I play keyboards in a Rock and Roll Band at local clubs called The Blue Ocean Rockers.  We have a ball, but I have to haul my keyboards plus the band’s PA equipment to all the gigs.

Setup and Take-Down is a real pain, so I wanted to do better.  I needed to simplify and get organized!

Here’s my plan.  I’m going to start with a Rack Box like this one:

The ends come off so you can access the front and rear of a standard 19″ electronic equipment rack:

Now, there’s basically two big bundles of “Stuff” that need organizing: all the power cords and all the audio cords associated with the mixer.  That stuff currently travels in pieces that have to be assembled and broken down for each gig.  I want to wire it all up in the Rack Box in such a way that setup and teardown are easy:

Setup:

  • Bring Rackbox up on stage and set it face down.
  • Open up the rear.
  • Pull out the audio and power cables (stored in the box) and plug them into the mics, keyboard, and other gear.
  • Plug one long power cable into the rack box.
  • Flip it so it sits as in the pictures.
  • Slide the mixer out of an internal shelf and set it on top of the Rack Box.

DONE!

Teardown is simply the reverse:

  • Slide the mixer back into its internal shelf.
  • Flip the Rackbox onto its face.
  • Coil up the various cords exiting the box and place them in the box.
  • Put back cover on.

Done, it’s ready to go back out to the car.

While the Rack Box will likely be fairly heavy,  there are may fewer moving parts and setup/teardown should be much easier and faster.

Let’s see what’s going into the Rackbox.

Shelf for Mixer

I have a Behringer X18 X-Air Digital Mixer that looks like this:

Love that mixer, works great for our needs.  I usually attach the iPad shown sitting on the mixer to a mic stand so it is easy for me to access from my keyboards.

You can see where sitting the mixer on top of the Rack Box is a natural.  As far as a shelf to keep the mixer inside the Rack Box to travel, I have ordered one of these:

Now, the various cables plug into the top of the unit, so I will mount the shelf in the rack box so that it’s easy to slide the mixer in while leaving the cables connected.

I will probably need to glue some foam to the top of the box to keep the mixer secure when it is in the shelf for travel.

Power Distribution

Next up is the spider’s web of wall warts, power strips, and other hoo-ha needed to power all of my many devices.  Turns out you can buy almost anything in a form factor to fit a 19″ Equipment Rack.  In this case, I’m buying a sort of fancy power strip made by Pyle:

it gives me 19 outlets on those little short pigtails and a 16 foot main cord.  Plug in once, power almost all my gear, the exception being my Bose powered PA speakers which get their own juice connections.

With the little pigtails, I can connect all the Wall Warts easily.

And all that can sit in the Rack Box until needed, at which point I just unspool the ends and connect them.

Care will have to be taken when the various cables are put into the rack box that it doesn’t wind up a tangled mess.  I have velcro straps on the cables already, and once I get things into the Rack Box, I can use cable ties to make snakes for all the cables that are going close to the same place.

Can’t wait to see how the new system works!

 

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