Hey UG,

I'm looking for some sort of switching system that'll let me switch multiple effects and amp channels at once.

Currently I'm playing in a prog-metal band, and I want to be able to switch between a standard metal tone and a clean, effects laden tone. However in future I might want more than just two choices of tone.

Metal tone: Bad Monkey before Amp input; Amp set to Lead channel; Decimator (noise gate) and MXR EQ in the effects loop.
Clean tone: Bad Monkey switched OFF; Amp on Clean channel; Chorus and Delay (and maybe more) in effects loop, and the gate and EQ turned OFF.

Being able to switch amp channel as well as just pedals is a big requirement, as is being able to switch between both pedals before the amp (for the Bad Monkey) and pedals in the effects loop.


Carl Martin Octa-switch

  • Flexible. 8 loops is probably more than I'll ever need.
  • Fairly cheap (just over £200).
  • Simple. All analogue, no fancy overcomplicated MIDI stuff.

  • Quite big.
  • I don't think it can be used to switch amp channels. I have a bit of electronics knowledge but I'm no expert; maybe I could bodge together something that lets it switch channels? I was thinking along the lines of something that creates a short cicruit between the sleeve and tip of a cable from the amp's footswitch input, but then would I be running into dodgy grounding issues as I'd be mixing the footswitch ground with the signal ground? Or maybe I could open it up and replace one of the effects loops with a relay for the amp channel (bye bye warranty!).
  • Maybe sometime in the future I'll end up using a MIDI based setup, and the lack of MIDI cababilities will make this useless.

Voodoo Lab Pedal Control

From what I gather, this basically does the same thing as the OctaSwitch but it's smaller: 4 loops and 4 presets rather than 8 of each. It's a few pounds cheaper.

  • Compact.
  • Cheap.
  • MIDI control might come in useful in the future.

  • Might out-grow it, so may as well spend a few pounds more on the Octa-switch.
  • Same issue with amp channel switching. I believe that if you use this in combination with Voodoo's Commander and Control Switcher you can achieve what I want, but that's another load of money.

Voodoo Lab GCX Audio Switcher
Full on rack based MIDI setup. Does everything I need and more.

  • Specifically supports amp channel switching.
  • Very powerful, so future proof. If a few years down the line I end up using an epic rack-based setup with multiple preamps and all the rest, this beast's still gonna be useful.
  • Lets me have all my pedals hidden and out of the way rather than on the floor, and just have one foot controller on the floor.

  • Expensive! The unit would cost about twice as much as the Octa-switch, and it doesn't even come with a foot controller! The cheapest foot controller (Behringer FB1010) would set me back at least another hundred, and Voodoo's own controller is even more.
  • Probably overkill for my current purposes.

The DIY approach: build one!

  • Would do exactly what I need.
  • Will probably save some money.

  • Building one that does everything I need now would be simple, but if I need more flexibility in the future I'll need to modify or even rebuild it.
  • Building a very flexible one (like an OctaSwitch plus amp channel switching) would be a complicated job and probably not worth the money saved.

The alternative approach: Chuck the pedals and just get a full on multi FX unit, or even modelling?
The TC G-Major allows amp channel switching. Still don't think it'll solve the Bad Monkey issue though. Or just use a POD or something that'll let me switch models and effects all at once? I own a Floor Pod Plus, but I very much prefer the real amp's sound, but I gather that there's far better modellers out there.

Any other ideas and suggestions, or does anyone have experience with any of these? Thanks!
You want to switch from ultra-heavy to clean with chorus and delay as Metallica/Machine Head or something?

If you are willing to spend some bucks then I would advise you to buy a damn well metal-pedal and an A/B/Y - box. And if you play a whole song with distortion then the amp`s distortion...
Quote by MaXiMuse
You want to switch from ultra-heavy to clean with chorus and delay as Metallica/Machine Head or something?

Yep, pretty much sums it up

Quote by MaXiMuse
If you are willing to spend some bucks then I would advise you to buy a damn well metal-pedal and an A/B/Y - box.

Didn't consider using a metal pedal as I like my amp's distortion. I've got a HM-2 and an MT-2; the former is good for death/black but not much else and the latter isn't particularly good for anything :P I bought it when I didn't know any better. I've heard good things about the Metal Muff though. An A/B/Y plus a Metal Muff would certainly be cheaper than any of the options I mentioned!

I guess I'd just not bother with the effects loop in that case and just do something like:
A: metal pedal -> EQ if necessary -> gate -> amp input
B: chorus -> delay -> amp input (it has 2 inputs)

? Don't really need the effects loop anyway, main point of it is for having the EQ and gate after the distortion, which in this case is done by the pedal.

And if you play a whole song with distortion then the amp`s distortion...

True. A few of the songs we're playing are entirely distorted, then there's one that's entirely clean, and only a couple that actually involve switching. So I guess I can compromise.
Last edited by gaz514 at Nov 30, 2009,
What amp do you have?
I don't think a metal pedal will do any well. An amp's overdrive/distortion is the best.
I have a Rivera Quiana, while it's not a real high gain amp, with the on board booster and medium to high output pickups it does high gain amazingly. I tried to compare it with many pedals, from brown sound pedals to metal pedals and overdrive pedals, none [except my DIY tubescreamer] got close. The pedals always sound way more shrill and empty in comparison to the amp's overdrive channel or the clean channel when pushed.

About the 2 input idea, note that in most amps each input sounds different - I have high ans low gain inputs, other have similar structures, or bright/dark inputs.

I think you should make your own switching system if you can, this way you can tailor it to your specific needs. It seems that you need just more than a loop switcher, you need a whole rig controller.
But again, I think we need to know what amp do you have, so we can help you to find the suitable solution for you.
strat player forever.
I've got a Peavey ValveKing 100. May upgrade in the future. I find that the gain channel needs a boost before it to really sound good for the styles I play.

It's got a series effects loop, and a stereo footswitch connector (for switching the channel and the boost function). Input 1 is indeed higher gain than 2.

I just found out about the Musicom Lab EFX: http://www.musicomlab.co.kr/
Does everything I need, but it's pricey. Similar price to the Voodoo GCX actually. I reckon custom's probably the way to go...

Pretty detailed page about how to build one: http://www.geofex.com/article_folders/fxswitchr/fxswitchr.htm
Might look into that if I find the free time!
Last edited by gaz514 at Nov 30, 2009,
Then, I think that if you build one yourself you're gonna get the best. The VK's channel switching is pretty simple, so you can integrate it easily in those presets. You can make more than these 2 presets for even more sound options. The only problem maybe popping noises or hum loops that can occur, you can get over that pretty easily.
Good luck!
strat player forever.
hmm id just DIY i think.. it's cheaper than the Footsw controller or getting a newer pedal as you might sum up your old pedals meaning those got money spent pointlessly
i dont think it'll be too hard.. you just need either big switches 3PDT or more and or better
hey i know
you just make 2 channel pedal like ABY boxes put another TS jack and hook it up to the VK's footswitch with a guitar cable... have the first channel with the bad monkey and the footswitch controller (hook the channel selector to the Switch's first column and the Amp channel on the second column) and have the FX looper on the second channel..
make it so your SW will toggle through the channels and there you go... a good FX looper combined with an Amp channel footswitch... hmm i guess that doesnt make much sence ima try to make a diagram... if your interested