Rackmount vs pedalboard

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Jd0g33, May 19, 2011.

  1. Jd0g33

    Jd0g33 Member

    Messages:
    43
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Is there something thats better about 2 drivers, or whatever a rackmounted modeler has than a pedalboard modeler? Do rackmounted systems have the better hand at modeling since you can process more or is it more of a "how fx you can have on at a time." I gues what im asking is if, say, eleven rack was made into a pedal board version, would the amps still be the same quality? I saw a thread that was talking about a possible pod hd rack unit, and i wonder why someone would want that and a midi controller rather than it all in one pedalboard.
     
  2. forum_crawler

    forum_crawler Member

    Messages:
    7,289
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    Both have pros and cons. The pedalboard has the advantage of not needing you to bring a rack. If you have a rack, you will likely also need a pedalboard.

    As for sounds, well, you can get a modeler + power amp + effects place them in one rack and have the option of going into a cab or directly into the PA, or both.

    I have gone the rack way because I was tired of the endless search for the right distortion pedal. I got an amp with the right type of gain for me, and a modeler for my practice rig that also gave me everything I needed. Both require a rack + pedalboard.

    As for the form factor... there is little difference. They are all electronic devices, and while you can bet that an 11R pedalboard would have the same models and whatnot, you can also assume the rack version will always have more features. It always seems to be that way. Rack products are geared at a more "pro" audience than pedalboard formats.
     
  3. drew7000

    drew7000 Member

    Messages:
    254
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    One thing that does make a difference for me on stage is my cables.

    When I was using Floor based units, I would be running 25 feet of cables between my modeler and my tube amp. Now, with my rack unit, I go wireless to the rack and then just have short cables from the rack. I now only need ONE cable to my floorboard.

    It doesn't just save time, but helps prevent issues with interference.

    If you go rack, I also highly advise you to get a patch panel. With mine, I have connectors for 1/4, XLR, USB, Cat5 etc and they are all on the FRONT of my rack. Makes it MUCH easier in the dark to just plug in and get things rolling.
     
  4. _pete_

    _pete_ Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,434
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    Palm Harbor, Florida
    This.

    Another reason I like everything in a rack is that it keeps the brains of the gear out of the 'beer spill zone'.
     
  5. drew7000

    drew7000 Member

    Messages:
    254
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Exactly. Plus the "modular" nature of a rack means I don't have to be 100% dedicated to a unit.

    With floor modelers, you have to commit to them. If you get interested in another, you basically have to replace the one you have. Example: If you're using a Pod X3 Live, and want a Digitech RP1000, you basically have to replace the Pod with it. It would be very difficult to use them BOTH in a live environment.

    Its the opposite with rack gear. If you own an Eleven Rack and get interested in an Axe FX, you can ADD it to your tone arsenal. That way, you can route your tone to the Eleven rack for some things, and to the Axe FX for others. More complicated setups have many different devices. For example, I use the Digitech GSP1101 as my unit and then use a Rocktron Patchmate to take the GSPs 1 effects loop and turn it into 8. I then send that to a Pod X3 Pro, and whatever tube preamps I have in my rack at that point. I also then have 1 loop in the Rocktron dedicated BEFORE my GSP1101 and that only controls putting a Ibanez TS808 tube screamer in place (effectively turning it on & off). There is just SO much more customization you can get into with rack gear and then control it all with 1 foot controller.

    My point here is that with rack gear, new gear is always ADDING something to your tone, and not completely replacing it. Whenever I've bought new stuff, I've always found stuff I enjoyed about it, but preferred some things from my older units. The modular system that a rack has allows me use use multiple pieces of gear. Imagine using a real tube screamer pedal, compression from an Eleven Rack, amp modeling from an Axe FX Ultra, chorus effect from a a TC G Major & Delay from a Digitech GSP1101. A Rack gear allows you to do this. A floorboard would force you to use many pedals, and either put them all in front of the amp, or have cables running back and forth across the stage. These cables create SO many problems in a live environment that its not even funny. Each and every piece of rack gear excels in certain areas. I've found it a good idea to mix them. :) You don't want to be complicated for the sake of being complicated.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  6. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

    Messages:
    1,414
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    For me it's an issue of cable management on stage. All I need is a single Cat5 cable going from my GSP to my C2 pedalboard. All other connections (power, 1/4" to amp, XLRs to FOH) are inside the rack or along the backline. Sure there's one more component to transport, but that's the only downside for me. Setup is just as quick (if not quicker) than an all-in-one floorboard because it's easier to manage all the cables to the backline.
     
  7. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,186
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Line 6 has three form factors for its Pods; the Bean, the Live (floorboard) and the Rack.

    The Bean was my first and is probably still my favorite. I can stuff it in the front pocket of a gig bag and take it anywhere. I have two of them stuffed into a pair of Atomic Research 112-18's (tube amp powered 18-Watt single 12" largish closed back speaker cabinets that have hot swappable bays that supply power and input/output for the Pods). In short, these turn a Pod Bean into an 18W tube combo amp with the Pod as the preamp. You cart the thing in, plug in your guitar, plug the amp into the wall and flip on the switch. If you want a foot pedal, you plug in an FBV Express or Shortboard with a ethernet cable and run that out to the front of the stage.

    You can also put the pod on a little portable bent-metal stand for use on your desk (recording, etc.) and the same stand plus a mike stand will put the Pod at eyeball height next to your mike if you'd rather. But if you simply want to leave the pod in the backline with all the electronics out of harm's way, you can control everything with a shortboard out front. Should something happen to the shortboard, you simply replace it and keep going.

    That's basically what happens with a Rack mount as well. It stays in the back out of trouble. If you have a larger setup with, say a power amp (I have a rack-mount Carvin TS100 stereo tube power amp and a Carvin solid state 1500W stereo power amp), you have the equivalent of, say, a Marshall head (except with options and power that no Marshall ever had). It's a bit deeper and not quite as wide. If you have a wireless on a rack mount and a power conditioner as well, you have a serious plug and play unit with very short cables connecting the bits. At this point you need only run a single ethernet cable out to the foot pedal and you're done.

    Look at the same setup, but now with the Live version. You need AC power out front (not for any of the other configurations). You need an expensive guitar cable running from the unit itself to the backline. You may also need cannon XLR cables running to the mixer if you're running direct as well as to your backline. And you need them out front. If you're running a wireless, you need the receiver out front (and AC power to that as well) and if you're not, there's another expensive guitar cable running from your guitar to the unit. Most of these units are not damaged in the stomp buttons themselves, but in the connectors. But when they ARE damaged, the entire unit has to go in for repair. And if it happens during a performance, you need to replace it with your backup unit (you DO have a backup, right?). If you're running an FBV Express to a rack or a bean out front, you unplug the FBV Express from the ethernet cable and plug in another. They're $99. You're done. If you have to replace the LIVE unit, you need to unplug guitar cables, wireless, AC cables, then plug all that stuff back in and reset everything, because it's almost guaranteed that there are settings for volume, etc., that are different from the first unit to the second. And Live (pedalboard) units are more expensive than $99.

    The short of it is, it's a wise decision to keep the expensive electronics out of The Beer Zone. Beer, of course, is not the only hazard to your gear out front in some settings. There's also the Drunk Hot Chick, the Drunk Bozo Who Dances With Abandon and then there are a myriad of other materials and even body fluids that can find their way onto your frontline gear.
     
  8. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,286
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Good points all, but I have to put a vote in for the floor unit. In all my live performance situations, there is always a premium on space, and the floor unit uses the least overall. Plus there are usually cables and power run to the front of the stage anyhow, so that isn't a problem. But the biggest advantage is portability; stick the pedal into a bag with the cables and you're ready to go. Your entire rig is carried in a bag on your shoulder. No need to tote a rack around, plus the pedalboard.

    The main reason I haven't pursued Fractal gear is you are tied to having a rack.

    Most of the places I play do not have any liquids at all in the Beer Zone. In almost 20 years of gigging, I haven't had anything spill on my pedalboards other than a bit of water or Gatorade from the drink in my Swirlygig.
     
  9. Guitar Vilain

    Guitar Vilain Member

    Messages:
    940
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    I really prefer the floorboard form factor despite it being vulnerable to beer spillage, but guess what, I currently own an 11R simply because IMHO its tone can't be beat (or even matched) by any of the current floor modelers (BTW I use an HD500 as my MIDI footswitch for the 11R). So in short, tone comes first.
     
  10. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,186
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    There's another problem that I have with the floor units; in order to change any parameter or even see where I'm set, I have to bend over, squint at the floor and then lean down to tweak a knob. With a separate component floor pedal and rack or bean, I have a choice, and can do most of this much closer to eye level.

    I should note that with a bean and the FBV pedals, my entire rig is carried in a bag on my shoulder as well. Only the rack works differently.

    Let's not trip lightly over the "cables are run to the front of the stage anyhow" routine. With my setup, one very cheap ethernet cable runs to the front of the stage. People running over those cables every night grind them -- insulation against insulation and eventually the insulation inside the cable gives way and you have a short inside the cable and the cable must be replaced. The fewer cables you have the fewer connectors you have, and the less likely it is that a random yank on one of those cables will disconnect something. Maintaining backup guitar cables is far more expensive than maintaining a backup ethernet cable.

    And then there's the repair thing. If a switch on one of my floorboard units goes out (they get stomped on!), it goes in for repair. But the electronics stay home and another floorboard pinch hits. if a switch on the LIVE unit goes out, the entire piece, electronics and all, goes in for repair.

    I'm so glad you've not experienced the Beer Zone. You never got to play The Turf or Club 61 in East Dubuque Illinois, or a couple of tiny jazz clubs near the airport in St. Louis. You've never had the golden opportunity to hold a now-legendary female singer's hair back while she puked on someone's pedalboard (waaaay too much Jack after a boyfriend breakup). Play another 20 years and maybe...:p
     
  11. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

    Messages:
    1,414
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    What do you use for monitoring onstage? Do you run to an amp/cab, FRFR monitors or in-ears?
     
  12. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,286
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    FRFR or wireless in-ears. I greatly prefer FRFR. We have a dedicated stage monitor board (24 channel AH) and I have my own dedicated aux send for monitors, which makes life VERY nice and easy in getting a good monitor mix.

    We usually have 3 to 4 vocal mics and wedges up front anyhow (nine piece band with a full horn section), so that's the reason for lots of cables at the front.

    I fully appreciate the beer zone analogy, but we don't play places like that anymore. Last time we played a place like that, with no stage, was about 8 years ago. Very few places we play have bouncers or the need for any either.
     
  13. uglybassplayer

    uglybassplayer Member

    Messages:
    1,414
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Thanks, that clearly explains why an all-in-one floorboard works better in your situation.

    One of the bands I played bass in featured 2 guitarists (one of them also played violin & mandolin), and a cello player. All 3 of them used X3 Lives on stage running to 2x12 combo amps along the backline. Between the extension cords/cables from the X3s and mic cables, the stage was like a mine field.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice