This question may have well been asked already, but I can't be bothered going through the lists to see if it MIGHT be there.

What it is is, I've been having a little look around at some video's and different reviews about the difference between racks and pedals. Now I had always been fond of pedals, because I can see what effect I'm using when, I have ultimate control over what each pedal sounds like to help me shape my overall tone etc. However I've been very interested in cabinets for a while too, which of course led me to look at racks in the first place. As much as I like pedals, they do take up a fair space on the floor and all the cables on the floor too is just a nightmare.

So as it currently stands I have a Line 6 Spider Jam, and 2 Boss Pedals, the CS-3 Compression/Sustainer and NS-2 Noisegate. I use an Epiphone Gibson model guitar. So nothing too expensive or fancy, does what I need it to do to be honest.

However, one thing to know is my style is all about Hard Rock, Glam Rock, Thrash, BHM etc etc, you get the jist. As much as I like the Line 6, I don't need the massive range of Amp Models it offers, like Blues, Funk etc; I just want to go from a nice clean tone (maybe a bit of flange, chorus, octave here and there), to the lovely, crisp, clean, distorted sound you get, again, knowing that I can get rack "parts" that will give me what I want (like the effects as such [there's nother thing, I am quite confused about what preamp's are, power amps, all that side of things, if you could tell me how they work and what they're used for, and what they're used for in relation to other parts of the amp head that would be a good help]).

Now again, I've been trying to do my research and different people say different things of course, for example "I have never heard a good unit under £100" etc. I know it won't be cheap to buy all this stuff.

So in essence, my kinda main questions are:

- How much will it cost roughly for a "basic" cabinet (say at least 150 Watts, any good quality brand), preamp, poweramp, rack units for heavy/clean effects
- What are the benefits of a rack over a pedal board?
- What would be your recommendations for what I should look at getting based on my playing preferences?
- Will rack units differ for bass guitars?
- Any other information and experience you can offer to aid me

Cheers for the replies
as far as cabs go what are we talking 1x12,2x12 or 4x12? obviously more speakers ups the price. rack gear tend to be on the more expensive side although some things can be had at fairly reasonable prices. an AxeFX unit will cost you a bout $2000 though older models can be had for half that used. if you go for separate fx then again depends on what you are talking about but the sky is the limit price wise once you get to studio grade outboard gear. you'll also need a midi unit to coordinate your setup.

perhaps you may want to consider a multi-fx setup that can be used with a standard amp (though of course they can be used with preamp, poser amp setup as well). nice ones can be had in the $5-600 range that have built in midi and are mostly self contained.

I guess my ? is do you really need something like that. a good multi-channel amp and a couple of pedals can go a long way.
You can also rackmount pedals and control them with something like Voodolab GXC and Ground Control:

It really depends on budget.
An ultimate setup would be something like an all tube midi controlled preamp, say Mesa Triaxis into their tube poweramps, with maybe a rack unit like a TC G Major and midi controller ot the TC G System which has both the controller and multifx brain and the brain could either be on the floor or in a rack.

Or you might be better off getting a midi controllable guitar amp and use a multifx like Boss Gt-100 around it, like this guy:

Or use multifx for control and fx and have it switch the amp channels on 2 channel amp in 4 cable mode.

You could also go all in the box, like H&K Tubemeister, Kemper, etc.

Maybe we can start with some tones that you like (post clips) and build from there.