Reverb's Favorite Reverbs

Awhile back, we put together a list of our favorite delay pedals. Given our name, it was only a matter of time before we pulled together our top reverb picks. Styles and technologies have evolved, but going back to the wall-of-sound of the '60s and the gated snares of the '80s, reverb has found its way into virtually all forms of popular music. Today, musicians have more reverb tools than ever to explore. Here are some of our favorites.

If you're just getting started with effects, be sure to check our picks for the best reverb pedals under $150.

EHX Holy Grail

Like the Grail famously selected by Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade, this Holy Grail isn't the most elaborate, but it packs some real magic inside. You've got a single knob to control the wet/dry mix, and a switch for Hall, Spring and the unique (though not for everyone) "Flerb" mode, which incorporates a flange effect. If you're looking for a pedal with big hall, almost arena sound, this is a great choice.

TC Electronic Hall of Fame

A favorite of many, the HOF is a big winner in the bang-for-your-buck department. For starters, you get a whopping 10 modes, including Room, Church, Hall, Spring & Gate. The many modes are great but the real versatility comes via the dwell control, which allows you to accomplish everything from tight slapback to epic verb that rivals the largest and deepest caverns on Earth. The tone control is equally great for warming up your signal, or getting a reverb tone that really pops in the mix.

Vintage Fender Reverb Tanks

This may not be a pedal per se, but when it comes to reverb it doesn't get any more classic than an actual Fender Reverb Tank. When modern pedals say they capture the Reverb tones of '60s rock, this is what they're talking about. Prices on these guys can be high, but there are more budget-friendly reissues available.

Boss FDR-1

Speaking of classic Fender reverb, the FDR-1 is designed to instantly pipe your tone through the sound of a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb amp. With this box, you get the famous blackface spring reverb tone, plus "vibrato" (actually tremolo) and EQ. Use this pedal for its fantastic reverb, as an overdrive (via the "gain" control), tremolo, EQ, or any combination of the four.

Catalinbread Topanga

Similarly taking its cue from the Fenders of the past, the Topanga by Catalinbread aims to replicate the Fender 6G15 standalone tube-driven spring reverb units made famous on the surf sounds of the sixties. In addition to the standard Mix, Tone, and Volume knobs—the latter of which adds a great clean boost— the Dwell knob allows you to dial in how hard your signal hits the ‘springs’ adding a fair amount of tube-style color.

Red Panda Context

This pedal sounds exactly like it looks: like you’re in space. Complete with five traditional reverb settings (Room, Hall, Cathedral, Gated and Plate), the Red Panda Context also offers studio-grade features like Burr Brown op amps, WIMA poly film caps and Neutrik switches. The Context features a nifty delay setting, with which you can blend a classy little hint of delay in with your reverb to ensure your trip is as spacey and dreamy as possible. There's been a lot of buzz about Red Panda over the past year, and the Context is a major reason why.

Mowery Das Vurb

Mowery Electronics have been selling direct on Reverb for awhile now, and we recently had the good fortune to have one of the Das Vurb pedals in the office. This digital two-knobber dishes out rich, articulate tones with a damp control to contour the level of the reverb reflections. Most of all, this reverb adds a distinct shimmer to your tone which really pops in a mix, and helps your playing stand out against the rest of the band.

Boss RV-5

Starting in 2002, the RV-5 supplanted the RV-3 and the earlier RV-2 as Boss' primary digital delay. This stereo stompbox covers a ton of territory with six reverb modes like Classic, Hall, and Spring, along with a way out there modulate mode for some more experimental soundscapes. While it may lack more lush analog replication of other modern reverbs, it more than makes up for it with the wide array of tones it can channel.

Dr. Scientist Reverberator

The true-bypass Dr. Scientist Reverberator packs a lot into a small box at a great price. The nine different reverb patches range from cavernous, spacey halls and plates, to vibey small rooms and even a rotary simulator patch. Our favorite feature might be the Level knob which offers up a killer op-amp boost.

Strymon Big Sky

Near endless tweak-ability and cutting-edge processing power has made the Strymon Big Sky the most buzzed about pedal of the last year. This unit packs every conceivable reverb tone, and incredibly detailed options, for example, the ability to select the number of springs in the spring reverb simulation. You also get modes that offer pitch-shifting, modulation, feedback, delay and shimmer, among many more. For those who can't get enough reverb, the Big Sky is the vast expanse you're looking for.

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