Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

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Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by Spitfire » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:17 pm

Hello All,

In this forum there seems to be a thread where members discuss a few options and offer their insights.

With this thread, I would like to start a list, with your input based on your own experiences (and please include a sentence on your use/experience), of the stomp box format effects pedals that actually work on synths, and don't have impedance/volume level conflicts, or require some kind of unit between the synth and pedal for it to sound good. It'll be a simple, easy to read format, assuming that a list actually results from this post and that someone actually reads it. :lol:

Basically, there doesn't seem to be an online source where one can find such a list, so here goes... :mrgreen: Hopefully this will help someone. If not, well, I tried.

Here's the first few: (readers please note: this isn't a guarantee that these pedals do or don't work... remember that this is mostly anecdotal and not based on an empirical or technical study. this list is meant as a sort of unofficial guide only)

WORK WELL
= Obviously all of the mooger/mini foogers / MF pedals (thanks jsharpphoto, moogprog) Note: according to MoogProg, the Minifooger MF Drive will filter out high-end freqs, but using the CV input we can create moving filter sweeps. Consider using this effect on a separate signal path, say filtering the repeats of a delay.
= Eventide Space (Digital Reverb with Hi-Z and Line Level Switchable Inputs) - great according to Spitfire
= Eventide Time Factor (Digital Delay with Hi-Z and Line Level Switchable Inputs) - great according to Spitfire
= Eventide Mod Factor (Digital Modulation with Hi-Z and Line Level Switchable Inputs) - great according to Spitfire
= Eventide H9 (thanks jsharpphoto)
= All Dreadbox (formerly freqbox) brand pedals, and they all perform well (thanks jsharpphoto)
= Way Huge Swollen Pickle. This is a great fuzz for synths, but if anyone is in the market, i'd recommend getting the "dirty danny" special addition. It has a few of the (very necessary for synth work) trim pots moved to the front panel (thanks jsharpphoto, moogprog)
= TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb-- "I tried out the Hall of Fame reverb yesterday with my voyager and my modular. No signal level issues whatsoever. In fact, it sounded so good, I ordered another TC reverb so they wouldn't have to share. I know everyone loves strymon stuff, but for the money, there is no better reverb pedal than the TC options." (thanks jsharpphoto)
= TC Electronic Flashback-- "To be clear, the TC Electronic Flashback is what I use when I'm looking for repeats that are basically exact copies of the original signal, delayed in time, alternating from hard left to hard right, and quieter with each repeat (no tonal changes). All three work great (Flashback, X4, Triple), but it's the Flashback that's in every one of the previously mentioned demos," according to _DemonDan_ (thanks JohnLRice and _DemonDan_)
= EHX Ravish Star-- (thanks JohnLRice)
= EHX Pog2-- (thanks stiiiiiiiive)
= EHX Big Muff Pi / EHX Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi (thanks jsharpphoto, flareless and psynthetic)
= EHX Memory Boy—a highly underrated delay pedal IMO. Tone is 'weaker' than other analog delays (kinda mid-rangey and grainy), but the sound sits very very well in a mix and the modulation is very musical (or wildly unmusical). (thanks moogprog)
= EHX Cathedral Reverb-- Great all-around reverb. I use it on an Aux send for multiple synths (the spring and reverse and my favorites) (thanks namahshaman)
= EHX Electric Mistress (thanks Flareless)
= most EHX clones* (thanks jsharpphoto)
= EHX Bass Soul Food overdrive-- "It really is as transparent as they say it is. Sounds great for basic overdrive (as opposed to fuzz or distortion) and keeps as much of your original tone without getting muddy. It has a blend knob, which is essential for synths, and a "treble" knob which is kind of like a high pass filter, but it only effects the overdriven portion of the dry/wet mix. And for $80, it's kind of a no-brainer. I would say putting one of these, and the BBE Sonic Stomp (around $65) on every synth in your studio wouldn't be overkill. Obviously you would use it on every synth every time, but I've yet to make it sound bad, and it always sounds beefy," according to jsharpphoto (thanks jsharpphoto)
= Boss RE20 (used by Thom Yorke of Radiohead on his DSI Prophet 08 and demoed by Sweetwater on a Voyager with great results - thanks jsharpphoto)
= Strymon El Capistan-- The El Capistan does a beautiful tape delay emulation with three different types of machine to choose from and lots of parameters. It may be one of the best pedals to use for doing realistic "Berlin School" style sequencing (thanks JohnLRice)
= Strymon Timeline-- very flexible and lush. it really does have infinite possibilities and it is permanently matched with my Nord Lead 3 (according to Spitfire)
= Strymon BigSky-- I think the BigSky is one of the best bang-for-the-buck reverb pedals around and particularly nice for synths IMHO. There are many different styles of reverb type and then within each one of those is a mountain of variation and sub-styles just waiting to be discovered. And it does subtle and well and wild. (thanks JohnLRice)
= Strymon DIG-- sounds great on each of its three different types of digital emulation and it's a dual delay so lots of really interesting rhythms can be created. It can also optionally sync to an external analog clock or have the delay rate be controlled by CV, which is awesome for modular users. (thanks JohnLRice)
= Hardwire Supernatural Reverb—lots of good uses for this with a synth! (thanks moogprog)
= Earthquaker Devices The Depths—Very flexible vibe effect with two "tone" type controls that can help shape your sound so it is just right. (thanks moogprog)
= Darkglass B7K (thanks psynthetic)
= MXR Carbon Copy-- Another under-rated analog delay pedal, especially for the price. Great feedback madness as well. (thanks namahshaman)
= MXR 70's Distortion (thanks Flareless)
= JHS Fuzz-- Small, simple pedal with great warm tone. Just added one to my Sub37 chain (3 minifoogers: ring mod, chorus, delay...then reverb) (thanks namahshaman)
= Bob Burt Reverb-- Beautiful, lush, hand-built reverb by local craftsman. (end of Sub37 chain) (thanks namahshaman)
= Earthquake Devices Afterneath-- A really killer reverb that gets very chaotic. (thanks namahshaman)
= Boss RV-6-- direct quote from _DemonDan_, "A lot of lower-cost stomp box reverbs aren't beautiful enough for synths, but this one is stunning. Play a gently-filtered Sawtooth into its MODULATE setting with the TONE and TIME cranked and you get instant Blade Runner. (Not "kinda' like Blade Runner", but "Damn, that's it!")" (thanks _DemonDan_)
= BBE Sonic Maximizers-- direct quote from _DemonDan_, "useful tools. They slightly time-shift high frequencies to arrive a little before the lower frequencies, which creates an aural illusion that the highs are louder, clearer, crisper, etc., without actually changing the amplitude of those high frequencies. Some models also create sub-octaves of the lowest frequencies to enhance the bass." (thanks jsharpphoto and _DemonDan_)
= BBE Sonic Stomp-- "The Voyager 'Secret Weapon'" according to GregAE, who wrote a review referenced on page 2 of this thread. (thanks GregAE)
= Pigtronix Echolution-- (thanks flareless)
= Tech 21 Character Series, VT Bass and Blonde-- "work well with a low level setting : give a great rock'n'roll character" according to stiiiiiiiive (thanks stiiiiiiiive)
= SubDecay Quasar phaser and ProCo Rat-- "work well, at least on Clavia G2," according to stiiiiiiiive (thanks stiiiiiiiive)
= FoxRox TZF2-- according to c7sus, "TZF2 is a great pedal. The coolest thing I have got it to do with the Voyager so far is envelope tape warble. Set TZF2 envelope control to 10-11 o' clock and use patches with medium to long envelopes. You can dial the envelope control on the TZF2 so it gets kind of pushed and pulled between oscillator and envelope control of the delay time. Can be very subtle up to very detuned. Envelope, Depth, and Manual settings on the TZF2 are very interactive. It sounds great with guitar too." (thanks c7sus)
= Gurus Amps Echosex-- "was fabulous, wish it had multihead echoes" (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)

*DON'T WORK WELL
= EHX Small Clone-- My LP Tribute's volume requires massive attenuation to avoid nasty distortion, and signal is far too weak in the end. If you need chorus, look elsewhere. (in Spitfire's experience)
= ^Strymon Mobius-- "seems pretty sensitive to input level and most of the time doesn't work well unless I attenuate heavily before the input." (thank you JohnLRice)
= Retro-Sonic Chorus-- "clips past 1/4 volume level on all my synths. Such a drag because of signal to noise ratio issues downstream for recording and playing live but it sounds so good when its not clipping." (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= Effectivy Wonder Juno Chorus-- "clips past 1/2 -2/3 volume level (white noise level depending on synth) (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= EHX Clone Theory-- "clips past 1/2 volume." (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= EHX Poly Chorus-- "clips past 1/4 volume." (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= EHX LPB 2Tube Stereo Tube Preamp Pedal-- "reduces bass frequencies (really mid focused)" (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= Catalinbread Belle Epoch "reduces bass frequencies" (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= Mr. Black SuperMoon and Double Chorus-- "clips past 1/4 volume" (thanks SlurmsMacKenzie)
= EHX Cathedral-- I know that it's also in the "WORKS WELL" category, as another forum member has positive experiences with it, but in spite of setting levels correctly and using it both as an insert and send effect, the noise was simply unacceptable. I returned it and bought another external effects processor made by a company that doesn't make pedals and have achieved far better results.


KEY:
^ = could be in both lists because of reasons listed in user feedback.
Last edited by Spitfire on Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:40 pm, edited 25 times in total.
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

jsharpphoto
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:18 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital and Anal

Post by jsharpphoto » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:58 am

Obviously all of the mooger/mini foogers.

I've personally tried:

Eventide H9
All Dreadbox (formerly freqbox) brand pedals, and they all perform well.
Way Huge Swollen Pickle. This is a great fuzz for synths, but if anyone is in the market, i'd recommend getting the "dirty danny" special addition. It has a few of the (very necessary for synth work) trim pots moved to the front panel.
TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb.
All variety of Big Muff Pi (and most clones that i've come across)
Moog Format Modular
Model D (2016)
Moog MG-1
Access Virus Ti2 Polar
Oberheim OB-6
Sequential Rev2

Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital and Anal

Post by Spitfire » Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:15 am

thanks jsharpphoto! That's a great list man - I'll add them to the list in the first post.

I tried an EHX Small Clone with my LP and it sounded awful. just a lot of noise and a very weak signal, possibly due to a volume/impedance mismatch.

keep 'em coming fellow Moogers!
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

MoogProg
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:09 am

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital and Anal

Post by MoogProg » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:20 am

+1 Way Huge Swollen Pickle—took a long time to get this dialed in to my liking, but well worth it.

Hardwire Supernatural Reverb—lots of good uses for this with a synth!

EHX Memory Boy—a highly underrated delay pedal IMO. Tone is 'weaker' than other analog delays (kinda mid-rangey and grainy), but the sound sits very very well in a mix and the modulation is very musical (or wildly unmusical).

Earthquaker Devices The Depths—Very flexible vibe effect with two "tone" type controls that can help shape your sound so it is just right.

Minifooger MF Drive—Caveat: This drive will filter out high-end freqs, but using the CV input we can create moving filter sweeps. Consider using this effect on a separate signal path, say filtering the repeats of a delay.

jsharpphoto
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:18 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital and Anal

Post by jsharpphoto » Thu Nov 12, 2015 3:44 pm

I haven't personally used it, but there is an excellent video that sweetwater made to show off the Boss RE20 emulation of the old Roland space echo tape delay, and they used a voyager and it sounds awesome. It almost made me buy one, then I remember I have an MF-104m.

http://youtu.be/gKScK9M5AYU
Moog Format Modular
Model D (2016)
Moog MG-1
Access Virus Ti2 Polar
Oberheim OB-6
Sequential Rev2

Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital and Anal

Post by Spitfire » Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:19 pm

Interesting you'd mention the RE20. Thom Yorke of Radiohead actually uses one with his DSI Prophet 08. I'll add it to the list.

I've been really interested in one of those old Roland tape delays, one of which has a great chorus built-in, but I've always had a bit of trepidation towards vintage gear. I owned a pristine and MIDI'd Moog source for a few years, but sold it because I had my fun with it and I feared future repairs. But the RE20 might be a good idea as a sort of compromise. :mrgreen:

I can't say enough about the Eventides though. I had a Space on every one of my synths at one point. You could imagine the aural chaos.
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by Spitfire » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:44 pm

Thanks MoogProg! I'll edit the OP to include your list.

I'm glad to see that we have some participants. :mrgreen: I think a lot of synthesists have wondered which stomp box actually works well with synths, so I think this will be ever more helpful as time goes by.

keep adding on!
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

psynthetic
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:26 am

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by psynthetic » Thu Nov 12, 2015 6:10 pm

Darkglass B7K & EHX Deluxe Bass Big Muff Pi.

namahshaman
Posts: 398
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:55 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by namahshaman » Thu Nov 12, 2015 6:20 pm

MXR Carbon Copy-- Another under-rated analog delay pedal, especially for the price. Great feedback madness as well.

JHS Fuzz-- Small, simple pedal with great warm tone. Just added one to my Sub37 chain (3 minifoogers: ring mod, chorus, delay...then reverb).

Bob Burt Reverb-- Beautiful, lush, hand-built reverb by local craftsman. (end of Sub37 chain)

EHX Cathedral Reverb-- Great all-around reverb. I use it on an Aux send for multiple synths (the spring and reverse and my favorites).

Earthquake Devices Afterneath-- A really killer reverb that gets very chaotic.

Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by Spitfire » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:49 pm

thank you psynthetic and namahshaman. :mrgreen: excellent info, and thank you namahshaman for your descriptions of each unit.

let's all add some more examples of the ones that work and don't work :D
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

slabwax
Posts: 479
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:04 pm
Location: Ballard

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by slabwax » Fri Nov 13, 2015 1:24 am

Aka Head Rush II
Digitech Polara Reverb
Red Panda Particle
Retro Sonic chorus (CE-1 clone)

Boomerang III

Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by Spitfire » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:30 am

slabwax: are these pedals that work, or don't work with synths?
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

jsharpphoto
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:18 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by jsharpphoto » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:22 pm

Personally, I have never tried a pedal that DIDNT "work" with a synth, because of signal levels. I have encountered pedals that didn't sound good, but mostly because they were designed to work with either a guitar or bass, in terms of frequency range. A synth goes lower than bass, and higher than guitar, often in a moment. This is were internal trim pots aren't helpful. Generally speaking, I want as much control on the front panel as will allow.
Moog Format Modular
Model D (2016)
Moog MG-1
Access Virus Ti2 Polar
Oberheim OB-6
Sequential Rev2

Spitfire
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by Spitfire » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:21 pm

I hear you. there are impedance issues when it comes to using a synth on a guitar pedal. it has to do with line level versus hi-z inputs, and the Small Clone from EHX, when I've used it (I long since gave it to my wife for her to use on her guitar instead), sounded like hell when I connected my LP to it.

what I heard through my speakers was hardly no effect at all, and a severely weakened signal.
Minimoog Model D / Moog Little Phatty TE / DSI Prophet 08 / Elektron Digitone / Elektron Octatrack Mkii / Clavia Nord Wave / Nord Drum II / Clavia Nord Lead 3 / Roland TR-707 / Roland TB-03 / Korg MS-20 / Access Virus TI 2 Polar / Roland SH-101 /:mrgreen:

slabwax
Posts: 479
Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:04 pm
Location: Ballard

Re: Stomp Box Pedals that Work With Synths (Digital, Analog)

Post by slabwax » Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:04 pm

@Spitfire,

They work on mine.

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