How to Set Up a Talk Box
June 8, 2012; Dane Bryant Frazier
I want to talk a bit about how to setup a talk box.
To start, you will need the following:
1. A standard guitar cable
2. A microphone (an optional microphone stand will also be useful)
3. Duct tape or a Velcro strip
4. A PA system or amplifier
It may sound a bit difficult, but it is actually really easy. In this demonstration I will be using the Rocktron Banshee Guitar Talk Box.
Hooking up to a PA system
Turn your talk box on. Plug the guitar cable from your guitar into the talk box input. You will probably need to adjust the gain, tone, and volume to your needs. Usually the gain is very low, but just enough to be able to hear it well. The tone is set about mid way. The volume is to its max. You need to secure your talk box tube around the microphone with a Velcro strip or tape. It needs to be comfortable for you to use while remaining stable and secured to the microphone. After the microphone and tube is all set, you need to have your PA system running. Make sure that you take your microphone cable and hook it up to your mixer. After it is hooked up, turn the volume of your microphone up so that it can pick up the talk box. Once it is picked up, it will come out of the speakers and will sound great!
Connecting to an amp
This process is almost exactly the same as the one before; however, you will need a microphone with a standard ¼" guitar cable. (In other words, unless the amp has a XLR input, you will need to use the standard cable. You can also find a converter to convert XLR to the standard ¼" cable.) Once you’ve got that, you will plug the cable from the microphone into the guitar amp’s input, where you normally plug your guitar cable in. Now, you need to make sure that your amp is on a clean channel. If it isn’t, it’s going to sound rather dirty and unclear. You will probably want to change the mids, high, bass, etc., accordingly to get as clean a sound as possible. After you’ve got all of that set up, all you need to do is turn up your amp’s volume and it should sound great.
Hooking your talk box to your amp in bypass mode
When you bypass your talk box, you will want it to go to your amp or pedal.
To do this, you need to hook another cable from your talk box “To Amp” output, and hook that to your pedal/amp input. You will also need to make sure that your pedal and/or your amp is hooked up correctly as well. It can be a bit tricky setting all of that up, but with practice, it gets easier.
In three steps, here is how the talk box works:
1. Sound from the talk box comes out of the tube
2. The sound from the tube goes to the microphone
3. The microphone goes to the speakers
It sounds much easier that way, right?
Thanks for reading. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
Dane Bryant Frazier is a 16-year-old self-taught multi-instrumentalist. He’s been writing his own music and film scores, as well as directing short films since 2008.
You can hear a sample of Dane’s music at:
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