Question about all in one floor units

BlofeldsCat

Member
Messages
81
What is the thinking behind floor units like the Tonelab, GT-100 and HD500?
Why the shift away from being pure rack gear or combined amp units like Line6 Flextone? Is it just to combine rack gear with pedal boards? If not then I don't see why anyone woulk fork out for these units if they're going to already have a full amp setup.
 

Mexicanbreed

Member
Messages
182
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. I know those units can be used as standalone, with no need of an amp. However, they can be integrated with a current amp and pedals rig. The HD500 (I don't know about the others) even has a loop so you can plug in a favorite pedal appropriately. I hope this was along the lines of your question.
 

BlofeldsCat

Member
Messages
81
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. I know those units can be used as standalone, with no need of an amp. However, they can be integrated with a current amp and pedals rig. The HD500 (I don't know about the others) even has a loop so you can plug in a favorite pedal appropriately. I hope this was along the lines of your question.
I mean I understand why people have stomp pedals and rack gear. Stomp pedals and most rack are mainly used for the non-distortion effects that amps don't have (delay, compression, flanger, phaser etc) but I don't understand why someone would choose one of these units over a few stomp boxes or rack gear to complete their sound. Most people with amps have no need for the gain channels that these all-in-one units offer.

And with rack, some people prefer to go fully rack via a power amp but their rig is set up for that -ie: power amp & cab. They aren't bypassing a perfectly good preamp section. Plus the nature of rack means you can mix and match and be as bespoke as you like whereas these units don't offer that flexibility.
 

jamiefbolton

Member
Messages
912
Racks are a PITA to lug around. And still, you have to use a midi controller to use them in a live setting. Why not use a floor unit? Why use a rack at all? Unless you're a pro with someone else to set it all up.
 

MetalGuitard

Member
Messages
741
BlofeldsCat, I use the Boss GT-100 much as one would use a rack effects unit. Mainly for non-gain oriented effects. I've tried rack gear numerous times. I started the rack journey with a Digitech 2101 and a Mesa 2:Ninety and added a Triaxis. I went thru a dozen other FX units with the Triaxis and aside from great high gain, I couldn't ever get the kind of cleans my tube amp gets. So, once I resigned myself to a more traditional tube amp and FX unit, I again tried rack FX, pedals and many combinations of both.

For me, it comes down to good tone with great flexibility and control. I use the GT-100 as my amps' footswitch, my FX unit ( via 4 cable method ) and even as a Direct to PA/FRFR unit if my amp ever dies. I still have my tone/gain coming from my amp and I have all the control I could ever need at my toes. Granted, if my amp dies, I'm stuck with the GT's 'tone' but I've become more and more satisfied with that the more I tinker with it.

For me it's all about simplicity ( of setup and operation ) and compactness ( fewer/lighter pieces ) and ultimately being able to afford the gear. In the old days when I had a really heavy rack ( Furman PL-8, Triaxis, 2:Ninety, rack FX ), a 4x12 cab, a guitar and a midi footswitch. The rack gear certainly made the cabling much nicer until I discovered wah, then I had to run more cables.

As I got older and less inclined to carry all that up and down stairs and load it into a car/truck I started exploring the smaller rigs like I have now. Now, I have a combo amp ( or a very light Tweaker 40 head and 2x12 ), the Boss and a guitar. My GT-100 switches my amps' channels, turns on/off whatever FX I want, shows me the name of the song/sound I'm using ( which helps me a LOT ), works as my wah, volume, tuner and lead boost. All I have to do is hit a button. Granted the GT's FX are pretty vanilla compared to the pedals of today but in the bars I play, I can't be heard at all 1/3rd of the time due to ****** PA's/sound guys and no one but me can tell how fancy my delay unit is the other 2/3rds when they can hear me.


So that's why I use floor multi-fx.
 

ltkojak

Member
Messages
1,039
I mean I understand why people have stomp pedals and rack gear. Stomp pedals and most rack are mainly used for the non-distortion effects that amps don't have (delay, compression, flanger, phaser etc) but I don't understand why someone would choose one of these units over a few stomp boxes or rack gear to complete their sound. Most people with amps have no need for the gain channels that these all-in-one units offer.

And with rack, some people prefer to go fully rack via a power amp but their rig is set up for that -ie: power amp & cab. They aren't bypassing a perfectly good preamp section. Plus the nature of rack means you can mix and match and be as bespoke as you like whereas these units don't offer that flexibility.
You sound like somebody that just woke up from a coma that started in 1992... no offense.
 

chrisjw5

Senior Member
Messages
10,042
You sound like somebody that just woke up from a coma that started in 1992... no offense.
Harsh way of putting it, but I have to wonder if OP has read anything about all-in-ones, or is just looking to get a rise?

It's like asking why anyone would choose front-wheel drive. In 1983, it might be a question worth asking. By now, we've moved past that.

Assuming it's a legitimate question: you assume lots of things....

1) that everyone uses tube-based amps [they don't]
2) that rack and stomp boxes are superior [that's a subjective opinion, not a fact]
3) that even if #2 were true, that the superiority gap is SO wide that no one would give a little in live sound to not have to lug a rack case around
4) that even if tube-based sounds better, that the cost of an amp and rack/pedalboard justifies their use. You can get a great sounding, run-direct live system for $500. To some people, dropping multi-thousands on a whole rig is worth it. Clearly, based on sales, to a lot of people, it's not.
 

Semitone

Member
Messages
899
Is it just to combine rack gear with pedal boards?

If not then I don't see why anyone woulk fork out for these units if they're going to already have a full amp setup.
In short...yes.

Not everybody who uses floor units is going to use a "full amp" setup. Many go straight to PA.
 

CowTipton

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,122
I'm not sure I understand the OP's question.

I own two tube amps, various guitars, and several pedals but still went out and bought an HD500X because of its all-in-one floorboard design and the crazy amount of flexibility and variety of sounds it offers.

I'd need to spend 1000's to get my amps to do the same stuff (stereo setups, mic changes, speaker changes, pedals, etc.)
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,796
If you're going direct, a floor unit means you can essentially carry your entire rig with you, including your guitar, in one trip from the car. They're just really convenient.

I do understand the thinking of some players who want to avoid having the brains of their sound on the floor. So from that perspective, a rack or more backline oriented setup might make some sense. But, really, I think the era of racks has sort of come and gone. You still see them sometimes, for sure. But if you're not in an actual touring band, they aren't very convenient.
 

gumtown

Member
Messages
1,947
I thought rack gear died out 15 years ago??
especially those days of shifting 6 foot high rack panels onto the side of the stage full of guitar rack gear.
Floor Modellers are just sooooo.... convenient.
 

micycle

Member
Messages
3,937
Racks are a PITA to lug around. And still, you have to use a midi controller to use them in a live setting. Why not use a floor unit? Why use a rack at all? Unless you're a pro with someone else to set it all up.
THIS. I used a rack in the 90s, couldn't stand lugging it around and was eagerly waiting for an all-in-one floor unit (or ideally amp) to come along and knock my socks off. The GT line did that for me. I loved the all-inclusiveness and low maintenance aspect of it. Much easier to carry, too. Throw it on the floor, plug it in and go.

I've lived in NYC the past 5 years and can't imagine using a rack and having to lug it through public transit.. nor do I think I've even seen anyone use a rack here (I'm sure they're out there). I don't even use a full board anymore thanks to Tech 21's Fly Rig 5. It's all about portability here!
 

ldizzle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,424
Floor units are convenient, cheap(relatively), and can sound great! I tell students who play in church or youth group to grab the line6 hd series then do their heros patches or some that I programmed. Ezpz
 

Pietro

2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
Messages
16,442
I don't see why anyone woulk fork out for these units if they're going to already have a full amp setup.
I kinda agree. If I had a full amp setup, I'm interested in a pedal board, and maybe it has something in a multi-FX on it, maybe not. But, in my environment, I don't have an amp at all. Having everything at my feet and nothing anywhere else (I monitor with IEMs) is tremendously handy.
 

Semitone

Member
Messages
899
Plus the nature of rack means you can mix and match and be as bespoke as you like whereas these units don't offer that flexibility.
This seems like a bit of a built in assumption. I think some multi-fx floorboards offer great flexibility, particularly when you consider the cost , ease and dependability issues of trying to do a similar thing with a rack.
 

BlofeldsCat

Member
Messages
81
Racks are a PITA to lug around. And still, you have to use a midi controller to use them in a live setting. Why not use a floor unit? Why use a rack at all? Unless you're a pro with someone else to set it all up.
So it is a rack and pedalboard combined. Good to know.


You sound like somebody that just woke up from a coma that started in 1992... no offense.
Pretty much. I've not looked seriously at guitar equipment since 2003 and haven't looked at a guitar magazine since the mid 90s.


In short...yes.

Not everybody who uses floor units is going to use a "full amp" setup. Many go straight to PA.
Thanks!


I'm not sure I understand the OP's question.

I own two tube amps, various guitars, and several pedals but still went out and bought an HD500X because of its all-in-one floorboard design and the crazy amount of flexibility and variety of sounds it offers.

I'd need to spend 1000's to get my amps to do the same stuff (stereo setups, mic changes, speaker changes, pedals, etc.)
You don't understand me, I don't understand you lol. If you have all the sounds you want why but a HD500?

As for mic & speaker changes, no one's going to do that in a live setting so I think that's a spurious point.



I don't even use a full board anymore thanks to Tech 21's Fly Rig 5. It's all about portability here!
I'll have to check that out. I had their PSA-1 (along with a Hush II and intellifex) and it was phenomenal.



I think the era of racks has sort of come and gone.
This is a shock. I'd been brought up believing rack was the ultimate. At the bottom were stomp pedals, then the multi-FX floor units like the Zoom 505, then rack. Though I've not kept my ear to the ground effect-wise, I've seen racks like Axe FX kicking arse so assumed rack was alive and well. And as stomp pedals and plugins improved I assumed to too did rack - therefore maintaining its leader-of-the-pack status.



I do understand the thinking of some players who want to avoid having the brains of their sound on the floor.
This. Plus the fact your all-in-one is all-in-one - great for ease of use but bad for flexibility and if anything breaks.




I think some multi-fx floorboards offer great flexibility, particularly when you consider the cost , ease and dependability issues of trying to do a similar thing with a rack.
All caveats. I don't want the best value for money, or the easiest, I want the best. If that means buying 2 units as opposed to one unit taht does one thing great but another only so-so then so be it. Going rack - like hi-fi separates - allows you to mix and match. One brand may be great at one thing whilst another is better at another plus they can be swapped out as and when required.

If your midi pedal board dies/breaks (or one piece of rack) you can get a new one but at least your rack is intact but if your all-in-one goes tits up then the whole unit is ruined. This is another major selling point for hi-fi separates - because if the tape deck on you all-in-one hi-fi unit breaks then your whole system is compromised.
 

Semitone

Member
Messages
899
I thought rack gear died out 15 years ago??

I'm not sure this is exactly true. Maybe for the average club gigging musician or weekend warrior but I think large pro bands are still using rack gear because of the convenience of packing and unpacking nightly ( yes..those with roadies!) and the rack offers protection during transport. Wheeled onto a truck...wheeled off a truck.

Still...most of us around here who schlep our own gear and aren't rolling in dough are keeping things simpler with amps, cabs and pedal boards...or digital ( or analog) modeling setups, more recently, as the technology ( and understanding of it) improves.

When it comes to things like POD HD500 I think "bang for buck" is hard to beat. ( But they do require some understanding, tweaking can become a self defeating obsession. You're not dealing with a few knobs and that's it for good or bad. I think you need a deeper understanding of room acoustics and how FRFR behaves to get the most from the gear.)

Did I say "computer versus abacus?" No but I wanted to...
 

geekocaster

Member
Messages
2,262
I use the HD300 to go direct to Front of house, kind of like a smart Direct Box (no amp/cab). I still use pedals in front but I could get by without. When I had a rack unit, I still needed a floor board to control it, with the all-in-one floor unit, it's the same footprint as my floor controller for my rack, but now I don't need to carry my rack gear. Usually going direct sounds better in the context of a band mix anyway, especially if you are playing in a very large band.
 

donnievaz

Member
Messages
3,569
When it comes to things like POD HD500 I think "bang for buck" is hard to beat. ( But they do require some understanding, tweaking can become a self defeating obsession. You're not dealing with a few knobs and that's it for good or bad. I think you need a deeper understanding of room acoustics and how FRFR behaves to get the most from the gear.)

Did I say "computer versus abacus?" No but I wanted to...
Being in a cover band, I need versatility, and for me the HD500X has become my go to. I run straight out of it into the power amp section of a tube head and out to a 4x12. No cab or power amp modeling is turned on, all my patches are tweaked to sound good with my amp and cab. No FRFR to deal with and I still get the comforting feeling of the 4x12 behind me. Add to that, pretty much any effect that I could possibly ever want to use and an extremely versatile platform to control them. All packed in the footprint of a small pedalboard. I'm in heaven. Of course it's not perfect, it doesn't sound or feel exactly like the rigs it's modeling or have the exact effects I would use if I were to make the ultimate pedalboard, but it's damned close and the convenience and versatility outweigh those slight differences for me.
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,796
This is a shock. I'd been brought up believing rack was the ultimate. At the bottom were stomp pedals, then the multi-FX floor units like the Zoom 505, then rack. Though I've not kept my ear to the ground effect-wise, I've seen racks like Axe FX kicking arse so assumed rack was alive and well. And as stomp pedals and plugins improved I assumed to too did rack - therefore maintaining its leader-of-the-pack status.
Well, Fractal seems to have done pretty well with the Axe FX, yes, but I imagine if we're talking pure sales figures, it's not even a comparison between it and the floor units. I also think that there are a lot of people who use Axe FX units or other rack gear who have relatively small rack cases. I think unless you're on tour and have someone moving around huge racks for you, the rack form factor isn't all that convenient.
 






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