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The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
#3041939 05/04/20 07:05 AM
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This is the thread for sharing ideas about racks. Posters without racks are welcome!

Mine has been evolving recently, I've been making changes to make it easier to get up and running. At the same time, I've complicated some things quite a bit as a means to an end.
Short story, my first Cloudlifter got me thinking about gain staging experiements. I realized that using a mic pre as a "pre-preamp" can provide excellent results.

The way the Presonus Quantum switches to the mic pre when XLR is plugged in and Line In when TRS phone plug is used got me started. The Focusrite ISA One brought it home, it offers both XLR Line Out and TRS Line Out. I hooked it up using XLR cable, which engages the mic pre in the Quantum.

I learned to turn up the Quantum with the Focusrite all the way down. When I start to hear any noise in my headphones from the Quantum, I turn that input down until the noise goes away. With the Trim on the Focusrite on +10 I start increasing the settings on the Input Gain switch. If it starts to make noise I turn the Trim down until it goes away. Checking my gain meter on my DAW has usually shown more than enough gain.

And it sounds great, the Focusrite gets to stay. Next I tried using my Fishman Loudbox Performer as a pair of channel strips. I think you can use the individual DI's AND the Mix DI but I didn't try it, no need. The Fishman is perfectly usable as mic-preamps, it has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with. The fidelity and noise level are both very good.

Recently I got my old HHB Radius 40 channel strip up and running again. I've never used it as a pre-preamp before but it's a huge improvement in noise level, much quieter. It sounded great as a mic pre with just the HPF on the Heil PR40 and it also makes a fantastic Bass Guitar DI with the slightest bit of low ratio compression and post EQ. 4 bands, good frequency choices, a low B string sounded huge.Way more than enough gain, something it did not have before.

Which got me pondering again. An important pre-production decision is - which instrument carries the bottom end frequencies? For me most of the time it's going to be the Bass Guitar or the Kick drum and the other one of that pair will be the "Punchy" low end, up in a higher range of low frequencies.

With one space left in my rack, I started thinking it would be awesome to have a channel strip preset for Bass Guitar and one for Kick Drum, with the HPF in or out you select which part of the low end is covered.
2 dedicated channel strips that could also serve as mic pres by switching off the EQ and maybe the Compression.

Sure, I'd like a Neve Shelford Channel. When I win the lottery, I'll get a dozen of them.
Meanwhile, my research led me to a Presonus Eureka. It had the features I wanted, got good reviews and used are pretty affordable. So I got one. It's great on bass too. I haven't tried either of them with my kick drum options - Korg Wavedrum and Roland Handsonic. That's because...

I realized I could easily convert a project box into front mounted inputs for the Focusrite, HHB, Presonus AND a stereo setup for the Roland Handsonic, which has a wonky right channel - the headphone out works perfectly. Today I cut the holes to mount the XLR and phone jacks. I think I'll paint it black, just to be classy!

The Quantum has 2 front mounted Mic/Line/DI inputs and 6 in back. 3 of the back ones will be Mic Preamps/Channel Strips, 1 will be the Focusrite DI and 2 will be left and right channels for the Handsonic. Everything will be available at the front of the rack when I finish the project box and mount it. The RNP in the old photo is gone, the project box will be in the lower right area with the RNC on top of it.

I've also got cable dressing in mind, will post about that with photos when it gets done. Sorry so long - What have YOU got going? Cheers, Kuru

I've posted a photo of my rack from late Jan and May 3rd.

Attached Files
Rack Front.JPG (254.99 KB, 239 downloads)
Rack_Box.jpg (242.62 KB, 238 downloads)
Last edited by KuruPrionz; 05/04/20 03:55 PM.

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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042249 05/06/20 01:41 AM
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Update - May 5th.
I have all mounting holes drilled including bolt holes. I went to the hardware store and got the nuts and bolts I need.
I had a small amount of work using a countersink to enlarge some of the mount holes on the jacks so the screw heads are flush.

I've mounted the "lid" to the project box (soon to be the Mini-Patch Bay), to the rack shelf that holds the oddball stuff I've ended up with.
It is not going anywhere!!!! The three holes in the lid were from a previous configuration. The front lip of the rack shelf and the edge of the lid coincide well.

I've decided against painting the box black. I am going to mount a thin sheet of white plastic over the front panel and trim out the openings with a knife and drill bit.
That will be easier for labelling the channel and device for each input.

After that comes wiring and mounting although perhaps not in that order.
This will be up and running soon, if all goes well. So far, so good.
Photos attached.

Attached Files
Box_in_Rack.jpg (194 KB, 202 downloads)
Box_F+B.jpg (216.78 KB, 202 downloads)

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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042296 05/06/20 12:38 PM
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Enjoying this... please keep updating us on your progress!


Samuel B. Lupowitz
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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
SamuelBLupowitz #3042346 05/06/20 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by samuelblupowitz
Enjoying this... please keep updating us on your progress!

Will do, thanks for checking in!! Sometimes I wonder if I anybody is listening.
It is going well and I am excited to have it completed.

SO MUCH EASIER to not have to snake in behind the rack with a flashlight to plug a cord in!!!!

I do these things to make life easier for my Artist (me). The less the Engineer (me) has to putz around, the easier it is to be creative. Cheers, Kuru


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042366 05/06/20 05:45 PM
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But who is number 1 ? ...
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I'm redoing my racks in an open-back configuration so that I can patch things from device to device, and from keyboards and mics in the studio, without the need for patch bays. (I have three Neutrik 1/4" half-normalled bays that are very flexible, but I'm on a kick about reducing places where noise and signal attenuation can occur. I'm also on a kick about having all my synths always plugged into a mixer which then busses to my audio interface, but whatever.) As for what's in it, I've been rolling pretty old-school:

- UA Apollo Quad (original silver face, Thunderbolt upgrade) as audio interface for my Mac.
- MOTU HD192 and 2408mk3 as audio interface for my PC.
- Sytek MPX-4Ai 4-channel mic preamp — one of my secret weapons. Amazing on everything except very tight transients like snare, hi-hat, and pick-heavy acoustic guitar. Dreamy on vocals.
- UA 2-1176 dual-channel compressor, an analog reissue of the classic UREI 1776.
- Groove Tubes Glory Comp variable-impedance compressor. dB once repped this thing and has been an evangelist for variable impedance ever since.
- dbx 1066 stereo compressor (old)
- MOTU MIDI Timepiece A/V
- Aphex 228 RCA -10B to XLR +4dB converter, 8-channel — surprised how much it's come in handy
- Aphex SB-100 comparison switch (switches one mic between two preamps, used to use for reviews)
- Aphex Project Channel strip (mic pre, EQ, aural exciter, big bottom)
- Kurzweil Rumor and Mangler effects processors
- Yamaha REV-500 digital reverb
- Novation Supernova II Pro-X 48-voice virtual analog synthesizer. This thing is a beast. You could make an entire record on it.
- Kurzweil K2000R synth
- HHB Burn-It redbook CD burner, pretty much just used as my reference CD player these days
- Waves L2 UltraMaximizer
- Furman IT-20 Series II honkin'-ass balanced power conditioner

Not currently in use:
- Metric Halo 2882 audio interface — deciding whether to sell or update with 3d card
- TC Powercore 6000 DSP effects accelerator. Remember those?
- TC digital audio patch bay and format converter — pretty neat but I just don't have much use for it anymore
- Soundcraft Spirit M8 compact rack-mountable mixer
- Digidesign 192 I/O for legacy Pro Tools HD3 system

Last edited by Stephen Fortner; 05/06/20 05:46 PM.

"I'm just a confused musician who got sidetracked into this damned word business..." -Hunter S. Thompson

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Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042391 05/06/20 07:12 PM
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Great stuff Stephen, thanks for sharing!!!

I always love to hear about secret weapons. The Focusrite and the Eureka both offer impedence selection switching although somebody pointed out to me that they are probably "variable resistance" since they are not likely using different transformer taps. There is a notable difference in the sound of a microphone using the different settings, I like the versatility in any case.

I don't think any of my weapons are very secret although not many use an AKG D224. I lucked into one and it is a great mic. VERY quiet for one thing. A dynamic with a smooth, full frequency response.

I agree on removing anything possible. This dedicated mini patch bay will help keep audio and AC power away from each other and make it much easier to just plug into the channel(s) I need at the moment. My other option is going around to the back of the rack with a flashlight and plugging in full length mic cable. This won't increase cable length significantly and will make life much simpler.

That's why I am hoping to stay with just an 8 space rack. I had a 4 space and then the Focusrite came into my world and there simply isn't a practical way to rack mount it, not happening in a 4 space rack for certain.

I went full-on hillbilly and drilled holes in the bottom of a rack drawer, used tie-wraps to secure the Focusrite. It takes up a little over half the rack width and 3 rack spaces height with just a bit of space underneath the piece above. It's a great sounding mic pre and DI so it's worth it.

I will continue to post my progress and look forward to any and all posts by other MPN friends. Cheers, Kuru


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042735 05/08/20 08:43 PM
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Just seeing this now. Great stuff and I love to see DIY project box ventures. I've only done one - a multi Leslie connector router. I discovered this type of bit for drilling out metal smoothly.



[Linked Image from cdn.automationdirect.com]

Anyway, really cool stuff you're doing there Kuru. 2thu

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042746 05/08/20 09:41 PM
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Thaks Markyboard, I'm glad to know others find it useful.

I like your bit, I have a couple of Irwin Uni-bits that bear some resemblance to your bit.
Best thing ever for enlarging holes in headstocks to mount better tuning machines, flawless.

I like to look of yours but I had a total of 6 holes to cut so I went old school. Not as pretty but the jacks will cover them completely.
I'll take a look around our local hardware store next time I am in there and see if they have a bit like yours.

FWIW, I covered the areas with masking tape, measured and marked carefully. Then I used a punch to make a starter indentation for a drill bit. I ran a series of 6 holes for the larger input jacks and 4 for the smaller output jacks. I went from a 3/32" bit to 5/16" bit, which freed the centers.

I have a large rat-tail rasp and relatively thin aluminum doesn't stand a chance! That's why the openings look a bit ragged, all done by hand. Really didn't take long at all.

I've got other projects taking precedence now but plan to be soldering and mounting on Sunday evening so I'll be updating soon.
I've got plans for shorter cabling too, including all AC power cables, a wall wart and a lump line.

I expect to be up and running next week sometime, will keep posting as I go.

Please, if you have any other suggestions I'm sure everybody would like to see/hear them. Cheers, Kuru


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042756 05/08/20 11:41 PM
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A couple of years ago I drilled 6 holes in my Hammond M3 preamp in order to install fuse holders. Not pretty but I got the job done and for the most part the fuse holders covered up the holes. Soon after I discovered this stepper bit. Sure would have made the preamp job easier, and cleaner.

Live and learn.

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
Markyboard #3042762 05/09/20 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
A couple of years ago I drilled 6 holes in my Hammond M3 preamp in order to install fuse holders. Not pretty but I got the job done and for the most part the fuse holders covered up the holes. Soon after I discovered this stepper bit. Sure would have made the preamp job easier, and cleaner.

Live and learn.

Yep, in my case I now factor in how often I will need a particular tool before purchasing one. The Uni-bit was/is a no brainer, I think they are under $15 and will pay for themselves with a single upgrade on one guitar. I've done dozens of tuner upgrades. it is faster, easier and the results are much better than other methods I used in the past.

While "boutique" project box studio solutions might be a cool niche it's not one I see myself filling at this point. I'll be surprised if I ever mount another XLR jack to be honest, these are my first and I am hoping I have everything I need now.

Gotta love a clean, accurate hole though and your bit looks versatile so I want to check out the options.


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042812 05/09/20 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Yep, in my case I now factor in how often I will need a particular tool before purchasing one.

I have a friend who has a saying (which for many of his projects is true): "The first step in a new project is to buy a new tool." He's pretty well equipped for electronics projects, but he bought an engine hoist to move heavy motors and gearboxes around when he bought a milling machine that needed a lot of overhauling. That project has been ongoing for more than 10 years now and there are still pieces all over the shop, and parts bought, built, re-bought, and re-built for the numerical control section.

When I was building my remote truck, I was actually making money from recording (I had a day job so most of what I made from recording could be re-invested) and when I needed a nice hole, I bought the proper sized Greenlee punch. Fortunately that involved only about half a dozen, but I have punches for all of the common audio connectors and tube sockets. If I need a hole for a D-Sub connector, I take the panel over to my friend (above) who makes a lot of things with those connectors, and he has a full set.

And, FYI, since there are a lot of DB-25 connectors used for multi-channel audio, while "DB-25" is indeed the correct designation for that 25-pin connector, the 9-pin version, commonly called "DB-9," is actually a "DE-9." For anyone who cares, there's a good table of sizes, pin layouts, and designations here.

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3042854 05/09/20 05:38 PM
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Thanks Mike, I had a couple of Greenlee punches but no idea where they've gotten to, my brother may have grabbed them when we did one last go-over before selling Mom and Dad's home.

With the proliferation of home studio tech, recording services are a tough sell around here. Add in that I am in a multi-unit condo with a small room and it mostly isn't going to happen.
Which is fine.
Our current situation makes the whole idea pretty unwieldy but my long term plan is to do some mobile recording work if I can drum that up.

Hence, the single rack with as much everything as seems feasible. I have a pretty decent Yamaha mixer so I could do a submix on drums into 2 channels and still have six mic/line channels for the band.

Not much more than what could get the job done. If I factor in the Tascam DR-40 and can get the drummer to do a strong stick click countoff then I also have a stereo overhead or room mic to throw into the mix.

In the meantime, I have two paid outside projects, one has paid for almost 15 hours in advance already. Most important to me at this point is to jump in and get at least decent demos of my own songs.
Until I NEED more than this setup, I am hesitant to add/invest in anything, including tools. I've got the holes I need now and the jacks cover them completely. Forum readers will know my holes are a bit sloppy but nobody else will ever see them. Cheers, Kuru


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3043811 05/15/20 01:19 AM
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Time for an update!
First, some basic advice for all concerned. When tackling a new project that may be within your skill set but perhaps outside of your previous experience, remember one thing.
1. Don't be a dumbass, like me.

I now understand fully why the 2 Switchcraft XLR input jacks came with such long, skinny bolts. The "correct" size bolt features a nut that is too large, the mounting holes are generous but the distance to the barrel of the jack is not. The smaller nut on the skinny bolt fits easily. And, the longer bolt makes it much easier to get the nut threaded in tight quarters. Ugh.

My workarounds? Since it was too late to go to the hardware store and just get better hardware, I clamped the larger nuts into the vise and filed one side down so there was clearance. To get the nuts on the shorter bolts in tight places I used a chopstick with double-stick tape to secure the nut, then held it in place while I turned the bolt with a screwdriver. These solutions worked fine but were extra work that is easily avoided.

My other error in judgement was thinking that I should use short pieces of microphone cable to connect the input and output jacks. It seemed to make sense until I started hooking things up and realized how close the connection ends of the two jacks would be when mounted. I still used the wires but not how I had imagined. Even though aluminum is not ideal for shielding, with such short runs and low impedence it should be fine. The patch bay is well clear of any AC power.

All that said, I got everything hooked up and mounted. It all tested out perfectly, microphones sound great, phantom power is working. I was careful to connect everything correctly and only had to do it once.
So I may be an idiot but I still succeeded.

I did get ahead of myself, I put it all together and then remembered that I intended to photograph the inside for this thread. Oh well, most of us have seen wires soldered to connectors.

Next up is dressing cables. I've started that project. I got new replaceable plugs for AC cords, I've shortened 3 of them. I still need to put the ends on a couple of multi-boxes so they play nice with the spaciing of the outlets on the back of the power conditioner. I've got one wall wart and one lump line to shorten as well. Since I am going to be running audio in the middle of the backside of the rack and out to the front, I've routed the AC cabling around the edges. One of the attached photos is of the excess cable length I removed. The ruler is 18" for reference.

Coincidentally, a friend happens to have some short microphone cables he does not use or need. 12" and up. I will get those on Sunday and it is probably all I will need to route all of my audio paths in the back of the rack.
That will save a lot of time!!!!

This is pretty much done if those are what I need. I am feeling good about what I've accomplished. It will be simple to close the rack up if I decide to move it and in my home studio I should no longer need access to the back side of the rack. This means I can have more space available and less time spent hooking up microphones. There won't be a lot of cables hanging randomly out of the back of the rack, AC cords comingling with audio cables.

The hookups to my interface are as follows:
Inputs 1 and 2 are on the front of the interface. They are Mic/Line/DI. I will connect a cable to the back of the Cloudlifter so I can hook it up to channel 2 if I want to use it. That will be left hanging out of the front and labled. The input jack for the Cloudlifter is on the front face.
Input 3 is marked on the patch bay, the backside cable goes to the mic channel of the Focusrite ISA One.
Input 4 is the DI on the Focusrite ISA One, it's front facing on the preamp itself.
Input 5 is marked on the patch bay, will go to the Eureka channel strip via the patch bay. The DI on the front of Eureka bypasses the mic pre automatically.
Input 6 is marked on the patch bay, will go to the HHB channel strip via the patch bay. The DI jack is on the front of the HHB and the selector switch will allow a choice of DI/Line/Mic/Mic+48v.
Inputs 7 and 8 are a TRS phone plug on the patch bay, they go to channels 7 and 8 on the interface. I can plug one TRS cable into the headphone out of a Roland Handsonic and record in stereo.

When I get all the cabling dressed I'll take a picture of that and post again.
Photos attached.

Attached Files
IMG_2078.JPG (248.3 KB, 144 downloads)
IMG_2079.JPG (169.32 KB, 143 downloads)

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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3044003 05/16/20 01:31 AM
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After dressing down the wall wart and the lump line I've removed between 12 and 15 feet of excess AC cabling.

I've got one more plug to install, one of my power conditioned power strips has an overly large plug on it. That will be the end of the AC power cord dressing project.

I'll be back in a couple of days, hopefully I'll have the shorter audio cables installed and sorted and this project will be completed.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 05/19/20 06:26 AM.

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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3044649 05/19/20 06:43 AM
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The promised bag of free short XLR cables was delivered.

They were all too short. I've got the output cables from the Focusrite, HHB and Eureka to inputs on the back of the Quantum all made and installed. Those 3 cables replaced 3 full length mic cables so there goes about 20+ feet of audio cabling.
I've installed some more tie wraps as restraint loops to keep AC on the edges and audio in the middle of the rack space. That's gone well.

I chose three more too short cables from the bag, all have Switchcraft ends and were assembled by somebody with good cable building skills so they are easy to unsolder.
I've measured and cut some cables from a good quality Audio Technica mic cable that I sacrificed for the cause.

I've been cleaning all contacts on all used XLR connectors as I go, I like them nice and shiny. Attached is a photo of the current front and back. Cable coming out of the front and into channel 2 on the Quantum is from the output of the Cloudlifter, I can use it in channel 2 if I need it. I really like the Cloudlifter, everybody who owns a dynamic or ribbon mic needs at least one.

I'll post a final photo with the last 3 audio cables installed in a day or two, depending on progress. That should be it for now, I am excited to hook everything back up and test it all!
If all goes well I can rearrange the studio area and get more space since I won't need to access the rear of the rack. I will also be able to put the front and rear covers on and move the rack to other locations without having to deal with tons of stray cabling.

Attached Files
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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3044681 05/19/20 11:48 AM
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A machinist friend had a favorite saying: "I cut it twice and it's STILL too short."

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
Mike Rivers #3044698 05/19/20 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
A machinist friend had a favorite saying: "I cut it twice and it's STILL too short."


I was a kid learning carpentry from Dad and he got me with that one!!!!


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3044915 05/20/20 01:50 PM
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Racks, you say... puff

I have three main ones. One has the rack synths I use the most,

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


The other two are mainly for signal processing. The first one is mostly for input and control:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


The second one is where my hardware reverbs live, and signal processing for the 2-buss.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

dB

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3044997 05/20/20 08:36 PM
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Looking good Sir Dave!!!! Thanks for sharing, you have some sweet toys there.

Got any helpful rack tips? Does are good but sometimes Don'ts are the ones that spare us grief. laugh


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3045000 05/20/20 08:45 PM
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Last night I finished up the last 3 cables and hooked them up. Photo of the back attached. There is one Thunderbolt cable to the computer and one regulated/noise reducing outlet box cord not shown. Overall I am really happy with the results.

I just finished testing all channels into my DAW. Everything is working!!!!!
Ahhhh... time to find another rabbit hole and just hurl myself down it. laugh

Time to rearrange things a bit. I no longer need constant access to the back of my rack to hook up mics and such. So I can reclaim some real estate, not much but in a small room everything helps.

I've made an attempt to reduce outside noise in my studio space but I've been thinking of consolidating down into a smaller mic booth. Could be more effective.
Plus summer is here now. I've got a great spot, it doesn't get too hot but it's nice to let some air flow through. With air comes noise.

I'll pop back in, I'd love to see this thread grow with contributions from everybody. The sum of our individual successes may lead us all to a better way of doing things. Cheers, Kuru

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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3045185 05/21/20 05:52 PM
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I've considered racks for my own use before, but not all that seriously. The real clear path to rackland for me lies in my band's live rig... we'd like to be a full-time touring band (obviously that's not happening for at least a year or more now, but anyway) and one of the main things would be to get ourselves all on ears. Our singer is already on ears on 90% of gigs, but we all sing, and we all would like to protect our hearing.

We shared a bill a few years ago with a more hard rock/metal band who rolled in a fairly substantial rack which contained multiple Axe-FX units, headphone amp, wireless transmitters, a computer running Ableton for lights (and maybe some backing tracks?), and I'm sure a couple other things. Take the covers off, plug everything in, and they were pretty much ready to go, with minor mix tweaks in soundcheck. Certainly an attractive scenario in many ways. Not sure if we'll be going that far, but having a band rack with headphone amp and mixer is something that is in our future for sure.

I'm sure I'll be looking at my own rack if we ever get to a place where I can grow my rig and not fall of stage. laugh


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
MAJUSCULE #3045196 05/21/20 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MAJUSCULE
I've considered racks for my own use before, but not all that seriously. The real clear path to rackland for me lies in my band's live rig... we'd like to be a full-time touring band (obviously that's not happening for at least a year or more now, but anyway) and one of the main things would be to get ourselves all on ears. Our singer is already on ears on 90% of gigs, but we all sing, and we all would like to protect our hearing.

We shared a bill a few years ago with a more hard rock/metal band who rolled in a fairly substantial rack which contained multiple Axe-FX units, headphone amp, wireless transmitters, a computer running Ableton for lights (and maybe some backing tracks?), and I'm sure a couple other things. Take the covers off, plug everything in, and they were pretty much ready to go, with minor mix tweaks in soundcheck. Certainly an attractive scenario in many ways. Not sure if we'll be going that far, but having a band rack with headphone amp and mixer is something that is in our future for sure.

I'm sure I'll be looking at my own rack if we ever get to a place where I can grow my rig and not fall of stage. laugh

I think multiple small racks are the best way to go if possible. This current 8 space rack full of stuff is just about the practical limit for weight and size. It's pretty hefty, probably the heaviest musical item I own although not the largest.
In an ideal world (rather than a coincidental one), I would have a 6 space rack instead of an 8. The 2 space HHB that I already owned and the random availability of the Focusrite (and of the 8 space rack itself) led to where I am now situated. Anything bigger is going to take considerable effort or a different set of peripherals (van, ramp, wheels etc.) to deal with.

Thanks for posting! Cheers, Kuru


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3046968 06/02/20 01:55 AM
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Still tweaking things a bit.

I don't like the knobs or the graphics on the Presonus Eureka. I do like the sounds that are available and the moderate range of the EQ and Compressor.
I find it difficult to see the "pointers" on the knobs and in the current position the labels for function are impossible to see at all. At best they are tiny but they are underneath the knobs so you'd need the unit closer to eye level. Right now it is much lower and I don't plan to change that.

I am considering painting the fronts of the knobs white with black pointer lines - probably best to paint the black lines first and then the white surrounding.
I want to post clear diagrams of the compressor layout and the 1st/2nd stages of the EQ on two blank areas of the Furman power conditioner. It only has an on/off switch and light so there is plenty of space. I may include a diagram of the 5 switches near the top of the preamp too, I have the three knobs memorized.

Little things that may only save seconds but seconds do add up!

While I am at it, I might as well paint the fronts of 3 shiny metal knobs on the HHB. Everything else seems fine to me, it's the tweaks that bring it all into Easy World.


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3051153 06/26/20 05:39 PM
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Did someone say racks?

[Linked Image from cdn.acidcow.com]

Oh, you meant MUSIC GEAR? Sorry...

I've been building racks for studio and stage for over 25 years and learned many tricks. Primarily a keyboard player who also sings and plays drums and guitar. This is my most recent build - my touring system. I build my own I/O panels.

[Linked Image from analoguediehard.com]

Described in detail here

I have many other racks in my studio. My first rack was a 24 space - while it was convenient having everything in one box and pre-wired, it was not the best solution. I settled for multiple small rack cases, nothing bigger than 14 space.

Starting with the MIDI keyboard system are my Kurzweil 1000 series romplers

[Linked Image from analoguediehard.com]

On top of that are the studio monitor and MIDI Matrix/Audio processors. I chose Rane SM82 line mixers because they can be easily expanded as your system grows.

[Linked Image from analoguediehard.com]

MIDI drums and MIDI storage, Leslie simulator

[Linked Image from analoguediehard.com]

Studio audio gear (I record EP, vocals, guitars, drums, etc)

[Linked Image from analoguediehard.com][Linked Image from analoguediehard.com][Linked Image from analoguediehard.com][Linked Image from analoguediehard.com]

Keyboard mixer/amp for stage

[Linked Image from analoguediehard.com]

Stage PA

[img]http://www.analoguediehard.com/studio/rack-pa-power-eq-limiter-xover.jpg[/img][img]http://www.analoguediehard.com/studio/rack-pa-power-amps.jpg[/img]

EQ for stage monitors

[img]http://www.analoguediehard.com/studio/rack-monitor-eq.jpg[/img]

I have some more that I haven't uploaded pictures yet to my website.

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3051157 06/26/20 05:52 PM
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AWESOME post, Real MC!!!!!!

When I start threads like these I am always hoping that somebody who has it all figured out will chime in and donate wisdom - THANK YOU!!!!!

I bookmarked your first link to read later.

And, dammit, I had one of those Moog 3 band parametric EQs when they were new and didn't keep it. So it goes...

Cheers, Kuru


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3051183 06/26/20 08:45 PM
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Yeah I've tried other parametric EQs and they were not as effective as the Moog. When I need surgical EQ, man that Moog delivers.

The Moog graphic EQ is pretty good too. Not the best corrective EQ but when boosting it adds a nice tone color.

Got 'em cheap from a friend in the 1980s when no one wanted anything labeled "Moog"... now they sell for silly prices.

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3051184 06/26/20 08:47 PM
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And BTW, the Moog Synamp "parametric EQ" is NOT a parametric EQ they are semi-parametric (cut/boost with sweepable frequency). Completely different circuit, but still a good EQ.

Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
The Real MC #3051190 06/26/20 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
And BTW, the Moog Synamp "parametric EQ" is NOT a parametric EQ they are semi-parametric (cut/boost with sweepable frequency). Completely different circuit, but still a good EQ.

Thanks, I do know the difference that a Q knob can make - it is huge!.
I have a Presonus Eureka channel strip with a 3 band true parametric EQ, I need to explore it more but so far I like it.

Obviously I didn't realize how cool the old Moog was when I had it. There aren't many studio pieces I regret flipping but that is certainly one of them.


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3054000 07/13/20 05:59 PM
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Changes are coming, it may take a while but I am patient and persistent.

Testing leaves me dissatisfied with the HHB Radius 40, I will try swapping tubes to see if I can lower the noise floor but I do remember using this a long time ago and not being thrilled by the noise floor or the sound of the unit (not bad but nothing special). Add in that the pots are scratchy and difficult to clean or replace since the opening for cleaning is facing the PC board and very close to it. There is space there to have left a cleaning hole in the PCB but they didn't do that and I am not going to do it either.

It takes up 2 rack spaces that could be put to better use.

Current thoughts are to pull the HHB and sell it as-is for whatever it fetches. I don't want a return so I will describe it accurately.

Eventually I will want to add a Tech 21 SansAmp Rbi and I am considering a Presonus Studio Channel.

If anybody has either of those pieces or can recommend a different piece, I am all ears!


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Re: The Rack Thread - Who, What, Why?
KuruPrionz #3054087 07/14/20 01:26 AM
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I've decided to go with the Tech 21 Bsss Driver DI v2 pedal instead of adding another rackmoiunt channel strip.
A dedicated bass guitar channel is something I will always use and this unit checks off all the boxes.

I took a look at my previous choices and the Bass Driver and it looks like best bang for the buck for my current needs/wants.

I'll wait before filling in the 2 remaining spaces. The HHB goes on auction tomorrow for 10 days. I don't really care what the end price is, at this point it is time for it to go away.
I'm sure it hasn't enjoyed it's stay here, the feeling is mutual. So it goes.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 07/15/20 05:37 PM. Reason: Bass Drivere V2 wins.

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