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Jun 30, 2020

Best Multi-Modulation Pedal

A Guide to the Best Multi-Modulation Pedals on the Market

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 device 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

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Depending on what parameter is affected by the LFO, a different kind of modulating effect will result. Here’s a list of the various types of modulation with links to audio examples with a clean guitar tone:

Parameter affected – Name of Effect
Delay = Chorus and Flanger
Pitch = Vibrato
Phase = Phaser
Volume = Tremolo
Filter = Wah Sweep
Phase + Pan = Rotary
Pitch + Delay = Uni-Vibe and Leslie

Another weirder type is Ring Modulation, which we explain in depth in our Best Ring Modulator Pedals article.

All modulation effects feature controls for depth (basically a clean vs. wet blend) and speed (controlling the speed of the LFO).

Types of LFOs:

The Low-Frequency Oscillator can “move” (or oscillate) following different “wave patterns,” from sine to triangle to square or even randomly – and everything in between. If you are not familiar with these waveforms, you can check out this guide featuring audio examples.

Stereo Vs Mono:

Some modulation effects (Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Rotary, Uni-Vibe) shine in their stereo version because they can beautifully open up a Mono sound, while others (Tremolo, Filter Sweep and Vibrato) are normally used in a single channel configuration. As a rule of thumb, if you plan on using your pedal exclusively with your amp, you can stick with a Mono pedal, while guitarists who have a two amp setup or like to experiment with multiple tracks when recording might want to look into a Stereo pedal, which is normally more expensive.

Our Categories

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, these devices sport a larger footprint that allows them to include several controls, presets, extra routing and external control options like Midi and Expression Pedal.

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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.

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Best Compact 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 option delivering all kinds of modulation effects.

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Best Multi-Modulation Pedals with Dual Engine

The stompboxes in this list are a modern reinterpretation 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.

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Here’s a vide shootout featuring many of the best multi-modulation pedals included in this article.