When I first became interestd in putting my trumpet through electronics ( electronics is the name used to include computers, guitar pedals and other electronic devices) , there was not a lot of information interestiable online I was lucky to know Andy Diagram who gave me navalable advice as well a having friends who knew a bit about tec , I also had a couple of invalidsions with Steve Pretty from Hackney Colliery band. Below is a photo of my step up , the numbers refer to the numbers below the photo which explain each item in more seeail. It is important to not be scared to try things .
The other thing I noticed was that the language used on a lot of websites and videos assumed that you knew the basics already , so I wanted to try and write something that explained the basics with as jargon free language as possible.
Also there are many other ways of doing this , this is all coming from my own experience this set up best accommodates my style , and the limitations my disabillites put on me.
I consulted a range of technical advisors to make sure my facts were correct these were
Dr Mick Grierson - Goldsmiths university
Andy Diagram - Musician with the band James with over 20 years experience playing live with trumpet through effects.
Ned Smith - Heart N Soul
2. XLR extension cable
3 Pre Amp
4 Pre amp patch cable output
5 Whammy pedal
6 Wah pedal
7 Distortion pedal
9 Looper Pedal
10 Foot switch
11 Tuner pedal
12 Patch cable into DI
13 DI Box
14 XLR out
15 Pedalboard power supply plug
16 AC to AC adapter
17 Whammy pedal power supply
18 Multi power socket extension .
19 Power Supply for pedals ( excluding whammy)
There are a few ways of Mic'ing ( putting a instrument through a microphone).These are listed below
1. SHURE SM57 & SM 58 - SM 58's are the microphones that you often see at gigs ( the ones with the silver top), the SM 57 is better for instruments in general . Both these mic's are called " Dynamic" microphones they are sturdy .You can buy them second hand for about £60 and new for about £100. The negatives of these mic's for trumpets and other instruments that you hold in your hands is that it can be uncomfortable to stand so that your bell ( or end of your instrument) is 20-30 cm facing straight into the microphone, Because these mic's generally are attached to mic stands that do not move with you , you have to stand still , which can be difficult in a gig situation
2. Clip on Microphone There are a lot of different types of clip on mic's dynamic microphones in general are a little bit more sturdy then condenser microphones. clip on mic's usually have a goose knock ( the bendy bit that you put into your instrument , a clip and a way of adjusting the angle of the goose neck's holder.
The negatives of these microphones is that they can be expensive and the cable comes attached to them and so can be difficult to replace
From experience I can reccomend
Shure 98 H C
and Beyerdynamic TG 152 D
one thing which is ver important to know whatever microphone you are using you should never point the end of the microphone toward a speaker as this will make terrible noise ( this is called feedback).
I use a shire 98HC , my dad stuck some velcro onto the sides of a small box and drilled 2 holes for each end of the cable, I use velcro to wrap around my trumpet and stick it on the edge of my box, I use a velcro cable tie to make sure my cable does not dangle , and I plug my XLR into the bottom of the box which means I don;t have to worry about standing on the think delicate hard to replace cable that is soldered onto the mic.
2 XLR cable
The cable which normally goes into a microphone is a XLR cable ( these candles are described as balanced cables). This is a photograph of the end of my orange cable I conenect this into the end of my microphone cable so I don't have to worry about standing on or damaging the cable connected to the microphone.
I chose illumanous orange as it is easy to se in the dark.
3 Pre Amp
A pre amp ( pre amplifier) is what I choose to use for 3 things
1 To have an idea of how loud my input sound ( signal ) is
2 To give my microphone phantom power ( When I use my Shure 98 H C it needs phantom power ( condenser microphones need phantom power but dynamic microphones do not`) , photon power is where a device that plugs into another device needs power - described very basically) .
3 To convert my XLR cable to a Jack ( patch ) cable ( see below for a descriptor on this).
This pre amp has a tube in it , this can help to make my sound a bit warmer .
4 Patch cable
a patch cable is a cable which is used to connect guitar effects pedals together , they come in a few different standard lengths, although you can buy kits to make your own . It is important to buy good quality patch cables because they get bent a lot which can damage cheaper ones and also bad cables can distort your sound,
Longer cables like this are knowns as TS ( tip , sleeve) ,TRS ( Tip, Ring , Sleeve),instrument cables 1/4" cables or jack to jack all of these names basically mean the same thing , the jack is the silver bit on a patch cable or longer instrument cable . Longer cables are usually used for connecting guitars to amplifiers , the longer the cable can reduce the quality of sound.
5 Whammy Pedal
The Patch cable that goes out of the output of the pre amp goes into my whammy pedal first ( you can put pedals in any order you like and I suggest that you explore what order you like best .
The patch cable plugs into the input of the whammy pedal ,
Whammy pedals do something called " pitch shifting" this means you can change the output of your sound's pitch to make you sound higher or lower,
Whammy pedals also allow you to create harmony's which can sound like multiple trumpets.
6 Wah Pedal
Wah pedals are very common they are sometimes thought of as a 70's sound,
`Wah pedals basically filter your sound so for example if you play your foot on the pedal and push forward the you will hear less low frequencies and more high frequencies and if you push you foot down with your heel then you will get less high frequencies and more low frequencies , it's important to know it is not changing the pitch of your sound just which buts of your sound across the audio spectrum you hear,
Jim Dunlop Cry baby wah pedals are probably the most commonly though of wah pedals,
However to engagee the wah you have to push down quite hard with your toe both me and Toby found this very difficult.
This Mooer Wah pedal is small and is activate simple by placing your foot on the pedal and pushing down anywhere , however I have found that it can cause a bit of feedback
Morley make a Wah pedal ( the M2) which has a foot switch to turn it on and off and sounds great with a trumpet., but theres no reason why other instruments can't try it too.
7 Over drive pedal
A overdrive pedal basically distorts your sound and makes it sound more aggressive ( there's a lot you can do with it to sound less aggressive and more ambient)- but the best way to understand this is to try it yourself).
This pedal is made by BOSS who have a very good reputation for creating sturdy great sounding pedals.
8 Delay pedal
Delay pedals do what they say they do , they basically repeat your sound, and you can choose how many times and how long it waits before relating it back to you and how loud the repeat is. Delay is the effect I enjoy the most it might not sound exciting but when you try it it is brilliant and very versatile. My preferred delay is the BOSS DD3 however the delay in the photo is a flashback mini delay made by TC Electronics, This pedal allows you to download a app on your phone and then you have access to hundreds of presets that you can choose and beam to your pedal from your phone ( I have no idea how that works but it's quite impressive).
Also notice the True Bypass switch , this is a switch you press with your foot to bypass the pedal meaning your sound will not be effected by it.
9 Loop pedal
Sometimes called a looper ( not to be confused with the pedal switching systems) , this pedal allows you to record yourself and then play it back so that you can play over the top of what you recorded, you can also do over dubs , which means that you can create layers of your recordings which play at once , You can also save your loops into the memory for later use and you can evan plug it into your computer and put files you have on your computer on to it ( e.g a backing track).
There are a number of different kinds of switches you can get and use with guitar pedals,
This switch is an example of a momentary switch this means that whatever the switch is programmed to do ( when plugged into the loop pedal it will stop the loop and if I hold my foot down on it , it will delete the loop) . It only does while your foot is on it.
Latching switches on the other hand stay doing what their programmed to do until you turn them off, a good example of this is how you can turn off a light and it stays turned off until you press the switch again
11 Tuner / mute
Guitar players probably would put a tuning pedal at the start of their signal chain ( the order in which the sound of your instrument goes through pedals) , however as a trumpet player what I use this pedal for is as a mute switch . This is very important because if I needed to change a patch cable or a battery or anything else if `Unplugged it without muting myself first then not only would it make a nasty sound but it could damage the speakers that I am playing through, `This is really most useful at gigs, as when you are at home or at a rehearsal studio you can mute your channel on the mixing desk or audio interface ( this is like a external sound card that allows you to plug instruments and microphones into computer.
This mute function of this pedal is also very useful to get you out of trouble for example if you start to omit unpleasant noises from your effect pedals , you can mute yourself bypass your pedals and alter then as needed.
12, 13, 14 DI box
12 Patch cable into DI Box
At the end of your chain or signal path ( basically your pedals) your output patch cable ( the one that goes into the output socket in the pedal) will go into the input of a DI box ,
13 DI Box a DI box is used for 2 things ,
1 to change a unbalanced signal ( patch or instrument cable) to a balanced ( XLR cable), this is because unbalanced signals will become distorted when the cable is very long , wheat balanced cables can go over long distances without distorting .
2 To get the signal to the snake or stage box ( this is basically a box with lots of XLR sockets in it) which links to the mixing desk which is where the sound engineer can control each person's microphone so that each person can be heard
In theory any gig you play at should have their own DI ( direct Input) box , however if you are using a microphone that needs phantom power then the venue is likely to be powering their DI box via phantom power and sometimes this can cause noise), so having a passive DI Box ( which means that it does not need power amongst other things) can be very useful.
14. XLR Balanced out and ground lift
As explained above in the output is a XLR cable,
next to it you will notice the words ground lift, if you are ever in a situation where there is hum ( sometimes cause by power supplies) turning on the ground lift can sometimes get rid of it.
15,16,17 Powering Pedals
Some Guitar effect pedals only run on mains power some can run on mains power or battery's
If you are going to power your pedals via mains power there are a few things you need to know
1. AC or DC - does the power supply need to be AC ( alternating current) or DC ( direct current) Read the user manuel of your pedal online to find out
2. How many volt > Most guitar pedals need 9 Volts it is very important that you get a power supply which will not give you too many or too few volts .
3 what Milli Amps does your pedal need? lots of pedals take between 85-120 milli amps however some take unusual amounts and if you are joining your pedals via daisy chain ( see the next box) then you need to make sure you add up the Milli amps each of your pedals on the daisy chain needs, and make sure your power supply can provide that many milli amps or more.
4 Polarity Most pedals take Negative polarity ( see the red pedal on the right hand side for an example of the symbol denoting negative polarity ) sometimes this is also called centre negative. However there are some pedals which require positive polarity ( centre positive) so make sure the polarity symbols on your power supply and your pedals match.
It is worthing spending money on a quality power supply because poor cheap quality ones can hum which can be very annoying as this hum gets amplified with your sound.
If you have a 9Volt power supply you can power more then one pedal from it ( providing you consider the things mentioned in the box above) , using something called a daisy chain , the part in my hand connects to the end of your power supply the other silver connectors go into your pedals.
18 multi power socket
I have found it very useful to bring my own multi power socket plug with me to gigs , because for 1 1 I know it works
2 I know it will have enough sockets
3 I know roughly ( from experience ) how long the cable needs to be.
19 Pedal power supply
A Pedal power supply with isolated outlets (* an outlet is where you plug the power cable in and then connect it t your pedal ) can be easier then using a daisy chain , more reliable and less noisy . This power supply has velcro on it because I stuck some velcro on the underside of my pedalboard so that it would stay on my board all the time
a pedalboard is not essential but can make setting up simpler and faster and when you do a gig this is very important as you have a very short amount of time to get on stage and set up and then pack your stuff and get off stage , the pedal board allows all your pedals , power supply , power cables and patch cables to stay in one place connected together .
You can make your own pedal board , although I have not done this , but many other people have made them from ply wood and velcro ( the velcro is used to stick the pedals to the board)
however there are many different kinds of pedal boards that yu can buy . I started with a Boss BCB 60 which was good to learn will as it os straight forward to set up
however now I have a pedal train board and this has made life much easier ,
it stands on the floor with enough room for you to stick a small power supply onto the bottom , it has space to put your power cable through so it is easier to navigate your board e,g swap a patch cable mid gig ,
it is also a really good idea to have a small USB chargeable or battery powered flight on your board should ou need to see your pedals in the dark ,
You can buy kits that have pedalboard velcro patch cables a power supply cables and the board ask included or you can buy them sperpatly . Pedal train are a very reputable pedalboard manufacturer.
Here are some useful websites / videos I found helpful