Sound Sculpture Switchblade vs DMC System Mix Plus

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by guitarplayer1, Dec 3, 2017.


  1. guitarplayer1

    guitarplayer1 Supporting Member

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    Hi all,

    So .... I went ahead and purchased a Switchblade 8B as I found one for a really fair price .... I already have a System Mix Plus/ GCX combo that I've been using for many years. It won't get to me for a few days so I wanted to ask if anyone here has done a direct A/B of the two systems.

    The reason I went with the Switchblade is the fact that it takes up less space than the 2 units it's replacing ... also heard very good things about the VCA ability in the unit. I realize it's a pure analog path but from what I'm reading it's got buffers on every input. Not sure I'll use the routing ability but it would be cool to run my Eclipse in series for some of the effects ..... Another benefit , although minor is the fact that I can ditch those two wall warts for the DMC stuff ! Every ounce counts !!!!

    FWIW , I don't plan on ever using the direct outputs of the System Mix Plus so that's one feature that I know the Switchblade does not have.

    My rig is very simple ... Egnater M4 , Fulltone Terc, Eventide Eclipse and a VHT power amp.
     
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  2. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Yo man. Quit copying me.
    I also have an Egnater M4. (Well, it's the Rocktron version...VP-4)
    A VHT power amp. (Classic 2100)
    Eventide (H-3000), although, it's out on indefinite loan.
    System Mix (the small one).
    I don't have a TERC. I have a 1210. (Chorus units).
    I'm gonna file a cease and desist order.
     
  3. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    I was looking at getting one of the Switchblade products, too. But, now that I see that you're getting one, I'm not gonna.
     
  4. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    I was actually thinking about it, for pretty much the same reason you are: space savings.
    But, then a friend of mine told me you need a computer to program it.
    I don't have a computer.
    I lent out my CAE Dual Stereo Line Mixer.
    I'm using the smaller System Mix, because, well, it's smaller. I have an RJM Rack Gizmo, but, I took it out, to make space. I don't really need 8 loops. I use a Mini Effects Gizmo now, instead. So, I've got my mixer and loop switcher down to 1 space. The only bad thing, is I'm using a Rane SM26 to split up my preamp signal. So, 2 rack spaces, just for switching/mixing/signal distribution.
    I wish somebody would make a 1 rack space mixer/switcher/splitter, but, a simple one. I like knobs.
    And, I don't like computers.
     
  5. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

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    M4 + Eclipse + SB8B is a great combo.

     
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  6. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    That's a great rig.
     
  7. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Listen, don't take this the wrong way...because, that's awesome. That rig is fricken great. BUT...
    Why don't you dump that tuner, that's taking up a whole rackspace, and put another effect in its place? That's a lot of stuff in that rig, but, you only have 1 effect unit in it.
    I've got one of those types of tuners, and I took it out long time ago.
    These days, I have a great iPad app, called PitchLab. Really, really accurate. Like a strobe tuner.
    But, for playing out, a pedal tuner would work.
    It's YOUR rig, Rumbletone. So, don't yell at me. I'm very sensitive.
    But, if it was mine, I'd go get me another sound-making device for that rig.
     
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  8. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Rumbletone, I have a funny feeling, yer gonna post a picture up of a massive pedalboard, with all sorts of cool effects on it.
    And say "stfu, Baba...I've got lots of effects".
    Btw, what are those 2 boxes next to that computer?
     
  9. MikeDV

    MikeDV Supporting Member

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    I've got a Switchblade GL. A computer is not needed to program it - it has a little screen that you can program anything you want it to do right there. It looks kind of like an old PC DOS operating system, is a little clunky, but works perfectly. You can use a computer to program it with software from Soundsculpture, but not necessary. It does not have any knobs. Past that, I would like to hear some more comments about using it vs. other schemes for routing/controlling signal flow. The Switchblade is about as versatile as it seems something could be regarding controlling signal flow via MIDI. Combine all that with a few other items (knobs, bigger screen, analog connections), it seems it could replace all of the other pieces entirely. So, others with experience with it?
     
  10. guitarplayer1

    guitarplayer1 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the replies ... really curious about the tonal aspect of using this vs some of the other common switching systems ... in particular the GCX/System Mix.

    OK guys you got 24 hrs .... by that time I'll have both here and I'll answer my own question. :>)
     
  11. MarcoR

    MarcoR Supporting Member

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    Any output of the Switchblade can be anything you want. I have a mono dry, stereo wet/dry and mono wet/dry sum outputs set for mine. I use the mono dry to feed DAW or to a Torpedo CAB and the mono wet/dry sum to feed my Trio + looper. These can be set per preset as well. You can basically route anything to anything... The software does make it much easier to visualize what you want.

    Here are some old routings I once used with my M4, Eclipse, Echolution and Infinity Looper into a 2/50/2:
    Parallel
    [​IMG]

    Series/parallel
    [​IMG]
    Series
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

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    Ha! For sure I’d sacrifice the tuner if I needed another rack space for FX. That would mean adding a pedal tuner which would mean adding audio (even if just a little!) to the board though, and right now it’s just MIDI (and a single multi cable to the rack for MIDI and board power). But that change may happen on the next rebuild!

    iApp tuners are great for home, but in a live setting I prefer something in the signal chain (I seem to play a lot of rooms that are noisy all the time ...).

     
  13. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

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    My pedalboard-based rig:


    The 2 boxes on the rack next to the laptop are an Optotheremin and a Dual Oscillator for making crazy noises - only used for shows that require ... well ... crazy noises. They typically get run through the Eclipse.
     
  14. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Honestly...
    you don't need a SwitchBlade for such a small rack.
    For a comparison with your current mixer I would take a look at the input headroom which is VERY different between the two units.
    The System Mix Plus has real LINE levels handling capabilities.
     
  15. guitarplayer1

    guitarplayer1 Supporting Member

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    So headroom is better with the System Mix Plus ?

    Surprised to hear that. Yes I realize I don't need the Switchblade and it's overkill for this little rack but once again it's saving me a rack space .

    Any comments regarding the VCA's in the units ? (Not sure the Switchblade calls it a VCA but essentially serves the same purpose)

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  16. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Yep!
    +19 dBu vs +4dBv (same as +4dBu as they use the same reference voltage)... even lower than many current digital pedals!
    Typically one needs to run a SwBl around -15/-10 dBu to keep levels away from clipping, depending on the input signal and the amount of connected devices.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  17. MarcoR

    MarcoR Supporting Member

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    Hmm, I'm not having any issues with the 8F but I understand it handles a bit more: "Enhanced input and output levels for extra headroom. Maximum input and output levels now over 11dBv"

    But I'm not sure I understand where the problem is? I would assume it would be the summing/mixing? Or do you think you wouldn't have an optimal signal feeding the processors? Both?

    In my use, the 8F is given a signal from the preamp, then splits that to the inputs of my PCM80 and Eclipse (left and right on each respectively) and at optimum levels based on the meters (units set for +4).
    Now of course when all is mixed there is the potential the final outputs could exceed + 11dBv but why would I do that? I don't want to hit the power amp that hard so we attenuate (via 8F mixer) the signals (wet FX and dry thru) to the final outputs to be equal to what the un-attenuated dry signal would be. That's just simple mixing, right?

    So, I've read what you stated on the topic of levels in the past, in a simplified version; optimal levels in AND out of the processor, and okay to reduce levels in the mixer but not in the processor. Reducing levels in the processor doesn't sound as good. Is that the gist?

    So I guess I'm asking, if the signals are optimal in and out of the processors, what does it matter how I mix it to get a final stereo output level that is appropriate to my power section?
    I partially ask this because I've considered getting the 8B or GL for both form factor and balanced ins/outs but hesitate because of the reduced headroom compared to what is listed for the 8F.
     
  18. MarcoR

    MarcoR Supporting Member

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    Just thinking it through a little more... I see if the max input lvl is only +4 on the 8B and GL, then there are a few cases where either of my processors would crush that. In most common cases, the wet level likely wouldn't be hotter than the dry signal but realistically, yeah sometimes they do. So...
     
  19. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Surprisingly the "pedals" model handles much higher levels than the rack units. This is kind of backwards, isn't it? Truth is the rack SW needs to be re_designed or taken back to the Studio model which for some reason is no longer available. THAT was THE line level SwitchBlade.

    IF your preamp is feeding the SwitchBlade a true line level signal, which means it's a nominal +4dB one with peaks in the + 15 to +20 dBu (very easy to hit with a clean guitar tone), you won't be able to feed the connected processors the expected level signal because you wll have to attenuate it. The SwBl *will* clip if you don't do that.
    So your PCM80 is seeing a lower level at its inputs and that's not ideal. This should be done with the PCM80 input knob at 12 o'clock.
    This problem will be summing up along more processors if connected to the router.
    When you use a mixer, one that properly handles line level signals, you will be able to have all channels working at unity level and even the mixer master output, while keeping ALL machines at their best input levels and correct noise ratio. You do mixing by using presets levels. And you may keep the mixer master output a bit lower than unity.
    All depends on the primary signal you feed to the SwBl. Most well made guitar preamps are definitely +4dB with tons of output signal. Others are not so strong... so ... that and your levels settings may just work ok but everything will not be working as good as it could. A lot of people use line level gear and don't realize they are running them at instrument levels!
    Please define "if the signals are optimal in and out of the processors". How do you come to the conclusion your processor(s) is(are) working in that way?
     
  20. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Depends on what kind of processor you have.
    A PCM80 can have +12 dB gain in a preset... A 2U Eventide will smash the thing in pieces.
     

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