Compact, USB-powered multi-FX? (Eurorack?)

I’m currently looking for options of (very) compact, usb-powered multi FX box for synths.
Ideally with:

  • Stereo 3.5mm connections
  • USB power (with USB midi for clock ideally), USB-C preferable or micro-usb
  • Reverb, Delay, Mod FXs, distorsions (2 simultaneous FX slots minimum). Delays should be syncable and FXs stereo.
  • Size around 12x8cm maximum, bonus for top or bottom in/outs
  • Presets
  • A tuner (for analog synths)

These are the options I’m aware of that would be close:

  • Korg NTS1 (already own one). Issues:

    • No presets
    • Limited FX settings
    • Limited choice of distorsions
    • Hard to sync delays (only some 3rd party delays are syncable)
    • Low output level, and a bit noisy
  • Zoom CDR-70. Issues:

    • 5.35 jacks on the sides :frowning:
    • miniUSB connector
    • Not much stereo FXs choice
    • Unsure of FXs quality?
    • No midi sync
  • Custom 16HP Eurorack FX box. Issues:

    • Need to convert signal in/out
    • No presets
    • Need additional cables
    • Which modules to pick?

Did I miss any obvious options?
I’m thinking of giving the MS70CDR a try, with the idea of modding it a bit to add stereo 3.5mm in/out and maybe swap the old mini USB socket with a micro USB one, as it’s close to want I want. Though the lack of midi sync is disappointing.

I’m also exploring the idea of building my own mini FX box using Eurorack modules, but I’m not very knowledgable in that area, so I don’t really know where to start (and if it’s a good idea to begin with).

Any thoughts? What are you using to add FXs in compact/portable setups?

What’s your budget?

No set budget, though keeping it at max 600€ would be reasonable I think for an FX box.

H9 Max? (There is one for sale on the forum right now)

Have you looked at the Poly Bebo or empress Zoia?

Also, a couple of these might solve half of your problems


Yes, I can also recommend a poly beebo. It does most of what’s on your list and has a lot of additional benefits (e.g. lots of mutable instruments ports). It’s not USB powered though.

Some compromises but something expandable that you could tailor to suit. Cute as a button too.

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Heres a quick one I knocked up, it’ll cost you about 1000 though unless you’re patient on the second hand market.


There’s also a Monome Nords Shield running the Pedalboard script as an option, which does pretty much everything you need (though I’ve not used its distortions much). The other advantage is that you can a) code your own scripts if so inclined and b) run hundreds of other open source scripts too, with many of them offering FX and sampling too.


I have a Zoom MS-70CDR, bought after the NTS-1. Mostly it convinced me to get a better delay/reverb pedal (SA Collider). I still use the NTS-1 sometimes, but not the Zoom. The effects are just okay, there’s a lot that don’t make sense for synths, the interface is fiddly (though there’s apparently a Web editor). USB is only for firmware updates, not power. Power is a 9V adapter or batteries. [Edit: wrong, it can be powered by USB.]

I have some Eurorack. You don’t want to go there. Much more expensive, less portable.

3.5mm is going to cut down your options a lot.

I just learned about this: Flatsons Time Effects Reverb + Delay | Delicious Audio Only one demo, using guitar. Mono in (honestly this is less of an issue than one might think). Very small, rechargeable battery, very cheap.

Have you considered a Dreadbox Typhon? As a bonus, it comes with an analog synthesizer…


The MS-70CDR can be powered via USB.

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So it can! The manual is silent on this point. Thanks.

These are pretty cool

You can change the firmware to any of their versio modules for different fx

not sure if close to what you’re looking for but i just got one :man_shrugging:

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Wow thanks for all the recommendations and suggestions !

H9/Zoia/Beebo are too big for my needs are does not fit the bill with the rest too.
I should have specified that USB power is an absolute must here, as it’s for a portable setup.

I also have a Typhon, the FX are awesome but it’s too big as an FX box.

Eurorack options seems a bit expensive for what I’m seeking, I did not expect that much TBH :hushed:

I was aware of the Norns shield, but did not knew the pedalboard script, it seems very interesting! How is the reverb quality?
I’ll probably wait a bit as the price seems skyrocketing because of chips shortages (especially for Pi 4!), but it ticks a lot of boxes :star_struck:

There’s a product gap to fill in there though, a decent FX box in the 1010 nanobox format would be killer.

Haven’t downloaded the pedalboard script but monome is shipping shields with a PI4 for 375 (300 without), prly wont get cheaper than that.

I built one for under 200 including pi/ps and have an extra codec chip, same chip is in lower end M audio interfaces.

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I’d vote for a Zoia USB powered by a ripcord and mono jack to TRS mini jack adaptors.

(bit surprised you consider the Zoia too big, it’s pretty compact)

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I use a Birdcord for powering 9v pedals from a USB powerbank and it works flawlessly, noise free even when daisy chaining an entire pedalboard (I use the 12v version to power my digitakt when on the go):
That really opens up a ton of options for you I think.
Norns Shield does look cool, current prices also holding me back a bit but I have to agree that it is likely that it will only get worse.

I finally settled for a Zoom CDR70 which seemed a good compromise (and it’s cheap), and modded it to add 3.5mm stereo inputs/outputs. Effects are not stellar but it has good reverbs and it’s very versatile.

When I’m ready to step up, I’ll probably consider a Zoia and mod it in a similar way, and power it from a Ripcord or Birdcord :slight_smile: