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Pedals in parallel, not series

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  • Pedals in parallel, not series

    I'm looking for a foot switch/stopboxs that I can hook up my pedals in parallel rather than series so I can blend the sounds rather than one modifying the signal of another. I could just do it using a bunch of splitters and a ton of 1/4 cables, but the signal would be very weak. So basicly i need something that amps the signal up for each jack and then has an input for each output so i can lower the signal back down to unity and put it all out through one wire into the amp.

    Does anyone know how I could build one/ where i could buy something like this? Jacks for four pedals would be ideal.

  • #2
    Pedal power

    The sky is the limit if you want to build something. I had been thinking
    of something like that too, and soon couldn't stop adding features. The FX send from your preamp could go to a buffer stage to fan out out to any number of effects. On the return side, a mixer circuit for any combination of
    stereo or mono outputs. The buffer and mixer circuits could be a single tube held in the same box as the footswitches used to select your effects, as well as simple options for A-B-Y. The circuits are all basic building blocks, and you can get as fancy as you want. Why don't you post you skill level, and maybe others can contribute some circuit ideas.
    Otherwise, get out you checkbook and get yourself a Carl Martin, or any of several commercial switching units.
    Black sheep, black sheep, you got some wool?
    Ya, I do man. My back is full.


    • #3
      ive built a few small IC based buffers for running several SS practice amps at once . worked real nice . got the parts from radioshack (easy to find parts) .

      but , when running things parallel , you gotta watch the phase of each output to ensure they dont endup out-o-phase with eachother cause youll endup with signal cancelations (just like with guitar pickups , but not as useful) .

      i know everyone likes tubes , but you could probably make something around a 1458 or 5532 IC (dual opamp) running on 9v . just like the tube version described by GibsonLover , use 1 amp as a buffer to feed your effects and the other as an mixer . then just adjust the output levels of the effects to keep em from overdriving the mixer . with another IC/tube , you could even throw in a balanced out (sky really is the limit) . IC circuits are usually quite simple and cheap to build . additionally , 9v is bit safer than 300v .

      you could make what you want for a tenth of the cost of a commercial unit .


      • #4
        You need two things: a distribution amp, and a mixer. A distribution amp is just a row of buffers that take a common input signal and individual drive outputs with the same signal. A few op amps and you have one. There are commercial DAs for use in broadcast and other areas, but they are pricey. I don't know af any cheap ones, though they may be out there.

        And a mixer is a mixer, something basic should do. feed all those pedals to it, then mix them together as desored, sending the mix to the guitar amp.
        Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


        • #5
          Go to Jack Orman's AMZ site ( ) and you'll find plenty of circuits to do exactly what you describe. You can also try here:

          The preponderance of pedals these days maintain phase coherence between input and output so having a phase inverter is not absolutely critical, but it is nifty for experimentation purposes.

          In some respects, this is best thought of as simply a pedal with one in, one out, and two send/receive loops. Anything having to do with which things go in to the left and right return paths for blending should be done in a separate device.

          If I might make one suggestion, it is useful to have a momentary footswitch (and you can buy momentary stompswitches that do not latch) in your mixer that can disable one signal or even be wired to flip between the two return signals. Personally, I like having an "input kill" function when working with delay pedals. This way you can cut off any further input to the delay pedal/unit and work with the recirculating signal without adding anything new to the delay path. This exists on some delay pedals as a "trails" function, but it's nice to be able to add to any delay pedal, new or vintage.


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