Switching between contrasting reverb voices doubles the fun.

Smart, versatile, interactive and rangeful controls. Intuitive. Capable of great contrasts between A/B presets. Sturdy enclosure. Effective damping controls tame twee high-octave overtones.

Can’t switch reverb voices as you switch presets. Enclosure is big relative to depth of functionality. No-fun styling.

$229

Fender Dual Marine Layer
fender.com

4
4
4.5
4

Fender and reverb go together like gumbo and rice. Historically, the spring tanks in the company’s amplifiers and tube-driven outboard units have defined the Fender reverb sound. But in 2018, when Fender released the Marine Layer digital reverb, it did not include a spring reverb emulation. The new Dual Marine Layer doesn’t have a spring emulation either. Instead, it’s brimming with sounds and functions well-suited for less retro-reverb expressions, including thick chorus textures and shimmer reverb, and has a soft-relay sustain switch that enables momentary creation of ambient beds. It’s also capable of some very classy, subdued reverb colors, plus a few that can effectively stand in for spring and plate sounds in a pinch.

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Meet your miniature amp masseuse.

Nice price. Great range in simple controls. Sweet preamp sounds. Great capacity for high-end detail.

Hard not to miss that wet/dry mix and post-compression tone control after you’ve used the Compressor Plus.

$129

Keeley Compressor Mini
robertkeeley.com

4.5
5
5
4.5

I fall in and out of love with compressors all the time. It’s a relationship that’s fickle—even downright dysfunctional at times. From one night to another, I might be down on my knees, thanking my comp for saving my life and my sloppy picking performance. The next, I’ll curse the ways it strips my sound of its spirit and fire. The morning after is always awkward. Sorry, compressor—it’s not you, it’s me.

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The king of bucket brigade echoes downsizes and brightens its voice.

Impressive ability to replicate big-box DMM functionality in a compact stomp. Extra toppiness sounds great in slapback settings.

Modulation controls can feel vague. Might be too bright for some DMM traditionalists. Modulation features may not justify extra expense over comparable BBD delays.

$203

Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man
ehx.com

4.5
4
4
3.5

Any time I go anywhere to record anything, I bring along an old Deluxe Memory Man as insurance. I’m not sure I can say that about any other instrument, pedal, or amplifier. As anyone who has used one knows, it’s a beautifully moody sounding echo. It’s also a brilliant design: an ergonomic, interactive, and handsome pedal that, at times, feels almost alive.

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