I’ve been working on my electro setup for the upcoming gig at the Virginia HarmonicaFest in March, where I plan to uncork a bunch of new sounds. The setup is getting more complex, but the sounds are already big big big, so I’m going to keep working on it from here.
Here’s a photo of the new layout:
Click to see larger image
This is what you see in the photo (left to right):
1) Digitech RP255, which is used at the END of the FX chain (just before the looper) for global FX and last-step modulations. It’s running a straight up version of my v15 FX-ONLY patch set.
2) Digitech RP355, one of the two main sound engines, running a modified version of my v14d MIXED patch set. I expect that to change soon as I create setlist-specific setups to allow me to switch tones more quickly on particular songs.
3) Digitech Jamman Solo looper.
4) Radial Big Shot ABY pedal, which is used to switch between either or both of the main RPs with a single button push. Very handy.
5) Digitech RP350, the other main sound engine, running a straight-up version of my v14d MIXED patch set. Again, I expect that to change soon as I create setlist-specific setups.
6) At the top, a Behringer FB802 mixer, which is used to combine the outputs from the 355 and 350 before they go to the 255. At first I tried to accomplish this with another Big Shot, then with a passive Digitech 4-in-1-out mixer, but both of those setups sucked the tone right out of at least one of the RPs. The Behringer is more work to set up–it has an AC power supply, among other things–but it sure sounds better.
7) At the lower right, a Digitech FS3X 3-button switch, which connects to the Jamman looper, and allows me to advance to the next or previous loop in the Jamman, or stop playback, with a footpress. Very useful.
The whole thing is running into my Peavey KB/A 100 keyboard amp in the studio, but it’s going to go straight to the PA for big live shows.
There’s a mic stand in the middle of all that stuff, and there’s a Digitech Vocalist Performer mounted on the stand (along with a Shure SM58 mic) to provide vocal FX such as harmonization. I’ve included a picture of that device too. It’s been out of production for a while, but it still sounds good.
Click to see larger image
There’s a lot to like about this setup, and a few things to fix. On the up side, it sounds incredible. Those two high end RPs really lay down the big sounds, and the 255 at the end of the chain lets me put on as much Secret Sauce as I want. It’s also pretty easy to work it all. The ABY pedal really isn’t mandatory, but without it I have to make very quick and precise foot motions to bypass one of the main RPs, which isn’t really practical when you’re trying to switch loops at the same time. And I have the potential to run stereo outputs from the RPs to the mixer, and from the mixer to the PA, when a stereo PA is available.
On the down side, there are electrical and audio cables all over the place. I have to figure out some way to make that clutter go away, probably with some kind of snake or two. The rig is WAY wide, probably 5-6 feet. Forget about running this stuff anywhere near a guitarist/bassist/vocalist on any but the largest stages. (Back to a 2-RP setup with the 355 and 255 for those gigs, I guess, or just the 355.) I also need to get the mixer up off the floor, ideally onto a platform attached to the mic stand, so I can work the relative levels of the main RPs in performance.
The up side is way up, and the down side issues are fixable. So I’m going to get serious about working this setup. Look for it at the VA Harmonicafest this March.