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Rackmount effects units with dedicated pedals

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Robb Fesig, Apr 30, 2015.


  1. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    Hi guys. First post, so be nice :woot:

    I've always used rack mount effects units over the years. Recently started playing again (and developing serious GAS) and found a used Digitech Blue Thunder and it works pretty well for what it does (compressor, eq, distortion, delay, reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser). There's no envelope filter, overdrive, wah, or synth effects in it, so I'm looking at other device(s) to fill in the gaps.

    I'd have to run 4 cables total to a pedal board (power, midi, send, return) if I use independent pedals to fill the gaps. I was wondering how you guys run your cables on stage with the massive amounts of pedals that some of you have. Right now I'd have to run a midi cable out front and that's it.

    Also, does having a bunch of pedals increase your setup time significantly?

    It seems like the rack mount bass effect market is fairly small, or am I missing something?

    Thanks.
     
  2. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I'd suggest putting the pedals between the bass and the amp as opposed to in an effects loop; they work best there and apart from power which may or may not be available close to the pedalboard you'd have one cable on the floor, from pedalboard to amp.

    Setup time is minimal in my case; I put the pedalboard case on the floor, lift the lid off, connect power and a cable from pedalboard to amp, and sometimes a DI cable from pedalboard to PA, and that's it. (Wireless between bass and pedalboard, so no setup required there).

    And, welcome to TB. :)
     
    Robb Fesig likes this.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Agreed.

    Setting up my board takes like 30 seconds.
     
  4. waveman

    waveman

    Sep 25, 2008
    So are you using a midi switcher to change effects? Do you intend to have the pedals in a rack or at your feet? That would determine a lot.
     
    Robb Fesig likes this.
  5. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    That's the Rocktron Blue Thunder, right? I agree that the rackmount dedicated MIDI/programmable bass preamp/multi-fx market is fairly slim these days. If you're looking for all of those fx/processors in a single package, there are very few choices. Back when I was doing "lead bass" stuff with a tribute band, I found my way to the Fractal AxeFX Ultra (now discontinued but still available on the used market for +/-$1000) and used it - and ONLY IT - along with a Behringer FCB1010 MIDI pedal to control it. One power cable and MIDI cable to the FCB1010, and that was pretty much it. When the AxeFxII came out, I replaced the Ultra with it. The AxeFxII is a significant upgrade to the Ultra, however the Ultra is still an excellent unit in its own right.

    My rig became: Gig bag for FCB1010; 5 space rack for AxeFx, power amp, rack outlet strip/voltage regulator; one or two speaker cabinets as needed; accessory bag; 2 basses. I kissed goodbye the pedal board with individual stomps a long time ago and I don't miss it at all. Of course, the demands of the gig I was on made all of this high tech something of a necessity, and I wanted to travel lean and light, but not lack any flexibility in producing high quality tones or signal routing configurations. I don't use this rig for less demanding "standard" gigs. It's overkill.

    All this simplifying of the live rig with MIDI pedal and a rack unit does come at a cost, but when compared to the number of items you can replace, it actually isn't too bad. In my case, I actually made money on the sale of items I never used anymore (SansAmp BDDI x 2 - one for backup; Digitech Whammy; rack compressor; tuner, TC Electronic G-Force, misc. rack processors, etc.).

    Fractal Audio stuff is a great way to go if you can swing the nut. They've also just released a pedal board with FX only (no amp/preamp/spkr cab sims) called the FX8, and they also are planning to release a pedal board that is a floor version (sort-of) of the AxeFx, with a little less cpu processing power, that does amp/cab/effects, called the AX8 (unknown time frame for availability to the market).

    Good luck!
     
    Robb Fesig likes this.
  6. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania

    Thanks FretNoMore, it's nice to be here. Can I ask what wireless system you use?
     
  7. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    A Rolls MP128 with phantom power from the blue thunder. That's how I'm able to set it up with only one cable.
     
  8. Robb Fesig

    Robb Fesig

    Mar 14, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    Exactly, I'm trying to get a rig that's simple yet versatile.
    I checked out that AxeFX unit, and while I may end up there, I can't jump there without severe marital strain.
     
    hintz likes this.
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I use a Line6 G30. All the new digital ones are good, I chose the G30 because of low price and that it uses a regular 1/4" cable between the bass and the transmitter.
     
    Robb Fesig likes this.
  10. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Yes, the AxeFx has been known to stress relationships, especially in the initial stages. All I can say is this: make a list of things that you feel can realistically be replaced by the AxeFx, place a value on them, and then see how far it puts you in the hole financially (if at all). An AxeFx based rig is simple in that there are very few parts n piece needed, but it is on the complex side of things if you want to do advanced programming. It is also the most versatile all-in-one rig you will find on the market. Usually I'd say, JMHO, but in the case of the AxeFxII, I don't see any close rivals that can do what it does. My gear purge list was an impressive one...all big name, well-known commodity stuff, GOOD stuff. Most of it is gone now.
     
    Robb Fesig and hintz like this.
  11. hintz

    hintz

    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    Any expensive gear spending can put a strain on relationships;).... For years I wanted the ART nightbass as I was very impressed by them when I was younger, now if I wanted anything remotely similar it would be AxeFX, but instead I have quite the collection of pedals, most I don't use...

    Anyways for me to setup it can take a few minutes depending on the size of the stage/how much room I have and I also have a PT pro, for a board with only 4 pedals it shouldn't take long at all though, I also plan on downsizing soon to save on space on-stage....

    There are plenty of threads for what is the best pedal etc.... Overdrive has been the toughest for me to get right, but my favorites are the fulltone OCD, Swell Bpro, Hardwire cm2 but I'm still looking at a few others, the barbershop gets alot of love here and I'm intrigued by the empress multidrive and the SA OFD, so I'm still deciding on what's best for me..

    I have the cliff burton wah and love it, but I've had the bass crybaby before which was awesome until it died...

    Envelope filters seem to be as personal taste as much as an overdrive, but I really dug the source audio BEF...i currently use a DOD fx25, qtron is another I dug...

    For a good synth I really dig the EH bass microsynth, but the SA multiwave distortion will probably replace it as it does the 2 tones I use the EH for, the BOSS synth was glitchy to me but still cool..

    Good luck:)
     
    Robb Fesig likes this.

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