The Future of Pedalboards

Discussion in 'The Rack Space' started by Husky, Nov 18, 2017.


  1. dcbc

    dcbc Member

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    I've gone from a medium/large sized board with 10 or so pedals on it to two boards (Pedaltrain Nano and Pedaltrain Nano+). The idea was that I didn't like having rows of pedals and could get as many as 9 on two boards all in a line. Haven't practiced or performed with more than 4 at a time since then.
     
  2. Ian

    Ian Member

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    Hi guys.....sorry I have been away for a bit, and just seeing this thread now... :)

    I think that pedalboards have definitely been getting bigger and bigger, and I really see this as being exactly the same "evolutionary" approach that happened with racks. In the 80's, racks got larger and larger, and the rack units were each used for ONE dedicated thing, and the units were strung together in a pre-configured fashion (i.e., with a mixer or not). I think that players were thinking about these "dedicated' rack units as nothing more than effects "blocks" in a pre-configured chain......kinda like pedals in a chain. Fast forward to FX units like the G-Force and later Axe-FX that used these pre-configured "blocks" to build a signal path.

    I think that the industry has also done a VERY bad job of providing useful information to players, with respect to the capabilities that exist within rack devices (e.g., the ability to turn things on/off via midi "cc" message, without having to change a presets is probably the simplest thing that comes to mind). Instead, they have simply perpetuated the "effect block" approach, and effectively "dumbed us all down"......

    Similarly, pedalboards have now gotten larger and larger, but I think the whole "mental approach" has been the same as with the rack period (i.e., individual pedals to get specific sounds, and string them together in some fashion).

    From my perspective, the best gain tones come from tube amps, and there are those classic analog devices that provide the classic compression/phase/flange/filter sounds that we all know and love. The best time-domain processors are rack units, and a killer time-based system can be built with just a PCM-81 and/or Eclipse.....there are a TON of things any guitar player can do with those units.

    So there you have 3 pieces to the puzzle.....tube amps / analog devices / time-based processing. Once you have these 3 things, you just need to determine the EXTENT to which you wish to "integrate" them (i.e., tap-dancing on pedals vs. loop switcher, midi programming for the time-based stuff, or just a single preset, etc.).

    Cheers
     
  3. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

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    The breadth and depth of my knowledge of these units is nowhere near Italo’s, but for a guitar rig I’ve always found the Eclipse to have everything I need in terms of tone, tweakability, and controllability (i.e., the ability to control any parameter with CCs and/or expression). I’ve used it for all the usual stuff, but also for things like making turntable scratching sounds (a harmonizer with the pitch controlled by envelop...), covering a bass line (-8ve), talkbox-like effects, etc. It is somewhat limited in how many FX can run at once, especially if you’re running stereo, but it’s never been a practical limitation for me for live applications. And you can often pick them up used for relatively cheap.
     
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  4. ufguy73

    ufguy73 Gold Supporting Member

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    Italo, I was curious about this point you made...

    if one wants basically the following fx in a loop: chorus, pitch, delay, reverb...and possibly options for each to do various tweaking (but not so much to do coding)...is the H8000 overkill?

    when you reference the 8000’s ‘superlative audio’ do you mean within the context of professional mixing or even when using guitar/amp.

    i guess I am wondering if there are still real world live guitar playing benefits to the H8000 vs other units like the pcm81/eclipse/axe etc, if one isnt using the open architecture for building complex algos in the 8000?
     
  5. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Why not?
    What happened in the "real world live guitar playing" to make the H8000 "benefits" lesser or unworth, compared to lower quality units?
    Has man settled to inferior standards for some reason I don't know?
    Last time I checked....

    Seriously...
    there are so many points one would use this beast for live playing:
    -audio quality
    hard to beat! Top notch. Musical, deep, wide, strong or delicate.
    -variety of effects
    no "coding"... as you probably call Vsig work; that ain't coding. It's something anybody can do.
    But if you don't... the amount of different variations of a single effect, available in the factory presets, is just huge. You can choose among many different choruses, flangers, delay types, verbs, pitch shifters, filters fx and so on.... ALL in one box. And several of them are not available anywhere else. Just choose, tweak, store your presets versions.
    -control
    the MIDI Virtiual Racks alone are a guitarist heaven. Load two of them and you have 2 full blown rack effects... and I mean real high end rack devices quality effects... you can tweak and store 10 different variations (tweaks) in each: Use ONE MIDI CC to switch tweaks. No MIDI latency. A quick Vsig work or pay somebody to do it for you and you can take those 10 "tweaks" in a MVRack to a couple of dozens...
    -versatility
    you can record your performance straight to your laptop, via FireWire...
    serious musicians still do that. Perform, listen, practice.
    Or use it as a composing tool at home... streaming noodling and improv. to your computer, to listen to it later, edit and use it.
    Or have others band musicians get into your H8000 and YOU mangle their sounds, mess with... time, sample or loop them, mayhem upon their tones... depending on the style of music you play.
    -small size/HUGE content
    2 rack spaces and an universe of sounds and possibilities in it? What else would you need?
     
  6. rollyfoster

    rollyfoster Supporting Member

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    @Husky I’d kill for a box with the Alexa, jack rabbit, and whatever delay your genius son can devise that I can set back in the loop of my amp and run one cable to a pedal to control it....or just plug in and run it in front as well. With FX link and whatnot I can only imagine the possibilities.
     
  7. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    i honestly think this is the future of pedalboards



    but the obstacle is editing and progress. instead of patching a simple pedal with 3 knobs/options to your world, dedicated to one spot in your chain, now you can edit your virtual toys down to the component level and place it anywhere in your virtual chain.

    so now you have to not only "find and identify" simple editing tools to adjust your sound in deep menus, there may be other tools you don't even know about available to you that you somehow have to discover and apply and route and connect and test and refine in these virtual internal matrixes,

    and right when you are deep enough down the rabbit hole to speak the gear's language fluently some new faster better version comes out "encouraging" you to recalibrate all your work, or product y that is not totally backwards compatible comes along to negate all the time you put in to product X. fun huh?!

    on the other end of the spectrum, imo this company is doing great things with studio grade audio in a pedal format, and trying to ride the fine line of control offered v. simplicity for the user without having to connect a computer to it.

     
  8. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Studio grade audio requires:
    -LINE LEVELS... you can't avoid that!
    -balanced audio I/Os
    -digital audio I/Os on professional standards (AES/EBU)
     
  9. mentoneman

    mentoneman Guest

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    i agree, particularly when dealing with time based effects.

    i remember suggesting long ago that a collaborative effort between amp builders like mojave, egnater, two rock, etc would yield the ideal amp. fast forward to synergy.

    in that same spirit if meris and sean/valhalla teamed up with you to further the meris (or any product line) i would imagine great things! that is if you guys didn't kill yourselves first arguing about features....
     
  10. DonaldDemon

    DonaldDemon Member

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    As someone who uses a PT-Pro loaded with effects, using the 4CM on my high gain head, I have to say I'm getting sick of carrying around that massive pedalboard these days. Especially adding the hard case, that is the heaviest piece of equipment I have to lug around, which is kind of silly since it's probably the least important part of the rig. I don't make many changes on the fly and would much prefer a simple switcher up front and everything in a rack, but then that means lugging around a rack!

    If I was in a touring band with a tech/roadies then no doubt I would be using a rack and even adding things that I should have anyway like a power conditioner, backup effects unit, switching system, etc. Being the guy that has to load in and out, sometimes in under 15 minutes, it sounds like that would make my situation more difficult even if it reduced clutter and confusion up front.

    Maybe someday I'll go to only a digital unit for effects but I don't feel the sound and feel of analog is there yet. It would be nice though.
     
  11. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Thanks Husky for starting this thread. Good to see you on this forum! I run a number of MIDI controlled amp rigs:

    Rig #1: Zoom G9.2tt floor processor mounted on a SKB PS-45 pedalboard (27" x 15" ) running 4CM (I'm using the Fractal Audio humbuster cables) into a Krank Nineteen80 Jr. 20 watt amp head/Marshall 1912 1x12 closed back cab. I use a Voodoo Labs control switcher to switch the amp channels via MIDI. This is my smallest MIDI controlled amp rig where I need maximum flexibility, but low volume.

    Rig #2 : Zoom G9.2tt floor processor mounted on a SKB PS-45 pedalboard (27" x 15" ) (analog type effects running into amp's input) into a Marshall 6101 1x12 combo amp or a Rocktron Vendetta amp head/Marshall JCM 900 4x12 cab with Celestion Greenback/Vintage 30 speaker mix. 4 space rack with a Furman PL-Plus power conditioner/ Korg DL8000R digital delay with Italo De Angelis' presets (delay, reverb, chorus) running into amp's effect loops in parallel, mix 100% wet. I control wet/dry mix with amp's effects loop mix knob on either amp. I have the Voodoo Labs Control switcher mounted in the rack to bypass the Korg DL8000R when not used in the preset.

    Rig #3 : Voodoo Labs Ground Control Pro/Fryette Valvulator/ Area 51 wah/ Korg DT-10 pedal tuner. 6 space rack with a Furman PL-Plus, sliding rack shelf with TC Electronics Nova System mounted on it. Korg DL8000R digital delay with Italo De Angelis' presets (delay, reverb, chorus) running into amp's effect loops in parallel, mix 100% wet. I control wet/dry mix with amp's effects loop mix knob on either amp. I have the Voodoo Labs Control switcher mounted in the rack to bypass the Korg DL8000R when not used in the preset. I use a 7 pin to 5 pin MID cable with an AC adaptor input jack to phantom power the Ground Control Pro MIDI controller.

    Wet/dry or wet/dry/wet option: I have a Mosvalve 982 power amp (80 watts per side in stereo, 160 watts in mono) or a Mosvalve 942 power amp ( 250 watts in stereo, 380 watts in mono). I run the amp's line out into the Korg delay input, then run the delay output into the power amp's input, run amp output to either one or two Marshall 1912 1x12 closed back cabs.

    Concerning the pedalboard discussion: I've run everything from pedals in series into an amp, pedals before amp input/ rack delay in amp's effects loop, floor processor before amp input/ rack delay in amp's effects loop. I'm currently using my Zoom G9.2tt floor processor running 4CM. This meets my needs of processing of effects before the amp input and effects in the effects loop. The Zoom 9.2tt has shortcomings that I don't like. Some of the presets for their distortion pedals that was programmed into it sounds awful and it has no amp relay switching capability which is why I use the Voodoo Lab control switcher.

    I'm very close to buying the Fractal Audio FX-8 floor processor to use as a effects processing unit and a MIDI controller. It would give me everything that I can get from the Zoom 9.2tt with better sound specfications, more capabilities, plus amp relay switching which would allow me better sounding ovedrive/distortion type presets and eliminate the Voodoo Lab control switcher from my rig. I feel that the Fractal Audio FX-8 floor processor is the future of floor processors that's going in the direction of combining rack power flexibility combined into a pedalboard format that can control amp channel switching via MIDI.

    I also forgot to add that the RJM PBC and Boss ES-8 MIDI controlled pedalboard controllers are the next wave of the future for pedalboards utilizing MIDI control over pedals, allowing 4CM, and being able to switch amps all from the same controller.

    Guitar George
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  12. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Member

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    I swear this is just the cycle. Amps are too loud, use pedals for everything, including tone, amps are just for volume....... I can't turn on and off enough pedals at once (get a massive pedal board and a switcher) OR they do not have enough sonic depth(Go rack and avoid the pedal dance+ improve effect tone )....Rig is getting too complicated...I'm going direct to amp now, no effects.....Amp is too loud and I need more versatility...going to pedals....
     
  13. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Supporting Member

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    Husky,

    Maybe you want to move the state of the art forward?
    I would buy one of these and especially of we can control it all by Dante and ditch Midi.
     
  14. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    I use a hybrid approach. I very much prefer reverb and mostly delay to be in a post gain loop and +4 level. I like one, singular, A>D and D>A in that loop. In my case (cheap son of a bitch) it is an Intellifex and it sits on two custom brackets I made myself, on top of the amp.

    The intellifex has a seven pin midi cable and along the bottom edge of my pedalboard, there is an ancient ADA Midi controller. So that wraps up reverb, chorus, delays.

    The rest of my pedalboard is into the front end of the amplifier stuff, Wah, Octave, Tremolo, Vibe, Overdrives, Compressor, buffer, tuner, and a Flashback, so I can set up delays on the fly for jamming and itty bitty loops for practice. Black button in the middle is channel switch.

    I don't consider this a HUGE pedalboard. But it does the job.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. kherman

    kherman Member

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    Pedal boards are going to get bigger. Now you can put your preamp and power amp right on your board.
    I think there's still enough people out there that still prefer to physically touch and arrange their amps and effects the way they want instead of in a virtual all-in-one box.
    I personally like the all-in-one approach like my Grandmeister. But, I can still see this pedal board preamp/power amp stuff getting trendy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Trendy generally sucks!
    That's what the last 20 centuries of history pretty much proved....
     
  17. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

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    Someone should think this upside down, inside out, think different. Or, the actual body of the processing unit with all the effects could be small but you make a controller that is separate. Not a rack, let's say 1/4 of a rack size you put on top of the amp and the controller you attach to the body of the guitar. All wireless, signal and control. After use you put both units to the guitar hard/soft case.
     
  18. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    Done already... mid '80s! Could be used and evolved...
    Most things anyone can possibly think of in this land? Just look at the '80s and observe 'cuz it's been done already... if you have been there.
    If you haven't... sorry, not your fault!
    :rolleyes:o_O;)

    Check John McLaughlin controlling his Synclavier from a box like that, built on the Roland guitar he used for the job.
    Check "Mahavishnu" album from 1984. Plenty of YouTube videos from that age reincarnation of the divine Mahavishnu Orchestra!
     
  19. archtop

    archtop Member

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    I haven't read all the responses, but I think a large part of the attraction to keeping pedals on the floor is for the user interface. If something doesn't sound right, you can bend over and twist a knob.

    I remember when I had a rack back at my amp, that I wasn't able to adjust anything on the fly, because I was on the frontline singing and playing. The preset might sound good at home and rehearsal, but if it sucked in the room you were playing, it would have to continue to suck for the remainder of the gig.

    Now, there's a lot that can be accomplished with controllers, but I think some guitarists would more likely choose a simple user interface over potentially better sounding solutions, that require more forethought, or keep you locked into presets.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
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  20. italo de angelis

    italo de angelis Member

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    I always had/have a desktop MIDI controller at hand, on my rack, with faders controlling the most critical parameters that are influenced by room change:
    reverb decay/hicut/level, delay feedback/level, etc. Not such a big thing.
    And no... if you build your presets in a decent size place, at real levels... most of them will sound good pretty much anywhere; sometimes you might need some minor adjustments.
    A quick soundcheck and some experience will teach you how to get it right very quickly.
    So... to me it's always been about no compromise on TONE. There is no such a thing in my book... like going for worst technology AND UI compromising on sound.
    Just need to approach things in a smart way.
     
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