Integrating Guitar Pedals into a Modular setup


I really want to use distortion in my setup but I keep running into this same problem with multiple guitar pedals. Whenever I activate the distortion pedal my volume drops significantly. I don’t have this problem with any other type of pedal, only distortions.

Now, I thought I fully understood line level vs. modular level and impedance matching but I guess not. I am using a Melekko SND/RTN to do the level converting. I run the send out to the distortion pedal, into a direct box, then back into the return. I am still getting the volume drop! Has anyone had this problem and solved it?


if you have eurorack: plus (for 1U) (3U, didn’t use this one but looks solid)

Just for me, some distortion/overdrive/fuzz pedals can be great with guitars/basses but very silly and uninteresting with synths/modular because of spectrum of sound.


Is this an impedance thing? Been wondering about this myself.


Yep it is. I think it’s similar to reamping. I’m wondering if I need a reamping box instead of a direct box. They are expensive though so I’d rather not buy one if I don’t have to.

Here’s the important part I don’t understand and that I forgot to mention. This is only happening with my distortion pedals. Any other pedal I use I do not have this volume drop.


Have you tried sending the output of the distortion pedal straight into the Malekko’s Return (rather than via a DI?).

Maybe the DI (which will be setup to interface with line level equipment) could be causing an impedance mismatch with your Malekko snd/rtrn (which I would imagine is setup to deal with guitar levels and impedances)?

Old Fuzz pedals etc. are a lot more sensitive to impedance mismatches etc. (you get all sorts of weird interaction between the old wah and fuzz face pedals).


+1 for fuzzes. Germanium old circuit fuzzes like single coils, low input level (and sag battery)


I am getting the Strymon AA.1


I may be wrong, but having a DI in the signal path is likely dropping the audio to mic level, which is less than 0.01V – they’re meant to take any signal and match it to a microphone preamp, which is meant to handle 0.001-0.01V. If you remove the DI you shouldn’t lose as much signal. I don’t know that module, but my guess it the return jack should have its own protections and be designed for instrument level, which is usually around 0.75V, where most pedals are designed to operate.
(I got these numbers by googling “mic level voltage” and “instrument level voltage”).


As @Ithacus said - I would try removing the direct box from the path- you shouldn’t need that.

Also, have you tried setting the module to 100% wet signal and using the dry/wet on the guitar pedal instead? There could be phasing issues maybe?


Sewastopol might be another nice option for an i/o…