Complex MIDI rack system designed for arena touring

The Board


On larger stages it's often safer to keep effects out of harm's way offstage with the tech. Bastille already had a system where the control board at the musician's feet controlled a switcher offstage engaging the effects. As more pedals were added, they needed to expand the flexibility of the setup so asked for the rig to be built in to a rack. 

In the previous rig, an unbalanced send/return went to stage for a volume pedal, adding 30 metres of unbalanced, unbuffered signal. To eliminate all the problems associated with this, the SoundSculpture Volcano was chosen for the rack and a control pedal lives on the musician's board. The volume pedal works as usual with the regular curve of the Boss volume pedal but without having to run unnecessary lengths of cable. Similarly, the Dunlop Wah pedal was replaced with the DCR-2SR Rack Wah and a control pedal on the onstage board.

During the design process for this rig an 8-channel Shure ULXD wireless system was added, necessitating a guitar selector which was custom built by Mike Hill. With wireless guitars and remote control of the volume and wah pedals, there was no longer any signal running to or from stage. This keeps signal loss to a minimum and fewer things to go wrong.

The onstage Ashdown bass amps were replaced with rack mounted versions. Keeping amps safely offstage means they are safe from any damage and protected from the inevitable noise problems caused by large lighting rigs. The Ashdown cabs still live on stage for monitoring.

Though there are still onstage guitar combos, the main guitar sound used for monitors comes from the new Radial JDX Direct Drive which emulates the sound of a mic'd guitar amp. To avoid any signal loss in the cabling to the onstage guitar amps, a Mike Hill BIS Box buffers the signal from the effects rack.

To make all the cable connections safer, locking XLR connectors were used both ends of the loom between the onstage board and the rack. MIDI, signal, volume control and wah control all run on XLR which required a few bits of delicate soldering. The only unbalanced cable is a return to the onstage tuner which isn't in the active signal chain so is only used when the outputs are muted. There is also an emergency cable input to the rack via a Radial SGI should there be a disaster with the wireless system.

Often Bastille's guitar tech - the excellent Matt Sartain - wanted to power his guitar rig to test it before power had been supplied. An APC UPS (uninterruptible power supply) powers the effects and switching so that they can be powered and tested in isolation. In the case of power loss, the guitar rig can run off the UPS' battery for about 35 minutes; certainly long enough to avoid interrupting the show while the problem is resolved.

There are several routing options from the outputs of the GigRig G2. Output 1 goes to the Radial JDX then to the onstage amps. Output 2 is selectable by a Little Lehle A/B to either a Radial J48 for a cello / acoustic DI or a Sansamp Programmable DI for the main bass channel. The routing is all programmed into each preset which can be switched from stage or at the rack. There is also a second Sansamp for a second bass player which has its own wireless receiver that bypasses the effects chain completely.

Cioks power supplies were used throughout the rig for their flexible outlets and low noise. 

The Specs