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Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. #3005424 08/28/19 12:34 AM
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Winston Psmith Offline OP
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I recently saw a Ghost Fire pedalboard with a PP2+ mounted underneath for $39.99 on GC's Used Gear!?!?! I'd never heard of Ghost Fire, but looking at the photo, it looked alright. While I didn't need another pedalboard, (this makes 7) I needed the power brick, and $40 was a stupid price for a used PP2+, so I figured even if the pedalboard was garbage, I couldn't lose.

The PP2+ is a known quantity, well worth $40 + tax & shipping, and it works, so here's my review of the Ghost Fire.

First off, it's Chinese-made, and I've only seen them listed on Amazon, not always a good sign. Mine is the Model B, a clone of a previous version of the Pedaltrain 1, with two round punch-out holes for mounting a Voodoo Lab PP2+ underneath the frame. Let's say that imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery.

Looking over the Amazon reviews while I waited for it to arrive, I saw that a lot of reviewers said the gig bag was low-quality, while others complained that the PP2+ didn't exactly fit? There were several models being reviewed, so it was hard to tell which model was getting which reviews; some were quite favorable. One general complaint was that there was no instruction for mounting a power brick. I've already mounted a PP2+ on my main Pedaltrain 1, and I still have the old instruction sheet that came with the Pedaltrain, so I know how it's supposed to fit.

The bag is better than I expected from the reviews, and it easily converts to a backpack; not a bad idea. The pedalboard itself is less substantial than the Pedaltrain; my first guess was lighter-gauge aluminum, but it turns out that wasn't all. Viewed from the top, it wasn't a bad imitation, as imitations go.

OTOH, the space underneath the rails is too shallow for the PP2+ to sit in place properly, so the rear arms of the brackets don't make contact with the frame!?!?! It's because the rails on the underside of the Ghost Fire are thinner than the rails on the Pedaltrain by 1/8-inch. (There goes the rest of the missing weight & mass.) This is an issue, because you're supposed to screw the mounting brackets directly to the metal frame. Not good . . .

The previous owner had done the best they could, given what they had to work with, but the PP2+ stuck out of the bottom of the pedalboard by maybe half an inch? Once I'd undone their installation attempt, and tried to correct it, I discovered the issue with the rails.

Everything else is close enough for Rock'N'Roll, if not top quality, but since the ability to mount the power supply is presented as a major feature of the pedalboard, IMHO, it's a simple design flaw that turns into a major fail: people are going to buy it, expecting to get a slightly less expensive "Pedaltrain," and still not get what they thought they'd paid for. I wonder if the new True Tone CS power bricks would have the same issue? IDK how their dimensions compare with the Voodoo Lab.

There are a handful of very favorable video reviews online, but it turns out that most, if not all, of those reviewers got their Ghost Fire free for reviewing it, so make of that what you will. I did notice that one reviewer intends to use it with a simple 1 Spot & daisy-chain, so the mounting issue doesn't ever come up in that review. Another guy touts it as the best cheap pedalboard yet; it's not. It's not even the cheapest cheap pedalboard out there.

New, the Ghost Fire Model B comes in a gig bag with Velcro, cable ties and the mounting brackets, for $110 from Amazon, free shipping if you have Prime. A new Pedaltrain 1 in a gig bag is $130 with free shipping from Sweetwater, but it doesn't come with mounting brackets, those are another $15. I'd say it's worth the extra $35 to get the Pedaltrain, or else save up for some other quality pedalboard.

I can't complain for what the used Ghost Fire cost me; like I say, it was essentially a bonus for ordering the used power brick. I'll find a use for it, or sell/trade it and get my initial $40 investment back, and still have the power brick. However, if I'd ordered a new one at full price, with the intention of mounting a power brick underneath, I'd have already returned it.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Winston Psmith] #3005437 08/28/19 01:55 AM
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Truly useful info, WPS. like


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Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #3005462 08/28/19 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
A new Pedaltrain 1 in a gig bag is $130 with free shipping from Sweetwater, but it doesn't come with mounting brackets, those are another $15. I'd say it's worth the extra $35 to get the Pedaltrain, or else save up for some other quality pedalboard.

Much agreed; I'm a very satisfied owner of a large Pedaltrain PT-Pro-SC w/soft case. That Ghostfire sounds like "Cheap Chinese $h!t on" Amazon to be avoided like an STD.

Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz
Truly useful info, WPS. like

Indeed.

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Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Winston Psmith] #3005463 08/28/19 06:03 AM
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Dannyalcatraz Offline
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laugh


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Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #3005485 08/28/19 01:16 PM
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Winston Psmith Offline OP
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One old, dear friend has a real hate going for Amazon - she works with a group that supports independent bookstores, so you can imagine. She recently shared an article showing that Amazon has opened the floodgates for cheap imitations, unsafe products, and companies that come and go as quickly as the consumer complaints start coming in.

Personally, I have an issue with the folks giving these things great reviews, in exchange for a free pedalboard: some other player is going to buy the cheap version, based on those reviews. That ain't right.

To me, cheap is as cheap does. Show me a good cheap alternative to a top-dollar item, and I'm happy. I have a Behringer mixer instead of a Mackie, because I didn't feel like paying the extra $$$ for the Mackie name, after they'd moved production to China: the Behringer has worked for me for over ten years.

For what I paid, and what I really expected to get for my money - essentially a used power brick - I can't complain. Still doesn't excuse the Ghost Fire fail . . .


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://www.novparolo.com
Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Winston Psmith] #3005487 08/28/19 01:37 PM
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Nice review Winston. I am not into pedals right now but enjoyed the comments. Jim

Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Winston Psmith] #3005491 08/28/19 03:02 PM
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Danzilla Offline
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Would the power supply fit properly if you used zip ties to hold it on instead of the mounting bracket? Or Velcro? Not that it's worth any extra effort on your part at this point...


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Re: Ghost Fire pedalboard; near miss. [Re: Danzilla] #3005531 08/28/19 07:04 PM
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Winston Psmith Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Danzilla
Would the power supply fit properly if you used zip ties to hold it on instead of the mounting bracket? Or Velcro? Not that it's worth any extra effort on your part at this point...


I'm not sure, to be honest: that 1/8-inch difference just isn't going away. Some players who use the True Tone CS series power bricks have said those get too hot for the Velcro adhesive; not sure about the PP2+? Zip ties wrapped around the top of the board would just look messy, IMHO.

It's possible to mount the power brick using the enclosed brackets, if you fudge the mounting somewhat. I'm sure if someone followed the original Pedaltrain/Voodoo Lab instructions, and put some washers or spacers under the rear bracket arms, they'd have a reasonably secure mount.

I still don't know if the power brick would stick out the bottom? That was definitely an issue for some reviewers, but I have no way to compare how they tried to mount theirs, or which Ghost Fire model they were reviewing.

There are lots of wrong ways to mount the thing, if you have no instructions, and not even a photo to guide you - the previous owner had the brackets mounted backwards, and that was their solution. I only saw the real problem when I tried to correct their mistake, and compared measurements. OTOH, if I didn't have my original instructions to refer to, and a real Pedaltrain for side-by-side comparison, I might have wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why I couldn't get it to fit, either.

BTW, Danzilla, would be great to see you again sometime soon!



"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://www.novparolo.com

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