Rack Gear and Things like the Voodoo Ground Control

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Big Poppa Mac, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Big Poppa Mac

    Big Poppa Mac Member

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    Ok... complete newb question which I am hoping someone can educate me on. How exactly does something like the Voodoo Labs Ground Control work with pedals/rack gear? I have seen threads about having to program this, that, and the other thing, but am still not seeing great explanations.

    Pedals are simple enough... step on it, light goes on, sound plays... but when looking at those short board MIDI controllers, I'm just puzzled/confused as to how they work. I realize that for example, button 1 on the board may turn on 2 or 3 different pedals, button 2 may activate 3 or 4 different ones, but what is the overhead as to doing that versus a traditional pedalboard setup?

    Thanks a bunch!!

    ~Big Poppa~
     
  2. rdba

    rdba Member

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    if you d'like to controll (switch on/off) pedals you have to get a looper (also from voodoo lab, it's like a true bypass strip, but rack mounted) . so you can programm your midi presets for all the rack midi stuff, including the pedals. you can select a preset let's say with a big muff, ts-9, delay etc...and the rack based stuff.

    i had a rack system, but if you don't like to program like a nerd, you'll stay cool with your pedalboard.

    I switched back to a IMO simple pedalboard :)
     
  3. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    With the smaller controllers, you generally just get to advance programs. For example, say your rhythm sound is a dirt pedal. You go to a different sound for the chorus which adds say an EQ and tremolo pedal. Then guitar solo sound requires a different dirt pedal, no mod effects and a delay from a rackmounted unit. You can do all that by selecting the appropriate loops of a unit like VooDoo labs' GCX and programming the desired midi channel of the rack unit and assigning them to a program channel. You can set up, in this case, three different tones, in sequential order, on the controller, and simply advance through them to get the tones you want with one click.

    With a larger floorboard like the Ground Control Pro, you can still set up the "programs" but have 4 or more buttons set up so that you just hit one button to select that "channel," or you can have the top eight buttons set to switch loops in and out (usually pedals or always on units), select different amps, tap tempo for a rackmounted delay, or another type of unit which might switch amp channels for you.

    I use a Ground Control Pro and GCX with Line 6 delay and mod rack units, and dirt and boost pedals in the loops. I also have a GCX-1 from Axess which can change channels on amps, or on my V-twin pedal. I love the way it works because I'm a singer and had enough to worry about without tapdancing. Haven't had an electric gig in a long time, but it worked damn well when I did.

    Voodoo labs isn't the only company that makes something along those lines. Rocktron and Axess make great controllers, and there's a company called Skrydstrup that makes controllers and midi controlled loop units. Lotsa stuff out there.
     
  4. don maxxx

    don maxxx Member

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    I have a little question: Can the Ground Control Pro control just 8 units? Let's say I have 2 rack units that go into the GCX and 8 pedals that go into a switcher like the musicom lab. I'll be able to control them with the Ground Control pro alone or I'll have to throw away 2 pedals?:confused:
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  5. don maxxx

    don maxxx Member

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  6. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    A GCX has 8 loops. You can use those. If you can handle having the rack units "always on" just in your amp's effects loop, even using a bypass setting when you want them off you'll be fine. If you want to have them out of the path when not using those effects, you'll need another device for loops.

    You're confusing me a bit with the products. The Musicom unit functions like a GCX AND the Ground control pro. You could use a GCX with a musicom unit to get more loops, but a Ground control pro with that would just be a redundant controller.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2008
  7. don maxxx

    don maxxx Member

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    So the Ground Control can control 10 loops(8 pedals from the pedalboard connected to the musicom and 2 rack effects contected to the GCX, so particulary controlling these 2)? Or just 8?
    Hope I was clear enough, the english is not my mother language, sorry
     
  8. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    You probably already figured it out, but a GCX can only work 8 devices. Either by switching them in and out of the loops, or by activating a switch, like changing an amp channel in some cases. So not 10.

    Whatever midi controller you're using can be set up to switch a loop or multiple loops, and/or change programs on rack devices(if they can be midi controlled). If you're using all 8 loops, though, those rack devices can't be switched in and out. You can however program a neutral patch(no effect) or a bypass patch to turn off the effect. In this case you would have to program the ground control or whatever midi controller you use to send the proper signal to the effects unit to make that happen.
     
  9. zachman

    zachman Senior Member

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    More than 8 units to deal with, and you need to add another GCX switcher (2 total), RJM switcher, CAE custom switcher, Axess RX-1, a couple of Patchmates, a couple of Soundsculpture Switchblades, or a Soundsculpture switchblade GL.

    Food for thought... Figure out how many pedals and rack gear you need to control, ALSO amp switching, and amp channel selection for a total of how many loops you need and then-- make sure your rig has room to add more stuff, for future growth. Then decide how many direct access switches you'll want on your controller, how many MIDI channels, PC#'s and CC#'s you'll need to transmit per preset.

    Go here and read up, it may give you some things to think about that you've not yet contemplated:

    http://www.customaudioelectronics.com/frequently_asked_questions.htm
     
  10. mibu

    mibu Member

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    just to clarifiy some things:
    the Ground Control Pro can control up to 4 GCX units or whatever loopers are available (that means 4 x 8 = 32 separate loops).
     
  11. zachman

    zachman Senior Member

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    IMO, the controllers with more features/flexibility than the GCP-- ex. more CC ports, direct access switches, MIDI channels per preset, would be a more logical choice, if ones gear requirements are such that needing to control that many loops is a priority.

    Just food for thought, for a system w/ those kind of requirements an Axess FX-1 (w/ Expander) would be THE controller to use.
     
  12. monk

    monk Member

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    [​IMG]

    I love Zachman´s rack but I needed something lighter that I can lift by myself and carry in my car. I have a Custom Audio Amplifiers OD-100 head and a Mesa or Marshall cabinet. I think my signal chain is setup like this:
    Loop 1 Filter pro
    Loop 2 Deja Vibe
    Loop 3 Choralflange
    Loop 4 Amp boost switch
    Loop 5 Mod Pro
    Loop 6 (empty at the moment)
    Loop 7 Replica
    Loop 8 Amp channel switch

    Between loop 2 and 3 I use the pedalswitcher (Comp, Octron, Klon, ZIM).
    The Echo pro is used with the amps effectsloop and I have a Suhr minimix to keep the signal clean. Everything is used controlled by a GCP midiboard.
     
  13. zachman

    zachman Senior Member

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    Thanks...

    I like your rig too. Well done sir.:BEER
     
  14. localmotion411

    localmotion411 Supporting Member

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    I'm building a rack as well to use with my Bludotone Bludo-Drive head. It has an FX loop and I want to run my dirt pedals before the preamp and a G-Major in the loop.

    Monk, where did you get your sliding pedal shelves?

    I'm trying to basically do the same thing, only with one rackmount effects unit (G-Major) and some racked OD pedals. Not sure which audio switcher or MIDI footcontroller to get. The Voodoo Labs stuff is the most cost efficient, but I'm leaning towards an RJM RG-16 for ease of use and quality, as well as a Liquid Foot or Axess FX1 controller.

    My biggest concerns about the whole shebang is how to properly set up my pedalboard with the footcontroller. I need one expression pedal and one volume pedal, as well as a tap tempo control for delays and a tuner. How do I go about setting this up with the rig? Do I have to use a loop in the GCX (or whichever unit I end up with) to insert the volume cable, or is there a way to use one of the expression pedal jacks for a volume pedal? If so, how do I set it up for use with the rig? What about a wah?

    Trying to cut down on the number of cables to and from my pedalboard.
     
  15. zachman

    zachman Senior Member

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    This is where I got mine from:

    http://www.rackman.com/trays-shelves.html

    Mounted it upside down, to save some space.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. monk

    monk Member

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    You don´t need to use a loop of the GCX to conect a volume pedal, you can just use the in and out plugs between the loops. Do you use your volume pedal before the compressor and dirtpedals? It might be a better choice to keep the volumepedal, wah and tuner on the pedalboard. You can use two volume pedals as expression pedals connected to the GCP. It´s not that hard to program everything, you just need to spend some time with the manual. It´s worth it! I have a Boss volumedal connected to my GCP and I decide for every preset what I want to control, for example delay repeats (Echo Pro) or phaser speed (Mod Pro). I you need tap tempo you can use one of the instant access switches of the GPC to do that. You set it up on the same midi channel as your delay and use the CC number of the delay unit that controls delay time. I can do it with my Echo pro but I´m not sure about the G-Major. I got my pedalshelf from Thomann in Germany.
     
  17. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    This is an eternal gear question for me...

    I think about how nice it would be to just press one button per sound. I use a lot of different sounds per passages in my bands songs. It would be sooo nice to do this.

    But on the contrary, it would be a big pain to haul around, troubleshooting would suck, and adjusting patches in the middle of a performance would not be an option. Plus, it would be hideously expensive to go rack with the amount of effects loops I would need.

    So, I have decided in the meantime that the only way I will go to rack is if: 1) I somehow win the lottery or acquire some large sum of money, or 2) my band gets bigger and starts touring successfully.

    In the meantime I will just have to dream I guess...
     
  18. zachman

    zachman Senior Member

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    Been there... and you are correct, it can get expensive. My custom switcher system has 22 functions that it's controlling, and it was not cheap, though considering what it would cost for the commercial systems ex 3 RJM RG16's, or 2 Sound Sculpture Switchblade GLs to do what my CAE Custom Switcher does, my CAE was a less expensive route.
     
  19. BTBAM

    BTBAM Member

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    I posted this on the Hamony Central forum and had a guy helping me out some with it, so I thought I'd pose it here.

    Okay, so I'm an avid pedal user, and I was thinking of going to a rack mounted set up. I'm not real big about getting into the rack units as much as going to a midi controlled set up. Now, I feel like I have an idea of what I'm getting into, but maybe people here can assist me...Here is my current rig:

    [​IMG]

    Mainly, I just enjoy pulling from all of my effects, but would like to improve the overall tone I'm getting.

    I was thinking of just getting some type of furman power conditioner, 2 RJM audio switchers (new effect gizmo, 12 loop ones that showed at NAMM), possible the axess FX1 and then slideable shelves for most all of my pedals. He also mentioned I should maybe get several of the Axess CFX4's instead of the RJM's. I'm hoping that might all fit well in a 16 space rack unit?

    I play solo and with a band, so solo I can leave lots of settings alone, but in band I may tweak some knobs on a phaser or chorus. The rack can stay close so I could still tweak.

    I thought about possibly getting the Echo Pro instead of my line 6 DL-4, but other than that, wasn't really looking into any rack gear. I'm not sure if it will be able to have a section (unlatching switch) to control my tap tempo tremolo and delays (with aux outs from the pedals) on the foot controller or how I'd control the echo park via the foot controller.


    What do you all think or do you have any suggestions?





    I was told to stay away from the GCX switchers since they don't run program changes.
     

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