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POD Connections, Routing and the 4 Cable Method

four cable method pod xt x3 hd 500x

Q: Can I connect my POD/2.0/XT/X3/Live to the front (instrument input) of my amplifier?
A: Yes.You will want to create as clean a sound as possible on your amplifier. You will want to make the combo amplifier's EQ as "flat" as possible by turning the treble and bass controls to zero and maxing out the mid control. You should also set POD's output to 9 or 10 o'clock to avoid overdriving the instrument input of the amplifier and have no effects active. You will want to experiment with the output level on the POD to create a sound that works for your situation. Below is the routing for this set up:


Guitar > POD unit > Amplifier instrument input. This works but you will be stacking two pre amps in series (the POD unit acts as a preamp). Make sure you also adjust the OUTPUT Mode on the POD unit for optimal tone, many end users prefer "Combo/Stack FRONT"

Q: Can I bypass the preamp section of my amp to avoid stacking two preamps?
A: Yes, There are two ways this can be accomplished.

1) If your amplifier has a CD/MP3 input you can go directly in the this jack from the POD output (This is a common method with the Line 6 Spider Series amplifiers). Be aware you may need to "trick" your amplifier input by using a 1/4" "dummy" plug in the instrument input to allow signal to pass to the speaker (headphone adaptors often work well for this purpose).

Guitar > POD unit > Amplifier CD/MP3 input with 1/4" "dummy" plug in the instrument input

2) If your amplifier has an effects loop (i.e. the Line 6 Spider Valve or Flextone) you can use your POD unit as the main Pre amp and distortion generator, using only the power amp section of your amplifier by plugging into the "effects return" or "power amp input". If the amplifier has a "power amp in", the POD output will most likely control the output volume. If the amplifier has "effect loop return" the amplifier master volume will most likely control the output volume. Below is the routing for this:

Guitar-> POD In - POD Out -> Amp FX Return. Make sure you also adjust the OUTPUT Mode on the POD unit for optimal tone Combo or Stack PWRAMP when applicable.

Q: Can I run my POD/X3/xt/Pro/Live/Floor in an effect loop of an amplifier to use just the effects rather than the amp modeling?

A: Yes, it is possible to to run a POD as an effect unit in the effect loop of an amplifier. You may want to turn off the amp modeling or use as clean a sound as possible to avoid stacking preamps. You may also need to lower the “line level” signal of the amplifier's effect send output to "instrument level" to avoid potential damage to the input of your POD. Some POD units will have a pad switch that will accomplish this function. If your POD unit does not have an input pad switch, a device such as the Ebtech Line Level Shifter can be used to lower the line level if necessary. Below is the routing for this:

Guitar > Amp In / Amp FX Send> POD IN - POD Out > Amp FX Return. With this routing, you would have to bypass the amp modeling on the POD unit and use it for FX only, using your amp's own preamp section.

Q: Can I connect my POD to two amps for a stereo configuration?
A: Yes. Connect the left output of the Pod to the input of one amp and the right output of the Pod to another amp. It would be best if you could connect your Pod to the amps using the effects loop of the amp if you have one since it will bypass the pre amp of your amplifier.

Q: What is the Four cable method? (POD X3 Live and Pro Only)
A: The “Four Cable” method (4CM) can be used for any effect unit that has an effects loop when connecting to an amplifier that has an effects loop (i.e. the POD X3 Live). This cabling method allows the end-user to place filters and overdrive units before the preamp section of the amplifier, and modulation and delay effects after the effect loop in the effect unit. This way the amplifier will provide the tones and the Line 6 device will provide the effects (pre and post). Be sure to enable the effects loop, and experiment with Pre-post effect to decide which method works best for you.

Instrument > X3Live guitar in
X3Live effect loop send > instrument input of amplifier
Amplifier effect loop send > X3Live effect loop return
X3 line output > Amplifier effect loop return.

Q: Can I run the two tones separately, such as one tone for "pre" amp sounds and the other for "post" (i.e. effect loop) sounds?
A: An “alternate” method of the Four Cable method is to completely separate the front of the amp effects (i.e. filters and overdrives) into Tone 1, and the time based effects (chorus, delay, reverb) in Tone 2. The tones will need to be panned hard left (1) and hard right (2) in the outputs section (any blending of the tones may result in feedback). Be aware that you will need to have both tones active to get sound, and you need to set up the inputs as follows: Tone 1: Guitar, Tone 2: Aux. Feel free to experiment with the "amp settings" to determine which setting works best for your setup.The connection wiring is:

Instrument > X3Live guitar in
X3Live Live (left) output > amplifier input
Amplifier FX loop send > X3Live Aux input
X3Live (right) output > Amplifier FX loop return

The Four Cable Method Tutorial Video by Harmony Central!

Video is listed alphabetically under "Multi-Effects".


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