Ibanez Universe 7BK
Bird Les Paul
MvH Briljant Box Custom
Geoffrey Teese RMC3 Wah
Climax S3 preamp
Mesa/Boogie Quad preamp
Mesa/Boogie Simul 395 Stereo power amp
DigiTech GSP2101 effects
Digitech Control One midi pedal
Ernie Ball Expression pedal
Nobels MS-8 midi switcher
Marshall 1960A cabinet
Korg DTR-1 Rack Tuner
Telefunken preamp tubes
JJ poweramp tubes
Van Den Hul cables
page updated: January 4 2003
Highlights of my setup:
Although the setup may look complex it is really very basic and quite logic. Any guitar amplifier exists out of a preamp stage and a power amp stage. Normally they are put together in a wooden box and call them an "amplifier head". Or they are installed in a wooden box with one or more speakers, which is called a combo. But why not separate the preamp and poweramp stage, so that you can change one without the other and create your own "amp"? The advantage of this is that you can buy the preamp that sounds just right for you and add a power amp that has the right volume and tone you're looking for. It's just like a hifi audio system, you can buy one with everything in it, or get every part separate and connect them together.
I got three guitars. An Ibanez Universe 7 BK (7 string guitar), a Washburn RS-10V and a Bird Les Paul. All guitars are (slightly) modified to my taste: the body of the Ibanez and Bird taped with Gaffa, changed some electronics, replaced all knobs and even changed the shape of the body of the Bird. And the paint has been removed on both the Washburn and Bird back of the neck for smooth playing.
I've built a cable with a small buffer inside to prevent signal loss, which is called the Reactive Cable. I built a small stompbox (Briljant Box Custom) which powers the Reactive Cable. From this box the signal goes to a Teese RMC3 wah and from therethe signal goes to my rack. It is split between a Climax S3 preamp and a Mesa/Boogie Quad preamp. Both preamps are connected to a Digitech GSP2101 effects device where the signals are mixed together and fx are added. The sound from the Digitech goes straight into my power amp, a Mesa/Boogie Simul 395 Stereo. this is a 2x90 watt all tube stereo poweramp (with 6L6GC tubes). The combination of the two preamps with the power amp is simply amazing. The poweramp is connected to a Marshall 1960A 4x12" speaker cabinet .
The sound is very powerful with a lot of air pressure, incredible deep low end, a HUGE tone and more volume then you could ever want. No wonder, because both preamps were hand built, are totally tube driven (Telefunken!) and use the finest parts. Without any doubt both the preamp and the poweramp are one of the finest ones Mesa/Boogie ever built. And the Climax S3 preamp falls under the same catagory as products from CAE and Bogner. I was very lucky to buy it second hand.
Most guitarists use stompboxes/pedals for their fx. But I always wanted a different delay for each song and just another setting for the chorus, so the only thing you can do then is either learn to live with the limitations of stompboxes (incl. a huge loss of signal quality) or...... buy a 19" programmable fx device. I did the last and bought a DigiTech GSP2101. It has now all the possible expanding features and is by far the most flexible device DigiTech ever made. I use it mainly to do some fine tuning with the EQ, add a little bit of chorus and detune and sometimes delay for clean parts and add mids for solo's. And of course the synth sounds. I can recall each preset with a midi footpedal which is connected to the GSP2101. I also run a midi cable to a device, called Nobels MS-8 , which lets me program the Mesa/Boogie Quad preamp via midi.
So now I just press one pedal on the footcontroller and the GSP2101 opens a new preset and sends a midi signal to the Nobels MS-8 which actives the corresponding settings on the Mesa/Boogie Quad and Climax S3 preamps. That way I can go from "a beautiful rich clean sound with chorus/detune/delay" to "a screaming lead sound with a complex EQ and noise gate" in less then a 10th of a second (without audio drops). So no more tap-dancing between channels of the preamp and turning fx on or off, but just one press on the footpedal. The possibilities of the GSP2101 with it's midi footpedal are endless, which gives the ability to just switch between sounds, but also fade them in and out with an expression pedal, create synthesizer sounds, etc., etc.
I also use a Korg DTR-1 rack tuner , which receives a separate signal from the preamp. A Samson Powerbrite Pro 9 is used for power distribution. That way I only have to connect one powercord to get electricity for all my gear and it prevents my precious gear against surge peaks, etc. and prevents groundloophums for a big part. Because I use quite expensive and quality gear I also use high end audio cables for all connections in my rack and to the speakers, made by Van Den Hul . They have a signal loss per meter that is lower than most cables have per 4 meters, so my sound stays as good as possible. And YES you will notice the difference.
For further details I advice you to take a look at the specific pages. But you can also email me if you have some questions.