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Multi-effects Pedal By William Stokes
Published June 2024 Ghost Pedal

Forged in the world of modular synthesis, have taken their first, bold stride into the effects pedal market...

Barcelona‑based Ukrainian developer first collaborated with Andrew Huang last year on the Ghost Eurorack module, a creative audio processor that we’re told is “based on [Huang’s] modern music production techniques” and boasts spatial effects, dynamics processing, filtering and more. Almost a miniature ‘system within a system’, the module allows for flexible routing between its many processors at the push of a button, and on top of that they managed to cram everything onto a 16HP faceplate.

With the module proving a success, and Huang decided to create a pedal‑format Ghost, and that’s a bigger deal than it might sound: this is the first time they’ve reached beyond the bounds of modular synthesis and into the wider world of effects pedals and outboard. With a reimagined interface, a sturdy chassis and, of course, endowed with footswitches, it’s as you’ve never experienced them before, without a patch cable in sight. Well, almost...


At the core of the Ghost is a 96kHz, 32‑bit digital effects processor with three distinct sections: spatial effects (consisting of delay and reverb), filtering and distortion. These can then be placed, using a central button, in any order and this paves the way for a vast range of different responses. You can distort a filtered reverb, for example, or cram a reverberant distortion through a resonant filter.

The spatial effects have controls for a conventional delay (amount, time and feedback) and there are several nicely designed reverb algorithms: hall (with shimmer), reverse and spring. The filter offers modes for bipolar low‑ and high‑pass, band‑pass or harmonic‑rich comb filtering. Distortion can be dialled in with Amount, shaped with Tone and then fed through a virtual cabinet. Some of the above functions are accessed using a well‑thought out Shift button that, for example, adjusts resonance on the filter, tone on the delay, and even unlocks a powerful bit‑crusher behind the Volume knob.

As an old‑school fuzz and Big Muff fan, I’m used to accepting a hefty noise floor along with whatever grit I’m going for, but the Ghost’s 8x oversampled digital distortion not only sounds very nice, it also comes without much noise to speak of, which is great. That’s not to say there wasn’t a little noise, nor some much odder noises from time to time (whose origin I genuinely wasn’t sure of at some points!), but overall it’s fair to say the Ghost is very clean. This is one of the many reasons it stands up so well in pretty much any live or studio setting.

The cabinet simulator isn’t a total showstopper, but it sweeps from a small speaker on one side (summing to mono if the input is stereo) to a wide and deep dual‑amp image on the other. It’s a handy tool for sculpting tone and image in conjunction with the distortion, particularly when used at the end of the signal path, and to my ears it very much gets the job done, particularly when it comes to non‑guitar signals — I’m a firm proponent of amping synths for extra character, so was delighted to see the Ghost working so excellently with my studio’s monosynths.

The Ghost Pedal’s different effects and processor sections can be routed to each other in any order.The Ghost Pedal’s different effects and processor sections can be routed to each other in any order.

Modulation & Expression

Andrew Huang (see box) states that the Ghost has “what I think is the best modulation and expression pedal assignment system ever to exist in a pedal”. I’m not nearly about to throw ‘ever‑to‑exists’ around, and maybe it’s Huang’s charming persona, but I find myself trusting that he genuinely believes this: the attention that has clearly gone into this aspect of the Ghost is quite astonishing and, best of all, it really works. In fact, this is one of the areas in which the Ghost really excels.

A simple but effective onboard matrix has a dedicated button to route modulation to any one or more (even all, if desired) parameters. A Shape knob presents a choice between a variety of waveforms, from sine to square to stepped random and more, as well as an envelope follower. An adjacent Speed knob then determines the LFO (or LFV in the case of the random waveforms, strictly speaking) rate or the envelope follower slew.

The Ghost’s functionality can be expanded suddenly into a litany of other pedal territories with the simplest of gestures.

What this all means is that the Ghost’s functionality can be expanded suddenly into a litany of other pedal territories with the simplest of gestures. Route a sine wave LFO to the volume, for example, to render the Ghost a tremolo pedal. Route the envelope follower to the filter to turn it into an auto‑wah. Route a smooth random wave to gently modulate a short delay time for lo‑fi, tapey nostalgia straight out of the ZVEX Instant Lo‑Fi Junky playbook... the list goes on. One wonders if such economic but wide‑ranging applicability could only be the fruit of a Eurorack developer’s lateral thinking. The Ghost’s digital brain is perceivable at times — there’s a slight latency on filter sweeps, for example — but, overall, its digital side is used to excellent effect, not least with different coloured LEDs providing quick and intuitive visual feedback about what’s going on in various modes.

The expression pedal input opens up further options, and you probably saw these coming! Since it can be mapped to anything, once again it can turn the Ghost into anything from a volume pedal to a wah‑wah, but one that’s much more tunable in range and resonance than a classic wah. It can be used to speed up and slow down the LFO for expressive modulation, and so on.

Earlier I said ‘almost’ with regard to there being no patch cables to speak of. This is because the Ghost also does a rather excellent job of entertaining CV from your modular system via this expression input. With the onboard LFO working at one rate and an external LFO at another, at times it was almost as if the Ghost had gone full circle to behave more like a Eurorack module than a pedal. When used with the aforementioned monosynths (in my case a PWM Malevolent, replete with numerous Eurorack‑compatible patch points), it was a pleasure to both feed the Ghost audio and modulation from the same instrument, as well as a MIDI Clock to sync its delay time.

On that note, in case it wasn’t already clear, it’s worth mentioning that the Ghost is a highly connectable beast. The rear panel offers stereo inputs (switchable between line and high‑impedance inputs) and outputs, 5‑pin MIDI DIN in, out/thru, as well as an expression pedal input. MIDI in can be used to send CC messages to different parameters, and also MIDI Clock, while the out/thru can send Clock as well as CC messages according to the movement of the Ghost’s knobs, which is a nice touch. There’s no USB to speak of, but I didn’t miss it at all: the Ghost more than stands up as a piece of studio outboard ready to be plumbed into your setup, as well as a guitar pedal, but while it presents so many options, it just about stays on the right side of simplicity to be as usable and effective as possible.

The expression pedal input doubles up as a CV input — so you can use this pedal in much the same way you might a typical synth module.The expression pedal input doubles up as a CV input — so you can use this pedal in much the same way you might a typical synth module.

I will say, though, that the expression pedal assignment process felt a touch convoluted at times. It requires Shift+Modulation button combinations in conjunction with various pedal movements, but while this took me a couple of goes to get right at first, it’s difficult to imagine things being any other way without sacrificing some of the pedal’s flexibility. Further, the Ghost’s nine preset slots mean that even if it takes some time to fine‑tune each sound in the first instance, by the time you’re in a live situation it’s a breeze to cycle through them and achieve, for all intents and purposes, exactly the sound that you used in rehearsal. It’s also possible with each preset to assign the pedal’s Tap footswitch to one of three functions: it can be a tap tempo for the delay time, it can control the delay’s looper function, it can cycle through reverb algorithms or it can choose different effect routings.

Spirited Performance?

All things considered, the Ghost Pedal is a slam dunk for They’ve given us very little to complain about with this multi‑effects powerhouse, and it’s a worthy competitor for even the vaunted pedals from Hologram Electronics and Empress. The Ghost may just herald a bold new era for its developer, and with it a newly devoted guitar‑playing user base.

Andrew Huang

Andrew Huang has created two sets of explorative presets for the Ghost, named ‘Heavy’ and ‘Experimental’. For those unfamiliar with him, Andrew Huang is a Canadian producer and ‘synthfluencer’, best known for his hugely popular YouTube channel, on which he hosts gear overviews, technique tips, educational insights and an array of entertaining musical experiments. It has, at the time of writing, almost 2.5 million subscribers. Each video careens through its content with the frenetic pace typical of YouTubers (that is, multiple cuts per sentence, blink‑and‑you’ll‑miss‑it visual jokes and titles veering dangerously close to the ‘you won’t believe number four!’ school of Internet clickbait). I’m writing that with more than a little tongue in cheek, though: Huang does what he does exceptionally well. Aside from being an excellent educator, he’s a formidable synthesist by any standard and has upwards of 40(!) albums to his name. He professes a deep love for Make Noise instruments, having previously dubbed their Black and Gold Shared System Plus "the world’s most beautiful synth", and has numerous videos online elegantly explaining a variety of potentially daunting concepts with signature boyish enthusiasm.

In many ways, then, Huang is the ideal collaborator for a product like this. He has tested hundreds of units, is an active artist in his own right, and is so influential in the online music technology community that he can easily collate the feedback of a tranche of other well‑versed reviewers and YouTubers behind the scenes. And, when the time is right, he can of course simply use his own outlets to put some serious heft behind its publicity.


Better known in the modular synth community, this is’ first foray into the pedal market, but the quality, inventiveness and playfulness of this device suggest it won’t be their last!