Understanding audio effects is essential to every music producer, singer, or guitarist. Regardless of your interest, you’ll probably use reverbs at one point.
Finding the best small tube amp with reverb effect helps to add more dimension to your audio. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about this popular audio effect and how it can improve your music. We’ll also review three products that will help you recreate music the way you want.
What is the Reverb Effect?
Reverb or reverberation is the process of smoothing out the audio by mimicking the effect of producing audio in a natural space. It’s like singing in a real room where the sound comes to life. In simple words, reverb is the effect of the sound, reflecting off several solid objects back to the listener’s ears.
Reverbs were used as acoustic tricks because they make the music sound better. By adding a plate or a spring, there were more vibrations combined to imitate the effect of a resonant room.
As of the 1960s, reverbs became a standard of guitar amps where a transducer sends the sound signal down a coiled metal spring then to a pickup at the other end. The vibration created in the spring and the diffusion result in the reverb effect, which improves the quality of the melodies.
Why Does Reverb Make Your Instrument Sound Better?
When you sing or play music, you don’t produce melodies in a dead room or your head. There are usually surfaces and walls, and the sound waves will travel to hit them and reflect to you. Reverb adds the illusion of these natural reflections and resonances. Here are some reasons why reverb is significantly essential.
- When you’re recording music, things can become overwhelming if you feel that the sound is all around you. Reverb helps you determine where the music is coming from so it can sound better and more realistic.
- Because it creates a special effect, reverb can be used to hide small errors. When you’re singing or playing music, you’re not after perfection, but using this effect, your music will sound better. If you have a shaky voice or hand, the reverb effect will mask all the mistakes for a better outcome.
- Going out of tune is possible, whether you’re playing the guitar or singing. Using the reverb effect, the audience won’t be able to detect a minor deviation.
- The reverb effect allows you to move smoothly from one note to another. It enables your notes to reach everyone in the room without weird pauses, whether you’re singing or playing the guitar. It molds your endnotes for a better effect.
- Mixing several instruments with the reverb effect is a recipe to make everything melt together so you can’t tell where each instrument starts and where it ends.
However, reverb isn’t for everyone. Some singers, for example, don’t use it because they prefer to sing a note until they decide to end it. Some musicians also don’t prefer the mixing effect that sometimes cancels some of the distinctive features of every instrument played in the melody.
Mixing and creating your own reverb effect is a matter of choice. It can be adjusted according to your preferences and the music you’re playing.
Here’s a nice informative video from guitargate:
Today, digital processors are used to imitate the effect of analog reverbs by stimulating the frequency response of real rooms. As a matter of fact, nowadays, musicians have total control over several variables that affect the quality of the reverb.
This is one of the crucial factors in creating a reverb effect. It’s the difference in volume between the dry or unaffected sound and the wet or reflected sound.
By increasing the mix ratio of dry to wet, the listener will feel that the musical instrument or source is closer to them. Enhancing the wet sound or making the mix wetter will make the listener feel that the music source is far away.
This refers to the time taken by the reflected sound to diminish until it can no longer be heard. This time is directly related to the size of the simulated resonant room. Longer time means that the room is bigger, and you can listen to the melodies for longer.
It’s the period between the direct signal and the wet or reflected sound. It will indicate the space between the instrument, the reflective surface, and the listener.
High- frequency tones that usually have low energy are typically absorbed faster by the surrounding environment, while lows will last longer. Having a controller that can regulate the tone will also improve the reverb effect produced.
What is a Combo Amp?
Guitar amps or amplifiers are devices that strengthen the weak electric signal from a pickup on an acoustic, electric, or bass guitar to produce it through loudspeakers. Unlike regular amps where the power amplifier and preamplifier circuits are kept in a separate cabinet from the loudspeakers, combo amps contain both of the amplifier and loudspeakers in the same case.
Combo amps are more practical to use than regular amps because they’re easier to carry around. Everything you need comes in the same box, so you can set up your guitar and start playing. Today’s models are well-equipped to work in small and medium-sized rooms and halls. Moreover, there are powerful models that can be used in bigger halls.
The size of the combo amp is referred to as the number of speakers and the width. For example, a 1X12 combo amp means that it includes a single speaker which is 12 inches wide. This will not be big enough to power a big room but will be suitable for studio recording.
If you’re playing music in an enormous hall or an open arena, you’ll need a 4X12 combo, which contains 4 speakers. Smaller speakers are more successful at producing higher frequencies, so a 10-inch combo amp will sound better than a 15-combo amp. This is why some musicians will choose to connect the amp to a PA system and let it do the rest.
Combo Amps and Reverb
Most guitarists prefer small combos because they’re portable, versatile, and practical to use in almost every setup. They also have tonal characteristics for all music styles. Connecting small amps to PA systems make them more powerful to be used in larger areas.
Using a larger combo amp might be what you need to add the reverb effect, especially when you’re playing punk or metal, where smaller combo amps might fail you. Some modifications can still be applied to the combo amp to create better music regardless of its size and power.
Swapping the speakers can significantly affect the sensitivity of the combo amp or its ability to change the wattage into volume. Installing speakers with a higher sensitivity rating means that it will be more potent while increasing the sound. This rating doesn’t refer to the quality or the tone, but it only measures the efficiency of the combo amp.
Cabinet additions add special effects when you’re playing music in live scenarios. The ability to add a reverb effect or create a tight and punched sound can all be controlled using knobs on the cabinet.
The design of the cabinet itself will directly affect the sound produced. For example, closed-back cabinets are highly directional, with most of the sound projected in front of the speaker. If you’re standing next to or behind the speaker, the volume will drop.
On the other hand, open-back cabinets are omnidirectional with the sound traveling in all directions, thus covering other noises in the area if you’re playing on a stage. By removing the back of a closed-back cabinet, your combo amp will be transferred into an open-back one.
Adding an extension cabinet will help you cover a bigger stage while creating a reverb with a small amp. If you have a high-powered amp, you can add an extra speaker and point it in a different direction, allowing more people to hear you clearly, especially if they’re facing away from the original speaker.
Installing a few additions is a great way to get most of your combo amp. A boost pedal will increase the clarity and volume of a small combo amp while pushing it to do better mixes by bringing out its harmonics. You can also make equalization changes that primarily promote the mids, which is the most sensitive frequency to the human ear.
Reviews of the Best Small Tube Amp with Reverb
We’ve searched the market for excellent amps that will help you create the desired effect and were able to find these three products. Check out our top picks.
Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt 1×10-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
Creating live tunes is possible with this combo amp from Fender as it comes with several adjustments that help you add the desired effect to your music. This renovated model takes all the good qualities of industry-standard amps and pushes them a little further with new features that help you create music in any setting.
With 15-watts of dual-channel 12AX7 tube amp and a 10-inch speaker, this combo amp won’t disappoint you even if you want your music to be heard in a wide area. It can also be adjusted by delivering multiple digital effects that every musician would be interested in.
There are 16 different amp types with voicing control so you can customize the output based on your personal preferences. Moreover, there are 15 effects that you can add to your music with volume control for better results. These effects include reverb, chorus, delay, and tremolo for tonal coloring and adding texture to your music. Producing and using digital music is easy, thanks to the USB output.
This combo amp weighs 23 amps and is quite affordable. Still, it’s excellent value for money because it won’t disappoint you thanks to the pure sound of a Fender tube amp.
Tweaking this amp is necessary before initial setup, a job that might be a little bit challenging for some amateurs. It lacks a midrange equalizing knob.
What We Like
- Well-built affordable combo amp.
- 16 different amp types.
- 15 digital effects to add more texture to the music.
- Can be connected digital using the USB output.
What We Don’t Like
- Needs a few adjustments.
- Doesn’t have an equalizing knob for mids.
Fender Amplifiers Vintage Modified 68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb Tube Guitar Amplifier
Enjoy the best dynamics of the song, thanks to the quicker gain onset. This amp features high sensitivity so it can have a slightly distorted tone with the added sustain to make your music more alive.
Featuring 2 reliable 10-inch speakers, this combo amp will deliver aggressive lows and low-mids that bring more texture to the music. The speaker will easily cover up any stage noise to make your music sound more flawless.
Using the reverb effect, you will recreate audios that sound as they were initially created in large sonic reflective spaces. You can also use the tremolo effect, which makes the sound move around. Musicians will enjoy the added flexibility provided by Fender to its users because they can customize the output based on their preferences using the Fender Drive stompbox pedal.
This combo amp features a sturdy and classy aluminum cloth trim and weighs 42 pounds. It’s rather expensive, so it might be more suitable for serious users unless you’re an amateur who’s ready to pay the hefty price tag. Nevertheless, some hissing might be heard, especially with extremely low volume bass.
What We Like
- Durable combo amp with aluminum cloth trim.
- Excellent lows and low-mids.
- Ability to add reverb, tremolo, and other effects that add texture to your music.
- High sensitivity to mask any stage noise.
What We Don’t Like
- Expensive model.
- Some hissing with low bass.
BUGERA T5 5-Watt Cage-Style Amplifier
Amateurs and pros who are on a tight budget can still enjoy excellent audio from this affordable amp head. It combines the classic look with new controls that enables every musician to add the desired effect to their music.
It features special controls for the gain, treble, bass, and volume in addition to a dedicated volume to control the reverb effect, which adds more texture to your music.
The vintage design is an excellent choice for amateurs and old-school pros as it features several input options, including one to connect to your phone. The 5-watt amp is studio-grade but can be pushed a little harder with a speaker cabinet, although on its own, it’s an excellent choice for home or studio recording and a solo gig.
If you’re looking for a portable model, this will be the one for you. It weighs 9 pounds and comes with a handle so you can move it easily. However, some noise is expected especially at low volumes.
What We Like
- Affordable vintage-style amp.
- Easy controls for adding the desired effect.
- Suitable for amateurs.
- Portable design.
What We Don’t Like
- Not well-equipped for larger rooms.
- Some noise can be heard at lower volumes
The reverb effect will add more texture to the music and help mask any errors that can be heard on the stage or in the recording studio. Adding this effect to your music using the best small tube amp with reverb will help you produce music that sounds more alive.
We chose the Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt 1×10-Inch Guitar Combo Amp as our top choice because it can be used to add several digital effects that can make your music sound better. It comes at an affordable price and is suitable for both pros and amateurs.
Combo amps are versatile and satisfy the needs of musicians because they combine the power of the amp with the speaker to spread your music across the room. Choosing the right combo amp and adjusting it is essential for bringing your music to life.
For more information about reverb, whether you’re a total beginner or an old pro, here are some of my favorite articles on the topic. I hope you find them as helpful as I do!
- A Brief But Complete Guide To Guitar Reverb from anatonyofguitartone.com
- Effects Guide: What Is Reverb? from fender.com
- How To Use Reverb from gilmourish.com
- Bedroom Tone Ain’t Gig Tone: How To Dial In Your Amp For Live Performance from reverb.com
- 5 Misunderstood Guitar Gear Concepts Explained from reverb.com
- Spring Reverb: What Is It And How To Use It from musicianonamission.com
- How To Use A Reverb Pedal from reverbpedalguide.com
- Reverb: What, How, And History from justinguitar.com
- 11 Things To Do With Guitar And Reverb from theproaudiofiles.com
- The Best Practice Amps/Small Guitar Amps from gearank.com
- 5 Killer Reverb Pedals For Blues Guitar from tonetopics.com