Best Plate Reverb Pedal for Guitar (Our Top Pick)
The Strymon BigSky
Though expensive, the Strymon BigSky is one of the best overall reverb pedals on the market, and includes a fantastic plate reverb algorithm. It's easily our top recommendation if you're looking specifically for a plate reverb sound. The other 11 reverb modes are equally solid.
There aren't really dedicated plate reverb pedals. In most cases, plate is a reverb mode or algorithm that is programmed in with other types of reverb like hall, church, etc.
In that sense, the best plate reverb pedal is just going to be the best reverb pedal overall that houses a plate algorithm.
The Strymon BigSky has our vote for that title.
We'll look at this in a plate context and provide as much information as possible.
How Plate Reverb Works
Plate reverb is based on tapping a large metal plate or bouncing a sound off a metal plate which produces vibrations. Those vibrations are then picked up by a microphone. That's my simplified explanation but you can go more in depth if you'd like.
Read more: What is plate reverb?
Originally, this was a type of synthetic reverb produced with a literal plate. But these days that sound is modeled digitally. This might sound kind of like cheating, but pedal builders and programmers have gotten exceptionally good at recreating sounds that were originally analog.
The BigSky in particular is one of the best we've seen with plate reverb and other reverb sounds alike.
And yes, it's "BigSky" and not "Big Sky." That always threw me off.
We'll talk about the BigSky and some cheaper alternatives as we outline your best plate reverb pedal options.
Though we do tons of research, in-hand testing, and have decades of experience in the musical instrument industry, our recommendations should be understood as opinion. They should also be understood in the context of your situation, since our job is to recommend the best option for the largest number of people. Also consider that we use partner links (orange buttons) to support ourselves. If you buy gear through these links, we might earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.
Compare the BigSky to Other Options
Though popular, the BigSky is expensive by reverb pedal standards. We've added some cheaper alternatives and comparisons in this table.
Use the comparison buttons to look at them side by side or launch the search bar (linked below the chart) to search for other reverb pedals to compare. We're adding to our database and updating products regularly.
All of the reverb pedals listed include a plate algorithm.
TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
EHX Ocean's 11
Compare More Reverb Pedals
We're building a database of products that is continually expanding with automatically updated price tables that cover multiple vendors. You can use our search bar to browse these products and compare additional reverb pedals.
Price Resources for the Strymon BigSky
The Strymon BigSky isn't cheap, but we've put together some pricing tools that allow you to look at multiple vendors and compare prices. You can also sign up for price alerts and look at price history to see if anything has changed.
Note that the alerts and history are based on the cheapest options of the vendors listed. If you only see one bullet point, it just means that the price has not changed recently.
Price History for Strymon BigSky Multidimensional Reverb Pedal
|Current Price||$479.00||December 1, 2023|
|Highest Price||$479.00||June 2, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$479.00||June 2, 2022|
Last price changes
|$479.00||June 2, 2022|
What is the most popular reverb pedals with plate reverb overall?
The best selling reverb pedals are a little difficult to pin down. There are a slew of economy brands that are very cheap and usually sold on Amazon. Those sell a lot of units, but we rarely recommend them.
Among the more reliable brands, the following reverb pedals are usually at the top of the ranks:
- Strymon BigSky
- TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
- Strymon Flint
- EHX Ocean's 11
Best sellers fluctuate because when new pedals are released, some of them tend to shoot to the top of the charts, then settle into a lower spot. But these four pedals have consistently been among the top 10 or 15. All of them have a plate reverb algorithm.
When should I use plate reverb?
Plate reverb is in the ambient effects category, making it a good fit for clean tones, ethereal sound effects, and coupling with a delay for more of a watery layer of trails. Whenever you need a more ambiguous tone, or you want to jazz up a clean signal, plate reverb is a great way to do it.
We especially like plate reverb with hollowbody electric guitars and tube amps.
It's not quite as useful with distortion, but there's plenty of creative interpretation to this as well. You shouldn't view it as a should or shouldn't situation, but instead use it to create your sound given your own artistic approach.
How to EQ a plate reverb pedal
The primary EQ-related tweak to think about when setting your reverb pedals is whatever controls the trails. The language used for that control might change from pedal to pedal, but you should be able to adjust the length, frequency, and mix of this particular quality.
Here's what you should think about:
- Should I mix in more dry signal or more of the reverb effect? (most pedals let you do 100% of either or anything in between)
- A typical mix would be 50% dry signal and 50% wet signal
- What should the tone of the reverb trail be? Higher or lower?
- How long should my reverb trail be?
Again, there's no protocol here.
How to EQ your plate reverb is up to your own interpretation. We would advise being careful with how long your trails are, because longer trails can cause notes and chords to overlap one another which ends up sounding really chaotic. To avoid this, just make sure you don't draw the trails out for too long.
The same is true of echo and delay pedals. If you have too many echoes you'll get way too much overlap.
How plate reverb is programmed
As I mentioned, plate reverb pedals these days are programmed with algorithms (programming processes) and built into a digital signal processor. For me, I'm happy with that amount of knowledge and don't need to explore it further.
However, if you really want to get into the weeds you can checkout this page on reverb algorithm building tips:
Read more: Reverb algorithm building
It's an awful complex mess. I don't recommend it. Then again, I'm not a programmer.
Is the TC Electronic Hall of Fame a good alternative for plate reverb?
Personally, I find the TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 to be the best, cheap alternative to higher-end reverb pedals like the BigSky. It's nearly 1/4 the price and still an excellent reverb pedal with a plate algorithm. This is the one I usually have on my own pedalboard.
Here's a price table so you can compare with the BigSky:
Does it even matter which reverb mode I use?
To my ear, it's often hard to tell a huge difference between plate, hall, church, and other typical reverb types. But some people just have an ear or taste for one or the other, which is completely a matter of preference.
Moreover, the variations that really matter like trail length and mix control, are not so much a matter of the type of reverb as they are a matter of tweaking.
Most (pretty much all) reverb algorithms can be adjusted this way.
If it's a debate between plate or hall, or some other type of reverb, don't overthink it.
How to compare reverb pedals
Comparing reverb pedals involves much of the same process we would employ for any effect type. Here are the things to keep an eye on:
- Brand reputation
- Controls available (look for at least trail length and mix control)
- Analog or digital (matters less these days but still check because analog reverbs tend to have fewer modes)
- Number of reverb modes (more expansive reverb pedals usually have 10 or more)
I always like to conclude with this disclaimer:
We try and make a recommendation that will make the most sense for the largest number of people. With the BigSky, we understand that the price will be prohibitive for some. With that in mind, the TC Electronic Hall of Fame series would be our next stop.
But besides all this, you have to make the call within your context and your unique situation.
What's the best plate reverb pedal for you?
Only you can answer that question, so use these suggestions as a guide that can point you in the right direction.
If you have questions about the BigSky or other reverb pedals with a plate mode, the comments section is where most of those questions get answered. This helps you out as well as future readers who have the same question(s) as you do. We'll see you there.