Updated on 10.12.2018. Please note: this article is about a very specific niche of reverb pedals we here refer to as “multi-mode reverb.” If you are interested in more traditional reverb effects for guitar, check out our Best Spring Reverbs article, while if you are researching ambient/experimental reverb pedals, refer to this piece about Ambient-Shoegazer Reverb Pedals and this one about Hybrid Reverb Pedals with Modulation and Fuzz/Distortion.
Digital reverb is one of those effects that can be, quite literally, “tweaked to death.” Its algorithms can be so complex that they can open up infinite numbers of possibilities: type, size, pre-delay, early reflections, decay time, damping, filtering and spread are only a few of the many parameters you can find in these units. This may indeed confuse the guitarists who just need a little bit of reverb, but it’s bound to fire the imagination of the tweak-inclined musician.
If a simple spring reverb is a little too spartan for you, we have compiled a list of the best multi-function reverb pedals (aka “Multiverbs”) on the market organized by depth of features and perceived popularity.
At least one of the pedals highlighted in this page should do the trick for you. They range from stompboxes with three or four different reverb flavors to full-blown workhorses that deliver a dozen ambience algorithms and deep levels of control. Some are big, some are small, but all will tickle your craving for the wondrously wet world of reverb.
As usual, CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO SEE A VIDEO OF THE PEDAL!
MULTI-ALGORITHM REVERB WORKSTATIONS
It’s always nice to have a pedal that offers a few different types of reverb, or additional features like delay, modulation and expression control. But if you want the full package, this list lays right in front of your eyes all the “do-it-all” monster ambience processors on the market. Most of these units offer nothing short of studio quality reverb, so you can also use them during mixing or on other instruments.
Strymon Big Sky
This much-loved processor remains a favorite, thanks to its 12 studio-class reverbs. Diffused reflections and slower-building density are hallmarks of the Big Sky, as heard in the Bloom, Cloud, Chorale, Shimmer and Nonlinear algorithms. Controls for Decay, Pre-Delay, Mix (wet/dry), Tone, Mod and two effect-dependent Parameters make the pedal easy to use in any situation.
Space features studio-quality Spring, Hall, Room and Plate reverbs as well as some from Eventide’s flagship rack processors. Varieties include Reverse, ModEchoVerb, DualVerb, MangleVerb, DynaVerb and the spacey BlackHole reverb with Gravity and Anti-Gravity options. The dedicated HotSwitch allows for instant parameter modulation with a switch press. With 100 presets, mono or stereo operation, and real-time control via knobs, MIDI or expression pedal, this knob-studded box has a lot going on.
Empress Effects Reverb
What other reverb effect has a Beer mode? The Empress Effects Reverb offers 24 studio-quality algorithms and 12 algorithm types, including realistic simulations of Room, Hall, Plate and Spring reverbs and unusual Sparkly, Modulation, Reverse, Ghost and Lo-Fi varieties. Beer mode gives you access to unusual reverbs that fit in no other category, and the pedal can be updated with new algorithms as they become available. Sporting stereo I/Os, a small footprint and all the controls at your fingertips, the Empress Effects Reverb is an impressive boxful of ambience.
Boss’s flagship reverb processor features studio-quality sounds in a stage-friendly box. It offers 12 modes and 21 newly developed reverb algorithms, from complementary ambiences to deep, immersive sonic atmospheres. Robust DSP means every reverb patch includes access to a full-featured digital delay, and you can even run two reverb patches at once. MIDI I/O, support for external footswitch/expression control and USB for connection to the free RV-500 Editor/Librarian software make this a versatile workstation for reverb devotees.
Stereo inputs and outputs, 24-bit AD/DA converters and eight programmable reverb styles with the ability to load and save make the Cathedral a nice fit for stage and studio. Modes include Grail Spring, Accu Spring, Hall, Room, Plate, Reverse, Grail Flerb and Echo. The pedal also has Tap Tempo to set pre-delay, Hold tap tempo for infinite reverb and a Damping/Tone control for each reverb mode.
Source Audio Ventris
Ventris features two completely independent 56-bit reverb processors, delivering powerful dual-processing architecture for realistic and complex effects. In addition to traditional reverbs, it includes Modverb, Shimmer, Echoverb, Swell, Reverse, Metal Box, True Spring and Outboard Spring. Run the dual reverb effects in a parallel or cascading signal path, or split your reverbs and send a different effect to each of the pedal’s two outputs. Seamless “spillover” from one preset to the next prevents tails from cutting off and keeps things sounding natural in live situations.
Seymour Duncan Silver Lake Dynamic Reverb
Fully programmable reverb workstation, combining high-quality reverb algorithms with unique dynamic control and powerful tone shaping options for a deep sonic experience – whether you need subtle sounds or a wash of massive ambience. The Dynamic Expression feature allows the pedal to react to your playing in real time, for example controlling the prevalence, or overall mix, of the effect through their pick attack—how hard or soft you play.
Free The Tone Ambi Space
A 32-bit dual-core chip and 32-bit high-precision DSP allow the Ambi Space to produce high-quality, musical-sounding reverbs. Suited to guitar, bass and vocals, it’s equally at home onstage and in the studio. The newly developed algorithms Cave and Serene add early reflections and late reverberation in multiple steps to create a complex harmonic structure comprising enhanced frequency components, all of which makes for a uniquely transparent and spatial-sounding reverb.
COMPACT/STREAMLINED REVERB PEDALS WITH 5 OR MORE MODES
Depth of features, in the reverb pedal realm, comes at a price (or two): if the units on the list above are too costly for your stretched pockets or too bulky for your shrinking board, the stompboxes in this category are valid alternative at a fraction of cost and size, and offer enough algorithm variety (5 or more). Of course, they have less of everything: modes, features and controls – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a lot of great sounds out of them!
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
The iconic reverb pedal returns with a new Shimmer reverb that pitches your reverb up an octave through each feedback loop to deliver an otherworldly sound. In addition to Shimmer, it has modes for Room, Hall, Spring, Plate, Church, Mod and Lofi reverb as well as three dedicated TonePrint slots for storing signature effects. Better still, design your own customized reverb effects from scratch with TC’s free TonePrint Editor for PC, Mac and iPad. Other features include an innovative pressure-sensitive footswitch and Analog-Dry-Through technology that maintains total integrity of the analog dry signal path even when reverb is engaged.
MXR M300 Digital Reverb
Featuring six distinct high-end reverb styles, a simple three-knob setup and a high-fidelity analog dry path with a massive 20 volts of headroom, the M300 sounds as richly detailed as any high-end rack reverb unit. Choose from Room, Plate and Spring as well as Epic (a combination of interwoven analog-tone delay lines and complex modulation), Mod (plate with modulation) and Pad (a unique combination of sub-octave and octave-up with echoes, shimmer, synth/organ modulation and reverb). You can also connect a Dunlop DVP series volume/expression pedal to toggle and blend between two different knob setting configurations. The Reverb includes a 100-percent Wet mode, stereo I/Os, and True Relay mode and Trails Bypass mode, which lets the effect continue to its natural decay after the pedal is silenced.
Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11
Built by a company that produced several classic reverb stompboxes, the Oceans 11 packs that experience into eleven modes, editable through three knobs (FX Level, Time and Tone). Secondary Knob Mode features intuitive “hidden” parameters that let the player customize the effect in depth. An internal Tails switch also provides a choice of whether the reverb effect fades out naturally or stops immediately when the pedal is switched to bypass.
Featuring seven reverbs from DigiTech’s Lexicon line, the Polara’s range of algorithms covers the spectrum. It includes Room, Hall, Plate, Spring, Reverse, Modulated and the new Halo reverb, featuring cascading octaves interspersed within the decays. The Polara features independent Level, Liveliness, Decay and Type controls, stereo I/Os, a soft-click footswitch and a Tails on/off toggle. In the “on” position, the reverb tail continues to trail to its decay even after the pedal is silenced. In the “off” position, the reverb ends when the pedal is muted.
Neunaber Immerse MkII Reverberator
The Immerse Reverberator houses eight stereo reverbs, including Wet, Hall, Plate, Spring, two varieties of Shimmer, Wet+Echo and Wet+Detune. Each has been painstakingly crafted so that, together, they cover the full range of reverb requirements. Five controls for Effect Select, Effect Level, Reverb Depth, Tone (or Echo Time) and the effect-dependent Effect Adjust make it easy to dial up sounds on the fly. This small but potent package also comes with a high-quality buffered bypass, an external Trails on/off switch, an external Kill Dry switch for parallel effect loops and stereo I/O complete.
Mooer ShimVerb Pro
Mooer’s take on the multi-function digital reverb features the company’s signature super-compact and affordable design packing a wealth of controls. You get 5 verb modes to booth: Room, Hall, Church, Plate and Spring, plus an adjustable shimmer effect with 5 different modes and its own dedicated footswitch. Dry/Wet knob, Hi/Low Cut filters, Decay, Pre-Delay knobs and Trail On/Off button allow the player ample room for tone customization, which can be saved in presets.
Red Panda Context
Context delivers 1980s-style digital reverb algorithms for Room, Hall, Cathedral, Gated, Plate and Delay, together with a clean 100-percent analog signal path featuring Burr-Brown op amps and WIMA poly film caps. All of the algorithms are adjustable to let you get the right combination of pre-delay, reverb time and tone. Reverb time is adjustable from very tight to nearly endless, and controls for Decay and Damping let you tailor the signal further. An internal switch selects between True Bypass and Trails modes.
Alexander Space Race
6 Reverb Modes, Midi and Presets presets (accessible by holding the footswitch) and Midi/USB/Expression control options. The Space knob controls the amount of pre-delay, while the Tweak one varies depending on what mode is selected. Autotrails feature lets you set up a time for how long the delay trails persist, from instant-off to always-on.
Dr. Scientist Radical Red Reverberator
A pedal that packs 9 reverb types: 2 spacious halls (bright and dark), 3 room settings of different size, 3 plates, and a rotating speaker. A 2 way toggle lets you switch between two decay options.
Behringer DR600 Stereo Reverb
A typically super-affordable pedal by Behringer that packs a ton of features in a compact enclosure: 6 Reverb modes can be edited through Level, Tone and Time knobs. And it is stereo!
Donner Verb Square
Affordable mini-pedal featuring seven modes and controls for Rate, Depth and Level.
REVERB STOMPBOXES WITH 3-4 MODES
If your needs are more specific and fewer reverb modes might just do the trick, here’s a list of reverb pedals that offer three or four different algorithms.
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Neo Reverb
With Spring, Plate and Hall reverbs, the Holy Grail Neo provides the most sought-after ambiences in an easy-to-use, pedalboard-friendly stompbox. Select the reverb of your choice with the three-position switch and use the Reverb knob to mix the wet and dry signals.
Mooer Audio ShimVerb
Popular, affordable mini-pedal with Room, Spring, and Shimmer mode featuring a big knob for Decay and to smaller ones for Color (tone) and Level.
Tomsline Ocean Verb
An affordable but well built unit featuring three modes (Room, Spring and Shimmer) and control for Mix, Tone and Decay.
Walrus Audio Fathom MultiFunction Reverb
This feature-rich reverb has four customized reverb settings, including Hall, Plate, Lo-Fi and Sonar, which features high and low octaves that can be blended to taste with the original signal. In addition to three levels of modulation, it has a Dampen knob to suppress high frequencies and an X control to adjust algorithm specific parameters, including pre-delay and the octave-up/down mix when using the Sonar setting. The Sustain switch momentarily increases reverb time to near infinite when pressed, and the pedal features Trails and No Trails modes.
Fender Marine Layer Reverb Pedal
Fender’s entry in the ambience market provides Hall, Room and Shimmer reverb types. The reverb tails continue when the effect is muted, ensuring a smooth and natural decay. A Fender amp jewel LED, magnetically latched battery door and lightweight but durable anodized aluminum construction complete the package.
T-Rex Creamer Reverb Pedal
T-Rex designed the Creamer Reverb to be dead simple to operate but with just enough room for tweaking. It maintains an analog signal path for your instrument and features Spring, Room and Hall reverbs, with a Tone control for adjusting high frequencies.
ENO EX Reverb
The nicest looking of the various, rather generic, super-affordable units sold on Amazon, the EX Reverb offers Room, Spring and Well modes with controls for level, Dry/Wet and Time.
Red House Electronics Ghost Ridge Reverb
A boutique two knob/two footswitch multi-function reverb (Hall, Spring, Plate, and Room) with modulation and preset capabilities in a compact case.
by Christopher Scapelliti and PAolo De Gregorio