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  • Pedal Board Vs. Effects Rack

    I have not the slightest clue about effects racks except that a lot of great players use them.
    What are the pros and cons of each in comparison?
    I truly am unsure as to what makes them different.

    Also is there like a link out there to school people on rack-mounted effects ??
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="2"><font color="DarkOliveGreen">Jackson Dkm2<br />
    Peavey Valve King 112<br />
    Laney mxd 120 that doesn't work<br />
    Morley BHW 2<br />
    Mod Tone <font color="deepskyblue">aqua</font> chorus</font></font></div>

  • #2
    There's a load of pros and cons to both and different people will have wildly varying opinions on them

    Purely personally, the greatest strengths of a pedal board are:

    It's simple, you can see what plugs into what.
    What's off or on can be seen at a glance.
    Pedals start at a lot less than racks making it cheaper to add some more options to your tonal palette.

    The weaknesses are:

    It is largely fixed with each pedal having a single setting as it is impractical to bend down and change the gain level or delay setting mid song.
    You can find your self tap dancing with several foot stomps to change sounds. EG to go from a clean chorus sound using a reverb pedal into your amp's clean channel, to an overdrive pedal with delay using no reverb on your amp's dirty channel could involve multiple switches being hit.
    You may also have to run a load of cables back and forward across the stage, particularly if using some pedals in front of the amp and some in the loop.

    Greatest strengths of a rack:

    Most FX processors have multiple effects and are controllable via Midi. This allows you to do the clean chorus to overdriven lead switch with a single push on a control board.
    Flexibility - I like both a long and short delay settings in my unit. I can access both at the touch with a Midi Controller unit. I can't bend down and adjust a pedal so easily mid song.
    Putting all the kit in a rack keeps the signal run away from the front of the stage. A single control cable is all that has to be routed.
    Rack stuff starts out generally at a higher quality level. Note that you get what you pay for in both pedals and rack units however.

    Weaknesses:

    Complexity - you are going to have to spend a significant amount of time setting a rack system up so that the right effects come up at the right levels when you hit the Midi switch. Pedals tend to be twist a knob until you like it and leave.
    Price - it is quite likely to be more expensive.

    There's a load more than this to consider but that's a starting point. Some people are all about the pedals, other want it all in rack units, other use a mixture, others rack mount pedals and control them with a rack based switcher.

    Personally I like it all rack mounted and set up and I just have a midi pedal out front, YMMV.
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    <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>richierobins</strong>
    <a href="showthread.php?p=31259735#post31259735" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
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    <div class="message">Mistaking a fanny for an arse is probably the reason behind their obsession with SIIHP.</div>

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    • #3
      Gorgon90 said it well. I, too, agree that a rack-based set up is the way to go. It may seem complicated at first, but it actually simplifies everything for me. Having everything in one well organized place that doesn't have to be tinkered with on stage is the best part. I'm a freak about having everything sound exactly the same every night and I change sounds a lot even just during a single song. A rack lets me do that. I can't be hitting four different pedals just before the chorus when I can just hit one button on my MIDI controller. It just feels so much more reliable to me in that way and leaves me free to focus on the show. And with a device like my Rocktron Patch Mate 8, you can incorporate pedals into your setup and still have all the functionality and organization of a rack.

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      • AJ6stringsting
        AJ6stringsting commented
        Editing a comment
        I love both and combine the two ....

      • Task
        Task commented
        Editing a comment

        I use a digitech gsp1101 in a 2 space gator rack with a shallow depth furman rack power strip in back (threaded rear rack rails) The 2nd space in front is for my wireless (carvin). The rack is very light. I also use a Control 2 with it. If I play a gig where I run direct to the board and I know and trust the engineer, It takes me 5 minutes to set up. If I need to bring in my own powered monitor, 10 minutes.  I have used tons of gear in the past and I am perfectly happy with the 1101. I can create dozens of different sounds and access them quickly.

        Stompies for me are too limiting, but I understand why some folks use them. It's easy to get option anxiety with a modeller. Too many great sounds to choose from and too many ways to make them sound awful...


    • #4
      the one thing I don't like about Rack systems, unless you spend a fair bit on a large footcontroller, is spontaneity.... when you have your patches programmed they are what they are, you might be able to turn some things on and off but if there's a chorus for the patch you're using and you want to see what a phaser would sound like NOW....you're kinda out of luck, where as with stompboxes you just stomp on your phaser, assuming you have one....
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Member of the SG Army<img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/thumb.gif" border="0" alt="" title="thumbs up" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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      • #5
        That's true to some extent.

        I say that because depending on your equipment, you can inject that same spontaneity with some clever programming :-)

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        • #6
          Oh my that sounds incredibly useful and economical (musically). But say they don't make your favorite pedal in rack format do you have to compromise and use something else? Or is there a way around it?
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="2"><font color="DarkOliveGreen">Jackson Dkm2<br />
          Peavey Valve King 112<br />
          Laney mxd 120 that doesn't work<br />
          Morley BHW 2<br />
          Mod Tone <font color="deepskyblue">aqua</font> chorus</font></font></div>

          Comment


          • #7
            I use both. I made a riser bracket for a midi mate and bolted it to the far space of a pedal board. Plenty of space for pedals if I find I need them (The space is usually taken up but mostly for things like wahs, volume, tap tempo).


            But as others have mentioned, once you have the patches made, it's one push of a button. Simple, fast, madly customizable. You have full control of all parameters (no turning knobs on the pedals, turning others off, etc etc....) That means more for me than having slightly more 'spontaneity'.

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            • #8
              Oh my that sounds incredibly useful and economical (musically). But say they don't make your favorite pedal in rack format do you have to compromise and use something else? Or is there a way around it?


              Yes there is a way round it. Have a look at Voodoo Labs Ground Control and GCX system. It's a switching looping system that if you put your pedals on a rack shelf can be switched in and out of the signal path. This means you get the great sounds you have in your pedals and the control flexibility offered by a rack combined. Rocktron Patchmate mentioned above is a similar tool.
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              <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>richierobins</strong>
              <a href="showthread.php?p=31259735#post31259735" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
              </div>
              <div class="message">Mistaking a fanny for an arse is probably the reason behind their obsession with SIIHP.</div>

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              Comment


              • #9
                Gorgon90's right, the Voodoo Labs product does the same thing as the Rocktron Patch Mate, but is a little more expensive, I think. Either way, what most guys do is hook their pedals into the switching system of their choice and put their pedals on a pull-out shelf in their racks. That way it keeps the clutter off the floor and they can switch all their rack effects and pedals to their heart's content with the push of just one button.

                Overall, I'm not sure how economical it is, but the end result is far more versatile and preferable in my opinion.

                Comment


                • #10
                  That's true to some extent.

                  I say that because depending on your equipment, you can inject that same spontaneity with some clever programming :-)


                  yeah... I have no doubt about that at all.... to me just for share ease of use I'm staying away from switching rigs as much as I REALLLY wanted to go that way in the past but I realised it's just not for me
                  <div class="signaturecontainer">Member of the SG Army<img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/thumb.gif" border="0" alt="" title="thumbs up" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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                  • #11
                    Yeah, totally. It's definitely not for everybody. Funny how much racks have fallen out of fashion. They were huge in the '80's/early '90's.

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                    • #12
                      very true.... the only other downside IMO is the amount of gear you have to carry.... a pedal board is one trip, with the rack stuff the rack can be kinda big and then there's the foot controller as well...
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">Member of the SG Army<img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/thumb.gif" border="0" alt="" title="thumbs up" class="inlineimg" /></div>

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                      • #13
                        Good thread...kind of the age old question.
                        It really depends on your gig and your style....

                        If you're playing the same 2 or 3 sounds all night long a rack is excessive
                        If you need a large variety of tones and effects it's worth considering a rack
                        is the simplest way to say it....it just gets more complex from here
                        SELLING
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                        $180 TC Electronics G Major
                        $40 Washburn Lyon wah
                        $50 Korg EXP2 expression pedal
                        $100 Line6 MM4 modulation modeler
                        $90 Radial Big Shot EFX looper/switcher
                        $80 Ernie Ball VP Jr volume pedal
                        $60 Electro Harmonix Octave Multiplexer
                        $600 Rivera TBR1 2 channel preamp stereo power amp
                        $150 Roland GP100 preamp/multi effects/ speaker emulator
                        $140 Carvin DCM 150-150 watt stereo power amp

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                        • #14
                          Great thread with good insights!

                          I personally have a simple rack with just a couple of pedals thrown in front. I use a Dunlop Q-zone and DOD Corrosion for mid boost and overdrive functions in front of my rack, but use a Triaxis and G-major to change my sounds in the rack. I like the versitility of being able to switch from a Mark IV clean to a Mark III lead, then a Dual Recto rhythm sound.

                          Another nice thing about rack based effects with a stereo power amp is that you can pan from one stereo side to another. I found recently that I really love using a Mark III sound through my 4x12 cabinet with Celestion 80 watt speakers, but I love using the Rectifier sound through my friend's Vintage 30 filled cabinet. With just a tap between patches, I can shift the volume from one cab to the other to emphasize the different speakers.

                          Granted, if you're just looking at effects being rack or floor-based, this doesn't apply; it's just one point of versatility that I have grown to enjoy from my stereo rack system.

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                          • #15
                            Another option is to use a mid-approach. Switchers like the musicomlab alows you to program patches for your Stompboxes and still have midi capabilities for rack mounted multifx
                            <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;Yes, I'm hearing voices too..&quot;</div>

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