DigiTech GSP1101 acquired
This one starts off with a story. Of course y'know that I went to Guitar Center and they had 2 things available for guitar multi-effect rackmount units: Nothing and more nothing. By the way, if you want to hear my initial review of this unit and skip the story of how I got it, scroll down until you see My review.
I head over to Sam Ash in Tampa to see if they had any rackmount units.
First I'll say that it's WAY easier to find your way around Sam Ash compared to Guitar Center. The store is better laid out and it's easy to find stuff.
So anyway I march over to the pro audio section and talk with a guy. I ask him about multi-effect rackmount units. He does have some and they're plugged in and ready-to-try. Unfortunately none were guitar-based. The guy says to go over to the guitar section and ask around.
So I did.
I talk to another guy. He says "Yeah, we have one."
Yep, just one model. A DigiTech. But he can't remember the name of the model (which is not a big deal because they have weird-ass model names anyway). I tell him to see if he can look up the price on the computer.
He tries to look it up. Can't find it. Then he calls over a second guy. He can't find it in the computer either.
The first guy says "Let me go into the warehouse and get one and then we can look it up. Can you wait a few minutes?"
I agreed and waited.
Five minutes later he comes back with a DigiTech GSP1101.
I ask the price expecting it to be at least 900 bucks.
It was $499.
This honestly shocked me because I remember when these things sold for over $1000 not so long ago.
I ask if there's any way I could do a no-interest/no-payment deal with Sam Ash credit.
He says yes; they have a promotion going on right now where I can get no-interest/no-payment for a year(!) and he'll take 100 bucks off the price right there since there's some "midnight madness" sale going on.
400 bucks is the absolute cheapest you could get this for. And I don't have to pay one red cent for a whole frickin' year?
I bought it.
I really don't know if I like this unit or not.
Here's what's happened so far:
When I first plugged it into my mixer board it sounded like absolute crap and couldn't figure out why.
I read the manual and it says you have to program the unit for what type of output you want. A-ha. So I set it to "mixer" mode (which it wasn't).
But it still sounded like crap.
I swapped out a cable figuring that was the problem. Nope. Still sounded bad.
I turned it off and on again and it magically started sounding proper.
Weird? Yes. I guess we'll see if it continues to sound correct.
As far as the way it sounds, it's definitely above-par. The GSP1101 can basically make any sound you want, emulate any cabinet you want and is chock full of goodies. There's your standard choruses, delays and so on, but there's also a really decent envelope filter, wah, parametric EQ and a whole bunch of other stuff. In addition it has a USB port so you can control it via Windows. Very cool. Although I wish the interface program was designed better because there's certain stuff where you still have to manually adjust via the unit itself.
I'm not sure whether I want to keep it. I made sure to ask several times what the return policy is for Sam Ash. It's 30 days as long as I have all the original packaging. Whether I return it or keep it is indeterminate at this point.
Looking for rackmount? Get used to disappointment.
It used to be that rackmount guitar effects were really easy to find. Rocktron had some, Alesis had some, DigiTech (obviously) had some, ZOOM did, etc. This was not difficult to locate.
The guitar effect industry today champions pedals, pedals, more pedals and pedal-boards. Rackmount effects - which are the best by the way - are almost buried to the point where newer guitar players don't even know they exist.
What makes pedals suck?
Pedals suck because you have to play it thru an amp for it to sound any good. What if you live in a place where you can't make noise? What do you do then? You can't plug it direct into a mixer board because it sounds like absolute crap.
So how do you record your riffs? You don't. You have to bring your amp to a controlled environment, hope it sounds good that day and put down a track or two. And it takes so much effort it's almost not worth it. You have to plug in the amp, set up the mics, route those to the mixer board, spend time adjusting the mics for the proper sound, blah blah frickin' blah. SCREW THAT. I want to record and record now.
A rackmount unit is the only way to do it. Otherwise you're forced to do it the old-fashioned way that wastes massive amounts of time.
Why are rackmount units so buried?
I have no idea. The guy at Sam Ash said yeah, more than a few guitar players come in the store looking for them only to find that none are there. The one I bought was one of two they had in stock.
Sam Ash? Guitar Center? Could you stock more of these? You've got buyers waiting...