Pedal Jacks – Side Mounted vs Top Mounted

Pedal Jacks – Side Mounted vs Top Mounted

There seems to be an increasing trend by manufacturers towards top mounted pedal jacks over side mounted jacks. And that got me wondering… which is better?

Pedal board real estate seems the most obvious pro for top mounted jacks. Being able to sit pedals in large enclosures side by side does save room without sacrificing usability.

However, unless you’re using a switch strip, standard sized pedals generally need to be a shoes width apart and side mounted jacks provide a decent buffer of space between them to avoid mis-stomping.

Standard enclosures also tend to force top mounted jacks and the power input into very close quarters, which means not all patch and power cables will fit.

Wampler Cranked OD with top mounted pedal jacks
Wampler Cranked OD with top mounted pedal jacks

For example, my pedal board is a Pedaltrain 2 (old photo above) which can hold 12 standard size pedals. I’m powering it with 2 Pedaltrain Volto’s to give me 12 (right-angled) power cables. Plus a bunch of Hosa low profile (pancake) right angle patch cables as well. With the pedal board rails it’s not really an issue where the power input of the pedal is, and the finished setup looks quite clean.

As shown, the Wampler Cranked OD with top mounted jacks doesn’t work on my board unless I switch patch cables. The Hosa patch cable jacks are too large in diameter which prevents the power adapter being plugged in at the same time. Now I love the Wampler Cranked OD, but it’s the only pedal I own with top mounted jacks – I nearly skipped buying it because of the jack placement, but since it was a limited run I didn’t want to miss out. In reality, however, the Cranked OD rarely makes an appearance on my board because I have to find different cables for it. I know I could use different cables, but I switch out pedals quite often which is why the Hosa cables are so handy as they’re slimline enough to make this an easy task.

When it comes down to it, jack placement is absolutely a factor when I’m looking at pedals. Personally, I prefer side mounted jacks with the power input on the top – probably one of the reasons why I have to many TC Electronic pedals.

Which configuration do you prefer?

Comment (1)

  • DR Reply

    It is so funny how musicians are so stubborn when they have to actually make a small change
    Top mounted everything is the only way to go!
    If these guys who claim to be such custom pedal builders were smart, they would make both if they really cared about the customer. but they want to buy in bulk and save a few lousy dollars. than charge $200.00
    The biggest joke of course is the 9 v adapter on the side of the pedal
    Good thing guys like Leo Fender and Jim Marshall were true innovators and not followers!

    December 14, 2017 at 2:11 am

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