Pittsburgh Modular Intros Patch Box Modular Effects Pedal Case


Musikmesse 2015: Pittsburgh Modular has officially introduced the Patch Box modular effects pedal case.

According to the company, the Pittsburgh Modular Patch Box ‘redefines modular synthesis around the venerable stomp box’.

The Patch Box is a fully patchable, customizable effects pedal. The open architecture allows the patch box to create unique effects unattainable with standard, fixed signal path guitar pedals.

The Patch Box is available as a fully customizable, empty enclosure or as a pre-configured set of Complete and Core effects systems. Complete systems provide a fully curated modular effects system utilizing all the available space of the Patch Box Enclosure. Core systems offer a core effect and patchable modulation with room to expand and customize.


The Patch Box Enclosure

The Patch Box is not just another empty eurorack case. It ships packed with the functionality of five highly tuned modules integrated into the heavy duty steel enclosure.

The enclosure offers true bypass switching. Once the Patch Box is engaged, the audio signal passes through a preamp with very high headroom and a pair of fully buffered outputs. Custom engineered soft limiting circuitry built into the preamp adds everything from clean gain to ‘sweet distortion’, without overdriving the modules within the Patch Box.

Dual, assignable expression pedal inputs allow the Patch Box to integrate 3rd party expression pedals anywhere into the signal path. This allows for realtime foot control of any voltage controllable parameter. Or split the signal from the foot controller and control two parameters at once.

Dual, assignable A/B footswitches expand signal routing options. Perfect for use as on/off switches or to flip between two signals, the footswitches can be patched up to enable/disable individual modules or route audio and control voltages. Patch a modulation source such as an LFO or external expression pedal through the footswitch to enable or disable the modulation while playing. Patch the outputs of two effects into one of the footswitches to bounce between effects. With two independent, patchable footswitches, there are countless options for realtime signal routing.

The preamp has dual buffered outputs to allow for complex signal routing, but for patching a single modulation or audio source into two destinations, the patchable signal splitter is a perfect solution. Also known as a multiple, the signal splitter has one input and two outputs allowing any signal to be routed to two destinations.

The last stage of the Patch Box signal path is a master output level control. Adjust the output signal level to connect with a wide range of devices.

The Patch Box is available as an empty case, ready to customize with a huge selection of Pittsburgh Modular, Dwarfcraft, or other compatible eurorack format modules. The Patch Box is also available in a number of preconfigured ‘Complete’ and ‘Core’ effects systems that highlight the wide range of Pittsburgh Modular and Dwarfcraft effects modules. Stunning filters, character rich analog delays, sweeping phase shifters, nasty distortion, and much more are available to interact with and manipulate in entirely new ways.

Complete Systems:

  • The Time Box Complete is a modular time machine driven by the Pittsburgh voltage controllable Analog Replicator delay and Reverb modules ,paired with a dual modulation source, LPG multi-mode VCA, filter and lopass gate module, and a dual signal splitter. The expandable Time Box Core distills time travel to the Analog Replicator and dual modulation source with 20hp of space available to customize with Pittsburgh Modular, Dwarfcraft, Studio Electronics, or other compatible eurorack modules.
  • The Filter Box Complete attacks with a pair of highly tuned filters and analog signal crushing. The state variable Filter module provides creamy, voltage controlled low pass, high pass, band pass, and notch filters while the LPG module adds an aggressive, modern filter, VCA, and lopass gate. Destruction comes compliments of Crush, a voltage controlled analog downsampler signal smashing module. Modulation and control are handled with a set of modules including an Envelope Follower, dual modulation source, and dual signal splitter. The power of the Filter Box Core system comes from the flexibility of the state variable Filter, control of envelope follower, and modulation of a dual low frequency oscillator leaving 18hp to fill with more Pittsburgh Modular, Dwarfcraft, Studio Electronics, or other compatible eurorack modules.
  • The Dwarf Box Complete offers signal routing between the Big Distortion Sound Machine and the Pittsburgh state variable Filter. Complex modulation is provided by the Chain Reactor, a voltage influenced, quad low frequency oscillaltor. A noise source, sample and hold, glide, and voltage inversion are included compliments of the Toolbox module. The Dwarf Box Core system includes the Dwarfcraft Big Distortion Sound Machine and a dual modulation source with 20hp of space available to customize with Pittsburgh Modular, Dwarfcraft, Studio Electronics, or other compatible eurorack modules.
  • The Phase Box Complete is built on the power of a 16 stage, analog phase shifter module. The large number of phase shifting stages allows for richer phasing, deeper tremolo effects, and multiple complex modulation options. Matched with a LPG multi-mode VCA, filter and lopass gate module, dual modulation source module, and a dual signal splitter module, the Phase Box Complete is a ‘sonic labratory for signal modulation’. The Phase Box Core strips the modular phase shifter pedal down to just the essentials. A Phase Shifter module paired with a dual modulation source leaving 20hp to fill with more Pittsburgh Modular, Dwarfcraft, Studio Electronics, or other compatible eurorack modules.


Pricing and Availability

The Patch Box Enclosure will shipping to dealers in May, with a suggested retail price of $349.

Patch Box Complete and Patch Box Core systems will begin shipping in June with the suggested retail prices below:

  • Time Box Core – Suggested Retail Price $779
    Time Box Complete – Suggested Retail Price $1,199
  • Filter Box Core – Suggested Retail Price $679
    Filter Box Complete – Suggested Retail Price $1,199
  • Dwarf Box Core – Suggested Retail Price $799
    Dwarf Box Complete – Suggested Retail Price $1,199
  • Phase Box Core – Suggested Retail Price $799
    Phase Box Complete – Suggested Retail Price $1,019

See the Pittsburgh site for details.

17 thoughts on “Pittsburgh Modular Intros Patch Box Modular Effects Pedal Case

  1. This is really interesting though I admit having some mixed feelings about it. I suppose some concerns are the practicality of setting this up in a gig type situation. This means having it set up a specific way and leaving it for that specific effect. Also, the Moogerfooger line already brings a modular aspect to guitar pedals but I can see the plus of throwing any given euro module into the guitar effect chain.

    1. hmmm that’s true, no 1/4 just 1/8th!
      with guitar I would use a wave multiplier from doepfer, and a ring modulator and delay with better full controls by lfos and pedal. Also Doepfer has a qual LFO module that is waiting to be mangled and made love to by me. I’m not sure if Doepfer pieces fits in this case, not a modular expert at all yet. You could use this purely as a modular sound source with foot controls and a compact case too, without it being for guitar bass or vocals.
      The moogerfoogers have some options but not all options when it comes to the CV ins. Also it’s just damn cool looking to have that mysterious bunch of wires on the floor at a gig I would imagine. At the right kind of experimental show that is the type of thing you want, an aura of mystery and superiority haha.

      1. Well I edited my comment because I assume there are 1/4″ jacks on the back if you look at the one photo with it hooked up to an expression pedal… but who knows for sure until they show more. Also, yes, your doepfer modules are euro standard to say the least.

  2. It is a little pricey for my test. Could find if the guitar signal level is amplified to work properly with the box. Do you know?


    1. From the Pittsburgh Modular website: “To protect your instrument’s tone, we included true bypass switching. Once the Patch Box is engaged, the audio signal passes through a unique preamp with extremely high headroom and a pair of fully buffered outputs. Custom engineered soft limiting circuitry built into the preamp adds everything from clean gain to sweet distortion without overdriving the modules within the Patch Box.”

  3. I have some great pedals and studio effects.
    I am sorry people but this is the last thing I would want live or in a studio setting,
    Can someone tell me the benefits of this? In a gig setting this would suck.

  4. Weird that there are two inputs and only one out. It would be nice to be able to send stereo out from the box. Still very cool.

    1. I would suppose that the dual input means you can route for two signal paths and switch from one to the other depending on the patching, this makes it a more flexible modular pedal which is sort of the point of going modular with it, you get more options to route it any way you please. It’s got an appeal for sure, but I’d have a hard time wanting to put certain modules on the floor and at the mercy of my feet.

  5. No disrespect , but this looks awful for a supposed live effects. Patch leads everywhere etc, It seems a really awkward interface , I imagine it should sound good as they have gone to all this trouble?

  6. I’m going to get one for sure. Already drawing up switching module that I can extend from the case to the body of my guitar.

  7. Just the “mad scientist” looks alone will find this PM box being added to many a future pedal board rig. As others have said, this is pretty darned cool!

  8. A neat concept, I guess, but it’s a foot pedal? A really expensive footpedal? How many times do you think it will survive being stepped on by a big fat drunk guy? I’ve never really understood why they put the damn controls down on the floor. Or – if you’re planning to keep it up on a desk or tabletop, why do they use those completely non-ergonomic foot buttons to switch the unit in and out? If it’s for tabletop use, they could use better buttons, and have more of them, too. And it’s not just these, those Moogerfooger pedals have the same issue.

    I’ve seen FX boxes that plugged into a foot switch unit. It’s more expensive (so I can understand why a fuzz box that sells for $100 will go with the “traditional” box-on-the-floor form factor) but dayyum, this thing is like $1000! There may be aspects to this that I’m just not getting, but if it had been me, I’d have gone with some kind of “lunch box” design, with a lid, and sell the footswitch unit as a separate module that will plug into the lunch box (if you indeed want to use it that way).

    And just the bare unit is $349! Maybe it’s just me, but I think that the high price of just a cabinet plus power supply is a substantial inhibitor on the modular market. Maybe that’s on purpose, to keep modular a somewhat rarified “boutique” kind of hobby / market. And maybe that’s a good thing. Modular is about the only hobby I can think of that has less female involvement than model railroading. There are probably people who like it that way. (I’m not one of them).

    But really: this would be way better as a “lunch box”.

  9. This is a more practical take on modular for me. Small, no unending options, not replacing existing synths.

    I imagine how handy it would be to have an effects box I could turn on/fade in while my hands are busy with other things. I agree with another observers comment that a Wah pedal is needed for fades.

    In this way you could set up three different effects you could turn on for different songs.
    I’d like something really crazy with filters, resonance, sample and hold randomness. I’d like something with untamed feedback for the delay… The idea of being able to continue playing a sing and I,present a couple of effects as you go, ones which aren’t limited in the way guitar pedals tend to be is very attractive in my mind as a synth player looking for ways to add dynamics to live performance.

  10. It is very cool, and I guess the main part of this being cool is the unpractical nature of it. But if I had this kind of budget for effects then I’d get the Strymon Big Sky, Timeline and Mobius – for far more practical and advanced options. Which kinda makes this an icing on the cake product, I’d need to have £1,200 worth of the best effects before spending that kind of money again on something this esoteric. But very cool all the same. EDIT: Yet the reason I will not have this, or £1200 worth of any other hardware effects, is because I’d have spent that on a synth already.

  11. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it seems to me some of you don’t get the point of this? Modular synths are by nature on the expensive side (they’re not mass-produced), nor are they simple. There’s a considerably higher learning curve than just pressing a preset button and rolling your patch setting as is. Modulars are all about flexibility; what they sometimes lack in speed fin setup, they make up for in customization.

    Personally, I think this idea has been a long time in coming (assuming there isn’t a previously existing comparable system). Pittsburgh Modular is bringing that analog modular signal processing into the world of guitarists and other 1/4″ cable line-level instrumentalists. It’s not going to sell millions, but I think there’s going to be tremendous interest in this.

  12. This seems like a great way of integrating some eurorack modules into my rig without the outrageous bulk and cost… there are a few modules that really tempt me and this case form factor could be the very thing that makes me take the plunge into eurorack.

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