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Rack Effects Build

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Wonks » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:55 am

Just build the rack into the back of a small van and drive that onto the stage. :D
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:40 pm

So that's why Rob Halford rides a Harley on stage. It's got KK's JMP1 in the pannier... :D

Actually quite a cool idea.

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:34 pm

Few more pictures, this time of the I/O box.

Drilling pilot holes and punching out the panel ready for fitting the connectors. The punch is one of the most useful things I've ever bought. Perfect cutouts for Neutrik "D-Type" connectors with no additional filing/shaping needed. Can be a bit of a workout depending on the thickness of the panels though...

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After lots more drill/punch time, all the connectors are in on both the front and rear panels.

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Pretty much everything in the rack is powered from standard IEC cables from the distro, but one or two awkward bits of kit needed external PSUs. I absolutely despise line lumps/wall warts, so I took the opportunity to hide them away inside the interface box and terminate them to some 5 Pin XLRs to keep things nice and tidy. A couple of the distro outputs return to the front panel so that the amp and pedalboard can be fed from the same place as everything else in the rack to ensure a sensible grounding arrangement.

Finished up, the inside looks like this.

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:38 pm

I have a different approach to amp / effects in that I use a Kemper profiling head but it still means that I have to carry the Kemper (19" rack version), a Kemper floor controller + expression pedal (in a pedal case), a TC-Helicon VoiceLive 2 (which I control via MIDI via a lead from the back of the Kemper head) and an Alto TS210A powered cab as backline.

The Kemper, the floor controller and VoiceLive mean 3 cases. By strapping the floor controller and VoiceLive cases together I can carry them in on hand with the Kemper in the other. Not the heaviest lift but quite awkward. I still have to wire all this kit together when I get to the gig / rehearsal.

I don't think that Luke's solution is any less bulky / difficult to carry than my own and probably quicker to set up. About the only advantage I see to my set up is that I can fit mine into the car more easily as it is three small boxes rather than one big one.

Maybe I should have another look at rack cases?
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:15 pm

Luke that is some tidy wiring my man, I hate wall wart/external PSU's too but that is a great solution. Probably means they'll get much better heat dissipation too as apposed to just tucking them out of the way under a drawer.

Wolf, I wonder if you could get away with a rack bag, is the pedalboard 19" or less? You could tuck that in the bag if not.

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:59 pm

Hewesy wrote:Wolf, I wonder if you could get away with a rack bag, is the pedalboard 19" or less? You could tuck that in the bag if not.
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The Kemper floor controller (KFC) is only 16.5" wide but I have it in a Stagg pedal case next to a Boss expression pedal which is a perfect fit. The total width is more than 19".

I could put the Kemper into a suitable mixer rack, the kind with a 10 or 12u slant rack on top with anything from 4 to 12u underneath. I could mount my Mackie mixer on top, the Kemper below, a shelf for the VoiceLive and then a space at the bottom to store the KFC & Exp pedal. The big advantage would be that I wouldn't need to carry any stands for the mixer / Kemper. The down side is how it would fit into the car.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Wonks » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:17 pm

Roller skates for the wife, then you can tow the rack and the wife behind the car, letting her steer the rack for you.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:55 pm

This really looks great Luke! 8-)

Sorry if I've misinterpreted your design, but does that roll-out tray actually lift right out of the rack to lie on the stage/floor? If not I can imagine it must be tricky stomping on the footswitches without the rack keeling over :headbang:

By the way, those panel punches are indeed excellent on aluminium panels, although in my experience I doubt they will penetrate the steel panels found on many racks.


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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:25 pm

Thanks all :thumbup: Just sorting through a few more pictures so there should be another update shortly.

Everything will be switched remotely, so no stomping involved at that end, as entertaining as that could be!

The punch claims to be able to cut 2mm steel, this box is thinner than that and although it didnt struggle to cut through neatly there was a fair amount of effort involved, so I wouldn’t be too keen on trying anything much thicker.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:53 pm

A few more photos of the rack end and we’re about up to date with where it is now. First up is the wiring for the GCX loops, everything apart from the input is patched.

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Next up is the finished power cables.

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Finally, signal/footswitch cables all patched in. One of the next things on the list is a Radial SGI to carry a signal from the pedalboard to the rack, that will sit between the “Guitar” connection on the I/O box and the first loop of the GCX

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At the moment I’m working on some bits for the other end of the system, so that’ll be the next thing I upload here.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:15 pm

Just stunning work, that's very clean mate, well done.

Presumably the SGI will be for boosting a long cable run back to the rack? Are you keeping pedals on the board in the chain? Not tempted to run them in a loop with a pair of SGI's (I think they do a rack version with the SGI built in)?

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:49 pm

Thanks!

That's the plan. The only pedals I'm planning on having out on the board that pass any guitar signal is an Electro Harmonix SuperEgo+ and a volume pedal, getting the Super Ego racked up and controlling the switches remotely would be a lot of effort for not much gain, so I'm quite happy to place them before the GCX and not bother running signal both ways to and from the rack. I did see the unit with the integrated SGI, but from what I remember it's a lot more money and with some features I just wouldn't need.

The rest of the pedalboard will be made up of the Ground Control, an expression pedal, a global tap-tempo for the Strymons to sync to, and a switch pedal that I'm still wiring up at the moment, that'll probably be the next thing I post up here. This end is still very much a work in progress, and I've still got bits to gather before I start building.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:53 pm

Fair enough mate, I've seen Frusciante and Klinghoffer use the SGI for the exact same purpose within their (admittedly NASA-esque) boards. It does a great job for that purpose (though perhaps as would an MXR Microamp or TC Spark too, cheaper but would need power).

Being me I'd probably still want to sit them in a loop, just in case a cable went down, or they started getting noisy at a gig but that's just me!

How do you like the SuperEgo+? I've been tempted for a long time to use as kind of a synth/hold type pedal, though that might be using the proverbial sledgehammer to crack a nut given the scope the pedal offers.

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:07 pm

The other benefit of the SGI is that by using a mic level signal over XLR it opens up the possibility of connecting the two ends via standard tie-lines in a studio situation.

I like the Super Ego+, I've not had much of a chance to get to grips with it, it definitely needs some time spent with it to get the best out of it, but there's some seriously cool possibilities. The switch pedal I'm building will allow it to be placed either before or after the volume pedal for some extra options as well.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:33 pm

Sounds interesting, presumably to allow a tail on the effect or to a low it to be cut instantly?

How are you using it, as an FX unit or as a sustain/hold?

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:10 am

I'll be using it as a sustain/hold. I wasn't too bothered about the effects section, I went for the + for the extra controls (attack, decay etc), although the filter is quite cool.

The thinking is that I'll have the options of either starting a sustain with the volume down and fading it in, or fading notes in over the top of the sustain. I couldn't decide which way round I wanted them, and was going to build an A/B/mute/tune switch anyway, and projects are always fun...
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:39 pm

Sounds like a very useful box of tricks mate, fab I for a hold sounds very cool.

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:37 am

With the rack end up to date, I thought I'd add a few bits about the switch pedal I'm building for the front end. I'm still working on this at the moment, progress with the whole build in general is a bit slower again recently due to work and various other projects.

First up, all the bits!
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A bit more action with the punch, this time with a bit of a improvised leverage assistance.
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And with the first couple of switches in, and a few holes drilled ready for some TS sockets.
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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Hewesy » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:14 pm

Blimey, that's a box! I think Pete Cornish just said "mate that's a bit OTT" :D

Looking forward to seeing how this works, especially your wiring diagram for swapping pre/post (if you care to share it of course!).

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Re: Rack Effects Build

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:56 pm

Hewesy wrote:Looking forward to seeing how this works

Me too! :?

My background is in audio work, so everything up until this point has been work that I'm experienced in, but this is a bit newer to me (I'm avoiding calling it electronics as it's way too simple to deserve that title!) so I'm very much working things out as I go along with this bit.

I found the diagram for order switching online, so can't take any credit for that. I've just combined it with an A/B switch either side, one before to switch between two guitars, and one after to switch between the amp and tuner outputs. There's also a volume pot thrown after one of the inputs so I can match the levels between two guitars.

And yes, it's colourful. My thinking is that if it doesn't work then at least it's purple.
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