Floating in a Sea of Reverberation – Boss RV-6

Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the sound clips of the RV-6

This review is of a pedal that I actually own. This has become a rarity as my board is nearing completion (for now). I’ve wanted a stand alone reverb pedal for a while. I had on my board (I still own it) the Zoom MS70-CDR and whilst this is an outstanding pedal for the price, the reverbs left a little to be desired, and the shimmer is terrible. I’ve kept it to use with my synth as I’ve seen some interesting videos online of people using the Korg Volca Keys and the 70-CDR together to great effect.

There are a lot of reverb pedals to choose from. I didn’t really have a budget as such and came very close to purchasing the Boss RV-500 thinking that this would be enough reverb to last me a lifetime. I did in the end rein it in a little as for the same price as the RV-500 I could finish my board, with a reverb, volume, tremolo and Digitech Drop. The aforementioned are what I have decided I would like to finish my board. I don’t think it will ever be fully finished, it constantly evolves.

For a lot less than the RV-500 I still had around 4 or 5 quality reverbs to choose from. The Digitech Polara, the Boss RV-6, the Neunaber Immerse and the TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2. There are many more for around the same price or less, but these are the four that I was deciding between as they all have a good shimmer setting as well as quality room, hall plate etc. I came very close to getting a Polara, very close indeed as the room and hall settings on the demos I’ve heard sound fantastic, I’ve also been very impressed with the Digitech Obscura, the delay pedal from the same line as the Polara, so I would imagine that the Polara is also good quality. I found an RV-6 on Facebook marketplace for a good price however and thought that as with a lot of these things, if I don’t like it all that much I should be able to sell it on at not much of a loss and try a different reverb. I may even in the future try to find a Polara, so that I can compare the two.

Now on to the pedal in question, the RV-6 does not disappoint. It is built like a house brick. I’m quite sure it will stand up to many years use. It is quite ordinary in most ways, there’s a 9v centre negative socket up top and a large square foot switch on the bottom and somewhere around the middle there are a few knobs for you to tweak. There are a lot of modes on the RV-6, most of which are fantastic. There are a couple such as the Delay+ that I don’t think I’ll ever use as I have a delay pedal that I’m very happy with. The shimmer is fantastic, perfect for ambient playing. But the real standout for me is the room setting, it is perfectly subtle enough. It is pretty much exactly what I had in mind when I looked for a reverb.

All of the settings are very good, but as previously stated some won’t get much use, modular, is interesting, I’m not sure what I would use it for, but it is quite a deep rich reverb with a swirling hint of something else. The hall setting is also fantastic, it has tons of space, as you would imagine from a hall. Plate and spring are not modes that I have ever found myself using all that much, and if ever I have turned them down considerably so that there is only a hint of reverb. That being said, if spring and plate are what you crave within the remits of reverb the RV-6 does not disappoint.

All in all I am very happy with the RV-6, it is an always on kind of pedal, and I do miss it when It gets turned off. It doesn’t have to tweakabilty or the presets of something like the RV-500 but it is a third of the price. It blows the MS70-CDR out of the water on the reverb front. Don’t get me wrong, the CDR is fantastic value for money, but the algorithms within it for the reverbs aren’t a patch on Boss’s. I’m a little annoyed I didn’t take the plunge when I first looked at reverb pedals and ended up with the Zoom, luckily I can justify keeping it for other uses. I am now happy with the reverb I have and can’t see me swapping the RV-6 in the forseeable future. Unless of course an RV-500 falls into my lap.

I’m still interested in comparing the Polara to this, so I may have a review in the future where I do just that, or either of the other two reverbs that I mentioned earlier on.

In conclusion:

Pros –

  • More than enough reverb for most people in a small enclosure
  • Standard power requirements, a 9v Battery or centre negative adaptor
  • Built like a tank, as are most if not all Boss pedals
  • Fantastic reverb algorithms with long decay times
  • A leave on kind of affair

Cons –

  • Not as many parameters to change as some of its rivals, or more expensive options (but these are more expensive, so generally the more you pay the more customisation you get)
  • Doesn’t look particularly amazing (if that kind of thing bothers you)
  • No tone print feature as with the H.O.F 2, so what you have in the box is what you get, you do at least get plenty of modes
  • No presets or scrolling through, it’s an on off kind of thing, if you needed to change reverbs throughout a set for different songs, you would either have to manually change the knobs in between songs, get enough RV-6 pedals to cover each reverb sound you want, or buy something like the RV-500. I don’t particularly find this a problem, I find a sound I like and keep it on. Reverb for me is more a subtle addition to the sound rather than a main event, if you play live, chances are that you may not need any as you will have the natural reverb from the room you’re in



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