Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pedalboard’

Summary: The RS-4 provides all the great sequencing and conditioning as the original and on those two features alone, it’s valuable. But this isn’t just an ordinary power strip. Like the original, it is built like a tank and incredibly reliable. Get your gear powered on in the right order, then condition your power, and you can rely on it to withstand the rigors of the road? What’s not to like?

Pros: The addition of the Port 1 Always On feature is awesome! As I mentioned it is built like a tank. My original is seven years old and shows no signs of failure. The EMI/RFI filtering and 1935 Joules of surge protection provide lots of confidence that the power going into your gear is clean and protected.

Cons: None.

Price: $299.00 ~ More features and cheaper than the original? What’s not to like?

Features:

Power Rating120VAC, 60Hz, 15A 1800W
Safety Agency ApprovalsETL Listed file 4007270 in US and Canada conforms to ANSI/ UL Std. UL 1449-4 UL 1363 and certified to CAN/CSA 22.2 NO. 8
Actuation SwitchPush button foot switch (on- off)
Dimensions13.25”L X 4.25”W X 1.50”H
Chassis ConstructionSteel Welded 20 guage
Receptacles(8) High impact thermoplastic (4) duplex receptacle Nema 5-15R
Power Rating120VAC, 60Hz, 15A 1800W
Power Cord15 foot 14 gauge SJT Nema 5-15p
Surge Suppression(9) MOV’s 1935 Joules L-N L-G N-G Network UL1449-3
Circuit Protection15 AMP main power circuit breaker extreme over voltages over current shutdown with automatic resettable circuit
EMI/EMCElectromagnetic Interference (EMI) Filters-Fourth Edition; General Instruction No 1, 2 and 3;Issue:1982/09/01 (CSA C22.2 No. 8, with T.I.L No 516) 55022
Delay Sequence4-step 0-15 second adjustable delay sequence between receptacles for both on delay and off delay for potentially 0 to 45 second delay
Diagnostic Indicators(4) LEDS one for each duplex receptacle indicating AC power to dedicated receptacle and power to controlling relay (1)LED front panel indicates electronic control module’s switching power supply and surge suppression network is functioning properly

Kimball Magee, inventor of the Rockn Stompn contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me about the RS-4. He mentioned that it had been seven years since my original review of the first version. I thought about it for a second and said to mysef, “Has it really been seven years? The Rockn Stompn is just part of my rig now. Can’t believe it has been this long.

And it’s true. I do NO gig, be it a private party in a home, to a church, to a bar or restaurant, to a hotel, and even well-equipped, modern stages without my Rockn Stompn being the power interface between my gear and the venue.

Truth be told, I’ve never plugged into a power source that experienced a power spike – they’re pretty rare in the Silicon Valley where I live. But I have plugged into dirty power sources occasionally. The filtering built into the Rockn Stompn ensures that I get clean power to my gear. Of course, nothing can be 100% without being incredibly expensive, but the Rockn Stompn provides filtering and conditioning to handle most dirty power.

And as I have used the original probably longer than most folks, I can no longer knock the product for being expensive. The peace of mind it has brought me over the years can’t be measured in dollars.

Think about it. If you’re like me, you have no problem spending much more than $299 on a single pedal. Wouldn’t you want to make a similar investment to ensure that you protect your investment? And if you’re like me, you don’t just have a single pedal that costs in excess of $300. You have a few. Peace of mind, baby. That’s where it’s at.

But what about the power sequencing? I chuckle as I write this because it’s just something has become a part of my gigging life. The last on-first off and vice-versa has become SOP for me; so much so, that I don’t even think about it. But the cool thing is that when I’m working with gear that doesn’t have power sequencing, I now am very conscious of the order in which I power them on.

As for this new version, there’s not much to say other than if you’re serious about protecting your gear, BUY IT.

But Kimball did contact me because he said it would be useful in a home studio because of the ability to set the first port to Always On. I just finished recording my latest album, and sure enough, having my computer/DAW setup connect to the Always On port was awesome. I could power down my amps and still have power to my computer to mix and master.

BUT, I also brought it to my church gig the first weekend I had it. You see, each band is responsible for projecting lyrics, and that requires a computer. So I hooked up my laptop for projecting lyrics and my pedalboard and amp to the Rockn Stompn as a test. I had no doubts it would work. But the cool thing is that my church’s power isn’t all that clean, and I have been concerned about plugging my Macbook Pro into the power receptacle. Now, with the RS-4, I’ll get the surge protection and conditioning that my guitar gear gets!

Fit and Finish

Just like the original version, the RS-4 is built with the gigging musician in mind. It is heavy and well-built, owing to the welded 20 gauge steel. Using steel as opposed to aluminum is an interesting choice. But to me, it’s the right one. Yes, you add more weight using steel, but what you lose in lightness you gain ten-fold in durability.

I’ve dropped my original unit several times over the years. It has been in bags with other crap stacked on top of it. It has been jostled and dragged and has survived over 1000 gigs in a lot of different venues. It has never let me down.

Plus, that extra heft suggests solidity and strength. In more colloquial terms: It’s made of steel, so don’t be a pussy about the weight if you’re gonna use this power strip. I say this a bit tongue in cheek, but a few years ago, someone actually complained to me about its weight when I asked them to carry it for me while setting up for a gig. That same person used a cheap-shit plastic power strip.

Overall Impression

Ever since I got the original unit seven years ago, I’ve gone on to suggest it to hundreds of people. My right-hand man in my church band bought one years ago after I brought it to church. He has a lot of very expensive gear and he immediately saw the value that the Rockn Stompn bring to the table.

Like I mentioned above, you spend lots of money on your gear. Why not spend a bit protecting your gear? Sure, a power strip can easily be perceived as a pedestrian item. But it is so much more than that. If you’re serious about protecting your gear, the Rockn Stompn should be a critical component in that protection!

Read Full Post »

Vangoa Ghost Fire Aluminum Pedal Board

Summary: The little brother of the larger and, in my opinion, more versatile board, this nonetheless provides a roomy surface to mount your pedals. It’s a basic board, really meant for using a 1-Spot, but that doesn’t take away from its quality.

Pros: Like its bigger brother, this board is lightweight. It’s roomy to accommodate several pedals. Great, basic fly rig type of bag.

Cons: Like the larger board, my main nit with this kit is the carrying bag, but this time it’s not the material, it’s the height. It is slimmer than the other bag and though it too has a large pocket, don’t count on fitting much in the bag itself. Another small thing is that – and admittedly, this could be an oversight, no patch cables were included in the kit. For me, it’s not a problem. I have patch cables – lots. But for someone who’s starting out, it would be nice to have had those included.

Features:

  • Aluminum alloy construction
  • Dimensions: 19.8″ X 11.5″ (kickstands raise front of board about 3″)
  • Includes everything you need to mount pedals.

This is built to the same quality standards as its bigger brother, but it is geared towards the 1-Spot user as kickstands fold in and the board will lay flat. So if you want to use a power unit like a Voodoo Labs power supply, you’ll have to mount it on top. But that’s not really a downer. If you want a good quality, lightweight grab-and-go board with not a lot of bells and whistles, this bag is for you! Also, if you’re just starting to use pedals, this is an ideal started board.

This is the second of the two units I received as review samples from Vangoa. And again, at least from a quality perspective, it exceeded my expectations. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t include the patch cables as advertised, but I will chalk that up to a simple oversight by the company.

Fit and Finish

No pictures of this because it’s effectively the same board as the larger one but with a smaller footprint and has kickstands as opposed to a solid bar to elevate the front of the board. It is very well-made and as I mentioned in my other review, the build quality is a testament to the quality standards in play in China.

Overall Impression

I’m really impressed by the quality of this board and its larger brother. It’s nice and roomy, and super-lightweight.

In a nutshell, I see a few uses for this board:

  1. It’s a great started board. My first board was a Gator board made of vinyl-covered MDF board that weighed a ton, and it really didn’t have all that much room. This board is much larger and can easily accommodate an expression pedal and a few regular-size pedals.
  2. Another use I see for this – and it’s how I’d probably use it – is as a spare board with a minimal setup; in other words, it would be a great secondary fly rig. I’d place a wah, an overdrive, a digital or analog delay, chorus or vibe, and a reverb. That’s it. My main board has more stuff on it because I need to be versatile (even though I too could use it as a fly rig). But with a smaller board like this, I’d just grab-and-go.
  3. It’s actually just a great, basic board, and frankly, I could see using this board as an acoustic rig board. You don’t need many effect pedals for acoustic. But I use a looper and a preamp and a few effects like an octave (T-Rex Quint Machine), chorus, delay, and reverb. All that will fit on this board.

Read Full Post »

Vangoa Ghost Fire Aluminum Pedal Board

Summary: If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, lightweight pedal board, look no further. This is a sturdy board that should do well in any venue.

Pros: Very lightweight, yet super-sturdy. Board height seems specifically made for a Voodoo Labs power supply, but there’s plenty of room to mount one under the board (just don’t get one too wide). Included with the board are two rolls of velcro, cable ties, and stick-on cable mounts. Padded carrying bag includes backpack straps – very convenient.

Cons: The ONLY nit I have is for the carrying bag material. Though the bag is quite roomy and has a netted pocket for cables and other paraphernalia, it’s made of fairly thin nylon, so you’d have to be careful with the bag if you’re going to gig with it often.

Features:

  • Aluminum alloy construction
  • Dimensions: 22” x 12.6” x 2.36”
  • Includes everything you need to mount pedals and a power supply underneath the board.

Price: $109.99

If the carrying case was made of more durable material, I’d give this 5 Tone Bones. It’ll be fine for the weekly performer – which I am right now – but I could see it not withstanding the rigors of more frequent gigging. Other than that, I love it and recommend checking it out.

To be completely honest, I received this as a review unit from a fairly new Chinese distributor and manufacturer of music equipment – Vangoa. They had pointed me to their products on Amazon and I agreed to review their boards with the proviso that if I didn’t like their product(s), I wouldn’t write a review, but I would give them feedback on what I found wrong. That’s the deal I make of any manufacturer who reaches out to me directly. The board I’m reviewing here is the first of two of their Ghost Fire-brand pedal boards.

That out of the way, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much in the way of quality or accouterments. I am SO glad that they blew my expectations away! I’ve been increasingly impressed over the years of the quality Chinese-made gear, and this pedal is really a testament to the care and quality that Chinese manufacturers put into their products.

Fit and Finish

Here’s a little gallery of pictures I took of the board:

Though the welds underneath aren’t totally clean, they’re not cracked, and hold well. Besides, it’s the top of the board that matters and it’s totally clean. The crossbeams are nice and wide and the strips of velcro are cut to the perfect width. There’s enough velcro to cover the entire board! Very cool!

The pedals I mounted on the board are not ones I’m actually using right now, except for my wah-wah pedal. Those are on another board, and I didn’t feel like transferring pedals, so I pulled a few out of my pedal drawers to see how well the pedalboard accommodates different size pedals.

This pedalboard would work great as a fly rig! It’s lightweight and could easily be stowed in an overhead compartment on a plane. And the shoulder straps – which can also be stowed in a zip-up pocket – make it convenient to carry on your back.

Though probably not intended for this use, the inner pocket is big enough to hold a laptop plus my audio interface, so if I have to travel remotely and need to lay down tracks, I could load all my gear recording gear into the bag. Nice!

Overall Impression

Obviously, I can’t write about how it sounds and plays, but I will definitely use the board at my church gig this weekend (yes, I will transfer my pedals and run the wires). I use a 1-Spot, so it’s not going to be an issue making the transfer.

In a nutshell, I love this board! It’s nice and lightweight and super sturdy. The angling and the silicon feet elevate the board nicely, so if I was playing in a bar gig or a backyard party, I wouldn’t have to worry about spills near my board. It’s obvious the designer had the working musician in mind when they designed this board!

Read Full Post »

20170414_103854

My current pedal board setup is pictured above. The signal chain is as follows: Soul Food -> Big Bad Wah -> Corona Chorus -> Deep Blue Delay -> Hall of Fame Reverb -> Mk.4.23 Booster. Note that the knob settings are not what I gig with. They got turned during transport. 🙂

In any case, my board used to be jam-packed, with both rows filled. I used to have two overdrives and a distortion pedal on the bottom, and the booster would be the last pedal on the left. But I’ve been paring down what I use to the absolute minimum.

No, it’s not because I don’t want to lug more gear. It’s just that I realize that whatever I play now, I just sound like… well… me. So my pedal rig just contains pedals I want to use to enhance my basic tone. In the past, I’ve used pedals to help create my tone. But the better I got, the more I didn’t rely on pedals.

For me, the pedals I’ve installed above are simply must-haves. As far as the modulation pedals are concerned, while I probably don’t absolutely _need_ the chorus, I like to have it, especially when I play clean. It just adds a bit of tonal grease. Delay and reverb are two others I can’t live without. I love the slap-back effect of my Deep Blue Delay, and the reverb, which is always on, adds a little more tonal grease.

I wasn’t going to use a booster pedal at first, but my bandmates at our last gig said that I needed to get my solo volume over the band. I actually thought I was plenty loud. But hey! Twist my arm to crank it up! 🙂

I may add my Timmy overdrive just so I have a bit of variety and to create a transparent overdrive sound. But I have to tell you: That Soul Food is sonic candy. I love that pedal! It gives me such creamy smooth overdrive that intermingles so well with the natural overdrive of my amp that I feel I can take my time adding another pedal.

With respect to my wah pedal. It has been a mainstay on my board, but it wasn’t until recently that I REALLY started using it. With my old church gig, I just didn’t have the occasion to use it much. But with my new rock band, hell! I just use it whenever I feel like it. 🙂 We do covers, but they’re not strict covers, so I use my artistic license to its full extent.

I’m real fickle with respect to pedals. I swap them in and out all the time depending on my mood. But I think I’ve finally found a combination of pedals that works real well for me – at least until I change my mind – again. 🙂

ROCK ON!

Read Full Post »

stagetrix-pedalfastener

Click for full size view

I wrote about StageTrix Pedal Risers awhile ago, and how they elevate the back row of your board to make your pedals more accessible. I’ve been using them since, and they really are a godsend! I did mention that they already came with the fastener already installed, so all you have to do is place the riser.

I really like the fastener they’re using. For one, the material is thinner than most kinds you buy at a store, which means it shapes well to contours. Another thing – and more importantly, in fact – is that the glue StageTrix uses on the fastener can withstand up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s the best thing. We’ve all had the experience of getting velcro glue on our fingers. It’s a gooey mess! Well, that’s solved with the Pedal Fasteners.

For $9.95, you get a pack of three (click on the picture to get a full size view). You can install a fastener with the middle, or you can remove the middle part, and only use the fastener on the edge of  your pedal. Very cool stuff!

For more information, check out the StageTrix Products site!

Read Full Post »

stagetrix_riserOne of the things that completely pisses me off when I’m gigging is when I reach my foot out to activate a pedal in the back row of my board, and I end up also activating a pedal in the front row. Aiiiyeeee!!! This happened to me recently at a church gig. I was playing a nice, sweet, clean solo, and want to texture my sound a bit by adding some reverb.

To give some background, my reverb pedal (Hardwire RV-7) is the last pedal in my chain and it sits right above my Holy Fire overdrive. Instead of a toggle switch, the RV-7 has a switch plate, and the travel before it actually activates is enough so that I have to really point my toe so I don’t brush my Holy Fire’s knobs or accidentally activate it. Well, in this instance, I did both: I somehow completely dimed the overdrive knob AND activated the pedal. The next note I struck not only startled me, but also startled the prayerful assembly – enough so that some people actually squeaked! Yikes! No doubt, it was a bit embarrassing…

Then today, I got a Twitter alert that a new user called StageTrix was following me, so I went to Twitter to do an exchange follow, and on StageTrix’s site, I saw a Twitter reply from Premiere Guitar. Intrigued, I checked out their site, and was greeted with a solution to my problem: An 18-gauge steel pedal riser that you can use to prop up the second row of your board to make your back row of pedals more easily accessible! What a great freakin’ idea! It’s one of those ideas where you slap your forehead and say, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” 🙂

I had the opportunity to chat with one of the StageTrix guys a few minutes ago to discuss StageTrix’s invention. They’ve apparently been developing it for about a year and a half, and doing prototypes with various musicians. And their reason for building it? Exactly for what I was lamenting just above!

Here are some details from their site:

  • Raises the second row of pedals to the perfect height.
  • Front, back and side openings enable effective cable routing.
  • Premium 18-gauge steel.
  • Attaches to board via heavy duty hook-and-loop fastener on base, which holds firm up to 200°F.
  • Designed to withstand temperatures of up to 200F without melting, so leaving your pedal board in your vehicle on a summer day won’t result in a gooey mess with all the Velcro peeling off.
  • Works with most pedalboards. To be sure, check that you have an extra 1″ of clearance when case is closed. The vast majority do.

If you go to their site, they’re doing a promotion by putting several of these units up for bid on EBay, with a starting bid at a $1.00. These pedals list for $23.99 on their site, so it’s possible that if you get the winning bid, you could get one for significantly less…

Right now, they’re only available through StageTrix, but they should soon be available in stores. I will be getting a review unit within the next week or so, and will do a review.

Check out the StageTrix site now!

Read Full Post »

LavaCable CPS

LavaCable CPS

Introduced at Winter NAMM, the Lava Cable CPS (Configurable Pedal Board System) is what Lava Cable claims is the first fully configurable pedalboard system ever. They may be right, and are certainly on to something. The CPS consists of individual, notched pedal “blocks” that fit flush together. You then screw the pieces together in whatever fashion you wish. Imagine growing or shrinking your board at will! For pedal junkies like me, this system could be a bit dangerous. The limited size of my current board makes getting more pedals prohibitive, and that’s a good thing. A system like this would allow me to expand it ad infinitum!

In all seriousness though, being able to flexibly lay out your board is a totally cool concept to me. You’re not reliant on the shape of the board nor, if you’re into doing it yourself, must you cut out your own templates. For more info, go to: http://www.lavacable.com/lavacps.html

There is also an interesting discussion on The Gear Page with some pictures people have taken of their setups. http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=487904

Read Full Post »