The world of Eurorack modules can be daunting and expensive, and with so many effects types and effects modules to choose from, it can be a challenge to pick the ideal module for a given Eurorack system.
In this article, we’ll go through the best options for choosing one or more effects modules to add sonic interest to your Eurorack system.
The top 11 best Eurorack effects modules are:
- Erica Synths Blackhole 2 DSP
- TipTop Audio Z5000
- Strymon Magneto
- Ritual Electronics Miasma
- Qu-Bit Electronix Data Bender
- EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath
- Make Noise Mimeophon
- Gamechanger Audio Plasma Drive
- Xaoc Devices Kamieniec
- Radikal Technologies RT-1701 EFFEXX
- Befaco Lich
Each of these makes for a superb Eurorack effects choice. In this article, we’ll discuss why that is.
• The Ultimate Eurorack Buyer’s Guide
• Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World
• Full List: Synthesizer Module Brands (Eurorack, 5U & Others)
• Are Modular Synthesis & Synth Design Difficult To Learn?
Erica Synths Blackhole 2 DSP
The name of this module is completely accurate since it is such a lush, deep, fun, and varied piece of gear that will swallow you in for hours at a time, just like a black hole would do.
The Erica Synths Blackhole 2 DSP (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is the second iteration of the Erica Synths Blackhole, made in cooperation with legendary Gary Worsham (creator of the SpinCAD software). Thus, this unit does exactly what you would expect: everything.
Indeed, with an assortment of effects, including delays, reverbs, a crazy pitch shifter, and more classics like chorus, this module can take any music production into a different realm by twisting some knobs. Moreover, you can even store specific effects in the module’s internal memory. This makes it a great ally in live situations.
Speaking of which, each of the effects features three tweakable parameters (controllable via CV) with which you can achieve otherworldly sounds easily. But that’s not all; another great feature is the ability to control the sampling rate via CV going from hyper-realistic 48 kHz samples to crushed Lo-Fi sounds. Finally, you’ll be very happy to find stereo inputs and outputs.
If you’re after a powerful effects module that can transform your music productions and have the 16HP and the budget, you can never go wrong with the Blackhole 2. You can watch this in-depth tutorial or this overview video to see it in action.
Erica Synths is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
TipTop Audio Z5000
This module is part of a three-module series TipTop Audio released recently; the other modules are named ZVERB and ECHOZ. But, unlike its siblings, the story of the TipTop Audio Z5000 (link to check the price at Sweetwater) goes back to the year 2008 when TipTop Audio originally released it.
Over a decade of creating some of the most outrageous modules in the market gave TipTop Audio enough leverage to create one of the most powerful DSP effects modules on the market that can fit into only 8HP. Indeed, the Z5000 is a super-compact stereo module with voltage-controlled parameters, 24 crème de la crème effects, VC analog clock generator to drive the DSP chip, and the possibility of using reverbs, modulation, delays, pitch modulation, and harmonization effects.
Furthermore, some of the programs in this utterly capable mini-unit combine more than one effect turning the otherworldly sounds into another dimension. Plus, you can choose series or parallel, giving you more room to experiment than ever before.
If you need a compact yet super-powerful DSP processor that can change the way your music sounds, you have to try the Z5000 out. Moreover, you can try the entire line, and with only 24HP, cover all the FX needs you might have for good. You can see it in action in this video and this video as well.
TipTop Audio is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Strymon is a brand known for creating some of the best effects the world has seen in the past decade, at least. It is no surprise to see Strymon pedals in the feet of so many pro players in the biggest stages around the world. Furthermore, it wasn’t going to be long before they created Eurorack products, so module-lovers in the world could also benefit from this brand’s groundbreaking technology.
Inside the Strymon Magneto (link to check the price at Sweetwater), a SHARC ADSP-21369 provides astonishing 2.4 Gigaflops of peak performance. This translates into the ability to play with the algorithms of the four heads of the echo machine to the extreme without worrying about processing power.
But the Magneto is so much more than just a stereo multi-head tape delay. It can also work as a looper, a vintage spring reverb unit, a phrase sampler, a chaos oscillator, a phase-aligned clock multiplier, and a zero-latency sub-oscillator, among other functions.
Therefore, you can feed any mono signal to this complex (yet extremely intuitive and easy-to-use) module and transform it into a stereo orchestration. Add new oscillator tones to take advantage of the unit’s self-oscillation capacity. Finally, the expressiveness, subtleties, and imperfections of the magnetic tape algorithm will transform anything into an organic, immersive experience.
Strymon is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Ritual Electronics Miasma
This voltage-controlled distortion featuring a feedback loop is full of surprises and takes only 10HP of space. The Ritual Electronics Miasma (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) feeds the distorted signal with no phase inversion back in the input. Therefore, this module can self-oscillate even with no input.
Moreover, the feedback can be sent through different effects to make amazing complex feedback patches. In the same vein, you can switch the diodes generating the distortion to dial in exactly the sound you want.
The unit ships with six different diodes, going from traditional Germanium to modern LED. Plus, you can add more of your choice or the Crime module, a 4HP expander by the same company that allows you to choose between 12 different diodes without removing the module from the rack.
Plus, a handy blend knob allows you to fine-tune how much of the thick, distorted feedback you want in the final mix. Finally, the monster feedback knob lets you control the flow effortlessly and works great in live situations.
Qu-Bit Electronix Data Bender
The Qu-Bit Electronix Data Bender (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) builds on the idea that there are no right or wrong ideas in music. Furthermore, it is a piece of equipment inspired by the failure of audio equipment; in other words, it is the quintessential module to bring (controlled) chaos to your music in style.
This unit can provide sounds like that of a software bug, a skipping CD, or even a defective tape machine playback. From those, and with over a minute of audio buffer, this unit can be the perfect 96 kHz, 24-bit infinite sonic canvas to turn those little anomalies into a new kind of sound.
For example, you can find outputs labelled like bend, break, or corrupt, and that is because, in essence, this module is a circuit-bent digital audio buffer with stereo capabilities. Therefore, those who love involving some sci-fi sounds in their productions and making noisy music will love how this unit can provide the sound of scratched records in a broken, beautiful way.
If you have the 14HP of space, the budget, and love adding musical noises to your sound collages, this unit has no competition in the market. Check out this video and this video to see what it can do in its natural habitat.
EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath
This module is a very strange case in which a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of state-of-the-art guitar pedals turns one of them into a Eurorack module. Generally, the two categories don’t have much in common. Still, with such a powerful device like the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath (link to check the price at Sweetwater), the only limitation is the player’s imagination.
But this module is not just the Eurorack version of the groundbreaking guitar pedal; it is an enhanced, improved version. What EarthQuaker Devices did was expand the features set. For example, they added four CV-controllable parameters and an attenuverter for each so they could process the CV signal.
Likewise, the unit is divided in two, and you can choose to go for the completely analog dry signal path or a soaking-wet digital signal path. Furthermore, there is a dedicated “Dry Kill” button to murder the dry signal and dive completely into a sea of lush reverbs, taking your music with you.
If you have the 16HP and the budget to add this super-powerful reverb, wash, echo, noise unit to your system, you can’t go wrong trusting EarthQuaker Devices with your money. To see it in action and a full rundown of the controls, check out this video or this video.
EarthQuaker Devices is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
Make Noise Mimeophon
The Make Noise Mimeophon (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is a multi-zone colour audio repeater stereo module created by Make Noise, Soundhack, and Tom Erbe. In other words, this is a module that can help you bend reality by modulating the time, timbre, and space of any given source, regardless of whether it is mono or stereo.
Perhaps, the above sounds a tad intimidating, but it is incredibly fun to play once understood (and even before them). It is capable of creating sonic landscapes by morphing time scales and modulating repeated sounds that can go from a micro-sound to a phrase length. Moreover, you can also spatialize and colour the repeats to create immersive soundscapes and organic repeats.
The Mimeophon knows no boundaries in terms of sonic performance and can cover a vast ground modifying samples ranging from 1.3ms to 41 seconds. These latter, longer phrases can transform the module into, for example, a flanger.
Finally, when you turn the “Zone” knob, things get more interesting. As you move it, you’ll be altering the values of the timescale but preserving the pitch. Add to that odd result a little of the “Rate” knob, and the washy wobbliness of long, lush delays can take that odd sound you just made to the next level.
Make Noise is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Gamechanger Audio Plasma Drive
This module is the result of collaboration between two great audio companies: GameChanger Audio and Erica Synths. It is also available as a guitar pedal and is capable of bringing the nasty element to any mix.
In essence, the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Drive (link to check the price at Sweetwater) drives the audio signal up to 3000V and transforms it into high-voltage discharges running through a xenon-filled tube. So, in other words, you’re playing something like a lightning bolt of electricity and converting that discharge back into an analog audio signal to create unique-sounding distorted tones.
But that’s not all; the Eurorack version of this pedal also brings new features to the mix. For example, the two-octave down and one-octave up functions, the CV control over certain parameters, and tracking oscillators that you can manually shut down.
If you are after otherworldly sounds and think the purple xenon tube in the middle of the module is as cool as it gets, you need to test-drive this unit. In case you want to see it in action, you can check this video for a no-talk sound demo and this video for a full rundown of the features.
Xaoc Devices Kamieniec
The Xaoc Devices Kamieniec (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is the perfect module for the lovers of those lush, larger-than-life phaser effects that were so famous in the late 70s. Indeed, the company named it the “Analog Resonant Phase Rotator Model of 1977”. But, truth be told, this unit is capable of much more than just mimicking those sounds.
To begin with, the company expanded on a known territory by adopting the character and attitude of old phaser guitar pedals and added some controls and extras intended exclusively for the synthesizer world.
So, to the four tunable stages that most of the famous ’70s pedals shared, the company added a couple of fixed stages. This gives the module the ability to increase the number of notches and offer a second version of the mixed signal. In this vein, the unit features an output for the four-stage sound and another for the six-stage sound. Both outputs can be used simultaneously.
Another welcome modification was the replacement of old components with modern, noiseless ones to reduce the noise floor and make it more compatible with Eurorack culture. Likewise, this unit also features a built-in LFO and provides the ability to daisy-chain it with other models to integrate it to a larger synthesizer setup.
Xaoc Devices is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Radikal Technologies RT-1701 EFFEXX
Inside the Radikal Technologies RT-1701 EFFEXX (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) Eurorack module, you’ll find not one FX processor but two of them. Each of them features 8 selectable FX algorithms that can be used simultaneously. Moreover, the unit features 3 additional pre and post effects that are simultaneously available. Thus, this unit is a powerhouse when it comes to adding effects to your signal.
The selectable algorithms are:
- Vintage delay
- Pitch shifter
- Rotor cabinet simulator
- String filter
On top of those, you can also add a gain stage with overdrive, a fully-customizable reverb effect, and a post EQ (that can also be considered a multimode filter depending on the setting). Once you’ve encountered something you like sonically, you can store a snapshot of it in one of the eight slots and recall it later on to use it in something else.
But this isn’t just an FX processor; this module also features a built-in LFO so you can create sweet and soft transitions between the snapshots.
This module is the result of collaboration between Befaco and Rebel Technology. While the first company designed and manufactured the hardware of the unit, Rebel Technology added the OWL platform, which allows the owner to use Max Gen, Faust, or Pure Data codes in the module.
The Befaco Lich (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is a stereo-in, stereo-out module that comes equipped with great-sounding presets from the factory. Four parameter knobs can control these patches with their dedicated CV inputs. In addition to those outputs, you also get CV and Gate outputs.
But perhaps what sets this module apart from the rest are the USB and MIDI connections that allow you to update and transform this module as time goes by. In other words, you are buying an infinite canvas to build your sonic fantasies on.
So, if you can handle OWL languages, you can code the module yourself. Otherwise, you can choose to use the thousands of patches available online. Plus, it only occupies 12HP. Here’s an overview video, and here is an in-depth review video so you can see it in action.
Building your Eurorack system can be overwhelming. For this reason, I’ve created My New Microphone’s Comprehensive Eurorack Buyer’s Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next Eurorack purchases.
This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.