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Favorite Rack Cases and drawers?

Posted: Sat May 13, 2017 2:55 pm
by PJD
Hi Folks,
I'm building my first rack system. I'm very excited but wondering what are everybody's favorite rack cases and drawers?
I've been looking out of Craigslist, reverb etc just wondering if anybody has lessons learned or reasons for favorites.


Re: Favorite Rack Cases and drawers?

Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:26 am
by bettsaj
First of all, welcome to the forum :D

My first rack case was one of these


This was great, until i realised i was putting my back out. they weigh a lot on their own without anything in them. In mine I had a Furman power conditioner, Korg DTR1 Tuner, Samson Wireless receiver, Marshall 9100 power amp (weighs a f***ing ton), Marshall JMP1 Pre-Amp, and a multi effects processor (probably my old Digitech GSP 21) all this together with the case was just stupid heavy. It took two of us to carry it at gigs.

Long story short, I then bought an ABS case and haven't looked back. Unless you're in a touring band, leave the semi-flight cases alone. If you're just a gigging musician an ABS is more than adequate.

I've split mine as the power amp is heavy on its own so I have the power amp in one case, and all the other goodies in another case..... Like this


I've made patch panels for each case so wiring at gigs will be super fast, i'll have just 1 multicore snake from the pedalboard to the rack, and 2 power cables

This makes it much more easier to lug around, as the power amp can be carried in one hand.... The effects case at the top is not heavy, just bulky. It can be carried by just me. And also setting up and breaking down is really fast now I've simplified the wiring.

Any questions don't hesitate to ask....... I've just finished rebuilding my rack from the ground up so am more than willing to give you advice with various bits and pieces around building a quiet rig. You can read about my rig build here

Further advice also, would be whatever you intend to put in it..... Add 2 or 3 extra spaces. say you have 4 rack units 3 are 1u, and 1 is 2u, i would buy an 8u so you have a contingency for when/if you purchase more equipment. I have 2 spaces left in mine, the bottom 2 spaces are going to be for stomp boxes. I have a sliding draw on the bottom which wasn't expensive.... It was one of these ... 3ad12cec04

I've seen really expensive ones, but you need not pay through the nose to get a good system.

The rack case I bought was one of these ... 3f4721c040

Again, not too expensive, it does the job. You can get more expensive ones with shock mounts etc but again unless you're in a touring band I'd leave those alone.


Re: Favorite Rack Cases and drawers?

Posted: Sat May 20, 2017 9:31 am
by PJD
Wow THANK YOU for that detailed response. I love your rack. That sounds weird. I was semi convinced I'd need a bulkier road case, good to hear an ABS style will cut it. I checked out your thread, really cool stuff. I broke my arm 2 weeks ago so i can't do a ton of playing at the moment. I too have some gilmour inspired stuff but I didn't build my own. Just picked up a Vic's 73rams head. I was never really a pedal guy; mostly straight into the amp. I just really want to go a different direction. I'll be subscribing to that thread and asking more questions!

If you don't mind, how many spaces would you say your pedal drawers take up?

Good note on extra spaces; I was thinking the same thing.

Also, any reason your soldering your own cables vs George Ls or something similar?

My plan at this point is:
A/B switch (b to tuner mounted in front of GCP, A continues to the rig)
Vox Wah (modified w Fulltone parts)
then into GCX
In the rack drawers:
Keeley 4 knob compressor
Vic's 73 Rams Head
Phase 90
Tube Screamer
Duncan Pickup Booster
Catalinbread Belle Epoch
"Left" side of Lexicon MPX1
Wampler Plexi Drive

Second GCX
Lumpy's Liquid Lead
Catalinbread RAH
Catalinbread Sabbra Caddabra
"Right"Side of Lexicon MPX1 (in the FX loop of the Mesa)
Note: for the lexicon to work this way each patch used needs to have the routing set that way

Then into a 2x12 Mesa Maverick (May change to JCM 800 if I like it better)
Happy for feedback if anybody sees something silly. I may reconfigure a few things to share a loop and may ditch the pickup booster and phase 90. Not sure yet.

Re: Favorite Rack Cases and drawers?

Posted: Sun May 21, 2017 1:01 am
by bettsaj
I've allowed 2 spaces for my pedal draw. The actual draw takes up one space, but i'm allowing two spaces for pedals that may be a little taller etc...

Regarding cables, i was initially going to wire the whole rig with Evidence audio solderless cable, but i changed my mind for 3 reasons. First and foremost cost. Evidence audio is crazy expensive, and I was going to need a lot of it. Even just wiring the rack mounted units was going to cost into the hundreds of £'s.. (or $'s ;) )

Secondly, i read a lot online about rack wiring, nearly all advice pointed to soldering being the best way forward. After soldering that rack, i reckon I can now strip wire, and solder a mono jack plug probably in about 3 to 4 minutes. I now don't see any gain in buying solderless. You have more flexibility making your own, and you know a solder joint is going to be bullet proof if done properly. I reference this video.... It taught me a lot.

Thirdly, I got a deal with an online supplier for trade rates on all cables and plugs (pleaded poverty as a poor professional musician :lol: ) i basically wired this whole rack for about £100 - £120, where if I'd used Evidence audio it would have costed more like £300 - £400.

The cables I've used in mine are all high quality tour grade Van Damme Black XKE Instrument Cable. The midi cables are all Van Damme Quad cable, all connectors are Neutrik, except the midi connectors which are Rean (owned by Neutrik)

Here's the back of my rack..... Patch panels are the way to go, and also good cable management