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Designing rackmount units vs. pedals

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Stealth, Apr 29, 2009.


  1. Stealth

    Stealth

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Most of the DIY work regarding effects relates to creating small, portable pedalboxes that serve the need very well and come in a nifty package, but I'm interested: How does designing a rackmount unit differ from that? Aside from the obvious difference (of rack units being much larger), are there any more advantages to going for rack vs. pedals?
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Not really. However, some effects, compressors especially, are almost always better in rackmount versions than pedal versions. But if you take the same exact effect and make one a pedal and make one a rackmount, there won't be any difference tonally...it's a matter of choosing which form you like better.
     
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It's easier to build a high voltage or high current power supply into a rack unit than it is to have a huge high-power wall-wart on your pedalboard. With proper design, higher power internal to the circuit can mean higher headroom and lower noise.
     
  4. Stealth

    Stealth

    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    So basically, if I prefer making (half-)racks for each effect simply because of the form factor, it's all the same.

    In other words, similar to how some preamps have better headroom (meaning a longer linear gain before clipping occurs), any effect can benefit from, say, an 18V power brick inside the rack unit, along with a few extra fans to keep it cool, right?
     
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    As long as the circuit is designed to actually benefit from and take advantage of the higher power, then yes. :) It wouldn't necessarily work to build from a schematic for an effect designed for 9V and just feed it 18V with no other changes. Fans are almost never needed in rack effects, although I have owned a few that got hot on top and would benefit from better ventilation. But they were in the minority.
     
    • Dual rail power supplies. No more half-supply biasing.
    • Make the headroom as big as you like.
    • Frequency boosts can have massive dynamic range.
    • More room for controls.
    • Space for more intricate, better performing circuits.
    • no reliance on potentially noisy external power supplies.
     
  6. Tomass

    Tomass

    Nov 1, 2005
    +1 on the bigger supply, using a 9 volt power supply on pedals just really isnt that good, +-4.5 on each rail really doesnt leave much head room. Plus Racks look cool :p
     
  7. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    why aren't we seeing more DIY analog rack effects?
     
  8. L-A

    L-A

    Jul 17, 2008
    Eh?
    I think the pedal form is a more forgiving format when you want to experiment and play around circuitry.
     
  9. bovine mind

    bovine mind

    Jun 17, 2008
    San Francisco
    maybe, but i personally hate bending over to make adjustments on my already crammed board in the dark, mid set or song, with broken glass littering the floor and people shouting to get it over with. not to mention lack of floorspace given the smaller venues i play.

    i'd replace many of my pedals with rack units that can be tucked safe away high up top my cabs if they were analog and contained no LCD screens and irritating sub menus.

    i'd love to see modern takes on units like the ibanez UE series.
     

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