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Complicated stuff....need your help, JT.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Hugh Jazz, Dec 3, 2001.

  1. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    Ok, I'm really interested in all those complicated setups where you hook up a bunch of effects, either rack mountable ones or stomp boxes, into one processor, which then goes out to a midi foot controller.

    I know Rocktron, Custom Electronics, and Sound Sculpture make processors/switchers like these (what's the correct term?), but I have no idea how much they cost or where to get them. Yes, I know that they are probably pretty expensive and that I can't afford them, but I'm just extremely curious (possible planning for the future). Apart from the convenience of having all your pedals stuffed in a rack and just having the midi board out on the floor allowing you to switch in between tons of patches, I heard that these "gadgets" also help eliminate (or cut down) on tone suckage because they are wired in parallel instead of series (like a normal bass>pedal>amp setup). I know I read this for one such midi selector thingie (Voodoo Labs/Digital Music Corp GCX), but I don't know if it hold true for all of them.

    Here is the GCX: Digital Music Corp

    So my question is, can anyone shed more light on the topic? I would really really appreciate it, as would a few others here (I think).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Nails


    Jun 4, 2000
    Austin, Tejas

    I use a Digital Music Corp. GCX system. I bought the switcher and ground control on eBay for around 300 each. I've never seen the whole system in a store, just the ground control rarely. My cash flow is limited so I had to be patient and buy one piece, then save and wait for the other.

    Unless I'm mistaken the GCX isn't wired in parallel, instead it is actually wired in series. But the cut down on tone suck caused by some pedals is reduced by the relay system used to add/subtract loops in the chain. The key is that each pedal is in a loop, which is essentially just a small part of a signal chain that can be added or subtracted. When it's subtracted the signal goes straight to the loops turned on, or straight to the amp if no loop is on. It's this relay system that cuts down on the tone suck some pedals induce.

    Before I had the system and was running my effects inline constantly I could hear my MXR Phase 90's effect all the time, but it was slight when not on I don't think a non-musician would have noticed. But with the GCX system I don't hear any Phase 90 when I don't want to.

    Since the guitar audio switcher is a MIDI controlled unit, I could run another MIDI cable to something like a POD, the rackmount version of the FM4, a sampler, a drum machine, or any other MIDI controlled device, and control it with the Ground Control as well.

    Also, I think the correct term is MIDI channel selection system, that's what the GCX is called by Digital Music Corp.

    Hope I helped, if you need to know anything else just ask.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    well, the sound sculpture switchblade that i have is a 16x16 router/mixer. i can route any of the inputs to any of the outputs - i can combine outputs or make copies of inputs (ch 1 in can be routed to ch 1,2 and 3 out, for example). the options here are endless for me - i plug my basses directly into this unit, i set up "patches" in it that i can change with any midi pedal. these patches will have routing options for each of the 16 inputs and outputs. i can use this to send a copy of my signal to 2 different preamps, and simultaneously send a copy of each of their outputs, mixed back together, to the same power amp. this is the "series" patching that you mentioned - the preamps aren't stacked one into the other, but instead, each gets a signal direct from the bass, and each's signal goes directly to the poweramp. i can do this with a number of units simultaneously.

    here's another example of how i use it. i have a boss se70 effects unit - i use this unit for effects on my bass, but i also use it as a vocoder (sounds like a keyboard talking) by routing a keyboard/synth into the left input on the unit and my vocal mic into the right input. obviously, if i were gigging and i wanted to use the unit both as a vocoder and as an effects unit on my bass, i would have to manually reconnect the cables to switch between the two, right? wrong! :D ;) with the switchblade, i send ch's 9 and 10 to the boss unit, and on some patches in the switchblade i route my bass to those chanels and on other patches i route my vocal and a synth output there.

    i have alternate patches for when i change basses, to help equalize the volumes from bass to bass, i have alternate patches for when i wish to use certain synth units with my bass synth or with the footpedal synth (i can route midi signals to different channels internally). i don't have to worry about patch name/number settings on each midi unit, since i can have the unit send the specific midi patch change to each unit, each on it's own midi channel, when i change the patches in the switchblade. i can even use a continuous controller pedal to fade back and forth between patches/routing options, so that i can fade back and forth between my aguilar and my marshall jmp1 for clean to distortion.

    and best of all, i only have to wire everything into the unit, and then i can program the routing via my computer - the switchblade has a real easy to use and convenient programming tool that downloads the patches from the computer into the unit.

    very cool. :D

    i see that you're in atlanta. if you would like some time, you can come over and check it out - i live in mableton. let me know.
  4. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    That's awesome. If I understood it correctly, that's exactly of the things I wanted to do: somehow "magically" have a set up in which I can put effects, like reverb, distortion, or dela, on my voice (which really sucks :D) for the occassional backup vocals. So if I have a channel switcher, I could make a patch where the bass through a certain effect (or none), and the mic goes through a chain with effects on there, each into separate outputs? If that's what it is.....well then.....damn! :)

    You know, I might have to take you up on that, but it would be in the future, since finals are next week, and school is time consuming. I know I'd feel pretty weak after looking at all that stuff, but boy would it be fun!

    By the way, how much does does the Sculpture run for? I doubt I'd need a 16x16. 8 channels/inputs would probably be enough for me, since the only effects I'd really use would be distortion, delay, chorus, phaser, flanger, and synth. Well...I could find use for extra channels, eg. hooking up the Mesa's footswitchable functions to the switcher. And I'd probably convince myself that I need to get some extra MIDI capable toys, like samplers and the sort. 'Tis a dangerous game. But yeah, how much does one of those things cost? Being a poor college kid, I know I'll be disappointed by the answer, but I feel that knowledge is power. Plus I can set my goals realistically.

    BTW, thank you to both of you. You've helped me a ton. Although I'm not sure if I've found the answer to all my questions....yet.... ;)
  5. blamkin


    Nov 28, 2001
    Broomfield, Co
    WOW thanks for posting this question and the responses. This is pretty much what I'm looking for, although I agree that I probably don't need THAT MANY foot switches.

    I wonder if it'd work with the lexicon effects unit.........

    Thanks again!
  6. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    there is an 8x8 switchblade model that is ~$800, iirc.

    here's their website ... http://www.soundsculpture.com/

    good luck with finals - where do you go to school?

    oh, and blamkin, the switchblade units work with any effects/preamp/instrument.
  7. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    I should stop before I get myself into some trouble. ;)
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    ah, an emroid ;) cool. i went to ga tech (ee '92)
  9. Hugh Jazz

    Hugh Jazz

    Sep 13, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    All of my friends are there. They all expected me to go there as well since I'm a science/math kinda guy, but for some odd reason, I didn't. It must be the lack of women folk. :p

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