ive been looking into building up a rack and what not, and was just wondering, do u have to run an amp head and a preamp, or can you run everything right thru the preamp without buying a head?
well, Pre-amp into a power amp. You can use a Head or a PA mixer to act as a power amp but you would get better results thru a power amp.
you need a pre-amp into a power amp
Quote by evening_crow
As far as i know the only liquor that should not be stored after opened is wine, and even then it's mainly the french one. American wine usually has conservatives in it to stop this.
The ENGL slays for the money, but only when it is paired with a half decent tube power amp, as that is where the tone gets its colour from.
The Voodoo Valve is a neat little pre, i use the original model without the preamp valve, ive heard from people that it is way overpriced for what it is, but you do get a load of integrated Fx and Midi capability over the ENGL.

They both have their own advantages, the ENGL giving you more authentic tube qualities, while the Rocktron will provide a tad more versatility, due to the 256 programmable presets, but from what ive heard, the ENGL is the way to go really.
Some companies built rackmount heads way back in the day that with a good switching system could give you access to the stock preamp as well as any number of outboard preamps routed in any number of ways. There were Rackmount versions of the Soldano SLO as well as less expensive things like the Yamaha T50 and T100. I think Rivera built a few Knucklehead's in rackmount form as well.

The biggest reason for looking into a rackmount system is versatility. Unless you need a LOT of different tones it generally isn't worth it in the long run. Even inexpensive rack gear is still relatively cost prohibitive when you start looking at the big picture. It's easy to drop seven or eight thousand bucks into a rack rig that sounds worse than a head/cab setup with a few stompboxes. It can take a lot of planning and blueprinting to get everything the way you need it, then you still have to worry about buying a cab and you'll probably need to spend a week or two setting Midi presets with a high dollar controller that will be absolutely necessary to make sure everything works together as necessary.

I'm not saying you shouldn't look into a rack setup. I'm just saying that it's quite a bit of headache (and a costly one at that). If I went to a rackmount setup over my current rig, the cost of admission is hovering at around three grand, and this is just to convert to a midi controlled rack setup from my current pedalboard (I'd have the same effects, amp, and cab; I'd just be streamlining the control of the whole thing and shortening the signal path).
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
My rack blueprint is going to consist of the following:

Guitar - Wireless - Tuner - Head - Effects?? - ISP Decimator - Speaker Cabs

All running into a Furman or Monster Power Conditioner....

The reason I'm going rack is for the portability and versatility. I hate lugging around a bag of pedals, a head, and a cab... I would rather have just a road case with the rack and head in it... and a cab... makes things SO much easier!
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
Last edited by Brendan.Clace at Mar 14, 2008,
Quote by dullsilver_mike
so do you plan on running to the PA or are you going to need a nice valve power amp too?

I dont think he'll need either. I guess its a matter of preference, but I think a head sounds better.
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
You should use your mum's rack.
I bet she has a nice one.

Ibanez XPT707FX
Ibanez RG7321 (DiMarzio D-Activator 7 Pickups)

Dunlop Crybaby 535Q Wah-Wah
DigiTech Whammy WH-4
Boss RC-20XL Loop Station

Line 6 Flextone III Plus w/FBV2 Footswitch
First up, what kind of music do you play, and what kind of tone are you looking for?

If you play metal, and mainly want pre-amp gain, the Engl pre-amp is a good way to go for recording. But you're gonna need a power amp if you want to be able to use it for actually practicing with a band or performing. A decent effects processor might be handy too. If you've already got a decent tube amp head, you can run the pre-amp into the effects return, but don't expect it to sound as good as it could with a good tube power amp.
Quote by BMXfreak000
You should use your mum's rack.
I bet she has a nice one.

Your so lolzzz. reported biotch!

Also, if I were you I'd also look at the Mesa/boogie Studio Preamp and Quad.

They go on the cheap and are exellent!
Lets look at a hypothetical blueprint:

Low/mid level wireless system, plus rackmount adapter ~ $200
Korg DTR-1000 Rackmount tuner ~ $180
ISP Decimator ProRackG ~ $405
Furman PL-Plus power conditioner ~ $200
TC Electronic G-Major effects unit ~ $400
Rocktron Voodoo Valve preamp ~ $660
Carvin TS100 power amp ~ $550
Ground Control Pro midi controller ~ $400
Voodoo Labs GCX switching system ~ $400
10 space rackmount case ~ $200
Avatar 212 ~ $330
About a dozen good patch cables ~ $150
A decent speaker cable ~ $25
Midi cables ~ $50

That's $4150 for a pretty basic rack rig. You can ditch the Ground Control Pro and the GCX and go for a MidiMate at a savings of a little over $600, but then you lose the ability to switch the noise reduction and effects in and out of the signal path. You can go to a cheaper power conditioner and run the risk of losing everything to a power surge. If you're building a rack rig and want to stay with ISP, there's no reason to not spend the money for the ProRackG, though I suppose you could put the pedal version in the signal path as necessary and velcro it to the bottom of the rack case if need be.

There are ways to cut corners, but what I'm trying to emphasize is that it's very very very easy to overlook a lot of the things that will give a rack rig any sort of benefit over a more traditional setup. If mobility is a problem it's easy to reduce a traditional rig into three major pieces: head, cab, and pedalboard, and then run a couple of cables (which is still going to be necessary with a rack rig). The only time the benefits of a rack rig outweigh the downsides is if you have tonal needs that can't be obtained via a traditional setup, or if you have loads of effects and amp settings that need to be accessed more easily than is possible with a more traditional setup. Remember that to incorporate stompbox style effects into a rack rig, you NEED a switching system (the least expensive of which is the GCX at $400 plus another $400 for the required controller). You can get away without a switching system if you run rack based effects like the G-Major, but you lose the ability to remove it from the signal path entirely.

It's very easy to decide that using a rack rig will be beneficial, easier to deal with, and more versatile, but most people change their minds after they've spent three weeks learning how to do midi programming and realizing that their rig is now limited to presets and instant access switches and if there's any kind of problem, the whole rig basically goes down. Also note that I'm all for rack rigs when the application call for one, but I've known too many people who got in too far over their heads way too quickly.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
You also need to consider that he doesnt HAVE to run a preamp and power amp, he can run a head inside the same case.... thats what Im doing this summer. Also, the effects is not 100% required, I MAY go with it, but possibly not. Personally, I am doing this because it is what I want, and have used a rack system before, and it worked great, so therefore I like it and will run it because of that fact. Usually when you get to the point where you want a rack system, you want it for a reason, not just a mad case of GAS.
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
I just finished my simple rack set up. I think Kendall is over complicating things a bit, but I guess it is true if you have a gazillion rack components.

Anywho, the engl E530 is awesome. Great cleans and the lead channel is killer (plenty of gain on tap). Don't be tricked into thinking its a "4 channel" preamp though. Its two channels with two different modes on each. My only complaint is that there aren't separate volume knobs for each of the modes because sometimes the volume levels are a little off. Not that big of a deal to me though.
Gibson Explorer
Jackson Soloist SL3
Orange Tiny Terror
Mesa 2x12
yeah, well i plan to start with the basics, and as i get some more money, add little things here and there until i have what i want. I know its a lot of time and effort, but its something i can be proud of. I also plan on using at a learning device as i have ambitions of hopefully one day opening my own guitar and repair shop.
I know you're looking to learn about the rack world, but here's my advice to you. If you're not gigging regularly at the time and don't see that happening in the future, don't get into putting a rack setup together. If you're playing at home and occasionally jamming with friends, a rack setup isn't very practical. It might look and sound 'cool', but it's just not practical. I had a simple rack setup going a few years ago, they're more beneficial for people who are regularly gigging and/or recording.
yeah, i definitely understand that it may not be pratical and everything, but still, i want the learning experience. You only live once, and have to approach everything as, what if i want to do this but never do, maybe i couldve learned something. We'll see what happens, everything is in a brainstorming phase right now as i am working to gain some extra cash for more essential things in life, but hopefully all can do well.
Quote by elchico04
I think Kendall is over complicating things a bit

Forgive me, I do have a bad habit of doing that sometimes.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
what do you want to know?
Gibson Explorer
Jackson Soloist SL3
Orange Tiny Terror
Mesa 2x12