Today, you’ll read about 5 of the best Auto Pan Effect Pedals for guitars in 2023. We’ve compiled information about some exemplary Auto Pan pedals from some of the finest brands to grace the world of Auto Pan effects, including Ernie Ball, Boss, Walrus Audio and Surfy Bear.
If you’re thinking about shopping for an Auto Pan pedal, you’ll be shocked to learn that the market is more than overflowing with them. Every pedal is unique, different in one aspect or another. Some look different, some are equipped with never-before-seen features, some are larger, while others have a smaller form factor. The number of pedals in the market and the factors to consider could be confusing. The market is an overwhelming place at the moment, but don’t worry. We’re here to help.
The aim of this article is to narrow it all down, easing your decision-making process. We’ve brought you a handful of fantastic Auto Pan effect pedals. Give the list a go. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be able to make an informed decision. You’ll know exactly which pedal you fancy most, the pedal that best suits your requirements. You should know that there is no such thing as a universally best pedal. Several factors need to be considered. Each person is unique in their own way, so we’ll need to find you a pedal that’s a perfect match.
The world of the Auto Pan effect awaits. Let’s find you the most suitable pedal now.
What Does AutoPan Pedal Do & How To Use It?
In the 1960s, an electronic music pioneer and guitarist, Roger Linley, made the world’s first auto pan effect. Linley created the effect by modulating the guitar’s sound via a rotating speaker. The Stereo sweeping effect was then put to the test, which ended up introducing a wide variety of sounds.
Today, Auto Pan effects produce a perception of sound panning back and forth from left to right via Stereo. Auto Pan pedals are thereby known for hosting a variety of such effects.
Top 5 Autopan Pedals You Should Know About 2023
1. Ernie Ball 6165 500K Stereo Volume/Pan Pedal
Built like a tank, this Ernie Ball has a robust aluminum chassis made of 2 parts.
The late great Ernie Ball was born on the 30th of August, 1930, in California, to a musical family. He went on to become a musician at a young age and an entrepreneur as well. Ball decided to put both his skill sets to the test by producing guitar equipment.
Today, the brand is the world’s leading guitar strings manufacturer. The brand’s equipment has been the preference of several music megastars such as Slash, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Paul McCartney.
The device features a simple 2-piece design. The bigger piece forms the pedal’s shape, with the second piece attached in the middle with a long and robust half-inch metal bearing. Both parts that form the exterior have a subtle silver paint job with a matte finish. The upper piece is flat and padded at the top. The padding is black in color, conforming to the simplistic overall design. The pedal’s sides feature the brand’s logo printed in plain black. The rear panel of the device features a black plate with white labels next to each of the jacks, and in between the jacks, you’ll find ‘Stereo Volume/ Pan Pedal,’ printed in bright yellow-green bold font.
The top of the device features a tactile foot pedal which can be moved up or down based on when and how you want the effect incorporated. The rear of the pedal hosts 4 quarter-inch jacks. 2 of these jacks are for Input A and B, and the other 2 jacks are for Output A and B. You’ll also find a solid metal flap sticking out of the upper portion of the device. It features the same padding material as the foot pedal. A soft but sturdy rubber pad has been placed neatly under both sides of the foot pedal to ensure smooth functioning without causing any damage or unwanted movement. The pedal’s dimensions are 11.5″ x 5.5″ x 4.5,” and it is on the heavier side at 4.18 lbs.
- Connectivity – 4 quarter-inch Jacks Input A & B, Output A & B, and Flap
Input A can be used for Mono, whereas using Input B at the same time allows Stereo. The Output jacks A and B function in the same way, allowing for Mono or Stereo modes. The flap will enable you to switch between Mono and Stereo settings.
The pedal features an impressive metal chassis, solid in every aspect. The device does not need an external power source. Its a simple plug and play device and may thereby be a fantastic option for the new entrants of the Auto Pan world. It would also be a great option for those who prefer simplicity over other complex options such as multi-effect pedals.
The exterior of the device adds a lot of weight to the device. The materials used are durable, but some users have complained that managing the wear and tear is challenging, as is the process of finding replacement parts. The pedal works in absolutes, with 0 Volume/ Pan or 100% Volume/ Pan.
2. Boss BF-3 Flanger
Essentially a Flanger pedal, this offering from Boss also hosts Pan and Gate sound effects.
The company was founded over 50 years ago in Japan and soon managed global recognition. Today, Boss is among the best manufacturers of equipment for Guitars. The iconic company specializes in dedicated effects pedals that lean towards being multi-effects pedals.
Affiliated with the Roland Corporation, the company is primarily regarded as the go-to equipment brand for Bands and Musicians like Gus G from Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Marty Friedman, The Neighborhood, Kirk Fletcher, Orianthi, John 5, and many more.
The pedal features a Boxy design similar to the CEB-3 Bass Chorus by Boss. The pedal features a vibrant purple paint job that matches the matte black footswitch plate and shiny black knobs portion. The text on the black portions is polished silver, and the text on the purple color is matte black, ensuring readability.
The pedal hosts 2 regular control knobs for ‘Depth’ and ‘Rate,’ 1 Rotary knob for ‘Mode,’ and a Concentric knob for ‘Manual’ and ‘Resonance’ controls. Above these knobs, you’ll find an LED indicator for Effect and Battery Check, followed by the device’s foot pedal. The pedal’s left side houses 2 jacks for Output A (Mono) and B (Stereo), while the right panel hosts 2 jacks for Electric and Bass Guitar. The power socket has been placed at the device’s rear. The pedal’s dimensions are 6″ x 3.85″ x 2.85,” and its weight is 1.01 lbs.
- Control Knobs – Depth & Rate
The ‘Depth’ control knob can be turned on either side to set the effect’s depth, whereas the effect speed can be regulated using the ‘Rate’ control knob. Rotating the Rate control right results in increased speed for the effect. Turning the knob to the left reduces the speed of the effect.
- Concentric Control Knob – Resonance & Manual
The inner Resonance knob can be used to adjust the feedback amount. For a more substantial, more prominent effect, you can turn the knob rightward. The Outer Manual Control regulates the center Frequency allowing the effect to be applied accordingly. The knob can be turned to the right to increase the Range.
- Mode Rotary Knob – Standard & Ultra, Gate/Pan & Momentary
This rotary knob can be used to choose one of the pedal’s 4 modes: Ultra, Standard, Momentary, and Gate/Pan. In the Standard mode, you’ll get a normal effect. The Ultra Mode can enhance the effect should you decide the common effect needs a boost.When only Mono is used, the Gate/Pan mode can radically change the output volume. When the pedal is in Stereo mode, the Output will experience a ‘pan’ effect. The effect is only applied when the pedal is depressed. You’ll get the classic sound, and the effect begins from the lower end.
The pedal’s left side features 2 quarter-inch Outputs, A and B, for connectivity with effects units, speakers, or amplifiers. If you only use the Mono, connect to the Output A jack. The right panel houses 2 quarter-inch jacks for electric guitar and bass guitar. The jack may be used instead to connect the device to another effects pedal. If an electric guitar is used, the bass input will automatically be deactivated.
- Power Socket & LED indicator
The power socket is placed at the device’s rear. It lets you power the device via an AC power supply (sold separately) from the PSA series. The device will automatically power on once the power supply has been connected successfully. A 9V battery can also power the device. You’ll have to loosen the ‘Thumbscrew’ and lift the foot pedal to access the battery compartment. The LED indicator primarily denotes when the effect is active. The indicator can also show the battery status.
Arguably one of the most comprehensive pedals available in terms of Flanging. It justifies its value. The pedal possesses fantastic tone quality. It also packs many intense and subtle options. The pedal’s reduced settings sound terrific as well.
This Boss offering is expensive compared to other pedals packing similar features, but as mentioned above, it justifies the value. The device primarily focuses on Flanger effects. At a lower price point, some competing pedals host a much larger variety of features.
3. Walrus Audio MAKO Series: D1 High-Fidelity Delay
This offering by Walrus is from their MAKO Series and possesses a significant number of effects.
Once a Keeley Electronics employee, Brady Smith is considered the founder of Walrus Audio. He founded the company in 2011. Initially, Walrus Audio introduced Iron Horse Distortion, Voyager Overdrive, and Deep Six Compressor. The 3 devices quickly became very popular.
Walrus Musicians include Mateus Asato, Charlie Hall, James Valentine, David Ryan Harris, Kirk Douglas, Phil X, Yvette Young, Ted Dwane, Cory Wong, Zandy Fitzgerald, Javier Serrano, Drew Taubenfeld, Robbie Bennet, Molly Miller, Ricky Armellino, Zane Carney and many more.
- Hardware – Top Panel
The top panel hosts 6 identical silver and black knobs. 5 of the 6 knobs are control knobs for ‘Time,’ ‘Repeats,’ ‘Mix,’ ‘Tweak,’ and ‘Attack,’ whereas the 6th knob is a Rotary knob for ‘Prog.’ Below, you’ll find 3-way switches followed by a line that reads ‘High Fidelity Stereo Delay.’ This line also serves as a division line shortly after which the panel slopes towards the prominent ‘[D1]’ logo with LED indicators to its left and right. Below, you’ll find 2 Footswitches for ‘Bypass’ and ‘Tap,’ with the brand’s logo in between. The device measures 4.9″ x 2.52″ x 2.64″.
- Control Knobs – Time, Repeats, Mix & Attack
You can use the Time control knob to adjust the delay time of the effect. When the knob is turned to its lowest extreme, the delay time will be around 60 ms. The delay time will increase as the knob is turned in the opposite direction. The delay time goes up to 2000 ms. The Repeat control can regulate the feedback amount from just one repeat to almost infinity. Mix control decides the ratio between the wetness and dryness of the signal.
- Tweak – Switch & Control
The pedal hosts 3 distinct Tweak parameters: ‘ Mod,’ ‘Tone,’ and ‘Age.’ These 3 parameters shape the Character and Fidelity of the effect. The 3-way Tweak switch allows you to select the parameter, and the Tweak control allows creative control. When the ‘Mod’ parameter is selected, the Tweak control lets you define the modulation amount. When the second of the 3 parameters, the ‘Tone’ parameter is selected, the Tweak knob will allow you to alter the delay tone’s characteristics. The delay grit’s amount can be determined by the Tweak control when the Age parameter is selected.
- Rotary Control Knob – Program Modes
The switch allows access to 5 Programs, ‘Digital,’ ‘Modulation,’ ‘Vintage,’ ‘Dual,’ and ‘Reverse.’ The digital delay program provides a clear, clean delay ideal for prominent and refined echoes. The Mod delay program adds random LFO modulation to repeats. This leads to irregular pitch modulation best for warping minds. The Vintage program introduces darker filtering (low settings) or low-end roll-offs at high settings. As the name suggests, the Dual program produces two parallel delay effects. When using stereo outputs, you’ll hear independent delay effects in each connected Output. The Reverse program produces a unique character which may also be referred to as the reverse delay.
- Additional Functionality – Haas & Pan
This offering by Walrus possesses 2 unique ways of introducing width and space to repeats, ‘Haas Effect’ and ‘Stereo Panning’. The Haas effect produces a Stereo widening effect by initiating an offset between the left and right channels. The panning effect sees the delay signal moving between the left and right channels. This movement adds extra depth to the composition.
- 2 Footswitches, 2 LED Indicators
The Bypass footswitch on the lower left corner of the device’s top panel holds the function of switching the device on or off. When on, the effect is active, and the LED indicator above tells as much. When the effect is off, the switch ensures smooth functioning via bypass. Located in the lower right corner, you’ll find the Tap footswitch. This can be used to set the pedal’s tap tempo. The LED indicator just above changes color to represent the preset selected. It also denotes the delay time.
The device features 2 quarter-inch Input jacks on its right and 2 quarter-inch Output jacks on its left panel. The upper Input jack is Mono, just as the parallel upper Output jack is Mono. Similarly, both the lower Input and Output jack are for Stereo. The rear of the pedal features Midi In and Midi Out ports. The left panel of the unit also houses a 9V DC power socket and a USB port for software updates.
The device has a strong build. It allows software updates via USB connectivity. It supports 2 Inputs (Mono and Stereo) and 2 Outputs (Mono and Stereo). The pedal possesses many controls and produces many unique sound effects.
The pedal brings a lot to the table and more than justifies its value, but it is priced on the higher side of the spectrum compared to most competing pedals. The device is a lot of fun, but with the complexity that comes with it, you feel it just isn’t the best option for beginners.
4. Surfy Bear Metal Reverb Unit
This Surfy Bear offering incorporates a simple yet unique design. It also holds an amazing set of features.
The company is much smaller than others mentioned in this list but continues to gain popularity. Bjorn Isheden is the company’s current President. Initially, Surfy Bear started manufacturing in Sweden. Now, it also manufactures from Italy and the USA.
Uniquely designed, all effect pedals from Surfy Bear measure more horizontally than vertically. The brand keeps its designs simplistic, and as a result, though its pedals pack quite a punch, they appear easy to use and are, thereby, especially great for beginners.
- Design & Dimensions
The pedal is bright blue and pretty straightforward with what it can do, with all the knobs, jacks, and footswitch easily accessible on the device’s top. Everything is nicely spaced and conveniently placed. The brand logo occupies the rest of the space on this side of the device. The dimensions are 17.5″ x 6.5″ x 3″ with a weight of exactly 2 kg.
The top of the device hosts 4 shiny black control knobs for ‘Volume,’ ‘Tone,’ ‘Mixer,’ and ‘Dwell.’ The panel also houses 3 quarter-inch jacks, the first of which is located near the lower left corner for Output. The other 2 jacks are placed near the lower right corner for Input and ‘F/S.’ Next to these jacks, you’ll find the company’s name and model. The footswitch is placed near the front center position. The front and sides of the device are entirely plain, and the rear panel hosts a power socket. The device’s base has 4 rubber rests on each corner and a center cavity for revealing the springs.
- Control Knobs – Volume, Tone, Mixer & Dwell
All 4 black control knobs are identical in terms of looks and their 1-10 scales. The Volume control knob can be turned in either direction to adjust the output signal’s level. The degree to how dark or bright the sound is can be determined by the Tone control knob. The Mixer control knob decides how wet or dry the signal will be. The effect amount can be defined by the Dwell control knob.
- Footswitch & Connectivity
The effect can be activated or deactivated using the footswitch. The Output jack can connect the device to a speaker or amplifier. The Input jack allows you to attach an Instrument to the device. The second Input jack can connect another external footswitch hence labeled F/S. A 12V DC Power supply (sold separately) can power the device. The pedal consumed 500mA of current.
This offering by Surfy Bear packs a unique set of features. The pedal also features a design and looks, unlike any other pedal. It is very straightforward to use and is a superb option for those who prefer simplicity, especially those new to Pan pedals.
The device is expensive compared to most others that come equipped with a similar set of features. It also draws more power than most pedals. Though the unit weighs little, it is large, and the dimensions are also odd, so it won’t be easy to fit on a pedalboard.
5. Boss SY-1000 Guitar Synthesizer
This big blue guitar synthesizer pedal by Boss brings a lot of features and value to the table.
Boss was founded over 50 years ago in Japan and has since gone on to establish itself on a global scale. Today, Boss is considered one of the best musical equipment manufacturers. The world-renowned company focuses on providing affordable multi-effects guitar pedals.
Boss is an integral part of the Roland Corporation. Boss musicians include the likes of John 5, Marty Friedman, Orianthi, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai, Gus G from Ozzy Osbourne, Kirk Fletcher, The Neighborhood, Anna Sentina, Davy Knole, Richard Bona, and many more.
- Design & Hardware
The pedal has a sloping design and a blue paint job with matte side panels. The build is solid, and at first glance, you’ll know the unit packs quite a number of features. The top panel hosts a display panel, 7 knobs, 8 Buttons, and 8 Switches, each with its dedicated LED indicator. The side and front of the pedal are completely plain. The rear panel hosts multiple connectivity ports for Input and Output, a Power socket, and an on/off power switch. The Base panel comes with 4 rubber supports, one at each corner. The pedal has dimensions of 19.65″ x 13″ x 5.35″ and a weight of approximately 7.6 lbs.
- Screen & Control Knobs
The pedal features a big prominent LCD black and white display. It can be used to view the device’s many settings. There are 6 parameter control knobs labeled 1-6 below the display. These can be rotated in either direction to alter various values. The 7th control knob is for the Output level. You can use this knob to set the main Output’s volume level.
- Buttons – INST, Effects, CTL & Exit
There are a total of 8 buttons just below the Output Level Control. The first 6 of the 8 buttons are for ‘INST,’ ‘Effects,’ ‘CTL,’ ‘Exit,’ ‘Write,’ and ‘System,’ whereas the 2 remaining buttons are for scrolling between pages (‘Page Buttons’). The INST button indicates the INST sound. The Effects button denotes the settings of the effect and the sequence in which the effects are associated. The CTL button takes you to the CTL settings. You can customize the footswitches and buttons using the CTL screen. The Exit button holds 2 functions. It can be used to return to the previous screen. You can also use the button to undo operations.
- Buttons – Write, System & Page Scrolls
The Write button also holds dual functions. It can be used to store settings, and you can also execute operations via this button. The System button allows you to alter the device’s operating settings. The arrow buttons are for scrolling between pages. The right arrow button will move you to the next page, whereas the left arrow button will return you to the previous page. Of course, all this can easily be viewed on the display screen.
The device’s 8 switches have been split into 3 segments, the 1st of which holds the ‘Bank down arrow button’ and the ‘Bank up arrow button’. As the labels suggest, these 2 buttons can switch between banks (storage). The second segment hosts 2 buttons for ‘CTL 1’ and ‘CTL 2’. These buttons can be customized but hold default functions that vary based on the selected patches. The 3rd segment hosts 4 buttons labeled ‘1, 2, 3, and 4’. These buttons serve as ‘switch patches.’
- Rear Panel – GK IN, Guitar Input, Send, Return, & 2 CTL/Exp Jacks
On the leftmost side of the rear panel, you’ll find a ‘GK IN’ connector that can be used to connect a musical instrument. This connector is only meant for a dedicated GK cable. You’ll find 9 quarter-inch jacks next to it. The first 3 are for ‘Guitar Input,’ ‘Send,’ and ‘Return.’ You can plug in your guitar via the Guitar Input jack. The Send and Return jacks can plug in an effect processor. The CTL 3, 4/Exp 1 and CTL 5, 6/Exp 2 can be used to connect an Expression Pedal or an external Footswitch.
- Outputs, USB, MIDI & Power
The rear of the device also hosts 4 quarter-inch Output jacks. The first 2 jacks are for Main Outputs, and the next 2 are for Sub Outputs. Using the Output jacks, the device can connect to headphones, speakers, and Amps. The USB port allows you to attach your device to a PC or a Laptop to transfer USB and USB MIDI audio data received from the MIDI Input and Outputs. You’ll need to install a driver downloadable from the support section of the official Boss website. Next, you’ll find a power button followed by the device’s DC IN power socket. An AC adaptor can power the pedal. The device also uses an ‘Auto Off’ function to save power if unused.
This synthesizer device delivers a heap load of functions. You can even customize buttons and switches. It also has banks (memory storage), so you can save or rewrite settings over the default settings. The device also features a very robust build and packs excellent value.
Though the pedal justifies its value, it is more than twice as expensive as any other pedal on the list. It also comes with many functions that may confuse most users. The bulky unit packs some weight, making it difficult to pack and carry.
The world of Auto Pan is too much fun. It brings that extra little something you just won’t find anywhere else. You’re missing out if you haven’t picked up one of these pedals. Trust us when we say these pedals promise a really entertaining experience.
That’s why we so strongly recommend them. We know you’re tempted, and for those who’ve decided to dive but still need to figure out exactly which way to dive, this section is just for you. If you’re looking to step into the Auto Pan world, the Earnie Ball 6165 500K Stereo Volume/ Pan Pedal is an excellent plug and play option.
Boss BF-3 Flanger brings some more variety and options and yes, we know the name carries the word ‘Flanger,’ but it doesn’t hold back regarding Auto Pan effects.
The pedal brings simplicity with its 3 regular and 1 concentric knob. It can even be powered via a 9V battery so that you won’t need a power adaptor. It’s a simple plug-and-play device, but if you’re looking for an even easier pedal and are willing to pay a little more, we’ve got another great option for you in the Surfy Bear Metal Reverb Unit.
It has a much simpler design and has everything spaced out and ideally placed to assist newbies or simply those who prefer simplicity. You’ll get the Walrus Audio MAKO Series: D1 High-Fidelity Delay pedal for about the same price, but this pedal arguably brings much more value if you’re looking for multiple effects and combinations.
Equipped with 5 control knobs, a Rotary switch with 5 programs, and three 3-way switches, this device is bound to keep you entertained. The next option we’ll recommend is the Boss SY-1000 Guitar Synthesizer.
This pedal is expensive, but it’s an absolute beast of a machine. The pedal hosts 7 control knobs, 8 buttons, 8 switches, 9 jacks, MIDI ports, and a USB port. You’ll get multiple connectivity options, customizable controls, and even bank storage to preserve your ideal settings.
Sultan Zafar is a guitar player from Islamabad, Pakistan. He has been playing music with various mainstream musicians for over 20 years. He is a song writer and music producer. These days he spends his time exploring different music genres and collaborating with fellow musicians on various projects. Read more..