Rediscovered gear (Ibanez ue405): why no love for rack fx?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by cestlamort, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. cestlamort

    cestlamort Member

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    Just rec'd a ue405 rack unit (via ebay) and I'd absolutely forgotten how beautiful and clear the effects are. It sounds better, honestly, than the individual pedals (well, I don't have a cp-9 running or the parametric eq, but the delay and the chorus are as good as the 9 and 808 series). I still have the ue400 (great, great, esp. the phaser and od) and this is my third ue405 (and the first with the x0x switches. One old one was wonky, one was kinda sketchy so I got an ad202, whose delay I liked less than the one in the ue405).

    Because the ue series racks can be had for practically nothing (well, about $100-200 for four vintage analog effects), it brings up the debate between rack stuff and pedals. I tend to think of pedals as modular solutions for getting sounds, which means things can be mixed and matched to taste, while racks (and I have very little experience here: the ibanez ones and a boss gp8, briefly) get overlooked/undervalued.

    Or to put it another way: it's cool to be the "pedal guy" (in every sense: looks cool, feels cool, sounds cool) while the "rack guy" might still be trying to come to terms with having been on a major label in the 80s and now working at State Farm or the DMV.

    My point is that it seems like old analog (and early digital) rack stuff seems to be overlooked, since everyone is in pedal acquisition mode. Meanwhile, I'll be putting the ue400, ue405, yamaha reverb rack back together, at least for now.
     
  2. cmloeffler

    cmloeffler Member

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    I had both the 405 and the 400 (I think that's how they distinguished them). They are both pretty cool units, for sure, and an amazing value, but I ended up ditching them because they were still essentially pedals (the foot switches are on the floor, and there's little *if any* patching). The modulations were a bit dark and noisy for my tastes and I really had to tweak my setup to make them work. At the end of the day, I realized as much as I like the concept and some of the tones, I still preferred being able to hand pick each effect to get "my" sound.

    That said, I'm glad it's working out for you as they truly are cool, undervalued pieces (hey... good enough for MR. Sommers!)
     
  3. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    I still have a 405 (I think the earliest incarnation, the buttons on the pedal were changed). Bought it new and beat it to hell for 10-15 years before retiring it.

    The 400, I heard later, has a TS circuit in there. Never owned that so don't know really.

    They're pretty cool, really high tech for the time when they came out. Loop inserts on the front, and you can place the fx in any order you want via a five position knob in each section.
     
  4. cestlamort

    cestlamort Member

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    Good points, both of you. I tend to like the darker modulation stuff and dark analog delay, so it's good with me. (doesn't help that I first started with the ibanez stuff, so it sounds "right" to me).

    It seems that the ibanez ue's are basically a weird transition between pedals and racks with patches (similar to the fish that was between water and land animals). I've liked them because it seems really intuitive (knobs, no patches) but also flexible (you can change the fx order and has a loop) and straightforward (nice solid footpedals). I just wish the fx loop was footswitchable, too. (it is, but only via the master switch).

    UE400: comp / phaser / OD (or distortion) / chorus|flanger / loop
    UE405: comp|limiter / chorus / parametric eq / analog delay / loop

    fwiw, the ones with x0x switches do sound slightly different than the 9 series ones.

    The overdrive (on mine at least) is in TS territory, but wasn't quite what a vintage 808 sounds like. Great, though.
     
  5. zekmoe

    zekmoe Member

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    I had one years ago, and loved it, but sold it for something I'm sure I've forgotten about. It would still be mine if I could stumble across a working one with the working footswitch.
     
  6. AlienRendel

    AlienRendel Member

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    I have 2 of the UE405s. One of them is awesome and a key component of my sound. The other one I need to take the cover off and readjust the settings as it needs some tweaking to get the luscious long delay that it should have.

    I think a big part of what people like to hear probably comes from their formative years of listening. i.e., the gear the Beatles used is highly collectible because so many people are accustomed to those sounds, not because the gear is inherently better than all other gear. So, in my formative years I listened to alot of Peter Buck, Marty Willson-Piper and Andy Summers. What did the 3 of them have in common?

    The UE405.
     
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  7. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    Could you elaborate on this a little?
     
  8. James

    James Member

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    Does anyone have a good picture of the UE405? I suspect that Lindsey Buckingham used to use one of those in his live rig with Mesa Boogie amps and fuzz box (comprised of the guts of an Ampex tape machine) in the early 80s (Tusk and/or Mirage-era). He mentions an Ibanez box with a number of effects in it in a Mirage-era Guitar World interview. The mult-effects box features that he mentions in the interview correspond to the UE405, but I've never seen what they look like. Curious.

    :hide
     
  9. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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  10. James

    James Member

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    Cool, thanks!
     
  11. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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    The AD202 is one of my favorite delays. However, it is gathering dust as I decided to get everything onto a pedal board which hugely simplified my setup. People around here don't like rack gear, and I am starting to understand why.

    And you are wrong, the delay on the UE405 is just a glorified stomp box. The AD202 is way better. I have a UE400 which I don't use. None of the effects seemed particularly special. The controls on the flanger/chorus have interesting possibilities not found on the usual pedal.
     
  12. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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    Just to harp on a pet peeve of mine... You can't magically get more delay time by tweaking trimpots. If you increase the delay time, those longer delays will have a lower audio quality, and you may cause aliasing (bad noises) if you tweak it too much. Also, if you change the wrong trimpot, you will need a technician with an oscilloscope and service manual (good luck finding one) to fix it.
     
  13. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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  14. gsf

    gsf Member

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    my mid 80's rig: the 405 w/ a rat in the loop into a '71 Twin reverb.
    Simple. covered a lot of bases.
     
  15. jhale

    jhale Member

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    my exact setup as well loved it!

     
  16. AlienRendel

    AlienRendel Member

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    For each of the knobs on the front of the unit (except for the insta-patch knobs), there is a corresponding fine tune adjustment inside the unit on the main circuit board that dials in the exact range of effect the knob on the outside of the unit.

    If you track down a copy of the owners/service manual, page 18 gives instructions as to how these should be set, but they are probably beyond what most of us can work with at home (example: For the compressor adjustment it reads "Adjust for 7.5V DC at IC LM13600 (OC101) pin 8."). If that makes any sense to you, you are a better man than I.

    I have tried messing with these myself with not very good results. You have to remove 15-20 screws just to get the units cover off and then need a very small screwdriver (like you would use to fix a pair of glasses) to adjust the settings. My initial brilliant idea was to just set the delay to the longest possible setting. In practice, this just caused the unit to self-oscillate whenever the delay was switched on. Once you lose the initial settings, it is very difficult to zero them back in, so I don't recommend getting into this unless there is a problem with your unit.

     
  17. AlienRendel

    AlienRendel Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. ironpyro

    ironpyro Member

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    What a coinkidink. I just put my UE405 up on the bay. I found the 9 series switches to work much better than the old x0x switches. The x0x get stuck. There's no tonal difference between the two switches. They're just switches and you can interchange the two floor units.

    The analog delay in it is worth their current value alone.
     
  19. ironpyro

    ironpyro Member

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    Sounds like you were messing with the feedback threshold trimmer and not the clock trim.
     
  20. AlienRendel

    AlienRendel Member

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    Well, what's odd about it is that I have my 2 units opened up side by side and all the trim pots are set the same, but one is getting a much better delay (longer & easier to control). I'm not an expert on the chipsets in these things, but I do notice that the chips in the 2 units have different #s. I may just take the unit I am not pleased in to be serviced, as I have a couple of local shops that I trust.


     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008

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