Jul 18 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 7/18 – Florent Paris

Today’s pedal line is from Florent Paris. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 7/18 - Florent ParisHi effects bay !

Here’s a new french contribution for your friday’s pedal line !

So basically the first board is for both my guitars (Fender Jazzmaster & Harley Benton Open tunned), going to a Fender BluesJunior. The second board is for both my accoustic guitars. I play mainly for my solo ambient/post-rock instrumental project called Hors Sujet, and you can find all the latest news here: www.facebook.com/horssujetmusic

Now about the gear itself

First Board :

SHO clone : A Super Hard On Clone made by a french compagny called Crust Pedals. A great way for me to boost the incoming signal into the pedalboard. Plus the Crust pedal’s guys are really kind and did a custom paint just for me ! You can trust the Crust!

Buzz Electronics ABY box : Allows me to change between my Jazzmaster and the Harley Benton (Open tunned).

Earnie Ball Jr: The attack is faster than the Boss FV, which is good!

TC Electronics Polytune mini: Recent purchase, I thought it couldn’t do open tuning (I had read that somewhere, long time ago), but this little baby can’t be more precise for both my guitars!

Zvex Instant Lofi I love the immediate and typical vintage compressed sound it can delivers, and although it doesn’t fit everywhere you can get a subtil and delightful sound with it. It works VERY VERY well when the EHX Freeze is freezing a note.

Digitech Whammy  Lot of use of this one. Mainly for its one-octave-down bass layers, I also loop a lot of glitchy sounds and play with them. Since I play solo, it’s perfect to have some strong bass layers!

Fairfield Circuitry Barbershop My main sound. It gives me its lovely crunch. I’ll never get rid of it. 95% on, it goes from great boost to really warm overdrive.

Fulltone OCD My big overdrive. It’s sharp, very versatile and nice overdrive.

EHX Big Muff Really awesome fuzz ! Big wall of sound, infinite sustain, and when I use it with the whammy, boom, fat bass !

Devi Ever Aenima : Depending on the mood, I use this fuzz or the HFOA (see below). The Aenima is really a textural fuzz. Dirty, yet very distinct. So much gain from this cute thing.

Holy Fuzz of Antioche (the yellow one on the far left of the unused) Here’s the story: I was a member of a forum, but few months ago they decided to put an end to that forum. So a nice guy decided to make a “present” to some people, and built a pedal as a “farewell forum” thing. This is a heavy fuzz, really massive.

EHX#1 Echo Clean delays. I do a lot of slapback echoes with it, the blend knob can be strange at the first attempts, but once you get it, you’ll love it.

Sib! Mr Echo My favorite so far.For his warm decay and the craziness of the self-oscillation (if you press the Slam switch, you’ll never forget it). I’m still amazed by the harsh noise it can produce. This one was hard to get (I had to get it on american ebay, and ask for the man to send it to France…that wasn’t easy believe me). Back in these days I had got it for 80$.

Boss RV3 Perfect pedal. It has the 100% wet, the reverb+delay, and the delay itself.

Boss TR2 The first tremolo I had, I’m not that much of a modulation guy, but I like this one. This is the best example of “I bought it when I built the board, it’s hard to imagine it without this pedal, haha)

Looper Reverser This is the kind of thing that change the pedal’s order.This one allows me to change the order of the RC2 and the Kaoss Pad III, to avoid double overdubs. When there’s some sample played on the RC2, the Kaoss Pad has to be first to avoid re-recording RC2’s samples, and vice-versa.

Boss RC-3 + DIY footswitch Small, incredibly useful, it’s the second most used pedal of my righ. Everything goes in, a looooot of things are sampled there, and since I’m playing solo it’s a great tool to play live with. Coupled with the Kaoss Pad = more fun. 99 banks, perfect for live !

Kaoss Pad III : Such a powerful and incredible tool for musical creativity, a lot of different effects and since it’s a tactil unit it’s a great way to experiment unusual settings. I really like the stutter effects of its looper and the sampler’s effects. I often record small and little layers, like swells or bowed strings for exemple.

EHX Freeze This little pedal is amazing, you can go from simple layers to really weird things (by playing on the guitar’s head for ex., or with the reverb trails)

EHX SuperEgo Before the loopers on the rig, it’s a perfect way to have some unbelievable torturated layers or to merge different notes with the glissando effect. Love it.

T1M Buffer : End buffer, just to enhance the tone & gain loss before the amp. And when I say “enhance”, I’m talking about a REALLY NICE enhancement with this one !

Second Board :

Boss FV500: I’ve got this one for ages (since the beginning of my project), nothing to say about it since it does its job perfectly.

Boss LS2 : What do you want more, I can choose between 2 instruments and an additionnal third one (piezzo mic for Mandoline, my casio SK1, sometimes my Hurdy Gurdy…), it’s a perfect tool !

Korg Pitchblack : Super tuner, I often play in small places without lights, but the lights can spread through in any dark places!

Modified Boss CS3 Nice for accoustics, clean the tone and compress slightly.

Mooer Pitch box : Same use as the first board. Mostly for “others” instruments than accoustic guitars, this little guy does its job perfectly.

TC Electronics Hall Of Fame mini : How nice. The reverb aren’t too cold, you can change them via the Tone Print Editor, it adds a little bit of reverb on the accoustic set.

Line 6 Echo Park : My old friend. Very versatile, can goes from warm analog-sound delays to digital clean repeats. The reverse is really fun to play with !

Boss RC20xl : Same job as the first board, but with the reverse and the fade out options !

Needless to say that I’m always considering a lot of new gear to try, the more important thing is the sound itself and how to improve what’s in your head and how to draw it with music. If you wanna listen what I do with all that, feel free to go on my facebook / bandcamp or even to browse my videos. Here it is, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, if you want some details, I’d be more than glad to talk about that !

Florent Paris | Hors Sujet
Toulouse, France

Jul 11 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 7/11 – Jason Williams

Today’s pedal line is from Jason Williams. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 7/11 - Jason WilliamsHey,

My name’s Jason Williams, I perform vocals and guitars for the band, Animal Holograms.  I found out about your site from a friend of mine, Nathan (Hot Nerds, Some Girls, All Leather) who you recently featured.  Animal Holograms and Hot Nerds are actually playing a show together next month in Chicago.

I’ve been playing the guitar since I was nine years old and haven’t let go of it, tired it out or found it any less limitless as a tool for manipulating pitches, timbres or human emotions since.  I started Animal Holograms as a solo project while playing in other bands and often recorded guitars clean for my songs, then later manipulating them using all sorts of odd combinations of plug-ins, spending hours re-arranging the sequence of FX, their parameters, sending them to multiple buses and experimenting with “subcutaneous audio tissues” or “ghost nested” reflections of the source track in order to achieve an original sounding albeit only subconsciously perceivable, though present ambiance.

A few years of this led to finally getting the right people to perform Animal Holograms songs live, but I found myself without the outboard gear needed, let alone a single clue how to re-create or simulate the sounds I achieved mixing in-the-box with fancy plug-ins.  So I recently started constructing the board pictured in the attachment.  It has only four FX components:

1. Electro-Harmonix Vox Box
2. DOD Supra Distortion
3. Deltalab DD1 Delay
4. Lexicon MX200 Dual Channel FX Processor (reverbs and delays and the offshoot FX created by manipulating these like chorus FX, as well as a few others like pitch and modulation FX)

The guitar (Fender Telecaster) runs through the EH box (not effected, simply bypassed), the distortion pedal, then the delay where the signal is split.  The main signal (the prominent “source” guitar signal) is sent through the DD1’s “Output ‘A'” where it ends up running through a Marshall VS-100 half stack.  The “ambient signal”, or as I put it before the “subcutaneous audio tissues” or “ghost nested” reflections of the source signal, goes out from the DD1’s “Output ‘B'” where it is sent to the Lexicon MX200’s mono input and patched back out to a combo amp or a B-52 stack.  The signal is heavily reverberated, often delayed and creates essentially a washed out, organic sonic sea of sound for the main source signal to comfortably float in, giving a greater sense of space, color and atmosphere.  The ambient signal is quite a few dB’s quieter than the main signal, since the intent is not to combine, clash or compete with the first signal , but rather sit modestly in the background and serve more of a contextual, textural and supporting role sonically.

The only other input is the microphone which runs through the EH box and runs directly from there to the PA.  If set to Vocoder, the pitches/notes played on the guitar are recognized by the vox box and synthesize a vocoder effect keeping to the key of the song by analyzing the various frequencies present in a chord (ex: An A minor chord, depending how its played, will have, let’s say, an A4 (440Hz), C5 (523Hz) and E5 (659Hz) and replicating them synthetically.  Its really the only effect I use on that pedal except for vocal reverb and the occasional pitch manipulation using the “gender bending” parameter.

We’re in the process of preparing to record our first full length.  The tracks we have available on sound cloud are a mixture of heavily produced demos with electronic drums and full band with live instrumentation (ex: Hello, my Dark).

Listen to Animal Holograms on Sound Cloud

To hear specifically heavy & prominent guitar effects songs using my pedal board listen to:

Circular Shapes

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully you’ll consider featuring this homemade, very “MacGyver’d”, though beautiful as it can be abrasive sounding pedal board of simple design despite a relatively complex routing configuration and its various (seemingly endless) set of functions.

– Jason Williams


Jul 4 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 7/4 – Mike of Queen City Riot

Today’s pedal line is from Mike of Queen City Riot. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 7/4 - Mike of Queen City RiotHi.  Name’s Mike.  I like the pretty pictures you post on Fridays.  Here’s my rig for Queen City Riot.  Like a book: Leslie Combo Preamp, Riotbox Rusty Crunch 120, Memory Man (1), Memory Man (2), Peterson Stomp Classic,  DIY tube mixer.

Signal Flow:  (it changes from time to time) Guitar=>Peterson tuner=>input of the tube mixer.  The tube mixer has two outputs with independent active volume controls for both channels.  The output of channel “A” goes to the input of the Leslie Combo Preamp, which is connected to a real vintage Leslie 147.  Output B goes to the input of my Gravitone 30 tube amp (an upcoming release from LBA) and Mesa 4×12 loaded with Celestion Alnico Blue speakers.  The tube mixer has an FX loop as well.  Connected to the FX loop is my DIY high voltage vacuum tube distortion pedal, followed by a pair of EHX Memory Man delay pedals in series.  When the tube mixer is bypassed via onboard stomp, it cuts the signal to channel A (the Leslie), bypasses the volume control on channel B (Gravitone + 4×12), and accesses the mixers FX loop.  When the Mixer is activated, the FX loop is bypassed and the incoming signal is distributed to both channel’s A & B with their respective volume controls active.

BTW, that little jobbie at the bottom of the shot is a home-made power conditioner.  Much better than those crummy Furrymen!


Jun 20 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 6/20 – Riccardo Fassone

Today’s pedal line is from Riccardo Fassone. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 6/20 - Riccardo FassoneHey,

here’s my pedalboard. Nothing particularly fancy, but pedals are arranged in a creative way. :)

I play in a drone/noise/experimental band called Shabda (http://shabdahq.bandcamp.com/); we are based in northern Italy. We are a trio comprised of a laptop, a sitar and me playing guitar. Our style requires noisy, bass-heavy drones, so I built my rig accordingly.

Here’s a rundown of the signal chain:
1. Tc Electronic Polytune: it works and is visible. Really everything you need from a tuner.
2. EH Freeze: this is really the centerpiece of my style. I sample stuff and send it through the chain, then play with the knobs of the other pedals and make noise.
3. EH Double Muff: a really underrated pedal, more overdrive-y than a regular Big Muff.
4. Homemade fuzzface variation: a fuzzface with added bass and gain
5. Ibanez DE7: great delay pedal, it oscillates pretty easily when in “echo mode”. Very cheap as well.
6. MXR Blue Box: Modded Blue Box (more volume and mids). I use it for shits and giggles.
7: Line6 DL4: I use it mainly as a looper, for drones and textures.
8: Digitech Digiverb: cheap digital reverb, with a couple of cool features. I use it mostly in “church” or “reverse” mode.

Guitar is usually a 1982 Ibanez AR50 or a 1999 Gibson LP Studio. In some songs I use a heavily modded Squier Tele. Everything goes in the front of a Peavey Classic 50 2×12 combo + (sometimes) an external 2×12 cab. In the amp’s loop I usually have a vintage rack-mounted ibanez HD1000, which I use as an harmonizer for adding a sub-octave.

That’s about it. :)


Jun 13 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 6/13 – Francisco Macedo

Today’s pedal line is from Francisco Macedo. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 6/13 - Francisco MacedoHello, my name is Francisco and I am from Lisbon, Portugal (for  those who don’t know,  it’s a real country! in Europe!).

I play in some small projects in Portugal, and right now the band with the most success is called Ciclo Preparatório (https://www.facebook.com/ciclopreparatorio?fref=ts).

The Pedals from RIGHT to LEFT, BOTTOM TO TOP:


B1. POLYTUNE - great tuner, tunes nicely and fast!

B2. NANO SMALL STONE PHASER (EHX)- awesome phaser, it sounds really natural and smooth. and the size is perfect!

B3. MXR DYNA COMP – very good compressor, although while I’m not playing guitar it can be a bit noisy. But when I play, I can’t hear it, which is the important part!

B4. BEHRINGER ULTRA SHIFTER/HARMONIST US600  – My first goal was to buy the POG 2, but i didn’t had much “time” (and time is money!) .So i went for this instead, which is not that bad for a 50 euros (68.5 dolars) pedal! It does the job i need it to do (mostly octaves and other harmonies) and have some other crazy sounds.


T5. VISUAL SOUND DOUBLE TROUBLE – they say it is two tube screamers in one pedal. It’s one awesome pedal, it sounds really good. I basically use two settings with it, one louder (for  solo stuff) and one quieter, for rhythmic stuff .

T6. LINE 6 DL4 – It’s a great delay stomp box, almost all delays sounds good. you can record your favourite delays in the 3 knobs on the left. The other one is tap tempo. I don´t  use the looper, but it sounds good to me. there are some weird sounds too, if you want to do experimental or psychedelic stuff.

For the line6 I use its original power supply, and for the others I use the boss PSA  power supply.

I play with a Mexican Fender Telecaster, into a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

Well, That’s it! Thank you every one and I am sorry for my bad English!”
Francisco Macedo.

Jun 4 2014

Pedal Board Breakdown – Munky and Head of Korn

Man.. have I known some hard-core Korn fans over the years. I myself could never get into them, but always respected what they guys were all about. I definitely can remember how unique this bands’ sound was when they came out. They definitely took things to the next level in this genre of music. Definitely throughout the years, they’ve gone through their up and downs, but through it all.. they persevered and continue to fill up venues today. So, my hats off to this band!

In a YouTube sesh today, I came across a Premier Guitar Rig Rundown of Korn. Thought I would give it a view. Some interesting stuff in there for sure. Like I’ve said before, if you’re not following Premier Guitar on YouTube.. you’re missing out

Here is the breakdown of pedals..

Munky / Korn

Pedal Board Breakdown - Munky and Head of Korn
Digitech XP100
Dunlop GCB105Q Bass Wah
MXR Phase 90
Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Phase
Boss Metal Zone MT-2
BBE SoulVibe
Boss DD-6 Delay
Boss RV-5 Reverb
Ibanez BC-9 Chorus
Electro-Harmonix MicroSynth
Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy
Boss DD-3 Delay
MXR M222 Talk Box
Whirlwind A/B Selector

Head / Korn

Pedal Board Breakdown - Munky and Head of KornBoss TU-3 Tuner
Whirlwind A/B Selector
Dunlop UniVibe UV-1
Digitech XP100
Boss CE-5 Chorus
Boss RV-5 Reverb

Let me know what you think of Korn or if you see anything incorrect by commenting below!

May 12 2014

Pedal Board Breakdown – Chevelle

Chevelle is a great three piece band from the Chicago area. With very thick and textured / heavy guitar. They’re fans of alternate tunings, etc. with very good vocal melodies. They remind me a lot of Tool meets Russian Circles, but definitely carving their own path. They have to be one of the heaviest three pieces out there for sure. I was super excited to see that Premier Guitar doing a Rig Rundown on Pete Loeffler (guitarist) and Dean Bernardini (bass). I say it every time… you need to follow Premier Guitar on YouTube. Fantastic!

Here are the breakdown on pedals –

Pete Loeffler

Pedal Board Breakdown - Chevelle Pete Loeffler
Mesa Boogie A/B footswitch
Tech 21 SansAmp GT2
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
MXR Phase 90
Boss TR-2 Tremolo
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano Reverb
Peterson Strobostomp II Tuner
Dunlop GCB95 Wah
Guitar Laboratory True Bypass Wah-Pad

Dean Bernardini

Pedal Board Breakdown - Chevelle Dean BernardiniMesa Boogie Big Block Channel Switcher
Perterson VSS-C Tuner
DigiTech Bass Driver
Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI
Boss GE-7 Equalizer
Boss RV-5 Reverb
Boss DD-7 Delay

If you see anything incorrect, let me know. Also, let me know what you think of Chevelle by commenting below!

May 5 2014

FCC Regulations for Pedals!

FCCSo this started with a very innocent visit to a local amp builder here. I was armed with a pedal board and my Jazzmaster and was going to give a quick test drive on a couple of amps, but during that conversation, they mentioned that they’re researching FCC compliance for their products. What? Never heard of this, but then again, I don’t build amps, but what really threw me for a loop, is that they mentioned Electro-Harmonix (New Sensor Corporation) was fined $450,000 for not being in compliance! Whoa! Now, that’s major. Here is what’s the kicker, it was because of a few pedals. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s about frequencies (specifically anything over 9kHz). If you have a electronic device/components.. including ICs, etc that creates a frequency of 9kHz or greater needs to be tested for emissions.

I wanted to post this in case some of you boutique, small time builders are unaware of this. Obviously EHX didn’t know.. and they’re huge, and they got slapped hard. Of course, getting tested is expensive, in this is a major PIA, but it’s good to be aware.

Electro-Harmonix posted a Compliance Practice Guide for Manufacturers (in PDF format), but I included the content here as well for a quick read. The compliance practice guide was originally posted June 24, 2013.

Please let me know what you think about this by commenting below.


One of the great things about M.I. is that it still provides opportunities for creative entrepreneurs to bring to market new products that satisfy their belief of what a really cool effect pedal, guitar amp or electronic musical instrument should be. A quick flip through a guitar magazine will reveal that a flourishing cottage industry of “boutique” makers is in full bloom!

But what you don’t know, can come back to bite you! So, as a major supplier of vacuum tubes, cases and components for these grass roots capitalists, we felt compelled to shed some daylight on a subject that can’t be ignored. The following article describes the dos and don’ts of complying with the FCC’s regulations that affect all makers of digital devices for use in the music industry. And guess what? Even though you may think the device you make is analog, not digital, you might be incorrect according to the FCC’s interpretation of what is and what is not digital! So read on…

Please Note: This Compliance Practices Guide is not an FCC publication, nor is reviewing it a substitute for a careful and independent assessment of the FCC’s equipment marketing rules. Rather, the Guide provides a useful starting point for companies in the digital music industry as they work to ensure compliance with applicable FCC’s rules.


The Equipment Marketing Rules are the set of laws and rules, as laid out by the Federal government and enforced by the FCC, to govern the “marketing of radio frequency devices within the United States and its territories.” Marketing, as defined by Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Title 47, Volume I, Chapter I, §2.803, includes the sale or lease, or offer to sell or lease your musical instrument product, including advertising in any form. Marketing also includes importing, shipping or distributing a product for the purpose of selling or leasing. A quick bullet point list of the equipment marketing rules includes:

 product compliance for radiated and conducted emissions
 proper labeling of the product
 proper statement inclusion in the product’s manual
 correct import procedure


The rules and laws that we go over during the course of this article are not optional for any manufacturer, they are requirements. You cannot sell or market a product unless it fully complies with the FCC’s rules. We will go over the important rules that apply directly to manufacturers of digital musical instruments. Of course, these rules may also apply to other industries, in particular those

industries that manufacture electronic devices for consumers or the general public. Electronic devices made exclusively for industry or U.S. government have a different set of rules to abide by that is beyond the scope of this guide.


Within the scope of radio frequency devices is a sub-class known as Class B digital devices. The majority of digital musical instrument products fall into this category. A digital device is defined as “an unintentional radiator (device or system) that generates and uses timing signals or pulses at a rate in excess of 9,000 pulses (cycles) per second and uses digital techniques.” A Class B digital device is defined “as a digital device that is marketed for use in a residential environment notwithstanding use in commercial, business and industrial environments.” Both definitions are found in 47 C.F.R., §15.3.

The phrase “and uses digital techniques” is a little arbitrary so the safest approach a manufacturer can take is to figure out if their device generates signals or clocks above 9kHz (9000 cycles per second) and if it does, ensure the device is fully compliant with the Equipment Marketing Rules. There are numerous types of circuits and ICs out there that fall into this category; some common examples that are often used in musical instruments include DSPs, A/D and D/A converters, micro-controllers, switching power supplies (such as charge pumps or buck regulators), VCOs, PWM control signals and switched capacitor filters. Any one of these types of circuits could easily run above 9kHz, some generate at least one signal that is above 1MHz.

An IC does not necessarily have to output a high frequency signal to be considered a digital device. Even if the IC contains all high frequency signals within the chip and the signals do not connect to a component outside the IC, the product should be considered a digital device.

There are cases where a musical instrument uses digital logic but the instrument does not generate any signals above 9kHz. These types of circuits would not be considered digital devices according to the Equipment Marketing Rules. One example found in numerous musical instrument circuits uses the CD4066 IC to switch an analog signal path when the musician presses a button. Although digital logic is used to switch the signal path, the frequency of the pulses is far below 9kHz and therefore it is not considered a digital device. Another circuit found in many musical instruments is a low frequency oscillator (LFO) waveform generator. We usually see these circuits in modulation type effects such as tremolos, filters and phase shifters. Normally these circuits do not generate waveforms above 100Hz and it’s even rarer for them to generate signals above 1kHz. These circuits would not cause a product to fall into the digital devices category.

Taking the Electro-Harmonix (EHX) brand as an example, the Big Muff π distortion pedal is not considered a Class B digital device because it does not generate any signals above 9kHz nor does it use any digital techniques, though it can process signals in excess of 9kHz that are present at its input.

The EHX Small Clone analog chorus pedal on the other hand is considered to be a Class B digital device. It uses a logic IC to output a digital clock signal ranging from 20kHz to 80kHz. The Small Clone exceeds the digital device minimum of 9kHz by close to a factor of 10. The clock signal drives the bucket brigade IC which creates a time delay for the audio signal. The Small Clone also contains an LFO circuit, as mentioned above, but the LFO circuit does not qualify it as a digital device. EHX would normally consider the Small Clone to be an analog product, and in fact it is called an analog chorus in its promotional literature, but according to the Equipment Marketing Rules, it is a digital device and must comply fully with the rules in order to be sold and marketed in the United States.


There are a number of circumstances where a digital device may be exempt from the FCC’s technical standards. Most exemptions are outside the realm of musical instruments though there are a couple cases that could be a nice fit for musical products:

If your instrument does not obtain power from a wall outlet’s AC power lines, either directly or through an AC Adapter/battery eliminator and it does not generate or use any frequencies above 1.705 MHz, then the product may be exempt.

If a digital musical instrument is extremely low power it may be exempt as well. The device’s power consumption cannot exceed 6nW.

Although the products may be exempt from technical standards, there may be other requirements to which the digital device needs to adhere. For more information on exemptions, please see 47 C.F.R., §15.103.


One of the trickiest hurdles for any engineering group when designing a digital musical instrument is ensuring that your product complies with the FCC’s rules on radiated and conducted emissions. Testing a product for its FCC emissions compliance is an additional step in the product’s development that must be included during the course of its design cycle and planning. The earlier you plan ahead to reduce RF emissions in your design, the easier it will be to pass emissions testing once you have a production sample ready to test. For some products, especially those that contain high frequency components running above 1MHz, it could be nearly impossible to pass emissions testing if the product was not designed from the beginning to do so.

There are two basic classifications of digital devices or RF radiators: products that are not meant to communicate wirelessly with other devices are known as Unintentional Radiators (for example most guitar pedals, synthesizers, amplifiers); products that do feature wireless communication are called Intentional Radiators (for example wireless mics, wireless guitar systems). Class B digital devices are considered Unintentional Radiators.

Your digital musical instrument must have FCC authorization before you can market it in the United States. According to 47 C.F.R., §15.101, there are three levels of equipment authorization for unintentional radiators: Certification, Declaration of Conformity and Verification. Unless your musical instrument houses a personal computer, pretty much all digital musical instruments, since they are Class B digital devices, require verification. The definition of verification is as follows from 47 C.F.R., §2.902:

Verification is a procedure where the manufacturer makes measurements or takes necessary steps to insure that the equipment complies with the appropriate technical standards. Submittal of a sample unit or representative data to the Commission demonstrating compliance is not required unless specifically requested by the Commission…

Verification covers all items that are identical to the sample tested and found acceptable by the manufacturer.

Based on the Verification definition it is within the rights of the musical instrument manufacturer to self-certify their products, to build a testing facility in their factory and to conduct all compliance tests in-house. Of course this could be a major undertaking; most manufacturers may want to instead send their sample units to testing houses who will conduct the tests for them. There are numerous accredited testing facilities around the country; three examples include Nemko-CCL, Retlif Testing Laboratories and TUV Rheinland.

The FCC spells out the radiated emission limits in section §15.33. As a rule of thumb, the testing range for radiated emissions usually covers 30 MHz to 1GHz. If your product generates frequencies between 108MHz and 500MHz, the upper testing limit increases to 2GHz. If your product generates frequencies between 500MHz and 1GHz, then your testing range will be expanded to 5GHz. For conducted emissions, the testing range is 150kHz to 30MHz.

In general it is more difficult to pass the radiated emissions testing than it is the conducted testing. If your product passes radiated testing, it will almost definitely pass the conducted test. You may want to concentrate more of your resources on making sure your device passes the radiated testing.

When your product passes its compliance testing, the testing facility will produce an official test report for you. If the FCC asks your company for equipment authorization documentation at any point, the official test report will be the most important document that you hand over to them. Keep the official report on file during the lifetime of the product plus up to two years after a product ceases shipments to retailers or consumers.


For all digital devices sold within the United States, the Equipment Marketing Rules dictate that certain labels and statements must be included both on the device itself and within its user manual. The purpose of the labeling and text is to inform the musician that the instrument has been tested and found to comply with the FCC’s standards.


The FCC requires the musical instrument to be labeled somewhere on the unit with the following statement from 47 C.F.R., §15.19, paragraph 3:

This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.

In addition to the above statement, each verified product must be uniquely identifiable. This means that the product must have a model name, model number or artwork printed on the unit that will identify it and separate it from other products. Most musical instrument manufacturers have no trouble with this requirement.

If the product is too small to allow all the required text, the manufacturer may leave the text off the product and instead insert the required statement into a prominent location in the user manual or on the carton in which the product is sold. (See 47 C.F.R., §15.19, paragraph 5 for more detailed



In addition to labeling the product, the FCC also requires the statement below, or a similar statement, to be located in a prominent location in the user manual. Please note: this text is in addition to the text that is required to be on the product itself. From section 47 C.F.R., §15.105:

Note: This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:

— Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
— Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
— Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
— Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.


If you import your musical instrument into the United States, whether it’s the entire product or just the portion of the product that contains the RF device, such as an assembled PCB with a DSP installed on it, the FCC spells out certain rules to be followed and requires a declaration at the time of importation. Filing FCC Form 740 with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the heart of the importation procedure but it is also important to know what you can and cannot import.


Before you can import production quantities of your digital musical instrument to be offered for sale, it will need to have its equipment authorization in order. As mentioned earlier in this article your authorization will either be Verification, Certification or a Declaration of Conformity. In the case of verification, declaring to the CBP that the imported device complies with the FCC’s technical requirement is usually all that is required.

It is very likely that you will need to import samples of the product before importing larger production quantities. The samples are not only used to test the abilities of the PCB assembly house or to test the design itself for its intended purpose but also allow you to test the product for FCC emissions compliance. The FCC allows for the importation of up to 4000 units for these purposes as long as the units “will not be offered for sale or marketed.” See 47 C.F.R., §2.1204 for further information on the import conditions.


FCC Form 740 is a statement of declaration for importing radio frequency devices. It must be filled out and filed with the CBP at the time of importation for any digital device or even a device’s assembled PCB. A PDF copy of Form 740 can easily be found through a web search.

Form 740 has two parts: Part I requires information specific to your company: the manufacturer, the product and so on. Part II is your declaration for the device, asking you to choose one declaration. In most cases, digital musical instruments require verification and do not require FCC certification or declaration of conformity. If your product requires verification then you will want to choose box number 2 which states:

An FCC grant of equipment authorization and an FCC ID are not required, but the equipment complies with FCC technical requirements

If you are importing samples for testing purposes or to show at a trade show, then you would choose either box 3 or 4. In the rare case that you are importing products solely to be exported you would choose box 5.


It is up to the manufacturers and designers of musical instrument products that contain potential RF emitting digital circuits to follow the FCC’s rules and regulations just like it is up to the driver of a car to obey the speed limit. The FCC’s job is to enforce their rules.

We do not know all of the inner workings of how the FCC chooses to check a company for full compliance across their product line. If your company is chosen, you will most likely be asked, via a letter, to submit proof that your product line complies with the FCC’s rules and regulations. If you have been adhering closely to their rules then you have nothing to worry about. Simply submit the documentation the FCC asks for and it should satisfy their inquiry. For typical cases, the documentation will include official test reports showing the digital devices comply with both radiated and conducted emissions, the user manuals which include the FCC statement(s) and proof that the products are labeled appropriately.

If the FCC finds that products you manufacture or import are in some way in violation of their rules they will usually come up with a fine based on the number of products that are in violation and the number of violations per product. Of course each situation is different and this guide cannot do more than warn you that the FCC does enforce their rules and will fine you if it finds violations. It is up to your company to ensure that your products are fully compliant.


From the start of your digital musical instrument’s design cycle to its launch on your website and of course throughout its lifetime as a manufactured product it is of the utmost importance to follow and adhere to the FCC’s Equipment Marketing Rules. If your company adopts the FCC rules early on and makes them part of the normal operating procedure, they become second nature, essentially part of your design DNA. It might be a good idea to assign a compliance officer whose job it is to make sure the products pass FCC emissions testing, the products are labeled correctly, the user manual includes the appropriate statement(s) and last but not least the importation declaration is properly filed. For further reading and research, a good place to start is the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) website found at the following URL: http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/ea/Welcome.html.

May 2 2014

Pedal Line Friday – 5/2 – Jonathan Oh

Today’s pedal line is from Jonathan Oh. If you have a pedal line (doesn’t have to be in a board) for your rig, please email me a photo, bio, description of pedals and routing to pedallineateffectsbaydotcom. Every Friday I’ll showcase a pedal line submission. Make sure you include any links to your band or music page.

Pedal Line Friday - 5/2 - Jonathan OhHey There!

This is my pedal board! It’s a Pedaltrain PT2. All effects are powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power Plus 2.

The effects chain goes like this – Boss Chromatic Tuner TU-3 > Zvex Fuzz Factory Vexter Series > Goosesoniqueworx Blitzkrieg Buffered Boost > Barber Direct Drive w/ PCB Mod > Barber Compact Direct Drive > Barber Gain Changer > Bigfoot FX Magnavibe > Strymon Timeline > Electro-Harmonix Small Stone Nano > TC Electronic Hall Of Fame.

As you can see I like Barber pedals. They are well made and sound more organic than any other drive pedals I’ve ever had (includes the OCD, Tubescreamer, Signa Drive, etc.).
Both the Direct Drives are made to sound like Marshalls and my goodness they nail it. The Gain Changer does the American sound and it’s so so good.
Both the GC and DD are the most versatile pedals you can get too without any lack in quality. Both can do their respective clean tones and driven tones in the flick of a switch.

I normally keep my amp clean and maybe just on the verge of breakup.
I like to rely on pedals to provide the drive especially when I have to play on rigs that are not mine.

I think the pedal that needs a good mention is the Magnavibe.
I’ve always dreamt of owning a Magnatone but never had the chance or money. So I asked myself what did I like about them? And of course, it was the vibrato.
Did a little research and found this dream pedal on eBay. It’s an incredible pedal. Even with the vibe turned down low, it adds a certain divine fullness to your tone.

The other pedal I’d like to mention is the Blitzkrieg Boost. It’s a fat sounding boost that retains clarity while adding body.
I use it to tame the highs from my Fuzz and to drive the amp over the top.
It’s locally built in Singapore where I come from and I always love showing support for the local industry.

I run these pedals from a 89′ Strat Plus Deluxe and into a Ceriatone DZ-30 with a WGS Veteran 30 and Reaper HP.
I play mainly indie and alt rock with blues, psychedelic rock and shoegaze/nugaze on the side.
Check my band out, we don’t have stuff on yet but we will in a couple of months.


Thanks effectsbay! I hope you can choose my board for the Pedal Line Friday!

Jonathan Oh

Apr 29 2014

Electro-Harmonix Epitome Give Away Winner

The Electro-Harmonix Epitome Give Away was one of the biggest give aways we’ve had here at EffectsBay. I love it when there is a lot of buzz and action, and again, thank YOU Electro-Harmonix for giving us the opportunity to try a pedal, and then give it away to a lucky reader. Please take a moment and check out EHX.com. They are a great company making great pedals.

For every give away, I ask the winner to send me a photo of themselves with their winnings. Some send them, and when they do, I love to post them. This last give away, there was some bonus prizes – Rattlesnake Cable and Pedal Label Pack, so this was quite a haul for the winner – Mitch K. By the way, this might win for best ‘winner’ photo.

Electro-Harmonix Epitome Give Away Winner

Mitch.. glad everything arrived safely. Let us know how everything is working out for you!