The Universal Serial Bus (USB) has been a prevalent standard for connecting accessories to computing devices since its initial release in 1996. The USB interface is increasingly being used in environments we would not traditionally consider directly related to computing, especially audio. The ability to carry power and data, including digital audio, along the same small, low cost and easily… Read More »The Power of USB
Tips and Tricks
Boost pedals are a paradox; they are the simplest of devices, most with just a single knob, yet they can also be a challenge to integrate to achieve the desired effect. Much more than say a delay, chorus, or even many distortions; the heart of a good boost lies not in the boost pedal itself, but in the complex interactions… Read More »Understanding Boost Pedals
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 its best. If you are not in a platinum selling band with your own guitar tech, then you… Read More »Troubleshooting Your Rig
If you are building an effects pedal, you are likely going to need a case or enclosure to keep it in. Let’s face it; the varying names and colors on the boxes are often the only differences between certain types of pedals anyway, so this is where you can stand out. The gold standard for containment in the pedal biz… Read More »Pedal Casing: What Are the Options?
9VDC from a battery or an external center pin negative power connector is the de-facto standard for effects pedal power. Back in the early days of effects pedals, this was a common voltage for portable devices using the PP3 style battery. Though modern microchip-based electronics use much smaller voltages, such as 5, 3.3, or 1.5, we keep the 9V format… Read More »Power Supply Hacks
Most guitar effects pedals run on a 9VDC power source, which allows for a wide choice of pedalboard power supplies, wall warts, or batteries to run them on. However, there always seems to be one or two pesky pedals in the collection that complicate the issue requiring some other voltage; say 12V, 15V or 18V. Although it may seem like… Read More »Working With Voltage
In previous blogs, we reviewed the pros and cons of various disposable battery technologies for effects pedals. This time around, we are going to study rechargeable batteries as an alternative. The Contenders Theoretically, rechargeable versions of the alkaline batteries would be a good choice for effects pedals. The chemistry is the same, but the battery is constructed so as not… Read More »Rechargeable Batteries and You
I’m not sure of the reason the de-facto standard for effects pedal power became the 9V battery. Many low current pedals such as buffers, boosts, and distortions could easily be designed to run equally well on the more common AA battery type if we so desired. I’ll hazard a guess that history has a lot to do with it. If… Read More »Batteries: Which One is the Best?
I’m sure you’ve all heard the story about how renowned tone magician Eric Johnson keeps around a box of partially discharged 9-volt batteries and can tell the state of charge from the sound of his fuzz pedal. There are plenty of people who are convinced their gear sounds better with different levels of battery charge. Some pedal board power supplies… Read More »Inside EJ’s Box of Dead Batteries
Why are isolated pedalboard power supplies used? The lowest cost genuinely isolated pedalboard power supplies start at around $100, and can reach in excess of $300. Simple daisy chain style adapters are available for less than $5, yet these larger isolated supplies remain hugely popular. What possible reasons could there be to pay forty times the price for something larger,… Read More »Isolated Power Supplies: What’s the Point?