One of the most important parts of any worship guitar player’s tone is their reverb. A reverb pedal typically emulates one of three types reverb: spring, room/hall, or plate, but will often times have all three functions on a single unit. We have picked our favorite reverb pedals at varying price points to serve as a guide to worship guitar players from amateur to professional.
EHX Holy Grail Nano
At $121.10, the Holy Grail Nano is our most affordable pick. Don’t let the price deceive you, for what this pedal lacks for in flash, it makes up for in functionality. The Holy Grail Nano sports a very modest layout with mono in/out, a three-way dipswitch, and a single “reverb” knob. The dipswitch allows the player to select between three types of reverb; spring, hall, and “flerb”. The spring offers all the squishy goodness a guitar player could ever ask for. The ultra-usable spring setting allows the player to easily dial in the timeless sound of a classic spring reverb unit. The user-friendly hall function delivers a lush and deep hall reverb sound. The third function on the dipswitch is Electro-Harmonix original “Flerb” setting. Flerb stands for flanged reverb. This setting creates a great sounding and ultra-usable modulated reverb sound. The single Reverb knob simultaneously adjusts the decay time and the level of the reverb, letting the player get a quality reverb sound in seconds by simply selecting the mode they want and setting the reverb knob. This pedal is perfect for new players who are looking for a fantastic reverb sound without the learning curve of the higher-powered reverb units. It also serves as a staple amongst established players as a beautiful sounding pedal that is simple to use and doesn’t take up much board real estate.
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Despite only being around for a bit over two years, the MXR M300 is quickly becoming a modern staple on the gigging musician's pedalboard. This monster of a pedal is chalked full with features. The pedal keeps a modest configuration all while maintaining superb functionality and versatility. The M300 has 6 different modes; Plate, Spring, Epic, Mod, Room, and Pad. The Plate, Spring, and Room functions are exactly what you would expect, classic studio quality reverb effects emulating plate units, spring units, and genuine hall reverb. The “Epic” setting is a combination of modulated delays strung together to create a blooming, massive reverb sound. The Mod function is a run-of-the-mill but ultra-usable modulated plate setting. Last is MXR’s Pad function. This is their own take on the shimmer style reverb. This combines upper and lower octave synth sounds paired with towering reverb. In addition to the 6 different types of reverb, the M300 allows you to control the tone, mix, and the decay of the reverb. For added control, there is a TRS expression jack that allows you to float between two different tonal settings. When using a standard expression pedal, the M300 allows the player to not just select between the two presets, but sweep between the two and utilize an infinite number of settings in between the two presets. Lastly, the M300 allows the player to switch between the buffered Trails Bypass mode and True Bypass. The Trails Bypass mode is a buffered circuit that eliminates one of the bigger issues that reverb pedals face. When a pedal is true bypass, it bypasses the signal immediately after turning the pedal off, leading to an awkward cutoff of reverb when disengaging a true bypass reverb unit. The Trails Bypass adds a buffered signal while allowing the trails of the reverb to ring out after the M300 has been disengaged. The MXR is perfect for both the bedroom player looking for an expansive collection of both classic and modern reverb sounds and for the busy gigging and worship player looking to hold onto all of the sounds needed but looking to avoid the massive space eating pedals. The M300 takes up only a fraction of the space leading units take up on boards all while maintaining high fidelity sound and a large portion of the functionality that bigger units present. At just $199.99, it is hard to find a pedal that does as much at the high level the M300 does.
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For the ultimate reverb and ambience, there isn’t much on the market that rivals the Strymon BigSky. This “multidimensional” reverb unit allows for maximum control and seemingly endless studio-quality effects. With good reasoning, Strymon claims that the BigSky is “powerful enough to be the last reverb pedal you’ll ever need.” The pedal features 12 different reverb types. These various styles of reverb cover everything from the standards (spring, room, and plate) to some of Strymon’s signature out-there sounds such as Bloom, Cloud, and Shimmer. Strymon’s spring, plate, and room sounds are some of the best on the market at the moment. In addition to the highest quality classic reverb sounds, Strymon has packed in some jaw-dropping original styles of reverb. The BigSky also allows for deep editing of every style of reverb featured in the unit. The pedal allows the user to control parameters such as decay, mix, pre-delay, tone, and others specific to each individual type of reverb. Once all parameters are tweaked to the player's liking, they are able to save up to 300 presets within the unit across 100 banks. In addition to all of the functionality on the front panel of the unit, The BigSky offers a wide variety of features on the back panel of the pedal. Strymon’s sophisticated I/O options allow for flawless integration of the pedal into any unit. The BigSky presents a standard stereo in/out. Along side the stereo I/O, Strymon presents an expression jack, midi in/out, and a cab simulation switch. The TRS expression jack allows the player to control any of the parameters on the pedal through an expression pedal or an external tap tempo. The midi in/out allows the user to truly expand the functionality of the BigSky. This allows the pedal to be hooked into any midi controller. These controllers can range from a simple preset selector to something like a Mastermind that controls an entire pedalboard. The midi function also allows the player to link the BigSky to other midi capable pedals allowing for simultaneous preset switching. Lastly, Strymon has integrated a cab simulation switch into the BigSky for situations where the user is going direct into a PA or in recording situations. Coming in at $479.99, the Strymon BigSky is an investment. Although it is a high price to pay, the pedal offers more than most players could ever ask for. The BigSky presents 12 studio-grade styles of reverb that are completely programmable. Whether you are an audiophile guitar player looking for a library of high-quality reverb sounds or a pro-level player who needs a multitude of sounds from their reverb unit, the Strymon BigSky will not disappoint.
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