We compare pedalboard switching solutions from OneControl, Decibel Eleven, Musicom Lab & EC Pedals Custom Shop.

As long as guitarists have used effects, they’ve sought better ways to control them. In the digital era, that sometimes means playing through rackmounted multi-effectors. However, the current hunger for vintage tone and straightforward interactivity has prompted countless players to ditch rack systems in favor of pedalboards full of handpicked effects. Thanks to a new generation of pedal switchers, it is possible to have the best of both worlds: a custom pedalboard that can perform such digital tricks as storing presets and changing effect order.

Pedal switchers work by providing a number of effects loops (one loop = one send + one return). Each loop—which can contain one or more pedals—becomes its own switchable circuit that can be joined with other loops. For example, you might group your distortions into a single loop, your delays into another, or put each pedal into its own loop. The switchers let you save your favorite effect combinations as preset banks and recall them via footswitch.

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