What about moving to a rack system?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dmadmadma, Apr 9, 2020.


  1. Dmadmadma

    Dmadmadma

    Mar 4, 2020
    So before the whole COVID19 thing blew out I was about to buy a GK and sell my Peavey Bass MK 8. Now that things seem more financially stable for me (might be naive) I've been GASing again still with the GK in mind but also contemplating other options. So while looking at ads on the local Craigslist or eBay I've come across a Carvin FET 1000 and remembered hearing/reading fairly often about the wonders of MOSFET transistors on the power section combined with a tube preamp. So I've been thinking about moving to a rack system, rather than buying an integrated amp.

    Very influenced by what is in the used market around here, I've been thinking about getting an Ampeg SVT IIP preamp, the Carvin, and a guitar preamp since I've been playing guitar for a while without a proper amp. This way I could feed both preamps into the Carvin, which pushes 500 Watt for each of its two channels, keeping the bass preamp clean and guitar preamp with lots of dirt and whatever effects I want to use. This would be the main function for the guitar preamp, since I mainly play bass and so far suck at guitar and a decent sound should be enough for the near future.

    Looking into guitar preamps I've come across the Roland SIP 300. There's a version of the same for bass, the 301, but so far the only difference that I've found is the eq, that the 300 has a distortion and the 301 a compressor and a crossover with different outputs for biamping. The idea would be getting the 300 for the dirt.

    About combining both Roland preamps I have several ideas, all of them with the Carvin as a power section. Idea one would be to get both the 300 and the 301 and use the last one for the cleans and the other or the dirt/effects, plugging the bass in each of them with a signal splitter. Idea two would be to plug into the 301 (the one for bass) and then using the crossover for the highs/mids to go into the 300 and distort/use effects, but the other crossover directly to the power amp. Idea three would be to to not get the 301 but the aforementioned Ampeg, plugging the bass into it, and since it has two outputs plug one to the power amp and the other to input of the 300 for the dirt/effects signal.

    So what do you think about these ideas?
     
  2. dramatwist

    dramatwist

    Sep 27, 2019
    Rack system? I'm pretty much DI these days. However, if you like it, go for it.
     
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  3. arbiterusa

    arbiterusa

    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    I used rack systems in various permutations for just about 30 years. My issues with it were size, weight, and to some extent reliability, although most of that can be mitigated with wiring harnesses that take the weight of the cables off of the jacks, and constant checking to make sure that the cables were in good condition. The bonuses were twofold: tonal flexibility, and you could, until the advent of SMPS/Class D amps, get a hell of a lot more power out of a rack setup than a separate head.

    Bottom line became this: although the tonal flexibility was wonderful at home, when you're actually playing with other people on stage it's kind of useless. I started gigging a LOT again back in 2016, and the rack rig was just not working for me. So I took a trip in time back to 1986, the last time I was using a standalone head, and got a bass head, but instead of the 200 watts I was getting out my rig in 86, I was getting 800 watts.

    Much better. Words cannot describe the joy of getting rid of a 66 pound rack and subbing in a five pound amp and losing only 100 watts on the deal - 800 is far more than enough and it never comes close to getting maxed out.

    Also, just as an FYI, the Carvin power amps have serious reliability issues and, of course, Carvin is not around anymore to service them when (not if) something goes bad for you.
     
  4. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    Getting into a rack system at this point in time seems like a bit of a step backwards, IMHO. Unless there is some particular rack-mount preamp that you're just totally enthralled with, I don't see much point in going that route, and I sure wouldn't do it just so I could use an old Carvin amp. Regardless of what you might have read or heard somewhere, I can assure you there's nothing mystical or mythical about that amp that would make it the key to a killer sound.
     
  5. 4andnomore

    4andnomore Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    I had the Ampeg SVT IIP preamp back in the day. Did some tube rolling and in the studio it was glorious! Racked up with a Crown bass power amp, I didn't't like it at all. Never could get a good sound and got tired of schlepping it around. I ended up selling it off and getting an SVT Classic which nailed the tone I was after. Nowadays my needs are met with a micro. That said, there are some great deals to be had on large amps in the used market.
     
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  6. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    I hear cassettes are coming back as well...................
     
  7. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    I owned a IIp for a while and enjoyed it. I could dial it in to get something pretty similar to my Bass 400 (plugging it into my Bass 400's power section), close just a little darker and softer on the attack and response. If I want to preamp I'll just my amps power section as the power amp.

    If you go rack get a lot of things with extra lights.

    I tried a preamp pedals into power amp rig and it was alright. My fav is still my Mesa Bass 400 with KT88's and Sansamp blended in the FX loop.
     
  8. Redbrangus

    Redbrangus Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    Under The X In Texas
    OP, now that I've read your post again, I realize that you're contemplating a fairly complicated, multi-way signal path; it could be that a rack-mount rig IS a reasonable concept for you, given all you want to have going on. (I'm still trying to learn to play well, so I don't spend too much time worrying about getting a really bitchin' sound. Plus, I'm at a point where I'm trying to simplify my life as well as my signal path, and what you're considering sounds entirely too complicated. But you pays your money and you makes your choices. :D)

    I'd still avoid the Carvin power amp, for the reasons mentioned earlier by @arbiterusa; in fact, that whole post bears a re-reading. If you do go that route, conventional 2-space, rack-mount power amps are plentiful and cheap in these parts--PA companies can barely give them away. I don't know what's available in your area, but you can't go wrong with Crown in that used, "lead sled" category (SR/PA division :)).

    Given the...uhmm, 'ambitious' nature of your signal path, I'm wondering if you already have the speaker system(s) that you're planning to use, and if so, what is it? (are they?)
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  9. glocke1

    glocke1 Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    PA

    Been there...My rack system sound great. Demeter power amp, demeter preamp, alembic SF2. but overall, unless I am really feeling motivated it stays in the living room.

    I love the way it sounds, but tear down and setup and teardown and setup again gets old.
     
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  10. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    The are parts that are no longer available. Factor this into your decision.
     
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  11. fast slapper

    fast slapper Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2001
    Fresno, CA
    Not worth the trouble....and I love the flexibility of a rack.

    Unless you're low on cash and don't mind moving lots of stuff....consider finding a couple of small pedals that do what you're looking for. Get a small bass head and call it a day.
     
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  12. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Given that there are no gigs, you won't injure yourself moving it.
     
  13. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    I've got an old LH500 racked up and ready to be a boat anchor if anybody needs one.
     
  14. cxcxcx

    cxcxcx

    Mar 8, 2019
    Not worth the time, effort or the money. You can get a small class D head and a Line 6 Helix that will do everything a 90's style rack ever did, and a bunch of stuff it couldn't. It'll also cost thousands less, weigh next to nothing, and fit in a backpack.
     
  15. aprod

    aprod

    Mar 11, 2008
    That is so '90s.
     
  16. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    To be fair, there's nothing wrong with racking an amp if the housing accommodates rack ears. I'm not saying to pick up a 40 lb. power amp. But a current amp with Class D power and whatever flavor you like is way safer inside a flight case than just dropped on top of your cab. Look at something light like an SKB type enclosure and you could fit everything you need in 4 spaces (depends how many blinky LEDs you need) and still carry it with one hand. Then when the drummer whacks on it or the singer puts a beer on it your gear is snug as a bug.
     
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  17. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

  18. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Go with your own vibes when it comes to gear. Racks have their advantages and disadvantages. The FOH systems most advocates of “getting with the times” fail to point out is that those very ”modern” systems they’re so enamored with are rack systems for the most part. So go figure.

    That said, simpler and smaller tends to make more sense unless you have a particular sonic goal in mind that can’t be addressed by an existing system. So figure out what you’re looking for in tone and performance and then do your research. There’s no point in going through the trouble of building a rack when something like a modeling amp will get you everything you want - even if that technical innovation isn't the be all solution for everything despite some people feeling it is. Because even Kemper and Line 6 have their own limitations despite being one (of several) good solutions depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

    Luck! :thumbsup:
     
  19. Slade N

    Slade N

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    rack gear should be a steal to buy these days if you dont mind the size and weight
     
  20. Thankfully, only for those who weren't there in the first place to experience the utter crap that is cassette tape, tiny rubber drive systems with high W&F specially as they age, plastic capstan drives, tape unravelling, and .... ugh... Dolby B.
     
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  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 17, 2021

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