We were recently contacted by Toronto based DJ Sara Simms about putting together an effects pedalboard to be incorporated into her Traktor rig.

Sara has history as a jazz guitar player and loves classic sonic colours for guitar being applied to new means of creativity. 

Given the transport logistics for a DJ and set up & tear down time, we needed to design a broad palette in a small footprint that would integrate as seamlessly as possible with a DJ mixer.

We selected the "500" series pedals by Boss for the Stereo Connectivity, wide array of effects in the pedals and the MIDI functionality.


The MD500's Phaser & Filter effects are a natural fit with many house tracks, the Ring Modulator adds some fun colours to banging techno tracks and drum breaks.

The DD500's collection of classic Roland / Boss delays is a "big bang small package" value winner. The SDE3000 algorithms are everything you wanted from that machine with none of the "yea buts". The classic DM-2 & DD-5 algorithms have a home in a plethora of recorded music for good reason.

The RV500's Space Echo program was an instant fit for a variety of tracks during testing sessions. The Plate, Hall & Room algorithms added a nice dimension of separation for tracks when mixing two tracks together.


Next we chose the Disaster Area DMC3XL as the best MIDI controller available to cover the Scene Recall and Expression Control assignments with the smallest possible footprint and power supply concerns.


To add further control over the system we built up an "Expression Box", with one 10kΩ Linear potentiometer wired to the DMC3XL's expression pedal port. The "Expression Knob" can be assigned on a per preset basis to any parameter or multiple parameters as desired.

We also included 3x Momentary switches that are connected to the Control Jacks on each of the 3x Boss pedals. Again these switches are assigned on a per preset basis to control expression functions in the effects preset.


Power is a paramount concern for any rig and especially when the rig will be gigging internationally with no ability to carry a step down transformer. With this in mind we designed & built a custom power supply for all components in the system. The Power Supply accepts a primary voltage of 100 - 260 VAC with regulated & isolated secondaries of 9VDC @ 500mA.


DJ mixers and Guitar Effects are not natural partners on the impedance front, to compensate accordingly we built up Stereo Input & Output Buffers. The input buffer loads the Send of Mixer to allow for lower noise floor when sending signal into the effects chain. The Input buffer has an output impedance of 8kΩ, similar to a punchy but not obnoxious guitar pickup.

The output buffer loads the Effects Output to 1mΩ emulating the manner in which a guitar amp would interact with the pedals. The Output Buffer's output impedance is 150Ω, allowing the Mixer return to pull every bit of signal possible out of the board without any clipping artifacts.

Whatever your criteria maybe, Nice Rack Canada can engineer solutions to allow maximum creativity from your audio tools.

You can read an in depth blog explaining the application of the rig here http://bit.ly/NIBlog

Special thanks to Phil Kim & Kyle Kelly at ICON Motion for the great photos.