Using A Eurorack Modular Synthesizer As An Effects Processor

In this video, Ryan from Perfect Circuit takes a look at ways you can use a modular synthesizer as an effects processor for other instruments.

The approach is featured in two of their recent Mojave Desert Modular Experiment videos. The first features Zachary Paul, who uses a modular with his violin:

The second video features experimental saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi:

11 thoughts on “Using A Eurorack Modular Synthesizer As An Effects Processor

  1. I had a huge pedal setup and made music with it that I was never able to make using 18 rows
    of modules. I have since then gotten rid of all my modules and replaced everything with one simple analog semi-modular synth and an assortment of pedals. I’m also getting a lot of mileage from my Empress Zoia, which is pretty much a modular synth in itself. In addition to an endless selection of the usual (dirt, modulation, delay loopers, etc.), you can now even get MI Clouds in pedal form, not to mention the brilliance of anything made by Chase Bliss, Old Blood Noise Endeavors, Fairfield Circuitry, Red Panda, and of course, Empress to name a few.

  2. I’ve gone back to using pedals for most processing because they sound cleaner for level matching, especially with other instruments. Almost all Euro stuff needed to run through a mixer, or a mixer module to work well. Most modern pedal effortlessly work at line and instrument level with no adjustment needed.

    Not to mention the choice of effects far outstrips anything modular can ever offer.

  3. The Zoom MS-70CDR multi-effects pedal costs just over $100. Yeah, I get that modular is cool, but there are much better tools for the job.

    1. The CDR is a good value, but few would argue that the jack-of-all-trades effects that it offers compare to professional effects.

      You also seem to be missing the point of using modular gear.

  4. This post and all the comments hit home. I’ve doing all my sound design with pedals (with guitar) and just a few semi-modular synths, and I’ve been debating whether to move all my sound processing to modular (it’d be nice to have just a rack with everything you need in it — two audio cables out, one power supply, done). While I like the ease of use and sound of many pedals that are not available in Eurorack form (Eventide H9, Meris, Chase, etc.) modules still offer more sound manipulation possibilities and automation not available in pedals. Sure, I could automate parameters on MIDI-capable pedals with a computer, but, that’s no fun compared to playing with modules. Zoia is a move in the right direction, but this specific market won’t mature until all these inventive pedal manufacturers start releasing Eurorack modules of their pedals (and with presets!).

  5. Simply wrong that there is no reason to use modular over pedals or that there are much better tools for the job. I’ve never seen a pedal with a pingable envelope generator that I can trigger via envelope follower that is synced to the track and is modulating a stereo filter, for example, but I just did that last night with my modular. I mean the only difference is the sound source is strings instead of oscillator. if you do think that there’s no good reason for modular with guitar then I can’t imagine you would be able to find a good reason for modular with anything since sound sources are just sound sources whether it’s guitar or bass or vocals or an oscillator or samples or drums……

  6. Not sure I get most of the comments. Pedals or a modular are different questions/beasts. If you want a nice gate->overdrive->mod->delay->reverb chain, there are plenty of wonderful options with pedals alone. If you want to make your own AdrenaLinn type rhythmic effects or euclidean based tap delay or frequency split effect chains… a modular is going to be hard to beat. I imagine anyone using a modular as an effects processor (particular working guitarists) is doing it without additional pedals.

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