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Compact GT/Turbo PBC?

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box' started by dougc84, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. dougc84

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    Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2015
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    Hey Ron et. al,

    Long time since I've been on the forums - hope all's been well with everyone. I've been using the GT/22 for almost a year now, and for my main gig (worship team at a church), it's been fantastic. Being able to juggle MIDI for several Strymon pedals, a MEG with some pedals, and a Kemper - it's been the cornerstone of my rig, and I'm able to pull out any tone I want rather quickly. However, having used it for a year or so, I have some thoughts that could improve upon it (or create a new line of controllers altogether). Hear me out, and I apologize for the long post.

    I'm not really controlling a lot on the floor - my analog stomps (run through a MEG) sit on the back of my board, the MEG and power supplies are mounted underneath, and a few expression pedals (analog volume, wah, and an expression for the GT/22) sit next to the GT. The Strymon stuff stays in my shallow 6u rack. Even so, my pedal board is massive - because of the GT/22, and needing space for a few other pedals on the board, I have to use a massively large board - 42" wide, to be exact. There's a little excess space, but not enough to go down a size.

    I went with the GT/22 simply for full control over everything. I was tired of years of tap-dancing to turn on pedals, flipping through pages of Strymon presets, etc. I've ended up setting up close to 70 different presets - most are reused at this point for new songs, but sometimes new ones are added to the pool.

    However, some of my friends that utilize similar setups with simpler true bypass strips + maybe something like a Disaster Area controller for their Strymon/TC stuff. That all can fit everything onto a 22" pedalboard.

    After seeing things like Line 6's Helix controller, and what many players are doing with things like the GigRig and such, I'd be very interested to see a "compact" version of the GT, or a "turbocharged" version of the PBC.

    The GT does a fantastic job at presenting information. Song selection on the GT allows me to put my presets wherever I want, and not have to limit myself to how many presets are available, while still giving me access to IA buttons (or, what I like to call "stomps on demand") without switching pages. However, the displays are huge and use a lot of power. Button spacing is generous, so much so that top-row items (which are used less often) can be tricky to hit. Something with a narrower, single-line display per button (and scrolling text) and some tighter button spacing could allow this to be in a much smaller footprint. Or maybe even some buttons with only an LED indicator on the top row, while the other rows have displays. After seeing several live demos for the Helix, I think they nailed the displays - they're small enough to be out of the way and to not cause a light show on the stage, but big enough so you can see them.

    That leads me to the main display, and this is why I mention a "turbocharged" PBC. As much as I like having 22 unique buttons, moving the display to the left and removing the top row of buttons (leaving 18) would allow space in the enclosure to the right of the display where loops could be housed - much like the PBC.

    I've debated jumping to the PBC, but some songs I have programmed have 1 preset, while others can have up to 10. I jump around depending on the feel in the room and where the song's going or even what team I'm playing with (i.e. spacy pad-like sounds if we're out a keyboardist for the week). Memorizing presets without a display isn't ideal, as, more often than not, I don't have a traditional rock "clean, rhythm, heavy rhythm, lead" kind of setup. I might have nothing but ambient/spacey patches on one song, and the next song they may be all higher gain sounds with various delays. If I'm ever asked to play a gig last minute where I'm not sure what songs we're playing until I get there, I don't have the luxury of setting up songs ahead of time, and browsing through a custom version of my settings that's only favorite presets works excellently. I can't cram all that in (easily) to a (basically) 5-button unit.

    Going to something like a compact GT/22 (a GTCompact/12 and GTCompact/18, perhaps? PBC Pro?) with looping like the PBC would do several things for my setup:

    1. I could go to a smaller pedalboard. Less to carry to gigs. Less space needed on stage. Likely less weight to carry around.
    2. The MEG would no longer be necessary. I only use 3 loops at the moment (though I have plans for a 4th), and it could simply go away, making one less "cog in the system."
    3. I could use more-accessible MIDI cables (7-pin with power is AWESOME, but is a pain to solder up and is more expensive)

    Just something to think about. There's plenty of variances that could happen here (e.g. a more compact GT without looper functionality, a PBC with extra buttons or an expansion button pack, or a PBC with displays), but I just thought I'd throw it out there.

    In any case, there's nothing like the GT on the market, and it's amazing - I certainly won't be getting rid of it anytime soon!

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