Does anyone use 500 series racks in their rig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Jared Houseman, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I know 500 series rack processors are mainly for studio use but i'm interested too see if anyone uses they live.

    Edit: With gear getting smaller and lighter, maybe 500 series racks are the only way for racks to remain relative.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  2. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    Overkill. And overly complicated for a bass rig, IMO. But hey...they're wonderful toys for gadget-heads who have disposable income. There are almost more 500-series modules these days than stomp-boxes. Well...almost. :D

    Edit: OTOH, if you already have some modules and a power supply, there's no reason not to insert something in your effects loop to take it for a spin. If you find something you really like, maybe you can find a pedal that emulates that same effect. But I still think carrying a 500-series rack full of processing out for your bass rig is a bit too much. Just IMO, of course...and I'm at a point in my life where I'm trying to simplify, not complicate.
  3. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    Oh yeah totally overkill, i'm content running my bass straight into a di to FoH :D. I'm just wondering what some other crazy bassists out there are doing.
  4. MarkA

    MarkA In the doghouse. Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    I seem to remember someone around here doing it awhile back -- don't recall who, but I read something that got me interested enough to look briefly into the idea. I know next to nothing about 500 series stuff -- didn't even know it existed 'til a few years ago -- but the idea of a decent, small, channel-strip into an EQ unit in one of those racks didn't seem totally unreasonable to me at the time. Never went further with it, though.

    On a sort-of-related topic, I wouldn't mind if folks made some half-rack width poweramps and preamps (I think there have been a few pres -- the Arkham Abyss comes to mind). I have a couple of pre+power setups and like the protection of a compact rack, but the full rack-width is a bit clunky with my narrower, modern cabs.
  5. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    I know quilter makes some half rack adapters for their guitar amps but i think the idea is to have two side by side for stereo amps. id defiantly be more interested in rack gear if it was more compact but i haven't seen many half rack processors/cases. With everyone moving to small light rigs without the need for a ton of power, i really think racks are going to fall out of fashion.
  6. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    I believe most 500 rack products are line level, so this should factor into how practical it might be if you operate in the instrument level world.
    And I likes this.
  7. sears

    sears Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    ec, md
    I have thought about getting a summit half rack pre send a speck half rack eq but even that I rejected as overkill.
  8. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    I suppose that if you were already in a rack rig, it wouldn't be too big a PITA...especially if you're playing in a touring act where big racks aren't a big deal. And there are some fantastically good components available in that package...I can visualize some real gear-head with a signal path that used a mic pre to feed a good parametric EQ and comp/limiter...all studio grade. But it's definitely overkill for my world...I'm a 'plug it right into the amp' kind of a guy my own self. And there are good pedals that do all those functions for those who require them.
  9. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I did a DIY half rack preamp / power amp set a few years ago, but the lack of compact lightweight half rack cases at that time made it not all that attractive a format IMO.
  10. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I like modules a lot. The 500 platform is incredibly flexible and powerful. And if it’s doable, there’s probably a module available (for a price ;)) that will.

    But it’s expensive, beyond anything that’s even remotely necessary if you’re using it just for electric bass performance, and it can be fiddley to work with in practice.

    I really think Eurorack, 500 series, and similar rack modules are better suited to provisioning modular synths and studio applications than they are as standalone instrument pedal replacements.

    If you want more synth like features and capabilities, check out products by Hologram, Meris, and Chase Bliss. They incorporate a lot of what’s traditionally modular technology into their pedals. A good example of that type of pedal is the Meris Enzo:

    Or the Hologram Dream Sequence

  11. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    +1 for that.
  12. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Twenty years ago I used to love using those 500-size Neve V-series EQ modules... noiseless and transparent! But nowadays you can get several noiseless and transparent digital EQs in a single rack space - 1/4 the size and about 1/10th the price
  13. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    Yeah but those pedals cost almost as much as a eurorack module anyway. I could see an argument that you're better off buying the rack so that you can use it for more than just bass (synth, recording, etc.), or repurposing a rack you've already built to also use with bass.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    To me, going with a modular rack is making a commitment. And with modular units you can’t just use one module most times. You need the rack for openers, and usually a few modules before you can do anything useful with it. You’ll need the rack (a 3-module rack is around $350, otherwise larger 8 or 10 module units go between $800 and $1000), something like the Radial EXTC (about $300) to convert the line level of the modules to work with hi-Z, and some sort of EQ ($250 and up) just for openers.

    So for 500 series modules:
    1. $350 3-module powered rack
    2. $250 Midas Parametric EQ
    3. $300 Line converter
    and you’ve just spent $900 to effectively duplicate an Empress ParaEQ that costs $255.

    Eurorack gear is less expensive on average, but also not bus compatible with 500 series gear. And by the time you get a: minimalist setup consisting of a rack, LFO, VCA, ADSR, VCF, S&H/Trigger, mixer, etc. (and you’ll probably want a couple of some of those modules) you’re already up around two grand right there.

    If you want to experiment with real synth type circuits, it’s easier and cheaper to just buy an inexpensive keyboard or rack synth that allows you to input an external audio signal. It kinda works like the effects loop on an amp by bypassing the VCOs and letting you get straight to the filters and envelopes.

    It works. But bottom line is it’s just bass synth pedal on steroids - for twice the money.

    Don’t get me wrong. Modular gear is very cool. I got my education on the early Moog modular analog product line. Too expensive for me to own personally. But making friends with folks who were hooked up with a studio that was heavily vested in that sort of gear gave me access to it along with the people who really knew what they were doing with it. And it was eye opening. Especially once you realized just how many modules you actually needed to do something that’s musically valid.
  15. Of course we do cuz we always do what the cool kids are doing.

    Rack gear remains relevant not because big refrigerator sized racks are in or out of vogue but because a lot of really useful bass related audio tools come in R.U format. The other reason is that racks help carry several things at once while also serving as the travel case.
  16. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    I, for one, was not suggesting that rack rigs are irrelevant...I was saying that a 500-series rack-mount power supply and frame might not be such a big deal if you're already in a rack rig, but isn't worth it if you aren't already there. Even if you are, there are plenty of stand-alone, rack-mount units that will do most of the same functions without the hassles of the 500-series modular thing. And for all the 500-series modules there are out there, you don't see too much of that stuff in modern live sound reinforcement's mostly relegated to the studio and brief-case engineers who carry a couple of modules around to insert into their 'money' channel. I think most of that kind of thing is there to try to inject some good old-fashioned, analog-type warmth (and harmonic distortion?) back into the somewhat sterile sound of digital mic pre's and consoles. There is also a fair amount of audio charlatanism and psycho-acoustical mumbo-jumbo that keeps a bit of this analog stuff going in what is otherwise a digital environment. The concert sound reinforcement world, I mean...there's no reason not to use that kind of gear for your bass rig, or in a studio environment.
  17. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    mikewalker and Passinwind like this.
  18. Matt B

    Matt B

    Mar 31, 2012
    New Zealand
    mikewalker likes this.
  19. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I've thought about it, but never pulled the trigger. There's SO MANY nice preamp, EQ and compressor options out there, the possibilities for combinations are endless.