Big Pedal Board or Rack Switching System?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by KennyM, Aug 19, 2005.


  1. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

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    I'm trying to systemize my assortment of pedals into some convenient setup and I keep going back and forth between putting them all in a rack switching system or a pedalboard. A pedal board would end up being pretty big.

    99% of the time it would just be used for recording in my own studio on my own composing and production gigs. It has to sound really great. On the other hand, I do go do a club gig here and there and would like something that's not too hard to move around if I feel like taking a fuller rig.

    I see a lot of pluses and minuses going either way. Anyone move from pedalboard to rack switching or visa-versa and end up love/ hating the result?

    Kenny M.
     
  2. raz

    raz Member

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    Multiple times, back and forth...until I finally just got it through my head that I'm lazy and I hate programming rack gear and lugging racks around for performance.

    My recommendation? Put the rack gear in the studio and play out with a pedal rig. In the studio, tweak's the order of the day. On the gig, simple, portable and reliable = good.

    At least, that's how it is for me.

    R
    A
    Z
     
  3. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

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    I'm Definitely keeping the rack gear in my studio. My current dilema is what to do with with all my pedals. I don't really like the sound of higher end rack gear as part of my guitar chain and prefer to use it on recorded tracks. I don't like what it does to the sound going into an amp input.

    I guess the #1 concern is whether the sound quality will be better from a pedalboard rig as compared to a rack swithing scenario (CAE. Axxess, DM GCX, etc.) The thought of ruining my sound quality by running my signal thru a pedalboard with 20 pedals on it is a little daunting.

    Thanks for the input.

    Kenny M.
     
  4. cvansickle

    cvansickle Member

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  5. g-nem

    g-nem Member

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    Why not get a loooper or something to keep the pedals out of your signal path until you use them? The only thing a rack system can do to improve on a pedalboard is switch multiple pedals in and out of your chain with one click. If you put all of your pedals in bypass loops and use good quality cable it won't sound any different from having them in a rack.

    Another good argument for having a pedalboard is ease of tweaking onstage., and having access to switches on pedals (like tap-tempo). I've thought about putting my pedals in a rack, but having a wah and volume pedal, plus tempo at my feet mean I have to have a pedalboard anyways.

    But I have committed to having a big pedalboard- but if you play with fx as much as I do you have to accept that that is your instrument- it's not as bad as being a drummer, yet. . .
     
  6. Terry Hayes

    Terry Hayes Member

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    Using a switcher like an Axess GRX4 or a Lehle D. Loop WILL give you the sound quality and flexibility of a rack switching system. These are 2 extremely high quality units.

    Terry
     
  7. dinrodef

    dinrodef Guest

    Yes, I finally discovered the Lehle D loop and it solved years and years of rack and pedalboard problems. My main issue was turning on effects that were in the efx loop of my amp at the same time as channel switching and turning on pedals in front of hte amp... I originally tried to tap dance on a pedalboard and that didn't work.. Then I tried the voodoo lab gcx and rackmounted everythiing but it was so complicated I got tired of messing with it. NOw I run 2 lehle D loops and a midi switcher for a my rivera knucklehead. THe cool thing about it is the box can be programmed miidi or it can be dumb if you just step on one of hte loop buttons... no hassle and it doesn't add any noise or noticeable degrade of signal to my rig (to my ears)
     
  8. sinasl1

    sinasl1 Member

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    I'd recommend putting all the pedals on drawers in a rack/racks with one or more of the GCX units (that's what I use). Use Voodoo Lab Pedal Power units to power the pedals, and one of those Furman Pluglock power strips for ac power.Wire it all up using George L's. Sounds better than a pedalboard (more transparent), and it's more organized. Depending on how many pedals, you could use multiple racks/GCX units, and just stack em up in the studio, and throw em in your car along with a ground control or similar midi switcher when going to gigs.

    Once I got used to pushing one button to switch multiple pedals/change amp channels/a/b amps, I could never go back to a pedalboard. I still go see bands and watch the guitar players miss downbeats of choruses cause they are switching 3 or 4 things on and off between song sections.... why bother? There's a better way.....


    Just one recommendation... run your germanium fuzz units BEFORE the buffer in the GCX, they won't sound good with a buffer in front...... I can tell you how to do this if interested..
     
  9. dinrodef

    dinrodef Guest

    Good point about the buffer... that's exactly the problem I had with the GCX so I bought the lehle d looper and use it to loop my fuzz pedals. It's buffer has an on/ off switch and I can still control everything via midi
     
  10. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

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    I went rack to contain the clutter of moving pedals in and out, cabling, etc.

    [​IMG]

    Pedals on a drawer, switch 'em with a used RS-10. No problems, sounds great, no clicks, the rack fits in the front seat of my Toyota (it's heavy, though). I put the wireless and some clean power in there, too, since I was doing it... but you don't have to have anything beyond a switcher and a drawer, really.
     
  11. KennyM

    KennyM Supporting Member

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    Hey, thanks to all for the suggestions.

    I do like the organizational aspect of the rack system. It's funny when I think back to the refrigerators I carried around in the 80's and how It was actually a faster setup than any pedalboard I've thrown together as of late. Also, since several of my pedals are from Pete Cornish along with a few other like sized units, lugging a pedalboard this big is more like taking an 88 note wood weighted keyboard to a gig. I don't know if it's really more practical from a ease of use standpoint. The main thing however that makes me want to use a pedalboard is that a lot of these pedals have switches with extra functions like tap tempo, etc.

    I've definitely thought about using loopers on the pedalboard, especially since I wouldn't want anything in line when recording straight guitar into the amp sounds so I will check out the Lehle loopers.

    Are the GCX units as good sounding as any of the offerings from CAE or Axxess? I actually have one of these around somewhere that I bought used at a really great price thinking I might use it sometime. The main

    Kenny M.
     
  12. Terry Hayes

    Terry Hayes Member

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    To my ears (and I have done a few A/B comparisons) nothing compares to Axess and Lehle in terms of transparency. Having owned a GCX (nice product), I prefer the sound quality of the Axess GRX4 and Lehle D. Loop currently in my system.

    I have not tried everything out there of course. Products like the Switchblade and Skyrdstrup switchers apparently sound very good as well.

    Terry
     
  13. Jemlite

    Jemlite Member

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    That is a cool setup. Do you have any more pics Ted? Maybe the back of the rack, and a pic of stuff on the pedal tray?

    What kinda rack is that?

    Thanks.
     
  14. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

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    Pedals have changed a bit, but here ya go...

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The rack is by Kriz Kraft, which went out of business. Awesome shock mount design. Stins sold the design to A & S if you're interested.
     
  15. Jemlite

    Jemlite Member

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    Right on. Thanks.

    What kind of cables are those? Mogami? Do you know where to get them? I've been looking for something small like that without going to George L's.

    ...Did a guy named Brian down in OC put that together for you? It looks like some stuff I've seen him do years ago.
     
  16. Jemlite

    Jemlite Member

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    Oh... one more Q. Is that how you usually run your SS-2? The volume is basically off?
     
  17. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

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    Brian Swerdfeger, yes. He did an awesome job. Mogami cables. I got it from Pacific Radio in L.A., along with the jacks.

    I actually don't use the SS-2 in there anymore, but that knob isn't at the setting I used it. I think I ran the controls all at noon...
     
  18. Jemlite

    Jemlite Member

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  19. Play by Tone

    Play by Tone Member

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    Depends on the day.
    And thank you for asking Ted all of the questions I was going to ask as I read through the thread!!

    I am planning out something just like Ted's setup, but I'm not sure if I can do everything on one rack drawer. I don't want to go any bigger than a 10sp though, and that 8sp looks great. Awesome setup!
     
  20. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

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    Thanks. Works perfectly... though I should say the key to it "working perfectly" is Mario's RX-1, which is just an insanely awesome piece of gear. Unfortunately, he has decided not to make them anymore. So get your order in now or try to find it used. If neither is possible, I would recommend the Skrydstrup switcher (though his only has eight loops and mine has ten). Steen is the Mario of Europe. You will pay a bit more, but by all accounts the quality is just as high. Next stop down would be the GCX or something by CAE.
     

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