I currently have a 6505+ boosted by a TS7ovChaos with a Digitech GNX3000 for effects and running into a Peavey 412MS 4x12 cab. Down the road here I was going to grab a G-major 2 and start building a full midi-switchable rig according to this:
[Tech] Building a MIDI controlled live rig
That way I could switch amp channels, switch in and out the TS7ovChaos from the signal chain, and control all effects changes. There are only a couple problems with this:
1. Money, it's gonna take a lot of money to convert to a full MIDI rig, and is it worth the price?
2. Complexity, my rig already takes a while to setup/tear-down at gigs, I don't want to be making it more complex. The whole point to this would to be to add simplicity and versatility.
So now I'm wondering if I would be better off just selling my head and switching to a preamp/poweramp rack setup. I'm just scared to so I have NO idea what is good out there (at a cheap price point with great tone, ala 6505+) and I don't know if it would actually save me money or be any simpler.
I LOVE how my rig actually SOUNDS, so I'd want something close in tone to that. I like tubes! Something that is 2 (preferred 3), or more, channels. Brutal distortion, good cleans, nice mid-level crunch or awesome leads a plus. I just need some direction here as to what units out there sound good and what the cost of everything would look like. Hell, switching to a full MIDI rig would prevent me from having to buy a THD Hotplate to record with my amp using impulses too!
Basically...what are some good rack preamps/poweramps, and how much do they run? I need to figure out if this would be cheaper, simpler, more flexible, and sound as good.
As long as you set it up sensibly, there's no reason why a head/rack combo need take a lot of time to set up. Loom the wires that come out of your rack to the head together, and it's a case of pulling one cable out and plugging in a few plugs. That way you do stay with the sound you already like.
Having said that though, rack setups open up a HUGE list of posibilities. You can mix a Mesa pre with a Marshall poweramp, or vice versa. You can have a solid state preamp with a tube poweramp, or again vise versa. Then there's the huge options of fx, and do you go stereo or stay mono?
Preamp wise, Rocktron Chameleon, Line 6 Pod's, Engl E530/E570/E580, Mesa Triaxis/Studio Pre, Marshall JMP1, Axe FX are a few options.
Poweramp wise, Engl, Mesa, Marshall, VHT, Carvin, Rivera etc.
Basically, just start hunting amp company websites and checking sound samples/youtubes etc. A rack rig could be more versatile for you, but the head gives you the tone you like already. However, you might find a better tone in a rack, but that's up to you to decide.