Bucking the trend // thoughts on rack systems

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Kborg, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. Kborg

    Kborg Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Marshall 20/20 power amp that I use to run the wet part of a W/D/W rig and when I turned my hotplate all the way down and was just working with the signal from my SF bassman it sounded really good :RoCkIn .

    This has got the wheels to spinnin:crazy . If I could find a preamp that can deliver the goods as well I might not have to carry as much stuff around to get the tones that I want.

    I have a Line 6 XT Live but it just doesn't cut it. I use it for practicing by myself and it sounds fine but when I swap over to a real tube amp the difference is drastic and obvious. Even if I run it in front of the 20/20 it still is lacking for my tastes.

    I would love to hear some experienced users thoughts on the JMP-1 or similiar. Also the Bogner Fish, CAE 3, any alternatives I have missed, and how they stack up to just running a standard guitar amp set up, tonewise. I never got into the rack phase so I don't know if you can cover the staples (BF and tweed Fender, Plexi and Modded type Marshall, Vox and Jazzy cleans) convincingly or not.

    I guess it is just GAS again:eek: .
     
  2. enditol

    enditol Member

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    Racks can sound really good but IMO they can also be a pain...As with anything there's pros and cons to either setup. Try some quality pre's out and see what you think.
     
  3. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've used: JMP1, Seymour Duncan, Kittyhawk, Sansamp PSA1, Hafler (T2, T3), GT, H&K, and a half a dozen others. the PSA1 is the one that did it best for me-I had trouble getting a clean tone I really liked with the JMP-1. All of them seem to fall down in the bluesy breakup department although clean and drive are great, except the H&K Machine series-I've got a "Crunch Master" in my rack for just that near breakup sound, AB'd with the PSA1.
     
  4. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Just went full circle with racks. I used to run an ADA rack rig. Well, in an effort to "clean up" my tones and playing, I went with a few Marshall amps and a few pedals. That gave me pure unadulterated tone. No FX, just a wah and dirt. Of coarse you get all those problems then, tone being tied to volume, no versitility, having to buy an arsenal of pedals for variation etc... So I picked up another ADA MP-1 and run it into both amps, a JCM 800 and a non master JMP. I've run it like this for about a month and i'm really digging it. I can still run my guitar direct into the amps or run the ADA. The cleans on the MP-1 are great but of coarse are colored by the Marshall tones. I run them as clean as possible when using the Preamp. The ADA has an assignable FX loop. You can run FX on selected patches, none on others. I don't gig as much as I used to but i'd still haul everything I needed for a gig. There isn't much difference between lugging a rack rig and a regular rig to me. Just different amps. The ADA does not have cabinet sims so to my ears it doesn't sound good direct into a board but other pre's do and I believe can sound good direct. But overall the MP-1 is pretty versitile as far as tones. Marshall, hot rod marshall, cleans are very good depending on your amp (built in chorus and comp on clean channel). Check them out at www.adadepot.com They are out of production but there is alot of online support and techs that service them. I guess i'm to the point where I just don't care what people think is acceptable or not. If I get my tones from a rack or an amp, so be it. Things would get pretty boaring if we all had the same rigs!
     
  5. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Some years ago I had a JMP-1- crispy cleans, that overdrive harshly, or big warm fuzzies. Some people love them YMMV. The ADA was much better at bluesy OD. A Bad Monkey gets me closer and more easily than either to simple amp-ish OD.
     
  6. photios

    photios Member

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    I'm new to tube amps, but I recently have tried a few plexi heads to A/B with my Egnater M4 thru a VHT 2/50/2...I got to tell you, IMO, the M4 beats out the plexi heads I've tried up to this point (but I'm still in the process of trying others as we speak). The flexibility with rack equipment is fantastic. I can reduce the input level on the preamp and power amp and then crank up the volumes so the tubes are saturated and then I've got individual volumes on the modules, a master on the M4 and the VHT has volume (plus I run everthing thru a TC G System so I can adjust input and output levels on it too)...so in the end, I can crank the tubes way up and still have the flexibility to keep the volume at a reasonable level...so I get that great cranked up plexi tone without the ear-busting volume. Plus the with the M4 I've got 8 channels...I play in an ACDC tribute band so you might wonder why I would need 8 channels...I guess I dont, but it might surprise you as to how many I do use.

    Channel 1 is a plexi that is set for the Vintage ACDC tone (think TNT...very low gain with a chimey top). Channel 2 is the second, slightly hotter channel on my plexi module, and is my standard ACDC tone (think Problem Child...similar to the vintage tone, but with a little thicker EQ and just a touch more gain). Channel 3 is from my SL2 module which is basically a hot-rod plexi and its my heavy ACDC patch (think Hells Bells...a little more gain and a thicker overal EQ sound). Channel 4 is my lead channel from the second channel of the SL2 module. Channel 5 is a very bluesy type of sound from my EG3/4 which is based on Marshall circuitry and sounds like Bassman...I use it for Ride On which is really bluesy and has no gain (I think its the only ACDC song that is played clean) and finally Channel 6 is my lead channel for the bluesy tone. I still have 2 more channesl that are unused! Incredible flexibility, though in an 8 rack shock rack its a bit cumbersome to haul around.

    The M4 coupled with the EL34 tubes from the VHT make for a very convincing plexi tone...the purists may scoff, but I would wager that few would be able to distinguish between a real plexi and my M4. In addition, when I get a wild hair to play a Mesa Dual Rec, I dont have to go down the street to the guitar center and pretend to be a buyer...I just plug in a rectifier module to the M4 and get crazy. Same is true for when I get into a Fender kind of mood...just plug in my Deluxe module and pick away. I'm still interviewing plexi heads (my latest purchase is a Voodoo Amp V-Plex), but for now, nothing has equalled the M4 for tight, punchy tone with the kind of flexibility that I want.
     
  7. Stevo57

    Stevo57 Supporting Member

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    For the bluesy edge of break-up tones, I'd suggest a mesa V twin pre-amp.
     
  8. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Demeter TGP-3 is probably the best rack preamp I can think of.
     
  9. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    I used to have an ADA MP1 and a Peavey Classic 50/50 tube power amp. It had some great sounds, just too many buttons and settings for me. I'm a simpleton.
     
  10. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I have a Rockmaster and Classic 50/50. Great range of tones and simple to operate. Cheap too!. I have a Voodoo Valve that used to be in my rack. Great tones but too much scrolling(no knobs!argh!). Whoever thought no knobs was a good idea should have their heads examined! :rolleyes: At any rate the Rockmaster was practically given to me (79$) and I love it! Clean to scream and easy to use.
    :BEER
     
  11. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Ooh, there's a few more:
    ADA1-too noisy, apparently Voodoo can help with that
    Vtwin Rack-noisy and kind of a 1 or 2 trick pony
    Rockmaster-this one makes me smile-less than $100 in most pawn shops, great hard rock sound and decent clean and there IS a tube in there somewhere!
     
  12. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I have no issues with noise on my ADA , Had more noise with a Timmy straight into the 800. Sounds great stock but i'm lookin at havin Voodoo do some mods anyhow.:dude
     
  13. matt5150

    matt5150 Either U Know Or U Don't Supporting Member

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    I am a big fan of rack based systems, especially when used in conjunction with a good high gain head (or two) for the maximum tonal variety.

    Both the Fish and the 3+SE will get you Fender cleans and great high gain tones. The CAE is more Marshall-y where as the Bogner is more compressed and slick.

    You may also try to hunt down a Rivera TBR-1 which fetaures an all tube preamp/ and 60 watt side stereo pwer amp in one.

    Good luck.

    Matt
     
  14. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    I really didn't think my ADA was noisy at all.
     
  15. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Maybe mine were both sick? The clean stuff was fine, but as soon as I cranked up the gain, there was a lot more hiss than I get even with two stompbox drives on.
     
  16. BMonroney

    BMonroney Member

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    I use a Voodoo Labs Tube Pre on the road, with a Mesa 2:90. Good cleans and marshally drive channel. Don't use the 3rd hi-gain channel much, shares tone controls with the drive channel. My in-between tones are covered with pedals switched through a GCX (mostly Sparkle Drive). Seems like not many people know about this preamp, I've been using for 6 years since it was first released, really works well for my needs:

    http://www.voodoolab.com/preamp.htm

    Brian
     
  17. murkat

    murkat I like sea otters

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    Same boat as the rest as far as comparisons...
    FWIW~ I still have and use a JMP1. Like all tube amps and pre amps, all are dependent in what tubes you throw in it. The JMP1 is no different. For my liking, I find the EH 12ax7's are the best for my JMP1. The tones are so night and day with a little bit of swapping. Another thing is that you need to really tweek for the tones... be it how you wire it up, eq, FX loop and levels, etc. A little bit goes a long way, A very "active" cuircit compared to a regular metal front masterlead or..... Old school used rak FX can be bought on the cheap as well with a blend of modern. You cant touch an old Chandler stereo delay for under $400. but you sure grab a Deltalab effectron for under $100. which is an exlln't delay+. My rig~
    Korg tuner> JMP1> DeltaLab> Lexicon> Marshall 50/50 9000 pwr amp ='s ~
    very satisfied.
     
  18. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    Ah,now theres good taste-on a budget no less! LOVE my Rockmaster! BTW there ARE FOUR 12AX7's tubes in it!:AOK
     
  19. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    BTW-This rack only cost around 600$ altogether! Crank it up and sings! Bit loud though.:eek: 16 tubes worth of killer tone![​IMG]
     
  20. Keld

    Keld Member

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    A Mesa Triaxis is a great sounding pre with a lot of tonal variety to it. The (discontinued) Mesa Quad Pre is also very nice.

    I ditched the rack and went back to a pretty simple setup - decided it was too much hassle to lug around 2 1x12's, pedal board, and a rack and have to hook it all together and break it all down. If you are the only band playing then the quick setup/breakdown thing wouldn't be as much of a hassle.

    In the end, I'm finding one good tone with a boost for leads is a very satisfying way to play.
     

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