Rack rigs and the hobbyist

docgorpon

Senior Member
Messages
1,905
When is the rack rig going to make a come back with hobbyists? I remember in the 80's I would see guys that never left their garages with these amazing, huge, kick-ass sounding rack rigs. If 'Rig Rundown' is any indication, the humungous rack rig is alive and well with a lot of touring, big name players. But it seems like most 'at home' guys are concentrating on boutique pedals and small amps. Nothing wrong with that. And I suppose it makes more sense in some ways (although I think those gigantic rigs can get really good tones at low volumes). But it just seems like it's due for a comeback, seeing as how so many big name pros are using them again.

Yeah, this probably belongs in the rack rig thread, but I can't find it.
 

ledzep618

Member
Messages
4,751
I like the idea of a rack rig but it's just too much to lug without roadies. I would love to get a Fish or Mako and put together a kickass rack rig sometime though
 

effectsman

Member
Messages
3,622
For the average gigging musician they make no sense. They used to be necessary to get those studio processed sounds, but what used to require a rack with multiple separate units now fits on a one chip in a pedal or a single unit like the AxeFX. Far more convenient.
 

gem

Member
Messages
932
I am looking for some more feedback on this topic. I don't do really loud gigs but feel like a head with a couple 1 x 12 or 2 x 12 cabs would be could be a simpler approach than all of these stupid boutique pedals. My Replica just **** the bed and the replacement price for that pedal or the price of a Timeline ( I would like to have a digital readout ) maybe should go to getting a rack rig together. I don't care about the trends I just want simple effective killer tone... with the basic flavors... tremolo, wa, delays, ( stereo maybe) reverb... with the basic glassy clean, all the wy to VH.

What are the pros and cons to rack stuff?
 

JMMP1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
871
I am exclusively a hobbyist right now, and have enough rack gear to make an all inclusive rack, but I have it split up as an amp rack, and an effects and control rack which I can also use with my amp heads. I love the setup,

Pros: everything is protected in a rack, cable runs are short inside of the rack. You can combine rack effects with pedal effects, and make everything true bypass switchable. Many rackmount preamps allow savable presets via midi. Eliminates the pedal tap dance if implemented correctly.

Cons: requires external midi foot controller, plus other control bits to do everything like the pros. Midi can introduce latency into switching from one sound to another. Some claim rack effects (or multi effects in general) sound too processed and/or digital.

My rack is a voltage regulator, GCX, L6 M5, bogner blue, Keeley mod TS9, and a yet unkown pedal, gmajor2 run through a suhr minimix, and a korg tuner. As far as racks go, it's not too complex, or astronomically expensive.

I pursued the rack route because of my interest in technology, and the challenge of programming it.
 

gem

Member
Messages
932
That part scares me!


Maybe it wouldn't be so complicated if I have a pre-amp, power-amp, a relatively simple delay/reverb so I can use preset delays ( so I don't have to turn a knob to get delay in synch ) and have a trem wa and fuzz on the floor
 
Messages
2,449
Indeed most people don't like programming. Also, most rack units seem (pre amps, power amps, effects etc...) to be aimed at hard rock and metal players, not so much for classic rock and blues.
I know john mayer has a rack rig, but then he just has a shitload of pedals that wouldn't be practical to have on a pedalboard all in his rack connected to an audio switcher, along with some other stuff like a wireless etc... But still pretty much all the effects are boutique or vintage and he still runs three amp heads so he's still more of a traditionalist.
 

cardinal

Member
Messages
5,311
I agree with Tucky: modern processing power puts in a small pedal what use to require massive rack space.

Touring guys use racks because they keep everything safe and in one place during transport and make set up/tear down real quick: just roll it in, plug in the speaker cabs, run a MIDI controller on stage, and turn it on.

They can get real heavy in a hurry and can be nearly impossible to get into a normal car if they get too big. If you don't have roadies and a van, best bet is to split the rig up into multiple racks (power amp rack, wireless and preamp and out-front effects units rack, in-loop effects units and power strips/voltage regulators/etc. rack).
 

Melodyman

Member
Messages
2,340
Unless I read the OP wrong hobbyists wouldn't be moving the racks around, they would just sit stationary in their jam space.
 

sleewell

Senior Member
Messages
10,593
I don't know why but I have always been drawn to rack gear, my main setup right now is just a 6 space rack and it is very easy to move around. I guess I just like being able to swap out preamps with different power amps and vice versa.

I had a bogner fish for a bit but sold it bc my mako mak4 I felt was better. verellen makes a skyhammer rack preamp that I currently would love to check out. also a vht gp3 has been on my radar for a while.

I love having a stereo poweramp; using a closed and open back cab together with separate master volumes for each is pure heaven. and being able to control your preamp and power amp totally separately is pretty cool too.
 

the recluse

Member
Messages
526
I've traded into some rack gear over the last few months. In the little that I've played around with it, I have really liked it. There is so much interesting stuff out there that is dirt cheap now because it's out of fashion.

My goal is to replace my current gigging rig with a rack based one by the end of the year. All I need to do is find the time to set it up and program a few patches.
 

JMMP1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
871
That part scares me!


Maybe it wouldn't be so complicated if I have a pre-amp, power-amp, a relatively simple delay/reverb so I can use preset delays ( so I don't have to turn a knob to get delay in synch ) and have a trem wa and fuzz on the floor
It's not complicated once you understand the logic. I have read many articles on how midi operates, and the manuals of all of my devices, and it is actually all very simple. In my rig, the programming is literally all cc and PC messages, and they don't do any "out there" things. FWIW my rack is 8u, and weighs about 50 lbs..... About the same as my amp heads, but more awkward to carry.
Just about every programmable rig works off of midi though, such as large pedalboards.

Yes, it does seem that most rack pres are aimed at metal, but there are a few that aren't (JMP-1, mako mak 4, bogner fish, and I'm sure a few more), but that's also because a lot of the classic rock guys don't want a rack, or access to 128 saved sounds on a foot controller.
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,275
Man I'd kill for a Landau style rack. They don't have to be huge.
Lots of good rack talk (don't ever diss Mike Landau there..) is huge racks inc forum.
 

JMMP1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
871
Forgive my ignorance but where on TGP could one investigate this racky approach?
It's interspersed with everything else in the effects section, as well as the amp section. But I concur with big mike, if you want to learn quick, visit hugeracksinc.com
It's a little different crowd, more technical talk, but incredibly knowledgable and resourceful for rack stuff. If you can think it up, they can answer it.
 

guitarjazz

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,376
My huge rack was for studio use only. I don't think it ever saw a live gig. It was awesome, plug in to the wall, flip a power switch and zing! it was on. Loved the rack drawer for cords and concessions.
 

rockon1

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,265
Racks were an appealing concept. Separate components like high end audio equipment. Because of it though they often were unwieldy-even relatively minimal ones. Bob
 

Pablomago

Member
Messages
6,199
I wish some one made a stereo power amp that used 6V6's at about 20 watts a side. That would make a rack usable for me. I have a good preamp, a few processors and a 2 x 12" cab wired in stereo. I've never found the right amp. The closest thing is a Mesa 20/20 but it uses EL 84's.
 

ldizzle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,387
Completely unnecessary right now. Better gear is smaller and more available for a regular pedalboard.
 




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