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SKB Rack Comparison: Roto, Standard, Shallow

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bgavin, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. What are the differences between the Standard, Roto, Ultimate Strength and other SKB racks?

    I recently purchased the XRack3, which is a Roto type.
    It is a 10.5" depth, with a front lid and rear access cover.
    It accommodates a Crest ProLite 2.0 amp and Sansamp RPM.
    I have to unplug the interconnects to put the cover in place.
    The rear cover makes for very tight access.

    I'm unclear on the differences between the Standard and Roto series racks.
    Both appear to have front and rear lids, and the Roto Ultimates have rear rails.

    Q: would those in the know, please post their lessons learned?
  2. kcole4001


    Oct 7, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    The standard depth is 14".
    I believe the shallow is supposed to be 10".
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I had an SKB roto and sold it. My biggest piece (amp head) only took up like 1/2 the depth and preamps like 1/6th. It was this giant 6-space contraption with wheels and a luggage handle. It was even big sitting on top of my 8x10. Gator shallow is my prefered.
  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    No experience with shallow SKBs because my lightweight Stewart World 2.1 power amps are too deep. Also, I've never tried the ultimates.

    I have lots of experience with SKB standard and Roto racks, they're my favorites. I have 3 and 4 space standard racks, and 4 and 6 space Roto racks. My number one rig is currently in the 4U standard, but that's incidental, I'll use either type. My spare rack stuff is stored in the spare racks.

    Roto Racks are less expensive, somewhat lighter, and somewhat bulkier than standard. Rotos are not designed for airline travel or other abuse, but are more than sufficient if you carry your own gear. The rear lid has plastic latches which concerned me at first, but in years of steady gigging I have never had one fail.

    P.S. I also have a an SKB Roll-X rolling rack case: it has wheels and telescoping handle. Mine's 6U, I got it back when I was using a Crest CA9. Seemed like a good idea, but while it rolls nicely, I still had to lift it up on the speaker cab. :p Also, the wheels prevent the rack from being perfectly level while sitting on the cab (not an issue if it overhangs a small cab). It's also the bulkiest compared with the others. I haven't used mine in years... I'll probably sell/trade at some point.
  5. Ukiah Bass

    Ukiah Bass

    May 10, 2006
    I've had the SKB racks, both shallow and standard. They are excellent quality.

    I'm considering a 3U Gator shallow as they're slightly longer internally than the SKB shallow: 14.75" rackable space vs. 10.38" - and thus the Gator is more useful to me. I heard the build quality on Gator is not excellent but functional. Does anyone know if the latches on the Gator GR-3S - 3 Rack Spaces (shallow) are built into the covers or are they permanently attached to the main body. I seem to recall older models were on the body, which was kind of a pain sliding them around while tilted straight up (the direction I'll be using it). However the current photos suggest they're attached to the covers, just like SKB cases. I'm hoping it's the latter! Thanks.

    EDIT: the folks at Sweetwater checked out the inventory. The new line of Gators has the latches permanently attached to the covers, just like SKBs. That sold it for me - I ordered one.
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I've had 3 of the standard SKB and one of the X-racks. I really like the standards better, and one of mine has lasted in constant rotation since 1992. :)

    As you know, I don't like the x-rack I have that much. I don't feel its as road-worthy with that back panel. I think the plastic is a bit lighter than the standards, and my x-rack only has one molded handle while the standard has pretty rugged extruded aluminum handles mounted. I can't remember if either of the standards I have have back rails or not (I'll have to look). But I do like that each lid is gasketted, so there's less likelihood of any kind of water or moisture getting into it when closed.
  7. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I have a shallow 4u that fits my GK 700RB-II, a power conditioner and tuner without issue or excessive unused depth.
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The standards have rear rails, Rotos don't. I have never used rear rails... that's another reason the Rotos are fine for me.
  9. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I'm pretty sure that my non- X-rack ones have rear rails. I'm working on adding a rear-facing power strip to my setup to make things even neater and easier to work with.
  10. The SKB web site tells me the new Roto are now the Ultimate Strength series.
    These come with threaded rear rails, and both front/rear lids.

    I am not understanding the difference between the Standard and Ultimate Strength series.
    Especially considering the Standard is far more expensive.

    Is the Roto a less expensive technology, or cost-reduced with cheap fittings, or ??
  11. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Given that the Rotos have been updated to "Ultimate" my earlier comments no longer apply. That said, while we're waiting for a better response: based on the photos, it looks to me that the Roto racks are still bulkier than the Standards. Looks like the lids are not gasketed, or if they are, they are plastic. Also, looks like one difference remains intact: the standards have a thinner, tougher plastic case, while the Rotos use thicker plastic that's more flexible, and more deeply "corrugated" which accounts for the extra bulk.

    In short, the standards are less bulky, possibly more water resistant, and possibly more durable.
  12. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I have two 4 space and one 1 space standard SKB racks, very strong, long lasting, less bulky, lightweight.......

    One of the 4 space racks may be available, if you are looking.........
  13. The SKB Standard is also offered in 3RU and 11.3 pounds, which the Roto is not.
    The Roto are deeper, Rail-to-Rail, than the Standard.
    It appears the latch mechanism might be more sturdy on the Standards... a nit for the weekend warrior types.

    I have three 4RU Road Runner (oem is roadreadycases.com) which are very sturdy, but 25 pounds empty.
    To keep the weight down, I split the RPM+VTRM into a RR 2RU case, and the PLX-3002 and Rane crossssover into a different rack.
    I had a RR 6RU with sufficient space, but gave it away to my daughter's bassist... too big / too heavy for me.
  14. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    My SKB standard cases measure about 15.5" from front to rear rails. The rear rails do come in handy for power strips, and heavy amps with rear rail mounts (I have not needed this, myself, never had an amp that needed rear support).
  15. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    One thing about the SKB racks is that eventually the latches will wear out... And SKB will ship you a new set gratis. Easy replacement. Great customer service from them!
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I haven't had a problem with SKB latches in over a decade of frequent use, possibly because I own a few of their racks and rotate them, but this is great to know!
  17. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    Mine have loosened a bit on my oldest case, but not enough that they don't hold the lids securely...just enough that they're not a pain in the butt to latch and unlatch.

    And yes, there is a decent 3-space standard. When my Kern was my gigging preamp I used one with my IPR. I'm back to my 4 space. The size difference isn't that great between the two.

    My biggest hit on the X-Rack is that back panel. I hate it. Limited access with a sharp edge/flange. It makes access hard depending on where your connections are on the back of your gear.

    I also think the 'fasteners on that back panel are not what I'd consider 'road-worthy'.

    You may also note that it only has one handle. Depending on your amp's weight, that would be a serious consideration to me. Even if your amp isn't particularly heavy, if you have to put it up on a tall cab or maneuver it for transport, two handles makes things way easier.
  18. There is a nice 2RU Standard for sale in Classifieds right now.
    Unfortunately, I need a 3RU, so letting this one pass by.
  19. Looking for a bit of advice from owners:
    I need to pick up another SKB rack, but am undecided between 3RU Standard and 4RU Ultimate Strength (Roto) and wasting a space.

    Is there any appreciable construction difference?

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