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Stick with my rack set-up or go full pedalboard? (MIDI switching etc)

  • GSP1101

    Votes: 7 46.7%
  • MIDI Looper/Switcher

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • Noodles

    Votes: 5 33.3%
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Sir Groove-A-Lot
Charvel So Cal & San Dimas
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I yearn for single-button switching to change amp channels and effects.

I know non of us are playing live any time soon, but since the pandemic I've been getting my rig in order for our much-anticipated global comeback (lol) and recording etc.

Last time I was regularly gigging and recording I was using a Dual Rec. I used to run a pretty standard pedalboard with 4CM, and the amp's stock footswitch, and would just tap-dance through a set.

Last year I got a Digitech GSP1101 and Control 2. Rejoice. Currently have a Marshall JVM210H which has MIDI, so all good to go there. I'm using the GSP to switch channels, as well as apply certain effects via 4CM. Nothing out front from the unit. Just loop stuff (noisegate, delay, reverb, chorus). All the out-front stuff (tuner, overdrives, fuzz etc) being taken care of by real pedals. Still tap-dancing here.

After living with it for a few months, I don't really feel like I'm getting the most out of it as a unit. It's hugely powerful and packed with features, and I use about 3% of it. Why use the amp sims when I can fire up my amp (albeit into a Captor when at home). It could be a good back-up option live but ehh... I dunno...

Now there are a ton of pedal looper/switchers on the market, particularly of interest are those with MIDI, I see this as a more viable option, as it truly is one-button switching. The GSP1101 might be able to switch your amp, but you've still got to manually kick off your overdrive when going to a clean channel, for example.

I guess I kinda see it like this;

GSP1101
Pros:
  • Very tidy. Less on the floor in front of you live
  • Rack systems are fucking cool as shit.
  • The 4CM on this thing is awesome. Switch out your amp's preamp for an emulation of another, whilst still using your amp's power amp? Endless fun.
  • With the latest firmware update, can load 3rd party IR's, so can give FOH an IR of my actual cab, very cool.
  • Seemingly endless supply of various effects, EQ's, compressors, gates, you name it.
Cons:
  • I don't really have much other rack gear to justify having a rack :lol:
  • I'm barely using any of its features
  • Floorboard is HUGE
  • The tuner sucks.
  • Can switch amp channels, but without incorporating yet another MIDI-capable looper into the fold, it can't switch out your overdrives etc

MIDI Looper/switcher
Pros:
  • Pedals are cool. I'm really into pedals at the moment, which is probably the main impetus behind the need for a change.
  • Switches amp channel via MIDI whilst switching out your pedals in any combination you like. True one-button switching.
  • Small(er) footprint
  • No need for a rack.
Cons:
  • Holy shit they're expensive.
  • More pedals = larger pedalboard. More stage space taken up.
  • Cables. Cables everywhere. The GSP1101 just has one single ethernet cable going between the unit and the pedalboard. Two of your 4 cables of your 4CM are over by your amp/rack. No need to run them out on stage.
  • Means buying more pedals (though this could also go in the pros depending on your stance).

Anybody who's used both systems care to chime in with your thoughts? Or anybody who has used either system for that matter. I'm leaning towards a MIDI looper and a larger pedalboard, but I can't tell if it's just GAS because I'm into pedals right now :lol:
 

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Retarded P.A Overlord.
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14,248 Posts
Boss ES-5 + HX Stomp is the way I'd go in your shoes personally. MIDI on both the HX and ES-5, plus would leave 4 more loops minimum for other pedals. Plus you can still send an IR from the Stomp.
 

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Hx Stomp 4 cable is pretty damn nice - Lots of great guitar tones and easy to use.

My only negative would be the STUPID power supply on the stomp.


I mean look at that thing.

You can get a special cable(s) that will work with some pedal power supplies tho.

.
 

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Hx Stomp 4 cable is pretty damn nice - Lots of great guitar tones and easy to use.

My only negative would be the STUPID power supply on the stomp.


I mean look at that thing.

You can get a special cable(s) that will work with some pedal power supplies tho.

.
It must be a generic L6 stupid design idea as the HD500X PSU is equally ridiculous in size. It doesn't fit on any of my power strips.

My take for Mattayus is hidden option 4. Mix of rack and pedals.

For my "live rig" I run a Voodoo Lab GCX (because I managed to get one fairly cheap a number of years ago) along with a Boss GX700 (as I have had it from new in the 90's) and a bunch of pedals to do other stuff.

I've done enough gigs where the kit on the floor gets kicked and either trashed or settings changed, or drinks spilled on it that I want it out of the way. I also wanted a single switch change to radically change the tone so went on this journey to get to where I am.

Cheers,

Neil
 

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Dream Crusher
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21,053 Posts
If it does what you want, who cares if you're only using a small bit of it? That's basically what I do with my FM3, but it's still a blast.
 

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Banned
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Hx Stomp 4 cable is pretty damn nice - Lots of great guitar tones and easy to use.

My only negative would be the STUPID power supply on the stomp.


I mean look at that thing.

You can get a special cable(s) that will work with some pedal power supplies tho.

.
That's easily solved with a good power supply like the Strymon Zuma, and using two ports for current doubling.

I'll always go board over rack. It's more where effects (for guitar, anyway) are going. The GSP1101 is a good unit, but at this point is pretty dated. The FM3 is killer even for just effects, as is the HX Effects, the latter of which also does relay switching. Or you could go pedal route with a Boss ES or EHX Super Switcher, the latter of which is only $399 You-Ess-Dee.
 

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Thread Killer
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I'd favour sticking where you are because you're effectively carrying a viable back up rig as part of your main rig, plus sending your own IRs to FOH takes out a whole load of variables (shit mic, shit cable, shit placement, mic bumping, bleed, microphonic stages).

You could cure your gas by getting a rack tuner, solving your tuner problem and adding more justification for having a rack. Plus a power conditioner to streamline your power needs and protect your gear.
 

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You could cure your gas by getting a rack tuner, solving your tuner problem and adding more justification for having a rack. Plus a power conditioner to streamline your power needs and protect your gear.
This. :yesway:
 

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I really loved the tone of my 8sp rack with 2 pre's switched by a midi loop switcher (also switched a couple reverbs) going into the 2:90, with my pedalboard (the titanic Pedaltrain) all controlled by another midi loop controller (which also controlled the midi loop switcher (both are Decibel 11 products which made programming nice)), connected with a 5-cable bundle (pedalboard to looper, FX send/return loop, multi-conductor custom relay cable, and a midi-cable) for which I had small patch-bays to help make plug-in more efficient.

It sounded glorious... OD + E530 for a rhythm, and then jump to a Mesa Studio with a reverb for a lead? One click. But holy shit, the fucking load-in :lol: Last gig we played, the thing didn't fire up right. Thankfully I saw which power cable had come loose, but it made me realize how many fuckups could occur with such an intense piece of engineering.



I'm pretty excited to gig with my new gig-rig, the AxeFx 2XL in a lightweight 4sp rack, with: 1 power cable to the wall, 1 speaker cable to the cab, and 1 control cable going to the pedalboard, which is just an MFC-101 flanked by two expression pedals. Since I went with the Orange Pedal Baby, I had space in the 4sp to shoe-horn in my wireless receiver (that Shure pedal'd thing).




I don't recall how nice the overdrive pedals were in the 1101 when I had mine, but have you tried them out? They might sound OK enough for live use, if it means you only need a small midi controller out on stage.
 

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I've been in this situation a few times, going back and forth and I'm as bad as you with pickups for this :lol:

Here is what I found. The boosts in the gsp are OK but not as good as the real thing. I'd recommend trying a small rack mounted midi looper with a real OD pedal in the rack. That way you can keep everything racked for an easier setup, and switch your boost in and out via midi. That's what I did and it worked, it was just heavy.

I have a nux pml2 which is now discontinued, but that was great for that. I also put a noise gate in the loop with it to help tame noise, as the one in the gsp wasn't where I needed it in the chain

Eventually I ditched that for an axe fx and matrix.

Which I swapped out for an atomic in the rack with matrix.

Now I'm putting together a pedal board with the atomic, vh4 pedal and real boost, so what the fuck do I know :rofl:
 

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Sounds like a fine time to build that dual Rat rack module... :D
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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I reworked my entire thing into a pedalboard for portability. I say go for it. You can even get nice power amps in a pedal board form factor these days. Seymour Duncan does some which are pretty cool as well as other brands.

I say go for it. It's not Rack vs. Pedalboard. Even with a mainly rack mounted setup you can't get rid of the pedalboard, but these days you can effectively do everything contained in a pedalboard.

So although there is no super streamlined option, it's as streamlined as it gets. My pedalboard is huge and complex and really fucking heavy, but it would be even moreso if I split it between pedals and rack stuff.

It's a deeply personal thing. But I fucking hate multi-FX. Discrete pedals are the way to go in my book. Encourages more experimentation than squinting at a little rack mount screen, more conducive to my personal workflow.

I also enjoy having your FX options being a modular sort of thing where you can swap in parts. Not a single unit with generic but good everything. Shredder and lead guys and most types along those lines disagree, but I'm firmly in the pedal camp.

I would say though. Build the board yourself after you know what you want on it. The pedaltrain stuff is nice for smaller basic boards, but even their bigger stuff is a case of, you switch up pedals and realize another form factor would work better.

IIRC you do pickguard shit and have access to saws and stuff, so that shouldn't be a problem.

In terms of making it as bomb proof as a rack, Godlyke Powergrip is the way to go. Or the 3m stuff that is slightly cheaper, the powergrip is just licensed 3m stuff. Same thing. Regular velcro sucks. There's a bunch of new options that forego velcro entirely with zip ties or other fastening methods, but it's hit or miss depending on the spacing of holes or open spaces on your pedalboard and what pedals you have, powergrip is still king.

Also, don't fuck around with the amateurish "temporary" pedalboard wiring the shoegaze types go for. Once you have your layout lock it in. Fasten/Ziptie/cut custom cable lengths. Whatever. I don't like the shoegazey hipster type stuff that doesn't feel like a permanent installation.
 

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Actually re-read your post because I wasn't quite sure what you were talking about and change my answer a bit.

[*]Pedals are cool.
You answered your own question here dude. Pedals are fucking awesome. To me rackmount stuff is just soulless.

I don't mean that in the sense that it sounds bad or doesn't work well, but I love getting a pedal with its own art and its own little quirks and idiosyncrasies and shit to discover. A lot of the pedal fandom is for the same reason people still buy watches. Any smartphone can tell time as accurately, but there is the appeal of the artistry and workmanship put into an individualized design.

Besides, easy to sell, easy to trade. Easiest of any gear. Your always swapping stuff around so that should be more up your alley. You can always get new shit in and cycle it out and keep it fresh. The guys deep into pedals I know are cycling through shit all the time. Rackmount stuff is like, you buy it, put it in your rack, you are done. There is no inventive to switch things up to keep it fresh or exciting. There are a bunch of rackmount units that work perfectly adequately, but they don't have the sort of quirky individuality pedals do. Always cool talking with other pedal guys too, at least the majority of them, really cool subculture.
 

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I had a plan at one point to make a relay switchable rack mounted overdrive, like 7DTs bloody murder.
I had one of those too. It was Lozek's. Wish I still had it. James and Stu will attest to how killer it sounded through Stus JVM410
Really, there's space enough for probably 3 DIY OD's in a shallow 1U. Not sure if that could be relay switched with the logic available to a TRS cable...
 

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I had a plan at one point to make a relay switchable rack mounted overdrive, like 7DTs bloody murder.
I recently built a small relay switched looper for use with the triaxis then realised I prefer it without a boost so I'm going to make a mk style half rack geq and move the board onto that instead.

Also for Matt. Look into the g lab gsc series.

Or the joyo pxl.

I think the gsc has midi + an external effects loop add on to keep all your loop stuff near the amp.

Joyo can still switch your channels but via relay rather than midi
 
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