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    Rack dilemma

    So everyone knows I have a crippling addiction to rack gear. My dilemma is that I currently have an 8u case, but I have (or will have) 9u worth of preamps alone, then another 4u which is my VHT 2/90/2 and my Axe.

    I'm wondering if I should split up my power amp/preamps and have a patch bay in each case to make wiring easier. Currently, if I want to fuck around with a different preamp I have to crawl around to the back of my rack case and go elbows deep into the back of it to start fucking with cables. Thinking a patch bay might do the trick but just wondering if anyone here has ever done anything similar or has any other ideas/suggestions?

    I don't take my gear anywhere so not so worried about portability for gigging or anything, but if I ever want to go to a gear fest or move into another house moving a big ass 20u monstrosity (let along fitting it in my vehicle) could be difficult.

    #2
    I’ve never dealt with an issue like this, but would a patch bay allow for a clean and silent solution? I think Quigs is doing something like this with his rig(s), using a Radial switcher. Then again, it’s Monday morning and my brain is having a rough start today.
    The Karmic Law is not kismet. It is not fate but cause and effect. It is a taskmaster to the unwise; a servant to the wise.

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      #3
      Not too concerned with like live switching of the preamps, I only have the 1 power amp (although it has 2 sides) so basically just farting around on the JMP-1, then switching to the MP1, then back to the GP3, etc.

      The plus side of a patch bay is it will allow me to live out my fantasy of being a 1920's phone operator.

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        #4
        I'd think patch bay all day, but like Rev said, Chris is the expert here.
        Don't expect much, it's not like I'm a Rocket Surgeon...

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          #5
          I have the mesa switcher for my Triaxis/5150, and a radial switcher to let my LPA and Fractal share a cab. Neither is cheap though. If you just want to share cabs, the radial is the way to go and you'll save ~$100-150. If you want to share an effects processor, the Mesa is what you want.

          Since you have a zillion of everything I'd just go patch bay. I have a 20U and while it does suck ass to move it only takes about an hour to de-cable/disconnect everything, and it's really nice to have doors for it so I can cover it up when my kids get older and wonder what all the buttons do.

          The hour or two it might take you to move it is worth the convenience of having everything in one big rack IMO. Plus it looks awesome.

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            #6
            Wiring for the cab should be fairly simple since everything will go through the 2/90/2, so won't need to move the speaker cable too often unless I'm plugging into the AX84 builds or the future Ceriatone, that should be fairly easy though, probably easier to just buy multiple speaker cables and plug them in to the cab itself rather than moving the actual speaker cable from the 2/90/2.

            Also, you might be the best person to ask about this, currently I don't use the effects loop on any of my rack gear, I just straight up go from the output of the preamp to the Axe. Have you tested using the actual effects loop so you get the buffering of a tube on your preamps and is there a noticeable difference?

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              #7
              I don't do 4CM, I run all my effects in the loop of my regular amps the normal way. I don't really notice a difference but I'm sure some TGP goldenears might.

              Of all the gear I've run through them in the last year I think the 1101 was the least transparent, you could always tell when it was on even with no effects running. The fractal stuff is the most transparent (eg: if I bypass it you would never know it's there).

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                #8
                I'm thinking if I attempt to use the loops on my rack preamps to run in the loop of the Axe I'd be doing essentially a 5 cable method

                Right now it's guitar > Axe > preamp > Axe > 2/90/2

                Think I'm going to have to test doing guitar > Axe > preamp > Axe > preamp > 2/90/2

                Again, a patch bay would make that simpler if I had the inputs/outputs and the effects send/return on different ports on the bay.

                I'm assuming using 1/4" patch bays must be fairly common for studio folks who have a metric fuck ton of rack gear.

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                  #9
                  There comes a point when the shit just gets too complicated. I'm way past that point but despite having 12 zillion cables behind my rack it's all pretty straight forward.

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                    #10
                    Well I feel like it will be complicated to set up, but fairly simple in use. Just 2 more ports per preamp if I go patch panel.

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                      #11
                      I vote for a patch bay. It's the most flexible when you have a ton of gear. This is my plan anyway. I just got a 20U studio furniture rack thing. Going to wire anything I put in there to a patch panel, and keep a reference doc ( ). That way I can plug whatever I want into whatever I want
                      Leon Today at 7:59 PM: Ripping farts is heaven

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                        #12
                        Just got looking at the prices for 20u racks, ouch. The cheapest one I can get is like $275, but that sits directly on the floor, which in my unfinished basement means dust/hair/spiders crawling all into the vents on my power amp If I want one with castors that lifts it up a little bit I'm looking at more than double the cost at like $750 + shipping, which I'm going to go ahead and assume is going to be astronomical

                        The bright side is that the one with castors will also have a lid I can cover shit up with, but if it's anything like my current racks they'll just sit on the floor behind it never being used.

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                          #13
                          I don’t know this shit at all and struggled with this since I put together my little rack and wanted the ability to switch between my two Digitech GSP FX units.

                          How about something like the Rocktron Patchmate Loop 8? Ultimately I thought that was too expensive a solution for my simple setup so I just deal with swapping out cables into the front of my amp.

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                            #14
                            Hmm, that is a little pricey but it would actually give me MIDI switching for live switching to all my preamps...

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                              #15
                              You should ask 7 Dying Trees , he's got a switcher system for his ridiculous stack of tone

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                                #16
                                Originally posted by JJ Rodriguez View Post
                                Just got looking at the prices for 20u racks, ouch. The cheapest one I can get is like $275, but that sits directly on the floor, which in my unfinished basement means dust/hair/spiders crawling all into the vents on my power amp If I want one with castors that lifts it up a little bit I'm looking at more than double the cost at like $750 + shipping, which I'm going to go ahead and assume is going to be astronomical

                                The bright side is that the one with castors will also have a lid I can cover shit up with, but if it's anything like my current racks they'll just sit on the floor behind it never being used.
                                https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...20-rack-spaces

                                I've got that one. No carpet on my floors though.
                                Leon Today at 7:59 PM: Ripping farts is heaven

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                                  #17
                                  What I would do if you use all your effects post is get a patch bay and from the output of that have the effects processor then from that to the power amp.

                                  With regards to loops. Some can be a bit ridiculous like the triaxis one that the preset level affects the send level which can clip a lot of processors. I typically avoid using them where possible due to the varying implementations it can be more of a headache than its worth.

                                  Especially when you consider that the typical placement is between the preamp and power amp not in the middle of a preamp*

                                  *obvious exceptions happen such as the original slo where its before the tonestack. Well being pedantic the original didn't even have a loop and sounded different.

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                                    #18
                                    No carpet on my floor either, just a dusty ass concrete floor in my unfinished basement. Tons of animal hair, concrete dust, spiders, etc.

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                                      #19
                                      Dungeon
                                      Leon Today at 7:59 PM: Ripping farts is heaven

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Tony View Post
                                        What I would do if you use all your effects post is get a patch bay and from the output of that have the effects processor then from that to the power amp.
                                        Well, I use 4CM on everything, so my preamps go in the loop of my old school Axe FX Ultra. Use the Axe for my OD/noise gate up front, and time based effects afterwards.

                                        If I could find one of those Rocktron units for cheap used maybe go that route, if not I'll probably go patch bay. 1u patch bays are generally 48 port, so if I use 4 per preamp that's enough for 12 preamps, which will do me for now. That'll get me the in/out and send/return for the effecf

                                        After looking into it more the real bottleneck is me coughing up the cash for a 20u rack, which also consists of me deciding if I want just a studio rack thing with no castors, or one of the more expensive ones. I guess I could always screw some 2x4's together to build a stand to get it off the floor.

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                                          #21
                                          Originally posted by JJ Rodriguez View Post

                                          Well, I use 4CM on everything, so my preamps go in the loop of my old school Axe FX Ultra. Use the Axe for my OD/noise gate up front, and time based effects afterwards.

                                          If I could find one of those Rocktron units for cheap used maybe go that route, if not I'll probably go patch bay. 1u patch bays are generally 48 port, so if I use 4 per preamp that's enough for 12 preamps, which will do me for now. That'll get me the in/out and send/return for the effecf

                                          After looking into it more the real bottleneck is me coughing up the cash for a 20u rack, which also consists of me deciding if I want just a studio rack thing with no castors, or one of the more expensive ones. I guess I could always screw some 2x4's together to build a stand to get it off the floor.
                                          Buy some ply. Can just be hardware store shit and make one.

                                          Nice and easy.

                                          With regards to pre fx midi switcher with a few loops 😁 then you have the headache of getting that to work with everything

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                                            #22
                                            I think it would be fairly easy, the input of the switcher is the send from the Axe, the output goes to the return of the Axe, plug guitar into the Axe. There's no situation where I wouldn't want a boost/noise gate Well, except maybe the .1% of the time I want a clean tone, in which case I just take that out of the patch on the Axe.

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                                              #23
                                              I was thinking of going with a patch bay, but my case isn't too bad. I've got an 8u stacked on a 6u (SKB interlocking FTW), and both are on a wheeled 2x12 speaker cab. The 8u had preamps, and the 6u had power amps (and my Two Notes Torpedo Live), but I recently moved stuff around as I was mainly running the Mesa Studio preamp into the 2:90. But, when I want to re-wire, I just need to spin the cab around and it's all right there.

                                              My AxeFx is all locked-in to a 4u. I've got the AxeFx in the top 2u, and a shelf in the bottom 2u, where my wireless (Shure GLDwhatever) is velcro'd in on the left, and the power amp, an Orange Pedal Baby, is attached on the right (I removed the rubber feet, ran the screws through the slots in the shelf, and used o-rings to keep the amp floating above the shelf to provide airspace for cooling). In the back, I've got the power conditioner, a pair of fans, and a custom speaker panel I built (one jack for an 8ohm or 16 ohm cab, and the other pair in series for two 4ohm or 8ohm cabs, as this power supply can't handle 4ohms).

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                                                #24
                                                I have a few rack cases but unfortunately they're all different brands and/or models, so they don't interlock or stack nicely, otherwise I'd probably just do that.

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                                                  #25
                                                  for the preamps, get a looper, something like a vood labs GCX switcher or an RJM

                                                  if you want to switch amps as well (power amps), then have a look at KHE audio switching sysems or an ampete

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