#1
Hi Guys,

I want to begin to research into guitar rack effects. I feel that using them would allow me to achieve the sort of tone I require and give me even more enjoyment in the whole process of using them and setting the system up. However i am really struggling to find some good information. I`m finding it difficult to know even where to start. So far I realise i need some sort of voltage conditioner (i presume this is a safety measure to cut down on power surges) Maybe a preamp, power amp....then the actual effects units.

I have been searching for hours on both here and google, maybe i am just not using the correct key search phrases. So please, just post links if you need to. I just really want to know

1) What a rack system would include?
2) What do the parts do, e.g. what is a poweramp, preamp...?
3) How do i go about setting it up so that i can select specific patches? (midi controller?)
4) I have a Macceys speaker cab, could I somehow integrate this into the setup for playback, without an amp head (is this what a power amp is??)

If anyone could help i`d be greatful. I know this seems such a nooby question but i`ve been playing 10years and never gone into this really....

Thanks

Chris
#3
hi Chris

You would need a poweramp to power up the tone you get from the pre amp and a pre amp that is your tone. A good poweramp( mesa Boggie 2:90)
For preamp, there are so many choices, and it all come down to what tone you like.
But to name a few:

Mesa Boggie tri axis and rectifier recording pre amp
engl E 530, E570
Line 6 pod xt pro
Tech 21 sans amp psa 1
Marshall has one too.

The Preamp goes into the power amp and your speaker cabinet goes into the out put of the poweramp.

That is just some preamps. then the effects there is also a lot of choices you would have to make.

But take a look at TC electronics G- force or the G major also rocktron builds some effects and preamps.

There are so many choices and the price can go all the way. a Rack system isn´t cheap.
go cowboys
#4
for preamps, also add the peavey rockmaster and ada mp1 as two of the best for the money. both are around 200-250.

then I think poweramp is all about what sound you want, so you have to decide what kind of tubes you want.

yes your speaker cab should work, but it's hard to explain how to go through the midi without having a visual. First your gonna need a controller and an interface, then you can get it from there i bet.
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#5
OK, i`m based in the UK.....and all this equipment you keep recommending seems near impossible to get hold of...nothing on ebay and I can`t even find this equipment online at UK retailers!

Whats going on? Any more recommendations?

I have decided that i want to start this but can`t afford it all from the start, so i am going to build it up bit by bit. I think i`ll start with preamp and power amp. Is a voltage conditioner required....and once again do we call these something different in the UK. Nothing on ebay and no "conditioners" found on a UK retail search. At least not like the return hits from the USA ...... help!!!

Chris

BTW. could you just explain in a little more detail exactly what the function of the preamp and power amp is?

Chris
#6
So chris, are you looking to completely re-build your whole amplifier system or just put FX into the equation?

The equipment you will most likely need anyway are:

For 1 Rackmount FX Unit:
- Rackmounted FX unit - Ie: Line 6 Pod XT Pro (RRP approx £399) this has a built in pre-amplifier that can be connected to the Line In on a power amp. A pre-amplifier simply converts your guitars small output signal to a stronger "Line" level signal, and also adds tone to your sound. The Pod also adds FX too.
- Power Amp unit - This amplifies the line level signal to a certain number of watts ideal for driving cabinets ie: 4x12s. Marshall do their "EL34 100/100" for this, they do a 50 watt and 20 watt too.
- Rack Cabinet - This should be the best you can afford to protect the gear inside it. The size will be measured in "U" ie "1U, 2U, 4U, 6U, 8U" up to about 20U. typically FX units take up approx 1U of space, although the Pod takes up 2U, and rackmounts power amp take up 2U usually, although the marshall 100/100 takes 3U i believe, and the 20/20 only 1U. Really you want to get a rack cab the same size as your gear, as this will protect it, but if you intend to buy more you may wish to buy a bigger rack. ABS racks are available (plastic) but i wouldnt recommend putting a power amp in one. Go for wood or alluminium
- You dont really need a power conditioner - for this amount of kit a power strip should do it.
- Some balanced patch cables for connecting the Line Out from the Pod to the power amp, and a few extra for any other connections u need - ie a DI to the PA system

IF YOU INTEND TO RUN MULTIPLE FX UNITS

- Obviously you will need a couple of FX units. they are also produced by Zoom, Digitech, Alesis, Korg etc. try them in shops and choose for yourself. You can also buy rack chorus / delay / reverb etc that are generally designed for studios or PA, but are great for guitar. Try T.C electronic, Behringer, Samson, TLAudio there are millions!
- A patch bay. these are usually used in studios but if you are using multiple FX units you can use the patch bay to select which FX units you want to use and which order they run in.
- Loads of balanced patch cables
- You may want a power conditioner now, but i dont know much bout them sorry.
- If you are using lots of FX, some people find it useful to use a compressor to prevent to much change in volume that some FX can cause. Good compressors are made by Joe Meek, DBX, Behringer are OK and very cheap. they also have built in Limiters that protect your speakers.
- A system limiter (as said above) can be useful to protect your cabs
- A set of castors. It is likely that with a lot of FX you will be using a big rack cab, and it will be heavy. Get a set of heavy duty castors from Maplin to roll the flight case about.

****IF USING LOTS OF DIGITAL FX, THERE IS NO NEED TO USE A VALVE PRE-AMP****

i hope this helps

by the way just to clarify:
Pre-Amp: Converts guitar signal to Line Level and adds tone to it. Different pre-amps will sound different. Most rackmounts guitar processors have built in pre-amps.
Power-Amp: This coverts a line level signal to speaker level, and amplifies it to an audible volume. The higher the wattage, the more volume.
Guitar Processor: This is a multi-fx unit designed specially for guitar. it will probably feature a guitar pre-amp in it, plus distortion + fx + sometimes midi + various other things. better ones have foot controllers for control too.
FX Unit (DSP): Usually just FX units require a line level signal going in as well as out. for this reason you will need to use a pre-amp before going into multi-fx or rackmount fx units. these units, however, do usually have better control over the fx that they perform and better sound quality too, than guitar processors.
Patchbay: A patchbay is simply two rows of jack socket - jack socket "barrels", so that you can connect jack sockets on the back of the fx units to sockets on the front. this means that using patch leads you can connect the equipment in different orders, or simply choose which equipment will appear in your signal path without having to re-route cables in the rear of the amplifier.
Patch Leads: these are simply short jack leads. they can be used to connect equipment together, and also used on the front of the patchbay to route a signal as required.
Speaker Leads: Speaker leads look identical to guitar leads but must not be confused. Putting a speaker (power amp) output down a normal guitar lead can damage the power amp badly.
Rack Case: This is the case that all your rack kit goes into. It should be made of wood for optimum strength or metal. Some people prefer rack "trolleys" for live setup. Either way all your equipment needs to be secured into the racks which will both protect them, and mean that you can leave everything connected between gigs.

and yes, a power amp can drive your macceys cab, but ensure that the power handling and impedance of the cab match that of the power amp.
#7
Quote by craynerd
OK, i`m based in the UK.....and all this equipment you keep recommending seems near impossible to get hold of...nothing on ebay and I can`t even find this equipment online at UK retailers!

Whats going on? Any more recommendations?

I have decided that i want to start this but can`t afford it all from the start, so i am going to build it up bit by bit. I think i`ll start with preamp and power amp. Is a voltage conditioner required....and once again do we call these something different in the UK. Nothing on ebay and no "conditioners" found on a UK retail search. At least not like the return hits from the USA ...... help!!!

Chris

BTW. could you just explain in a little more detail exactly what the function of the preamp and power amp is?

Chris


for T.C electronic - try Turnkey (search it up in google). gak.co.uk specialise in marshall and peavey gear just have a look around, and go into a good music store and ask them what they recommend. Also give Professional Music Technology a bell, they do delivery too. (pmtonline.co.uk)
#8
Hi mate

Thanks for your very detailed response. You are correct with your first presumption, i am looking to completely rebuild my who amp system. Preferably i would like the option to run a small wattage practice amp with the versatility to plug in a large wattage cab for gigging.

So far I am thinking of going wth the LINE 6 POD XT PRO AND FBV FLOORBOARD for the preamp and effects, then I am unsure yet of which poweramp. The marshall you recommended seems a little pricey!

With a poweramp used in conjunction with my McKenzie cab, i presume this would be useable? or would i need anything else......

I understand a limiter....etc etc would be useful, my point is, with this small amount of kit could i actually use it?

Chris
#9
you could use it with nothing more than a Pod XT Pro, Limiter and Power Amp

the marshall ones are price heavy because they have valve power sections. If you get on to a PA Company (ie: terralec) you can get PA power amps with transistor power sections a lot cheaper. the mackys cab would be fine, as i said, as long as the wattage and impedance are ok.

i would recommend that you leave a lot of space in your rack to add multi fx and a patch bay. this way you could create a very complex amplification and fx system that all sorts of sounds could be achieved with. on a pod you can only get 1 modulation at any one time. if you add a T.C electronics modulation unit, for example, that would allow you 2, maybe 3 modulations to occur at any one time. if you buy a nice big, sturdy rack with castors, you can even whack a laptop on top to control the POD's guitarport. or if you dont have a laptop, you can buy a rackmount shelf for the desktop PC and a pull out rack shelf for keyboard and mouse, and just put your TFT on top, which can later be stashed in a laptop bag. 19" rack kit is the industry standard in music technology, so all you need to get started is a great imagination!
Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass
Ampeg SVT-III Head
90's Laney Custom 1x15 300watt Cab
Ibanez Tube Screamer
70's Jen Electronics (now Jim Dunlop) Cry Baby Standard
Dano Milkshake Chorus
Arbiter Fuzz Face
Zoom GFX-5 Processor
Planet Waves Cables
#10
D00d, where can you learn about all this? One common theme that tends to arise from these forums is "use the search button" Well I have and I am desperate to find some literature to read up....

Chris
#12
Peavey amps are good, but i am weary about buying amplifiers off eBay. it could all be well and good, but it could have been cranked to ten every night of the week and had its insides melted. If the previous user has used speakers of a lower impedance than required, then the amp may look fine but could be completely ****ed inside.

try www.terralec.com they have poweramps of all different wattages that are well priced.
Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass
Ampeg SVT-III Head
90's Laney Custom 1x15 300watt Cab
Ibanez Tube Screamer
70's Jen Electronics (now Jim Dunlop) Cry Baby Standard
Dano Milkshake Chorus
Arbiter Fuzz Face
Zoom GFX-5 Processor
Planet Waves Cables
#13
my 15U bass rack will soon be finished i will upload a photo when it is complete
Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass
Ampeg SVT-III Head
90's Laney Custom 1x15 300watt Cab
Ibanez Tube Screamer
70's Jen Electronics (now Jim Dunlop) Cry Baby Standard
Dano Milkshake Chorus
Arbiter Fuzz Face
Zoom GFX-5 Processor
Planet Waves Cables
#15
If your using a modelling preamp then maybe not but imho you will get best results with tube gear.
Hamer USA Chapparal Custom, scalloped fretboard & Sustainiac
Hamer USA Chapparal Elite, Dragon Snakeskin finish
BC Rich USA Gunslinger
BC Rich USA Warlock
Boss GX700
3TM ADA MP1
Rocktron XPression
Mesa 50/50 Stereo Power Amp
Laney 4x12 Cab
#16
As he said, if you intend to use Line 6 style modelling units and lots of digital FX there is no point in using tube amps. If you aren't going to use these... dont go rack!

Most well priced Power Amps arent tube anyway, Marshall are one of the few.
Epiphone EB-3 SG Bass
Ampeg SVT-III Head
90's Laney Custom 1x15 300watt Cab
Ibanez Tube Screamer
70's Jen Electronics (now Jim Dunlop) Cry Baby Standard
Dano Milkshake Chorus
Arbiter Fuzz Face
Zoom GFX-5 Processor
Planet Waves Cables
#17
Hi guys

The rack system has made a start. I got a Marshall 8008, which is really sweet!

Just looking for a signal processor, thinking about the BBE models.

Chris