by Ellison Wolf
If you use guitar pedals with your modular rig, you’d do well to utilize something that can make the two formats copacetic with each other. Since modular levels are louder than guitar levels, and your pedals aren't expecting an input this hot, unwanted distortion, lack of clarity, noise, and overall level reduction can arise from not dealing with this properly. AI Synthesis’ new Stomp Box Adapter is a 2hp interfacing module that, solves these problems by acting as a proper bridge between the two formats.
Patching from my rig into a Recovery Effects Sound Destruction Device without anything in between, gave me a sound that was dull, quiet, and murky. It lacked punch, and any sonic clarity whatsoever, and with the controls of the pedal were rendered worthless. I patched up the Stomp Box Adapter, and it was night and day. The pedal regained its power, details in sound that were previously lost were restored, the knobs actually made audible changes, and the volume was restored as well. I did the same with some of my other pedals [Vox V810 Valve Tone, Fuzzface, etc], and the results were similar; more details, more power, and more control over the pedal’s functions.
This wasn't the case will all of my pedals, however. Two of the digital based effects I tried [Caitlinbread Echorec, EH Oceans 11] handled the level changes just fine without any help, and certain companies, such as Meris, have a built in option to switch between guitar and modular levels in their pedals, so depending on what pedals you use, something like the Stomp Box Adapter might not be needed.
But when it is needed, it works great. The main reason is because the Stomp Box Adapter employs attenuators on both the send and the return so you can really dial in the right levels. No more overloading the input of your pedals, and no more weak signal coming out of the pedal back into Eurorack world. When chaining multiple pedals together, as most of us do, the difference is even greater, making a tool of this sort absolutely imperative.
While there are other ways to perform this same function [other modules, re-amping the signal, using a mixer, etc.], I can’t think of anything that has this small of a footprint, and sits at this price point, from just $10 for the PCB to $70 for a pre-built module. The review unit came fully assembled, but looking it over, it seems like a straightforward and simple build, and unless it’s your first DIY project, you’d probably have no issues putting it together. While the small size is overall an attribute, due to its diminutive nature, it can be a little tricky to reach the 9mm attenuator pots in the thick of an intense jungle of patch cables. That’s the trade-off with having such a small footprint that has pots, though you’re probably not going to be reaching for those pots much anyway once you get it dialed in. Another thing to note is that due to its small size, it uses ⅛” jacks, typical in Eurorack format, but not at all with guitar pedals. You’ll either have to get a couple of adapters to put on one end of your patch cables to go from ⅛” to ¼”, or have specific cables with the proper ends. Again, both of these minor inconveniences have to do with being 2hp in size, and not a design flaw or oversight.
Overall I’m very pleased with the performance and size of the AI Synthesis Stomp Box Adapter. It's small enough that it's out of the way, performs its job very well, and is one of those utility modules that’s probably going to be in my rig for as long as I’m using pedals in my setup.
+12v: 10.5mA -12v: 8mA
Price: From DIY $10 - Fully built $70