Looking for a new reverb pedal to add to your board?
We’re living in the golden age of pedal design. The possibilities are somewhat endless, and that’s especially true when it comes to reverb.
From simple vanilla reverb sounds to pedals capable of endless creativity, there’s something for everyone.
In this post, you’ll find a reverb pedal for every occasion. I’ll share some of my favorites and break down the pros and cons of each one.
The best reverb pedals – top picks
- Boss RV-500 – Best reverb pedal overall.
- JHS 3 Series Reverb – Best budget reverb pedal.
- EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master – Best reverb & delay combo pedal.
- Strymon Nightsky – Best creative reverb pedal. Ideal for ambient sound design.
- EarthQuaker Devices Astral Destiny – A beautiful and creative octave reverb pedal.
1. Boss RV-500
The Boss RV-500 is kicking off my roundup of best reverb pedals for good reason.
This fantastic pedal offers a wealth of reverb types and features without being abusive from a pricing standpoint.
This is a true studio-quality reverb that you can put on your pedal board. It’s got high-quality AD/DA converters as well. We’re talking 32-bit.
The RV-500 is a dual engine pedal. What does that mean exactly? You can run two different reverb algorithms side-by-side. Or you can add a digital delay to your reverb if you prefer.
In total, there are 21 reverb algorithms for you to choose from. And it comes pre-loaded with plenty of patches. In total, you’ve got room for 297 patches to play around with.
In terms of controls, we’ve got an LCD screen and a number of rotary controls. You can get a good bit of use out of the rotary controls themselves. Editing via the LCD screen is a bit tedious, but it does allow you to tweak a large number of controls.
For advanced editing, I find it easier to connect the pedal to my computer via USB and run the RV-500 editing software. It’s much quicker than navigating through the menu on the pedal itself.
And as you might expect from this type of unit, there’s also MIDI.
One particularly neat feature is the ‘carryover’ function. If you have this option selected, reverb trails will continue even after you’ve switched to a different patch. Only dual-engine reverbs are capable of this.
The RV-500 can do all of the reverb types you’d expect – plate, hall, spring, shimmer reverb, etc. Then there are the more unique types, such as the Roland RE-201 Space Echo and RV-2000. These are based on the old rack-mounted units that were popular in the 70s and 80s.
Fast Decay and SFX modes are very cool as well. The former offers reverbs that won’t get in the way of your playing. Then with the SFX mode, you get modes such as Lo-Fi and SlowVerb. These are some of the more creative and distinct reverb types.
Overall, the RV-500 is difficult to beat for the money. It covers all of the traditional reverb types while providing access to more creative reverbs. It’s extremely tweakable, and the price is quite fair for the functionality on offer.
- Flexible stereo reverb with a large selection of reverb algorithms
- In-depth patch editing is possible from the pedal itself
- Computer-based editing software allows for more advanced editing
- Selectable bypass – true-bypass or buffered-bypass
- Can be powered by a 9V power supply or 4 AA batteries
- USB & MIDI connections
- The on-board menu is a bit fiddly
- Some may find the on-board presets a bit lackluster
- Only specific reverbs can be used in dual-mode
2. JHS 3 Series Reverb
The JHS 3 Series Reverb is one of the more wallet friendly pedals of their lineup.
As such, I adjusted my expectations and I wasn’t expecting too much from the pedal.
Controls are somewhat basic and the price point is far below that of the typical JHS pedals that I’ve come to know and love.
But, I was completely wrong. Build quality is solid and the pedal sounds great.
There’s really something to be said for taking a stripped back approach and going for simplicity.
Sure, there are no specific reverb modes which may be an issue for some players, but the controls are cleverly configured so you can dial in a wide range of sounds.
The EQ control is a nice touch as well. This allows you to brighten or darken the tone of your verb. You can get it sounding subtle or bath in reverb.
For the money, this is a difficult pedal to beat.
- A sensibly priced reverb pedal that punches well above its price point.
- Intuitive controls capable of dialing in a wide range of reverb sounds.
- Great reverb tones on tap.
- Solid build quality.
- No reverb modes or presets.
- A little lacking in additional features such as latching capability or control over reverb trails.
3. Strymon NightSky
The Strymon NightSky is not your typical reverb pedal. Strymon themselves have described it as a “time-warped reverberator” and a “reverberant synthesis machine.”
But those descriptions don’t do it justice.
It is a completely different beast from BigSky, and other big box reverbs such as the Boss RV-500 and Empress Reverb.
It’s a potent tool for creating ambient soundscapes. It’s a reverb with synth-like controls and a step sequencer.
And while I’ve had this pedal in my collection for years, I’m still only scratching the surface of what can be achieved.
It’s a complex-looking pedal, but the well-designed interface & controls do make it easier to dial in than you might expect.
At its core, there are 3 main reverb algorithms; sparse, dense, and diffuse. Dense is the more traditional type of reverb. The others are most suitable for creating lush soundscapes.
One particularly neat feature is the ability to choose which scale the step sequencer will use. For example, you can choose; minor pentatonic, major pentatonic, major, harmonic minor, whole tone, etc.
There’s so much to like about this pedal and far more than I can cover in this post. It can do simple, complex, and everything in between. If huge ambient soundscapes are your thing – check out the Strymon NightSky.
- Powerful reverb workstation with synth-like controls
- Tactile controls make it easier to dial in than you might think
- On-board step-sequencer
- On-board MIDI and USB
- Line/instrument level selector makes it useful for other applications
- Not ideal for those that want a simple or more traditional reverb pedal
4. BOSS RV-6
The Boss RV-6 is a stereo reverb pedal that offers a strong balance between size, simplicity, functionality, and price.
It’s a bit more expensive than the Fender Hammertone, but it offers a lot more in the way of features.
For starters, it’s not mono. It’s stereo and includes a TRS jack socket for an expression pedal.
Controls are simple. Choose your type of reverb, then dial in your effect level, tone, and time.
There’s a good selection of types of reverb on offer. Room, hall, plate, spring, and modulated reverb. There are also dynamic, reverb+delay, and shimmer reverb modes.
It would be nice to be able to switch trails off, but that wasn’t a deal breaker for me with this reverb pedal.
- Flexible stereo reverb with a small footprint and analog dry-through
- Easy to dial in
- Powered by 9V PSU or 9V battery
- Robust and well-built
- Controls are difficult to read in low-light conditions
5. Strymon BigSky
The Strymon BigSky is the big box stereo reverb pedal that started it all and it paved the way for the likes of the Boss RV-500 and the Empress Reverb.
But I feel it’s the most comparable specifically to the RV-500.
And, like the RV-500, it’s a fully loaded reverb pedal with 12 reverb modes, powerful controls, MIDI, TRS jack for an expression pedal, and a huge library of presets.
The BigSky is more expensive and the tech specs don’t look quite as good on paper (e.g. 24 bit compared to 32 bit), but it’s extremely good.
Now, the RV-500 is easier to use overall in my opinion. But with the BigSky, I found that I could dial in sounds a lot quicker. I just couldn’t tweak them quite as much.
There are also some reverb modes on the BigSky that are entirely unique that you won’t find on the RV-500. The Cloud reverb, for example, sounds incredible.
It’s also worth noting that the BigSky ships with a fantastic range of presets. I found those loaded into the RV-500 to be a bit lackluster. But that wasn’t the case with the BigSky. And that’s something I’ve found to be similar when it comes to Strymon’s other pedals too.
And as you’d expect from this type of pedal, it’s stereo and includes MIDI with a TRS jack for an expression pedal.
One particular feature that stands out is the cab filter switch. When engaged, a cabinet impulse response (IR for short) will be engaged. This is ideal for times when you’re not connecting directly to an amp. For example, if you need to plug your pedalboard directly into the front-of-house (FOH).
It’s also worth noting that the BigSky can’t play multiple reverbs simultaneously. However, that wasn’t a deal breaker for me when I first bought this pedal. Especially since it has the option to ensure reverb tails persist when you switch to another patch.
- Highly versatile stereo reverb pedal
- 12 reverb modes and a huge range of presets
- Pre-loaded presets are surprisingly good
- Analog dry path
- Good selection of I/O’s (includes MIDI and TRS jack for expression pedal)
- Selectable guitar cab filter (great if you need to connect directly to a PA system)
- Can only run one reverb at a time
6. Fender Hammertone Reverb
The Fender Hammertone Reverb is my top pick for budget reverb pedals right now.
And let me be clear:
There are a bunch of cheaper pedals on the market. You know the sort – OEM “fly by night” type brands that provide zero support and probably won’t be around in a month.
But Fender isn’t going anywhere, and most importantly, this pedal is excellent.
They haven’t gone crazy with packing too many reverb algorithms into the pedal. Instead, they’ve opted for the classics – hall, room, and plate. These are also some of the most usable reverb algorithms.
I like that they’ve omitted spring reverb. Partly because spring reverb is damn difficult to do well in a digital pedal.
Overall, I can’t say that I’m a fan of how the pedal looks, but it’s well-built and sounds great. And the top-mounted jacks & PSU socket is always appreciated.
- Three classic reverb types (hall, room, and plate reverb)
- Great value for money
- Top-mounted jacks & PSU socket
- Some users may be disappointed at the lack of spring reverb (but I wasn’t!)
7. EarthQuaker Devices Astral Destiny
The EarthQuaker Devices Astral Destiny is a modulated octave reverb pedal that’s ideal for creating lush reverbs.
Onboard, we’ve got 8 reverb modes, and there’s a corresponding preset for each one. You can overwrite these presets to save your own if you like.
While you won’t find traditional algorithms such as a plate reverb – I’ve found some of the reverb modes to be quite usable in a traditional context.
That said, the Astral Destiny excels when it comes to the less conventional types of reverb. For example, one of the modes, Astral, adds a regenerating trail with upper and lower octaves.
With less conventional reverbs, they’re typically more challenging to dial in, but that isn’t the case with the Astral Destiny. This is, in part, thanks to a simple preset system that works via an 8 position knob.
We’ve then got the ability to adjust the length, depth, rate, tone, and mix of the reverb type selected.
A particularly neat addition to this pedal is the stretch footswitch. This increases the length of the reverb and a temporary change in pitch. Momentary latching allows you to hold the footswitch down and apply the pitch bending for as long as required. Alternatively, press the switch once, and the pitch change will remain until you press the switch again.
Overall, this is a fantastic pedal. EarthQuaker Devices excel at the unconventional, and this pedal is no exception. It’s also at a price point that is cheaper than you might expect.
- Flexible octave reverb that’s ideal for creative applications
- Intuitive controls
- Stretch footswitch opens up extra tonal possibilities
- Choose between trails or full bypass switching
- Expression jack can adjust various controls on the pedal
- Works great with synths, not just guitars.
- The pedal lacks some of the more traditional reverb modes
8. EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master
The EarthQuaker Devices Dispatch Master combines reverb and delay into a single pedal.
In recent years this pedal has become my ‘grab and go’ pedal for those types when I’m limited on pedalboard space and want a pedal that’s easy to dial in.
So, if you’re in a similar situation – this could be the pedal for you.
The controls are simple. There are only four knobs – mix, time, reverb, and repeats. So, all you have to control the reverb sound with is a single reverb knob.
If you want to use it only as a delay, you can. Just turn down the reverb control. Or if you’d like to use it as a reverb with no delay, turn down the time and repeat controls. Nice and easy.
As you’d expect from EarthQuaker Devices, the pedal is well-built and looks pretty damn cool.
Later models include a momentary footswitch. This means you can use it as a standard footswitch or engage the effect only as long as you’ve got your foot on the pedal.
Without a doubt – this is one of my favorite delay/reverb pedals.
- Simple digital reverb pedal
- High-quality sounds
- Easy to dial in
- On-board delay
- Use effects together or disable either one
- No additional reverb types
9. Walrus Audio Fundamental Reverb
The Walrus Audio Fundamental Reverb is one of the more affordable reverb pedals on this list. It looks great, and sounds even better.
If you were disappointed by the lack of spring reverb in the Fender Hammertone – you’ll be happy to note that the Fundamental Reverb includes spring reverb!
Accompanying the spring reverb, we also have plate and hall reverb.
The controls are simple and easy to dial in—just decay, mix, and tone.
And I really dig how this pedal looks. The decision to use faders instead of knobs was an excellent idea.
- Great sounding reverb with several types of reverb
- Easy to dial in
- Unique look thanks to using faders instead of knobs
- Good build quality
- Top-mounted jacks
- Selectable trails mode (active by default)
- PSU socket is side mounted (likely not an issue for some players)
10. Keeley Caverns
The Keeley Caverns is a strong contender for anyone wanting delay & reverb in a single pedal.
Unlike the EQD Dispatch Master, reverb and delay modes are independently foot-switchable, extra reverb modes, and more granular control.
The pedal enclosure is slightly bigger, but it’s still smaller than most dual effects pedals.
It is more difficult to dial in due to the sheer number of controls. Depending on your needs, you may benefit from the extra flexibility the Keeley Caverns offers.
There are several reverb modes – spring, modulation, and shimmer. You have several controls to manipulate the reverb (blend/decay/warmth) and several for the delay (blend/time/rate/repeats).
With the delay, you also get the option to go between no modulation, light modulation, and heavy modulation.
All-in-all, this is a damn good digital reverb pedal that offers a beautiful delay and is quite tweakable.
- Versatile reverb and delay pedal with several modes
- Reverb & delay are independently foot-switchable
- Great build quality
- Choose between hearing trails or true bypass mode
- Fairly small pedal footprint (only slightly bigger than a standard-sized pedal)
- Not quite as easy to dial in as the Dispatch Master
11. Empress Reverb
The Empress Reverb is another take on the big box stereo reverb but it differs from the Boss RV-500 in several ways.
Ever since I got my hands on both this pedal and the RV-500, I got the impression that the Boss was designed by someone using a computer. And the Empress Reverb was designed by someone with a guitar and the pedal – nothing more.
If you don’t want to mess around with complex menus delivered via an LCD screen on your pedal and you just want tactile controls – the Empress Reverb is a good shout.
In terms of controls, you’ve got knobs for decay, mix, output, low, hi, and two other knobs that vary depending on the algorithm you’ve chosen. The manual does a good job of explaining this in detail. I like that they’ve included separate tone knobs for low and high frequencies instead of the common single tone knob.
The downside of this approach is that you can’t get quite as granular with your editing as the RV-500. And you may need to spend some extra time reading the manual. But for a pedal like this, the manual is required reading anyway.
There are 12 reverb types with 30+ algorithms. And there’s a good mix between creative and traditional reverbs. That includes hall, plate, room, and spring reverb. If you’re into the more unique types of reverb, you’ll appreciate ghost, lo-fi, and beer modes.
MIDI is available, but it does require the purchase of an extra unit to enable it. And a bit of tweaking in the settings. That said, doing things this way has allowed Empress to save space. So, if you want a big box reverb, but you’re restricted on space – that’s another reason to take a closer look at this pedal.
- Versatile stereo reverb pedal with 30+ algorithms and analog dry-through signal path
- Small pedal-board footprint (compared to other big box reverbs)
- True-bypass or buffered-bypass
- High quality – 24-bit AD/DA conversion and 42kHz sample rate
- No computer-based editing software
- Limited on-board I/Os – MIDI requires the purchase of the Empress Midibox
- Fairly expensive
12. Walrus Audio Slötvå
The Slötvå is the updated version of the extremely popular Slo pedal from Walrus Audio.
Across the top, we’ve got an intuitive set of controls. There’s plenty of flexibility here before you even touch any of the algorithms or wave shapes.
With the rotary controls, you can adjust the exact length of the reverb decay, the tone of the reverb, and the amount of modulation applied to the reverb decay.
Like the original Slo reverb pedal, you’ve got 3 reverb algorithms that work in conjunction with 3 wave shapes. This is a unique approach compared to other reverb pedals because they rarely allow you to adjust wave shapes.
All these features allow for extensive reverb tones. You can add lower octaves, auto-swells, and various types of pitch modulation.
And you have the option to disable reverb trails if you like.
One of the things I particularly like about the Slötvå is the sustain footswitch. This isn’t your typical sustain switch. It’ll affect your reverb signal in different ways depending on which algorithm you have selected.
So, how does this compare to the original Slo pedal? They’re mostly the same pedal. But the Slötvå has the added option of creating and saving presets for your reverb effects.
As you might have guessed, this isn’t one of your traditional reverb pedals. It’s something quite different, and it sounds fantastic.
- Versatile reverb pedal that sounds great
- Intuitive controls
- Well suited to ambient soundscapes
- Built-in reverb presets
- Sustain footswitch opens up tonal possibilities and allows you to extend those reverb trails for ultimate creativity
- Expensive compared to some other reverb pedals
- Switching wave shapes is a bit clunky. You have to hold the bypass switch down, then switch the toggle that is used by the 3 reverb algorithms. A separate toggle would be better.
13. Walrus Audio Fathom
The Walrus Audio Fathom is another contender for best reverb pedal.
It shares a lot of similarities with the Slo and Slötvå reverb pedals but with a more traditional selection of reverb algorithms.
We’ve got hall, plate, lo-fi, and sonar. You’ll likely have a good idea of what the first three sound like. But what about the sonar reverb program?
According to Walrus Audio, this mode runs high and low octaves with the ability to blend the octaves with the X control.
Like other pedals in their range, exactly what the X knob controls will vary depending on the mode you’re in. For hall, plate, and lo-fi, it will control something different.
All the controls are fairly self explanatory aside from the X control so you may need a quick glance at the manual before you get started.
In addition, we’ve got decay, dampen, and mix controls. There’s also a toggle switch to tailor the amount of modulation. In sonar mode, low disables the modulation entirely.
Overall, the Fathom is a fantastic reverb stompbox that is a fairly compact pedal. You can get your more traditional reverb tones as well as some more modern and ambient tones.
- Intuitive and flexible reverb stompbox.
- Easy to use and dial in great reverb sounds.
- Covers traditional, modern, and more ambient reverb sounds.
- Momentary switch functionality offers additional flexibility for crafting your reverb tone on the fly.
- Great build quality.
- Mono only. Doesn’t offer stereo operation.
- A bit on the more expensive side compared to some other pedals. The price tag is worth it in my opinion.
14. Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11
The Oceans 11 reverb from Electro-Harmonix (EHX) packs a huge amount of flexibility into a single pedal.
As you’d probably imagine from EHX, the build quality is on-point and so are the sounds.
In total, there are 11 different reverb modes and the mod button offers even more flexibility, giving you the option to cycle through even more reverb effects.
We’ve got the important hall, spring, and plate reverbs covered. As well as shimmer, polyphonic, reverb + tremolo, and reverse reverb.
There’s also an echo mode that smashes a recirculating echo into a plate reverb. And, it sounds very good!
The other controls are straightforward – FX level, time, and tone. You’ll also find a trails switch inside the unit.
Overall, the Oceans 11 offers great tones and build quality at a price that seems fair for the package on offer.
- Great balance of features, price, sound quality, and build quality.
- Intuitive controls with a large variety of different types of reverb sounds.
- Better spring reverb emulation than most other pedals
- Multiple modes for each reverb type.
- Mono operation only. Not a stereo reverb.
- Knobs can discolor easily. Minor issue, definitely not a deal breaker.
- Trails bypass mode controlled by a switch inside the unit.
15. JHS Spring Tank
Given that the JHS Spring Tank focuses on spring reverb only, this isn’t the one-trick pony you might expect it to be.
If spring reverb isn’t your thing. You may want to skip over this. But, if it is, you’ll want to pay close attention to this pedal.
It’s a digital emulation of spring reverb tanks, as you might expect given that it’s a fairly compact pedal. Quite possibly one of the most difficult emulations to get right. The Spring Tank is a rather good approximation.
The controls are flexible and easy to dial in. Dial in the exact amount of highs, length, and depth. Then set the amount of reverb. You’ve got 2 independent reverb tanks that are footswitchable. There’s also a boost control that can give you a bit of extra volume should you need it.
And should you need it – you’ll find a built-in FX loop. Personally, I haven’t made much use out of this but for some players it could be extremely useful. This does run via a single TRS jack, so you will need a splitter cable.
If spring reverb is what you need and you don’t have room on your board for actual spring reverb tanks – the JHS Spring Tank is a solid option.
- A dedicated pedal for spring reverbs
- Flexible and easy to dial in.
- Solid emulation of spring reverb.
- Excellent build quality.
- Built-in FX loop (requires TRS splitter cable)
- Only spring is the only reverb effect. No other modes.
- A little on the expensive side for just spring reverb.
Which reverb is right for you?
That wraps up my comparison of the best reverb pedals.
There are others out there, sure, but these are some of my favorites. And some of the most popular reverb pedals on the market right now. All of them capable of doing some fantastic things with your signal chain.
So, what is the best reverb pedal for you? Which should you choose? Well, that will depend on your needs. And your needs alone.
For example, do you just need a simple reverb effect that won’t mess with your tone? Do you need a few different traditional reverb sounds and nothing more?
Or do you need more involved features such as tap tempo, MIDI, control over reverb tails, stereo inputs and outputs, and more? Will you need a digital reverb for more than just an electric guitar? And also, how much are you willing to spend on reverb effects pedals?
What about a stereo rig or wet and dry setup? If so, you’ll need a pedal with stereo ins and outs.
All of these questions and more will be important to ask yourself before making a decision on your new reverb pedal.
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Featured Image credit: Adam Connell // Tone Island.