Updated on October 30th, 2023
A Buyer’s Guide to the Best Multi-Modulation Pedals
In the audio realm, “modulation” is an umbrella world that includes all those effects that rely on a Low-Frequency Oscillator (aka, LFO). This electronic device gradually changes, at a customizable speed, a parameter inside a circuit that affects your audio signal, creating a sweeping, swirling effect. Even though the “L” in LFO seems to imply slow movements, these oscillators can also operate at rather high frequencies, delivering choppier, more frantic effects.
Types of Modulations
Here’s a quick video we shot about the six most common modulation types used on guitar. If you want to know more, expand the section under it.
| Click here to expand this section |
We organized this article in four different categories. Click on the link below to jump to the one you are interested in:
Best Multi-Modulation Workstations (Stereo + Large Case)
Best Stereo Compact Multi-Modulation Workstations
Best Mono Compact Multi-Modulation Workstations
Best Multi-Modulation Pedals with Dual Engine
Best Multi-Modulation Pedal Workstations (Stereo + Large Case)
The pedals in this list are the top of the modulation line and give the player access to deep editing features to control every detail of each of the many modulation effects they offer. All DSP-based and Stereo, devices sport a larger footprint that allows them to include several controls, presets, extra routing, and external control options like Midi and Expression Pedal.
The Mobius, just like the other pedals by Strymon, is not just a stompbox that gives you a ton of lush and creative options when plugged into your guitar, but a truly studio-grade stereo effect processor that can be used on any instrument and even in a mix.
Powered by a powerful Sharc DSP that allows it to age well (it was released in 2013), it has robust editing features for its 12 types of modulation, which range from your regular Chorus, Flanger, Vibe, and Phaser to more mysterious modes such as Formant, Quadrature, and Destroyer.
Each mode has different voices with tonal color simulating different eras of that same effect type, including analog and digital versions of it.
There are 200 presets that allow full customization through five knobs, with set functions for Speed, Depth, and Level plus two “Param” knobs whose function can be assigned to your favorite other parameters. An extra knob, named Value, allows for display navigation and other functions.
It has stereo I/O, MIDI capability, and expression pedal in, and its stereo in/outs can be used for a mono FX loop operation.
These pedals belong to the same category.
Best Compact Multi-Modulation Pedals with Stereo Outs
If a compact size and Stereo out are your priorities, this is the list for you. These pedals are a lot more streamlined than the ones in the Workstation list but offer as many effect options with fewer knobs and features.
A highly tweakable stereo effect with presets and MIDI compatibility that delivers modes for Phaser, Chorus, Tremolo, Vibrato, Rotary, and Filter, jaw-droppingly hosted in a compact case.
Two footswitches offer Tap Tempo, navigation of the nine presets, and a series of momentary effects, with a very appealing Lo-Fi knob/footswitch function that takes this device also in the very trendy worn tape simulation territory.
The Tweak knob/toggle combo allows changing LFO, time subdivision, and access to three algorithms per mode emulating different circuits of the same effect.
Here’s a list of other similar pedals:
Best Multi-Modulation Pedals with Mono Out
An overwhelming majority of guitarists use their pedals exclusively with their mono amp. If you belong to the category, why waste money on a stereo pedal? In this list, you’ll find some great mono options delivering all kinds of modulation effects.
An incredibly affordable mini multi-modulation pedal that offers a total of 11 effects from your all-time classics (Chorus, Vibrato, Phaser, Tremolo, Flanger, Rotary, etc) to edgy/unusual ones like Low Bit, Liquid, Stutter, and even Ring Modulation.
Three mini knobs let you set the Speed, Depth, and one mode-variable setting through the Ctrl knob.
Here are other worthy options:
Best Multi-Modulation Pedals with Dual Engine
The stompboxes in this list are modern reinterpretations of the multi-mode modulation pedal and, thanks to a dual engine, they let you either blend two different modulation effects for new textures or quickly switch from one to another.
Here’s a video shootout featuring many of the best multi-modulation pedals included in this article.
This is a video produced by us about the best multi-modulation pedals for synths:
By Brandon Stoner and Paolo De Gregorio