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Pedal Board Vs. Effects Rack

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  • #16
    I ran with stompboxes for a while. But doing mostly cover band stuff that got real old. I got real tired of needing to switch from a clean channel with some chorus to a distortion with some delay and flange while singing and playing at the same time. I needed 3 or 4 feet and to be as ambidextrous as Neil Peart. I'm now using a second gen. Rocktron Chameleon that I bought in 1996 along with an ART X15 controller. Run through a Rocktron Velocity 300 amp to a Legacy 2x12 cab. So far I've been able to get whatever sound I want out of it.

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    • #17
      I just cut my pedalboard down by 3/4, I bought a Line 6 M13 stompbox modeler. This thing sound so real it would be hard to tell it from the original effect on a recording. It has over 100 stomp box's built in, and these are those guitarist use all the time. They are tweakable also. I use a looper in the FX Loop and Volume/expression pedal and it covers just about all the bases. If you try one out, it is hard not to use it all the time..........

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      • #18
        I'm with ibbluesman but I went with the RP1000 and love it. This has everything. Amp modeling, every effect you'll ever need and it's programable. You don't have to use the amp models and you can use it as a effects pedal board in foot pedal mode. In this mode you can program effects per patch as with the amps. Also in this mode you see the pedals that are on so you can turn them on and off when you want if needed. It has an amp loop as well. With the 4-cable method you can use the power amp section of your head to power the amp models so you here the actual sound of the amp model, not a blended sound of your amp with the model.... a really cool feature. It's extremely flexible and comes with a usb port for recording direct to your computer. Plus there's patches you can download from Digitechs website.

        http://www.digitech.com/en-US/products/rp1000

        Watch the demo video.

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        • #19
          When I gig, I take Traditional Strats, Super Strats with Floyd Roses, A Les Paul Custom, A "71" Flying"V" for various sounds ; Blues, Classic Rock, 80's Metal, Thrash / Speed Metal and what ever. I love my ancient Digitech RP-1 and RP-12. I can get any sound I like. If we do an SRV, Pantera, Yngwie, EVH, UFO, Rush, Trower, Hendrix, Satriani, Vai, Police or sound like Trevor Rabin's " Owner Of A Lonely Heart" tone with synthesizers .... it's there at a tap of a botton
          I put a VHT Valvulator II at the front and at the end of my pedal board to get that killer analog tone from the ones and zeros from digital effects board.
          How many guitarists does it take to screw in a lightbulb ? Five , one to screw it in , hit the switch and four to sit around bragging how much better they could have done it !!!! 😱👹😲

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          • #20
            i only use overdrive or dist. pedals in front.

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            • #21
              Racks are cool because the knobs are at arms level (not her the units)
              If you have to tweak something you aren't grabbing your ankles on stage with foot pedals which always looks amateur to an audience. Tweaking the foot pedal knobs with your feet can cause accidental tweaks too, blasting a setting or cutting off.

              Pedals can be trouble free once they are set, but they can take up allot of valuable real estate on stage.
              Getting to a mic on a dark stage can be dangerous and the occasional drunken goofball who wants to be lead singer who migrates to stage when you aren't looking can do allot of damage to your pedals stepping on them accidentally.

              I mainly use rack units in the studio where I can take the time to tweak them fro the recording. I've never been too happy tweaking them to drive an amp. Its a pain in the butt adjusting the settings "perceived loudness" vs. actual loudness where it blends in with a band. I can set up a whole bunch of banks I think are right and then when it comes to playing live and having a drummer going some wind up being too loud and others bet buried. This can be an issue recording too but you don't have an audience waiting for you to tweak things.

              I can say Rack units often have better sound quality depending on their generation. Some have the full arsenal of effect like the ART SGX 2000 I picked up a year ago. I can insert the drives and effects in any order up to 8 of them at once I believe. The Midi pedal that I also have lets you turn any of the effects off and on just like foot pedals, plus you have two expression pedals that can be set for any parameter of the effects.

              This is a very cool feature. I cant count the times where I would have liked to ramp the chorus up like a Leslie cab, vary the echo speed or length, adjust the gain of a drive vs changing the gain going into a drive pedal with a volume or any other parameter you can think of.

              If the rack unit also has effects loops (like mine) you can stick additional effects within the chain of the racks effects. I do this on mine. I have a very cool preamp called a REXX that was part of a Preamp Power amp combination. Its got all kinds of push pill knobs for gain mids and bass that give me all these cool driven tones. I stick that one in the racks units mono effect loop.

              The unit also has a stereo effects loop near the output. I stick a good Alesis or Lexicon unit in that loop for some super big sounding verbs and echoes. The ones in the rack aren't bad, but having a stereo ping pong or maybe even two different effects like a Space echo and a reverb sounds very interesting.

              I can say a rack can take allot more tweaking because there are so many parameters you can tweak but in the process, you can find totally unique tones too. Pedals for me are pretty much set um and forget un. On stage I don't want to be distracted by may hardware. I focus on my performance and entertaining the audience so I usually go with some simple basics.

              I have one little pedal box made by Rocktron that lets me fit 5 boss sized pedals in there. I'll stick a compressor pedal, Two drive pedals lie a Tube Screamer and Governor, Chorus and Echo pedal in there. I can run them all off a spot one power adaptor and it has a removable lid and handle. It would be nice if the lid had a little more space for the guitar chords, but its no big deal. I can set up in seconds and be ready to play.

              In comparison, a rack unit can be a cinder block you have to haul around. Then tioy have midi chords for the pedal board, patch cables between the units and the amps, then all that stuff needs to have power. I built my own rack cases for a few of my units and had enough space to install a power strip inside with a real long cord. I can plug everything into the power strip including my amp and when I'm done playing I just unplug everything and the chords roll up in back of the unit and I just clap the back lid on. The bonus is you aren't worried about running extension cords out to the front of the stage that you can trip over.

              Like I said each have their plusses and minuses. I suppose it comes down to what you have and what you like. Last working band I started I had been off the road for 10 years mostly doing recording. I had the rack units and few if any pedals. I eventually built up my pedal collection again and used them mostly live and left the rack units in the studio. Now I'm back to recording allot, I'm using the rack units allot more and my pedals mostly sit.

              So my answer comes down to having both either separately or together is the best of all worlds.
              Last edited by WRGKMC; 05-12-2014, 07:56 AM.

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              • #22
                I think it is a preference thing. Lots of Pros still use pedal boards. I was at a gig once for Los Lobos and the rack effects piece went down for the Keyboard player. I will never forget it because he was whipping it with xlr cable. The downside unless you have a spare you lose all your effects which could be a killer.
                Dan Snyder is bad Karma

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                • #23
                  .... this subject is important. So I had to bump it.
                  How many guitarists does it take to screw in a lightbulb ? Five , one to screw it in , hit the switch and four to sit around bragging how much better they could have done it !!!! 😱👹😲

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                  • #24
                    I have to bump it again because i was a gear head in the early 90s when rack stuff was every where. I felt like i was going into the future with this equipment and i really loved it. Being able to swap out different sections was alot like pdals but IMO way better quality. I just recently got back into rack stuff i really miss this stuff. If you take the time to learn this gear it can do alot of amazing stuff. All the stuff i have now uses midi and if you setup midi you can dont have to do anything. Your patches can be switched by a keyboard player, or by a drum machine click track, not just with a pedal board.

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                    • #25
                      Heck, if you want to, you can sequence the entire show, and have MIDI do all the lighting scene changes, your guitar patches for each song / section, etc. etc. Of course, if you're into pedals, there are MIDI switchers that will allow you to control them too. I'm currently sitting at my studio's desk, and am surrounded by racks of gear, but I'm an equal opportunity guy - I have tons of pedals (and three pedalboards) in the next room too... and I like / use it all.
                      **********

                      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                      - George Carlin

                      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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                      • #26
                        Always been a rack guy, starting with an full stereo ADA guitar rack in the 80's which I still have. Going into the 90's I moved over to keyboards and did a lot of sequencing, which also controlled lighting and patch changes for all the instruments. I got our guitarists to move over to rack gear for the automation, and we looked friggin' slick for a couple of years and even got accused of playing to CDs on occasion because the guitarist tone would change when he was no where near his midi footswitch. Eventually he started bringing pedals back into his system and once again we had a guitarist who was glued to his pedals and spent the better part of the evening holding a note, hunched over them and make adjustments that nobody else could hear.

                        I'm mostly playing bass these days and I'm still a rack guy. As I mentioned in another thread, I can roll my bass cab and rack in and have it plugged in and working in less than two minutes. Then I get to spend the next hour watching the guitarist and drummer setting up. Actually that's not entirely true. I usually have to spend half of that hour setting up an entire PA system. Which is also in racks and sets up rather easily.
                        One more time kids; equalizers are not cross overs, vocal mics are not cymbal mics and pan knobs are not three position switches. As you were.

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                        • #27
                          I much prefer my rack system over any rig I've had to date. My rack system is a Line 6 HD Pro , a power conditioner, Digital Wireless Line 6, and a 1U power amp (Carvin) and a single full range speaker. The things I like about this system is the rack isn't much bigger than an amp head all the controls are easily accessible, plus the foot controller is connected by 1 wire a very thin ethernet cable. The rack is a gator bag case and sits on top of the speaker like an amp head. Everything is in the rack, the system sets up in seconds and just works. All of my setups for songs are right there I don't have to adjust anything except volume. I have my patches arranged by set and named by song. I do have to take the time and program the patches using a laptop, but the time saved is well worth it.

                          There are 2 guitarists in my band the other guitarist has cables on the floor going from guitar to amp, amp to petal board and is constantly reaching down adjusting things chorus, delay overdrive etc. It takes him longer to setup and his amp weighs a lot. My system is light and I can put other things through it. I can also play keyboard and an acoustic guitar through it. I don't need a separate amp chain, plus the rack can connect to FOH so for some gigs, I can connect using the line out. The other guitarist has to mic his amp.

                          I've owned many amps mostly tube and pedals over the years. I have also owned several multi-effects pedals and amp simulators etc. I have not owned anything that has been as hassle free and versatile as the setup I currently have.

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