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 How does Rack equipment work? 
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Viking Kong

Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 3:20 am
Posts: 6727
Post How does Rack equipment work?
I am saving up for an Axe-FX Ultra (I am SOLD on its sound), and I'm selling a bunch of stuff to save up for it. I want to know if I actually need a amp head to use it?

How does power amps work? Can they just plug into cabs?


Sorry for being such a n00b. It's just that the Axe FX sounds sooooo good, that I heard of people completely ditching tube amp setups in favor of a power amp + axe fx setup.


How would the power amp + axe fx setup work anyway?


Here it is, DIRECT IN recording. I want it so bad.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAJfONBq89U


[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPS8tLBiiMY&
feature=related[/url]


Tue May 12, 2009 5:42 am
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God Of The Sun
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:44 pm
Posts: 4646
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any specific questions? because in this thread, there was an explanation.

http://www.racerxband.com/board/viewtop ... ack+thread

spandex man wrote:
ok, heres the breakdown of a rack setup -

basically a rack system replaces a head. in its simplest form, a rack can consist of a preamp and a power amp. the preamp, like the ada mp-1, mashall jmp-1, rocktron prophesy, mesa triaxis, is the unit that will give you all your clean and distortion tones. with digital or digitally controlled units like the ones i mentioned above, you can save a myriad of tones (128 on the mp-1) into the unit and switch them via a midi controller or optional foot switches. these tones are called patches. this is far more powerful switching wise than a standard head where there may only be a clean/crunch/lead channel setup. the power amp like the ada b200s, peavey classic 50/50, mesa 2:50, marshall el34, basically just takes the signal made by the preamp and makes it louder so that it can be reproduced through the speaker cabinet.

a simple signal flow of this setup would go:
guitar -> preamp -> power amp -> cabinet
(patch switching done by foot controller plugged into the midi input of the preamp)

effects units such as the alesis quadraverb, tc electronics g major, lexicon mpx 1, rocktron intellifex, can all be run in series (in between the preamp and power amp) or through an effects loop in the preamp. the reason you may want to use an effects unit as opposed to several stomp boxes is, apart from the fact its alot easier to transport, your reverbs and delay effects generally sound better after distortion. it is obviously debatable, but that is a general rule. also, being that they are all digital, you are able to create and store lots of different sounding reverbs, delays, flangers, ect to coencide with patches you have created on your preamp. for example, if in a song you have a heavy distortion riff with a bit of reverb and then u want to go into a screaming lead break with a heap of delay, then into a wacky flanged/chorused/reverbed section, you can program those effects into the device and when those moment come up in a song, all you do is hit a button on your foot controller and you have that tone. no more tap dancing to select different amp channels and turn pedals on and off. the disadvantage of this however is that you dont have any real time control over your effects unless you have expresion pedals on your midi foot controller. like the preamps, the units react of midi changes. to hook it up you just connect a midi cable from the midi through of the preamp into the midi in of the effects unit.

a signal flow of a rack with a an effects unit might look like:
guitar -> preamp -> effects unit -> power amp -> cabinet
(patch switching done by foot controller plugged into the midi input of the preamp and linking through to the midi in of the effects unit.)

of course then there are heaps of other units you can put in the signal chain somewhere, noise supressors, equalizers, tuners, ect.

in my opinion the biggest advantage of a rack setup is that everything is in the one case. i dont have to spend a bunch of time pluging in pedals and changin batteries, i can just put my rack case on top of my cabinet, find power, plug my cabinet into my power amp, guitar into my preamp and im done. as i said, its essentially a head, but its alot cheaper to swap items in and out of a rack than to buy a new head. plus the switching is pretty impressive. ill let other people discuss the disadvantages.

hope this answers some questions for the not so rack savy.

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Tue May 12, 2009 8:06 am
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