Rule the Front Of House – The RockBoard MOD 5 Puts Unparalleled Live Sound Control At Your Feet

Even in these simplest of venues, the incredible leaps in audio technology have made it possible to enjoy pro-level experiences, particularly when it comes to sound reinforcement. The past couple of shows my group has played, the sandman has handled all the mixing duties, including monitors and effects inserts, via an iPad. Sound reinforcement is not my bag and maybe this is typical nowadays, but I was astonished at how streamlined ands efficient this level of tech made things. All fixes were handled quickly and the sound was impeccable.

On that gig we did yield we did to the old fashioned way of doing some things (SM57, meet speaker) but looking back, I bet going direct with right kind of impulse response (IR) would’ve probably been phenomenal on all sorts of levels.

If this writer had a RockBoard MOD 5 in his rig, I’m sure the soundman and I could’ve cooked up some even more powerful tones. The MOD 5 is cabinet simulator and direct injection (DI) patch bay that has the look and footprint of a typical pedalboard power supply, but powers the player to implement the best routing and connectivity for his rig, be it on stages in the studio, or wherever he happens to be.

The heart of the MOD 5 is the customizable IR bank. No menus here; simply flip the six-position dial to any one of the installed IRs and off you go. You can also turn the IR function off completely. The IRs included with the Mod 5 include models based on a vintage Vox 2×12, a Fender tweed Bassman 4×10 combo, a Greenback-loaded vintage Marshall 4×12, an Orange 4×12, a Mesa Boogie Rectifier Standard 4×12, and an Ampeg 8×10 bass cabinet. If none of those suit your fancy or you have a different favorite that you can’t live without, you can easily manage your IR presets through RockBoard’s MOD 5 IR Loader software.

So if you love traveling especially light to the gig, the MOD 5 makes it possible to ditch an amp altogether. Patch your favorite pedals into the MOD 5’s bi-directional patchbay, run the signal chain into the IR/DI input, and then run an XLR cable to the front-of-house. Looking at my own live pedalboard, this is a system I could have set up and running in under five minutes. Live, I typically only use one guitar if I can get away with it, but on one gig it might be my P-90 loaded SG Special, another might feature my Strat, and another still might see my Les Paul Standard get some stage time. Having six IRs at my fingertips means I can load one (or two!) IRs specifically selected for each of those guitars and dial it up quickly to achieve the tone I’m looking for through the PA with minimal hassle. I’ll probably spend more time adjusting the settings on my pedals than messing with anything from the MOD 5!

Now, if you can’t live without a 4×12 pushing some air to flap your dungarees, you can still use an amp. The MOD 5 has a 1/4 inch parallel out that will send an IR-free signal to whatever hunk of tolex and grill cloth you have hanging out behind you on stage (you can still send a DI signal to the front of house). One cool possibility is, if your set includes some acoustic/electric action, you can load an acoustic IR into one of the six slots, run your regular electric rig in and out of the patch bay into your favorite amp, and run the acoustic, with any associated effects or signal path sweeteners into the patch bay and then out to front of house through the IR/DI input. Basically, you can have total control over two discrete signal paths. Players that utilize a four-cable setup with their amp’s effects loop also have lots of connectivity options.

There’s even a headphone jack, meaning your pedalboard can be your private practice rig as well.

If you own a RockBoard pedalboard (which you should), the MOD 5 integrates easily and cleanly into nearly all of the models available. If you don’t, you can easily configure the MOD 5 by removing the front faceplate to fit neatly within your current layout.

So, if your modeling rig ain’t quite cutting it, your back is screaming from loading too many cabs, or you want to take advantage of both types of live sound (real amps and IR), the MOD 5 is great way to harness the best of both worlds!


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    Rule the Front Of House – The RockBoard MOD 5 Puts Unparalleled Live Sound Control At Your Feet : The Tone King

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