[interview] Trinity Amplification: Charley Geiler

Here's FXDB's interview with Charley Geiler of Trinity Amplification:

How did Trinity Amplification start?

I have been fascinated by electronics ever since I was old enough to push the buttons on my Speak & Spell. I learned to play guitar in my teens, and combined these two hobbies into one.

Trinity Amplification Inc was born when I showed fellow musician and audio engineer Ian Baird an analog chorus circuit I had been working on. He was very impressed with the sound quality and suggested that we find a way to market and produce it. This chorus pedal became the Blue Angel and is the driving product behind Trinity Amplification Inc.

While there were many influences along the way, the ones most instrumental to Trinity's development were:

  • Ian Baird of Arjuna Soundroom
  • Jim Wells of Mystery Music
  • Mark Heinz of Mark Heinz Productions
  • Dan O'Saben of Marketing28
  • Ryan Malaschak of Adrenaline Prints

Where do the name and logo come from?

The name "Trinity Amplification Inc" stemmed from an observation about the number 3. It's not meant to convey any particular religious belief. The number 3 is found in many places in culture and in writings as a symbol of strength and unity. We wanted to associate those characteristics with the company.

We wanted a logo that was easily identifiable without being tied to any current style or fad. We wanted something that would look fresh both today and in the future.

What sets Trinity Amplification apart from other builders?

Trinity Amplification Inc exists in order to provide musicians and studio engineers with top notch, boutique-level equipment competitively priced to fit today's market. We realize that digital signal processing technology has certain benefits, but we believe that for the purposes of clarity, transparency, and purity, analog effects are still the only way to go.

We believe that our business approach is unique among the myriad of other companies in the field. We are different from the large corporations because we are unwilling to cut costs on the components and design features that make our products outstanding. We are different from the "one at a time" boutique companies because we can offer you their level of performance and quality while maintaining the invaluable benefit of a complete business framework to back you up.

We do as much in-house work as possible. This means that we are able to quickly adapt to both supplier shortages and customer demands. It also means that we can keep a very close eye on all stages of the manufacturing process. We are constantly reviewing and improving our methods in order to minimize time and waste without reducing the quality of the finished product.

How do you start on a new pedal?

The design process starts with some source of inspiration. It may come from listening to a record and hearing a sound that I want to reproduce. Or it may come from a suggestion, "can you make it do X, Y, Z?". Some of the best discoveries happen when I set out to make a certain effect, but end up with some thing completely different!

Even though the Blue Angel is the only product officially offered by Trinity Amplification Inc, there are many more wanting to be built. Our intent is that the success of the Blue Angel will provide the means to launch the rest of our line.

How do you name your pedals?

The Blue Angel was named when I worked for Jim Wells of Mystery Music. I was working on the circuit during some down time and his wife Amy Wells heard it. She said that it sounded so heavenly, you should call it the Blue Angel!

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We build and test every pedal in-house. Since the demand for our products tends to vary, we do not employ any full time builders.

The raw PCB is a high quality double sided board. It was designed in-house and is produced by a 3rd party. Each component is hand soldered on to the board. The final assembly and testing is also done by hand.

The enclosures are die-cast aluminum manufactured by a 3rd party. We drill the mounting holes and have them spray painted and silkscreened.

How important is the look of your pedals?

The look of the pedal is very important, we want the pedal to have a "wow" factor when the customer pulls it out of its box. This philosophy is carried over even in the design of the packaging. Each Blue Angel is carefully packed in a form fitting cardboard box and comes with a fitted blue velveteen bag. It makes me smile when a customer opens the box for the first time and I see their face light up!

Is parts selection important?

During the design process, considerable attention is paid to component choice. I believe that there is a delicate balance between quality and cost, and strive to use the best part for the job at the least cost possible. I do not however, believe in component "Mojo". I won't use a part just because it is "supposed" to be superior. I trust my ears to tell me what sounds right.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

While the Blue Angel chorus pedal is aimed primarily at electric guitar, it can be used for any audio purpose. It has even found its way onto albums as a piece of post-recording studio gear.

The Blue Angel chorus has found its way into the hands of:

  • Capt. Kirk - The Roots
  • Ritzy Bryan - The Joy Formidable
  • Todd Jones - The Well Hungarians
  • Jeff Faulkner - Vote For Pedro/Soul Kiss

and has been used on the albums:

  • Joe Alford's "The Blues And Pretty Girls"
  • Jeff Chapman's "Big Jeff's Blues Vol. 2"
  • Jim Miller's "A Tear And A Smile"

What does the future of Trinity Amplification look like?

Currently, Trinity Amplification Inc offers the Blue Angel chorus pedal for sale. We are also in a continuous state of development and planning for the future. Right now we have four more pedals in development and expect to see them completed in the summer of 2012.

Right now our focus is on producing guitar oriented effects pedals, but we plan on branching out to other fields in the future. We are interested in nearly everything audio related; from guitar amps to studio rack gear, to analog synth modules.

Are you working on any new products?

Trinity is always working on new ideas and products. In recent months we have received feedback saying that we should build something smaller and more accessible. In response to these requests, we are currently working on a line of simple single-knob effects.

Right now there are plans for a tremolo, a clean boost, a fuzz, a compressor and a distortion. But as these are only in the planning and design stages, there are no definite release dates.

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