More on the Floor? Is the humble pedalboard getting left in the dust by modelers? RockBoard is answering the challenge

We here at (and probably you, too!) continue to be amazed at the capabilities of the gear coming out today. For decades, building a guitar or bass rig was relatively straightforward. Get your axe, get your amp, throw a couple of pedals on the floor, patch it all up with a curly guitar cable and windmill your way through “My Generation.” Indeed, it works so well that lots of guitar players still do it this way. Times have obviously changed, though.

With the evolution of live sound, which requires less on-stage volume, and a couple of generations of rockers now feeling the effects of lugging Stonehenge-style rigs from Ronkonkoma to Rochester every weekend, portability has become the name of the game, and modeling systems are leading the way. Amps, speaker impulse responses (IRs) and a bevy of effects all under one hood? Dozens of custom-designed signal chains instantly recallable at the tap of a foot? Run it all into front-of-house and go? The only downside is that the drummer will expect you to help lug his trap cases into the venue now that you’ve got all that free time.

Count this writer genuinely stoked about the possibilities of modeling systems to the point of doing some serious research on the topic. That said, there’s one minor thing that keeps the credit card at bay.

I love pedals. Yes, one can use pedals with a modeling system quite successfully. Lots of folks do it! For me, however it feels…not quite right. Even though I usually don’t run more than four or five pedals at a time (a fraction of my overall collection), pedals are hard-patched into my guitar playing soul. I would feel strange running a pedalboard into a Line 6 Helix though, because the Helix can do everything my pedalboard can do and then some. I’d want to take advantage of everything a modeling system can do. A pedalboard would feel redundant.

Yet. I still need that warm magenta brick (a Boss DM-2w) at my feet. My favorite fuzz and overdrive. A NEW fuzz or overdrive…popped into the chain on a whim. Definitely that swirly-whirly strobe pedal tuner. The positive “click” of the foot switches. The quick adjustment on the fly. Besides, pedals are fun. They have a certain personality and, in many cases, wit about them that simply can’t be modeled. They are, in many cases, a unique extension of a musician’s personality.

Plus, pedal rigs are as easy as ever to configure and transport. Take a look at the RockBoard line by Warwick. Gone are the days of repurposed briefcases and plywood scraps. We’ve written about the RockBoard pedalboard line here before and the wide range of styles and capacities available, but RockBoard also offers some excellent components to give a pedalboard the same kind of flexibility you might find in a modeler or all-in-one system. One way Rockboard does this is through it’s thoughtfully designed MOD series of all-in-one pedalboard patchbays.

Two of the MOD-els in this line particularly stand out: the MOD4, which integrates wireless functionality and the MOD 5, which features six selectable IR presets for the ultimate in rig flexibility.

The MOD 4 All-in-One Wireless System Receiver + Patchbay for Pedalboards provides digital wireless technology to connect your instrument and your pedalboard. The wireless system works with the XVive U2 wireless transmitter and operates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band providing full spectrum 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency range with extremely low latency (<5 ms), so no matter where in the world you throw down this thing is ready to rock. Your instrument wirelessly connects to the patchbay, which handles all of your effects and amplification routing.

The MOD 5 Cab Sim + DI patchbay is a cabinet simulator and direct injection (DI) patch bay with customizable IR presets, all in the footprint of a typical pedalboard power supply with customizable IR bank. The IR models are all based on classic speaker configurations; a British 2×12, a tweed 4×10, a Greenback-loaded vintage British 4×12, a second British-style 4×12, an American-style 4×12, and a 8×10 bass cabinet. Spin the selector knob to the appropriate detent and you can switch IRs on the fly. You’re also not limited to the pre-loaded IRs, however; IR presets can be easily managed through RockBoard’s MOD 5 IR Loader software. The MOD 5 also has an XLR out for front-of-house connections, and tyou can run both a front-of-house connection and 1/4 inch out for connecting to a real cabinet if you wish (that connection runs IR-free).

RockBoard also has you covered when it comes to the less glamorous aspects of pedalboard maintenance. The RockBoard QuickMount system keeps your pedals securely attached to any RockBoard without the goopy, hair-collecting gunk associated with velcro. The PedalSafe pedal “vaults” (as I call them) keep your settings intact and spilled beer and nacho cheese socially distanced from your favorite stompboxes. Naturally, RockBoard also offers a quality line of power supplies that will keep your signal moving without blinking an…LED?

To be clear, this writer has not (and will never rule out) an all-in-one modeler system. How could I, given the things these units are capable of? But as long as RockBoard makes it easy to build a board and give pedal-philes the same sort of streamlined functionality and control that the all-in-one folks, the stomps will continue.


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