Eleven Rack... is it worth $199 for non Pro-Tools users?

Sweetwater has got the Eleven Rack on sale for $199 through 12/31/2018. Includes Pro-Tools First. I know it’s been around for quite a while and based on the pricing I get the feeling they are trying to clear out stock!

I mainly use Reaper and more recently Cakewalk by Bandlab both running on Win 10 Pro. $200 seems to be a deal for an interface and full suite of effects plus DAW software. I’m not tempted by the Pro-Tools… but the rest of the capabilities.

I’ve seen some of you mention that your use (or have used) the Eleven Rack. How’s the experience trying to use the unit without the included Pro-Tools First? Is it friendly enough with other DAW’s? How do the built in effects really stack up? I’m no pro and I play and record for my own enjoyment. I currently use a TC Konnekt6 Firewire interface and I wonder how long it will remain supported. At this price point would you recommend the unit?

Thank you … and Happy Thanksgiving.


I don’t have an answer, but I am following because I have the same question. I’ve seen the price of this thing dropping and I’ve been tempted to grab one because I want something I can just plug into and practice guitar. It’s considerably cheaper than any of the other rack guitar modelers, it’s just that the avid logo on it scares me because it likely means it only works if you jump through their hoops. But I hope I’m wrong.

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Hehahah yeah same here. :scream: I’ve read some horror-stories online but a lot of the information seems to be pretty old already. I was hoping the state of affairs has improved.

I’ve had one for over 2 years, and I love it! I use it with REAPER. What I do is I use the SPDIF output on the Eleven Rack, covert it to an optical signal using a separate converter box, and then input into my Audient ID14. In this way, I have 2 channels from my Audient pre-amps, and an additional 2 channels (left and right) for my stereo guitar signal (with fx.) You can also choose the 2 channels to be one with fx and one dry, if you prefer to have the option to re-amp it. I haven’t tried re-amping something through the Eleven Rack itself, though I know you can do it. I just will sometimes opt for different amp/fx emulation software like Guitar Rig.

The main thing I’d check out before buying one is how you can get it to play with your existing audio interface. Last time I tried (it was a long time ago, so maybe things have changed) I couldn’t have 2 audio interfaces both connected via USB and use them at the same time. My interface accepts an optical input for an additional 10 channels (I think) so that’s why this works for me.

Oh one other thing I’ll note is that even though it comes with a mic preamp, you can’t record using the mic preamp and the guitar input at the same time. It’s one or the other.

There’s this software that you can use to create and modify presets, and I think the Eleven Rack has to be plugged in via USB to do that. What I’ve done in the past is just hooked it up temporarily to my laptop when I want the convenience of using the software. But honestly the hardware isn’t bad for fiddling around with presets. I think it’s pretty intuitive.

It’s great for plugging in a guitar, headphones, and practicing. I also really like it for recording. I am no aficionado of amps and effects, but to me they sound very good. There’s a nice variety. There are YouTube videos out there where people demo many of the presets, so that might give you a good idea. There are also user-created presets that you can download and load into it, via the software. Let me know if you guys have any more questions about it and I’ll do my best to answer.


I assumed (I don’t know why I assumed this) that this software is somehow tied to Pro Tools. Is it completely standalone? Can I make and adjust the settings without opening pro tools?

I have Pro Tools, I just don’t like the act of opening Pro Tools, so if I can avoid it, I’d really like to.

Yes it’s standalone. I believe that it didn’t used to be, but by popular demand it is. Here’s a link: https://connect.avid.com/eleven-rack-editor.html

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Hmm, I was just looking at the one on Sweetwater. Based on the reviews it seems like it doesn’t come with the expansion pack? I assumed it would because it’s new. I’d double check on that. I think it’s like $99 to upgrade, and you need that to use the standalone editor.

I bought mine used on eBay and got a good deal. It came with the expansion pack, a Ground Control Pro (midi foot controller) and an expression pedal. Back when I was looking, you could easily find one for $200 or so, with the expansion pack. And these things are built pretty tough, as they are meant to be brought to gigs. So I wasn’t worried about it breaking on me. Might be a better deal than this new one, if indeed it doesn’t have the expansion pack.

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Yeah, it looks like that is sold separately. It’s $79 right now, but they say it is only for systems bought before 2011 - if I’m reading it correctly.

If your firmware is at v2.0 or later, this effects expansion is already included with your hardware. To confirm your firmware version, press and hold the Edit/Back button to get to User Options. Scroll to Firmware Version and press SW1. Press the Edit/Back button a couple times to get back to the top level.

I guess that means the expansion is incorporated into the hardware interface in v2?

The Eleven Rack Editor seems to be free from Avid, with this caveat:

*Please note that the Eleven Rack Editor only works with Eleven Rack systems running Eleven Rack Expansion Pack (firmware version v2.0 or higher), requires a 64-bit operating system—Windows 8, Windows 7, or OS X 10.8 or later, and latest Eleven Rack drivers for your system.

[to OP] My advice is to see if the Eleven Rack drivers are compatible with your system and OS, and also works well with your main interface if you use one (and intend to piggyback).

The Eleven Rack was in use back in the Digidesign days, before AVID bought them out. It looks like they now brand it as AVID, so they must still be making new ones. It’s somewhat dated, though with the updates they seem to be keeping it current enough to be useful. Back in those days, a Digidesign interface was required with Pro Tools (kind of like it was a dongle) and you couldn’t use anything else. As of v9 they changed that and opened Pro Tools up to other interface mfr’s (for the Native platform). But Digidesign/AVID interfaces can be used with any other software as long as there is basic compatibility with your system. So to Boz’s question I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. You’d probably want to be able to use that ER Editor though.

It used to be that Eleven was the main Pro Tools stock amp sim plugin, so I think originally this hardware was supposed to be a complement to that (just for historical reference).

:thinking: Just curious too - it says “Simultaneous I/O: Up to 8 channels”. I don’t see nearly that many inputs, so I’m assuming that has to be used in a chain with AES/EBU or something?

I put in a couple of questions to my sales rep. I’ll report back what I find out in regard to the software included, the expansion pack and the firmware version.

re: “Simultaneous I/O: Up to 8 channels” I see there are “Digital I/O AES/EBU” In’s and Out’s on the back panel… but I honestly don’t know what that means, exactly. :slight_smile: So I Google’d…

The AES3 specification requires 110-ohm balanced cabling for AES/EBU signals. Unlike analog snakes, AES/EBU snakes carry **two** digital channels on each balanced line. This means through one DB-25 snake, the device can send **eight channels** and receive **eight channels** simultaneously.

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ah ha. That’s the caveat I was looking for. I knew there had to be one.

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The modeling on this thing must be at least 6 years old if not more. I’d rather pick up a Boss GT-10 used for about that price. Afaik you can dial in and save anything on the rack, so won’t necessarily need software for it. If I were to use this thing, I’d definitely bypass the amplifier speaker sim stage.

I have no experience with the Eleven rack - But I think its a great practice to use digital i/o as much as possible. Its a great way to never have to worry about cabling, signal degeneration, and it eliminates a ton of potential noise variables. Its not necessary but for me its so much easier.

Also, digital cables are super super cheap. Dave Hill at Crane Song is one of the worlds leading experts on D/A converter technology…he told me they only use little $3 junkers cables in his factory in Wisconsin, even when building and testing some of their $xxxxx stuff because he believes its been proven that if the cable itself works, the quality of the wire is a complete non factor to the sound.

If anyone doesn’t know, your digital formats are S/pdif (Rca), Optical (light pipe), and AES EBU (XLR). S/pdif carries 2 channels. Optical and AES can carry 8. Same data, different connector pin.

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I asked my Sweetwater rep. if the $199 unit came with the ‘expansion pack’ and the ‘2.0 firmware or higher’. Also asked if it was ‘user friendly with other DAW’s besides Pro Tools.’

FWIW, I got this brief reply:

It does include the expansion and 2.0 firmware.
It will work with any DAW, not just Pro Tools :)

Dustin Keesbury
Sales Engineer | Sweetwater
260 247 6588 (direct or text)

Feel free to contact him with additional questions. For the record, I’ve got no association with Sweetwater other than having purchased my JBL LSR305’s from them a few years back. Dustin was helpful.

On the topic of cables for digital, about a year ago I had purchased some Optical (light pipe) cables from Amazon for cheap. They were sold under the ‘Amazon Basics’ brand and they were really well made… not those super skinny, brittle feeling cables. These were quality flexible cables with nice, molded boot ends.

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Oh good stuff! With the expansion pack, $200 is a good price in my opinion.

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ok, I snagged it. I’ll blame @Cristina if I don’t like it.


:smile: I look forward to hearing about it once you receive it. I’ve got some time to decide if I’ll make it my Christmas present or maybe go for Addictive Drums or EZDrummer2 instead. Decisions, decisions… sigh.

Cristina, thank you for sharing your experiences with the Eleven Rack.

I love the 11 rack, at the very least it’s great for re-amping (whether you reamp with 11rack or real amp afterwards). I love it in live settings too. For that price, you’re silly not to. I should see what my cost on it has gone down to (if my distributor has any left lol).

that seems like a low price for a new one?

I just grabbed a old old used Line6 rack guitar for $100+…and was reading the Elevens a bit better…the Fractal stuff is still outside and some of Brandons comparison to the HD Line6 he was saying the margin was getting smaller between them.

I got a rack-“amp sim” for the same reason to just plugin the guitar and go direct into Reaper.

$199? that’s a crazy low price. but Sweetwater has it as NO LONGER AVAILABLE. 10+ stores have it at $350 approx…

This is very old, almost ancient amp models and speaker models, you would be better off with Boss GT-10 and up even though their models are also a bit long in the tooth.
Again, at $200 new, can’t fault it :slight_smile:

For the interface, mic pre, and routing for re-amping alone it’s worth the money regardless of the amp sims.