Rackmount question for touring pros

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by zwkoch, Mar 18, 2014.


  1. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    I am moving from a massive board to a great rack mount unit that will allow me to keep my favorite analog pedals into an effects loop. I am looking for a rack mount pedal switcher that can be controlled via Midi commands from the rack mount unit. I have the controller pedal that sends patch commands to the rack mount unit. The unit can send midi commands as part of the patch function. I want to be able to call up specific pedal loops within each patch. I have searched for many rack mount pedal switchers, but I have no idea which one is the right one. It must accept midi commands from something other than its own proprietary pedal. I will only have 8 pedals in the rack, and half of those are Source Audio pedals that can be controlled via the MIDI hub. Thank you!
  2. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

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    I spent a lot of time looking at rackmount options a couple years ago, and I ended up with the Rocktron Patchmate. I have the older version that was designed by Bob Bradshaw (CAE). It's the black/red version. Fantastic bang for the buck. You can program up to 128 presets, and any presets can include any combination of the 9 loops. Each loop has an independent in and out, so it requires more patch cables (vs. a serial looper) but makes it super easy to re-wire your pedal order. Also included is the Rocktron Hush (gate) built in, which can be programmed to be on or off on any of the patches, you can set the threshold independently as well for each patch. One thing I like about the Patchmate's is the switches on the front that allow you to easily turn loops on/off manually. Helpful for when you're rehearsing/writing or programming. Anyway, you can see why I think it's the best bang for the buck.

    I think the modern ones have most of the same features (minus the Hush, only 8 loops, no display to help program).

    My guitarist has the Voodoo GCX. You have to send it CC's (not PC's), and you have to send multiple CC commands to turn on multiple loops, so that might not be a great option depending on what you're using for a controller. Most are limited to the number of simultaneous commands you can send. That said, you CAN use it without the Voodoo controller if you're concerned about that.

    Those are the two cheap options that I've found that work well. After that, CAE has a few of options, RJM Effect Gizmo has fantastic reviews, Soundsculpture Switchblade would be a super high end choice with way more features than you need. There's many more, but I'm blanking right now.

    Hope that helps!
  3. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    Thank you!
  4. mexMan

    mexMan

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    Both are awesome, if you're planning on just looping your pedals get the Voodoo Lab, but if you're thinking about fully modding the functions, with presets for each one of your effects go with the Rocktron. Buth are awesome and save you a boatload of floor space.
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  6. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    I just need to recall a few analog pedals into the effects loop of the rack mount unit that will send the commands in accordance with the patches I setup. I will give the GCX a try. I just need to verify that it will communicate with my system. Thank you very much for the advice guys!
  7. ERicks

    ERicks

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    Feb 22, 2014
    RJM makes a lot of cool stuff for this application as well. Check out the Huge Racks, Inc forum for a huge rabbit hole on this topic.

    https://www.rjmmusic.com/
  8. andrew

    andrew

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  9. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok John, another question for you. The RJM Mini Gizmo has caught my eye given that it has proven interface with my Line 6 Pod HD Pro. With the SA Midi Hub, could I place all of my SA Pedals in 1-2 loops and use the hub to bring them in with the desired preset when the loop is activated? All of this is a bit over my head. I don't need a ton of presets, but it would be nice to have that level of programability.
  10. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

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    Are you using an FBV controller with your HD Pod Pro? That's a pretty good solution, one of our guitar players used to have a HD Pod Pro rig, and we tested out the midi control from inside it. I'm pretty sure you can assign the 8 footswitches to be different midi commands per preset on the pod, so there should be a lot of versatility there. Better yet, combining with the SA hub, you can assign the expression control on the FBV to control parameters on an SA pedal, and there are TONS of awesome things you can do with that.

    Looks like the RJM mini gizmo works the same as the GCX midi-wise. That is, you send CC values for each loop individually. So loop 1, for example is CC88. You send 127 and the loop comes on, send 0 and the loop goes off. The problem with the POD is that you can only ever program a button to do one thing. So you could program FS1 to turn on your first loop, but that's it. If you wanted to turn that loop back off, you'd have to program another separate footswitch (FS2, for example). I don't think there is a way around that. I'm using a Musicomlab MKIII+ right now, and it has a feature for CC controls that pressing the same footswich again will send the reverse signal (so it works like a stomp box, one footswitch for on/off).

    Anyway, if you're looking to be able to turn on multiple loops at one time, I recommend the Patchmate if you're set on using the Pod as your controller. Then you can program, for example loops 1, 2 and 5 to be a specific preset, then you only have to send the corresponding program change for that preset (much like the SA hub).

    As for the SA stuff all being in a single loop, that'd be fine (as long as that works in terms of your pedal order - not sure what else you want in your loops). By sending PC's (scenes) to the midi hub, you can bypass each of your SA pedals individually, so you don't need separate loops for them.

    Again, if you wanted to get a rig where you could turn a loop in your bypass looper ON while also sending a signal to the SA hub, you could not do that with a single footswitch with the Pod.

    Lot of options, depends on your needs. You may eventually want to go with a more advanced external midi controller that can send simultaneous messages to your bypass looper, SA pedals AND your Pod.
  11. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks again John. I am using the FBV short board for now. If I need to expand, I will. I need to ease into this process slowly.
  12. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    John, I am going to owe you a case of whatever you are drinking for all this advice. Alas, I have yet another novice question. My Strymon BigSky had midi capabilities. Would this pedal need to be placed in a loop switcher or can midi commands active and deactivate the pedal in addition to selecting the desired settings?
  13. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

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    You won't need to put it in a loop, you can bypass the Strymon stuff with midi. Our guitarist has the Mobius and Timeline. He has the Timeline last in his chain. It's in a loop - but that loop is generally always ON. Reason for this is there is a bypass command that leaves trails on, which may be something you want/need with your BigSky to help transitions.

    The new firmware for the Timeline made a change into how the bypass works. It's a CC value (127 on 0 off). The change is that you recall presets via PC's on the Strymon stuff, and it used to turn the pedal ON when you sent it a PC by default. Apparently people didn't like that, so now you have to send two commands to change presets and turn the pedal on. A PC for the preset, and then a CC to turn the pedal on. It'd be an extra click for the Pod.

    It'd be the same issue you'd have with putting it in a loop though, where you'd have to send a PC for a preset, then turn the loop on and off, so not a big change in how you were planning on doing things.

    I'll hit you up for that drink next time we're playing in the twin cities!
  14. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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  15. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    By the way, I just picked up your two EP's and a shirt from the Hidden Hospitals website. I really dig your band, a lot. You will have to let me know when you guys swing through this area.
  16. johnbegone

    johnbegone Supporting Member

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    Zach - that's awesome, thank you man. Will definitely let you know when we get up there. Know any solid promoters? The people we knew in your area are no longer putting on shows. If you know anyone, or a good band to link up with shoot me a PM. We'll keep this thread on topic!

    That RJM controller looks great, but it feels pretty overkill (both price and function) from my understanding of what you're looking for. Have you looked at all of the Liquid Foot stuff? The JR+ gives you the same look and feel of the RJM and is still a very robust controller, has a display for each button. It's $599. They have their Mini for sale for $420 now. RJM has the Mastermind for a shade over 300.
  17. Red Man

    Red Man

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    Have you looked at something like the tc electronics g system which has 4 loops (plus a preamp loop) as well as tc's effects.

    One cool thing I like about it is that the brains of the unit is 1ru and can either be in the rack or attached to the tc footswitch and all you'll need is a cat 5 cable. I'm interested in buying one has anyone used it for bass?
  18. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    I ended up going with the full Voodoo setup. I really liked the RJM gear, but as you put it John, it was way beyond what I needed. As with all my gear, I'm sure that I will talk myself into upgrading at some point.

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