by Adam Douglas | 4,0 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 5 Minutes
Best Pedals For Synths

Best Pedals For Synths  ·  Source: Empress Effects, Moog Music

ADVERTISEMENT

Take your synthesizer sounds to new heights with the 5 best pedals for synths, including offerings from Behringer, Zoom, Boss and Meris.

ADVERTISEMENT

Best Pedals For Synths

One of my very first experiences with effects was running my Korg Poly-800 through a variety of old guitar pedals as a kid. I had no idea about how anything worked but it sure sounded cool. Now as a proper music-making adult, I tend to favour 1980s digital rack effects from Yamaha and Roland. When I get in the mood, however, I’ve been known to smash my synths through pedals like days of old.

I’m not the only one, it seems, as more and more synth players are catching on to the fun to be had with pedals. Pedal manufacturers are realizing this too and are developing effects units that sound great with synths too. Some even have separate inputs for hotter line-level signals.

Unless you’re the proud owner of a synth with an already stellar effects section, you’re going to want to have a few pedals on hand. They’re great for live use, for spicing up YouTube demo videos or just to get you away from the screen and mouse during a production session

Here are my picks for the five best pedals for synths. I’ve included ones from every budget level, from cheap and cheerful to tax rebate splurge.

Behringer VP1 Vintage Phaser

Behringer makes all kinds of great pedal clones to pair with your synth (cloned or otherwise). My pick for the super affordable tier is the company’s VP1 Vintage Phaser.

Behringer VP1
Behringer VP1 · Source: Behringer

A remake of the Electro Harmonix Small Stone, it churns out a creamy and very 1970s phaser flavour. Operation is simplicity itself: turn the Rate knob for faster modulation, and flick up the Tone switch to engage a resonant peak. 

ADVERTISEMENT

While there are all kinds of applications for a hazy phaser, I find that it sounds best on string synths. (There’s a reason Behringer pre-loaded it into their Solina String Ensemble.) Use it on your own string machine, vintage or otherwise, or any sawtooth-heavy string sound.

Affiliate Links
Behringer VP1 Vintage Phaser
Behringer VP1 Vintage Phaser
Customer rating:
(207)
Behringer Solina String Ensemble
Behringer Solina String Ensemble
Customer rating:
(57)

Zoom MS-70CDR+

Zoom gets a lot of love for their portable recorders but I’ve always been a fan of their effects. I dare you to find a nastier digital ring mod than the one on the 1201. The MS-70CDR has long been an affordable secret effects weapon for synth players, with reverbs that will have you double-checking the price tag in disbelief. 

Zoom-MS-70CDR+
Dyn-Filters · Source: Zoom

The company has been releasing updates of many of its pedals and it’s finally the blue one’s turn. Called the MS-70CDR+, it ups the number of effects algorithms from 86 to 149, giving you even more power for the pesos. As before, it has chorus, filter, delays and of course those big, luscious reverbs.

The pedal won’t hit the streets officially for a few months but preorders are available now.

Affiliate Links
Zoom MS-70CDR+
Zoom MS-70CDR+ No customer rating available yet

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

Boss DM-101 Delay Machine

There’s just something special about bucket brigade delays. Thanks to the low-pass filter placed at the end of the analogue delay chain to reduce artefacts and noise, they have a dark and warm tone that makes a lovely contrast to modern digital delays (which you should also own). Boss has captured magic in a pedal with its DM-101 Delay Machine, an analogue BBD delay pedal with digital control.

Boss DM-101 Delay Machine
Boss DM-101 Delay Machine · Source: Boss

Offering a number of different delay modes, DM-101 Delay Machine is like having a variety of delay pedals at your fingertips (or toetips if you’re using it like a guitarist). With eight BBD circuits and 12 modes, there’s plenty here to keep you occupied. Digital control allows for modern extras like MIDI, tap tempo and user memory. And since it’s from Boss you know it’s quality.

As we said in our review, the Boss DM-101 delivers exactly what it promises: authentic, well-rounded and, above all, highly musical delay sounds.

Affiliate Links
Boss DM-101 Delay Machine
Boss DM-101 Delay Machine
Customer rating:
(5)

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

Empress Effects ZOIA

When is an effects pedal not just an effects pedal? When it’s an Empress Effects ZOIA. Billed as a “modular synthesizer in pedal form,” ZOIA is a programmable synthesizer and effects environment in a stomp box. 

Empress Effects ZOIA
Empress Effects ZOIA · Source: Empress Effects

Empress Effects ZOIA features more than 80 “modules,” algorithms that you can combine to create your own, perfect effects systems. Modules include reverbs, compressor, delays, EQ, modulation like phaser and chorus and much more. It’s also an instrument in and of itself, with an oscillator, VCA and filter plus a host of CV control modules.

If you need total control over your effects environment, give ZOIA a look and listen. Eurorack fiends will want to explore the Euroburo version as well.

Affiliate Links
Empress Effects ZOIA Euroburo
Empress Effects ZOIA Euroburo
Customer rating:
(11)

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

Meris MercuryX

Is there anything on God’s green earth that sounds better than a quality synthesizer through a high-class reverb? In case you’re tempted to answer in the negative, may I present as evidence the soundtrack for Blade Runner by Vangelis?

Meris MercuryX Modular Reverb System
Meris MercuryX Modular Reverb System · Source: Meris

If you’re in the market for a top-tier hardware reverb (and your budget allows), consider MercuryX by Meris. The pedal includes algorithms from the company’s Mercury7 pedal as well as originals. These reverbs include Ultraplate, Cathedra, 78 Room, 78 Plate, 78 Hall, Spring, Prism and Gravity

There are also Processing Elements, which include 79 Chorus, Vibrato, Vowel Mod, Tremolo, Hazy Lo-Fi and more. The reverbs themselves also have note divisions for each side of the stereo predelay. Fancy.

With its modular architecture, colour screen and analogue mix bus, this is more than just a basic reverb pedal. There are even separate inputs for guitar and line-level instruments. The sound quality really sets it apart though. It’s not cheap but if you can afford it, the Meris MercuryX is an astonishing reverb machine.

Affiliate Links
Meris Mercury X Reverb Pedal
Meris Mercury X Reverb Pedal
Customer rating:
(7)

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

What pedals did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

More Information

Best Pedals For Synths

How do you like this post?

Rating: Yours: | ø:
ADVERTISEMENT

One response to “Best Pedals For Synths For Every Budget”

    Tom b says:
    0

    I have a vintage lowrey organ/analog synth/string machine that sings when phased out with that Behringer vp-1 vintage phaser pedal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *