- At least 3 6.3mm cables, around 30$
- 1 Xenyx Q802USB Mixer around 80$
- 1 Boss Tera Echo, around 150$
- 1 One Spot Power Supply, around 30$
- 1 Boss FV-500L Foot Volume, around 100$
- Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone, around 100$
- 1 Shure SM57 or SM 58 for vocals and feedback, around 100$
- 1 contact mic, around 5$
- 1 bent piece of metal, around 20$
About 500$ with the ability to add the optional components later.
I put an expensive headphone and vocal microphone in the list because I really think good sound quality is the key in finding pleasure using this build. But if you don't think so, feel free to get cheaper ones as long as the headphone is loud enough to create feedback with a relatively close microphone. Alternatively, you could use a guitar amp, but it isn't very neighbour-friendly, and to have a similar sound quality you'd have to pay much more. But it's totally fine if you already have one.
Put the Volume knobs and Aux Knobs (the red ones) on your mixer to -∞, plug one end of one of your cable to the aux output of your mixer, and the other end into the first input of your Volume Pedal. Plug one end of your second cable in the first output of your Volume Pedal and the other end into the input of the Tera Echo. On the pedal, put the FX lvl and Tone knobs on max, and the Feedback and Time Knobs to minimum. Put one end of your last cable into the output of the Boss pedal and the other to the 4th channel input of your mixer (you could have stereo by using 2 cables instead of one, it change the sound but not by much, it just triggers the ping-pong effect of the Tera Echo). It is what engineer call a feedback loop. But it is not yet activated (it doesn't produce sound).
Thus far: Aux Output of the mixer > Volume pedal > Tera Echo > 4th channel of the mixer
Now plug in the Headphone in the "Phones" input of your mixer (or a cable from the first "control room output" into your amp and put it on). Make sure the volume knob of your FV-500L is put to minimum to obtain silence when the pedal is down. Now press the pedal so we will hear a sound during the following steps. Now make the following change to the EQ knobs of the channel your Tera Echo was plugged in. Highs are maxed, Medium are maxed, Low Are at 12 o'clock position. Now put the volume knob of your 4th channel to +15db, so it's maxed, put the master volume (labeled "Main Mix") around 8-9 o'clock, put the Aux knob of your 4th channel at 0db (around 12 o'clock) and rise the "Phones Control Room" from minimum to 7 o'clock and you will hear the sound of the feedback loop fading in. Adjust the volume to your taste. But be careful of your ears. A little loud is fine as long as you just play from time to time. The more you play the quieter you must be. So if you intend to play every day, try to be slightly quieter than your taste dictates. You'll also be more objective about the quality of the noises you produce that way.
Now put one foot on the volume pedal, your left hand on the Aux knob of your 4th channel, and your right hand on the "time" knob of your Tera Echo: this is the position you'll be working with. Try to play only with your foot first, just to trigger the sound. Then turn the "time" knob your Tera Echo to the right as you end the sound to create a trail, and turn it back to minimum to end it. Then, oscillate the "aux" knob of your 4th channel between minimum value (silence) and maximum. Then, try to put the "aux" knob in the middle position and move the Low EQ knob of your fourth channel. You can oscillate between minimum value and about 2 o'clock where the sound start to transform in some kind of clicks. Finally. try to play everything together, using your left hand to either control the Low knob or the "aux" knob. Be patient at first and try to focus your attention on one element at a time and try every elements. The first thing you gotta learn is to control the volume pedal without thinking about it too hard, then focus on the Tera Echo, and only then try to mess around with your left hand. If you find it too hard, contact me at adrien.hirsbrunner -at- gmail.com, I can give you some advice or even skype lessons if you want (at least I can try).
Here is an example of what you can do with this set-up: https://moonchildswitzerland.bandcamp.com/releases
If you want to record, you can use the free program Audacity. Plug your USB cable in your PC, open Audacity, choose your mixer as the line in and your ready to record.
You can infuse the feedback loop by using direct lines, such as microphones. Just plug them in with the channel volume to minimum then put the volume and aux knobs to max, and adjust the "gain" knob to hear it in your sound. For vocal mics, just make sound with your mouth as you raise the volume pedal. Beatbox can help a lot, as it use a lot of noises. One useful tip, is to use to expirate the sound "hhhh" a little bit like the sound of a cat who wants to be left alone, or the sound "shhhh" or "khhhh" and the modulate it with different vowels
For contact mics, first tape it to your piece of metal and place it on the ground to play it with your remaining foot. I then recommand plugging in it into the second input of your volume pedal, then use another cable to connect the second output of your volume pedal to one of the first two channel of your mixer (the one with the "gain" knobs), and proceed normally with the gain. That way you will only hear the contact mic when you press your volume pedal and trigger the feedback loop. You can even add effects such as distortions or fuzz to your contact mic (put them before the volume pedal in your chain to obtain silence, or after if you like their hum). You still have one channel to do what you want (synth, drum machine, sampler, you name it). And note that if you have a vocal microphone plugged in, the "aux" knob of your 4th channel will no longer produce silence as it's down to -∞ but a classic microphone feedback sound that you can modulate by moving either the microphone or the amplifier (aka the Headphone, using your head). The same goes for contact mic except you cannot modulate the feedback.
If your a beginner I hope everything is clear and useful and don't forget there are many ways to play noise and this is just one way. If your already experienced forgive me being so tedious, this is mainly intended for neophytes, but please share this to newcomers around you who don't know where to start, or even try it for yourself if you're curious. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
May you find the ultimate joy of noise!