Boss FRV-1 review

  • £115
This looks set to be a very popular stompbox indeed

MusicRadar Verdict

From subtle ambience to surf, this does the business.


  • +

    Simplicity and tonal authenticity.


  • -

    Treble and bass controls would be nice.

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We checked out the first two members of the Boss Legend Series previously and, although we were struck by how good the FBM-1 and FDR-1 were, we did have some doubts as to the reverb of the '65 Deluxe Reverb pedal.

Here, Boss applies its huge know-how - not to mention the bespoke COSM technology - to provide a vintage-flavoured Fender-style reverb without any amp modelling. Gone are the smaller knobs, dual-concentric pots and so on, replaced by a three-knob layout along the same lines as the classic SD-1 or DS-1.

"For general gigging and recording, this is as authentic as it's likely to get."

The knobs here comprise a Mixer to balance the dry and wet signal, a tone pot for smoothing-off the reverb's rough edges, which we didn't find especially appealing, and finally a Dwell pot.

The latter is the secret to the pedal's tonal success as it also enables you to alter the richness and, for want of a better word, twangy character. Obviously, there's no genuine spring used here, but that said, the pedal is, tonally, incredibly convincing.


Hear it in action. Clip one (Mixer 2, Dwell 2):

Clip two (Mixer 5, Dwell 4):

Clip three (Mixer 6, Dwell 7):

Classic Fender reverbs are warm and lush, and recreating such organic tones can be a difficult one for solid-state units to pull off. Here, though, the FRV-1 twangs in spades, with everything from a subtle enhancement all the way to full-on Dick Dale madness faithfully at your boot tips; even the 'pop' caused by pick attack is recreated.

As long as you balance the tone with your dry amp signal, you'll get a huge amount from this pedal. It's a compromise but, for general gigging and recording, this is as authentic as it's likely to get.

Simon Bradley is a guitar and especially rock guitar expert who worked for Guitarist magazine and has in the past contributed to world-leading music and guitar titles like MusicRadar (obviously), Guitarist, Guitar World and Louder. What he doesn't know about Brian May's playing and, especially, the Red Special, isn't worth knowing.