Table of Contents
- Types of Reverb
- 1.Dr. Scientist The Atmosphere
- 2.Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb
- 3.Anasounds Element Spring Reverb
- 4.Line 6 HX Stomp
- 5.Eventide Space & H9
- 6.Empress Effects Reverb
- 7. Meris Mercury7 Reverb
- 8.Strymon BigSky
- 9. GFI System Specular Tempus
- 10. Chase Bliss Audio Dark World
- 12. Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb
- 13.Old Blood Noise Endeavors Dark Star V2
- 14.Free The Tone Ambi Space
- 15. EarthQuaker Devices Avalance Run V2
- 16.Red Panda Context
- 17.EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath/Transmisser
- 18.Catalinbread Talisman
- 19.Caroline Guitar Company Météore
Welcome to Best Guitar Effects’ Top 19 Best Reverb Pedals for 2020. 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 19 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 for 2020!
1.Dr. Scientist The Atmosphere
We’ve got to give a big shout-out to The Atmosphere by Dr. Scientist. This pedal made 2018’s Pedals of the Year list, and it’s one of the more visionary pedals released in recent years. A lot of builders kind of rest on their laurels a bit, and they sometimes make improvements in small steps, not big strides. For Dr. Scientist, The Atmosphere draws on their past experience and makes big pushes toward a future where musicians will experience new ways to interact with their pedals.
From a design standpoint, the most eye-catching aspect of The Atmosphere (besides its beautiful blue gradient sparkle finish) is its large color screen. This shows you which of the pedal’s 16 modes you’re using and identifies a few key parameters including the CTRL 1 & 2 functions which are different in each reverb mode. An array of 8 knobs, dedicated EXP & MIDI Inputs, and a programmable Multi foot-switch give you numerous ways to interact with the pedal.
When it comes to sounds, The Atmosphere offers plenty of classic styles of reverb such as Room, Hall, Spring, & Plate and more. And there are plenty of hybrid types (various Modulation & Delay, Bit-Crushed, Filtered, Pitch, etc.) as well as a few inspired creations including Smear and Aether. (Check out the in-depth Pedals of the Year article for more info.) And what’s really interesting is that the character of any of the reverb modes can be drastically influenced by the setting of the Res knob. This parameter changes the resolution of the FV-1 chip from 16kHz to 32kHz, making the reverb sound more lo-fi or detailed. It’s also incredibly fun to adjust this parameter with an expression pedal to warp the reverb sound in real-time.
One curious aspect of The Atmosphere’s design is that the Tone control is an all-analog active Treble circuit, letting you boost or cut the high-end as needed. The setting isn’t saved with the user presets; instead, it acts more like a Master Tone control. This might seem strange to the bedroom shoegazer, but guitarists who gig regularly will likely be aware of how room ambience can change. Factors from wall surface materials to audience density can affect the top-end of your sound. Having a Master Tone knob on The Atmosphere lets you dial in the pedal to the sound of the room you’re playing in. While I’d generally prefer to have my tone settings saved with my presets, this design “drawback” could actually be a boon for performing musicians. Not to mention the Tone knob actually sounds pretty good when boosted (if you like brighter reverbs) and adds more of a hi-fi sheen rather than adding unwanted hiss and noise.
Also, big kudos to Dr. Scientist for adding in MIDI and 16 user presets (1 for each mode). Presets can be recalled via MIDI or by the onboard Multi foot-switch if you prefer to keep your rig simpler. The Atmosphere is a bold step forward for Dr. Scientist and just like how Dr. Scientist pioneered boutique pedal design with their early adoption of top-mounted I/O jacks and relay bypass foot-switches, I expect more of their subtle influence to resonate through the pedal world thanks to the successful execution of this ground-breaking reverb pedal.
2.Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb
Source Audio found themselves in the limelight after releasing their smash hit Nemesis Delay pedal. And the follow-up to their powerhouse compact multi-delay pedal is none other than a dual reverb pedal. Rather than just release a standard reverb pedal that lets you recall one algorithm at a time, the Ventris Dual Reverb uses two high-powered 56-bit DSP processors to generate one or two incredibly complex reverb models of real and artificial spaces.
The main benefits of having twin reverb processors are that this approach offers unique possibilities that are unlikely to be found in most pedals. Even if you just want to use one reverb at a time, the “preset spillover” that having two processors allows may be enticing enough for some reverb obsessed musicians. And of course there’s the ability to run two reverbs at once in series or parallel variations that is probably the biggest draw of the Ventris.
It’s really worth mentioning how good the algorithms sound. The convenient mode selector knob gives you quick access to 12 different reverb types, and these default algorithms are already incredibly inspiring. Source Audio’s Neuro app offers even more reverb modes, and you can overwrite a few of your favorites to any of the Mode knob’s 12 positions in case there are a few must-haves that you want quick access to. A few of my personal favorite reverbs are the Plate, Lo-Fi, and the Hall (and the many variations of these modes). And of course Source Audio’s True Spring and Outboard Spring are arguably the best digital spring reverb algorithms currently available; the builder’s impeccable work in this area even led to the builder releasing the standalone True Spring Reverb pedal.
The Ventris is simply a monster reverb pedal. You can get set up and going out of the box which will be fine if you run a standard rig consistently, but if you really want to get the most out of the pedal, I’d recommend digging in with the desktop Neuro Editor for much deeper customization of the Ventris’ many sounds and parameters. If you want the widest range of ultra high quality reverb sounds in a pedal, the Ventris is hard to beat.
3.Anasounds Element Spring Reverb
The Anasounds Element is a remarkably special entry on this list. The pedal’s development started with a goal to reproduce the reverb sounds from the legendary Fender Twin Reverb amplifier. Anasounds tried many different solutions including using the popular Spin Semiconductor FV-1, the Accutronics Belton BTDR, and early on even built a full-on tube spring reverb in their many attempts at accomplishing their task. Their efforts finally yielded a satisfactory result in what we have here: the Element analog spring reverb.
The Element is a standalone pedal that you connect to one of three different spring reverb tanks: Le Bon, La Brute, or Le Truand. Their varying sizes and sounds give users a trio of choices that will accommodate different preferences of sound and allocations of space. The Element itself is smartly designed with all jacks being top-mounted, letting the pedal fit conveniently on most organized pedalboards. The Le Bon tank could easily squeeze in on the surface or beneath the board. La Brute could also fit under most boards. And Le Truand may fit under some larger custom boards or in your amp’s speaker cab.
The Element offers several unique parameter controls for dialing in your ideal spring reverb. The Mix and Out knobs will let you get the perfect blend of reverb in your mix. The active High and Low EQ controls will let you get your reverb tone just right by contouring the upper frequencies and shaping the bass, respectively. The Spring Saturation switch slams the springs harder for a hotter reverb sound and is arguably one of coolest aspects of the whole package (besides, of course, using real springs and being able to see them through the open windows of the tanks).
The Element carries the torch for guitarists seeking real spring reverb, taking the classic sounds of early 60’s spring units and combining them with modern conveniences. The Element is hands-down the new must-try pedal for connoisseurs of real analog spring reverb tones who will settle for nothing less than real spring “drip”, lo-fi mechanical grit, cavernous depth, and that unmistakeable cool factor of slamming your guitar signal through coiled metal to produce your reverb. And don’t forget the fun of bumping the tanks for sporadic spring reverb pan crashes!
4.Line 6 HX Stomp
Okay, I don’t usually include “multi-effects” pedals in these roundups, but the Line 6 HX Stomp is such a game changer that it absolutely must be included here. While this pedal offers a ton of effects spanning all categories, I’m going to focus on what it offers to musicians seeking a new a reverb pedal.
First, know that the HX Stomp lets users chain together up to 6 effects in “blocks” which are clearly visible on its big illuminated LCD screen. These blocks can be linked in series or routed in parallel. Reverb (& Delay) blocks also have Trails On/Off options, so switching between two reverbs within a preset and achieving spillover is possible. Things get more interesting when you layer reverbs and delays. You can create massive ambient sounds very easily that no other pedal comes close to matching. Delay into Reverb? Easy. Reverb into Delay? Yep. Both in series? Uh-huh. Delay into Reverb into more Delay or Reverb? You get the idea. And that’s not to mention what else you could do by adding in Modulation effects and other effects types.
As for the reverb effect sounds, the HX Stomp has all the legacy stereo reverb models from the discontinued Verbzilla pedal. While some of those models still hold up pretty well, the bigger draw in terms of reverb are the 5 new Helix quality algorithms: Glitz, Ganymede, Searchlights, Plateaux, and Double Tank. Their descriptions aren’t in the current manual revision, but from what I’ve gathered the sounds are as follows: Glitz is a big diffused reverb; Ganymede is a modulated hall-ish style reverb; Searchlights is a big ambient style reverb comparable to the BigSky’s “Cloud” mode; Double Tank seems to be a plate reverb (not a spring mode as I guessed); And Plateaux is a pitched reverb with shimmer (not a simple plate mode as I expected). Each of these modes has been meticulously crafted, and they’re on par with other top-tier algorithms from various reputable builders. And on a side note, some of the Helix reverbs have low-cut filtering which really adds to the studio-grade feature set; cutting low-end is critical to maintaining a clean mix, and most reverb pedals skimp on this essential feature. With the HX Stomp you can have big reverb ambiance while not sacrificing a tight bottom end in your recordings and live mixes.
While I’m focusing on the reverb sounds here, the bigger picture features of the HX Stomp also contribute to why it’s one of the best reverb pedals around. Having amp & cab modeling and a dedicated stereo send & return FX Loop also add to the utility. You can stack other pedals in your effects chain before or after reverbs, and you can place the reverb before or after your amp & cab models. This routing versatility is unmatched in a triple foot-switch stompbox. For my personal rig lately, the HX Stomp has become a staple while I’ve been switching other reverb and delay pedals in and out of rotation. The HX Stomp has become the baseline standard, and another pedals have to demonstrate enough utility on their own to earn a place beside this remarkable pedal. Try it for yourself, and you’ll likely agree that the staggering amount of options and sound quality are very impressive.
5.Eventide Space & H9
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.
6.Empress Effects Reverb
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.
Read the Empress Effects Reverb review.
7. Meris Mercury7 Reverb
The Meris Mercury7 Reverb is a pedal that offers musicians a cinematic reverb experience. It’s not really fair to classify the Mecury7’s two algorithms as simply plate and hall inspired reverbs. Meris approached the creation of the Mercury7’s reverbs with inspiration from Vangelis’ original soundtrack to the film, Bladerunner. There’s an almost otherworldly aspect to the conception of this pedal, and you can get there by approaching the pedal with appreciation for what it aims to accomplish. Admittedly, I wasn’t as excited at first by the Mercury7 as I should have been mainly because I was skeptical of the pedal having only 2 reverb modes. But there are levels to be explored and ascended to realize the greatness it has to offer. When I finally got to hear it myself and play it first-hand, things clicked for me, and I came to appreciate what this exceptional instrument is capable of.
The Cathedra algorithm is the bigger, more expansive and slow-building ambient hall-ish reverb. It’s particularly impressive with copious amounts of Space Decay, and it’s really fun to explore with the Swell function. The Ultraplate reverb is a plate style style reverb and is a personal favorite plate reverb of mine, particularly thanks to its incredible sound in stereo. Even with just a hint of this reverb applied to my signal in stereo, I feel that it just makes everything I feed into it sound better. I’ve had a lot of fun stacking reverbs with the Mercury7 adding the finishing touches to any other mono or stereo reverb in my signal chain.
What adds to the sonic versatility of this pedal aside from the two reverb modes are the few extra ways it allows you to customize your reverb sound. The Modulate knob adds in some swaying modulation which creates movement and interest. The Pitch Vector can adding rising and falling pitch effects as well as -oct, +5th, and shimmer effects. Be sure to experiment with the Pitch Mix alt parameter to dial this in for best results. There’s also optional Vibrato if you want even more modulation.
This isn’t the flashiest pedal of the Meris lineup (currently at 4 releases as of this writing), but the Mercury7 is my personal favorite Meris pedal released to date particularly for how great it sounds and how well it integrates in a pedalboard setup. But like the rest of the Meris lineup, this pedal also excels if you approach like a rack processor to be used in the studio. It’s simply high-end in every way.
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.
9. GFI System Specular Tempus
The GFI System Specular Tempus is a sleeper hit pedal that combines 16 reverb algorithms AND 16 delay algorithms in one reasonably small stompbox. It’s probably the ultimate “either/or” reverb & delay. If you need a new ambient pedal at the end of your signal chain and aren’t sure whether to get a new delay or a new reverb, the Specular Tempus is essentially two pedals in one. Also, It has 3 Hybrid reverb modes with delays and 3 Hybrid “Diffuse” delay modes with a reverb-like sound.
As far as the reverbs go, there’s plenty of great sounds to cover most ground with types including Room, Tile Room, 70’s Plate, and Spring. The Spatium setting is the pedal’s signature reverb; it’s impressive and big sounding, yet it leaves your instrument room to breathe. There are plenty of algorithms that get into more ambient and experimental territory with Modulated, Shimmer, and Swell offering solid variations of the expected types of reverb they produce. The Vortex mode is a resonant reverb. Voices adds pitch-shifted voices to a Spatium style reverb. The Anti-Shimmer is a really cool reverb that provides earth rumbling low-end reverb sounds. Tremble is a tremolo-verb. And Infinity is GFI System’s take on an infinitely sustaining reverb that lets you layer textual ambience for big pad-like reverb effects. The 3 Reverb + Delay Hybrid options give you a Spatium style reverb with up to 800mS of either Digital, Analog, or Echo. And that’s not even counting the 16 impressive delay modes (see our Top Delay Pedals article for more info).
GFI System has spared no attention to detail with the Specular Tempus. Its top-mounted stereo I/O keeps it compact, taking up little pedalboard space. It has 32 onboard preset slots. You can use a 1, 2, or 3-button foot-switch to gain additional control of the pedal’s functions. It even has an Aux Out which can either send its tap tempo signal to another pedal or control remote switching on your amp. And of course it has deep MIDI functionality if you want even more control. GFI System even created a dedicated SpecLab application for Mac & Windows that allows you to further customize (and save) your sounds.
The Specular Tempus is simply an incredible value and a brilliantly designed pedal that more guitarists should experience first-hand. It’s capable enough to cover plenty of ground whether you want quality reverb and/or delay sounds.
10. Chase Bliss Audio Dark World
It seems like Chase Bliss Audio can do no wrong when it comes to releasing smash hit guitar pedals. Fans have been clamoring for a reverb for years, but musicians didn’t expect that the builder would break with their “Digital Brain, Analog Heart” tradition by releasing an all-digital reverb pedal. What’s more, they teamed up with Cooper FX and Keeley Electronics to make a dual reverb pedal with both of those builders contributing 3 & 3 algorithms, respectively, to create an inspiring work horse reverb pedal that offers some surprisingly creative and inspiring options.
The left side of this pedal is the “Dark” side, offering 3 otherworldly algorithms that offer something a little different from the norm. The Dark World’s biggest draw is certainly the Mod mode which is inspired by the Cooper FX Generation Loss, a gritty, lo-fi, modulated VHS inspired reverb mode. Then there’s the Shim mode that provides a unique take on shimmer style reverbs. The Black mode an infinite reverb responds to your playing samples to sample and layer reverb texture behind your playing. On the right side of the pedal are 3 solid modes that are inspiring by real-world reverb sounds. The Plate and Hall are similar in use yet offer different shades of tonality and reflection response. The Spring mode has a heavy “drip” sound, and the unconventional Pre-Delay for this algorithm lets you offset it for a slapback style echo of reverb.
Things get even more interesting when you route the reverbs in series and parallel. Running 2 reverbs at once provides new sounds that wouldn’t be available otherwise. And when you find a combination of sounds you like, you can save your creations as presets. The Dark World also has all the other expected Chase Bliss Audio features such as Ramping, EXP/CV control, MIDI functionality with 122 MIDI selectable presets, and compatibility with the builder’s “Faves” foot-switch for easier access to 6 presets.
The Dark World is yet another unique pedal that further solidifies Chase Bliss Audio’s endearing reputation with their devoted following and gives newcomers an inspiring introduction to this distinguished brand.
11.Neunaber Immerse MKII
The Neunaber Immerse MKII features some of the best reverb algorithms you’ll hear in a compact stompbox, and you’ll often hear musicians comparing Neunaber’s algorithms to those in pedals that cost twice as much or more. It’s not surprising either when you consider the fact that Brian Neunaber, the engineer behind the algorithms, is able to draw upon a programming expertise and critical attention to sonic detail honed by nearly three decades of experience in this field.
While I briefly discuss the sounds this pedal offers, be aware that you should hear these sounds first-hand to understand why they’re different from those of any other pedal in its class. The W3T algorithm is the 3rd iteration of Neunaber’s signature “WET” reverb. It offers a big, smooth ambience that is detailed and “more three-dimensional sounding”. In stereo this is even more apparent. Optional pre-delay of up to 200mS gives your guitar even more room in the mix. The Plate and Hall modes both offer stellar takes on their respective styles of ambience with the Plate mode providing up to 200mS of pre-delay and the Hall offering optional Modulation. Spring is a solid algorithm that captures the “drip” characteristics of real spring reverb pretty well. The Sustain mode, built off the W3T reverb, is a favorite for infinite reverb sounds and lets you adjust the hold and release of the layered reverb textures. Echo is a solid reverb + delay algorithm with 50-700mS of delay echo available. The “↓tune” reverb adds a detuned chorus-like aspect to the reverb. And finally, the Shim is the latest iteration of Neunaber’s stellar shimmer reverb, arguably among the very best in this class of reverb among any notable pedals you could compare it to.
Perhaps most impressive is that the Immerse MKII’s algorithms are running on the widely used Spin Semiconductor FV-1 chip, yet this pedal sounds incredibly more rich and detailed than any other pedal I’ve heard using this chip. And the Immerse MKII can run in full stereo, delivering incredibly impressive reverb sounds that greatly exceed the sonic detail musicians are used to hearing from pedals that use the FV-1 chip. It’s really all in the algorithms, and Neunaber’s efforts show that beautiful and detailed new reverb sounds can still be coaxed from the aging FV-1.
The pedal also has a Kill Dry switch on the top side and a Trails On/Off switch, and since the Immerse MKII has no menus, no external control options, and no presets, what you see labeled on the surface is what you get. Considering how great it sounds, the Immerse MKII will likely be one of those “secret weapon” pedals that would be amazing to use in the studio. If you’re putting it on your gigging ‘board and just need one great sound in mono or stereo, just dial in your sound quickly and easily, and you’ll be good to go. If sound quality is paramount to you, with cost and value being taken into consideration as well, the Immerse MKII’s humble appearance belies amazing sounds and exceptional value that are hard to top.
12. Electro Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb
Hot off the runaway success of their Canyon delay pedal, Electro Harmonix released a similarly styled compact reverb pedal: the Oceans 11 Reverb. With 11 different reverb modes, EHX has made an exceptional and affordable compact reverb pedal. Here’s why…
The Oceans 11 impresses with algorithms that seem far more detailed and inspiring than many pedals in this price range. The Hall & Plate modes are great for long lingering trails, and both modes sound surprisingly smooth. Electro Harmonix also put some extra time in with the Spring mode, giving it some of that “drip” and adjustable Spring Length, and a quick double-tap on the foot-switch (while in Trails mode) triggers a “kick” to the string tank which is novel and fun. Reverse mode is a pretty solid variation of this type of reverb, sounding like a diffused delay played backwards; the Time knob sets how quickly the reversed trail rises and is quite easily to dial in with good results. Echo is a prominent digital delay with plate reverb combo. Trem is a standout, applying a tremolo to both a wet Hall reverb and your dry signal; three different waveshapes (sine, triangle, and square) are available, and it has super fast speeds for ring-mod effects. This mode is awesome when applied to just a dry guitar – even without reverb! Mod applies either a chorus/vibrato or flanger to your reverb (EHX Flerb, anyone?), and you can even use both at once. Dyna offers swell effects, ducking reverb, and gated reverb options. Auto-Inf is an infinite reverb that draws upon EHX’s Freeze and Superego in how it sustains and crossfades to build layers of reverb. The Shim is a standout shimmer algorithm which I prefer over several other pedals costing two to four times more. The Poly mode added twin harmonies to the reverb and tracks incredibly fast. You can select harmonies in semitones, and it’s a lot of fun with 5ths and octave harmonies, even acting as an alternative to the shimmer mode when you set the intervals to +1 octaves.
There are multiple options available for some modes (tap divisions, pre-delay, etc.), offering maybe different possibilities for dialing in the perfect reverb sound for nearly any situation. It makes me wish that Electro Harmonix would release a larger version with presets and MIDI connectivity, but for now, this pedal gives guitarists a pleasing taste of how far EHX’s reverb development has progressed over the years. With plenty of solid reverb sounds and an incredible price, the Oceans 11 Reverb is a standout reverb in the low-cost category.
13.Old Blood Noise Endeavors Dark Star V2
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
Read the Old Blood Noise Dark Star V2 review.
14.Free The Tone Ambi Space
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.
Read the Free The Tone Ambi Space review.
15. EarthQuaker Devices Avalance Run V2
When people think about the Avalanche Run, they’re probably more so thinking about it as a delay pedal with reverb thrown in. That’s kind of what it is, but the reverb is a central aspect to why the pedal is unique in the first place, and approaching it with that in mind makes this pedal a compelling choice if you need a solid reverb pedal with some impressive delay options as well. The original Avalanche Run had a solid reverb, but it was mono only. The Avalance Run V2 has upgraded the reverb to be full stereo, so the pedal now has a much fuller and more spatious stereo spread.
The reverb itself seems pretty basic. It’s a plate style reverb with a hint of modulation. It can be short and sparse or huge and cavernous; it’s all dependant on how your set the Decay & Mix knobs. What makes this pedal a great reverb is approaching it more like a Delay+Reverb hybrid effect. The ambience produced by the reverb itself is solid on its own, but when you add in the perfect delay (via Normal, Reverse, & Swell options), the pedal comes alive and reveals itself as a beautiful ambience machine that is far greater than the sum of its parts.
I’d recommend running it in Tails mode for spillover when you bypass the pedal. Also, you can press and hold the Bypass with “Flexi-Switch” to add momentary bursts of reverb and delay that will only apply to your signal while the foot-switch is pressed. This adds more creative potential. And while the Normal delay mode works well with the reverb, the Swell mode is really worth exploring for more interactive ambience. The Reverse mode is also one of my favorite reverse delay modes, particularly when used with the Reverb for surreal reverberated atmosphere. And be sure to try pressing and holding the Tap foot-switch (or using an expression pedal) to alternate between forwards and backwards delays feeding into some big reverb. The sounds of the Avalanche Run V2 are mesmerizing and completely unique to this pedal.
16.Red Panda Context
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.
17.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.
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.
19.Caroline Guitar Company Météore
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/
That concludes our Top 19 Reverb Pedals for 2020, but if any exciting new reverb pedals come out in 2020, we may update the list. If you have a favorite reverb pedal suggestion, let us know in the comments!