Pedals + Effects

Effects and Pedals

Effects units are available in a variety of form factors. Stompboxes are usually the smallest, least expensive, and most rugged. Rackmount devices are generally more expensive and offer a wider range of functions. An effects unit can consist of analog or digital circuitry or a combination of the two. During a live performance, the effect is plugged into the electrical "signal" path of the instrument. In the studio, the instrument or other sound-source's auxiliary output is patched into the effect. Form factors are part of a studio or musician's outboard gear

An Effects unit (effect box,stomp box, stompbox, pedal) is an electronic device that alters how a musical instrument or other audio source sounds. Some effects subtly "color" a sound, while others transform it dramatically. Musicians use effects units during live performances or in the studio, typically with electric guitar, keyboard, or bass. While most frequently used with electric or electronic instruments, effects can also be used with acoustic instruments, drums and vocals. Examples of common effects units include wah-wah pedals, fuzzboxes and reverb units.

Effects are housed in amplifiers, table top units, "stompboxes" and "rackmounts", or they are built into the instruments themselves. A stompbox (or "pedal"—particularly if it features an actual pedal, as in a wha wha pedal) is a small metal or plastic box placed on the floor in front of the musician and connected to the instrument. Typically, one or more on-off foot switches control a device that provides only one or two effects. A rackmount device mounts on a standard 19-inch equipment rack and usually contains several types of effects.

While there is currently no firm consensus on how to categorize effects, the following are seven common classifications: distortion, dynamics, filter, modulation, pitch/frequency, time-based and feedback/sustain. Guitarists derive their signature sound or "tone" from their choice of instrument, pickups, effects units, and guitar amp