One box to rule them all - maybe two?

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by swinginguitar, Nov 27, 2017.


  1. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

    Messages:
    619
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    So I have a modest rack system with low end FX units and mixer, and have been wondering - is there a good quality box that could stand on its own (and not be a -total- compromise), but in a reasonable price range (as in under $1k...H7000 or Eclipse prolly pushing it).

    By stand on its own, I mean flexible routing of simultaneous chorus, detune, delay and reverb. anything else would just be candy (comp/eq/panner/etc)

    Am I looking at something like a G-Force, older rocktron, PCMxx (81)? I presume the g-major is a bit pedestrian given the price point

    Would love to be able to dispense with the mixer in the chain if possible, but not at the expense of flexibility and cleanliness. Also would like to be able to get good sounds up and running without heavy tweaking (at first...the tweaking would come later.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  2. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa
    mmmh
    I know exactly what you mean but you need to really define your needs to understand what kind of one-in-all machine would fit your desires.
    Under $1K... you can get good audio but limited number of effects... one of the reasons I ask for what you need.
    H7000? what is that.... DSP7000 or H7600? Both definitely NOT in the 1K range.

    If it's chorus AND detune, delays, reverb:
    under 1K or about it... 2 PCMs.. an 80 and an 81 or 2 81s.
    Eclipse can give you all of that but in a limited way about routings.
    Over 1K... few machines but supreme audio quality... and ALL in one for sure. But I'm not adventuring there... yet.
    A mixer is a must.
     
  3. marpa94

    marpa94 Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    Location:
    East from Brooklyn
    Ciao Italo,

    Adventuring late On rack idea, before buying fx i'm focusing on a good quality mixer,
    Im asking you what are those main aspects you would focus and cosider in a mixer,
    And the mixer you own....

    Thanx a lot
     
    ctreitzell likes this.
  4. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

    Messages:
    619
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    I meant h8000 - and was saying that would be way out of reach....along with Eclipse.

    Current setup: Kemper feeding an SM10, 2 MX400 configured as chorus and detune on box 1, delay and reverb on box two.

    Most time i just run a plate reverb, occasional stereo "tape" delay, even less occasional chorus+detune for an approximation of the 80s session sound.

    Would a G Force cut it? Fairly flexible routing in the box?

    If i ran PCM81s, would i not have enough outputs to route things properly (arent they 2 in 2 out)? (the MXs that I run now are 4 in 4 out devices)

    and by "a mixer is a must" i infer that none of these devices are to be used to handle the dry path..even high end devices?
     
  5. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa
    Hi marpa94

    do we know each other?...

    Quality mixer is a BIG topic. Depends on which is the "biggest" aspect you are considering in a mixer.
    If many devices are used... then a mixer needs to be powerful at routings, so channels outputs, alternate busses and good number of Aux Sends are a must.
    Portability might become a problem though.
    Define your system and needs and main use environment... and we find a mixer.
    I use a Mackie 1642 VLZ Pro.
     
    marpa94 likes this.
  6. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa

    Well... it gets complex....
    It seems you are covered with the 2 MXs. Why changing?
    No fx from the Kemper?
    Not sure I understand the problem with number of I/Os for the PCM81....
    None of these or much higher end devices run dry audio in analog domain. No reason for that.
     
  7. Mayhem13

    Mayhem13 Member

    Messages:
    485
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2017
    Contemplating this very question.........to keep it all as simple as possible so my mind leads me to a pair of Eventide H9's
     
  8. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa
    Not LINE LEVEL friendly!
     
    iam_krash likes this.
  9. marpa94

    marpa94 Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    Location:
    East from Brooklyn
    Grazie italo,
    No unfortunately we do not know eachother...
    Thanx for the infos very useful,now im using a small yamaha ag06 mixer, but without all features you suggested...
    Looking for a wider mixer than a deeper(profondo) one, suggestions?
    Thanx a lot
    Ciaoooo
     
  10. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa

    I have no idea as I don't really consider gear for those aspects.
    What do you exactly need in a mixer?
     
  11. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

    Messages:
    619
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Even disregarding the price, those MX400 sound pretty good - very useable. but i keep reading on here about the PCMs etc and it makes me feel like i'm missing something lol. there is of course a certain muddiness or lack of clarity that goes with the pricepoint...

    backstory:
    So i have my kemper racked in a custom case that resembles an amp head - similar in concept to the mission engineering cases. My MX400s and mixer et al are in a separate 4 space rack that matches the kemper rack. That setup is really best suited to stay put in my studio - my mind was wandering and i thought for "grab and go" purposes, it would be cool to just kinda hide a single fx unit in the kemper rack to take up the slack for the kemper's mediocre (i'm trying to be nice here) effects. at one time i had considered one of the TC G series, but have yet to hear anything overly glowing about them.

    I tried the H9 back there - it sounds good enough, but the parameters are quite limited, and if you fire up a multi algorithm (spacetime or modechoverb), you are sharing 10 params among 3 effects - not much room for tweaks.

    A single unit with 2 in/2 out seems to be a compromise routing wise, if you want to maintain an analog dry signal (the PCM81 falls into this category...? can do mods/dly/rvb but all on a pair of I/O..?)
     
  12. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa

    I see the points you are coming from...
    Well... I had a feeling about the Kemper fx not being "up to...". I wonder why they haven't searched/used/allocated the same amount of resources for FX development as for the amps side of the product.
    We'll see if that changes in the future...
    Anyway... you won't get those kind of sounds from a G-thing... at all. Verb is really low quality. And your observations on the H9 are just perfect.
    Now... you move to a higher level for a reason...
    But the confused thing remains the "dry" signal handling. How do YOU have it thru your system?
    Be aware that ANY and EVERY high quality fx processor does not pass dry audio thru it as it's basically a pointless detail in an effects processor. This is handled by other devices.
    A 15.000 $/€ reverb doesn't pass dry audio thru... because it's assumed the user has the gear for that.
    A PCM80/81 does mod/dlys/verb on a stereo out (2 connectors) like any other stereo unit. The DUAL FX card allows to route the effects (dlys/mod <> verb) separately, but still thru the same 2 outputs; you can't physically separate them. It takes higher end units to do that.
    And a mixer is still required, not only for the dry sound but also to manage some creative routings between the effecs processors, thru the Aux Sends.
     
  13. marpa94

    marpa94 Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    Location:
    East from Brooklyn
    Youre right....
    At the moment im running my guitar pedals in a mixer, some in series other in parallel,
    I like that stereo sound, id like to move from my pedalboard to line level gear,
    Room space at least for me, is a big issue , so i can store my next gear on shelf 80 cm wide n' 30 cm deep, in order to begin with a mixer with more features but that is working for me.

    Thats my need
    Grazie milllle
     
  14. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

    Messages:
    619
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    marpa94 - maybe move this ^ to a thread of its own...?

    I am going to threadjack myself here momentarily, then return to the task at hand.

    Current routing with the dual MX400 rig (all cables TRS balanced, except aux sends, which are TRS to dual TS splitters to separate the stereo sends to dual mono sends):

    Kemper stereo out > SM10 channel 1 L+R
    Pre fader aux L > MX400a 1
    Pre fader aux R > MX400a 3
    Post fader aux L > MX400b 1
    Post fader aux R > MX400b 3
    Stereo outputs x4 from the MX400s returned to their own channels, and mixed to taste (including a smidge of the mod fx in the dly/rvb sends)

    My question is in regard to gain staging in a rack setup. The SM10 manual recommends keeping the knobs close to 12:00 for lowest noise, so in keeping with that, I have the MX400 input trim pots wide open (no attenuation), and have tweaked the send/return levels, as well as toggled the -10/+4 switches per channel to optimize what i see on the meters of all devices, while keeping the mixer knobs in the vicinity of 12:00.

    The question - are there any recommended 'hard and fast' rules about gain structure like this? Particularly the -10/+4 switches? Any input or experiences appreciated.
     
    marpa94 likes this.
  15. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

    Messages:
    619
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    And now back to the task at hand:

    so hypothetically, if i replaced the MX's with PCM8x's, i would be collapsing from 8 I/O total to 4 I/O total, thereby losing some "outside of the box" mixing/routing flexibility. Right? I would then be routing mod into mod, dly into rvb, etc, inside the box. or running in parallel in the box and then mixing in the box out to a stereo pair? Would that not compromise the whole wet/dry mix thing?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  16. AbstractLunatic

    AbstractLunatic Member

    Messages:
    3,165
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Location:
    Denver
    "One box to rule them all..."

    Am pentatonic 5th position ;)
     
    guitarjazz and swinginguitar like this.
  17. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa
    I don't understand the following:

    Current routing with the dual MX400 rig (all cables TRS balanced, except aux sends, which are TRS to dual TS splitters to separate the stereo sends to dual mono sends)
    Why is that?

    -----

    Pre fader aux L > MX400a 1
    Pre fader aux R > MX400a 3
    Post fader aux L > MX400b 1
    Post fader aux R > MX400b 3

    what are 1 and 3?
    -----

    GAIN adjustments...
    you should run everything on +4dB. Don't mix -10dB with +4 with that kind of gear you are using.
    The real question is what kind of signal is coming out of the Kemper. That should be all balls, +4dB and hot!
    In this way everythoing will get and feed the proper type of signal.
    What's odd is the fact your Lexicons inputs pots are full open. They shouldn't. Usually in Lexi consumer products you should expect input trimmers to be around 1 or 2 o'clock.
    On a very hot signal 12 would be it. Looks like the Lexis are not seeing a hot enough signal.
    Your mixer uses the pots "12" position as a unity gain (no cut/no boost = what comes in is going out). If all pots are on "12" and the Lexis need inputs trimmers to be at max... then the Kemper is a weak old lady that needs to have some macho fun! Make sure it's running on proper levels and types of outputs (XLRs?).

    What are the Lexicons input LEDs showing?
     
  18. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa
    You are considering 2 PCMs here?
    If that's the case, obviously yes... you'll have 4 inputs and 4 outputs.
    Inside the PCMs you can do some routing work, particularly in the PITCH algorithms and with the Dual FX card.
    Now... I wouldn't worry too much though because the logic exercise of routings needs to be considered in terms of the effects you want to build.
    Because something gives more routings... doesn't imply more effects possibilities that may always make sense.
    So you need to know what you want and IF the machines can do it for you... in other words... READ TFM really well... . An answer would take endless typing...
    Wet/dry is not an issue... why would that be ?

    Last but not least... actually FIRST... the SOUND! What you get from PCMs is something you have no idea at the moment.
    With two of them.... Rumba Mamà!!!
     
  19. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

    Messages:
    3,648
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bibarasse in CassoPipa
    Have you opened one of those Lexicons? Any chance to get a few pictures of the main board? Which DSPs are in there?
     
  20. swinginguitar

    swinginguitar Member

    Messages:
    619
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    I don't understand the following:

    Current routing with the dual MX400 rig (all cables TRS balanced, except aux sends, which are TRS to dual TS splitters to separate the stereo sends to dual mono sends)
    Why is that?

    ===> the SM10 only has 2 aux sends, both stereo. by splitting each, i can feed each of the 4 inputs with an aux independently

    Pre fader aux L > MX400a 1
    Pre fader aux R > MX400a 3
    Post fader aux L > MX400b 1
    Post fader aux R > MX400b 3

    what are 1 and 3?
    -----
    ===>The LEFT/mono inputs of each stereo pair on each MX400 respectively


    GAIN adjustments...
    you should run everything on +4dB. Don't mix -10dB with +4 with that kind of gear you are using.
    The real question is what kind of signal is coming out of the Kemper. That should be all balls, +4dB and hot!
    In this way everythoing will get and feed the proper type of signal.
    What's odd is the fact your Lexicons inputs pots are full open. They shouldn't. Usually in Lexi consumer products you should expect input trimmers to be around 1 or 2 o'clock.
    On a very hot signal 12 would be it. Looks like the Lexis are not seeing a hot enough signal.
    Your mixer uses the pots "12" position as a unity gain (no cut/no boost = what comes in is going out). If all pots are on "12" and the Lexis need inputs trimmers to be at max... then the Kemper is a weak old lady that needs to have some macho fun! Make sure it's running on proper levels and types of outputs (XLRs?).

    ===> i think the kemper output level may be the devil in the details. i will have to check that against the the SM10 and reach a solution...metering kinda weak on such a device as the sm10.

    What are the Lexicons input LEDs showing?
    ===> averaging on the high side of yellow, ever so slightly red at a rare moment of violent aggression.

    ===> perhaps i should point the Lexicon trimmers to noon, all switches to +4, and work outward from there?


    You are considering 2 PCMs here?
    If that's the case, obviously yes... you'll have 4 inputs and 4 outputs.
    Inside the PCMs you can do some routing work, particularly in the PITCH algorithms and with the Dual FX card.
    Now... I wouldn't worry too much though because the logic exercise of routings needs to be considered in terms of the effects you want to build.
    Because something gives more routings... doesn't imply more effects possibilities that may always make sense.
    So you need to know what you want and IF the machines can do it for you... in other words... READ TFM really well... . An answer would take endless typing...

    ==> if everything is constrained to 2 or 4 inputs/outputs, my ability to send and return to and from the FX units in parallel is compromised...? or is it conceptually split internally in the DSP

    Wet/dry is not an issue... why would that be ?

    ==> what if i work up a watery mod patch with detune, chorus, echoes, etc, but want to balance the respective levels of each (as i would with each module feeding a mixer in parallel)? If i'm running the box 100% wet on an aux, and i balance effects levels in the box, am i not introducing some "dry" in its path? i suspect i lack a basic understanding of how the PCMs work internally, and need to RTFM.

    Last but not least... actually FIRST... the SOUND! What you get from PCMs is something you have no idea at the moment.
    With two of them.... Rumba Mamà!!!

    ==> sigh....its statements like this that started this thread to begin with. now my eye is twitching and shoulder spasms have begun. Where would i even begin to learn to dial these in? are there some boilerplate patches in the community to use as a starting point?

    ==> if you have time, please give me a brief rundown on how i would integrate 1 or 2 PCM8x in such a scenario as mine, in terms of basic routing in and out of box. (mod on one and rvb/dly on other, for example.)


    Have you opened one of those Lexicons? Any chance to get a few pictures of the main board? Which DSPs are in there?

    ==>, no, but given a day or two, I shall!

    ==> will post back with a writeup on a 'wishlist' for what fx i would like available to me, in hopes of narrowing down the requirements/selection.

    ==> this is me bowing humbly as i exit this post....
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017

Share This Page