Indispensable on the pedalboard of any guitarist — right next to the overdrive/distortion — the reverb pedal allows you to add some ambient or to modify the position of a sound in a mix. Naturally, it has kept up with the digital evolution and there are many different models available on the market right now. We asked the Audiofanzine community what their favorite digital reverb pedals were, and here are the results.
The reverb that came in first is the Strymon Big Sky. The sky blue box includes no less than 12(!) algorithms: hall, plate, spring, swell, bloom, cloud, chorale, shimmer, magneto, non linear, reflections, and room. Seven controls allow you to adjust different parameters, like decay, pre-decay, tone, mix, and mod, plus two assignable parameters per preset (and there are 300!). And let's not forget the Spillover and Reverb Persist modes (in the second case the reverb keeps on sounding even if you change presets or you bypass the pedal), nor the speaker simulation for the direct output! Also note the presence of an LED display, the possibility to control everything via MIDI and the sturdy aluminum construction. In terms of sound, the manufacturer used two 24-bit/96-kHz converters with a signal-to-noise ratio of 115 dB.
A great specialist in high-end digital studio effects, Eventide has recently put itself to the task of recreating the algorithms of its famous racks in a more affordable pedal format ($500, all the same). Take for example Space, which includes 12 algorithms taken from the H8000FW and the Eclipse V4. The possibilities are huge and clearly exceed those of a basic reverb (modulation-based presets, delays, pitch shifting, etc), with a pretty wide scope of application, well beyond guitar. Plus, everything can be controlled via MIDI or with an expression pedal. In terms of sound, it is simply stunning. It's an Eventide.
One of the most legendary manufacturers of digital studio reverbs offers 10 of its best algorithms in this compact pedal sold for less than $150. Compared to the big Eventide or Strymon, TC bets on simplicity: Four knobs and a switch, that's all you need to access a very large array of spaces and ambiances. Plus, the TonePrint system allows you to customize a sound from the dedicated app or to use a preset conceived by a celebrity. It's useless to say anything in terms of value for money, this Hall of Fame was bound to be included in our list.
The Holy Grail series by Electro-Harmonix consists of two pedals: The Holy Grail and the Holy Grail Plus. The first one has become a standard and it couldn't be easier to use with its single wet/dry knob. A selector allows you to choose one out of three algorithms: spring, hall and flerb (a reverb followed by a flanger, quite original!). The Plus version is a Holy Grail on steroids that adds a room reverb and allows you to control the decay, damping and modulation speed. Do note that these pedals do not run on batteries, only on 9V Boss-like AC adapters. Simple and effective reverbs that have proved their worth.
The Cathedral offers more algorithms than the Holy Grails: Two springs (that of the Holy Grail and an Accutronics emulation), a hall, a room, a plate, a reverse, and the flerb. It has a two-second Echo mode as well, and it is possible to have a Pre-Delay of up to two seconds. You can also adjust the Pre-Delay with your foot and with the Tap Tempo. The Infinite Reverb mode allows you to freeze the effect instantly and you can use the Tone button to modify the timbre of the reverb. The most comprehensive model by Electro-Harmonix.
The Boss RV5 has become a bit expensive when compared to its Danish competitors with a similar format, but that doesn't stop it from being a standard after 12 twelve years of existence, and it allows you to profit from all of Roland's experience in terms of reverbs. A safe bet? Definitely.
Including five of the famous algorithms developed by the Danish manufacturer, the Nova Reverb offers more adjusting possibilities than the Hall of Fame for a very similar price. Each algorithm features different programs, while the Dynamix technology allows you to control the effect amount depending on the signal level, so that your notes are as intelligible as possible.
Many readers voted for the Neunaber Wet Reverb, a user-friendly model with only mix and depth controls. The bypass doesn't cut the reverb tail, its input has a very high impedance, it has a compact design, and it is made in the USA.
Here's a list of the rest of the reverbs mentioned in the survey:
- AMT RY-1
- Behringer Digital Reverb DR600
- Blackstar HT-Reverb
- Boss FRV-1
- Digitech DigiVerb
- Digitech Hardwire HW RV-7
- Duesenberg The Rev
- Hardwire Supernatural Ambient Verb
- Line 6 ToneCore Verbzilla
- Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb
- Malekko Omicron Spring
- Marshall RF1
- Mooer Shim Verb
- Mr. Black Supermoon
- Plush Verbrator
- SolidGoldFX Surf Rider
- Source Audio Soundblox2 Dimension Reverb
- Subdecay Spring Theory Reverb
- T-Rex Room Mate Junior
- TC Electronic Trinity
- Wampler Faux Spring Reverb