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Rack system vs. head???

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rock bassist 81, Jul 15, 2003.


  1. So, i am not even sure if i am in the market for a new amp yet..but wheni do get the money i want to invest in a new amp head or rack system. what are the advantages or disadvatages. i will be playing rock, metal and alternative typed of music. What is the best buy? i would like a rack system jsut because it gives me more options. how can i get the best bang for my buck?
     
  2. BFYB(Bang for your buck) would be head...but flexability would be pre-power..And more options, but it's costly, unless you shop for good deals...You can get a used Sansamp RBI for 2-250(New 300) and a poweramp, depending on your needs for 3-600....Just shop is my advice...
     
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Best reason to go rack is power. If you want 1000+ watts you have very few choices in heads. For lower power rigs (500 watts or less) heads rule.
     
  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have both. My head is a Mesa Boogie Walkabout, and part of its allure is its very small size and light weight. I also have a full rack setup, with an Eden Navigator preamp plus PLX 3002, among other things. Different gigs have different demands, and for some, it's great to load in my Mini Rig in one trip. For others, it's great to have 3,000w of power on hand.:D The rack setup (with a fairly sophisticated preamp) can also offer advantages if you want to get into bi-amping, stereo, or running a dirty channel plus a clean channel. I used to have a rack-mounted multi-effects processor, but now I am leaning towards high quality footpedals, but rack systems obviously allow for more options.

    If I were only to have one setup, it'd be my rack. It's more weight, but it can handle just about any situation. The nice thing is that you could start out with a simple, possibly used, setup, and then add to it and upgrade as you make more money. My initial rack rig was a BBE 383 preamp with an Audio Centron amp, and you know, it sounded pretty good. But man was that amp heavey! My rack has also housed various wireless units, compressors, Furman PL Plus, a dual channel 31 band EQ, a Rocktron Hush, my Stewart UDP-1a, a Raven Labs MDB-1, a Peavey Bass-Fex, and who knows what else. And it is nice to have someplace to safely keep and use those things.

    That said, if you aren't into competing with the PA, you aren't going to experiment with bi-amping & stereo signals, and you aren't into extraneous bells and whistles, and all you want is a simple plug and play setup, there are some killer heads out there. The iAMP 800 and the M-Pulse 600 have both tempted me seriously...

    So, there are my thoughts. But the choice is ultimately yours to make.

    Happy hunting. Tom.
     
  5. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    If you can afford it now, a rack system is a great way to go... yes, it's bigger and perhaps heavier, but if you get a pro quality power amp, you can keep it (almost) forever.

    Buying used gives you the best bang for the buck. Or if you're concerned about that, buy a new power amp (like I did) and find bargains on used preamps...

    I presently have two preamps in my rack and a mixer in between the preamps and the power amp. I can plug into the "preamp of the day" and not have to reconfigure anything.
     
  6. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    What kind of mixer are you using? That's an interesting idea.

    Another idea I had recently was to pick up either a Marshall or Mesa Boogie guitar preamp, and use that to feed one channel of my PLX 3002 for my "dirty" channel.

    Tom.
     
  7. ok thanks for the help guys, but lets day i do go for the rack. and i wanted to power 2 cabs. for example i was looking at the QSC RMX 1450. it has 450w per channel @ 4ohms. so does that mean that i will have 450 whatts going to each cab? can i rin 2 cabs mono to get more whattage?
     
  8. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    If your power amp can be bridged, and I'm pretty sure that the RMX amps can be, you get a lot more power out of them at higher load impedances. Always pay very close attention to the minimum impedance rating of your amp and never go below it (doing so can cause very expensive amp damage).
     
  9. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    Tom...I use a Behringer MX1604A. I chose a four bus mixer because it gives me the option of using a number of channels for individual basses to create a submix which I could send out to the preamps then create a main mix of the preamp signals to send to the power amp.

    One of my preamps is a Pearce BC-1 with two channels. I used to plug my bass into the combined input, send my clean signal from the clean channel's fx send to my power amp (and an Acme B2) and then take the blended output from the main and send that to the other power amp channel (an EVM 15B). Since the Pearce's channels are footswitchable (either one or both) I could have both cabinets clean most of the time, then get a volume and texture boost for my solo by adding a bit of grit from the distortion channel.:D
     
  10. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Good idea. I am basically doing the instrument mixing part of that with my Raven Labs MDB-1.

    Sounds like a nice setup!