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Trailer Trash Pedalboards 28"x16" Pro Series

February 8, 2012
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Under the hood, things are extraordinarily tidy. Note that the power supplies and EP Booster pedal are
mounted to the underside of the board, and that the cabling is bundled and secured with screws every few
inches for maximum stability under duress.
According to Trailer Trash Pedalboards’ James “Rooster” Olson, his company offers three general product levels: stock Pro Series boards in soft cases (also available through retailers), Pro Series and Glow-Top boards in soft or hard cases (including A.T.A.) prepped for the customer to complete and wire themselves, and those same boards fully completed and hand-wired by Trailer Trash. Olson works directly with customers when building boards in the second and third categories, which may be customized in numerous ways, such as adding effects loop switching systems, courtesy AC outlets, MIDI I/O, and variations on the illuminated Glow Tops. The boards are available in five sizes (24"x12", 28"x16", 30"x18", 36"x18", and 40"x18") and a variety of colors.

Originally, Olson was just going to prep a board and I was going to mount and wire all of my pedals, but ultimately he offered to wire the board himself to showcase the quality of his workmanship—and who was I to argue? My basic requirements were to have a 28"x16" board in an A.T.A. case with a total weight less than the airline cutoff of 50 lbs in order to avoid baggage upcharges when flying. I also wanted to have a loop-switching system that allowed me to put four pedals into bypass loops, with a Master switch to engage any combination of those pedals by pressing a single footswitch.

At first, Olson was skeptical about getting all of my pedals and a loop-switcher onto a 28"x16" board, particularly if I wanted to use soldered plugs, which was my preference. “One of the biggest challenges when building soldered-plug, true-bypass-loop boards is making everything fit,” explains Olson. “Most of the loop-switcher companies mount their jacks so close together that it forces the builder to use straight plugs, which means using approximately 3" of space as opposed to 5/8" for angled plugs. Up to this point we had been forced to use solderless angled plugs to build our loop-switching boards, but thanks to T1M (this1smyne. com) we were able to have a switcher built that accommodated solderable angled plugs, and that also allowed us to use Evidence Monorail cable, which sounds fantastic.” T1M also supplied a small 3-button Eventide Aux Switcher ($40 direct) for use with my DelayFactor pedal, and a Mini Tap- Tempo footswitch ($25 direct) for use with my Moogerfooger MIDI MuRF—and those smaller components were crucial to fitting everything into a 28"x16" space.

The final layout of the pedalboard generally followed my original design, though Olson recommended a few important changes. “Laying out the board so the pedals that need to be stepped on are situated at the base of the board is essential,” says Olson. “Since most of the pedals are in the loop-switcher on this board, we were able to get the looped boxes out of the way, leaving room for all of the switches and the volume and expression pedals up front.”

The next issue was signal flow. Directly after the Neutrik locking input connector the signal is routed through an Xotic Effects EP Booster (always on, at minimal boost setting) to an Ernie Ball volume pedal (with a Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner connected to the pedal’s Tuner output). Next in line is the T1M loop-switcher, with four pedals in true-bypass loops (a Euthymia ICBM Fuzz, a Crowther Prunes & Custard Harmonic-Intermodulator, an Electro- Harmonix Micro POG, and a WMD Geiger Counter) and a Master Bypass switch. The output signal from the switcher goes to the Moogerfooger MIDI MuRF and then to the Eventide DelayFactor, and the TimeFactor’s stereo signal goes to two Neutrik locking output connectors. A modified Roland EV-5 Expression pedal was also connected to the TimeFactor.

I connect my pedalboard to the stereo inputs of a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx Ultra, and I wanted to be able to transmit MIDI messages from the Axe-Fx to the MuRF and the TimeFactor, so Olson recommended installing a master MIDI input on the output side of the board to keep things tidy. The Time- Factor’s MIDI I/O connectors are on the side of the pedal, so to conserve critical space he used two angled MIDI plugs and then daisy chained the MIDI signal to the MuRF

The final consideration was powering the pedals and the loop-switcher. Olson recommended using Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus ($169 street) and ISO-5 ($109 street) power supplies, the latter primarily to meet the requirements of the Eventide pedal. He also installed a courtesy A.C. power outlet on the input side of the board—a nice touch.

When the completed pedalboard arrived at the GP offices it made such an impression that another editor decided to order one of his own. The workmanship was superb—from the manner in which the pedals were attached to the Hard Top surface to the exquisite wiring throughout to the way in which the board fit securely into its A.T.A. flight case—and visually it was stunning. Plugging in, the loop-switcher was dead quiet and gain neutral, and I could not detect any signal degradation or noise, other than the nearly negligible amount of attenuation typical when running through several high-quality pedals. The aux footswitches were also quiet, and the MIDI connection fully functional. In every respect, I found—and continue to find—it inspiring to play through. For all those reasons, it receives an Editors’ Pick Award.

Contact Trailer Trash Pedalboards, (720) 320-6975; trailertrashpedalboards.com

Price Approximately $1,500 (prices vary depending on options)

Kudos Ruggedly constructed. Immaculate workmanship. Transparent sound.

Concerns None.

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