19" basic rack starter setup advice please

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19" basic rack starter setup advice please

Post by Charl313 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:24 pm


I would like to populate a cube 19" rack with 1U or 2U hardware to supplement my DAW (mostly Cakewalk).
Most of my activity was traditionally around writing MIDI files, but wanting to record from a ROMpler into sound tracks and then apply postproduction to get the sound better.

I would like the following types of gear:
1) A ROMpler, looking at the Roland XV-5080, Fantom-XR or XV-5050. The latter is my favourite interest at this point.
2) A MIDI Keyboard controller. Currently eyeing the Roland A-500.
3) A general sound mixer. Should be fairly basic, good quality, good price, straightforward. As with the other items in this list, should be 1U. Could also contain an amp that can drive monitor speakers.
4) A 1U DAC. At least 44KHz. Other criteria - same as above. Should accept digital out from the ROMpler.
5) All-in-one effects unit (preferably Roland as well). Should be better than the effects offered in the ROMpler. Nothing too fancy, but good quality and good price. If it's just got reverb, chorus and delay I'll be happy.
6) Parametric EQ. Not sure if I do this in a unit or in the DAW, but would like to see some options here.
7) MIDI router. To better switch MIDI sources to different devices instead of fiddling around the the MIDI cables.
8) 1U CD/DVD player.

All the above should be good value for money and quality, at the cost of not being to fancy with several extra features that I'll never need.
Prefer Roland strongly.
All 1U or 2U.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: 19" basic rack starter setup advice please

Post by Ashe37 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:17 pm

Buy an audio interface, not a DAC or mixer. Go from the digital out straight to the digital in on the audio interface- there is no reason to convert the signal to analog just to convert it back to digital.

Do the effects and the EQ in the DAW... any DAW's eq ability will vastly surpass a single rackmount parametric EQ.

What other MIDI devices are you connecting to? The A-500PRO would attach by USB. Use the audio interface's MIDI I/O to connect to the ROMpler.

Why do you need an external CD player? Use the one attached to your PC. If your PC doesnt have one, get a USB CD/DVD drive. You don't want to sample off the CD player's analog outs, if that's what you're doing- just pull directly from the digital data on the CD.

Most inexpensive monitor speakers these days have their own amp. Most mixers with an amp are designed to drive stage speakers not monitors.

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Re: 19" basic rack starter setup advice please

Post by Charl313 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:03 am

I was not clear in some parts of what I'd like to do:
I don't always want to be using my PC/DAW - because of practical reasons:
- My PC/DAW setup is not quite updated yet and in the meantime I'd like to play from a controller to the ROMpler and output to audible sound for entertainment purposes (self or to others). This means I don't want a PC on making background noise, and I might not have space for a PC in such situations either.
- I want to collect all of the gear in a 19" rack cube or similar. Exception is obviously the keyboard MIDI controller.
After my PC/DAW is properly setup and I made space for it, I will use the setup for a mixture of PC/DAW music creation, as well as normal playing for entertainment (in which cases the setup should be able to output to sound without the need of a switched-on PC).

This also applies to the parametric EQ - would like to be able to EQ the audio output with PC/DAW switched off, however this is not a big need as the internal EQ of the ROMpler and/or amp unit will probably be sufficient for passive listening.

I have an older ROMpler that has no USB (only MIDI) that I would still like to use. I also suspect I could collect some more ROMplers over time or weighted keyboards, but likely they will use USB, so if an audio interface will support multiple USBs then it will be fine I guess.

External CD/DVD player is also to connect to a monitor/TV/projector and watch movies on it. As stated, I'd like to collected everything in a 19" rack, even units that are used for entertainment purposes. I am actually also eyeing some Tuscam rack units that have casette decks so I can play my old casettes.

Inexpensive monitor speakers with amp - could you recommend some please?

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Re: 19" basic rack starter setup advice please

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:11 pm

Any ROMpler you buy will have MIDI jacks, whether or not it's recent enough to have USB. It's only things like controller keyboards that are cursed with only USB for MIDI.

Monitors? Inexpensive? The usual suspects are M-Audio BX series, KRK, ADAM, Yamaha, JBL, Tannoy. 5" woofers are plenty, only go for larger woofers or subs if you need your walls to shake.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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