Price paid: $ 115
Purchased from: Daddy's Boston
Sound — 9
I use this pedal mostly with an Egnater Tweaker head, Fender Strat, Ibanez semihollow, and a couple of PRS SE's, along with various other pedals. For what it is, this pedal really puts out a great reverb sound. The spring is my favorite setting, sounds a lot like a good Fender reverb to me and I've always gravitated toward that sound. The hall setting is pretty nice too, for hall reverb emulation it sounds very good, just not really my thing. The flerb does sound like a flanger and reverb, but I could really do without it. It's just not my flavor, I'm not much for the funky effects like flange and it's very hard for me to find an appropriate time to use it. I could have gone for another variation on a spring reverb instead. Unfortunately, there's no way to adjust the reverb sound other than the 3 way switch, so for me, running it on spring 90% of the time, it does get a little monotonous, but I guess that's what you get in most amps too. Overall, it really nails the sound of a good reverb, despite being limited in flexibility. There's a reason it's called the Holy Grail.
Overall Impression — 8
I play many styles, mostly blues, rock, and a little metal, pretty standard fare really, and the Holy Grail Nano makes for a great all-around reverb, especially for an amp that doesn't have one built in. But I could definitely go for a little more tweakability too. It would be nice to be able to adjust the decay, for example. I think EH makes a Holy Grail plus that has some of those features, so if you're not just looking for a reverb tank substitute, I would save a few more pennies up and look into that. But if you want a straightforward, great sounding reverb, the Holy Grail Nano is definitely at the top of the list. Definitely check one out.
Reliability & Durability — 9
EH has a pretty solid reputation for building tough pedals, and so far this one has held up. I'm not too rough on pedals, but the metal casing is nice and thick and everything seems to be mounted securely. I gig it without a backup with no worries, but I gig almost everything but guitars without a backup - I just get reliable gear so I don't have to haul 2 of everything to a show.
Ease of Use — 10
The Holy Grail Nano is about as easy to use as they come, its controls are identical to the original Holy Grail. 3-way switch for spring, hall, or flerb (combination of flange and reverb), and a knob that adjusts the amount of the effect. Not much more you can say about that. In addition to the controls, the Nano version also features smaller size (obviously), along with hosting a 9v battery compartment or accepting any standard 9v power supply, which I've heard was not the case on the original. You can literally turn it on and have it sounding good in about 10 seconds. I've discovered that it also does well in my effects loop, whereas many other pedals will distort in a line level loop this one doesn't seem to at all, which is good because for most people that's the ideal place for reverb.