Top 20 Best Reverb Pedals of 2017

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Welcome to Best Guitar Effects’ long awaited Top 20 Best Reverb Pedals. The purpose of this article is to explain what reverb is, what it’s for, and help you decide if you need a reverb pedal in your guitar effects arsenal. (Spoiler: you probably do.) We’ve also rounded up the 20 best reverb pedals and will provide some insights to help you decide which one is best for you.

 

What Is Reverb?

Reverb is the persistence of a sound after it occurs as it reflects off of surfaces in the environment until its amplitude (audio volume) reaches zero. Think of it as the sound that lingers in the air after it originally occurs. I like to say that Reverb is the sound of space.

 

Do I Need A Reverb Pedal?

Reverb is an essential tool for creating a “space” for your guitar to exist within a mix, live or in the studio. While stereo panning moves your guitar placement on a horizontal field of left and right, reverb creates a sense of depth by moving your guitar closer or further away in a mix. A dry guitar sound will be up close and have an “in your face” presence; adding reverb will create an ambient atmosphere and a sense of your guitar being pushed to the back of the mix.

 

Reverb Vs Delay

A delay pedal produces repeats of your guitar playing. A reverb pedal produces ambient reflections of your guitar playing. These effects are similar in application as they’re both typically used at the end of a signal chain or in an effects loop to create an ambient guitar sound that has more presence in a mix.

 

Using Reverb With Delay

It’s common to use reverb & delay pedals together, typically with delay coming first and being fed into the reverb. This combo will create repeats of your playing while the reverb creates a space for it all. However, interesting results can be achieved by reversing the order to reverb then delay. Try a digital delay pedal after a reverb pedal to delay your reverb trails and extend the reverb decay even further. Or use an analog delay pedal with modulation to add warmth and movement to the reverberated delay trails. You could even place a reverb before a fuzz pedal and bath your guitar in noise. There are no rules, so experiment!

 

Types of Reverb

There are many different types of reverb, each having different applications. These are some of the common reverb types found in guitar pedals.

  • Spring – Spring reverb is created naturally by a mechanical system that uses a transducer and pickup at opposite ends of a spring to create and capture vibrations within the spring. Many guitar amps have included spring reverb, most notably the Fender Twin Reverb, and cumbersome amp-top spring reverb units are also available. There are many reverb pedals offering digital emulations of spring reverb, and a few companies have even released real analog spring reverb pedals.
    Best for: surf/rockabilly tones, vintage amp style reverb, “boingy” sounds
  • Room – Room reverbs are used to simulate the natural sound of an acoustic space, typically a small room. These reverbs generally have short reflections that dissipate quickly. Room reverb can be used as a substitute for a slap-back echo type sound or in conjunction with a slap-back delay to further enhance the effect.
    Best for: short/moderate reverb, slap-back echoes
  • Hall – Hall reverb is used to simulate the kind of reverberation found in large concert halls (not the hallway in your home). Hall reverbs are generally much bigger sounding than room reverbs with more reflections and much longer decay times. You’ll sometimes find variations of hall style reverbs with names like “cathedral”.
    Best for: long/very long decay, complex reflections, large sounding reverb
  • Plate Reverb – Plate reverb units were huge machines that fed audio into large hanging sheets of metal to produce a reverb sound that is more focused than a hall reverb while still capable of very long decay times. The EMT 140, a 600lb monstrosity, is the most famous plate reverb. As plate reverb was primarily a studio effect, engineers could apply a delay before the reverb for a pre-delay effect as well as fine-tuning its frequencies with EQ.
    Best for: short to long reverbs, focused reverb
  • Pitch-Shifted aka Shimmer – Shimmer, or pitch-shifted, reverb effects have become very common in guitar pedals in recent years. These reverbs add harmonies to the reverb for otherworldly sounds. Octave up intervals (1 and/or 2) on the wet guitar signal are commonly used to produce an ethereal, halo-like aura in the upper frequencies of the reverberated signal. Other musical intervals including an octave down are also common.
    Best for: “heavenly” reverbs, unnatural ambience, pitch-shifted reverb
  • Other Types of Reverb – There are many less common types of reverb that are worth mentioning. Reverse Reverb was created in the studio by recording the reverb trails and reversing them so that they lead into the sound source; some pedals create interesting variations of this with simulated reversed trails. A Gated Reverb will silence or reduce the level of the reverb when your guitar’s volume drops below a certain threshold; this creates a bigger sound while you’re playing but doesn’t muddy up the mix with reverb between your playing. Convolution Reverb uses audio samples and complex algorithms to simulate real acoustic spaces. I’m aware of one pedal that’s attempted this (with limited options); there’s certainly room for a pedal builder to innovate here. Other reverbs may add bit-crushing, modulation, delay, and other effects for unique hybrid reverb sounds.

The reverb pedals on this list aren’t necessarily in order from best to worst, but we’ve put a few standout pedals towards the top of the list that are pushing the boundaries of what a dedicated reverb pedal is capable of. Each of the pedals listed will cater to guitarists with different needs, and there should be something here that will be right for you.

Now here are the Top 20 Best Reverb Pedals of 2017!

 

Eventide Space & H9

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Builder: Eventide, Pedals: Space/H9, Reverb Type: Multi

Space… the final frontier… of reverb. We’ve gotta talk about the Eventide Space and give a shoutout to the H9 Harmonizer as well. Everyone knows that Eventide has been in the business for decades making highly regarding rack effects processors. The company made a big splash in the guitar pedal game with their “Factor” series stompboxes. Eventide’s Space evolved from those pedals, expanding the digital display with a huge panel that can show 12 characters, handy when using presets. This pedal also marked a release of such high quality reverb effects that Space may arguably be considered the best pre-H9 pedal from Eventide.

What makes Space such a landmark release? In a word: BlackHole. This algorithm alone be may worth the price of admission for the endless amount of inspiration it brings. It’s a vast wormhole of tone, a hall blasted to infinity. When you’re ready to come back from your voyage to the stars and gaze at them from our terrestrial domain, try the Shimmer algorithm. It’s probably the best I’ve heard, not surprising considering Eventide’s long-held dominance in the pitch-shifting arena with their Harmonizer products. Space’s Reverse reverb is also one of the best of that reverb type I’ve heard, delivering backwards and forwards reverb and delay-like repeats. The Spring algorithm is surprisingly good and has plenty of parameters for constructing a pretty convincing digital spring reverb. The classic Room, Hall, and Plate modes are all great with Plate being a personal favorite. ModEchoVerb combines chorus or flange with reverb and echo; feed it some distortion drenched guitar and go nuts. DualVerb gives you 2 independently controllable reverbs. MangledVerb is an overdriven/distorted reverb with detuning. And TremoloVerb takes a massive reverb and applies tremolo to the trails; plenty of waveform options (and dynamic control!) make this one a lot of fun. DynaVerb applies a model of Eventide’s Omnipressor for an adaptable, dynamically processed reverb with gating qualities.

Space has stereo I/O (and sounds amazing in stereo), an Amp/Line Output Level switch and Guitar/Line Input Level switch, MIDI I/O, Expression Pedal & Aux Switch inputs, a programmable HotSwitch for onboard expression, true analog bypass, 100 presets (nameable with 16 characters), and tap tempo with MIDI Clock Sync/Generate.

The Eventide H9 Harmonizer features all of Space’s algorithms plus the H9 exclusive SpaceTime which combines chorus-like modulation with twin delays based on TimeFactor’s Vintage Delay algorithm and a reverb inspired by Space’s Plate algorithm and Eventide’s UltraReverb native plugin. It sounds awesome, and you’ll find a demo of SpaceTime in our Eventide H9 Review. While Space is still a particularly formidable pedal thanks to its tactile knob control, guitarists who want a diverse array of Eventide’s effects, the SpaceTime algorithm, and the smaller form-factor of the H9 may find that pedal to be an even better fit for their setup.

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Empress Effects Reverb

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Builder: Empress Effects, Pedal: Reverb, Reverb Type: Multi

The Empress Effects Reverb is a different kind of multi-algorithm reverb pedal. It looks deceptively standard with its type selector knob and 12 algorithms, but the RGB LEDs next to each type will light up in different colors to select from multiple variations under each reverb type. At the time of this writing there are at least 29 different reverb algorithms available in the Empress Reverb.

What’s more interesting is that while Empress Effects launched the Reverb with over 20 reverb effects, many of the new reverbs are being created in collaboration with users of the Empress Reverb pedal via the Empress Reverb New Features Voting Forum. Empress is also working on an integrated Looper (yes, a looper in a reverb pedal) that’s being developed with feedback from the community being taken into consideration. Basically, this pedal offers a lot of room for expansion, so if you own the pedal and have an interesting idea you’d like to see implemented in the pedal, share your idea and be part of the collaborative process of expanding this pedal.

When I first hear the Empress Reverb at Winter NAMM 2016, it was the Ghost mode that really stood out for me. It’s a resonant reverb that creates haunting ambience. The new “Glummer” reverb under the Sparkle type adds +1 and -2 octave voices and is a standout mode. The Gate mode under the Beer type is front runner for the best gated reverb I’ve found in a pedal. I also fell in love with the Glitch reverb Beer mode. Plenty of strange sounds in here for guitarists looking for something a little… different.

There’s also an array of more traditional Hall, Plate, Spring, and Room reverbs and several Modulation reverb types with the flange reverb and tremolo reverb being a couple of my favorites. The Delay + Reverb modes are all worth exploring. Ambient Swell is excellent. The Reverse sounds are great. And the Lo-Fi settings offer expectedly brittle, filtered reverbs. Stereo I/O, 35 presets, and the expression/MIDI input round out this exceptionally versatile reverb pedal.

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Strymon BigSky

Builder: Strymon, Pedal: BigSky, Reverb Type: Multi

Rounding out the “big 3” of dedicated multi-algorithm reverb pedals is the Strymon BigSky. Aside from the stunning sounds (which we’ll discuss in a moment), this pedal is a big winner if you have a MIDI based rig or used a MIDI effects switcher. It’s the easiest MIDI enabled reverb pedal to integrate in your rig and Strymon has a full list of MIDI functionality and commands in their BigSky reference manual.

But even if you have no interest in MIDI and just need a multi-algorithm reverb pedal to use “as is”, the BigSky has more than enough sounds and options available to make it a worthwhile investment. The 12 included reverb machines span the history of reverb with Spring, Hall, Room, & Plate modes. The BigSky has become arguably the most popular modern ambient reverb pedal thanks to its Swell, Bloom, & Cloud reverb machines. The Chorale reverb adds resonant vocal-like qualities to the ‘verb. The BigSky’s Shimmer has 2 voices each tunable to intervals ranging from -1 octave to +2 octaves. The Magneto machine is an exciting Delay/Reverb that could have been found in the Strymon TimeLine; it uses 3, 4, or 6 simulated playback heads to create its rhythmic echoes. The Nonlinear machine features a few distinct reverb types including reverse reverb sounds and gated reverbs. The Reflections machine is a “psycho-acoustically accurate small-space reverb” according to Strymon. It lets you position your amp anywhere within its virtual space and creates its reverb sounds in accordance with the reflections within that space. You’ve gotta hear this in stereo to fully appreciate it. Actually, every single one of these reverbs sounds amazing in stereo.

The pedal’s 300 presets are easy to select via the foot-switches. You can also name your original reverb creations. Even if you don’t dive into the menus, the surface controls make it easy to get usable sounds or search for a usable preset on the fly. It’s extremely low noise. The dry signal stays 100% analog. It’s got buffered or true bypass. There’s also a Cab Filter switch for simulating the sound of playing through a guitar speaker cabinet (I’ve personally used it for gigs with satisfactory results). And there’s an expression pedal input for controlling parameters in real-time. The Strymon BigSky will be a staple on this list until the day Strymon releases its successor.

Read the Strymon BigSky review.

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Spaceman Orion

Builder: Spaceman Effects, Pedal: Orion, Reverb Type: Analog Spring

I got to hear the Spaceman Orion when it was unveiled back at Summer NAMM 2015. Even through a little custom made headphone amp, I knew this 100% analog spring reverb pedal was going to be something very special. A few builders have attempted putting real spring reverb into a pedal, but the Orion stands out for several reasons.

The Orion is much smaller than your old amp-top spring reverb unit. That’s due to the reverb coming from an Accutronics Blue Reverb 2-spring module. The spring reverb is suspended inside the pedal (by springs of course) so that it doesn’t create jarring noise artifacts when engaging and disengaging the pedal. Also, the soft-touch foot-switch is relay controlled for quiet switching. Essentially, this design is optimized for stage performance, and even loud rumbling and stage noise will have minimal impact on the spring unit. Very cool. Still want a spring reverb pan crash? Give the pedal a mild kick. But if kicking your pedalboard is too risky for you, put the Orion in your amp’s effects loop and have your guitar tech give it a light bump against a hard surface to rattle those springs.

A simple and usable control setup includes a wet/dry Blend, Tone for brightening and darkening the reverb, and Dwell for expending the decay time of the reverb. The Volume knob sets your makeup gain for ensuring a consistent output level (or providing a little boost), handy when dialing in a lot of reverb.

It’s worth noting that being a real analog spring reverb pedal, the Spaceman Orion isn’t as pristinely quiet as modern digital reverb emulations. However, if real analog tone and mojo is what you’re going for, this pedal has plenty of it. The Orion shouldn’t be mistaken for a clone of a particular vintage spring reverb unit. Instead, it offers an all new spring reverb sound in a stage friendly pedal that spring reverb fans and analog gear lovers will find pleasing and musical.

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Old Blood Noise Endeavors Dark Star V2

Builder: Old Blood Noise, Pedal: Dark Star V2, Reverb Type: Pitch-Shifting/Other

The Old Blood Noise Endeavors Dark Star V2 takes their cult hit reverb pedal and adds expression pedal control. The awesome sounds of this pedal make it one of the more interesting experimental reverbs out there. OBNE calls it a “pad reverb”, meaning it’s meant for big atmospheric, textural effects, the kind that invoke emotions from the soundscapes you weave with it.

There are 3 reverb modes in the Dark Star V2: Pitch, Delay, & Crush. The Pitch setting gives you dual pitch-shifted voices each of which can be manually dialed in to any interval from -1 octave to +1 octave. The Delay mode brings in a delay line after the reverb to extend the ambience into the empty void of space. The Crush reverb adds a single pitch-shifted voice from the Pitch mode along with a sample rate reduction control that reduces your signal to bits.

The Dark Star V2 does bring back the handy Hold function which will spike the CTRL 1 parameter to its maximum, great for wild pitch jumps, but plugging in an expression pedal is where things really get fun as you can shift the pitch through its range for surreal reverb sounds. Everything about this pedal from its sounds to its beautiful artwork make it a modern masterpiece of experimental reverb greatness.

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Free The Tone Ambi Space

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Builder: Free The Tone, Pedal: AS-1R, Reverb Type: Multi

The Free The Tone Ambi Space was destined to be a solid reverb pedal considering the impeccable sound quality of the company’s Flight Time Digital Delay & Tri Avatar Stereo Chorus, but the Ambi Space surpassed my expectations for several reasons. First, it’s definitely the easiest to use multi-algorithm reverb pedal with presets. The interface is simple, making it a dream for performing guitarists who need only a few (up to 4) different reverb sounds but don’t want to spend all day tweaking to find the perfect setting.

The 6 available reverb modes all sound great. I actually love the Spring mode which is rare. I rarely use the Spring settings of any multi-algorithm reverb pedal, but I really like the feel of this one even though it’s more of a pristine hybrid spring reverb sound as opposed to a 100% accurate emulation of a real spring reverb tank. The Plate, Room, & Hall settings are all function workhorse reverbs that perform their duties well. The Cave & Serene are unique takes on a hall-style reverb that have unique reflection patterns and density. Cave has a dynamic sound in its reflections that I really like, and Serene is my favorite Ambi Space reverb for lingering atmospheric sounds.

The Ambi Space’s surprisingly small size makes it a great travel board ‘verb for gigging guitarists who need great sounds, a few presets, and yes, stereo ins & outs. The Ambi Space is excellent in stereo. There’s even a Kill-Dry switch for wet/dry guitar rigs and an Input Level switch for line or instrument sources. Kudos to Free The Tone for the MIDI in jack that allows preset selection, activating/bypassing the pedal, and CC control of parameters. Also, the absolutely silent switching ensures zero noise when activating/bypassing the pedal. It’s no surprise that the Ambi Space is such a great performance reverb pedal considering Free The Tone’s background in building systems for professional musicians. This one is highly recommended for performing guitarists who just want a few reverb sounds while still keeping their compact pedalboard setup as simple as possible.

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Catalinbread Talisman

Builder: Catalinbread, Pedal: Talisman, Reverb Type: Plate

The Catalinbread Talisman might be this builder’s best kept secret, and more guitarists need to experience this awesome plate reverb. Why does this pedal rock? While hall reverbs are great for big ambience and long decays, their complexity often clutters up a mix and takes over the frequency spectrum. Plate reverbs have a more focused and refined sound; they’re more dense for a reverb that’s more like an extension of the sound(s) they’re applied to. The Talisman creates a focused extension of your guitar sound as well as a long sustaining ambience.

If you’re using a plate reverb in the studio, you might want to roll-off the low frequencies to keep the low-end from getting muddy. The Talisman’s High Pass knob does this very well, keeping the low end in a band mix very clean. You might also apply some delay on a mixer’s aux send to stagger the reverb’s timing. The Pre Delay knob functions in a similar way, providing up to around 100mS of delay before the reverb is heard.

The Mix, Time, & Vol knobs round out the Talisman’s parameter set. Mix is your wet/dry blend. The Talisman can extend the reverb decay to infinity via the Time knob. In the default buffered bypass mode (true bypass is an internal option), the trails spillover when you disengage the pedal. You can let huge trails sustain while you play over them. The Vol knob controls an analog preamp that can give a substantial amount of volume boost. This remains active in buffered mode and can add to your overall sound and push your amp harder if you crank it. It cleans up with your guitar’s volume knob, too. Don’t let the Talisman being just a plate reverb fool you into thinking it’s a one-trick-pony. There’s a powerful amount of versatility housed in this amulet of great reverb tone.

Read the Catalinbread Talisman review.

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Red Panda Context

Builder: Red Panda, Pedal: Context, Reverb Type: Multi

The Red Panda Context is arguably the most conventional pedal released from this builder, yet no other compact reverb pedal sounds quite like it. While Red Panda pedals like the Particle & Bitmap venture into bizarre sonic frontiers, the Context contains reverb effects that will appeal to a wider audience of guitarists. But don’t assume that the Context is a run of the mill reverb pedal. The 6 reverb algorithms included are each bold and musical in their own ways and can still venture into uncharted spatial territories.

The Room effect has the typical shallow reflections and snappy reverb you’d expect to find, but as you push up the Decay the walls of this room collapse, leaving you floating in space. The Hall mode is similar to the Room with a bigger cluster of early reflections. You can get shorter room-like sounds and send your guitar out the airlock when you max the Decay. The Cathedral setting is like a bigger, brighter hall. The Cathedral’s decay also seems to have a mild modulation on the trails. It’s a great variation of a hall-like theme, and if it’s a bit bright at first, Damping the sound helps. The Gated reverb seems more like a variation of a Room reverb in it sounds and how it’s controlled. The Decay controls the Gate Time, to cut off the reverb after you’d quite playing, but the smaller sound of the reverb is dissimilar to how it would sound to gate a hall reverb, for example. The Plate is another great reverb for long washes of trails. This one sounds greatly fully wet with long decay (controlled by Delay on this mode). The Delay knob combines a standard digital delay (the most “normal” delay Red Panda’s ever created) and reverb, an essential combination and adds extra utility to the Context. Yes, you can control the reverb length and delay feedback separately for shallow or huge sounds. This pedal is massive far beyond its humble size.

Read the Red Panda Context review.

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EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath/Transmisser

Builder: EarthQuaker Devices, Pedals: Afterneath/Transmisser, Reverb Type: Other

I have to mention the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath & Transmisser at the same time as they’re both similarly messed up pedals although they produce quite different sonic results. It’s important to point out their similarities and differences to help you get an idea of which one might be suited for your reverb explorations.

The Afterneath takes your guitar signal and multiplies it like a multi-tap delay-ish effect, replicating your playing with a ping-pong like series of delay taps. This is fed into a huge, cavernous reverb that can linger for eternity if you crank the Length knob. The Drag knob sets the spacing of those delay taps and can warp the pitch of the reverb trails by turning it in either direction while the reverb is sustaining. This pedal is one of the best EarthQuaker Devices pedals and is quite unlike anything else out there. Well, except maybe the Transmisser…

The Transmisser may seem like the new Afterneath at first, but you’ll see that it’s actually its own unique flavor of reverb once you look closer and have a listen. The Transmisser does big reverb, too, but it’s not quite as over the top huge sounding as the Afterneath. But where it does go off the rails is with the Freq knob that controls the frequency peak of a resonant filter placed after the reverb. This is also expression pedal controllable for extra sweepy fun. There’s a strange modulation that’s always present, the speed of which is controlled by the Rate knob. It’s slightly modulating the reverb and the Freq & Darkness parameters depending on where the Warp knob is set. Sound confusing? It’s easier to get the hang of when using it. The Warp knob can also mangle the pitch of the reverb in a somewhat similar way to the Afterneath’s Drag control. While the Afterneath is still my personal favorite of the two, you gotta hand it to EarthQuaker Devices for again pushing reverb into new outlandish territories.

Read the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath review.

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Mr. Black SuperMoon

Builder: Mr. Black, Pedal: SuperMoon, Reverb Type: Modulated

One look at the Mr. Black SuperMoon and its artwork should give you an idea of what to expect: big expansive reverb with a modulated ebb and flow that pulls like the Moon on the tides. See that guy on the pedal? Put a guitar in his hands, and that’ll be you when you plug into this thing.

The SuperMoon is a pedal for guitarists who like their reverb pedals dead simple yet full of lively sounds. The Reverb knob brings in your level of reverb up to a 50/50% mix. The Decay extends the reverb trails from 300mS to over 30 seconds. The Sway knob brings in the modulation which adds a slow moving detuning effect that warps the pitch of the reverberated signal. It’s a mesmerizing sound that’s executed flawlessly. Despite the numerous attempts from other builders to create similar modulated reverb sounds, Mr. Black’s SuperMoon is still something very special. On a side note, I love that it’s not soft touch bypass and still switches silently for no loud pops as you engage/disengage the pedal.

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Adventure Audio Whateverb

Builder: Adventure Audio, Pedal: Whateverb, Reverb Type: Shimmer/Room/Other

When the Adventure Audio Whateverb was first unveiled on a breadboard back at Summer NAMM 2015, it was apparent that this would be a pedal worth keeping an eye on. The pedal finally materialized in a nice, sparkly enclosure with an appearance that evokes the sounds you’ll find in this pedal. The 3 modes – This, That, & Otherb – offer some unique choices for guitarists who want something a little different in a reverb. “This” mode features a flanger on the reverb for a metallic modulation. The Warp knob seems to affect the delay time to alter the character of the flanging. “That” mode is a room reverb with High Tide & Low Tide controls to change the tonality of the room sound. I like to crank the Decay for a big hall-like ambience. The Warp knob seems to affect the density of the reflections for a compounded or sparse sound. It’ll also warp the pitch of your trails. The “Otherb” mode is where the Whateverb’s shimmer is housed, giving you an octave up sheen to your reverb. The Warp increases or decreases the offset of the shimmer effect as well as warping the pitch if you turn it while trails are sustaining. Speaking of trails the pedal also has a buffered bypass for spillover trails, but, you know, Whateverb.

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Digitech Polara

Builder: Digitech, Pedal: Polara, Reverb Type: Multi

A few years ago Digitech came back swinging with a stream of new releases that have redefined the company for the modern era of guitar pedals. The Digitech Polara is one such pedal that has garnered attention for being an affordable multi-algorithm stereo reverb machine filled with great Lexicon quality sounds.

The Room & Hall modes are great go-to ‘verbs for creating the ambience of real space. The Spring mode is solid, particularly at lower Liveliness (aka Tone) settings and nails a surfy springy-ness better than a lot of spring emulations. The Plate mode is awesome and sounds great no matter where you set the knobs. Try maxing everything out with this one for some big ambience that doesn’t overwhelm with infinite decay although some of you might wish it could. The Reverse mode is another standout, taking your guitar into a 100% wet reversed ‘verb ambience. This one’s fun for experimental and shoegazy sounds. The Modulated mode evokes the big ambience of the Hall & Plate modes but with a swirling movement that adds interest to your reverb trails. And finally, the Halo verb adds some shimmering octave up brilliance to your playing. It’s a really great sounding and stable shimmer. While I wish there was greater control to bring out the octave voice a little more, you can still get a great sound by cranking the Liveliness and adjusting the Level to taste. All these reverbs sound excellent in stereo, and the optional spillover trails option is icing on the cake for one of the best bargains you’ll find in a multi-algorithm reverb pedal.

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Catalinbread Topanga

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Builder: Catalinbread, Pedal: Topanga, Reverb Type: Digital Spring

The idea was to take a bulky Fender 6G15 spring reverb unit that utilizes tubes, springs, and a resonating metal pan and stuff it into a tiny pedal utilizing ones & zeros, resistors, and capacitors. Sounds easy, right? I doubt it was, but the brave pedal builders in Portland, Oregon, were up to the task. The Catalinbread Topanga Spring Reverb is the result.

The familiar Dwell, Tone, & Mix controls are here, giving you control over the length of the reverb, the overall brightness or darkness of the ‘verb, and adjustment of the mix from dry to fully wet. The Vol knob lets you boost your signal output which is useful for compensating for any loss in volume when cranking the Mix.

The vintage style reverb tones are some of the best you’ll find without using real springs. If you just want the smallest and best sounding spring reverb, the Catalinbread Topanga is probably your pedal. There’s also a “secret” modulation mode if you want something a little more modern.

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Neunaber Immerse Reverberator

Builder: Neunaber, Pedal: Immerse, Reverb Type: Multi

The Neunaber Immerse takes the high quality reverb algorithms from the builder’s Expanse line of pedals and makes them all readily available via a dedicated selector knob. Neunaber has garnered much praise for their detailed reverb algorithms, and the Immerse is the easiest way to access them all without needing an app. Their shimmer reverb algorithms are legendary and are right up there among the best you’ll find in pedals costing much more. The Immerse’s 2 shimmer ‘verbs will make this pedal worth the price of entry for some guitarists. Neunaber’s signature Wet algorithm is also here along with a variation with detuning and one with echo for solid reverb + delay sounds. And there are great sounding Hall, Plate, & Spring modes worth exploring. Switchable options for trails and kill dry round out the feature set. And let’s not forget the stereo I/O as the Neunaber Immerse is most impressive in a dedicated stereo setup. The Immerse may arguably be the best stereo reverb pedal in an enclosure this small. It’s certainly the best stereo shimmer reverb in a pedal this size.

Read the Neunaber Immerse review.

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Keeley Electronics Loomer

Builder: Keeley Electronics, Pedal: Loomer, Reverb Type: Multi/Fuzz

The Keeley Electronics Loomer is a landmark release from Robert & Co. for several reasons. Essentially, the pedal’s goal was to capture the sounds of early 90’s “shoegaze” alternative rock, particularly the reverb laden guitar sounds of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields.

The Loomer has 3 reverb modes. Focus emulates the sound of the Soft Focus patch from the Yamaha FX500 multi effects processor from the late 80’s. This mode cascades a dense reverb, 2 delays (250mS & 380mS), and a 4-voice chorus to create a lush, mesmerizing reverb. The Reverse mode emulates similar reverse reverb effects from the period and has a couple interesting additions. It includes an optional envelope triggered vibrato that detunes your guitar when you strum, and the Warmth (Tone) knob is in the style of a Fender Jazzmaster’s rhythm pickup tone control for getting your ‘gaze on. The Hall mode includes an optional shimmer effect controlled via the Depth knob that blends in a “halo-esque” ascending octave up feedback loop.

Aside from the great reverb modes in the Loomer, there’s a dedicated Muff inspired fuzz section that’s excellent in and of itself. Try feeding the reverb into the fuzz for more shoegazy fun. The Loomer is one of the more exciting pedals from Keeley Electronics and definitely worth looking into if you want more versatility from a reverb pedal.

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Walrus Audio Descent

Builder: Walrus Audio, Pedal: Descent, Reverb Type: Multi

You’ve gotta love the Walrus Audio Descent. It’s got a killer style like all Walrus Audio pedals, and this might be best reverb pedal sporting a trio of algorithms. It’s got a huge Hall sound that’ll cover smaller to absolutely cavernous sounding reverbs. There’s a Reverse mode that is one of my personal favorite reverse reverb algorithms in any pedal. And then there’s a dedicated Shimmer mode with the expected octave up plus an octave down that contribute to the Descent’s absolutely huge reverb sounds. And guess what? The shimmering octave up and booming octave down and be applied to the Hall & Reverse settings as well. Game changer right there. The pedal also gives you 3 foot-switchable presets, expression pedal control, and dual outputs. Probably still Walrus Audio’s best pedal to date.

Read the Walrus Audio Descent review.

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Caroline Guitar Company Météore

top-best-reverb-guitar-effects-pedals-19

Builder: Caroline Guitar Company, Pedal: Météore, Reverb Type: Other

When I first saw this pedal I mistook for a lo-fi reverb in the vein of the company’s Kilobyte Lo-Fi Delay. But the Caroline Guitar Company Météore (pronounced “May-Tay-Or”) was inspired by a tiled train tunnel in France. Weird, right? Wait till you hear how it sounds. It has a bright, crashy tonality with jagged reflections that somehow manage to blossom into a beautiful mess of wonderful noise. I mean that in the best possible way. There’s also an integrated drive circuit that further trashes up the sound in amazing ways. Even at full on settings, it doesn’t get overwhelming and remains remarkably playable. The Havoc foot-switch creates infinite decay when pressed and held, further fueling this pedal’s desire to be on your live pedalboard. Bedroom guitarists will still dig the Météore, but this pedal is begging to be played on stage. But fear not… if you’re not shopping for a reverb for your live ‘board. Get out there. Start a band. Get a Météore. And rock out like you mean it. \m/

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That concludes our Top 20 Reverb Pedals of 2017. Thanks for reading.

“But wait,” you say, “I only counted 19 pedals!”

We’re leaving a spot open to fill with an exceptional reverb pedal yet to be decided upon. If you have a suggestion, let us know in the comments.

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Comments

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  1. A lot of you find that in the real world you need a reverb that you can set up and ignore and do your gig.
    Most settle either on a spring reverb or a cheapy reverb that you leave on one sound all night. Often if you are honest it is less then pleasing. I found the answer The Catalinbread Talisman. It never turns your lower mids or bass to mush…it makes the best spring reverb sound like a “Rock-a Billy only effect.
    Best of all EVERYTHING you put thru it sounds better…a lot better.
    It even records great. You can take it right into the studio without freaking out the engineer. IT IS THAT GOOD!!!

  2. Most of these are awesome reverbs. I really want to try the obne darkstar and the eventide space though.

  3. Damn all those seems to sound so much more colourful than my tc Hall of fame, the grass is always greener on guitar pedals you don’t have I guess.