PCBs in the Music Industry

PCBs in the Music Industry

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are surfaces used for mounting electronic system parts. Seen as the building blocks of electronic devices, they consist of insulating layers and can feature single or multilayer surfaces. PCBs help keep electric components organized and provide reliable electrical components between terminals. Each layer features a pattern of conductors that creates electrical connections.

PCBs are essential in a wide range of products and industries, from medicine to transportation. Many professionals in the music industry use PCBs regularly. From circuit boards to amplifiers, PCBs allow many musical electronics to function.

Read on for more information about PCBs in the music industry.

PCBs in the Music Industry

Electronic Components and Music Hardware

PCBs are foundational features for many electronic components in music. The boards hold electrical components in place and let electrical currents flow, powering musical hardware for musicians. 

Many PCBs use fiberglass or similar materials to hold electric currents. Copper lines let charges move around the layer in the designed pattern. PCBs vary in shape and size to best fit the application at hand.

Musicians and other professionals in the music industry use PCBs in many pieces of music hardware. Here are some examples:

  • Amps and speakers: As musicians perform, they use equipment like speakers and amplifiers to project music to the audience. Speakers are available in a wide variety of capabilities and sizes, depending on the musician’s needs. Similarly, amplifiers can be found in many different styles for various instruments, such as a guitar amplifier or a keyboard amplifier. Both amplifiers and speakers use printed circuit boards to function.
  • Guitars: Electric guitars are a popular feature in many music styles. These instruments use PCBs to power on and function properly when in use. 
  • Foot pedals: Foot pedals let musicians alter the sounds of instruments with audio signal processing. While mechanical foot pedals exist, you can also find electronic foot pedals that use PCBs. PCBs let pedals emit a precise sound without the use of mechanical tools.
  • Synthesizers: Synths are electric instruments that use digital or analog processing to create sound. Many musicians and music professionals use synths to produce and create music. These tools also feature PCBs.

Hand-Wired vs. PCB Amps

Amplifiers are crucial tools within the music industry. They’re available in electronic formats with PCBs and in hand-wired forms. Hand-wired amps are also known as point-to-point (PTP) amps. Many musicians have different preferences between them. 

To understand the differences between the two options, it’s best to learn how they individually function.

Here are overviews of both amplifier types:

  • PCB amps: As explained above, these amp types use printed circuit boards to work. The amp board is printed with copper and leaves etched tracks for currents to connect with. The construction process is often automated, meaning manufacturers can make more PCB amps in less time.
  • Hand-wired amps: In a hand-wired amp, you manually connect each component from one point to the next. You directly wire parts like capacitors and resistors into the tubes. These amp types take skill to complete and often take longer than PCB amps. Some musicians prefer the sound quality of hand-wired amps over PCB amps.

Pros and Cons of Both Types

If you are deciding between PCB vs. point-to-point, consider your preferences. For example, a guitar amp PCB layout might suit you better than a hand-wired one. It’s also helpful to think about the pros and cons of both amp types. Each option has characteristics you might prefer or dislike.

PCB amps feature advantages like:

  • Cost-efficiency: Once the desired PCB layout is designed, the construction process can be automated. The automated building can cost less than the individual wiring process.
  • Quicker construction: The construction process of guitar amp PCB boards is also often quicker. Because manufacturers use the same process and pattern each time, every PCB amp is consistent.
  • Strong sound quality: PCB amps have excellent sound quality, too — especially when you work with a PCB assembly company specializing in small batch production, like EMSG.

Once you put a PCB together, it’s challenging to take it apart and rework it. If an electrical component fails, it’s harder to directly address the issue because of the construction process.

On the other hand, hand-wired amps have pros like:

  • Durability: PTP amps are known for their durability and sturdiness after construction.
  • Easier maintenance: It’s fairly easy to service a hand-wired amp. You can desolder pieces and adjust them as needed.
  • Excellent sound quality: Like PCB amps, hand-wired amps have great sound quality for musicians.

Building a hand-wired amp takes high skill levels and longer amounts of time than PCBs. If you need your amp quickly, a PCB might suit you better. The long labor hours and need for skilled technicians also make the point-to-point process more costly.

Both PCB and PTP amps have benefits and disadvantages. When choosing between the two, musicians often go with their personal preferences for feel or sound. You might also choose the best option for your budget or want to match new equipment to your existing inventory. Whichever you choose, know that both are excellent options for sound projection and can fit a variety of uses throughout the music industry.

PCBs in the Music Industry

EMSG Has Experience With Music Industry PCBs — Find Out More!

Printed circuit boards are an integral component of the music industry. From servicing various electronic instruments to acting as a building block for tools like amplifiers, PCBs help the music industry function.

If you’re seeking a PCB, consider Electronic Manufacturing Services Group, Inc. Our high-quality PCB boards serve a wide range of industries, from the medical industry to telecommunications to colleges and universities. We set apart from competitors by focusing on customer satisfaction and superior value.

As a full-service printed circuit board assembly company, we offer these PCB setup options:

  • Surface mount technology: In this assembly process, all the different components attach directly to the circuit board. It’s an excellent option for those needing high-volume orders with consistent quality. This process also uses a smaller environmental footprint than many other choices. 
  • Thru-hole assembly services: This option is older than surface mount technology but has many benefits. We drill holes into a circuit board, then attach the leads. By using drilled holes, it creates stronger bonds between the circuit board and its components. The resulting products are highly durable and resist strong impacts. Thru-hole assembly services are also well-suited for many industries because of their extra security and reliability. 

If you’re interested in Electronic Manufacturing Services Group’s PCB services, contact us today. One of our knowledgeable representatives will get in touch with you and start working on your tailored project!