Guitar pedals with synths

Hi,

I was wondering which guitar pedals you are using with your synths and why.

At the moment I am just using a Boss DD-7 and TC Hall of fame 2, as my basic idea is that delay and reverb is all you need to start having fun with a synth.

I’ve always thought I needed a Strymon Big Sky as I love making ambient pads, but now I am looking at the Strymon Timeline as well and I would love to have both. I also read somewhere that the Eventide Space is a good option fo synths.

Here I am talking about the most expensive ones, but maybe there are good and affordable alternatives.

What are you using? Any suggestions and nice links are most welcome!

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I use a Boog Model D for bass sounds in a band context. I run it through a Boss RV-3 for reverb/delay and a DD-7 for looping. There also used to be a DIY Rat distortion in the chain but it was removed to save space on my pedal board. I recently got a TC Electronic mini chorus but I found that it sounds way better for guitar than synth.

I also use a DD-7 as an all-around delay workhorse, such a good bang:buck ratio. I have a Thermae which I trot out when I need either a pleasantly gritty analog delay ~or~ when I need that special Thermae pitch-shifting, let’s-explore-the-sound-universe sauce.

The Thermae very ably adds fun to the Critter & Guittari piano, for a simple little tabletop setup.

Both delays work intriguingly with the F/X insert for feedback in the Hordijk frequency shifter.

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Have been using a lot more pedals with synth and modular since picking up the Klein bottle.

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Check out the Chase Bliss stuff, Fairfield Circuitry, Glou Glou

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Boss DD-5 ~ the DD delays are great for the price like others have said, but I opted for the 5 as the tempo input will accept trigger pulses

Thermae ~ for the same reasons mentioned by @sandettie

Hologram Infinite Jets ~ works well with pretty much anything you throw at it. Great for adding other layers with its spectral freezing/blurring capabilities, as well as glitchy audio buffer stuff a la Jonny Greenwood

JHS Superbolt ~ maybe not the best for synths but I love it on guitar and with some tweaking some pretty interesting drive/distortion sounds can be found with synths

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Lots of people love the Chase Bliss MOOD (I’m among them, I just don’t own one, have used it quite a lot tho), and trying the Blooper at NAMM was a lot of fun.

I’ve also previously owned a Strymon Big Sky, EQD Avalanche Run, EQD Grand Orbiter, Catalonbread Belle Epoch Deluxe, and MXR Carbon Copy and would still recommend all of those for synth usage.

I’ve tried a few pedals with my synths. Generally I’m more into using VST plugins, but sometimes pedals have a special sound or offer a workflow/vibe that software FX don’t.

Currently I have a Tensor and an Arquitecto, and a Particle V2 that I’m selling. Tensor is really something special IMHO. I’m planning to explore a few more pedals this year, in the area of unique delays and reverbs mostly. Freqout or Dweller are other strong possibilities though.

Love the TC Hall of Fame. I have a couple of the cheapo Behringer analog delays but lately I’ve been using the EHX Canyon and its shimmer mode as a Corny Ambient Cheat Code.

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I’m currently using these on synths:

Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water (for a lo-fi tape sound)
MXR Sub Machine (Sub Octave fuzz)
Meris Hedra (3-Voice Rhythmic Pitch Shifter)
Empress Reverb

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I’ve had periods of using no pedals, just using plugins and periods where I’m just using pedals. Currently I’ve got a mix of both. I favor using pedals when either the effect is something I can’t get in a preset or when I want to craft something more intentionally (I get so lazy using presets with plugins). I have a few that I really enjoy:

Empress Zoia - This is the second time I’ve owned the pedal, the first time I downloaded everything from patch storage that sounded interesting, and some of them were amazing but I felt overwhelmed by the lack of patch documentation and multiple pages. This second time I wanted to sell it again right away but challenged myself to make a patch- just do something with ring mod. I did, putting it before a reverb, after a reverb, automating it with an lfo, controlling that lfo with another lfo… Keeping it for now.

Eventide pitchfactor- use this two ways. 1) to make a mono synth a poly synth by using the two or four voice mode (there’s a cheaper boss pedal, the harmonizer I think that does this too) 2) using the more subtle pitchshifters for detuning/thickening effects.

Strymon Volante - lots of character in this pedal! Has a few delay types based on different machines and the ability to make each one seem like it’s work out or malfunctioning or something.

One drawback is that it has two inputs and two outputs but I think it ignores the input l and r and just mixes those together and does a stereo output of a mono input if that makes sense, like if you sent the snare into the left and a kick into the left it seems like something in the pedal hears them as one mono track and then does cool delay panning stuff, outputting some of the delay in the left side and some of the delay on the right side. Of course I never read the manual so it could totally be user error but this outcome seems counter intuitive.

I’ve been running my MicroBrute through an RV-7 reverb. I like it a lot. I’m probably getting rid of the former, because I’d prefer something chordal, but I’m keeping the RV-7.

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RedShift Effects Mirage for delay and Digitech Polara for reverb.

The Mirage is an incredible pedal, with programmable delay patterns, CV modulation, and a mesmerising octave mode.

The Polara is “just” a slick, competent reverb at a great price.

Even though I drool at all the shiny boutique pedals around, I can’t help but think “and people say modular is expensive?”

I can relate to this on one level but my upper pedal limit is £300 & I can’t even get the modules I’m interested in for that, let alone get a case and power or a pod.

I have a Fairfield Circuitry Meet Maude which is the latest in a long line of delay pedals which has also featured the likes of an El Capistan and an Echo Dream 2. I liked both of them but sold the latter to get the former and felt like the El Cap wasn’t giving me what I was looking for without having to go to secondary functions on the dials. The MM has beautiful dark delays that lapse into self oscillation. I love it.

Aside from that I have a handful of other go-tos. The EHX Q-Tron is as close as I’ll get to a Mutron and does lovely things to synths. I also have a Zvex Instant Lofi Junky that I got to specifically pair with my Microfreak because I wanted to temper the digital cleanliness with some warbling dirt. I like to buy random Japanese 80s pedals and the scratch DJ in me has a fondness for Vestax as a brand so I have a few Vestax pedals (digital delay, distortion). Also an Amdek chorus and a few another random fun boxes - flangers, overdrive pedals etc.

What synths do you have? I’ve had some trouble finding pedals to integrate well with eurorack since that’s the only synth I’ve got at the moment. El Capistan and Moog Grandmother were a great combo, but I didn’t quite liked El Capistan as an aux-send effect in my mixer since I used it mostly in looper mode.
The only ones I’ve stucked with and that I like with my eurorack setup is the super cheap Alesis Microverb 1 and 2. When it clips it distorts everything really nice and I tend to let Rings pass through them all the time. I just let my eurorack mixer output go directly into them and then into my external mixer, but I guess a send/return module would be something to consider though but this works fine for me.
I had a Boss DD-20 for a couple of years ago and that worked really well with eurorack levels too.

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I’m 100% ITB with effects at the moment, but thinking about picking up a Zoom MS-70CDR (aka the poor man’s Eventide H9 :slight_smile: ) for some computer-free fun.

Reviews seem to range from ‘great for the price’ to ‘absolute crap’, but I figure for the price it doesn’t matter too much either way.

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It’s got some interface weirdness. I’m not sure I’d want to use it as a guitar stomp box (in particular, the main footswitch turns off effects one by one - but you can chain up to six!). But for synths where you have the free hand to operate it, it doesn’t matter, and I really like the sound. For the price I think it’s ridiculous.

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I’m a guitarplayer and wasted a lot of time buying/selling pedals, chasing tone, fuelled by spending too much time on thegearpage.com forum. Although I found my way to some really great units that I will never change, the lesson was often that the grass is rarely greener. And you don’t need all the flavours of cool. One problem with those forums is that too many people tend to obsess with the re-creation of a classic sound (classic rock), rather than focusing on creating something new.

Despite all the boutique-options available I find it very refreshing to see a Premier Guitar Rig-rundown video with a band like Khruangbin to find that they mostly rely on a few stock Boss-pedals - like a DS-1. It just proves its not what gear you have but how you use it.

Ok, so off the soapbox. I plug my Microbrute through my pedalboard. I enjoy delays, my old phasers, reverbs and dirtpedals. Analog is analog, but there are a lot of digital stuff that sounds great.

I came across a Digitech Obscura delay in a pawnshop. It really sounds pretty great: analog and tape-simulation with lofi and reverse-options as well. I found the sounds inspiring.

There’s a lot of creative dsp-pedals coming out, like Chase Bliss, Red Panda etc. Sounds great on youtube, but they are really expensive. My solution to potential GAS, was to buy a used Organelle and use it as an effectbox, by loading up different patches created by the community.

Cheap tip: Boutique pedal builder JHS has a youtubechannel. I watched a clip where he checked out all the behringer-boxes. He recommended quite a few.

Another cool effect-option are the Boss/Roland SP-series of samplers. They can be used as pedals in series, or as aux-sends.

(oh well, I talk too much)

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What is the Klein Bottle?

I have a Korg MS-20 Mini, Moog Werkstarr-01 and an Arturia Microfreak. Also I use iOS synths through guitar pedals quite regularly

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I love the 0 coast through pedals, and I am having fun with granular synthesis on my iPad through pedals as well (if you’d like to check my setup out you can lookup white noise from electronic toys on youtube)