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Send Him to the Racks!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Eschaton, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. I'm entertaining the idea of getting into the "rack-mounted" game.
    I have NO idea what I'm doing. This is what I know:

    • My amp (Behringer BX4500H/BB410) doesn't satisfy me. It's loud, but it doesn't have the clean, expressive "expensive bass amps" sound that I'm craving.
    • Building a pedalboard to suit my needs is fun. (I assume building my rack will be just as satisfying)
    • I NEED a Preamp, Power Amp, and cabinet to make sound. (I could use an all in one rack mount bass amp)
    Aside from getting into brand names and this vs. that, what am I missing?
    What are the pro's & con's between Heads & Cabs vs. a rack setup?
    If anything, what do I have wrong here? (any mistakes?)

    By the way, I'm considering a few of these things:

    Ampeg SVT-6 Pro
    TECH21 Landmark 300
    QSC RMX2450 (I'd have to use a preamp with this, no?)
  2. Nice rack.

    Rack preamp lets you swap them to release gas with out spending so much.
    TheBear and StrangerDanger like this.

  3. I assume "release gas" is related to this "Guitar Addiction Syndrome" that I keep hearing about?
    This notion is new to me, I never heard the term before joining Talkbass.

    I haven't actually built anything yet, but those are a couple of my options, and some things I'm looking into purchasing.
    I think I'm going to shoot for a POWERFUL amplification, without losing any articulation. I'm a bass junkie, I want the plaster dust crumbling from the ceiling when I turn the volume up to 3.

    I'd like to build a rack, with either an all in one or a preamp/poweramp, tuner, EQ, compression, reverb, and maybe an effects unit.
    Then a decent cabinet.

    Anyone want to share their rack rigs here?
    Again; advice, tips, etc are all welcome.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Racks are a personal preference thing. Folks seem to think they're this mystical/complicated setup, but they don't need to be. They have the ability to get large and heavy quickly. Keep it simple and use what you need. Pros and cons would be you get to use whatever combination of stuff you want, and you can get out of hand quick.

    Just some random advice:

    If you don't run compression you probably don't need a rack comp.

    Personally I would skip the EQ. If whatever amp or preamp you get needs EQ to sound decent you're getting the wrong one.

    I'd also skip the reverb unit and the effects unit unless you want to run a midi setup.

    The SVT 6 Pro is a deep amp so you'd need to use a full Amp Depth rack to house it.
    Most of the light power amps and preamps are shallow, so you can use a Shallow Depth/Effects Depth rack.
    I'm not a weight weenie, but an Amp Depth rack is huge and no fun to lug around.

    With either of the setups you listed you'd need at least 7U which means a 8U since they're usually in even numbers.
    TheBear, red_rhino and Eschaton like this.
  5. Wrong rack.

    It's Gear.Aquisition.Syndrome.

    Rack pre plus pedal board for you. If you get a hifi 3 way cab like a giant fearful you can take out a lot of variables and concentrate your gas on the pedals for a couple of years.
    Eschaton likes this.
  6. A floral print would soften the effect.
    vmabus and Eschaton like this.
  7. That is actually helpful. I'm not LOOKING to get a bunch of heavy stuff to lug around. I was under the assumption that most rack things were "one trick ponies" so to speak, using the EQ and comp. and verb. as an example. If I don't need them (I have comp. and verb. on my pedalboard) then I don't need them.
    7U/8U I'm guessing you're referring to how many spaces in the rack?

    See? I told you I'd never heard the term. Lol that makes a little more sense.
    And I never stop concentrating on my pedalboard. Lol I usually don't bring it up because I hear the whole "no amount of pedals is going to make you a better bass player". Which I fully understand, but pedals to me are like crack. I'm hooked.

    I don't know what you mean by this one.
  8. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Then I would say that a preamp of choice and a lightweight power amp would be the best place to start. That would be 3 or 4U.

    Yes, 7-8U is referring to rack spaces. 1U is one rack unit, or 1.75".

    No reason for rack gear to be any more of a one trick pony than any amp, considering a head is just pre/power in a single enclosure. This is that mysticism and confusion I was referring to. I don't mean that as a dig by any means, racks just seem to be a huge source of it for some reason.
  9. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    The ability to change preamps as you like is awesome!

    Attached Files:

  10. I don't take any offense at all. That's why I asked. No need for confusion when you have the internet. Lol

    I love the way that looks. lol
    StrangerDanger likes this.
  11. Adding preamp smack to pedal crack?
    Eschaton likes this.
  12. Can someone tell me what a power conditioner is actually for?
  13. A rack mount power strip to make it easy to plug everything in.

    Eschaton likes this.
  14. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Beware, it's a slippery slope.
    mbelue likes this.
  15. Omega Monkey

    Omega Monkey

    Mar 8, 2015
    I'm going to be the first to say you don't need a rack setup. Right now you have a pretty crappy amp and cab. That's 90% of the deficiency in your sound. Get any decent bass head with 400-600w or so, and a legit 4x10 (or 2 2x10s, or a 2x15 or 2 1x15s). The most basic GK or Ampeg would probably suit you just fine for heads. For cabs, you could look at SWR, Ampeg, Trace, Eden, etc... Any of the big brands should be fine.

    You're driving a Kia and looking at $200k Ferraris when all you really need probably is a $30k Mustang.

    You said yourself you have no idea what you're doing. If you jump in at the deep end with a rack with tons of components, there will be too many variables for you to have much hope of figuring out what's working and what's not and why. A legit bass head and 4x10 (etc...) will be a great platform to start learning from, and then after some trial and error, if you still can't get what you need from that format, you could look at rack setups. But you need to have some idea of WHY you are getting a particular piece to have any chance of getting the right results without spending a metric F ton of money and time first.

    For simplicity's sake, if you start with one of the SS Ampegs and the 410HLF. I'm guessing something like that would be everything you want and more, and if it wasn't, at least it would be a killer rig while you plan your next move (and easy to resell). Bad news, you'll probably be lucky to get $250 for your Behringer stuff (hope you bought it used at least).

    Also worth looking at your pedal board setup, not all pedals play well together or play well with bass. And if you have a ton of them strung together, you're probably getting a ton of signal loss.

    A general idea of your budget would also help.
    alecduncan, goodformetal and Eschaton like this.
  16. IMO, skip the RMX 2450 - its SUPER heavy! Add in the rack case, preamp, power strip, tuner, etc and you'll be deadlifting 100lbs. No thanks!

    Get a lightweight class d power amp. Choose a preamp. You can use a regular power strip, or spend $$$ to get a rack mount Furman with rack lights.

    Just make sure the rack has proper ventilation for your gear and that your preamp and power and are compatible (line level, etc).

    Btw, huge 31 band eq's are fun to mount in a rack. I used to have a nice rack compressor with lights that showed signal strength and when it was in compression, etc. Had controls for how quick the compression kicked in, how much it compressed, and how quick it released.

    Have fun!
    Eschaton likes this.
  17. bebass

    bebass Sho Me Music Commercial User

    Sep 3, 2006
    Bolivar, Missouri
    ShoMeMusic.com; Authorized dealer for Bergantino, Dingwall, Darkglass, Genzler, Phil Jones Bass, Quilter, Blackstar, Cort, Traynor, and other
    It can be a slippery slope - but also can be fun.
    I am not using mine now as I went to a micro amp in the Traynor SB500H. BUT I also haven't sold it and probably won't. Cause you CAN get an almost infinite variety of sounds.
    I have and for a long time used an RBI pre, a Presonus Tube-Channel pre and a QSC 1804 power amp. Definitely get the rack power strip and one of the lighter weight amps like QSV or Peavey. DON't get the heavier amp - you will regret it (I did that too).
    The thing is, my micro amp will do at least 90% of what that rack system would do and I probably will not switch back. BUT MAN OH MAN that 10% was freaking balls to the wall awesome. Tweak until you drop - all the sounds are there.
    Eschaton likes this.
  18. friendlybass


    Jul 19, 2012
    I started pretty softcore with racks about a year ago, holds my amp (swr bass 350) and a Furman. Now I have that plus my studio rack, swr grand prix and a Furman, and the danger for me is the temptation to buy a dirty sounding amp, get a bigger rack case, run both amps plus a pre to use as a DI, and use that to power two stacks of cabs.
    The slope is slippery, and to further lube it up ill say if you run a stereo power amp that has 2 inputs and 2 outputs you can bridge the outputs and run two preamps that you can switch between right on your pedalboard!
    Eschaton likes this.
  19. I am scared of Rack Units. I get far too obsessed with new gear that I would end up with a 100kg rack that I can't move.
    Eschaton likes this.

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