room: based on a smaller physical space.
- Sparkle: created by an octave effect that’s fed into a large sounding tail.
- Modulation: modulates the delays of the reverb tail to give a smooth-sounding decay.
- Ambient Swell: detects breaks in your playing or uses trigger detection to detect note starts, then applies a smooth adjustable fade-in.
- Delay + Reverb: a combination of a delay effect along with the reverb.
- Reverse: ramps up your parts so they sound like they’re fading in.
- Ghost: adds a really smooth and spooky layer behind your dry playing. The tail is made up of a lot of resonant and modulated elements that meld together to create a really unique sound.
- Lo-Fi: the dry signal gets effected with some raunchy filtering and distortion along with the wet.
- Beer: an uncategorized mode with several other algorithms within including a random glitch mode and a gated reverb.
There are actually more algorithms tucked within the 12 modes listed above. Empress Effects periodically updates the firmware of this pedal with new functionality. These updates are uploaded to the pedal via an SD Card (and the pedal’s SD card slot). This is a pedal that keeps on giving!
Up to 35 presets can be saved in this unit. Presets can be accessed via banks or by scrolling.
There are controls for reverb type; reverb decay; mix; output level; 2 algorithm-dependent parameters, and controls for the signal EQ (low and hi).
The pedal gets all this functionality without menus and alt functions in every knob/switch. That being said, the versatile control port (which supports MIDI) can inevitably open up a world of more complex control over this powerful unit.
Empress Effects is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Boutique Guitar/Bass Pedal Brands To Know & Use.