As the compact pedal arms race hots up, multi-function pedals are increasingly becoming the norm, even from smaller manufacturers.
This means that when you’re choosing a reverb pedal, you’re likely to get at the very least a hall, plate, spring and maybe even a shimmer into the bargain. Though most reverbs are digital, you’ll be surprised to learn that they’re not just for space cadets, and you’re as likely to find a decent spring or room reverb to liven up a practice amp as you are a patch to casually throw out huge post-rock crescendos.
Bearing all of that in mind, we’ve brought together a few of the hottest multi-function reverb options for springs, rooms, halls and cavernous, oceanic verbs.
Let’s dive in...
Where some digital reverbs can feel low on headroom, the Immerse is expansive, and can also be run at 12V.
Five controls on the front panel govern level, time, depth, reverb type and an additional parameter that changes depending on the patch. You can kill the dry signal and you can run it in stereo.
In mono, it’s a formidable beast, particularly in wet, hall and shimmer modes, but in stereo it’s peerless. The shimmer setting is huge but it’s the wet mode that we return to, with varying levels of modulation and depth for underlining clean arpeggios, or accenting sparse melody lines.
4.5 out of 5
Fender Marine Layer Reverb
Although this is the largest pedal out of the group, it is far from the most feature-rich. Luckily, the sounds are exceptional.
From in-your-face reverbs with the damping rolled off, to completely ambient verbs that sit below the guitar signal, it’s effortless to find a good tone with the Marine Layer. The three modes on offer are hall, room and special, with an alternate algorithm for each that can be accessed via a toggle switch.
The shimmer and modulated ’verb are excellent - but the room is the most fun. Balanced between subtle and biting with a lightly dirty practice amp it’s heaven.
4 out of 5
Walrus Audio Fathom
Based around the FV1 chip, the Fathom is a worthy representative of the boutique pedal market. It sports four patches, each with a patch-specific control.
There’s a decay, damp and mix knob, and a three-way toggle for modulation level. As a nice extra, there’s a second footswitch that maxes out the delay time, so you can dynamically shift it to hang at the end of a passage or lick.
Out of the patches on offer - hall, plate, lo-fi and sonar - the highlights are the hall and plate. Though the dual-octave-blend sonar mode is an interesting idea, the FV1 has never been strong as a pitch shifter and it shows.
4 out of 5
Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11
Given the price, you might not expect much of the Oceans 11, but don’t underestimate it!
There’s a plethora of settings, from mod and shimmer, to the wild polyphonic octave, but also a rogue’s gallery of standard options like echo, plate, spring, hall and reverse.
While reverse has been out-of- vogue on compact pedals, the demand from shoegazers has remained, and the 11 is likely to be hit based on this mode alone.
It’s a brilliant effect, whether you’re playing psychedelic music or just looking to throw in a wacky solo. The core hall and plate sounds are excellent, too, so it’s not just a one-trick pony.
5 out of 5