World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Outboard gear

Article Id: WHEBN0025057906
Reproduction Date:

Title: Outboard gear  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Effects unit, Equalization (audio), Music technology, Bitcrusher, Phasing (music)
Collection: Audio Effects, Digital Signal Processing, Effects Units, Sound Production Technology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Outboard gear

Musical "outboard equipment" or "gear" is used to alter how a musical instrument sounds. Outboard, (external effects units) can be used either during a live performance or in the recording studio. These are separate from the effects that may be applied by using a mixing console or a digital audio workstation. Some outboard effects units and digital signal processing (DSP) boxes commonly found in a studio are:


  • Devices 1
  • Vocal effects 2
  • Digital units 3
  • Etymology 4
  • References 5


The term "outboard" was originally used to describe a piece of audio equipment that existed outside of a studio or venue's primary analog mixing board. Today, analog effects are also considered "outboard" when used in conjunction with console-free computer-based digital recording systems.[3]

Famous examples include UREI's analog dynamic range compressors, such as the LA-2A and 1176, early multi-effects units like those made by Eventide, and physical or digital reverb processors invented by EMT and Lexicon.

Vocal effects

Some units either introduce a reverberation (echo) effect, or some kind of pitch transformation or "colouration" of the singers voice. Digital units have been designed that can compress or expand the duration of sound, these alter the speed of length of the original sound.

Digital units

The invention of the midi interfaced electronic keyboard has seen a leap forward in the way that the sound of musical instruments is produced on stage or in the recording studio. The modern keyboard produces digital signals when the keys are depressed, these signals are processed by external effects units to reproduce original digitally sampled instrument sounds, such as a classical piano or string and wind instrument. This allows the user of such a device to reproduce the sound of virtually any instrument.[4]


The term outboard can be considered "out of board" or "not inside the board". When recording engineers / live sound technicians needed an external processor that was not a part of their mixing surface they would go "Outboard".


  1. ^ "Digital Products". Musikhaus Thomann 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "The classics". Musikhaus Thomann 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Hybrid Recording with Outboard Gear". Sound on Sound. 
  4. ^ "The Art of Electronic Music". Tweakheads Lab 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.