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In case you didn’t know, I host a podcast, along with David Picciuto and Jimmy DiResta,  called Making It. We usually record for an hour or so at a time, and during that time, I almost always have to clear my throat, cough, or otherwise mute my mic (like when my kids stomp around upstairs). Up until now, I would have to move my mouse over the software mute button, hope I got there in time and click it. Since I’ve always had lots of guitar pedals, it made sense for me to make a simple mute pedal for my microphone that lives under my desk. I can easily stomp it to mute the mic, then release it to unmute. It turns out, everything about the project is extremely simple, so I decided to complicate it just a little bit (I do that) by putting it in a box made from wood and metal.
I used scrap aluminum and wood that I had around to make a simple pedal and it works like a charm! Check out how I did it below.

Note, this particular wiring setup is specifically for a phantom powered microphone. A non phantom powered microphone just has a different wiring setup, although it’s equally as simple.  These options are both very different from creating a hardware mute switch for a USB microphone.

Here’s what I used:

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I started with some scraps of aluminum and hardwood.


I cut down two strips of wood about  2″ wide.


Using my finger on the side as a guide, I drew a line approximately down the middle of each piece.


I used that line to cut the pieces in half using a band saw. You could also do this on the table saw with a fence.


Then I squared up the ends of all four pieces on the miter saw.


On my crosscut sled, I set up a stop block and two longer pieces for the front and back panels.


I cut two shorter pieces for the ends.


I used an Incra box joint jig to cut box/finger joints, but you could also make a jig on your own.


I cut all of the pieces making sure that the fingers on the end pieces fit into the fingers on the front/back pieces.


I’d done sever test cuts to get the joint tight, so once glued, I didn’t even need to clamp it up. It was a good tight fit.


I used a disc sander to remove the tips of the fingers and smooth up all of the faces.


I drew an angle on one end of the box with a straight edge. This wasn’t any particular angle, just one that looked “right”.


Most band saw tables can be adjusted to different angles. I adjusted mine until the drawn line was parallel with the blade.


Then I used the fence to line up my drawn line with the blade.


I just cut the box, along that line giving one face an angled opening.


I traced the outside of each opening onto some 1/8″ aluminum.


I cut these two pieces out, slightly oversized so I could sand them flush after assembly.


I lined up the pieces and traced the inside of each opening so I had a safe area for drilling.


In that area, I punched each corner as a start for drilling holes.


I drilled small holes in each corner of both pieces.


Then I countersunk each hole so the screw heads would end up flush with the surface.


With the pieces lined up, I marked each hole, in the wood, with my ice pick.


I predrilled the holes to avoid splitting the wood when adding screws.


Then I screwed on the plates with #6 screws.


On the belt sander, I first sanded the faces to get the aluminum flush with the wood.


Then I rounded over the corners by rolling the box as the edges were being sanded.


I found the center of the top panel and punched a spot there.


This punch gave me a start to drill a 1/2″ hole for my stomp switch.


I fit traced the outline of the XLR plugs on the back of the box.


From the outlines, I found the center of each plug and marked it for drilling.


I drilled a hole for each plug (which require different size holes, FYI).


I fit the plugs in place and marked the screw holes, then predrilled them for later.


The XLR plugs have 3 terminals each, so I soldered on a wire to each.


I fed the wires through the holes and fit the plugs in place.


First, I soldered both terminals labeled “1” together (red wire).


Then I solders both terminals labeled “2” (green) together, and did the same for terminals “3” (black). At this point, the device is just a pass through.


I fixed the plugs in place by screwing them in.


Then I solder on a switch, with one terminal to the black wires, and a second terminal to the green wires. When the button is pushed, the green wires connect the black ones and short the circuit, stopping the audio signal.


The last things were to screw on the nut for the switch and screw the front plate to the box.


I tested right away and the audio signal is completely dropped when the button is depressed, without any type of click or pop.