Help an old timer build a rack please!

datguytim

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,851
I've been playing for over 40 years - most of 'em professionally, and have seen all the trends come and go....and I'm finally ready to build a Rack Rig! Always wanted to, dabbled weakly in the waters back in the early '90s, but to no avail. I'm now ready to take the plunge!

SO - I plan on getting a Tube Power Amp, a good Preamp, and 1 or 2 nice Rack Effects (PCM 80/81, Eventide Eclipse most likely). What else is needed to get the most out of this set up? Do I need a Switchblade 8 AND a Mixer (Rane, Samson, etc.) or do I just need a Mixer ? If I'm running only 1 processor in the rig, can I get away with just a Mixer? I'm open to opinions and ideas - and any other tips or gear essentials to maximize the rig. Much appreciated!!
 

LPVM

Member
Messages
2,495
If you're using only 1 preamp with 1 or 2 effects units there's no need for a switcher, a mixer will tie it all together. The Samson SM10 mixer has 8 channels you can run your stuff to (1 channel for the premap & 1 each for the effects units unless you want to split L & R outputs to their own dedicated channels and pan them hard L & R). Whatever the case that's either 3 channels or a max of 5 channels so the mixer will have capacity for future rack mounted additions or pedals if you want to add some of those too. You can change effects patches via midi so a midi pedal would be a good addition. Other than a rack power strip that will cover everything you need.
 

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,106
Yeah, search on "mixer" here in this forum and read away. I use a Rane, but there are a few that have gotten the seal of approval from this forum. If I was starting from scratch today, I would buy a mixer, an Eclipse, a PCM 42 (optional), a Fryette 2/50/2, a Synergy Syn-2, and then figure out how to work it. (That's about what I have, except that I'm just using my GP/DI instead of a Synergy. That will get you a long ways. Do you have a couple of cabs that you can run in stereo?
 

datguytim

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,851
Thanks guys! Yes - I have several cabinets: 4x12s and 2x12s. I plan on getting a killer tube preamp (Bogner Fish, CAE, or Myasnikov clone) and a VHT/Fryette Power Amp. Think I'll go with the Samson SM10 & then decide between which 2 FX units to get: leaning toward Lexicon (PCM ??) and Eventide (Eclipse). I appreciate everyone here being so helpful!
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,982
I think you need to know what you want to run
one amp?
stereo?
W/D/W
A cluster of amps?

You need to know that first
 

Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
25,986
Check out the Musicomlab Parallelizer. A much better solution than a regular line mixer when you don't plan to run a bunch of effects IMO.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,982
I've been playing for over 40 years - most of 'em professionally, and have seen all the trends come and go....and I'm finally ready to build a Rack Rig! Always wanted to, dabbled weakly in the waters back in the early '90s, but to no avail. I'm now ready to take the plunge!

SO - I plan on getting a Tube Power Amp, a good Preamp, and 1 or 2 nice Rack Effects (PCM 80/81, Eventide Eclipse most likely). What else is needed to get the most out of this set up? Do I need a Switchblade 8 AND a Mixer (Rane, Samson, etc.) or do I just need a Mixer ? If I'm running only 1 processor in the rig, can I get away with just a Mixer? I'm open to opinions and ideas - and any other tips or gear essentials to maximize the rig. Much appreciated!!
PCM80 or 81?
There is more to it than that.
Also consider the PitchFX and DualFX cards are an important part of the equation and very expensive to source these cards nowadays.

81 has PitchFX algos and factory programs built in with a max delay time just under 11sec;
80 has the ability to expand the memory to 43 seconds.
If you gonna use the Eclipse for pitch fx; then an 80 with Dual FX card might be the best option. I don't know how many use delay times over 10.9 seconds; but if you do, only the PCM80 will do that.

Also, realize, the Dual FX have some great functionality and sounds you aren't going to get without it.

If I was gonna start over from scratch I would go for a PCM81 with DualFX card (no regrets, that is what I did). That said, I would guess the Eclipse has better pitch tracking.

Next: programming
do you like or despise programming rack fx?
How are you with MIDI strategy and programming MIDI?
if you struggle with MIDI and hate programming, you might reconsider.

controllers:
footcontrollers...mixer style midi controllers...programming to alleviate the need for much expression real time control
what do you wanna have? A RJM MasterMind GT 22 and some expression pedals? It's very important

Cable management:
instrument, midi and power
you want a mass of black spaghetti layin on the floor which is almost impossible to trace a single line? or clean install with cables just the right length

how many u?
you ok with units crammed together and exchanging heat; or willing to have gaps and/or fans for cooling?

stationary or mobile?
this rack gonna go travelling? or stay in the studio?

important stuff, all these utility considerations!
 

TL;DR

Member
Messages
1,452
Hmmmm…… When I retired I was running a rack with a soldano sp77 preamp, a replifex, and a mesa 50/50 into two 2x12 cabs, one open, one closed, both with legends. The replifex controlled everything via midi. Sounded great. Heavy as fork
 

Serious Poo

Powered by Coffee
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,693
As a 30+ year rack user with one of the more complex rack systems here on TGP, I can’t stress strongly enough the need to keep it simple when you’re starting out. There are so many rabbit holes you can crawl into and get lost in... You’re going to get a lot of great advice in this thread but frankly most of it will be overkill for now. Don’t worry about mixers, cabling, and other advanced stuff. Start simple, get to know your gear, and grow from there. There’s a ton to learn, and it will become overwhelming if you try to overengineer your first rack.

For a first time rack build, I’d error on the side of simplicity first and only expand if there’s something you find you want at a later date. For a preamp I highly recommend the Synergy Syn2 preamp system which allows you to choose from 2 different preamp modules in the same 1U rack unit. A Furman power supply, a Eventide Eclipse and your Fryette power amp should be enough to get you rocking In the beginning.
 

mentoneman

Guest
Messages
2,850
Are you planning to use it live?

Synergy or the forthcoming Egnater IE4 reissue is a good preamp start

Start with one of those fx units you mentioned. Both are very deep and two at the same time may kill you.

I spent a year learning my pcm 80 and dl8000 before i felt comfortable enough to use them live. Finding a nice sound isn’t hard but knowing how to get to specific parameters to tweak in an instant if something is sucking live takes practice.

Mixers are good. Especially headphone monitoring for fine tuning.
 

teofilrocks

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,262
Are you planning to use it live?

Synergy or the forthcoming Egnater IE4 reissue is a good preamp start

Start with one of those fx units you mentioned. Both are very deep and two at the same time may kill you.

I spent a year learning my pcm 80 and dl8000 before i felt comfortable enough to use them live. Finding a nice sound isn’t hard but knowing how to get to specific parameters to tweak in an instant if something is sucking live takes practice.

Mixers are good. Especially headphone monitoring for fine tuning.
I bought a PCM80 with grand designs of adding a DL8000R, PCM90, Eclipse, or even a larger DSP Eventide. Welp, that was 2.5 years ago. I have yet to get to know the PCM80 like I should. Glad I didn't go crazy with multiple processors, because I would have been completely overwhelmed. Ended up with an H3500 on loan from a friend this past year, and it's reminded me of the unknowing scale of my initial ambitions. :)
 

mentoneman

Guest
Messages
2,850
I bought a PCM80 with grand designs of adding a DL8000R, PCM90, Eclipse, or even a larger DSP Eventide. Welp, that was 2.5 years ago. I have yet to get to know the PCM80 like I should. Glad I didn't go crazy with multiple processors, because I would have been completely overwhelmed. Ended up with an H3500 on loan from a friend this past year, and it's reminded me of the unknowing scale of my initial ambitions. :)
At least i had a great head start having owned multiple rack fx in the past and years of experience with a pcm 91 when i got my 80 and dl8000. But like i said, learning each unit and their menus, manuals, and internalizing those things to the point where you instinctively know your way around the parameter maze takes time.
 

mentoneman

Guest
Messages
2,850
Borrowing my friend’s H8000 was both exhilarating and exasperating.
Like a blind american becoming the Tokyo city manager overnight. That box lets you explore the cosmos and i’m just trying to cross the street without getting hit, and learn how to say “where’s the bathroom”.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
2,982
It really depends on what you want out of the PCM8x
If you come to it expecting the FACTORY PROGRAMS to blow you away; most of them won't
some of them, yes; Circular Pan, Tape Flange1 and 2 (only on Dual FX card) come to mind immediately.
Plate with higher Rt and size will open the floodgates

PCM80 being much more of a studio tool has a lot of really subtle reverbs in the FACTORY PROGRAMs.
...like, really subtle
and that is the beauty of the Lexicons; set up right that subtlety can be leveraged.
It's so much less in yo face; but deep and rich

Guitar is only one part of the orchestra; there are loads of short drum related verbs and room virtualizations.

Understanding the Master scalars is somewhat tricky; but a good place to start;
if you just dive into tweaking voices; no telling what that'll get you; you need to know what yer gettin yerself into before diving too deep into those
if you want to focus on anything; you gotta get your mix right in the controls section.

I think the hardest thing is the Patching
if you don't have that mindset beforehand; it's so much more a synthesists' headspace to understand parameter modulators than most guitarists' mindset

thing is, if you like cavernous; it isn't tough to dial in; menu diving, tho can certainly be a hassle...especially tumbling down the asterisk rabbit hole
 

GreatSatan

Member
Messages
1,772
i use rack setups into fx returns on tube amps; in the states i use mesa boogie and in the uk i use marshall.
i mainly have them as clean channels with various (mostly tube) based pedals running through them as i found the pedal's tone controls combined with the various studio-grade eqs on the rack gear to give superior control over the tone, and make most anything sound good through them (& at any volume).
Trick is to have 2x12 cabs inatead of a 1x12, it makes a huge difference in quality of the sound even using two of the same speaker.
 




Trending Topics

Top