#1
I've got a Mesa Roadster head and cab coming in a few weeks, and I'm looking into other gear to comlete my rig. I play everything...no kidding...country, rock, metal...indian classical...you pick it, I play it. So far, here's what I have...

Boss GT-8 - great unit, I can get great sounds out of it. I'd be using this as an effects processor only, no preamps.

Morley BH-2 - can't say I'm too happy with this. I use the wah on the GT-8 more than anything else.

Ibanez TS-9 - works well with the GT-8, and I have no doubt it will work well with the Mesa, if I even find a need for it.


So, I'm content with using the GT-8 as my main FX processor. I know the unit, and I have dialed out the digital demons. But I'm questioning if I want to keep it. Here are my two rig ideas...

Rig 1

--RMC 3 Wah
--Digitech Whammy
--Xotic BB Preamp (sounds better with most mesas in my experience - this would replace the TS-9)
--Demeter Tremulator
--Visual Sound H20 Chorus/Echo
--Boss DD-20 Delay
--Ernie Ball Volume
--MXR Phase 90
--Mesa Roadster floor controller

Rig 2

--Dunlop Rack Wah
--Digitech Whammy (mounted in rack drawer and controlled via MIDI)
--Xotic BB Preamp
--TC Electronics G-Major
--GCX Audio Switcher
--Ground Control Pro

Rig 1 sees all individual stomps, Rig 2 sees the G-Major taking care of most of those boxes. I really don't have a preference, and I could care less about "analog is better" arguments that I'm likely to hear...I've used both and have had great results with both.

Pros/Cons

Rig 1

1 - Pro - Everything is on the floor in front of me.
2 - Pro - If a component breaks, it's easily swapped out.
3 - Con - Heavier board due to indiviual stomps
4 - Con - Switching effects and amp channels quickly.

Rig 2

1 - Pro - Amp, effects and pedalboard(s) travel in the rack case when not in use
2 - Pro - smaller pedalboard on the floor with most of the equipment safe and locked away in the rack
3 - Pro - Fast and easy amp channel and effects switching throug the GCX
4 - Con - Stomps locked away in the rack.
5 - Con - Concerned with making quick changes to G-Major in the middle of performance (levels, effect settings, etc.)

I've managed rack systems for other guitarists, and they're great as long as I don't have to fix them. When I'm playing through them, I'm in love with the convenience and routing options. When I have to fix them, I can think of nothing better than strapping explosives to them and scattering their bits over a few football fields. Another problem with me is that I have a huge love for pedalboards and knobs (the "oooh, shiny" effect). I've even considered keeping the GT-8 (which I love) and using that as my effects processor as well as a MIDI controller to contorl the GCX. So I'm torn between many choices here...and hell, I might actually just some combo of all of them (in time, I make decent money, but I'm not crapping c-notes every day).

So, I'm asking for some advice. What would you choose?

-NOTE - this question is going out to the people that have actually used rack setups and any other major effects setups for LIVE PERFORMANCE. Please don't respond if you don't have any experience.
#2
Im not a fan of using degital so I say get rid of the GT-8 man!

I'd pick rig 2. Mainly because of the G-Major and midi controlled!

I see where you are coming from with the easiness and stuff alike, I think you either have to go with your guts on which one you like or wait for someone who has exp. with midi controllers and rack equip.
#3
In my effort to narrow this down, I'm trying to figure out the logic behind the channel controls on the roadster (not the master foot controller but the individual 1/4" control sockets). If I use the GCX to control switching, I'd have to use at least 4 channels on the GCX to switch between all 4 channels. Could I reduce this to 3 by using a grounded plug on the amp in the channel 1 port? I don't know if this can be done safely or at all...I think this would either leave a default "always on" option for channel 1, which would be turned off given the state of the other channel controls, but I'm also thinking this would not work because the logic on channel 1 would be a constant state, and that changing the logic at channel 2 for instance would not trigger a proper change in channels since both ports for channel 1 and 2 would be gounded.

I don't have my amp yet, so I can't test this out. Anyone else have any ideas?
#4
Rig 1, it's more traditional and less messing round, but that's just my opinion though, I'm more of a simple rig guy.
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#5
Thanks for the input...I'm still trying to decide, and the biggest factor I need to figure out is channel switching for the amp.

I need to know if I can use a grounded plug in the channel 1 control port and still be able to switch channels using the standard logic (on=tip+ground, off=tip-ground) on the remaining channels. I vaguely remember hearing Petrucci's guitar tech talking about this on his rig build video.

I'll probably have to end up calling Mesa anyway...I guess this is a little too advanced for most on this forum. Still, anyone else here with a Mesa willing to try this one out for me?

Instructions...

1. Take a grounded 1/4" plug or cable (any cable that you can somehow link the tip to the sleeve) and insert it into the channel 1 control port (only for amps that have multiple channel external switching, such as the triple rectifier, road king or roadster). This should activate channel 1.

2. Connect a latching footswitch to the channel 2 control port. Attempt to activate the channel by pressing the footswitch (this should ground the connection).

Does the amp switch to channel 2?

Am I overthinking this? Can I simply leave the channel select knob on the back of the amp on channel 1 and control the other 3 channels using the logic ports for channels 2, 3 and 4, or will the amp not switch back to channel 1 until the port at channel 1 is shorted again?

The main concern with all of this comes down to the available ports on the GCX switcher. I only have 8 loops to work with here, and each channel change command takes up an entire loop. So I need to know if I'm going to end up using up 3 loops or 4 loops if I use the GCX to switch channels. Having only 4 loops left to route several effects...I'm not quite sure if that will be enough. Using the G-Major for tremolo, chorus, delay and a few other effects will free up loops for future expansion, and I have the advantage of MIDI to switch settings on the G-Major, something I can't do with stompboxes. I tend to use different delay and chorus settings depending on if I'm using a clean or dirty sound, and trying to change settings on stomps isn't realistic in the middle of a performance (I've tried...my toes are nimble, but not that good).

The BB Preamp may or may not have a place in this rig when all is said and done. The rack mount wah is for sure out of the running due to cost and rarity. So, here's a more simplistic rundown of the rig choices...

Rig 1 (rack)
Digitech Whammy
RMC 3 Wah
TC Electronics G-Major
GCX Switcher
GCX Ground Controller
Mesa Roadster Head/ 2x12 Cabinet

Rig 2 (pedalboard)
Digitech Whammy
RMC 3 Wah
Boss DD-20 Delay
Visual Sound H20 Chorus/Echo
Demeter Tremulator
MXR Phase 90
Ernie Ball Volume
Loop Master true bypass strip
Mesa Roadster Head/ 2x12 Cabinet
Mesa Roadster floor controller

Concerns with Rig 1
-Channel Switching using GCX Switcher

Concerns with Rig 2
-Channel/FX changes (pedal dance)
-Using the FX Loop with a 30' (give or take) run to and from the pedalboard
#6
i use a boss GT-pro (rack version of the gt-8) for all my effects and it switches channels on my head for me. very convenient. I've switched between rack/head rigs and pedalboards a few times and now I seem to be sticking with the rack. you do have a point - if a rack goes down, you're kinda effed. but also, when you have a big pedalboard with lots of connections at your feet, it's much easier to disconnect something accidentally than when all your connections are secure in your rack at the back of the stage. setup/teardown is MUCH easier if you have a well set up rack rig as well.
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#7
the one with the G-major- i've heard great things about t.c. electronics. can't it be MIDI controlled?
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#8
Yes, the Major can be MIDI controlled...as far as having something like the GT-Pro make channel changes for me, it won't work. The GT-Pro only has 2 amp switching controllers. I'd be able to use it to switch between 3 channels on the amp, but that's it. The GT-8 only has 1 amp switching controller, so I'd only be able to switch between 2 channels using that.

Another + I just discovered...the G-Major has 2 switching controllers itself. I could use a combination of the GCX and the G-Major to control channel switching on the amp. This option is looking better and better.