Schmidt Array SA350XDM pedalboard review: can this precision-engineered board revolutionise your setup?
Designed and built by British exile Martyn Smith and his team in Halle, Germany, Schmidt Array pedalboards have appeared under the feet of the likes of Josh Smith, Ariel Posen and Joey Landreth. So what’s behind all the buzz?
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Schmidt Array’s boards are a step up in engineering, design and functionality from the standard flat jobs many of us have been using for years. For starters, the ergonomically designed hinge-lifting top deck gives it a two-tier setup, providing a TARDIS-esque amount of real estate for pedals that belies its compact exterior dimensions.
Add in USB-rechargeable lights, a three-pin mains power socket and intelligent in/out connector boxes allowing for complex effects loop and multi-amp setups, and you can see the appeal.
Optional extras such as matching lock-down lids, gigbags and even different deck configurations – enabling future revisions of your board – complete what is very much a tour-ready package, which exudes a vibe of luxury and precision engineering.
The boards themselves are manufactured using sustainably sourced birch ply and are available in a range of sizes, from compact offerings like this one to enormous mega-boards, along with a comprehensive range of custom finishes, patching choices and deck options such as cut-outs for wah/volume pedals or specific switching units. It’s all outlined on the company’s clear and comprehensive website.
Our 350XDM is finished in a smart-looking black, with a matching aluminium lid that effectively turns the whole pedalboard into its own self-contained flight case, clipping onto the board with some of the most secure locking spring latches we’ve ever seen. A matching rugged gigbag is an optional extra, and features an ample-sized front pocket perfect for guitar cables, setlists, capos and the drummer’s bail money.
This board is 38cm wide and almost half a metre deep (it’s part of what Schmidt Array calls the Xtra Deep Man series), to allow adequate space for two rows of standard pedals behind a switcher, in this case our GigRig G3 Atom.
Flipping up the hinged top deck reveals a similar-sized bottom deck for more pedals and our power supplies, all of which can be hidden out of sight to maintain a meticulously clean and tidy stage setup. Both decks are fitted with Velcro.
In practice this enabled us to easily fit 12 standard-sized pedals, a power supply, all cables and that GigRig switcher on a board not much bigger than a briefcase – more than halving the size of our regular setup. That’s a real benefit both with packing the van and with making space on stage.
This thing is clearly targeted at touring pro players, with a feature spec and price tag to match – and investing in a Schmidt Array pedalboard for your setup is unlikely to be a casual decision. But we’re hugely impressed by the ingenious design and meticulous construction – if it fits your needs as a player, the investment is more than justified.
OPTIONS Lid €229, gigbag €129, custom colours extra
DIMENSIONS 380 x 480 x 145 mm (upper deck 346 x 291mm)
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