I love the fact that I can have so many options for whatever part of Eleven Rack I want to use. An effects loop is built in as well, so you can still include your favorite stompboxes and effects. Also, if you have a favorite amp that you prefer to use live, you can choose to only use the Eleven Rack’s effects. But if you want to leave your amp at home, you can simply use the entire Eleven Rack rig live and connect it directly to the PA with the XLR outputs.

Backward Compatibility
I was able to use Eleven Rack with my existing Digidesign 002 Rack interface easily. After updating Pro Tools to version 8.0.1, I connected the digital ins and outs of the Eleven Rack to the 002 Rack and connected the Eleven Rack to my computer via USB. Pro Tools recognizes the unit immediately after launching the software, and an Eleven Rack control window comes up. I actually preferred to control the Eleven Rack with this window, because adjusting certain parameters was a lot easier. You can click and drag effects anywhere within the graphic representation of the signal chain. Also, the label for each effect has a pull-down menu so you can quickly choose and swap out different effects with one click. Selecting presets was also a breeze, because one window comes up with all presets listed, instead of requiring endless scrolling with the knob on the unit itself.

You can record the guitar signal into three different tracks of Pro Tools. The first is the clean, uneffected signal that you can use to reamp the guitar later. The second track is the output of Eleven Rig with any and all effects or amps. The third is what really makes the Eleven Rack unique: you can embed the audio file with any of the Eleven Rack settings that were used to record the track. So if you need to call up the session at a later time to replace one line of a guitar solo, you can instantly recall the settings with the exact same sound as when you recorded the original track. This is pretty much a lifesaver for me, since I hardly ever write down my settings or make detailed notes for every parameter I tweak.

The Final Mojo
There are so many features on the Eleven Rack that make life easier for the recording guitarist. Some may think that 16 amp models aren’t enough, but with so many combinations of the 16 amps, 7 cabinet emulations, and 8 microphone emulations within the unit—as well as all of the effects—I had more than enough tonal variety to work with. Also, some guitarists may not use Pro Tools out of fear that the software would be too intimidating to learn. You would definitely have to use Pro Tools to take advantage of all the Eleven Rack features, but the software is easy to learn and use. I love the fact that Eleven Rack enables you to be as simple or complex as you want, too. If you want to quickly call up a sound and jam, you can do that. If you’re an endless tweaker who is meticulous about every aspect of your signal chain, you have complete control over every amp, cabinet, effect and mic emulation. As a stand-alone unit without Pro Tools or a computer, guitarists will love using the Eleven Rack live and in the studio. As a complete recording and effects-processing system, the Digidesign Eleven Rack makes recording guitar easier and more efficient than ever before.
Buy if...
you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for performing and recording.
Skip if...
you don’t want to use or learn Pro Tools recording software.

Street $899 - Digidesign - digidesign.com