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“The TriAxis preamp can be used in a simple set-up with...”

Written on: 09/04/2005 by tony mckenzie (2 reviews written)

Good Points
Sound. Flexibility.

Bad Points
Hard to get around but when you do it's wonderful.

General Comments
The TriAxis preamp can be used in a simple set-up with just the TriAxis, a power amp (either Boogie, Marshall or a host of other great amps) depending on your style of music and the desired effect to huge rack solutions for world class players like James Hetfield, Reeves Gabriels, John Petrucci, Adrian Belew and many other pro's.

Just a short note - I bet if you set the mid control to 4 on any driven channel that the preamp goes in to a very bad overdrive - check it yourself - its undocumented - likely a bug in the software - and its a real pain in the ass - I would tell mesa - but what do they care.... anyway If I bothered then I would be their r&d free of charge.... no thanks.

OK here's how I set up my rack with the TriAxis - shows you a little insight to the unit....

The rack is taken apart below from top to bottom - quite literally, to show you how to achieve a great setup with your TriAxis preamp.

Here's a complete rundown of my CURRENT setup and why......

Samson Power Brite. This little ditty will stop all those nasty power problems that seem to follow us wherever we plug the rig in. It's also got a stage light that is really useful. It's FUSED - so we're not going to get killed on stage - one of those press to reset fuses - so you don't have to find any on the night!. Lastly you can turn EVERYTHING on and off with one switch..... say no more....

Mesa TriAxis. Most rock guys have heard of this one - and if not most people have heard this one, Metallica, Petrucci, and thousands of bands use this preamplifier. I won't harp on here - the site is riddled with info as to why you should own one of these. Definitely one of the best pre amps in the world - even today (2004).

Rocktron Intellifex. I use this firstly for the sounds. It's a really great reverb in there and there are some fabulous multi layered and tracking effects. This one is controlled in real time by the Ground Control with an expression pedal. You are able to turn up (or down) the reverb or effect you have patched in. This sounds MUCH better than it reads here. This is an old unit, but there really is no reason to upgrade this - I still rate it as a classic which really delivers the sounds without coloration to the sounds.

TC Electronics G Major. The TC G Major is a really powerful unit which is in fact world class. These are used professionally everyday by some of the best guitarists there is! If you want a great sounding effects unit then this is it. I link it in to the rig with a parallel switch from the GCX switcher that is from DMC Corp. I have also full control over this with midi (as I do with every unit except the 2:90 directly.

DMC System Mix Plus. The system mix plus has got to be one of the finest rack enhancements that you can use. The System Mix Plus combines a dual stereo line mixer with the most needed functions for guitar racks. The dual stereo line mixer allows your effects to be combined in parallel instead of series. With series connection of effects, your preamp (or amp effect loop) output is passed through every effect. Each effect degrades the tone and adds noise. In a parallel system, your preamp output passes only through our super quiet and transparent mixer. Your preamp's tone is not altered and no noise is added. Two studio grade VCA's are included which can be used for stereo volume, panning, or as two separate mono volume controls. They can be controlled by the Ground Control or via MIDI. This eliminates running extra audio cables from your rack to volume pedals. Balanced XLR outputs, a stereo version of our Cab-Tone cabinet simulator, and a headphone amp with separate monitor and direct level controls are provided for direct recording. Also included are 1/4" mono and MIDI feed through, plus ground lift and phase invert switches. The best you can buy, like I said. Sadly, it seems these are no longer on the DMC site (the GCX and ground control are) so you might need to look around - very rare pro kit.

DMC GCX Switcher. This unit allows up to 8 loops for effects units (that's 8 effects units separately switch able in or out of the mix). The loops can be parallel or series in ANY order. Combining the Ground Control with the GCX Guitar Audio Switcher forms a complete switching system. You can use each of the eight loops for in/out effect switching, A/B switching to select amps and preamps, or to control any type of foot-switch function such as amp channel switching. Add a mixer (like our System Mix Plus) to create a parallel effects system and use GCX loops to mute the inputs to your rack effects. This allows effects like delay and reverb to trail off naturally. GCX loops use no active circuitry, only the finest gold contact relays sealed in pure nitrogen. This gives the best possible reliability and tone.

And GCX loops will add true bypass to any pedal effect to greatly improve tone when the effect is not being used. Also included are two front-to-back feed-through's, one with a very transparent, inline buffer. This buffer allows splitting to multiple amps and preamps, as well as reducing noise and loss of high frequencies from cabling. The GCX provides phantom power to the Ground Control over a standard 5-pin MIDI cable.

For a switcher this is right up there with the best - and the cost is peanuts in comparison.

Blanking Plate x 2. Yep - build in some room for the air to circulate, particularly just above the power amp. If you 'forget' to do this what usually happens is that the unit ABOVE the power amp will either overheat and hang - or just give up the ghost completely - DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS POINT.

Mesa 2:90 Power Amp. Well, I used to operate a Marshall 9200 100x100 stereo rack amp. It did bang out the watts ok, no problem there. BUT, Marshall has a particular sound and even driven with the TriAxis preamp I could not get the sounds I needed. I bought the Marshall on price because Mesa Boogie kit in the UK is a complete rip off. In the end I bought a 2:90 power amp from a guy on ebay for £600.00 which believe me is a very good deal, and it was a UK model. The effect of change was staggering. I would recommend that if you use a TriAxis, then you MUST seriously consider the benefits of the 2:90 power amp when tagged to the TriAxis - it's really the only way to get the sounds locked away in the TriAxis. Anything else just does not stack up in the way that the 2:90 delivers at any price!

Hope you like the way I did it!

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