Tubemeister 36 + DigiTech GSP1101 rackmounted

The TM36 is a very popular little amp which fits quite well in a 4U-19" rack. Here is the story on how I assembled it together with the GSP1101 in a nice 5U rack.

At the beginning some considerations should be made. The TM36 allows to play at a neighbor friendly volume level by using its power soak. If you do so, a part of the power is converted into heat. Therefore we have to consider this when we think about the placement in the rack. A proper place seems to be the topmost position in the rack to avoid heating any other device above. But this will lead to another problem. The TM36 is indeed a very compact device but still a tube amp with two heavy transformers. So it wouldn't be recommendable to place the TM36 on top of another device. If that device has to carry the amp's full weight it wouldn't be independently removable anymore.

So our intention to place the TM36 in a rack results in some problems. The solution to all this is to use two custom made brackets, which hold the TM36 in place and relieve any other devices from its weight.

If we examine TM36's side panels we see that they are fixed with some screws. That's advantageous because it allows us to fix our custom brackets in a reliable manner (if we remove the carrying handles). On the other side it's tricky because the screw layout has to be exactly transferred to the brackets.

If we additionally consider to extend the brackets exactly 1U at the bottom we got a nice slot below the amp where our GSP1101 could be placed unstressed. We also need rectangular bended extensions at the front with drill holes to fix the whole assembly to the rack strips.

1mm aluminum plate is a suitable material to achieve our goals. A sheet metal bender could be helpful to do the bending job but satisfying results could be achieved without it, too. After all cutting, drilling and filing a paint job completes the work. After assembling all parts our TM36 is ready to be rackmounted.

Tubemeister 36 with custom made brackets on each side (front view)
Tubemeister 36 with custom made brackets on each side (front view)

As you can see there is enough space to place a 1U device below the amp as intended. After inserting the GSP1101 you can see what the front of the rack looks like.

Front view: TM36 and GSP1101 rackmounted
Front view: TM36 and GSP1101 rackmounted

Now we can begin connecting the devices with some tailored patch cables by following the 4 cable method. The 4CM allows to "place" the various GSP1101 effects "around" the TM36's preamp in the effects chain.

Furthermore we provide a little mains distribution unit, a power supply for a midi foot controller and another power supply for a fan to cool down the amp if necessary. The whole thing will be completed by a cab merger unit to extend the amps output to enable the use of two cabs in parallel (e.g. 2x16 Ohms) or in series (e.g. 2x8 Ohms) alternatively.

The installation of all this extra equipment will be possible by inserting three horizontally mounted aluminum pipes inside the rack in the rear area of the devices. They will be fixed with some blind rivets. All other parts are simply fixed with cable ties. Both power supplies are equipped with switches to power on/off their loads as needed. The power supply for the foot controller is combined with the midi data cable to avoid having two separate cables.

Rear view. Upper left: mains distribution box, power supply box foot controller, power supply box fan. Upper right: cab merger.
Rear view. Upper left: mains distribution box, power supply box foot controller, power supply box fan. Upper right: cab merger.

That's it folks: with a little investment you'll get a nice little box containing all to let a tonehunter's dream come true.