Mini modulation pedals

Mini modulation pedals DEFAULT

Mini Pedals State of the Art PT 1 : Nine leading examples of Contemporary Mini Pedal Smart Engineering

The 9 pedals featured here, are ambassadors for the very best of the current Mini Pedals State of the Art in terms of engineering innovation and quality - possibly I've overlooked one or two, but these are at least the ones I am well aware of. If you believe I have overlooked any notable alternative candidates / additions - please let me know and I can include those in my PT 2 follow-up.


This listing starts with Japan's Banana Effects - where I've selected their Abracadabra Shimmer Reverb, but could have gone with any of their current range of 4 mini effects - I will be doing a follow-up article just on Banana Effects. Next up is Romania's Becos FX - who have become very well known for their superb Pro Studio Compressors in pedal-format - I featured their CompIQ Pro Stella before in this site's Edits section (actually also the original Mini CompIQ Pro and Mini Solo Boost Master) - and this time around it's time for the updated CompIQ Mini Pro - which I would probably take over my previous favourite Mini Compressor - Wampler's Mini Ego.


Next we have the two beautifully engineered Decibelics pedals by Spain's Guillem Vilademunt - the 'King of Klones' Golden Horse, and pocket rocket HM-2 Heavy Metal powerhouse replica - the Angry Swede - both of which you should already have read about on this site a few times! Then we have Chile's DSM Noisemaker AKA Daniel Schwartz - who's particularly well-known for his CabSim pedals - here in the guise of the OmniCabSim Mini - I'm also intrigued by his other mini pedal - the Sub Atomic X-Over CMOS Bass Drive - and am wondering how well that would work with guitar!


Following-on we have Dave Friesema of Function F(x) Pedals fame - whose 'Pickdropper' Instagram has been featuring some exceptional mini fuzz pedals of late - including a Hive Mind Buzzaround type, Professional MKIII (TB MKIII type) and this exceptional mini version of Function F(x)'s full-size Clusterfuzz pedal.


The final trio are the aforementioned Mooer E7 Synth which triggered all this, and two of my longer-term mini dirt pedal favourites - the 6-mode Pigtronix Disnortion Micro Fuzzy-Drive, and Alchemy Audio's Modded Xotic SL Drive with dip-switches externalised as mini-toggles.


So this lineup of 9 to me represents the very best of current mini pedal engineering in its various guises and categories - from design to engineering to effect innovation. When we think of how much technology is now accommodated within the typical smartphone - all this can only get better and better - there is still so much potential for innovation and improvement. It used to be a case that the mini pedals were a space-saving slightly inferior economy choice - while nowadays - the mini pedals can actually be the preferred format of effect - and they are now actually commanding the sort of prices this level of engineering deserves. I particularly like seeing proper milled aluminium knobs on many of these, meaning I'm generally a little less pleased with a load of mini plastic knobs - but sometimes those are the only choice! (I still feel those could be improved / differentiated - like on Tom Kogut's Tomkat Cloudy Multi-Effect pedal).


Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand as usual:


6 Compact Multi-Modulation Pedals for Your Consideration

Alexander Pedals Wavelength High Bandwidth Digital Modulator - £199


I was really excited when I saw the Alexander Wavelength, as I though this was just the type of multi-modulation pedal that was missing - 6 core modes with lots of alternative functions, plus tap-tempo and presets - what's not to like here? Then I realised that this does not have stereo outputs, and would not be a good enough replacement for The Dreamscape, which in any case I swapped out with the Eventide H9 Max. Yet I'd really like a handy compact multi-modulation pedal that covers most of the basis, is tap-tempo, has presets, and does have at least stereo outs, but ideally both ins and outs. For mosts players - obviously those with mono rigs - this Wavelength is probably the best of what is currently available. The Wavelength covers the following modes:

  1. Tremolo
  2. Chorus
  3. Phaser
  4. Flanger
  5. Vibe
  6. Filter

Muza FD-800 Modulation - $69


A low cost Chinese brand I assume - which is very new to me, but this seems to be a pretty solid multi-tasker with plenty of options up its sleeve - and sounds pretty good too. It has 4 presets you can call upon, and stereo output. The only thing it's missing really is a tap-tempo - but for the money, you really cannot quibble. Modes covered:

  1. Tremolo / Panner
  2. Step Tremolo / Panner
  3. Vibrato
  4. Rotary
  5. Chorus
  6. Flanger
  7. NFB Flanger
  8. Tremolo Flanger
  9. Phaser
  10. Step Phaser
  11. Step BP-Filter
  12. Ring Modulator
  13. Step Ring Modulation
  14. 2-Voice Pitch Shifter
  15. Feedback Pitch Shifter

Nux Mod Core Deluxe - £68


Not altogether dissimilar to the Muza above - this pedal though has stereo ins and outs, and 2 x 8 modes via a Deluxe (DLX) Mode toggle which also features Tone Lock Function that allows you to freeze the dial parameters during a live performance - no presets here either, but plenty of tones! Features the following modes:

  1. Chorus + Tri-Chorus DLX
  2. Flanger + Tape Flanger DLX
  3. Phaser + 8-Stage Phaser DLX
  4. Tremolo + Optical Tremolo DLX
  5. Pan + Pan with Hi-Lo Cut DLX
  6. Rotary + Rotary w/ Speaker Cab Sim DLX
  7. U-Vibe (Chorus) + U-Vibe (Vibrato) DLX
  8. Vibrato + Vibrato (Momentary Control) DLX

Southampton Pedals Utility Knife Modulator - $199


I've featured this pedal once or twice on this site before - a useful multi-modulation pedal featuring a quartet of key modulations. Obviously falls into the boutique category of pedals, and does sound pretty good, but I'm not sure you can fully justify against most of the others on this page which give you quite a bit more for less. Modes covered:

  1. Flange
  2. Chorus
  3. Tremolo
  4. Phaser

TC Electronic The Dreamscape - £137


Most will know this as the compacted version of the legendary SCF Stereo Chorus Flanger - giving you dual Chorus, Vibrato and Flanger modes alongside a 7th TonePrint mode - which can pretty much handle and sort of oscillated or swirly modulation - you can pick and customise from the TCE TonePrint App. It also benefits from stereo ins and outs, but lacks tap-tempo. I've always felt that TC Electronic need to put up a slightly better competitor in this category which can sit happily and justifiably alongside the super version 2 Flashback and Hall of Fame. I used this for a short while in my rig, particularly for Chorus and Flanging - it was pretty good, but I felt it could be significantly improved. It was bumped out by an Eventide H9 Max which is of course and entirely different sort of animal. Modes covered:

  1. Chorus
  2. Flanger
  3. Vibrato
  4. TonePrint (Any 4th type of modulation from the TP App)

ZCAT Q-Mod - €137


Another new brand for me and a pedal that's superficially quite close to the Southampton Utility Knife above. The main difference here is that in place of a Volume Dial, the Q-Mod has a Reverb control - which makes everything sound more syrupy and lush. There's no tap-temp or stereo support here, but this one quite probably sounds the best of the bunch. Modes covered:

  1. Chorus
  2. Flanger
  3. Phaser
  4. Tremolo
  5. Reverb

Final Thoughts

As I stated at the top - I was really excited when the Alexander Wavelength came out - I love the dual footswitch format with tap-tempo. But then I quickly realised that there were no stereo outputs which means that this pedal is not really suitable for my current rig. I would need it to sit in between my analogue modulations and my digital ones - and I really need stereo inputs + outputs to connect out of the Tech 21 NYC Roto Choir. So besides The Dreamscape which I already have, the only suitable candidate is the Nux Mod Core Deluxe - and that has no tap-tempo!


So in short the quest goes on! What I'm really looking for here is a compact multi-modulation - pretty much identical to the Alexander Wavelength, but with stereo ins and outs. I guess there is not so much demand for compact all-in-one modulation pedals at the moment, as none of these can really come anywhere close to my Boss MD-500, Eventide H9 Max or Strymon Mobius.


I'm guessing there's simply not enough of us stereo rig types to fully justify such a development, and TC Electronic has not yet adapted the dual footswitch format - which seems to be very much part of the boutique landscape currently.


I think each pedal here has something to recommend it for different usage criteria and along the essentially 3 different price-points. I guess most of you don't use stereo, but for me tap-tempo is key - so I would have to say that Wavelength is the main recommendation here - with the Dreamscape a somewhat distant runner-up unless you have a stereo rig.

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Mini Guitar Pedals

Mini guitar pedals are super-popular thanks to the fact that you can now have double the amount of pedals before because they’re generally half the size of a standard guitar pedal! We stock the top mini pedal brands including Tone City, Mooer and Hotone who all specialise in making these tiny guitar pedals. Other big-hitting pedal companies such as TC Electronic, Dunlop, MXR and even Way Huge have all got a range of mini pedals with a number of other companies jumping on the bandwagon too.

It’s worth saying that a lot of these pedals have simply had their circuit boards shrunken-down to a mini size and as such you’re not sacrificing tone in any way at all. These mini pedals still have plenty of punch!

Power Up

Most mini pedals aren’t battery-powered which can only be thought of as a good thing when it comes to protecting the environment! Mostly though, this just makes life much easier when powering pedals using a decent power brick on your board.

Mini pedals will rarely use more than 9v to power them up so you can get away with using either a daisy chain with sufficient current going to your pedals or a standard pedal power brick.

All Of The Effects

You’ll be able to find just about any type of guitar effect in a mini pedal format including a plethora of overdrive and distortion pedals as well as your standard modulation effects like phaser, chorus and flanger. More complicated pedals like delays and reverbs aren’t quite as readily available but are still on offer and as this portion of the guitar effects world grows, we expect you’ll see more ‘mini-boards’ all over the world.

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Mooer Mod Factory MKII 11 Mode Modulation Pedal

The best mini guitar effects pedals 2021: create more room on your 'board

(Image credit: Neil Godwin/Future)


They came to conquer your pedalboard! Like the polar ice caps or Dairy Milk bars, guitar effects pedals are shrinking, and with bona fide classics such as the Cry Baby and Tube Screamer receiving circuit board liposuction, mini pedals going aren't going anywhere but underneath our feet.

There are absolutely tons of them to choose from, all of which enable FX-freaks to jam more pedals on their 'boards, or to help gear hoarders downsize their rig. The best news of all? They're cheaper than (integrated circuit) chips.

Over the following pages, we present our pick of the best mini guitar effects pedals available today – time to step on it…

Don't Miss

• The best multi-effects pedals for guitarists
• How to arrange a mini pedalboard
• Take a look at the best pedalboards for you

Hotone Xtomp Mini

The Xtomp Mini has lost the original’s stereo inputs and outputs, in turn making it slightly smaller with a more compact and pedalboard-friendly footprint. 

The key to using the pedal is an app that provides 140 digitally modelled effects, amp sims and speaker sims (with new models being added twice a month), any of which can be loaded singly into the pedal.

MusicRadar's verdict

"This Xtomp Mini, quite possibly, represents the most practical addition for your ’board out there."

4.5 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Hotone Xtomp Mini review

Pigtronix Disnortion Micro

The Disnortion Micro continues the 18-volt headroom achieved by an internal converter from the nine-volt input, but where the original had three independent effects, this version loses the octaver and retains the fuzz and overdrive - both are now called up by a single footswitch.

There’s a new feature, too: where the original fuzz and overdrive worked in parallel, this version also gives you the option of running the two serially with the six-stage CMOS overdrive circuit preceding the diode-clipping fuzz.  

MusicRadar's verdict

"A pocket-sized distortion powerhouse with more options than you’d expect in a box of this size."

4.5 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Pigtronix Disnortion Micro review

Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro

While losing the Grit knob of the original, the Philosopher's Tone Micro still possesses a Blend knob, which means you can add in gradual amounts of compression in parallel with your dry signal, right up to a fully compressed signal. 

There’s also a Treble control with cut or boost at 2kHz, which is useful if you want an EQ shift with no compression, and really helpful for dialling in an altered tone with compression. 

MusicRadar's verdict

"Easy to slip onto your ’board, this is a great utility pedal for more than just compression."

FULL REVIEW: Pigtronix Philosopher’s Tone Micro review

Ibanez 850 Fuzz Mini

The Ibanez 850 fuzz is an adorable mini version of its recent reissue of the classic distortion box, the Ibanez OD850. 

The matt orange is gorgeous and the sounds are to die for.

MusicRadar's verdict

"Sometimes the best things do come in small packages."

5 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Ibanez 850 Fuzz Mini review

Mooer Micro Preamp Series & Mooer Baby Bomb 30 Power Amp

These astonishingly small units may look cute, but paired with the Baby Bomb 30 power amp, you might blow your neighbours’ eardrums, let alone your own - so treat them with a little caution.

The Fender Blackface model (Regal Tone) comes surprisingly close to a Fender clean tone, while the Vox (Day Tripper) has a similar EQ range to a real Vox, but is difficult to dial in with a classic bright Vox chime.

MusicRadar's verdict

"For the more budget-conscious, these Mooer preamps are a solid option."

4 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Review round-up: pedalboard guitar amps

Keeley Red Dirt Mini

With a large knob for drive and smaller ones for tone and level, the Red Dirt Mini follows the standard TS configuration.

Tucked away under its four-screw baseplate, however, are two DIP switches that allow you to change the clipping diodes for four different modes - distortion, overdrive, crunch and amp.

MusicRadar's verdict

"Robert Keeley designs a better mousetrap that's red not green."

4 out of 5

FULL REVIEW: Keeley Red Dirt Mini review

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

The belle of 2015's NAMM ball, the adorable TS Mini is made in Japan and packs the TS808's coveted JRC4558D IC chip: good start.

You know what to expect from a TS, and the Mini will get your mids humping and your single coils beefing up with the best of 'em. It's not the smoothest Screamer we've heard, but it is faithful to the 80s incarnation in that it compresses up a treat and cuts the low-end a little.

Ramp up your amp, cut the TS Mini's gain and up the volume, and it gives distorted tones extra attack – and that's possibly its greatest strength.

Buy it for… Giving your tone a kick in the mids

FULL REVIEW:Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini review

Movall Minotaur

With a name derived from Greek mythology – like a certain Centaur overdrive – this Mini-taur invites you into a labyrinth of quality Klon-inspired tone.

It's hard to believe at this price, but the Minotaur does a fine approximation of the Centaur sound, with an upper-midrange boost that's more open and dynamic than a TS-style overdrive.

It has a mighty gain range, too, from clean boost to fat, amp-like drive, but at higher 'fury' levels, its midrange can get a little part-man-part-bull in a china shop, so for our money, it's best used for a hint of break-up or tonal enhancement.

Buy it for… Adding break-up-style sparkle to your tone

Joyo JF-314 Husky Drive

Based on a famous overdrive by the name of OCD, the Husky Drive doesn't conceal its origins, but we'll be damned if it doesn't sound good for £49.

Not as mid-heavy as the other drives on test, it delivers a huge set of sounds, from the lightest of break-ups to borderline distortion, although it develops a little fuzz-like hair at this point.

If you fancy a little more cut, flicking over to the high-peak setting gives you extra upper-mids and treble, but wherever it's set, the Husky Drive is incredibly dynamic, and with humbuckers, it delivers meat 'n' potatoes rock and blues tones of the highest order.

Buy it for… Chunky amp-like overdriven rhythm tones

FULL REVIEW: Joyo JF-314 Husky Drive review

Xotic EP Booster

Based on the Echoplex EP-3 preamp, as used by Jimmy Page and Eddie Van Halen back in the day, the EP Booster is super-simple, and adds a rough-around-the-edges flavour to any amp while tightening up dirty tones and adding extra treble bite.

Boost a clean-ish British combo for instant Led Zep I & II tones, then wind your amp up to overdrive, set the EP Booster to max, and you'll nail that tight palm-muted Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love sound. A trio of internal switches adjust the pedal's brightness and give you an extra 3dB of boost, too!

Buy it for… Giving your amp a rough 'n' ready vintage flavour

FULL REVIEW:Xotic EP Booster review

Movall Plexi Troll

This lilliputian pedal does hot-rodded Plexi tones for less than £50 – and no, we ain't trolling.

There’s a ridiculous amount of gain on offer here: 10 o’clock on the aptly named fury control will be more than enough for most players, and beyond that, the pedal gets pretty messy – the same goes for the over-bright tone control.

However, keep each control to their 10 o’clock sweet spots, and the Troll delivers an incredible simulation of an EVH-style modded Plexi, with all the tight articulation, fat mids and high-end attack of those fabled heads.

Roll down your volume knob, and it does a decent AC/DC and Hendrix, too!

Buy it for… Instant access to top-drawer hard-rock tones

Red Witch Ivy Distortion

The Seven Sisters line was released back in 2011, but these beauties won’t need to break out the anti-aging cream just yet: like her siblings, Ivy packs a still-cutting-edge rechargeable lithium battery – making this one of the few mini pedals that don’t require a power supply plugged in at all times.

There’s not a whole lot of control here, but Ivy’s Rat-style fuzzstortion offers a surprisingly broad range of tones, from vintage fuzz-into-cranked-amp style overdrive to spluttery over-saturated grit at full whack.

It’s not one for amp-in-a-box-type sounds, but alt- and noise-rockers will love it.

Buy it for… A fuzzy drive that doesn’t play by the distortion rules

FULL REVIEW: Red Witch Ivy Distortion review


Pedals mini modulation

10 best mini pedals

Mini pedals are a great way to get all the sounds you need with the smallest-possible footprint on stage. Here’s our pick of the best bijou stompboxes that will help you maximise your pedalboard’s real estate…

TC Electronic Ditto Looper

TC Electronic Ditto Looper
Type: Looper

Sometimes the best things do come in the smallest packages. While you can buy much bigger and more complicated loopers, TC Electronic’s pocket-sized unit has found its way onto thousands of pedalboards because frankly, looping doesn’t get much more intuitive than this. 24-bit uncompressed audio and unlimited overdubs mean you never have to stop playing along with yourself, while true bypass and analogue dry-through mean that it won’t mess up your core tone.

TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Mini Reverb

TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini Reverb
Type: Reverb

The physical realities of size and power requirements mean that you’re never going to get loads of versatility from DSP-hungry digital effects such as reverb, but the Hall Of Fame Mini offers an ingenious solution. While you only get one sound at once and one knob to tweak it with, TC’s TonePrint technology lets you beam in a variety of different reverb sounds to the pedal, so you can choose your favourite, tweak it to taste, and then have it at your feet whenever you need it.

MXR M290 Phase 95 Mini

MXR M290 Phase 95 Mini
Type: Phaser

Part of a wave of mini-pedals to come out over the past few years, the Phase 95 takes the classic Phase 90 template, shrinks it down a bit, and adds two different toggles to channel different periods of MXR’s phasing past. For one, you can select between the standard four-stage phaser of the Phase 90 or the slightly subtler two-stage phasing of the Phase 45. The ‘script’ toggle refers to two different eras of vintage Phase 90 production. Engaging that button will remove some feedback from the mix, creating a somewhat mellower tone.

JHS Mini Foot Fuzz V2

JHS Mini Foot Fuzz V2
Type: Fuzz

Mini pedals are often dismissed as the preserve of budget brands, but the Kansas City boutique darling JHS Pedals has a selection of mini-pedals in its range, and none is more fun than the Mini Foot Fuzz. Offering fuzz sounds ranging from gated, low-gain splat to singing, sustaining buzz, there’s a load of versatility in those two little knobs, while the V2 version goes further still, with a toggle switch to offer a choice of vintage low-gain or modern high-gain fuzz tones.

Xotic EP Booster

Xotic EP Booster
Type: Boost

The Echoplex EP-3 is one of the most beloved vintage tape-echo pedals around, but while its solid-state echoes might have been the main event, many guitar players were equally charmed by the tone-enhancing effect of the unit’s FET preamp, and the likes of Brian May, Andy Summers, Jimmy Page and even Eddie Van Halen were all fans of running the EP-3 without any echo at all, for just this reason. The EP Booster takes that boost circuit and puts it in a mini-pedal housing that delivers up to +20dB of boost, giving you shimmering highs, powerful lows, and all the warmth and sparkle you could ever need. No wonder it’s become a pro-pedalboard staple in recent years.

Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini

Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini
Type: Fuzz

For years, if you wanted to get that authentic Hendrix fuzz tone at your feet, you had to compensate for the awkward reality of the classic Fuzz Face’s plate-sized footprint – but no longer. The Fuzz Face Mini offers those classic dynamic fuzz tones of the 60s at low gain, but crank it up and grunge chaos is very much in play. The Mini version also adds such modern considerations as a status LED, external power and true bypass.

ZVEX Effects Fuzzolo

ZVEX Fuzzolo
Type: Fuzz

Zachary Vex has a reputation for his wildly creative effects, but the pint-sized Fuzzolo is borderline sensible… at least at first glance. A high-gain silicon fuzz that offers lashings of mid-bumped Muff-style box on the outset, the fun starts when you start tweaking the Fuzzolo’s Pulse Width control. This changes the shape of the waveform, opening up a world of spitty, glitchy, 8-bit madness – we expect nothing less from Zvex.

Keeley Electronics Red Dirt Overdrive

Keeley Red Dirt Mini
Type: Overdrive

Robert Keeley’s modifications to the venerable Ibanez Tube Screamer have become legendary in their own right, and the Red Dirt pedal took all the tone-enhancing mods that Keeley had devised over a decade and put them into one pedal. The Red Dirt was a smash, but this mini version offers four switchable modes – distortion, overdrive, crunch and amp – selected by an internal DIP switch, so you can choose the perfect TS for you.

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini
Type: Overdrive

Earlier in this decade, the pedal market experienced what can only be described as a mini-pedal craze, with loads of different brands offering bite-sized versions of their most renowned circuits. Ibanez’s first entry into the format was the Tube Screamer Mini, which crams the classic overdrive circuit into a bijou box for a ridiculously good price. The best part is, it sounds pretty damn close to a TS808, too. So whether you’re using it as a boost or full-on overdrive, if you’ve ever wanted to find out what all the fuss is about with Tube Screamers, this is a must-buy.

Electro-Harmonix Nano POG

EHX Nano Pog

Type: Octaver

Since the 1960s, octave effects have been a part of the guitar wizard’s arsenal, especially when combined with fuzz – just ask Jimi Hendrix. But when EHX released the Polyphonic Octave Generator, it was manna from heaven for creative guitarists, offering four distinct octave voices to ornament the dry signal. The likes of Jack White and Nels Cline wasted no time in putting the POG to good use and since then, it’s been available in smaller and smaller packages, culminating in the Nano POG, which also sports improved tracking and silent switching to make it an even more powerful creative tool.

A Mini Modulation MONSTER - Sonicake 5th Dimension Pedal Demo \u0026 Review - Stompbox Saturday

The 11 best mini-pedals for guitarists 2021: our pick of space-saving effects

Whether you've already got a pedalboard and you're short on space, or you're just getting started with building the ultimate effects rig, there are compact options for almost every type of guitar pedal. This guide to the best mini pedals is designed to point you in the direction of our favorite options right now.

Originally, mini-sized pedals were the preserve of budget brands. But two things have happened in the years since their introduction which have changed that. First, we’ve seen increasing innovation by the original manufacturers, trying to improve their brand image and, in some cases, keen to shake the legacy of lawsuits. Second, the adoption of the small pedal format by large pedal companies and boutique makers alike.

Below, we've selected a few of our favorites to highlight the broad range on offer.

Best mini pedals: what you need to know

Buying mini pedals is related to one of two things: budget or space.

Most mass-manufactured pedals that come in a mini format are cheaper than their larger version. If you're looking for a smaller size pedal to fit a gap on your 'board, then the lower cost is likely to be an added bonus.

In some cases, the smaller size means fewer features, for example on TC Electronic's Mini range, where the pedals have fewer controls. On others, like the Ibanez Mini range, the pedals are cheaper and smaller – but there's no other difference, so it's down to taste. It's worth adding that with TC's Tone Print software, you can change parameters 'in the box', and it's only hardware like stereo ins and outs that differs.

For boutique builders, designing pedals that will fit inside smaller enclosures is hard. Designing and then assembling them is more costly than designing around a larger enclosure in most cases. This is why they're not usually seen outside of simple overdrives. There are some exceptions, including the wonderfully complicated Rainger FX Reverb X.

In terms of the choice available in a mini format, it's huge – everything from classic overdrives to multi-effects. As the mini size is what Mooer made their name on, they've been especially keen to drive innovation in the smaller format. First, they brought out a mini power amp and a range of amp-in-a-box style preamps. Most recently, they released the 7 series – complicated digital effects in a mini enclosure that can rival pedals many times their size.

This is great, as it means competitors large and small have to take the format more seriously than ever.

The best mini pedals available today

1. Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

Same TS greatness, smaller TS footprint

Price: $79/£70 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 1.375” x 1.625” | Effect(s): Overdrive

Sounds like the real deal TS

Great warmth, punch and, if desired, squeals

True-bypass switching

Not as versatile as some of the many TS clones on the market

Ibanez’s TS Mini is a downsized version of its iconic Tube Screamer, which since its debut in 1979 has been one of the most recognizable, respected and employed overdrive pedals on the market. 

True to its name, the Mini measures roughly 1 1/2–inches wide and 3 1/2–inches long. Ibanez pulled out all the stops to create this solidly built, all-analog stompbox in a compact design, while retaining the sonic integrity of its acclaimed TS808 Reissue. To accommodate its diminutive size, it features an internal surface mount JRC4558M chip, which is similar to the beloved JRC4558D chip found in the full-sized TS808 pedal. The TS Mini requires an external nine-volt adapter for power, and also features true-bypass switching and controls for Level, Tone and Overdrive.

Performance-wise, the TS Mini sounds so superb you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and its full-sized counterpart in a blindfold test. It works best in front of a tube amp, makes single notes sound fatter and softens your low-end register with warmth and clarity, all while preserving the tonal nature of your amp. Pushing the Overdrive past 12 o’clock adds wicked squeal to pinch harmonics and lets you coax out some righteous musical feedback. All the warmth and punch of Ibanez’s classic TS808 overdrive in a pedal board–friendly size.

2. Pigtronix Philosopher's Tone Micro

The best mini-pedal for great sustain and parallel compression

Price: $119/£139 | Dimensions: 3.75” x 1.5” x 1.75” | Effect(s): Compression/sustain

Noiseless clean sustain

Blend control for parallel compression

Treble EQ for boost or cut

Doesn’t get as “squashy” as some compressions

Pigtronix’s Philosopher's Tone Micro delivers all of the noiseless clean sustain and parallel optical compression of its larger namesake, but in a micro-sized chassis. The mini-pedal boasts volume and sustain controls, as well as a parallel Blend knob that allows users to mix their instrument's original dry tone with the compressed sound effect to their liking. Additionally, a treble control provides up to 6db cut or boost at 2KHz for fine-tuning the frequency response of the effect.

The Philosopher's Tone Micro features true-bypass switching and 9V operation, with internal 18V power rails for maximum clean headroom, even when used with hot pickups and line-level signals. With that combination of boost, compression and extra top-end, the pedal has a role to play beyond just a compressor, notably as a tone conditioner/driver that can elevate your sound for solos. 

3. Dunlop FFM3 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Mini Distortion

"Mini Jimi" boasts the same circuit as its big brother

Price: $119/£99 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 3.5” x 2” | Effect(s): Fuzz

Classic Sixties-style fuzz

Eye-catching color and shape

Pedalboard-friendly housing

Distortion might be too over-the-top for some players

Dunlop’s Fuzz Face Mini Jimi Hendrix offers a circuit identical to that of Dunlop’s JHF1 Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face, based on Hendrix’s own Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face from 1969-’70 and featuring BC108 silicon transistors. The result is the same smooth and even sustain, harmonic overtones and compressed attack of the original, but in a smaller housing – and with a smaller price tag.

The Mini Jimi boasts volume and fuzz controls, true-bypass switching, a laser-bright status LED, AC power jack and easy-access battery door, all of which are presented in the same classic round chassis with the same skip-pad “nose” of the original, albeit at less than one-third the overall size.

Best of all, the new pedal expertly reproduces the classic Fuzz Face square-wave distortion – undeniably over-the-top, but still incredibly warm and smooth. The distortion cleans up nicely when the guitar’s volume control is backed down just slightly, allowing players to easily dial in the desired fuzz effect, from just a touch of hair to full-on fuzz assault at will. So you get all the fuzz, while saving pedalboard space and dollars.

4. TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2 Mini Reverb

New and improved

Price: $118/£95 | Dimensions: 1.65" x 1.81" x 3.62" | Effect(s): Reverb

Now has 3 controls

MASH footswitch

Tone print enabled

If you have space for the larger version

The Hall of Fame Mini was an already impressive unit. This updated version brings dedicated controls for tone and decay as well as the MASH footswitch. This pressure-sensitive control, found on the larger Hall of Fame, can be used for swells and other expression effects.

Much has been written about the flexibility of the Tone Print software and it really is excellent. That said, while a wealth of options are accessible via Tone Print, if you have space for the full-fat version, it might be worth the upgrade to have it all at your fingertips.

5. Red Witch Violetta delay

A mini delay pedal that (literally) shines

Price: $109 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 1.2” x 1.8” | Effect(s): Delay/modulation

1,000ms of delay time

Emulates classic tape echo

Tiny footprint

Mini-jack Expression pedal input 

Red Witch’s Violetta boasts a full 1,000ms of delay time, offering up Brian Setzer-esque rockabilly slapback, dreamy, Gilmour-like ambience and everything in between. Better yet, the digital circuit emulates classic tape echoes, with a gradual decay in top-end, plus warmth and clarity to the repeats. There’s also a modulation circuit that can add anything from a subtle shimmer to full-on acid-trip psychedelia.

The mini-knobs provide control over delay time, mix, modulation and repeats. The Violetta also comes with an Expression Pedal jack and a stereo 1/8” to 1/4” adapter for controlling the number of repeats in real time, and the pedal operates with either a 9V power supply or from the internal rechargeable lithium ion battery. What’s more, the Violetta’s looks are striking, from the chrome chassis to the not-just mini, but downright tiny, footprint.

6. MXR Timmy overdrive

The original transparent overdrive

Price: $129/£139 | Dimensions: 2.25" x 1.75" x 3.625" | Effect(s): Overdrive

Classic transparent overdrive

Also functions as a boost

Two clipping options

Decent two-band EQ


When MXR teamed up with veteran boutique builder Paul Cochrane to make a version of his sought-after Timmy overdrive pedal for the masses, they decided they had to improve upon it in some way.

Given the circuit is spartan, not to mention a classic, adding more options was probably a non-starter. Whatever the reason, MXR opted to shrink it down into a mini enclosure. This means you can now have the original – and arguably best – transparent overdrive on the market in a pedalboard friendly size.

7. Dunlop Cry Baby Mini Wah CBM95

A trio of wah tones in one small package

Price: $99/£109 | Dimensions: 5.25” x 3” x 3.75” | Effect(s): Wah

Three-in-one wah tones

Same pedal feel as original Cry Baby

Heavy-duty design

No LED indicators

One of the most ubiquitous pedals in all of guitardom is now available in mini form, without sacrificing any of its trademark tones – in fact, it offers the user three of them. Dunlop loaded the Cry Baby Mini Wah with three tonal flavors – low, vintage, and the more modern GCB95 – that cover the company’s entire range of wahs and are selectable from inside the pedal. The low position gives you a throaty, resonant tone for synth-y sweeps on lower strings; on the middle “vintage” setting, the pedal's sweep is full and wide; and the GCB95 setting offers a biting upper range.

There’s also true-bypass switching, a Hot Potz potentiometer and a red Fasel inductor. Power comes via a nine-volt battery or AC adapter. And despite its smaller footprint, the Mini Wah is housed in the same rugged enclosure and offers the full-sweep wah pedal feel of its older brother. A must-have.

8. Xotic EP Booster Mini

Add some Page- and EVH-style grit to your tone

Price: $145/£119 | Dimensions: 3.5” x 1.5” x 1.5” | Effect(s): Boost

20db of boost

Streamlined, one-knob design

DIP switches add options

Not much

Based on the preamp stage of the Echoplex EP-3 – which guitarists like Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Eric Johnson used as a booster – the EP Booster will hit your amp with up to 20dB of boost to add a rich tonal character. There’s just a single knob to dial in the level, but internal DIP switches offer options to fine-tune your boost frequencies and EQ settings, from adding more defined low end to more top-end shimmer with another 3db of boost.

Whether you’re looking to add a bit of vintage dirt, richer bass or trebly bite to your tone, the EP Booster has got you covered.

9. Rainger FX Reverb X

For something completely different

Price: $245/£192 | Dimensions: N/A | Effect(s): Reverb

Huge, fuzzy reverb sounds

Igor expression pedal allows for unique sounds

True bypass


If you need a more straightforward reverb

Running reverb in front of your drive pedals – as opposed to the received wisdom of after – is a classic studio trick. It's a mainstay of many shoegaze guitarists, and players like Steven Wilson use it because they prefer the grittier timbre.

The Reverb X is a lo-fi delay based on this idea, boasting a dedicated distortion pot to allow you to control the crazy. It also has a built-in noise gate that can lead to dynamic glitchy and sputtery reverb sounds. Meanwhile, the Igor pressure-sensitive expression pedal allows for momentary activation of the reverb sound, for an even more dynamic effect.

10. TC Electronic Vortex Mini Flanger

Swirl, swoosh and shimmer up your sound

Price: $99/£69 | Dimensions: 3.7” x 1.9” x 1.9” | Effect(s): Flange

Add new presets via TonePrint

Access a variety of flanges

Analog-Dry-Through technology

No onboard flange “Type” selection

If you’re looking to add some Eddie Van Halen-style woosh to your tone, the Vortex Mini Flanger is for you. The three-knob pedal offers nice classic tape flange, but, like all TC mini boxes, also supports the company’s TonePrint technology, allowing the user to wirelessly beam new presets via an iOS/Android app. You can also edit your own sounds with the PC-based TonePrint Editor and USB connection.

Additionally, there's true bypass, as well as Analog-Dry-Through, which maintains the full integrity of an analog dry signal path even when the flange effect is engaged. A nifty little box to add just the right amount of swirl, swoosh and shimmer to your sound.

11. Mooer E7 synth

Miniature synth without the fuss

Price: $99/£89 | Dimensions: 2" x 1.6" x 3.68" | Effect(s): Guitar Synth

Polyphonic synth

7 modes

Built-in arpeggiator

No special pickups or cables required

None at this price

The Mooer E7 is the synth offering in their 7 series of pedals, which also features an excellent ambient reverb and a delay. For its size, it's astonishing – a polyphonic synth with an arpeggiator that fits in the palm of your hand. It has attack, speed, mix and EQ settings which help you dial in a patch, though it sounds best with the mix dimed.

As you'd imagine, though it's great for pads, especially with the attack pulled back, it has somewhat limited flexibility. It works best when paired with an external delay or reverb, but at this price, it's very hard to find fault with. We still have our old Roland GR-33 synth, which requires a dedicated pickup to use!


You will also be interested:

The 16 Best Multi-Modulation Pedals in 2021 – Stereo, Mono and Dual

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

See also our list of the Best Chorus Pedals and Best Modulation Pedals for Synths with CV In.

By Brandon Stoner and Paolo De Gregorio


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