In the beginning, there was the Holy Grail – the esteemed reverb pedal brought to you by the folks at Electro-Harmonix. That pedal has become a staple for guitarists looking to make their sound bigger and more reverberated, so there's going to be a lot of happy players out there to embrace the Holy Grail Plus. Just like the original, this pedal offers realistic spring, hall, and room reverbs. It also features a multifunction control that allows players to control their decay, damping, and modulation speed, which really helps to nail down the specific sound and character of your tone. All of it is housed inside a compact, rugged metal housing to keep your holy sounds safe on the road and in the studio.
Eventide is a trusted brand when it comes to in-studio effects and gear, and their guitar pedals don’t deviate from that perception. Take their Space reverb pedal; this unit offers an impressive collection of reverb algorithms that work in conjunction with delays, pitch shifting, tremolo, modulation, and other effects, resulting in some truly noteworthy sounds. Space is stocked with 100 presets, many of which have been created by musicians from groups such as Nine Inch Nails, Beck, Living Colour, Blonde Redhead, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, and more.
What separates Eventide’s Space from other reverb pedals is its versatility and sound quality, putting it not just in the category of a live pedal but also in the same lane as many rack mount reverb processors. But if you are seeking the Space for live settings, you’ll be happy to know that you can not only store presets for easily recall in the unit’s three metal foot switches, but the pedal can also be linked to up to three separates foot switches and an expression pedal, giving you a really deep control over the dynamics and functions of the many effects stored inside this pedal.
Strymon BigSky Guitar Reverb Pedal
Strymon has made a name for itself in the world of guitar effects pedals, thanks to their in-depth approach to crafting sounds and controllable parameters in their products. The BigSky reverb pedal exemplifies that approach to engineering and sound design. The BigSky features 12 reverb machines to work with, including standards such as Room and Hall to more experimental, niche ones like Magneto and Cloud. Players can control their tone using seven front-panel knobs for Decay, Pre-Delay, Mix, Tone, Mod, Param 1, and Param 2 (the latter of which are assignable per preset). Speaking of preset, the BigSky is stocked with a whopping 300 pre-selected sounds to choose from. Another notable feature in this pedal is its Speaker Cabinet emulation, which is ideal for recording sans-amplifier, or playing gigs in which you’re running your signal directly into the PA.
Strymon BlueSky Guitar Reverb Pedal
The Strymon blueSky reverb pedal is a compact yet powerful tone-coloring tool that makes it ideal for any player looking to take their guitar sounds into the stratosphere. Like Strymon’s bigger (and more expensive) pedal the BigSky, the blueSky offers players the ability to fine-tune their sound courtesy of the on-board knobs. There are three reverb types offered here including Spring, Room and Plate. Each of the types offers three modes (normal, modulation, and shimmer), so you have quite a few sound combinations to play with in finding your proper voice. The sound provided by this pedal is also true stereo, and makes for great, natural-sounding ambient sound. For those looking to save on price or pedalboard space but still looking for the deep and rich potential of the BigSky, the blueSky is a perfect fit.
The BOSS FRV-1 ’63 Fender Reverb pedal provides the vintage sound of the 1963 Fender Reverb amp, courtesy of COSM technology. Essentially one of the original staples of reverberated tone, this sound was what launched the surf-music genre and would later become an integral part of the sounds of rockabilly, country, and blues. Three controls allow players to alter the Dwell, Tone, and Mix. This pedal is durable enough to take on the road, without having any fear of damage through regular use; after all, BOSS pedals are typically built like tanks. If that wasn’t enough to put any worries to rest, this pedal also comes with the customary five-year BOSS warranty.
A quick look at the artists who utilize the MXR Carbon Copy analog delay pedal should be enough to speak to this piece of gear’s versatility; artists from Incubus to Mumford & Songs to Coheed and Cambria to Haim all are fans of what this pedal can do. Small yet powerful, the Carbon Copy offers controls for the the number of repeats (Regen), the wet-to-dry ratio (Mix), and delay time (Delay). A Mod on/off switch can be used to introduce a slight vibrator to the delayed signal, which adds a unique character to the processed signal. Stage-ready blue LED lights make it easy to see what you’re doing, even in poorly lit environments. The Carbon Copy is also a true bypass pedal, which means your tone won’t be negatively affected when the pedal is not in use in your effects chain.
Moog MF-104M Analog Delay
Even a quick glance at Moog’s MF-104M Analog Delay pedal reveals some of the more evident qualities that separate it from the rest of its contemporaries. The size and scope of the controls and adjustable knobs give a great forecasting of just how down and dirty players are able to get in creating an analog delay that best suits their playing.
The pedal’s LFO section features a variety of wave shapes to produce very interesting tape-stretching effects, while a tap tempo button allows you to easily sync the speed of the effect manually. A MIDI control also can be used to control the rate of the delay, for those who intend on using this analog tool within a digital space. A Short/Long switch will save you some time in that it quickly doubles or halves the delay time, while an accessible Spillover mode allows you to continue the sound of the delay even after the pedal has been bypassed, which is great for transitions and other times that you want to put the delay effect to more subtle use.
Seymour Duncan’s Vapor Trail analog delay pedal offers a vintage sounding tone that compliments its simple yet effective design. This pedal employs the beloved Bucket Brigade circuitry to provide a sound that is warm, clear, and full. A wet channel loop allows guitarists to add effects from external pedals into the wet signal, to experiment with new sonic combinations. This feature can also be fed into multiple amp setups. The Vapor Trail is also full bypass, so your tone will never be detrimentally affected when the pedal is not in use.
Way Huge’s Aqua-Puss analog delay pedal provides today’s players with an easy and affordable route to capturing the vintage sounds of yesterday. This pedal has been used by players including Noel Gallagher (Oasis) to John Mayer, and it’s not hard to understand why; it’s easy to use and provides unmistakably vibrant tone. The pedal is sturdy enough, thanks to Way Huge’s bent-steel chassis, and features a simple front-facing interface, with controls for Delay, Feedback, and Blend (wet vs. dry mix). The Feedback level can be used to create a mildly widening sensation, or can be cranked to go full-on psychedelic freak-out mode. This pedal may not necessarily provide the longest amount of delay that is available on the market via other pedals, but the level of dimension that the Aqua-Puss reissue offers makes it a more-than-worthy candidate for guitarists seeking to plunge their tone into the deep end.
JHS Pedals’ Panther Cub analog delay pedal utilizes the bucket-brigade circuitry that is responsible for some of the most beloved delay pedals of the past. Up to 1,000ms of decaying delay are available here, and the effect can be dialed in manually or summoned via a soft-touch tap tempo switch so guitarists can lock in their effect to the beat of the music that they’re playing along to. A 4-position ratio control allows players to set the delay to 1/4 note, 1/8 note, dotted 1/8 note, or triplet settings, and that tone can be further modified via speed and depth controls to provide more color to the processed sound. An internal “Roar” switch doesn’t just keep with the panther motif, but also provides two separate levels/sensitivity settings of oscillation and runaway. A Dry Out gives players the option to split the signal of the Panther Cub from the rest of their rigs.
Strymon’s Timeline digital delay pedal offers a studio-class, impeccable delay that makes it ideal for use in both the studio as well as on-stage. 12 delay machines in this unit provide classic analog delays, tape echo, digital delays, and more. Players can craft their sound using the seven front-panel knobs, or sift through the 200 awesome-sounding presets in the pedal. The Timeline also has a 30-second stereo looper, which can be routable either pre- or post-delay. A MIDI control allows players to run the delay of the pedal hands-free via their DAW.
Line 6’s DL4 digital delay pedal offers a wide range of delay models that accurately approximate models of classic pieces of gear, including the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man and Roland RE-101 Space Echo. Three programmable user channels give players the ability to save their favorite settings for later use. The DL4 is also notable for its Looper, which gives players the ability to record and playback a 14-second sound to introduce a new element to the sound; use it to make things chaotically huge or accompany your own backing tracks live on the spot. The Looper also features half-speed and reverse modes, which only serve to further make the capabilities of the DL4 more triply and mind-expanding.
Eventide’s TimeFactor is filled with 100 preset banks that are also nameable, meaning you can easily store settings that you stumble upon for easy recall and later use. The tempos can also be stored in these settings, so you can easily program the pedal for a set. The pedal itself runs multiple delays that can be run at once, both of which can be applied to any of the nine unique delay effects – including DigitalDelay, VintageDelay, TapeEcho, and more. Those delays can also be configured to any of 27 note divisions, allowing guitarists to have an even more precise control of their effect than most other pedals. The included Looper in the TimeFactor gives players the ability to build a wall of sound – one that can be subtly textured or full-on chaotic, depending on how it’s used.
At a first glance, the TC Electronic Flasback X4 is a digital delay pedal that nods to the history of vintage gear, with its old-school design and 16 delay settings that capture the sounds of the past. But this pedal is far from just a nostalgia tool as it can also capture delay effects of today, including reverse delay, as well as a futuristic-sounding Space setting. The company’s TonePrint signature effects give players the ability to harness the sound of some of their favorite guitarists, including The Police’s Andy Summers, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Queens of the Stone Age’s Troy Van Leeuwen, and more. These sounds are easily addable via USB or through a free TonePrint app that sends the data wirelessly from your Android or iPhone mobile device. Three footswitches allow you to nimbly shift between these and many other settings at the drop of a dime.
In their quest to perfectly emulate the sound of the vintage Roland RE-201 Space Echo, BOSS built their RE-20 Space Echo digital delay pedal using the same COSM modeling that gave the RE-201 its unique sonic character. BOSS’s version of the Space Echo also includes some enhancements to Roland’s original; the maximum delay time can be doubled from three seconds to six seconds via the pedal’s “long” mode, and the newer version is built for stereo inputs and outputs. The Mode Selector knob gives players carte blanche access to the 12 delay settings this pedal has to offer, just like the original model. A tap input allows you to easily set the rate of the effect hands-free. Other parameters such as Repeat Rate and Intensity can also be controlled hands-free in conjunction with an Expression pedal.