#2
The main advantage of a rack setup is that it allows you to mix and match preamps and power amps so that you can get more different sounds.

I'm working on a rack rig myself.
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#3
a normal mesa boogie tube amp is that same pre-amp he's using, but coupled with the mesa power amp in one convenient box. the appeal of a rack set up like he's using is the ability to mix and match different pre and power amps. (pre-amp = tone shaping, power amp = where "volume" is created via adding energy to the signal strength.)
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consider anything derek suggests, He IS a gain VVhore you know
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