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Please consider rack mounts again...


Sundown
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I think they could bring back racks but they have to create a form factor friendly to small/home studios. I'm thinking rack devices the size of an audio interface like the Focurite 2i2 or devices the size of an old-school lunchbox. The old style racks take up too much space - they're like "pizza box" big and if you only own 2-4 racks, the size is awkward. But if you could get 2i2/lunchbox size devices that could neatly stack in a small studio space - I think there's a market there that could drive the sales and innovation for that.

 

It's the age of the home/mobile recording studios with iDevices that put a TV broadcasting station - in your pocket. The idea of small, easily rackable audio equipment is just waiting for somebody to do it.

 

This is a great point. For example, I can see now reason why nearly any rack mount synth replicating a keyboard (let's use the MODX as an example) couldn't fit into a half-rack sized unit. I remember during the 90s I bought a Kawai GMega which was half a rack and it packed a half-decent punch even back then.

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Some of us refuse to gig with a laptop. I've seen too many shows paused because of computer problems.

Tabletop format is not acceptable for some of us.

 

Why I prefer rackmount:

1) Preconfigured prewired systems. I can stuff multiple devices with mixer in a single rack, and all the cabling is done ONCE. I've read complaints of failed cabling. I no longer use OTS cabling due to too many failures, I now build my own cabling using raw components. I have yet to have a cable failure in my rack systems.

2) Fast setup. Carted as single or multiple units. With preconfigured systems, the setup time of hooking power and audio cables is eliminated. Tabletop units have to be cabled each and every time. If you design multiple racks the right way, you can minimize interconnecting cables between the racks.

3) Better build quality. Rackmount are almost always rugged metal assemblies. I refuse to gig plastic shell assemblies, which is what most tabletop units are.

4) Fewer cases. Racks ARE the case. You can stuff multiple rackmount devices without needing separate cases for each one. Gig with tabletops and you need a case for each one.

5) Eliminate "wall wart" power supplies. I absolutely REFUSE to gig wall warts due to reliability issues. Some of my rack devices don't have internal power supplies, which I have solved by replacing the wall wart with a rackmount low voltage power supply.

6) Racks can double as keyboard stands. The current system I am using is designed to double as a keyboard stand.

7) Racks keep you in shape. I'm no wuss and am strong as an ox, so I don't complain about heavy cases. The bonus is that a thief is very unlikely to steal a large heavy cases; almost every theft I have heard about, the items that went missing were items that are easily carried by one person. With cases, thieves cannot see what is inside - out of sight, out of mind. I'm 50+ years old and carting heavy stuff has kept me in good physical shape, which is never a bad thing.

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Yeah, I understand the hesitations about gigging with laptop. I think the OP was talking more about home/studio use, but racks do you have the advantages you list, and I have thought about using one sometimes, except a superlight ABS style with only a few light pieces in it, because I'm not as strong as you are. ;-) But I'm too lazy. Mostly I do 2-board gigs, and as long as I have my choice of two boards, I can almost certainly get "close enough" to any sound I need out of at least one of them, and so I end up not wanting to bother with the additional schlepage and setup time of adding even a light rack, just to get slightly better sounds here and there which no one but me will notice. I did use racks in the old days, when it was so much harder to cover all the sounds you wanted with just what was available in your boards.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Is it not possible to turn off the Auto-Update function in Windows? Curiosity question.

This bit me once, I couldn't stop it from updating at a particularly inopportune time. Had I known in advance it was going to happen (with no cancel/abort/defer option!), it seems I could have prevented it...

 

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-stop-updates-installing-automatically-windows-10

 

I ended up losing use of a time-limited demo that prematurely expired as a result. But it could have been worse, it could have happened at a gig...

 

 

Thanks Scott, I can't imagine not having that feature in a modern system and I am glad it's an option. I got caught when the "new" refurbished 2014 Macbook pro I bought last year updated to Mojave all on it's own.

It got a bit squirrely and I took it back to High Sierra. Catalina is running fine now and I am in control of the updates from here on out.

 

First in is just beta-testing, not my job!!!

 

It does eliminate that particular problem from the equation. Cheers, Kuru

I had been disabling the update service and setting my wifi to metered but when I switched from LTSB to LTSC a new service called Windows Update Medic Service showed up that was enabling the update service and denied me access when I tried to disable it so I had to use gpedit as recomended by the local gearslutz MS rep.

 

1.Open Start.

2.Search for gpedit.msc and select the top result to launch the Group Policy

Editor.

3.Navigate to the following path:

Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Window

Update

4.Double-click the Configure Automatic Updates policy on the right side.

5.Check the Disabled option to turn off the policy.

6.Click the Apply button.

7.Click the OK button.

Although the automatic updates feature will remain disabled, you can still

download and install patches manually from Settings > Update & Security >

Windows Update, and clicking the Check for updates button.

Triton Extreme 76, Kawai ES3, GEM-RPX, HX3/Drawbar control, MSI Z97

MPower/4790K, Lynx Aurora 8/MADI/AES16e, OP-X PRO, Ptec, Komplete.

Ashley MX-206. future MOTU M64 RME Digiface Dante for Mon./net

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^^ Great post Throbert! ^^^

 

Yes, the Devil is in the details.

 

I spent some time with a post on Sweetwater's website explaining how to configure Mac OS Catalina so it will function for a DAW user without glitches.

It would have taken a LONG time to figure all that stuff out on my own or find the various pieces to the puzzle here and there.

 

Anybody using Windows would do well to copy and paste your instructions above and keep a backup copy or two of the document so they can refer to it as needed. Kudos, Kuru

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I am a longstanding fan of using racks, dating back to the '80s. I never quite had a refrigerator-sized rack, though have flirted with 6-8 spaces the majority of the time. My longtime touring rig had a nice compact 2-space rack with a Roland JV-880, Dynacord CLS-222 and two DIs mounted inside. Nowadays, I use a custom ATA 3-space rack for my Vent, Key Largo, and Shure wirless IEM rig. The last generation of this rig was 6-space and included a Motif XS Rack and larger Ashly mixer. I miss using rack mount synths, though the labor required in getting them all programmed and ready to roll is not something I miss very much.
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MIDI 2.0 could have an influence on whether it's worth it for companies to produce hardware similar to racks again. MIDI 2.0, being bi-directional, can query hardware for parameters, grab their names, and store names and values in a DAW's file. This also means it would be possible to auto-generate editors and librarians. One of the goals of MIDI 2.0 is to make hardware as transparent to computers as virtual instruments.

 

But perhaps the bigger implication is that with Capability Inquiry and Profiles, you could have a single, physical controller like we do now, but it would look more like the front panel of a hardware synthesizer than just a keyboard with some knobs and switches. Housing and physical controls are quite expensive, so in theory you could have something that looked like an Andromeda, but be able to load profiles that would tailor the controls for particular hardware modules. These probably would not need to be standard rack size, because all you would need would be I/O connectors.

 

I'm not saying this will happen, and if it did, it would be some time from now. But, it is possible, and could become a viable approach to multiple synth hardware units with a unified, sophisticated control surface, if consumer demand was sufficient for companies to justify taking this route.

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Also have been a fan and user of rackmount modules since the mid-80's. I still have a few analog modules that just stay in the studio now as I still prefer hardware for analog synth sounds. Another big positive is I never had to take any rackmount module to the repair shop. Most modules from the past were either digital or sample-based (not to say that you still can't produce good music with them) but they have been pretty much surpassed with software. Look at what Spectrasonics has done by controlling Omnisphere with hardware synths. At first, I didn't get it but Eric who is the best, explains it here:

 

https://www.spectrasonics.net/video/videos.php

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MIDI 2.0 ... you could have a single, physical controller like we do now ... but be able to load profiles that would tailor the controls for particular hardware modules.
It didn't click until I read your post, but does the the Roland RD88 use MIDI 2.0 with MainStage? The RD88 automatically displays the list of patches from a MainStage performance; and it auto-maps the hardware controls for each individual patch. If that's MIDI 2.0, that would be a really cool standard for audio equipment. I wonder if the RD88 works that way with any MIDI 2.0 sound module (if such a thing exists). And I'm curious if MIDI 2.0 can also detect and switch between sound modules on the same MIDI network?

 

If MIDI 2.0 does that and makes the hardware plug-and-play, I can see racks making a comeback - plus some new interfaces for controlling it all.

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MIDI 2.0 ... you could have a single, physical controller like we do now ... but be able to load profiles that would tailor the controls for particular hardware modules.
It didn't click until I read your post, but does the the Roland RD-88 use MIDI 2.0 with MainStage? The RD-88 automatically displays the list of patches from a MainStage performance; and it auto-maps the hardware controls for each individual patch. If that's MIDI 2.0, that would be a really cool standard for audio equipment. I wonder if the RD-88 works that way with any MIDI 2.0 sound module (if such a thing exists). And I'm curious if MIDI 2.0 can also detect and switch between sound modules on the same MIDI network?

 

If MIDI 2.0 does that and makes the hardware plug-and-play, I can see racks making a comeback - plus some new interfaces for controlling it all.

 

Roland has a keyboard that is MIDI 2.0-ready, but I don't think we'll see a major rollout of MIDI 2.0 gear until NAMM 2021. The spec was only ratified recently, BUT what's cool is that it was indeed ratified - so now companies can start incorporating MIDI 2.0 features, knowing that there won't be compatibility issues down the road.

 

Bear in mind that backwards compatibility with MIDI 1.0 was always a MAJOR priority. The MMA didn't want to do the "hey, we have a new protocol, go screw yourself and sorry nothing works anymore. Don't you need some doorstops anyway?" kind of thing that so many other industries do.

 

One of the main reasons I accepted being elected as President of the MIDI Manufacturers Association is because I really do think that 37 years after MIDI 1.0, MIDI 2.0 got it right.

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One of the main reasons I accepted being elected as President of the MIDI Manufacturers Association is because I really do think that 37 years after MIDI 1.0, MIDI 2.0 got it right.

 

Probably the best news this year ;)

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5) Eliminate "wall wart" power supplies. I absolutely REFUSE to gig wall warts due to reliability issues. Some of my rack devices don't have internal power supplies, which I have solved by replacing the wall wart with a rackmount low voltage power supply.

 

Awesome.

I´m looking for such device and cannot find,- only these made for guitarist´s pedal boards.

Unfortunately we need more power that these stomp box devices and, depending on rig, a mix of DC and AC outputs.

Which rackmount PSU (brand/model) do you use ?

 

:-)

 

A.C.

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5) Eliminate "wall wart" power supplies. I absolutely REFUSE to gig wall warts due to reliability issues. Some of my rack devices don't have internal power supplies, which I have solved by replacing the wall wart with a rackmount low voltage power supply.

 

Awesome.

I´m looking for such device and cannot find,- only these made for guitarist´s pedal boards.

Unfortunately we need more power that these stomp box devices and, depending on rig, a mix of DC and AC outputs.

Which rackmount PSU (brand/model) do you use ?

 

Unfortunately one no longer made... Juice Goose 12 PAQ. I don't know of anything new that is made these days. I bought one new for the studio years ago, when I needed one for gigging I found a used one that needed some minor repair. Former owner burned out the voltage regulator (likely from too much current), there's nothing else under the hood and easy to fix. They could supply 9VDC (250mA), 12VDC (250mA), 9VAC (2A), and 18VAC (1A). Six low voltage outlets, six AC outlets.

 

They use RJ45 jacks for low voltage outlets and offered conversion cables for various DC voltage/polarity/barrel connector, today I make my own but I know the wiring for the RJ45 port.

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Laptops are the new rack mounts... as noted before.

As far as rack units... I'm done. I have a garage full of them that are either obsolete, have an issue or two, nobody wants any more... not really worth the trouble to try to sell them.

Any takers for old rack units?

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Laptops are the new rack mounts... as noted before.

As far as rack units... I'm done. I have a garage full of them that are either obsolete, have an issue or two, nobody wants any more... not really worth the trouble to try to sell them.

Any takers for old rack units?

 

Give us details!

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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FWIW, I"ve never liked rack synths and sound modules, even when having just a rack plus a honkin' master keyboard like an A90 or MIDIboard was very much in fashion. Onstage, I always wanted the electrons generating the sound, and the knobs that control those electrons, to be in front of me where I can keep an eye on the wascally little buggers. Racks didn't lend themselves to that placement. My late-2012 MacBook Pro is still a beast for hosting virtual instruments in Gig Performer. There is one rack synth they"ll have to pry from my cold, dead hands, and that"s my Novation Supernova II Pro X, fully pumped out with 48 voices.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Laptops are the new rack mounts... as noted before.

As far as rack units... I'm done. I have a garage full of them that are either obsolete, have an issue or two, nobody wants any more... not really worth the trouble to try to sell them.

Any takers for old rack units?

 

Give us details!

 

 

Yes!! Give us your racks :)

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Laptops are the new rack mounts... as noted before.

As far as rack units... I'm done. I have a garage full of them that are either obsolete, have an issue or two, nobody wants any more... not really worth the trouble to try to sell them.

Any takers for old rack units?

 

Exact same situation. 5 Emu racks, a Roland 5080, Yamaha A5000 and a Korg Wavestation SR. Not worth enough to pay Ebay, PayPal and UPS their cuts and still go to the trouble of boxing and shipping.

This post edited for speling.
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For the record, I DO like rack modules, mostly because when I factor in my needs and desires vs the available space, the answer is usually the drummer's favorite crash cymbol is a couple feet from my favorite ear if I use a rack and three inches from my favourite earif I use another board. (Actually, I don't have a favorite ear and have abused them equally.) As Steve pointed out, it would be ideal to have all parameters immediately accessible, but in the past I have spent considerable effort creating patches and combinations and setting the few controlls that I need to manipulate in performance to the various wheels, sliders, foot controllers, etc. on my controller. In the nineties I too moved to a single controller (Roland A50) and a rack of modules, thinking that I could have a nice balance of convenience and power. I laugh now as I recall that, in addition to the rack, I also carried a 16 channel mixer, a power amp, a three way speaker (15", 10", tweeter), a Leslie 147 (for the Voce DMI) and a Fender Twin. So much for light weight and convenience.
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Well, I"m not really wanting to give them all away, or chuck themâ¦yet. A number of them have issues, due to age or other factorsâ¦. and they"re not worth the $ to fix them, IMO.

And like RABid said, 'Not worth enough to pay Ebay, PayPal and UPS their cuts and still go to the trouble of boxing and shipping."

 

But, here you go...

Yamaha TX802, P50m, KX88 (2), S80, Roland U110, MKS-20, M-OC1, JX3P, Kurzweil 1000HX, 1200 ProII, K1000SE, ME-1, Alessis D4, 3630, ADATs (2) Tascam DA30 MkII, Voce V3, Hammond XM1, Korg 01W/r, 05W/r, NS5/r, DRV-1000, MotionSound R3-147, Generalmusic Pro2 (2), Realpiano Expander.

 

I"m in LA.

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I mean, does the PC4 or Montage have any "rompler" sound you couldn't get out of a VST?

 

That"s a tough call, Scott. I think it varies by patch and instrument.

 

A VST plugin is going to crush most digital pianos or hardware ROMplers for piano sounds, due to the ability to stream massive amounts of data. A VST drum plugin will do the same (I"m thinking of Steven Slate"s offerings). Plugins probably have the advantage any time massive data sets are used for layers upon layers of articulation (e.g. acoustic and electric basses, solo horns, etc).

 

But I"ll tell you what... My Kurzweil PC361 has phenomenally playable orchestral sounds, especially given it"s age and small ROM memory. There are times I will favor that playability and smart programming over Gigabytes of data (especially in compositions that are going to mask some of the sound anyway).

 

My compositions are probably 50/50 hardware and software, and I think it really depends on the sound.

Sundown

 

Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; They Live, We Groove

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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