If you’re out there looking for a new spring reverb pedal, you can get confused by the sheer number of makes and brands in the market.
There are a lot of factors that need to be considered prior to buying a spring reverb pedal, but in this guide we are going to focus on the most important points so that you can at least get a basic idea of what you need to look for in a spring reverb pedal, and you know which is the right one for you.
Spring reverb pedal: What is it?
Spring reverb pedal is probably what most people will end up buying. It is basically an analog reverb emulated in a digital circuit. It has a fairly clear and sharp sound compared to the other types and tends to have roll-off bass frequencies.
What are other types of reverb pedals?
Chamber reverb pedals: These are designed to have a much smaller decay time, typically between 0.4-1.2 seconds. This results in more clarity throughout the tune, and a warmer sound.
Room reverb pedals: Even smaller decay period than a chamber pedal, at just 0.2-1 seconds. These have virtually zero frequency roll off and lots of early reflections.
Plate reverb pedals: These pedals tend to emulate analog reverb pedals and sound extremely smooth, with a fuller tone and deeper body. They are especially good in combination with lead vocals, and also sound great with guitar since they do not interfere with the vocals and background music at all.
Hall reverb pedals: This is a reverb pedal that simulates a concert hall, offering long lasting echo effects that last between 1-3 seconds. Typically, hall reverb pedals begin with plenty of audible reflections early, followed by a full reverb body and a high end tail that tends to roll off. This is something that 90% of you might not need, unless you are planning to emulate a large concert hall effect.
Now that you have a fairly good idea on each type of pedal, check out the following pedals and see if any of them would be the right one for your choice. All of these have been carefully selected to cover a wide range of budgets and needs.
Donner True Bypass Surge Rotater Reverb PedalPro: 3 reverb modes, aluminum chassis
Con: Has a slight digital delay built in
This affordable little reverb pedal from Donner packs a ton of punch with its 3 reverb modes that let you create all types of sound- mellow, harsh, wacky, clean, distorted, etc. You can control the type of reverb, and choose between room, plate, and spring. The plate mode delivers a distorted, old school analog sound, while the spring feels like it is slightly delayed digitally. The room preset is the best for clean, warm, and powerful effects.
Mooer ShimVerb Digital Reverb Micro PedalPro: Room, Spring, Shimmer modes
Con: Spring setting needs improvement
While most pedals at this range offer three or more operating modes, few offer the shimmer mode alongside the usual room and spring modes. The shimmer mode allows you to bring a bright, sparkling effect into your sound and helps you jazz things up in combination with a decent delay pedal. While the Room mode definitely delivers well on the low ends, there appears to be something wrong with the spring setting, since it ends up sounding too distorted and unbalanced at times. With a proper amplifier and some EQ it can be fixed, but the circuitry does not handle spring effects very well by default.
Danelectro DSR-1 Spring King Effects PedalPro: Authentic spring reverb pedal
Con: Effects may sound too wacky too some
The Danelectro pedals are known to be cheap, well-built, easy to operate, and most importantly, super fun to play. The DSR-1 is a stomp pedal and can produce every sort of effect from warm and clean, to distorted and shimmery, its reverb is full of texture, clarity and is rich in warmth of tone at the low ends. While you can go out there and spend twice as much on some other pedal, you will not get the same spring reverb quality, and even if you do, you will not get nearly as much variety when it comes to the number of effects that you can produce.
Boss FRV-1 63 Fender Reverb PedalPro: Dwell, Tone, and Mix controls
Con: Hard to find
Even though this spring reverb pedal uses buffered bypass instead of true, it does not sound synthetic or distorted at all. The dwell setting lets you control the rhythm while the tone adds in the “filling” in between notes. Mix is used to tweak the sound and create wonderful effects with the turn of a knob. You can use this pedal for rockabilly, hard rock, jazz, blues, electric, etc. Basically, if you’re looking for a no frills, reliable, and highly versatile reverb pedal that is equally good at producing both clean as well as dirty sounds, then this is the pedal you’re looking for.
Digitech Polara LexiconPro: Six operating modes/ effects
Con: No infinite modulation
The Digitech Polara Lexicon has an enigmatic exterior design that is just as unique and captivating as the sounds produced by the pedal itself. You can choose from Room, Plate, Spring, Reverse, Halo, Modulated, and Hall settings. The two settings to look out for over here are Hall, and Halo. Halo can be combined with Hall to create a mesmerizing and totally immersive sound effect that other pedals at this range cannot even hope to produce. This unique pedal also features true stereo I/O, a vacuum footswitch, and true bypass circuitry to preserve the original tone.
Electro Harmonix Holy GrailPro: Spring, Hall, Plate, Reverse modes
Con: Hard to find
Just like the name implies, this product is the Holy Grail of premium grade reverb pedals. Well, it may not be THE best, but definitely one of the best reverb pedals. Yes, it features only three modes- Spring, Hall, and Reverse, but it is not the modes themselves that make the difference, it is what you can achieve by mixing them together that makes this pedal so unique. The true bypass feature ensures signal integrity and eliminates unwanted noise totally. The whole assembly is covered by a classic looking die-cast steel chassis. And, unlike other pedals out there, when you step on this unit, you will not notice any drop in volume. It is best utilized for creating incredible guitar solos.
Mojo Hand FX Dew Drop Reverb PedalPro: Comes with Mix, Dwell, and Tone effects
Con: Needs to be paired with a delay pedal for best effects
The Mojo Hand FX is basically a budget electronic equalizer in the disguise of a reverb pedal. It still sounds like an authentic analog machine, with the warm tones and crisp twang, but the Mix, Dwell, and Tone effects on this pedal are more pronounce than any other pedal we have ever tested. The Mix lets you keep your sounds low, shallow and clean. The Dwell is used to make the note thicker and add some “atmosphere”. The tone messes with the distortion levels, and lets you keep it clean, or you can add some “sparkle” with a bit of distortion. To truly experience the power of this pedal however, you will need a delay pedal.
Subdecay Super Spring TheoryPro: Sounds like an old school tube driven pedal
Con: Settings are hard to optimize
The Subdecay Super Spring Theory does precisely what its name indicates- it produces awesome spring reverb. And it does so by combining high quality digital circuits, design principles of real spring reverb tanks, and an all-analog signal path. The JFET amplifiers within carry out the send and recovery of audio signals, to create an authentic tube like dynamic effect which feels incredibly warm and powerful, yet neatly balanced in both the high and low ranges. It is even better when put in front of overdrive pedals or a dirty amp. An internal trimmer is included to run hotter signals in reverb by trimming them, so it essentially does the same job as the dwell control on a reverb tank.
Wampler Faux Spring Reverb Guitar Effects PedalPro: Level, Tone, Depth controls, high quality film capacitors
Con: Hard to find
The Wampler spring reverb pedal lets you achieve the perfect classic guitar tone without adding any digital noise into the equation. It is incredibly well balanced in terms of audio output, and it can even replicate the old echo chamber machines from the 60’s, except that in this case you can control more than just the speed of the reverb. Despite its digital circuits, it actually sounds more like an analog pedal compared to most other similar analog-emulating digital pedals out there. The shade control can be used to amplify the treble boost and make the delays more apparent.
Carl Martin HeadRoom Real Spring ReverbPro: Dual channel customizable spring reverb
Con: Needs a lot of precision tuning to make it work right
The Carl Martin HeadRoom RealSpring actually features two totally separate spring reverb channels with individual tone and level controls for either channel. It also features remote jacks for bypass and channel selection, and comes with vintage chicken head knobs. The double mounted springs help minimize stage feedback, and keep unwanted frequencies to a minimum. Unlike most other analog-simulating digital pedals out there, this one actually employs a 100% analog circuit inside, and gives you the effects of two separate reverbs in your amp. The entire assembly is packed into a metal case, and includes a lock-down mechanism.
VanAmps SoulMate Real Spring Reverb PedalPro: Triple spring reverb tank, level and dwell controls
Con: Hard to find
If you’re looking for the absolute best spring reverb pedal, and price isn’t a concern, then go for the VanAmps SoulMate. It packs a triple spring MODTM reverb tank, and has both output and dwell level controls to regulate the thickness and distortion levels. This pedal uses a true analog circuit, has separate jacks for bypass, and features a non-loading circuit to guarantee guitar tone integrity at all power levels. These VanAmps come inside a solid metal box, with a vintage tweed finish on the exterior, and you even have the option to get a gold lettered case with leather wrappings on it.