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How do you rack pedals, how does this work?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by sssmile, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. sssmile

    sssmile Member

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    I was looking at the edge's equipment and thought that it would be neat and tidy to rack all of my pedals. I don't understand midi and don't even know if I would need midi. How could I rack about 12 pedals, and control them with a nice controler. What are the best units, is this a super expensive venture?
     
  2. NyteOwl

    NyteOwl Member

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    There are definitely other options out there, but this is the way I recently did it:

    I already had all the pedals and a nifty little 1-space sliding rack drawer/shelf, so to complete the rig I bought a used Voodoo Labs (Digital Music Corp) Ground Control and GCX Switching unit from a fellow Gear Page member and a 6-space, Anvil-type shock rack on eBay, altogether about a $500 investment. I bought a shock rack because it's wider than a standard rack, and at 18" high, would also serve as an amp stand.

    While the Ground Control comes with it's own power supply, it can also be powered by the GCX, so when used together there is only a single MIDI cable on the floor. The GCX has 8 loops to connect pedals to; if you need more you can control up to 3 more GCX units with the Ground Control.

    Each GCX loop has In, Out, Send & Return jacks. You can route the In and Out signals anyway you want, and use the Send/Return jacks to connect your pedals to the individual loops, which may take a little pre-planning to get the optimal configuration. You can also configure a loop to be a Momentary Switch; I use one as a Tap Tempo input with a delay unit.

    Once you've figured out the desired signal path, it's really rather simple to connect everything together. You'll need a lot of patch cords, though, of various lengths (I used George L Cables) but you don't need any MIDI knowledge. I'm very pleased with the way everything works. The only downside is, fully loaded (GCX, pedals & power supply), the road case weighs a ton.
     
  3. pepperco

    pepperco Member

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  4. dinrodef

    dinrodef Guest

    Before you spend the money think really hard..

    Are some pedals going to be in the effects loop, some in front of the amp? Do you want to run anything in stereo? Do you have fuzz pedals that could sound bad if you're using a loops with a buffer? Do you need easy access to your pedals to change the settings? Is there a possibility you could switch amps in the future or do you like to use multiple amps now? Do you like the sound of George L cables?

    And most importantly... do you "vibe" with a midi or does programming a switcher sound boring and tedious?

    I tried running my pedals in a rack with a switcher and absolutely hated it. Just didn't blend with my personality.. it sounded great... but in the end I like tweaking with pedals and just stomping on them without the hassle of programs. I also like changing my pedalboard around every 6 months cuz I'm a total gear whore.

    Finally, I ended up with a hybrid rig. I've got a small 4space rack with a furman power conditioner and a shelf of pedals which I use in the effects loop of my amp... and then a separate pedalboard with a voodoo lab power supply for the pedals in front of my amp. Sometimes I miss a few beats switching on the pedals... but it's much more inspiring for my personal style of playing

    point is - think really hard about what is fun for you before you jump into the rack thing.. it could cost you At LEAST 1500 bucks or more until you've got all the cables, racks, shelves, switchers.... etc
     
  5. dinrodef

    dinrodef Guest

    One more thing I noticed about the whole "rack pedal thing"

    The guys who like it the most are professionals who have an EXACT performance planned and rehearsed before hand... That's why The Edge would be served so well with a midi controlled rack. He only has to worry about stepping on 1 button for an effects change at a stadium filled with 40,000 people. BUt when he's writing music or in the studio he may have his pedals strewn all over the place in a big mess of chords because that's the most inspiring for songwriting and fiddling with sounds...
     
  6. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    I went the hybrid route last year, and it's working pretty well for me so far. I have a bunch of boosters, overdrives, wahs and such in a pedalboard in front of the amp. I also have an 8-space rack, that includes a G-Major, dbx Dual EQ, and a handful of pedals that run through the effects loop. The rack stuff is midi switched and controlled by two Axess Electronics GRX4 units.

    Using a midi switcher for the front end effects would not work for me. I need to tweak between some songs, and some stuff I need to stomp on and off during a song. Overall, it isn't that complicated at all. If you click my www link below, you can see how it all comes together.
     
  7. NyteOwl

    NyteOwl Member

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    Yes, I strongly advise you think real hard before making this move, but IMHO $1500 is a bit excessive for a minimal investment, unless one is starting totally from scratch or buying all state-of-the-art switching components and top-of-the-line cabling.

    Not counting pedals, I invested a grand total of $650 in my system. That includes the rack drawer, the George L cabling & connectors, the switching system and the shock rack. Like I said before, there are a lot of options available to anyone wanting to go this route, some a lot more expensive than others.

    dinrodef also touched on another important subject, actual gigging vs. rehearsing/songwriting/studio, etc. My rack system is strictly for gigging. I use a smaller pedalboard containing only four effects units for rehearsing; it's a lot easier on my back, and with that in mind, I'll probably move to some sort of hybrid system real soon, to cut the rack weight down.
     
  8. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

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    It's really expensive (to do right), but I'm glad I did it. I actually find it easier to tweak pedals, cause I just yank the drawer open and I don't have to bend all the way down to the floor. When I'm sitting at home on my practice bench, it's even easier as the pedal shelf is at knee height. I can even move pedals in and out without making a huge mess. Sounds great; no popping with my rig.

    But did I mention it's really expensive?
     
  9. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    Most important for me is I SING!! And not just the occasional backup line. I can't be shoegazing to figure out what's on, and what I need to turn on. 3 taps to turn off a chorus and turn on delay and the lead channel while singing makes your singing AND playing sound like a skipping record. Besides, I can barely remember the words! The less crap I have to worry about the better. Programming isn't a huge hassle, especially if all you're programming is a couple pedal chains. When you're controlling rack effects and stuff, that is a pain in my ass(only cause I'm dumb. If I knew what the hell I was doing...)
     
  10. Ted Witcher

    Ted Witcher Member

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    If you have effects, you still have stuff to step on, whether you rack or not. A MIDI footcontroller is way easier once you have it programmed.
     
  11. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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  12. sssmile

    sssmile Member

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    how much is the skydstrup stuff? and what all do you need? and is there a problem located this stuff in the usa? thanks
     
  13. Ed Reed

    Ed Reed Senior Member

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    I've been using two GRX4 switchers for several years and no problems, controlled by a ver.1 Rocktron Midi Mate.


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