War­Wick Rock­BoaRd £var­i­ous

Con­taCt High Tech Dis­tri­bu­tion Phone 01722 410002 Web www.rock­board.de

Guitarist - - Warwick / Rockboard -

There are many ad­van­tages to own­ing a ped­al­board, not least turn­ing up at a gig and hav­ing all your pedals in one place ready to go with a min­i­mum of faffing about. That said, while putting a ped­al­board to­gether can be a labour of love, it can also be a frus­trat­ing and time-con­sum­ing one, too, with plenty of de­ci­sions to be made along the way.

So, how big a ’board do you need – just large enough for cur­rent pedals or with space to ex­pand? Do you make a ’board your­self, get a friendly car­pen­ter in­volved, or do you go for one of the com­mer­cially avail­able op­tions? What cables are you go­ing to use, and do you need to cut them to an ex­act size for neat­ness? Do you have a sin­gle power dis­trib­u­tor that can power all your pedals, or do you have to use a cou­ple of wall warts and, if so, where do you put them? How do you fix your pedals down – Vel­cro or ca­ble ties? Will any­thing im­pede ac­cess for battery changes for those pedals that need them? And on it goes…

Now, War­wick doesn’t claim to have all the an­swers, but the com­pany has gone a long way to take some of the un­cer­tainty out of the process by re­leas­ing the Rock­Board range, en­com­pass­ing ev­ery­thing you need to put a func­tion­ing ped­al­board to­gether (ex­cept the pedals, ob­vi­ously). The Rock­Board range in­cludes ba­sic metal ped­al­boards in seven sizes, each with op­tional matched gig­bags and flight cases, mod­ules pro­vid­ing au­dio and power con­nec­tiv­ity to the ’board, power sup­ply fa­cil­i­ties and a wide range of ca­bling op­tions.

in use

Putting to­gether a sys­tem starts with the Rock­Board ped­al­board it­self, which is avail­able in sizes from 460mm to 1,020mm in width. The metal ’boards, which sit firmly on solid rub­ber feet, are rugged but not too heavy – the ’board frame is con­structed from a sin­gle folded, col­drolled alu­minium sheet with­out any welded seams. Struc­tural in­tegrity and rigid­ity is pro­vided by the use of U-shaped sup­port braces un­der the mount­ing sur­face. Our QUAD 4.1 model (£121) sup­plied by War­wick for the re­view has one cen­tral brace from front to back, while the larger ones have two or three.

The sloped top-mount­ing sur­face is cov­ered with slots for run­ning cables through to un­der­neath, keep­ing things neat and tidy, but still has plenty of solid sur­face avail­able for mount­ing pedals. With our QUAD 4.1, this trans­lates as six 30mm-wide strips across the ’board with nar­rower (15mm) ones at top and bot­tom, the sug­gested mount­ing method be­ing to at­tach the pro­vided 25mm Vel­cro strip to the six.

Any power dis­trib­u­tor that you want to use can be mounted un­der the sur­face as there is a uni­ver­sal power sup­ply mount­ing so­lu­tion called The Tray (£10) that fixes into slots below the ’board. There are also spe­cific mount­ing kits avail­able for Voodoo Lab’s power sup­plies. War­wick has sev­eral of its own power sup­ply so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing the Rock­Board Power LT XL (£55), a recharge­able power sup­ply to keep your ’board in­de­pen­dent of mains power.

On the front face of each ped­al­board (ex­cept the small­est DUO 2.1) is a slot for in­sert­ing a patch­bay mod­ule to pro­vide con­nec­tiv­ity – sim­ply run a through con­nec­tion from the sock­ets on its front sur­face to those on its rear sit­ting un­der the

The Rock­Board range is a one-stop shop that eas­ily fa­cil­i­tates putting a ped­al­board to­gether

’board. There are three op­tions avail­able. The MOD 1 of­fers five stan­dard 6.4mm con­nec­tions (plenty for im­ple­ment­ing the four-ca­ble method), an XLR, and mains power con­nec­tiv­ity via IEC and a bar­rel con­nec­tor for plug­ging in a nine-volt adap­tor (such as the 1700mA Rock­Board Power Ace at £19) to route to any pedal(s). The other mod­ule op­tions are the MOD2 with MIDI and USB op­tions, and the MOD3, which, with ex­tra XLR con­nec­tions, is aimed at vo­cal­ists.

As for ca­bling, there’s a wide range of patch leads in var­i­ous lengths fea­tur­ing space-sav­ing flat ca­ble with slim­line righ­tan­gle plugs, in­clud­ing the premium Gold and Sap­phire cables with gold-plated con­tacts. There’s also the PatchWorks sol­der­less cables and plugs so you can cus­tomise sizes, and, for iden­ti­fy­ing those ca­ble runs, there are colour-coded wrap­around rings.

In use, we didn’t come up with any prob­lems, apart from the mount­ing holes for the MOD 1 needed widen­ing to take the pro­vided screws (how­ever, this was eas­ily done with the pro­vided tool).

The size of the 4.1 is very prac­ti­cal for a medium-sized ped­al­board. It’s a com­fort­able fit for two rows of five Boss com­pact pedals with­out any­thing hang­ing over the edges. Of course, with any mul­ti­ple pedal setup there’s the po­ten­tial for a rat’s nest of ca­bling un­der­neath, but the slot sys­tem makes it easy to keep things un­der con­trol by us­ing ca­ble ties.

One of the beau­ties of this sys­tem is its flex­i­bil­ity. You can eas­ily rip it apart and start again if you find the po­si­tions don’t suit or you need to add more. Once you’re set on your pedals, their ’board po­si­tions and or­der in the chain, use sol­der­less ca­ble cut to size to keep things neat.

The un­der­neath is not just for power sup­plies and ca­bling, ei­ther. You could use it to place a buf­fer (in­ci­den­tally, there is a Rock­Board Nat­u­ral Sound Buf­fer in the range) or any small pedal that is al­ways on, even per­haps pedals con­nected to a switcher lo­cated on the top sur­face.

ver­dict

With a clean, un­clut­tered sur­face for pedal mount­ing, but with easy ac­cess to un­der­neath where there’s enough space to keep all the ca­bling, power sup­plies and so on, what you’re get­ting here is a classy and prac­ti­cal ped­al­board de­sign. Whatever size ’board you need, there will be some­thing that suits, from the small­est DUO 2.1 to the mas­sive CINQUE 5.4, which is just over a me­tre long and 416mm deep. How­ever, it’s the com­pre­hen­sive na­ture of the full range of items in the sys­tem that most im­presses. The Rock­Board range is a one-stop shop that eas­ily fa­cil­i­tates putting a ped­al­board to­gether. Headache over.

While there’s plenty of solid sur­face avail­able to fix a mul­ti­tude of pedals, the slots al­low op­tions for run­ning au­dio and power cables tidily below the sur­face The Power LT XL power sup­ply recharges via USB and of­fers two in­de­pen­dent nine-volt power out­puts to your pedals with sin­gle or daisy-chain cables

Whatever you plug in the front sock­ets passes straight through to the rear sock­ets – if you plug a nine-volt adap­tor to the bar­rel con­nec­tor on the front, you can daisy-chain pedals from the rear one

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