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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No, this is not a sexual question. I'm just wondering why some people use rackmounted heads (i.e. Mesa Stereo 20/20) instead of a regular head (i.e. Mesa Triple Rectifier).
 

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I use rack gear, because it's versatile and the switchability is easy (doesn't cost extra, MIDI), depending on what specific units you use. Also, yes I like the looks of all the blinking lights. Seriously, I like that you can seperate your preamp section from your poweramp, and that you can control everything via a MIDI pedal. It's like constructing your own best-of-the-best effects processor. It's up to you how detailed you get with it.

I'm able to use an Engl tube preamp which I think has a great clean and distortion. I'm not limited in the power section. If I want to go budget with no hassles and never have to change my power tubes, I can get a 200 watt solid state power amp. If I don't play shows I can pair my Engl preamp with a Mesa/Boogie 20/20 power amp and have tube warmth at bedroom volumes. It's this versatility that is nice.

Also, it all fits within a rack, so you have your own protection case for your amp. The only problem is that you have to organize your wiring and it's probably best to use a straight 4x12 rather than angled, because racks are deep. Soundwise, there's room for arguing. I'll use either, I'm actually not biased, but I am one of the minority of guitar players today that uses an all-rack setup. Those are some of my reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I use rack gear, because it's versatile and the switchability is easy (doesn't cost extra, MIDI), depending on what specific units you use. Also, yes I like the looks of all the blinking lights. Seriously, I like that you can seperate your preamp section from your poweramp, and that you can control everything via a MIDI pedal. It's like constructing your own best-of-the-best effects processor. It's up to you how detailed you get with it.

I'm able to use an Engl tube preamp which I think has a great clean and distortion. I'm not limited in the power section. If I want to go budget with no hassles and never have to change my power tubes, I can get a 200 watt solid state power amp. If I don't play shows I can pair my Engl preamp with a Mesa/Boogie 20/20 power amp and have tube warmth at bedroom volumes. It's this versatility that is nice.

Also, it all fits within a rack, so you have your own protection case for your amp. The only problem is that you have to organize your wiring and it's probably best to use a straight 4x12 rather than angled, because racks are deep. Soundwise, there's room for arguing. I'll use either, I'm actually not biased, but I am one of the minority of guitar players today that uses an all-rack setup. Those are some of my reasons.
So what would a basic rack consist of? Just a preamp and a power amp?
 

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Yes, a preamp and poweramp would be equivalent to a head. So long as you buy equipment meant for guitar application. For effects you can go with an all in one unit, or even a few units (one with best chorus, one with best delay, etc). You can also put a bunch of pedals on a rack tray and control them with the right equipment, though that gets pricy and you can do that with a head anyways. Many people just use racks for effects, that's very common. Not too many use all-rack setups though. I like it, but I keep mine simple, it's only 6 spaces.
 

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I agree with Elcid, pretty much. Keep it simple -- that's the key to good tone. The more effects, the more the signal is filtered through tons of crap and the weaker it gets. One good amp, a few good stomp boxes, that's all you really need! I used have several multi-effects units and all they did was hinder my playing. I spent more time programming than jamming! Saying that, though, there are some wicked rack-mounted bits and pieces around, but I can't afford those anyway. Evantide Harmonizer's for example. The flexiblity is good with rack-mount gear, but to be honest, I never used many sounds in a band / gig situation anyways.

I'm just buzzing off this V-Amp Pro right now. Some will say "huh, you loser, it's a cheap piece of crap!", but they couldn't be more wrong, this thing is great direct into the PC or hifi, and it's all I need for recording purposes. It has some awesome, very usable sounds. I don't really want much more stuff, though. A good wah pedal and maybe an octave divider or Whammy pedal, that will probably be my next pedal purchase.
 

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I agree with Elcid, pretty much. Keep it simple -- that's the key to good tone. The more effects, the more the signal is filtered through tons of crap and the weaker it gets.
I also agree with Elcid and you Dee. Some of the best tones I've heard from people is a guitar plugged straight into a cranked up amplifier.
 

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Hey Dee, there is a vamp group on yahoo I joined after getting my vamp that has lots of presets you can download, and a lot more info regarding the various vamp products, what want to check that you.
 

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It's really a preference thing.
I'm running the Mesa Triaxis and 20/20 power amp with a few effects in the loop.
I guess a 3 channel amp would do what I need at this stage, but it's nice to have th ability to tap every sound from the oldr MArk series as well as the rectos.

Having the ability to be modular is my reasoning for using a rack system.
You buy a head, you get 2 basic sounds that you will generally use.
A preamp with midi control gives you MUCH more flexibility.
Also, if I decide I need the 50/50 or 2:100 I can just sell the 20/20 and buy the power section I need and I don't need to worry about my tone changing drastically. Right now, I'm in the market for the TC G-system. Again, modular.
Makes life WAY easier than having a pedal board, loops to and from my amp all over the floor, etc...

It tidy's things up in the long run, unless you're just running a guitar-head-cab set up.
 

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Hey Dee, there is a vamp group on yahoo I joined after getting my vamp that has lots of presets you can download, and a lot more info regarding the various vamp products, what want to check that you.
Thanks bro. I will take a look soon, only I don't have a midi interface right now so there's no point in downloading presets. Thanks, though! I am currently working on a Holdsworth lead sound, and actually I've gotten fairly close!
 

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I went through the rack thing and now I'm back to just a head. I like the simplicity.
Indeed--I have a VERY flexible rack setup that allows me to run two different preamps (JMP-1/MP-1) through a Marshall EL84 20/20. Great EL84 low-volume breakup and two different voicings, with one side wet, one side dry.

However, it's a lot easier just plugging into my Hughes & Kettner heads and tearing the paint off the walls...
 

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Indeed--I have a VERY flexible rack setup that allows me to run two different preamps (JMP-1/MP-1) through a Marshall EL84 20/20. Great EL84 low-volume breakup and two different voicings, with one side wet, one side dry.

However, it's a lot easier just plugging into my Hughes & Kettner heads and tearing the paint off the walls...
Racer hows your routing? I am also running a JMP1/MP1--G Major--Peavy 50/50 classic but Im not using both pre's because I havent played with the routing, I want a G system so I can get over that easy ;) but how are you running it?

Added: For live sound I did have POD/Digitech/all that floor mod stuff, it sounded good plugged into the pc but not live. I like the punch of rack and tubes =)
 

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Anyone give any suggestions for tube-powered preamps. All I've seen is Mesa. I didn't know if anyone else makes them.
 

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This is one of those threads where I read the title, and crossed my fingers in hopes that it wasn't gear related... alas....

Anyone give any suggestions for tube-powered preamps. All I've seen is Mesa. I didn't know if anyone else makes them.
I think the Peavey Rockmaster was tube-powered. It's no longer produced, but you might be able to get your paws on a used one. It's fairly inexpensive (between 100-150 used)
 

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Racer hows your routing? I am also running a JMP1/MP1--G Major--Peavy 50/50 classic but Im not using both pre's because I havent played with the routing, I want a G system so I can get over that easy ;) but how are you running it?

Added: For live sound I did have POD/Digitech/all that floor mod stuff, it sounded good plugged into the pc but not live. I like the punch of rack and tubes =)
Goes like this:

Input-->Korg DTR-2 rack tuner-->stereo split into:

Channel A:
BBE MAX COM dual compressor
Furman Q-Series 31-band EQ
JMP-1
Digitech MEQ-14 Stereo MIDI EQ
BBE 462
Rocktron Xpression
Rocktron MIDI Pro Hush
Marshall EL84 20/20
4x12 w/Vintage 30's/Left Side

Channel B:
BBE MAX COM dual compressor
ART 351 31-band EQ
MP-1
Digitech MEQ-14 Stereo MIDI EQ
BBE 462
Rocktron MIDI Pro Hush
Marshall EL84 20/20
4x12 w/Vintage 30's/Right Side

The JMP-1 Side is wet and the MP-1 Side is dry. I use Ruby 7025 valves in the JMP-1 and Mesa ECC83 valves in the MP-1. The pre-EQs are more for input tone shaping (if you notice, it's the standard "frown curve" with select frequencies boosted/cut), and the MIDI post-EQ is used to fine-tune different sounds/tone curves when switching patches. The MIDI HUSH also adjusts between patches (low for cleans, high for gain).
 
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