Posted by marsa

Sun Aug 24, 2014 9:00 pm


-“Hi, I’m marsa and I’m a gear whore.”

Gluke and I’ve been at it for close to 15 years now. Serious equipment junkies killing time by talking gear. I started out like everyone else with a 10w Marshall transistor amp and a cheap LP copy. Shit went wrong when I got a couple of pedals.. w o w. That’s when the natural gear progression went haywire and instead of the usual upgrade to a traditional Fender or Marshall tube amp I started buying rack gear. Valvestate 80 power amp and whatever that Marshall transistor preamp was called.. 9000? Ran it through a Marshall 4×12. Shit was loud! How little I did know back then.. Hahaha… From there it was no stopping. Rack gear was out of vogue and you could pick up awesome 2nd hand stuff for cheaps. Mesa Studio Preamp, Quad preamp, the Mesa 50/50 power amp.. Roland delays.. mmmm… sweet tone. I’ve been a mess ever since. I blame Steve Lukather.. his Star Lick video took me over the edge. Anyway.. 15-20 years later and it’s time to build a decent rack.. finally. Gear don’t tickle me in the ways it used to. I’m not going to be a touring pro, a session master or a bad ass rock star. I’m just another guy who likes to play guitar. I have enough gear to last me a life time (even though I really don’t have that much), but because a lot of the tones I lust are the tones I grew up hearing from Luke and Landau I have to settle the never ending appetite and do one final thing.. the rack of awesomeness. ..and shit needs to be done right. After this, it stops. You might not belive me, but it’s the truth.. and you might not care (why should you anyway) but I’m just sayin’.. Whenever there is a particular tone that pops up in my head these days I have the equipment to recreate it. I don’t need any more shit.. except for this. No more amps.. no more effects. I’m all set. Guitars though.. nah.. you can never have enough guitars. hahaha..


GET THEM JUICES FLOWIN’.. INSPIRATION PICS


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THE PROCESS

So, what criteria did I set for this final rig in order to end the lust..
Well, my starting point was the following: «I want to cop all the tones heard on Tales from the Bulge» by Michael Landau. Okay, then.. just find a picture of that rack and copy it.. done. Nah, because this isn’t another tribute project.. this is MY rig. I just love all the tones on that album, so juicy, but it’s a combination of several things, not only the effects, but the amps, guitars, hands.. But first, you gotta understand something.. I’m not thinking that I’ll sound like Tales playing on the stereo just by making this rig. It’s more a matter of having the effects and sounds you hear on the album available. And, I wanted a couple of other basic session tones from that era as well so it’s not all about the bison geezer. (Even though most of those other session tones were done by him as well.. hahaha) I also love Luke’s tone in the Live in Paris era.. and the combination of über wet meets raw Hendrix’y from the BW Abbandonato album. (I’m talking mainly effect wise here although I love the main tones as well.) But.. I want it to be practical too. So, instead of just copying another dude’s rig I broke it down into key aspects of what I wanted to achieve in order to feel satisfied.

  1. I want micropitch, reverb, delay(s), chorus and compression.
  2. I want one unit for each effect, but each unit are free to do more
  3. The chorus has to either be a Tri or sound JUST like one.
  4. I want to have both a basic L/R delay and circular delay available at the same time.
  5. I want a pure and easy signal path.
  6. I don’t want any pedals in this rack, but I still want to use pedals with the rig.
  7. It can’t be bigger than 10 spaces.. (ouch)

These were just the first few things that popped into mind. Easy, huh? Okay, let’s start with the basics.. or make that the most important part. The basic tone. I want what I always want; Fender clean, Marshall crunch and TS type boosted leads into a crunching Marshall. For a while I was thinking of running either the 3+ or the X88 through a VHT, but I like heads.. Okay, let’s do heads. But I want stereo, not wet dry wet. Hmm.. okay. Two heads then. I didn’t want to just buy two identical heads to do this.. that’s boring. It’d be the most correct way of doing it in terms of the left and right side be exactly the same, but having two identical amps is not very practical.. or fun. So, let’s find two heads that both have decent effect loops, have relatively similar output sections, but not necessarily similar preamp sections, even though they have to be in the Fender and Marshall camp of tones. I guess that brings us to the gear part 1, the amps.


THE AMPS

Amp 1: Friedman BE100

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Amp 2: CAA OD100 Classic+

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Both sound good. Both have excellent loops. Both share a similar 100w EL34 Marshall style power section. The preamp drive section of the Friedman sounds better than the OD100 and the clean of the OD100 sounds better than the Friedman. (IMO) I am considering setting the system up so that I can switch between preamps, but I haven’t really decided on that yet. They both sound good and it doesn’t really matter which one I use the preamp section of. For this particular setup it might be mostly the OD100 because of the majority and importance of the clean tone. We’ll see how I deal with it along the way.

For recording I can also slave my 50w Marshall Plexi through my Palmer PDI03 and run it through the rack if I want or if I’m in the mood for some clean direct tones I can plug straight into my TC1140 and then into the rack. Since the Palmer and TC are only used for recording purposes and I’m trying to keep the rack size small I’ve chosen to leave them out of the rack and just bring’em out when I need them.


THE SHIT

Oh, the good stuff.. nice. Time to jingle them bells and blow them whistles. In my never-ending quest of trying to track down mint condition pieces I gave up along the way. The stuff that sounds good rarely shows up without a scratch. Some say it’s a sign of love, but I dunno.. Anyway, they sound just as fucking amazing no matter what the aesthetic condition so what the hell. Maybe I’ll swap some of’em out if I come across some beautiful specimens in the future, but for now I just wanted to get the ball rollin’ and make this thing come alive. I figured I’d start from the top and work my way down. The order isn’t nailed, but it’ll be a little something like this.


Furman PL-Plus E

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Okay, so this isn’t the most exciting piece in the rack, but you gotta have power, right? And you can’t argue with the fact that this is an iconic disitributor of electric juice. Close to every single rack that I’ve drooled over up through the years has had some type of Furman piece at the top and my rig just wouldn’t be the same without it. It would be like Roy Orbison without Wayfarers or Tom Selleck without a mustache. (Magnum PI ftw) You can’t go wrong with a Furman so it really doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as the specs are up to your preferences, but for me and for this rig the PL-Plus E just fit the bill. And it looks awesome as well.


Eventide Eclipse – pitch ++

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I’m sure a lot of you were expecting to see the H3k in this spot. I thought about it for a while, but if I want all this shit to fit into 10 spaces I can’t have a 2 space unit that needs one space ventilation as well. The SPX90 was a hot contender for this spot for a long time and I had actually settled on it when the damn thing just died on me… and that was my 2nd piece to die. Started googling it and it turns out the SPX90 has some sort of design failure. Weeell.. I’m tired of shit breaking down, so I went and bought me a SPX900 because Yamaha supposedly fixed the flaw with that one. Close to DOA.. sooo, I figured what the hell. Buy something legit for the micropitch effect, gotta be sorta new, but not ridiculously expensive and keep up with the Joneses all in one unit. There really was no other choice. It’s an incredible machine, sounds beautiful and the build quality is top notch as well. It’s a shame I won’t be using it for much other than tasteful harmonizing, but what the hell.. I’ll do a clean solo piece with Blackhole one day and feel content. So, yeah.. micropitch? Check!


Lexicon MPX-1 – delay 1

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I’ve always had this dream of having two PCM42s… because of you know who.. It’s probably one of the most coveted delays out there and it’s been a studio staple for years. But.. the hassle of actually getting them in decent condition without going bankrupt and the fact that they are all 110v and you actually need two.. nah. I’m actually not that big on delays anyway and I can actually get most stuff to work for me. I tried for a while to find some über hip unit and bought the Symetrix and what not, but you know what? The MPX-1 is a killer delay machine. For what I need in this rig it’s perfect. Set that baby up for dual echos with just a tad bit of low pass and call it a day. It’s your basic 250/500 or 350/700 L/R delay. You can also go crazy with it if you want to which is nice. There’s sooo much fun to be had with the MPX-1 if you just give it some love.. and time. Okay, so it’s no dual 42s, but only two 42s sound like dual 42s and don’t let anyone tell you different. Fact is.. the MPX-1 sounds great! The blonde bombshell you want to nail on the first row won’t give a shit anyway. Her dual DD 42s is all that matters.


Lexicon PCM70 – delay 2

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This one’s been ’round the block. Pretty rough around the edges, but full of mojo. Big thanks to Gluke for lending me his until I can get my dirty paws on a mint one. The PCM70, an undeniable classic. So much juice in this thing it’s practically dripping. Yes, it does have it’s own signature voice.. it brings something to the party that is hard to explain. Yeah, I know.. very voodoo-schmoodoo saying things like that, but it’s true. This one will be more or less stuck on the Circular Delay preset mixed low together with the MPX-1 for a pseudo reverb effect ala Luke. I love me a little verb when it’s done right, but using delays in this fashion is highly addictive and the way I use reverb now has changed after I began running two delay units like this. It excels on big leads where you want to really cut through, but still have some huge ambience going. Aural bliss. Nice!


Lexicon PCM80 – reverb

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Can you spell overkill? First of all, a dedicated reverb unit in a guitar rig.. the people are already upset.. but a PCM80? In a guitar rig? As a dedicated reverb?? I think I lost it somewhere along the way. Let’s call it a multifx instead. Yes, I can do all kinds of things with this sweet thing. Oh, yessir.. Yup. Gonna be covering major ground with this one… Yes, it’s on concert hall right now.. but I swear I’ll be changing presets.. yup.. in the near future.. to like.. medium hall.. I wasn’t originally set on getting this. I was actually in the market for a Roland SRV2k or the SRV330.. but, as mentioned. Things got out of hand.. Anyway, an amazing piece of machinery for sure. Sounds killer! This one is in very good condition as well except for some annoying marks on the screen.


DBX 160X

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Well, you gotta have it when you’re doing a rig for these kinds of tones. For the snappy single note clean riffs and the massive schmo dripping chords.. mm mm mm. Yup, the 160x. Not the 160a. I know, I know.. I didn’t believe all the peeps claiming it sounded better, but it does. It’s not a huge difference, but the difference is pretty distinguishable if you’re anal about preserving your original tone. So, it’s not what the X adds, but more what the A subtracts. When it compresses, your signal goes darker meaning it removes some of your top end and the sparkle sort of disappears. The X however does not. It doesn’t mess with your highs and blends in beautifully. Sounds amazing! This one is super clean apart from a few scratches underneath. It even came in the original box! For a while there I actually contemplated using a pedal compressor instead. I bought the 160x first, but it turned out to be a turd. Bought a brand 160a for cheaps, but just didn’t bond with it.. Then after much back and forth I came across this one and decided to just go for it and I’m super happy that I did. It’s the sound.. there’s no denying it. If you want a DBX, buy an X.


Fulltone TERC

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If this rack was a 16th century century costume then this item would most definitely be the cod piece. Okay, so it’s not actually a 618, but it’s dead on. Mr. Fuller got it right with this one. It’s the sound. From the very first time I saw the Lukather StarLicks video I’ve been intrigued by the Tri Stereo Chorus. Listening to Tales hasn’t helped either. I’ve always wanted one, but the cost and the risk of buying a faulty unit has always steered me away from hitting the BIN button on eBay, even when totally hammered. (That’s when I usually shop online) So, the machine originally casted for this spot was the TC 1210. I’ve owned a couple in the past and I have one here now which belongs to Gluke. It’s an awesome unit for sure, but it’s different. Not bad in any way, but different. The 1210 has a couple of annyoying things about it though. It’s almost too wide sounding..if that’s even possible. Haha.. And then there’s the slight jump in volume when you kick it in which has always bugged me. But none of these “issues” has ever kept me from using it. Not until the arrival of the TERC. From the moment I plugged it in and fired it up it was just like, yup.. there it is. Check! It’s so juicy.. I never really bonded with the 1210 on dirty tones, but with the TERC it’s just incredibly greasy and thick. To put it another way.. if this rack was life, then the TERC would be sex. 80s VHS style lovin’. Bonus fun fact: The TERC I have is serial #2 which is kinda cool.


08A. CAJ Mixer // 08B. CAE RL-8

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The CAJ/CAE mixer, another staple in all of these systems for years. It’s all you really need for a system like the one I’m making here. Sure, there are other units out there which are cool, but I don’t need any more than what this lil baby right here can do. I love it. I could probably even do without the knobs on the front too, but they’re nice to have around. See, all I want is to preserve my dry tone. I also want to let some effects run into others. This box does all that and that’s good enough for me. At one point I thought I needed more returns.. but then after I quick swipe through the effects that are present here already it was like, nah.. I’m set. Hahaha. This one is made by Custom Audio Japan, but it’s exactly the same as the regular CAE one.

Then there’s the RL-8. It’s an awesome piece. After I decided that the SE70 wasn’t gonna be worth the trouble trying to implement it into this rig I’ve been on the hunt for a RL-8. Actually, I’ve been searching for one for a long time, but they never seem to pop up. Then, out of nowhere I found a used one online. Bought it and told the guy to ship it asap. The day he was shipping it he said that the unit doesn’t work. It doesn’t respond to midi and it doesn’t even seem to power up. He told me that he had tried with a correct power supply and a Boss FC50… He said he would send it for repair and get back to me. I just told him, ship it to me.. asap… and he did. Because, I’ve never experienced a CAE poduct that didn’t work and I was confident that this one worked as well.. mainly because nothing lights up until you feed it the correct CC# and he was sending PC.. haha. Got it home yesterday.. guess what.. it works! The RL-8 will be used for all my function switching needs. It really is a cool unit. You can also use each function as an audio mute so in theory this little box could run my entire system..


Custom Audio Electronics 4×4

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Yup, the 4×4. Surprise! Hahahaha.. Nah, most of you saw this one coming, right? Another classic unit. I’ve had several of these in the past and it’s just like with all the gear I tend to end up with.. it’s gear I feel comfortable with. It’s simple, straight forward and I know it well. For switching line level units in a rack I always default to this one. Like the mixer, it just does exactly what I want. It’s also a good match to the mixer. It has 4 loops and 4 control functions. Each of the loops have seperate ins and outs and there is a million ways you can configure a system with it. Although you really don’t need loops per se in a system with a mixer (as long as the units have the option to be externally bypassed and have input mute as a bypass option) it’s still good to have for a couple of functions. Like with the DBX, I prefer having that one in a loop. Although the DBX is an analog unit and doesn’t color your sound much in bypass mode I still like being able to completely remove it from the signal path when not in use. Then there is the ability of source selection using a loop. I use this for preamp switching. Check out the 4×4 manual for how to do this. Then finally, for units like the PCM70 it’s great to have for input mute switching so your delays can trail off naturally. I personally don’t like the buffer in the 4×4, so I always use the back input of the unit. Other than that, it’s a perfect machine made by the OG of racks.


Custom Audio Electronics Interface

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Okay, so we’ve reached the bottom of the mothership. Time to make settin’ up a breeze and to help make connections easy we’ve got this interface. This one was custom made for me by Bob for this rig. It has your usual inputs and outputs for easy routing in addition to volume pedal snd/rtn, the option of patching in an external effect and a few TRS thrus. There’s also a dedicated TRS thru for amp control, like channel switching and kicking in the boost on the amp. Now, this interface was made before everything was written in stone so I had to work out something that would suit multiple situations. It was supposed to have a secondary input for when using multiple amps/preamps, but at that point I had decided against it and left it out. One of the basic thrus can be used for this so it’s no big deal. That’s what they’re there for. It also has 9VAC power input in the back so it’ll phantom power my controller on the floor. An interface like this can be as advanced or as simple as you want it to be. For me it’s mostly about having your main connections available on the front for easy setup.


Controller: Custom Audio Electronics RS10 Expanded

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The classics keeps coming. It’s always been the RS10 for me and here we have the expanded version. When I was in the market for one I couldn’t for the life of me find one for sale. I think I saw one or two on eBay the entire time I was looking and both were beyond butchered. They still worked though.. which is why I like these controllers so much. They can withstand almost anything. Built to last, no frills, just a serious work horse. So, I talked to Bob and he of course recommended the new RST16, so I got one of those. It’s a beautiful machine, no doubt, and have all the features that one might miss in the RS10 (and more), but I just didn’t bond with it. No, for me, the RS10 is where it’s at. Lucky for me though, a few weeks later Bob had two refurbished RS10s up for grabs so I returned the RST and got what I had wanted all along.. an expanded RS10. It’s in very good condition and Bob has gone through it making sure that everything is up to spec. Sweet!


The case: A&S KK style 10 space in white

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Awesome gear deserves a beautiful house to live in and you can’t go wrong with the A&S Kriz Kraft rack case. I’ve always been in love with this design. There’s just something about it that tickles my fancy.. Mmmm.. It also does what it is supposed to and that is to protect the valuable gear that’s inside it.. while looking great doing it. All those classic racks through the years (apart from the Flag days) have been in this style and there was never any other option when it came to choosing which case I would use for this project. This particular rack also has a cool story to it. I ordered this exact case from A&S a while back. Unfortunately, while in transit, I got a message saying that the case had most likely suffered damage. A&S was made aware of this, and to save me from more delays they built another case just like the first one and shipped that to me instead. The rack arrived and I was a happy owner, but because of “ordinary life circumstances” I has to sell the case soon afterwards. I was super bummed, but knew to myself that I would buy it again. So, when this project began I had no doubt in my mind which case to get. The Wizard here on HRI has that case now and he didn’t want to part with it (understandable :)) so I hit up A&S for a new case. Well, it turns out that the first case I ordered had been refurbished by A&S and was put in storage and was available for purchase. Now, that’s a sign.. A couple of days later and it’s here where it belongs.. in my possession. Time to stock it up with some gear!


Pre-amp FX: The Burning Water pedal rig

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See, I had a secondary plan for this system all along. Not only is it an amazing stand alone pedal rig for when you just want to rock out, but it also goes together hand in hand with the medium tower of schmo. Remember when I said that I wanted to cop “all” the tones heard on Tales? Well, you can’t really do that without a couple of pedals can ya.. But enough of all this talk of Tales. This is my rig, not the bison burger boss’. I didn’t want any pedals in the juice box, but I still wanted to integrate vintage stompers and this here is the perfect solution. On the interface on the pedalboard there will be a send and return to patch in this bad boy before the signal hits the amps. The expanded RS10 will be configured to control both racks. The “ordinary” half of the RS10 will handle all the pedals and amp switching etc while the “expanded” half will control the FX in the grease house. It’s tone heaven, baby!!


INTERMISSION

I figured that now would be a good time to talk a little about the build. Originally I wanted LASD to do the whole rig, but the cost and risk of shipping all the gear over the pond was a little more than I could justify. I still wanted a little of that LASD magic though so the RS10 is currently on its way to David at LASD where he will make the pedal board. It’ll have the expanded RS10, a TU12h tuner, a FV300L volume pedal and the RMC10 wah by Teese. David will also build an interface to go on the board for easy connections. I haven’t tried the RMC10 in person yet, so that’s gonna be interesting, but based on the specs and a couple of clips I heard I’m sure it’s gonna be killer. If not I can always swap it for one of the usual suspects. One thing is sure, I’m sticking with companies I know and trust this time.. Anyway, that leaves us with the NASA control center here at home which will be attacked with pleasure, knowledge and a wee bit of fear by yours truly.. I can’t wait to see this baby come alive!


THE BUILD

Okay, here we go! I was originally gonna ask Gluke to help out, but he’s busy as hell these days so I decided to give it a go myself. I’ve bought a bunch of Mogami and Neutrik, brushed up on my soldering skills and bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve to help with the nerves. I’m anal about perfection when it comes to cabling etc but I always doubt the results when I do shit myself so I guess this is good time to do some work on myself as well. Attacking this rig is gonna be a hell of a test, that’s for sure. I’ve done some prep work by looking at pictures of other rigs done by professionals and scored a few tips and pointers here and there and I have the signal path mapped out in my head so it’s all about getting physical, learn by doing and hope for the best. Let’s get started!


Power

There is probably a right way of doing all of this, but I just have to go with my gut and let it rip so in my head, the logical place to start is with doing all the power related stuff so that’s what’s on the agenda for today. I have four units that need 9vAC so I got a PPAC for that and the rest is standard 230v so no big power dilemmas that needs solving. We’re off to a pretty soft start. Things went by pretty well I must say. Everything was measured up and cut to lenght. I bought quality mains/iec connectors and tinned all the tips of the cable before screwing them on. The cables for the PPAC were a little fiddly, or rather the connectors I bought, so that gave me a slight headache, but it all worked pretty good. I bought one of those soldering stations which feels like a big step up from the regular basic pen type I’ve used in the past where it’s impossible to control the temperature. Things went by much smoother and I feel a little more confident now before I start with all the signalling cables. I still have nightmares about soldering the midi stuff though.. hahaha.
Here are a couple of pictures of the back with the power done. It looks better in real life me thinks. Over all I’m pretty pleased so far.


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Audio & Midi

Now here’s the real test. I had no idea how to tackle this task other than just wingin’ it. Cut to length and go with the flow. Well, it actually went pretty smooth. The soldering of all the basic jacks went really good. Shiny soldering joints and controlled insulation stripping. Everything felt good and I was on a roll. The only downside to this is that I was kinda doing a crossword puzzle with an inkball pen… I never checked any of the cables along the way. Shame on me.. but.. some times you just go with your instincts and trust your ability and what do you know, I didn’t make one bad cable. Even I was impressed by me. Hmm.. maybe I wasn’t so totally useless at this after all? I’ll admit that a couple of the cables were a little fiddly. I also did the classic mistake of forgetting to put on the “end cup” thingie before soldering on one of the plugs. You only do that once though.. hahaha. The regular jacks and XLRs were great. The TRS jacks though, hmm.. not convinced. Although the connector itself is great, it’s fiddly to work it imo. I guess a couple of more racks though and it would be a walk in the park.
The main stretch of cable going up the side, which I’ve affactionately named “The Schlong”, gave me a little headache. I thought I had made the schlong too long. (Pun intended). Turned out in the end that the schlong was actually a teeny tiny bit too short. In other words, each cable was cut a little on the short side. You don’t realise this until you actually start tighting up the strips and making the schlong. It wored out though, but I had to tweak it a bit. There’s a couple of other things with the cabling as well.. not everything in the schlong is paralell all the way and when I go out of the schlong to each unit I would’ve liked it to be in order, meaning that the cabling should have been from left to right upwards in order of the units so that I didn’t cross any cables going out of the schlong.. but that’s going pretty OCD for sure. The “bend” of the schlong going from the bottom and upwards isn’t perfect either, but I can live with that.
I did a couple of midi cables as well and that was a little more tricky. It went well, but damn.. with my shaky hands and lack of experience.. damn. So not my best work in the midi department so far, but the lenght came out good and they worked so I’m keeping the two I made for now. I will most likely be doing midi to the Eclipse, the PCM80 and the MPX-1 too. But not right now. Now it’s time to take a break and enjoy this baby!


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To & From

You need plenty of cable when making a rig like this. In addition to all the wiring inside the rack you need a healthy dose of cable going to and from the rack like amp sends/returns, volume send/return etc. For this rig I’ve chosen to stick with Mogami so I made up some custom 2524s with color coded white Neutrik ends to add some flair and match the rack. Looks pretty cool! I might do some heat shrink tubing as well when it’s all said and done.

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INITIAL IMPRESSIONS AND QUIRKS

Disclaimer: I am now typing drunk. Dorry for any typos.

So, it’s kinda done.. well, I guess it’ll never actually be done, but it’s pretty close. I’m still waiting for LASD to finish the board, but I have a RS10 here which I reprogrammed just to get a feel for it. I still have some midi to do and I’m still thinking of routing a couple of control functions to the thrus on the interface for my lab board idea. That’s the sweet thing of doing it for yourself. Whenever I have pros doing stuff for me I hate breaking things apart or modifying it. It’s like the wiring itself is a piece of art and I don’t want to fuck with it. Now, by doing it myself I can fuck it up any way I want to without feeling like I’m messing with the mojo.
I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’ve learnt to trust myself and my instincts. Don’t doubt your abilities.. which is very un-Norwegian.. anyway..
What can I say.. it sounds great. It sounds just the way I want it to sound.. puts me straight back to 1988 or I can rund bone dry like it’s 2001.. because it’s all about the wetness now in late 2014.. trust me.. everyone’s embracing the wetness.. even the Bison King. But, seriously.. this rig sounds great. And, doing it the real way, like I’ve done now makes a lot of difference. I have my George L kit which I use for quickly setting up a rig just to make sure everything works and that my idea/plan is worth following. Well, it sounds way better now… and it’s quiet. Very very quiet.
Attention to details and taking time to do it proper is the way to go if you want a system that sounds its best. Level management, pseudo balanced connections and quality cabling is definitely the way to go. I couldn’t belive the improvent in tone and noise floor I got by doing it the way it should be done. It was time consuming and challenging yes, but soooo worth it.
As far as quirks go I haven’t really had many. I guess when you think about it as much as I have done and have a good plan for layout and signal path it’s more about just doing it and doing it well. I’ll mention that I’m having some weird issues with my PCM80 where it’s stuck in a loop on power up every once in a while. It haven’t acted that way lateely though, but I hate when gear starts living their own lives. I might open it up and give some parts a good reseating though just to see if that might be what’s up. My Eclipse is also behaving strange after I started bypassing it remotely. I can bypass it, but when I engage it again there is no effect. I just discovered that today so I’ll have to look into it. Doubt it’s a big thing though.. I also discovered one bad cable. I had forgotten to cut the end of the tip of one connection and it penetrated to the plastic protector and onto the shield part which made a short. With that taken care of though I’m pretty satisfied with my cabling and soldering for this rig being my first real attempt.
So, without further ado.. here’s a full on rack porn pic for your pleasure:


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THE GRAND FINALE

The finished board came just the other day. Beautiful work. White A&S case, of course. So now, it’s all done. Well, there are always tiny changes, additions or improvements that can be performed, but I’ve finished what I sat out to do and that was to make my ultimate rig. It’s an incredible modular system that allows for an almost unlimited amount of different sounds. Everything that I could ever wish for is present here in this system. I can’t begin to explain the joy of going from a semi dirty sound with an octa fuzz and a tape slap to the river of schmo in just a single press of a button. Everything is dead silent and there is no additional noise other than what each component produces and that is thanks to thoughtful wiring and clever solutions. I’m really proud of having done the entire wet rack myself and how good it turned out. I’ve learnt a bunch of new stuff along the way and doing this rig has improved my knowledge of both tone and the art of making a great system. I gotta give a huge shout out to both David Phillips and Bob Bradshaw for doing such great work as well and for teaching me and helping out along the way.

2014 has been a great year for gear. Now it’s time to play.


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THEM CHANGES. DREAM RACK, SLIGHT RETURN

I have lusted the Lexicon PCM42 for years and years, but I never could justify the price. $1k mono delay? ..and us stereo bitches need two. Dang. Then one day I just said fuck it. You only live once. So the hunt began and when the day came that two units in very good condition became available I had to pull the trigger. I mean, it was THE inevitable change. It had to happen sooner or later.. So here we are. I can now honestly say, hand on heart and broke as fugly ass crack whore.. my dream rack is complete. Those 42s in line are magic. Talk about ranbow dust and unicorn juice.
Bob made me a custom loop box for the DBX160 which made the 4×4 obsolete and although the PCM80 is a good sounding unit I could never bond with it. Two spaces available for rent and then boom.. in goes the red, white and blue times two.
Another addition is the amazing VHT Classic in chrome with custom made A&S 4 space KK case. Just killer. Even I get speechless and I own the damn thing.

Amp wise I’ve settled with the OD100 Classic for this rig. I mean, I can throw whatever I want at it, but using the OD100 preamp section through this thing is perfect. Great cleans and great drive tones so easily achieved. Tone heaven.

It’s a dream come true, it really is. I know.. it’s just gear, but.. fucking hell it’s cool. Look at that thing.. it’s art!! Sooo.. that’s a wrap. Time to rock.


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Thanks for following this thread,
//Marsa.

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