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Advice From Frfr Players


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#1 EOengineer

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 02:07 PM

Hey guys. LOOOOooooooong time L6 pod user here, but mostly limited to headphone practice and recording. Well, I'm thinking of taking my HD500 gigging. I tried it briefly a few years back with my XT Live, but the feel was terrible for anything other than clean tones, and very harsh through the mackie 450 i used back then .

It seems like things are changing with the HD series for live FRFR use, but I wanna hear from guys who are doing it. As a recording engineer, I'm familiar with the "amp through a mic" vs "amp in the room" feel and tonal differences, and much more interested in whether the "feel" holds up when going FRFR. Do you feel a difference when you switch between a deluxe reverb and a plexi or ac30?

Also interested in speaker suggestions. I'm currently looking at either the RCF312 or RCF HD10a. I need it to function as a monitor, but also be able to hold Backline if its a gig with a super small PA.
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#2 bmcoonan

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 06:20 PM

Pretty sure the Tech 21 Power Engine 60 I have is FRFR - if it's not it sure acts like it.  It's just a solid state clean amp and I'm totally happy with it.  The patches I've made in the HD500 sound the same through head phones, into my DAW, and through the Tech 21.  Thing has quite a bit of volume too if needed.  I'm playing my first live gig with this set up this coming Friday so that will be the real test on the feel part of your question...hopefully it does.


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#3 EOengineer

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:14 PM

Good luck, let us know how it goes!
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#4 EOengineer

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 06:10 PM

Nobody?
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#5 jstock

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:01 AM

Feel is a bit subjective however I have used and some times still use FRFR depending on location. To be honest FRFR always feels bit detached and airy in a live situation.  Which is why I perfer using the Tech 21 power engine to provide a more amp like feel.

 

Yep you defo feel a difference between the amp models.  We have a number of songs where we go directly from a clean to heavy crunch or from clearn to od to heavy crunch. I think this is where the POD excels over my tube amp set up given the variance in sounds you have available to you.

 

One of the hardest things to do with the POD is getting the patches the same volume and cutting through in every venue.


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#6 pratikb

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 12:26 PM

 I think this is where the POD excels over my tube amp set up given the variance in sounds you have available to you.

 

.

 

I like this statement the most... :)


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#7 EOengineer

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 05:02 PM

Thanks for the input folks. I went ahead and scooped up a RCF 312a which should be here Monday. I will report back with results.
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#8 Vettacon

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 01:09 PM

I just started using a QSC K10 and this finally brought the Pod HD500 alive. Still a bit of a difference from a real amp, but now I know what I sound like to the crowd for the most part and much closer to patches i've made with headphones. Definitely a feel difference between amp/ cab types.

As for leveling patches, you can pick up a cheap sound level meter at RadioShack or what I do mostly is play patches against the same backing track(s) that are at a fixed volume. Not perfect but takes some of the guess work out.
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#9 guilhordas

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 02:24 PM

when you guys use frfr live, you guys use as a monitor? is it? or you guys miked the frfr and send to the PA?
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#10 guilhordas

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 02:27 PM

Pretty sure the Tech 21 Power Engine 60 I have is FRFR - if it's not it sure acts like it.  It's just a solid state clean amp and I'm totally happy with it.  The patches I've made in the HD500 sound the same through head phones, into my DAW, and through the Tech 21.  Thing has quite a bit of volume too if needed.  I'm playing my first live gig with this set up this coming Friday so that will be the real test on the feel part of your question...hopefully it does.


Do you miked the tech 21 and send to PA?
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#11 TheRealZap

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 03:45 PM

i don't know what those guys do.... but not much point in micing it when using FRFR since you'd use studio mode that has the mic emulations...

just send it straight to FOH... the tech 21 does have a direct out as well... 

although i'd probably just send the xlr FOH, and use the 1/4" to the tech21
 

Do you miked the tech 21 and send to PA?


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#12 guilhordas

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:14 PM

i don't know what those guys do.... but not much point in micing it when using FRFR since you'd use studio mode that has the mic emulations...
just send it straight to FOH... the tech 21 does have a direct out as well... 
although i'd probably just send the xlr FOH, and use the 1/4" to the tech21
 


Thanks zap, what do you mena FOH ? Is that Like PA?
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#13 TheRealZap

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

FOH=front of house (PA, you assumed correctly)


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#14 bmcoonan

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:47 PM

Do you miked the tech 21 and send to PA?


Hey buddy - our show was cancelled due to weather but I would have been running out from the tech 21 to the mixer...not mic'ing it because of the mic sims. However...we did practice at volume and I wasn't really happy with the sound of it so I returned the tech 21, as well as the hd500 and upgraded to the hd500x. Got it for 450 at guitar center!

Now I'm going to be using the variax into the hd500x (which will still let me use the alternate tunings that I need/want) and then into my Marshall JVM. Won't be using the amp sims from the HD except for recording. I just found (personally) that I like the sound of my Marshall better. I do LOVE how the Variax and the Hd500 work together though and there are plenty of patches where I'm staying on the clean channel of my amp, but using like the tube distortion the the HD500x

I'm thinking that adding the DT amps to this setup probably would make a huge difference but don't really have the $$ right now to do that- maybe down the road!

Brian
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#15 jstock

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 03:29 AM

Tech 21 to Mixer

 

I simply run out the Tech 21 direct to the mixer. POD set to Studio direct. This was the set up on Fridays gig in a smallish bar. The POD provides much better control over volume levels. Plus provides a smaller foot print.

 

 

"I think this is where the POD excels over my tube amp set up given the variance in sounds you have available to you."

 

....I should have added however there is a compromise with sound which I am prepared to make in the smaller venues.


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#16 EOengineer

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 07:07 PM

Just to update...

...received my RCF 312A last Monday, and have spent about 6-10 hours throughout the week tweaking and building from scratch. The Verdict?

So far I'm not a fan. I'm going to spend a few hours over the weekend to see if I can reconcile things. Here is a bit about my setup and what I'm finding:

I'm using a custom shop strat and a Les Paul straight into the HD500 in studio/direct mode, running balanced into the rcf. I'm keeping the pod master knob at about 75%, and varying the channel volume parameter to adjust relative volume between amps.

Through the powered speaker, everything is awfully cold and harsh. It seems like the models all lose their identity. The super clean fender tones have none of the bounce and snap you get through a good set of headphones, the Marshall's are dull and lifeless with a very compressed non crunchy feel (even the plexi), and the ac30 sounds nearly broken the moment it starts to overdrive.

I've dealt with the abundance of highs and lows (the lows are OUT OF CONTROL) with the mid focus EQ post amp, which helps a bit with high gain tones, but still leaves everything very cold/dark/flat.

I LOVE the HD through my Sony 7506 cans, but have yet to reproduce that experience through a powered speaker. I am an audio engineer by trade, and have really been surprised at how poorly this setup performed compared to my plexi or my mesa mark III.

I think it's back to real amps for me, and the pod will go back to headphone sessions. Bummer.
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#17 snhirsch

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 05:15 AM

I just started using a QSC K10 and this finally brought the Pod HD500 alive. Still a bit of a difference from a real amp, but now I know what I sound like to the crowd for the most part and much closer to patches i've made with headphones.

 

Second the suggestion on the K10.  I've been working with one for the past several months - at home and in the practice room.  The good:  Rickenbacker 12-string, acoustic guitar and clean Strat sounds from the Variax are jaw-dropping.  The bad:  mildly overdriven (by today's standards, anyway) classic-rock sounds have been elusive.  The HD500 does not do a good job of modeling tube amplifier dynamics.  I guess it's fine if you are used to dancing on pedals to go between rhythm and solo sections of tunes, but I'd like to simply use the volume control for that as I would with a real amp. 

 

Even after a lot of experimentation, I seem to end with either great rhythm tones that get way too loud and harsh when cranked or great lead tones that are too soft by the time the volume is backed down for rhythm.   Am I simply old-fashioned in my expectations?  Has anyone found a model and setup that actually responds realistically to the guitar volume?


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#18 EOengineer

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:21 AM

So I'm surprised to say that I'm making progress. I sat my podHD/RCF combo next to my mark III yesterday and started building. I wasn't so much trying to capture that "amp in the room" sound so much as to have a quick reference for what the "real" amp sounds like. Sometimes our memory of tones gets a bit skewed.

What I discovered was that the "real amp" filters off pretty aggressively after 4.5kHz, maybe even sooner. It also didn't have the HUGE low end we come to remember from our tube amps. Next it was time to build.

I started from scratch with the PodHD. My goal was to get one good clean, and one good high gain tone. I built the clean around the deluxe bright channel. It was immediately apparent the regardless of which mic model selected, there was WAY too much top and bottom in comparison to my real combo. Now this is expected, the same thing happens when I drop a 57 on my amps in the studio. You have to filter. I threw the mid focus EQ post amp, backed its gain way down, and tightened up the HP and LP parameters until things matched a bit more closely. I think I ended up tith the HP at about 35, and the LP around 60-65.

I did the same dialing in a rectifier tone and received pleasing results there as well. Careful attention should be paid to cab/mic types, as they pretty dramatically reconfigure the mid range content of the amps, so be sure to test various options to alter upper midrange response.

I'm going to keep tweaking, but things are sounding a good bit better after doing a real comparison.
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#19 geppert

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:04 AM

Hey EOengineer ... I have often wondered how an FRFR system compares to a traditional guitar amp in a gig setting? So far, the HD500 / DT25 / dbl cab + L6 Link works well for my needs. As you well know, we all hear different. I'll be curious to know how you make out in the end with this journey you are currently on and whether you end up switching back to a traditional amp or not? I think in my case, I am good to stay with my current set up but hopefully sometime I might get a chance to try out an FrFr system? At home, I always play through my desktop mixing monitors (Mackie 824 MKII).


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#20 EOengineer

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:22 PM

Thank you for your input and encouragement.

FRFR certainly is a different animal, but I came in expecting that, and had no intention of trying to mimic "amp in the room" feel, which is where I see many people finding disappointment with FRFR.

For now, the key to success seems to be a combination of expectation management, and a pseudo scientific approach to the technology. My goal is to tweak a versatile set of convincing tones to deliver straight to the PA, while using what I know about micing/mixing guitars in a studio setting to push for a level of consistency and refinement that is not practical when gigging a plexi or Mesa combo night after night.


I will update here as I keep working, and hopefully we can all learn something together.
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