Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

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fuzzjunkie
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Re: Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

Post by fuzzjunkie » Fri May 12, 2017 7:54 am

I just got done reading an epic rant on the TGP about the new Empress Echosystem after reading a post about it here. I swear it wasn't me, but it could've been...

I always say that with these old rack systems that "This is your tone now." Those electronics and buffers that you can't bypass that affect your tone and suck and wah-wah-wah, no that isn't your tone sucking, that is your tone.

You can fight it or accept it.

Fighting it gets expensive and requires lots of cables and etc, etc. guys with big racks paid a lot of money back in the day for custom made true bypass midi systems and some even had dedicated help to run them.

The rest of us made do.

Even guys like The Edge, who had all the above and more, had to make do and embrace the limitations. A lot is made on U2 worship forums about how even when he's not using his Korg SDD-3000 as a delay, he still uses the preamp to boost his signal, well, he didn't really have a choice. What he did though was embrace the sound. He initially described it as "Off putting" after it replaced his DMM, but now, even though he could bypass it, he doesn't, and there are guys buying pedal clones of that preamp to get that tone. Same goes for Jimmy Page and his Echoplex.

I made do for years with my first Roland rack unit. It had a bypass switch but no midi. You could step through 8 presets but could only go in one direction. I used the preamp to boost my signal when I wasn't using the delay. I discovered that by accident and liked the sound, didn't know The Edge did it until years later. Then I got a Yamaha rack and it was different, but you could control it with midi. You couldn't bypass it though, so one preset patch was everything on zero except for a little EQ tweak to make it sound right. I used that for years. It wasn't the same as not having signal pass through it, but that was my tone. Most of the time I had it on for Echo or Reverb or something anyway, and if not, then the Roland was. If I wanted my tone un-affected, just guitar and amp, then I couldn't use them. If I wanted to use them, then I had to live with the tone.

Eventually I had enough money to get a true bypass midi switcher to separate them out of my signal. Mostly it was a waste of time and effort. As mentioned, I almost always had one or the other on, plus other pedals, so very rarely was "my tone" just guitar and amp. I was so used to the sound of the buffers and electronics in my chain that it didn't sound "better" not having them in there, just different.

So, now I use Eventide Factor pedals for what I used the rack units for. A little more convenient and a little less cable length, but there are still limitations. Limitations that the TGP crowd got all up in arms about in the great Eventide versus Strymon wars of 2010. Still battling now over this new Empress pedal.

My suggestion is don't worry about all of that, just plug in and play. Close your eyes and listen to the tone. Accept it. That is your tone now.

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Re: Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

Post by somanytoys » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:57 am

^^^Thanks for this post. That's a good point, especially to know all that walking in should make a big difference in my perception.

No, I still haven't gotten it out and hooked it up yet. Soon.
-David

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Re: Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

Post by somanytoys » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:04 pm

So, I finally ordered another rackmount case specifically for the SPX. When it comes in, I'll have to fire it up, see what's in it and dig up all the preset settings I've been saving up. I'm pretty excited.

Just out of curiosity, what is the best companion to go with the SPX? I've read Quadraverb and others, but then also been warned about only using specific versions, others are crap. I bought a 4u case, fully expecting that I'll be putting something else nice in it with the SPX inb the future.
-David

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Re: Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

Post by fuzzjunkie » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:59 pm

Quadraverbs were certainly popular at the time, but I prefer a Roland unit like the DEP-5. Korg had the SDD-3000 of course, and the A-3, the Roland SDE-3000 and similar units are good choices too. I have an old Yamaha rack analog delay that I like a lot, the E-1010. Often called a hifi Memory Man; so if you ever wanted to try and sing through a DMM or Space Echo, it's a good replacement. It takes up two spaces though.

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Re: Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

Post by somanytoys » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:07 am

I've looked for the DEP, but haven't seen one yet, although I'm not really ready to buy one at the moment anyway.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll probably look into these other ones, especially if the quadraverb is almost like covering similar ground to the SPX (?). But I should have 3 spaces left, if the SPX only takes one space.
-David

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Re: Getting Started With The SPX-90/Rack Effects

Post by somanytoys » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:26 am

So I got another rack case to be able to put my SPX 90 into, and I hooked it up last night to finally check it out. I just hooked it up with nothing else at all - guitar in, stereo outs to 2 small ss amps. It sounds really good, but I obviously need to read the instructions more, and also do some of my own programming. I also bought a dedicated rackmount eq that should be coming in soon, to eq it and boost the signal (if/when necessary).

I'm trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to incorporate it with my setup, because I use 2 amps with almost every pedalboard.. Because the SPX splits the mono signal into stereo, I think I'm going to have to use my Xotic stereo blender, since it has stereo ins and outs. I guess I'll have to put my ge fuzz in the first loop, because they're fussy about being first, but then the fuzz may not be in stereo, I'll have to see if that signal will be able to be stereo split from the X-blender out, from a mono return.

I'm thinking that I'll put the rackmount chain (mono in and stereo out) through the 2nd loop, and that will kind of force the rest of the pedals to be used in separate chains, except maybe for "stereo" pedals. I'm not sure about that, simply because some of them aren't really stereo, but instead sum the stereo signals into a dual mono signal, which defeats the entire purpose, so I guess I'll probably just go mono with all of the pedals for each separate chain. The only one that I know for sure is true stereo is the Fulltone Supa-Trem pan, which goes last anyway and takes stereo inputs. I may have to look at some of the other "stereo" pedals to see if they're truly stereo or mono sum, to see if it's worth trying to use them in stereo.

I guess it's a good thing it's the weekend so that I can stew over this before I start tearing too much apart and keep having to change things over and over because of something that I didn't take into consideration. Plus, depending on how long it will take me to learn how to & set up at least 2 or 3 patches the way I want them.

But I'm really excited to get this going and incorporated, and I appreciate ALL of the helpful info on this thread and on this site, as always. Some really great people on this website.
-David

Vaya con Covfefe.

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