Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb Review
- Pros: The Holy Grail’s simple design and competitive price make it an excellent choice for users seeing an inexpensive and easy-to-use reverb pedal.
- Cons: This pedal’s limited functionality will not provide enough options for some users.
- Overall: A no-frills reverb pedal. Musicians who want to adjust as few knobs as possible will be most pleased by the Holy Grail.
Electro-Harmonix’s Holy Grail reverb is easily one of the simplest reverb pedals on the market. With only a single knob and a miniature switch on its face, this pedal is extremely easy to use. The knob is labeled “reverb,” and it seems to function much like the reverb knob on an old Fender amp or the mix knob on a spring reverb unit. Next to the reverb knob is a three-position switch for selecting the different reverb modes. The Holy Grail offers settings meant to emulate spring reverb and the reverb of a large concert hall, and a very strange and idiosyncratic “flerb” setting.
The spring setting on the Holy Grail emulates the tone and envelope of a spring reverb more than adequately. In comparison to a real spring reverb unit, the Holy Grail can sound a little flat, though. It didn’t “chirp” in response to a smack on the strings in the way that a real spring reverb would. Also, I felt like the response to my pick attacks was somewhat less dynamic than a real spring reverb’s, especially in the high end. This isn’t to say that Holy Grail’s effect is inferior to a spring reverb; it’s just a little different. The Holy Grail’s hall setting sounded very similar to the spring setting to my ear, but with a longer pre-delay. The flerb setting is easily the weirdest thing on the Holy Grail. Far from the general use aesthetic of the spring and hall settings, the flerb is a novelty setting with limited practical use. It sounds like a normal reverb effect with a short pre-delay run through a slowly oscillating resonant filter.
The current edition of the Holy Grail, part of Electro-Harmonix’s “nano” line of pedals, is housed in a sturdy and compact chassis. The external components are of good quality. The Holy Grail functions admirably as an easy-to-use reverb pedal with pared-down functionality. It certainly isn’t the best choice for users who are very picky about their reverb, but many musicians will appreciate the simplicity of the Holy Grail’s design.