My equipment setup is kind of bizarre... and that's exactly why I bought this system (plus, I spoke with Dan of Semisonic and he recommended it to solve my effects woes.) This system provides noiseless switching of guitars/rack effects/pedals/amps, etc.
I'll apologize in advance for the length of this submission... but it really speaks to the credit of the Digital Music Corp. stuff that it can put so many sound options at your fingertips (or rather feet).
Besides the GCX and Ground Control, here's my other basic equipment: Fender Strat+ or Gibson SG or Kustom bass (when playing electric... bass is short-scale and is used occasionally to create some deadly riffs and power chords) Alvarez-Yairi DY-53 acoustic with piezo saddle pickup and EMG ACS active soundhole pickup (when playing acoustic) Tubeworks Real Tube II rack preamp (for electrics) Crate CA-1PD acostic preamp (for Yairi) Rocktron Replifex (older model with software upgrade) TubeWorks MV-982 power amp Genz Benz 2x12" speaker cabs (pair of 'em for swirling stereophonic sound)
Here's how the GCX ties it all together with my pedals: (Items with * can be switched in/out as desired (and programmed into the memory of a preset)) Loop #1 contains a Guyatone WR-2 Wah Rocker pedal* and is between the electric guitars and the preamp. Loops #2,#3 and #4 are within the preamp's effect loop; #2 - Rx Electronics Experience pedal* #3 - Ross Distortion pedal* (early Brown w/ script) #4 - Tech 21 XXL distortion pedal* Loops #5 an #6 switch channels on the electric preamp (between Clean, Dirty, or Stacked). And recently I discovered that they will also switch the Chorus and Reverb on the acoustic preamp without disturbing any of the electric settings... WooHoo! Loop #7 is a Ross Phaser pedal* (early Orange w/ script) and is tied in after the tube preamp. It's used only with the Kustom bass... it loves this pedal. Loop #8 lets me choose which sound source(Yairi through acoustic preamp vs. all that electric madness) to send to the rest of the chain. (Replifex, power amp and speakers) All of the effect pedals in the loops are left in "On" mode and I power them all with an MXR power converter which runs off AC and it and the pedals are attached to the inside of the back cover of my rack which tucks them all away during loadout. It also makes setup and teardown a breeze since I only have to plug in the rack and run a MIDI cable out to the Ground Control pedal. (which also carries power to it thanks to the GCX!)
The ability to put stomp boxes in my rack and combine them with the Replifex and the acoustic stuff lets me get almost any of those sought-after sounds. (BTW - the Replifex does a great job of imitating all of the high dollar vintage pedals that I can't afford... and have you ever carried a Leslie up a flight of stairs?!?) Plus, the options to wed equipment in ways that perhaps were never intended (think PB&J) results in many new ideas for me musically.
I use it without a backup because the pedal is the only thing exposed to any real abuse and it is very solid. (I dropped a bass bin on it once and I think I actually heard it laugh it off.) The biggest perk is that my pedals are nestled in my rack, safe from abuse. (and theft!) The pedal is a lot more dependable that some of the stomp switches on my old pedals... and I like that alot!
I wish mine had the stereo loop option and individual loop selector so I could change my presets on the fly. (DMC will convert it for $$$) Although I love the fact that I can run momentary switches (for start/stop, tap delay, effect on/off, etc.) and expression pedals (for volume, phase speed, manual flange, etc.) right off the Ground Control pedal. I would definitely have to replace if stolen. I compared it with the newer Rocktron switchers and pedals before buying and found this to be a much better value. If you ever find yourself tiring of taping your pedals to the floor or have a vintage piece that you would like to use live but don't want to expose it to drunken stage diver, then this system (or others like it) will help. Also useful for home studio types who are tired of fumbling with patchbays or moving equipment around, I've even used it to punch in my DR-5 drum machine as an additional backing sound once and awhile. Oooh, here's an idea... use it to turn microphones on and off while recording. See what I mean... lots of possibilities with this gear!