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Understanding Expression Pedals

Expression pedals are used to control variable parameters on electronic music equipment such as digital amplifiers, rack effects, stomp boxes, MIDI controllers, and keyboards. The pedals do not contribute to the sound themselves, but remotely control aspects of the device they are connected to. It might help to think of an expression pedal as a remote knob that can be… Read More »Understanding Expression Pedals

What is a TRS Cable?

Pro-Audio devices sometimes call for TRS cables. What are these, and why do they frequently cause confusion? Let’s find out. The letters TRS stand for Tip, Ring, and Sleeve, and refer to the parts of the jack plug that the different conductors are connected to. A TRS cable has three conductors vs the two on a standard guitar cable. A… Read More »What is a TRS Cable?

Volume Pedal Q&A

Volume pedals may not be as simple as they seem. In this article we cover some of the common questions and answers about using volume pedals with guitars and other instruments.  Q: What is the difference between active and passive volume pedals? The difference between these two can cause confusion due a difference in whether we really mean active or passive volume pedals or are… Read More »Volume Pedal Q&A

Pedal Current Draw is a Lie

    Guitar pedals, and other DC powered devices that we use in our rigs often reference a current draw number. Your delay pedal may say something like, ‘9VDC 300mA center pin negative’ We’ve covered voltage and polarity here before and they are straightforward concepts, but that mA number printed on the side next to the power jack: Well, it’s wrong. OK,… Read More »Pedal Current Draw is a Lie

    Where To Put Your Volume Pedal

    The most obvious, and probably most common ordering for a volume pedal in the signal chain is simply to put it first: Take the cable from your instrument and connect it directly to the input of the volume pedal. Everything else comes after that. In this scenario, the volume pedal behaves very much like the volume control on your instrument… Read More »Where To Put Your Volume Pedal

    Fixing 5 Common Rig Fails

      Guitar signal noisy, intermittent, or just plain dead? Unable to make it through a rehearsal without something fizzing, popping, or blowing up? Sooner or later something is going to fail, and every rig needs some regular maintenance to keep it running at it’s best. If you are not in a platinum selling band with your own guitar tech, then you… Read More »Fixing 5 Common Rig Fails

      Understanding Speakers for Guitar Software

      If you are not familiar with the concept of modeling, here’s the quick lowdown. Modeling companies use sophisticated computerized tools to analyze the sound and behavior of the parts of the guitarists signal chain including amplifiers, effects, microphones and speaker cabinets. They then use the data to create software ‘models’ that allow musicians to emulate the sounds on various devices.… Read More »Understanding Speakers for Guitar Software

      Pedal Power

      Switching power supplies? Regulated outputs? Isolated grounds? Arrgh! All I want to do is to power my pedals without sounding like a can of bees or bursting into flames. What do all these terms mean? Do they make any difference for effects pedals? Let’s find out.  The job of the power supply is to convert the voltage from your wall… Read More »Pedal Power

      Measuring Guitar Cables

      There are plenty of exaggerated, and even outright fake claims about audio cables. I wanted to take a mixture of common factors that might impact a guitar cable, some based on sound engineering principles, and others that might be a bit more tenuous, to see which are measurable with commonly available lab equipment. The first stage was to list various… Read More »Measuring Guitar Cables