"A rack is essentially a large or small cabinet, containing equipment. From a guitarist's perspective, this equipment is to do with the amplification and effecting of the guitar signal, all kept on one enclosure, and controlled from a single control pedal. A rack may also contain utility devices, such as power supplies, tuners, wireless receivers, noise reduction equipment, and signal routers. The main advantages of a rack system are:
(Relative) Compactness. Everything is kept in one box, ready to be used. Everything is powered up at once, and there are no settings to get knocked, or changed on accident. Just a rack, controller, speaker cabinet and guitar are needed to gig with. Minimal cables onstage etc
Interchangeability: One of the main advantages of a rack over a regular amp setup is the ability to combine different makes of preamps and power amps. For example, you could use a Mesa Boogie preamp, with a VHT power amp, or Bogner Preamp, and Marshall Power amp. There are hundreds of different combinations to choose from: something which cannot be done with a regular amp setup.
Programmability: Most rack units are programmable. This means settings on your preamp and effects units can be saved into ï¿½patchesï¿½ and recalled at once, by pressing one button on your control board (or MIDI controller(MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and is a means of controlling musical instruments from various sources)) For example, you could have youï¿½re preamp setup to produce a bass heavy clean tone, with lots of mid range, and just a hint of overdrive, and youï¿½re effects processor could be set with a light reverb, and 500 milli second delay. These settings are then saved into a ï¿½patchï¿½ (it could be patch 1, 2, 3, 22, 45 etc) and the patch is assigned to a button on the MIDI control board (letï¿½s say patch 1, button 1). When the player hitï¿½s this button, those settings are recalled almost instantaneously. Then, for the next patch, youï¿½re preamp could be set for a high gain, ï¿½Nu Metalï¿½ type sound, with little midrange, and lots of treble, and youï¿½re effects processor could be set to produce a slow flanging effect. These settings could be saved to patch number two, and assigned to button 2 on the MIDI control board. The player then has two totally different sounds available instantly, removing the need for ï¿½tap dancingï¿½ between pedals, which could prove a nightmare, if there are a lot of pedals to be switched on and off.
Expense: While rack systems can be built over a period of time, to buy a complete system, with effects units, preamps, power amps and tuners etc, can be very expensive, depending on the quality of the equipment inside it. A small rack containing a power supply, tuner and effects unit can be quite cheap, though.
Size: Racks can become humongous as they are expanded. Power amps especially can get very heavy, and combined with the other equipment, can make racks very immobile. As a consequence, castor wheels can be fitted to the bottom to ease mobility.
Here are some of the things you may find in an average rack:
Power supply unit:
This, as you can guess, supplies power to every rack unit in the rack. It usually has a filtered and regulated power supply, to prevent noise and power surges from damaging the electrically sensitive equipment being powered by it. Some models contain two lights, to illuminate the rack on dark stages.
Examples: Furman PL8 Power Conditioner, Juice Goose
Tuner: Does exactly what it says on the tin, although rack tuners tend to have more features, and tend to be more accurate than pedal/handheld types. They also have much bigger displays than smaller tuners. Also, rack mounted tuners are much easier to integrate into a rack
Examples: Korg DTR series (industry standard. Recently updated), Sabine rack tuner
Pre amp: This unit takes the signal from your guitar, and amplifies it so that it is large enough to be amplified by the power amp. It also shapes the guitarï¿½s tone, and adds overdrive. It contains controls for bass, treble, midrange, as well as gain controls, presence controls, and level controls.
Examples: Marshall JMP1, Mesa Boogie Formula/Triaxis/Studio .22, VHT GP3, ADA MP1/2
Effects units: These units process the guitar signal, by adding effects such as chorusing, flanging, tremolo, phasing, delay and reverb. They often have more control over the effects than individual pedals, having as many as 20 different controls for a single effect on some units!!!
Examples: Digitech 2120, TC Electronic G Major/G Force, Rocktron Chameleon, Eventide Orville/Eclipse/Harmonizer
Power amps: These take the signal from your preamp/effects, and increase the current so that it is large enough to push the speakers in your speaker cabinet. They vary in wattage, from 20/20, right up to 300/300 models! They can be tube, or solid state models. Most rack power amps are stereo, meaning they contain two totally independent power amplifiers in one unit. For example, a 50/50 watt power amp contains two 50 watt power amps. When used together, they will create 100 watts of power. These are especially useful when stereo effects are used, or, if one side of the power amp breaks, the other side can be used as a back up.
Examples: VHT 50/2/50, Marshall EL34 100/100, MESA Simul 2:9
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jetpackmods xp pedal conversions -
xp-1000 mod - This modification enables any xp pedal to switch between all four xp modules. This means you will have the xp-100 whammy, xp-200 modulator, xp-300 space station and xp-400 reverberator all in ONE pedal! pre-modded xp1000s also available: pm me for pricing & availability