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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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#21 Vettacon

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:24 PM

"FRFR certainly is a different animal", yeah once you start keeping this in mind, it becomes much easier. I've been playing along with favorite songs and trying to mimic what I hear on the albums as that what's going to be heard in your monitor and at the FOH if you play out. What's also interesting, is either the other bandmaster don't care or it sounds good to them with me going through the pa at practice.
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#22 davidb7170

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:08 PM

I think you'll find all kinds of opinions for FRFR. I'll throw mine into the pot. Remember, what works for one may be totally unacceptable to others....

 

I went through an evolution of equipment and tries. My goal is to have what I hear be what the FOH hears -- out to the audience. I started back in 2004 or so with a Variax 300 and my Fender SS Performer 1000 amp with a multi FX pedal board, but soon went the route of a L6 XTLive pedal to my Fender via the FX return jack, them mic'ed to the PA. I could get vey good sounds from it, but a video recording made me realize what the audience was hearing was totally different than what I heard right in front of the amp -- so began my journey with the PODs... The sound out front was very tinny, and was the result of close mic-ing not picking up the bass that open-backed combos rely on to fill out their sound.

 

Next try was the XTL into the line in of a CRATE PB150 150 watt amp into a floor monitor with an Eminence Tonker 12" guitar speaker. Used that setup for a few years and was happy with it. The XTL did not have XLR out, so I used the XLR out of the CRATE.

 

My XTL died one night at a gig -- bad power jack... The X3L's were out at that point, so I picked one up. Luckily, you could import patches from the XTL into the X3L and the X3L would make a passable translation of it. The X3L has XLR outs, so I ran 1/4" to the CRATE and XLR to the FOH. Overall tone improved, as the XLR were Studio/Direct and the 1/4" were set as combo/stack front/back -- something I really miss in the HD500.... Not sure why they dropped that from their design -- it's been the subject of many threads in the boards here....

 

Mean time I got my JTV-59. I could control it with the X3L, but not as well as I'd hope and the HD500 has that down right, so I finally got my HD500. The XLR / 1/4" jack thing raised its ugly head, and I could not get a good sound out of my guitar speaker set and the FOH XLR at the same time. The guitar speaker has a frequency response that peaks in the mid ranges, and when set to studio/direct, the amp models also have peak responses in the midrange frequencies, so they get over emphasized through the guitar speaker when it sounds good through FOH. If I set the output mode to combo/stack fount/power amp which compensates, the FOH sounds crappy -- without being able to split signal types to the XLR's and 1/4" outs, your pretty screwed.

 

I tried a self-powered speaker like some of the other responders have mentioned. The one I tried was a Carvin 12" with 400 watts, but it sounded brittle to me, and did not have enough guts before it started clipping, so I returned it. One thing I discovered with solid state Class D amps is to buy 2X the power you want to end up with to give yourself clean head room before clipping. I thought 400 watts would do, but I could not drive it hot enough to satisfy.

 

I then found I needed more power due to noisy and outside gigs, so I picked up a Crown XLS1000 power amp, but had the same issues with the speaker responses, so I explored the possibility of a FRFR speaker I wanted to get something without the guitar speaker midrange peak, so tried the Eminence Beta 12LTA, a speaker used in PA speakers -- also by themselves in a single speaker PA cabinet. the speaker is rated for 225 Watts continuous, but any speaker can take twice its rating for short periods. Definitely more flat the a guitar speaker. I bought 2, and run 1 for inside gigs on my Crown XLS1000 bridged for 700 watts for 1 speaker, and 2 speakers for outside/noisy gigs for 1100 watts. Remember what I said about pick a solid state amp that can put out twice what you need, Also the continuous loading of a speaker is where the speaker starts to "open up".

 

ANWAY -- I run the HD500 in studio/direct mode and the rig sounds great both in my monitors and the FOH. I've been doing this since early this spring, and have been very happy with it. I'd like the convenience of the self-powered sel-contained speaker, but to get the power I'd need they'd be much heavier than I want, and expensive....

 

Mine is one of many opinions, bout thought I'd share, as it wasn't in the responses you've received so far. YMMV...

 

Dave


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#23 EOengineer

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:11 PM

Dave's journey reminds me of my own, a long one. I'm not going to hash it all out because Dave's experience is pretty consistent with mine.

I have to say I'm very impressed with one of the high gain tones I dialed in today. It is based off the rectifier model, of which I owned and gigged a "real" one for 10 years, and now very well. While I've been openly critical of the version of the rectifier L6 modeled, the tone I've created honestly sounds better than that amp did THROUGH THE PA many nights.

Like I said in this threads opening post, I tried FRFR years ago with an XT Live through a Mackie 450 and it was awful. I'm honestly shocked at how much better this high gain tone is working and feeling.
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#24 EOengineer

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:13 PM

I am, however, struggling to get an AC30 tone that is even usable. The plexi isn't thrilling me either, though I love both through the cans. Any frfr players using these?
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#25 guilhordas

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:50 PM

I am, however, struggling to get an AC30 tone that is even usable. The plexi isn't thrilling me either, though I love both through the cans. Any frfr players using these?


is really difficult to get a good tone with AC30 but the plexi 1959, in my opinion, is the best amp of pod
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#26 robsangg

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:46 AM

Ok, so through this whole discussion, I haven't really heard anyone mention the stagesource speakers, and how they would sound in the whole FRFR setup.  I've been stashing my pennies for some time now in an effort to get the JTV-59P and an L3T for just such a setup(I already own the HD500)..  Anyone here own this 'Dream Rig'?  I would very much like anyone's feedback on how this works in a live environment, ie, playing out live.  I also plan to expand on the L3t setup with another L3 speaker and L3S sub setup for a full on PA system as time goes by. 


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#27 silverhead

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:24 AM

Stagesource speakers work great. My setup is JTV-59, HD500, Stagescape M20d, 2xL3t, and one L3s.  The setup is very modular - I can bring only the pieces I need depending on whether I'm solo, and the size of the band/venue. For a solo acoustic gig a single L3t works great all alone, with an acoustic guitar and mic. For a duet, both L3t work very well in tandem using the JTV/HD500 combination and with the two onboard mixers supporting mics and acoustic guitars as well. For larger bands including bass and for hosting open mics and jam sessions I add the M20d and the L3s (could use a 2nd L3s!). The various setups are all very quick and easy. Even the larger setups are easy with the M20d.

 

The clarity and quality of the sound is amazing whatever setup I choose.

 

 

.... and nary a guitar amplifier in sight.....


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#28 EOengineer

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 06:39 PM

Powered speakers for live sound have really come a long way. I've really come to appreciate my RCF, even thinking about getting another. I haven't heard the recent L6 offerings.

I tweaked a pretty nice Park75 tone this evening that seemed to sit somewhere between my plexi, and my recollection of an old roommates jcm800 2204. Really digging the versatility with this rig.
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#29 robsangg

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 08:52 AM

Stagesource speakers work great. My setup is JTV-59, HD500, Stagescape M20d, 2xL3t, and one L3s.  The setup is very modular - I can bring only the pieces I need depending on whether I'm solo, and the size of the band/venue. For a solo acoustic gig a single L3t works great all alone, with an acoustic guitar and mic. For a duet, both L3t work very well in tandem using the JTV/HD500 combination and with the two onboard mixers supporting mics and acoustic guitars as well. For larger bands including bass and for hosting open mics and jam sessions I add the M20d and the L3s (could use a 2nd L3s!). The various setups are all very quick and easy. Even the larger setups are easy with the M20d.

 

The clarity and quality of the sound is amazing whatever setup I choose.

 

 

.... and nary a guitar amplifier in sight.....

 

 

Thanks for the response.  Exactly the applications and setup I'm looking to move towards(to many years of long setups, mic'ed amps and less that stellar results).  I'm hoping this will be the solution I'm looking for, cause I love the portability and flexibility of the 500 and the rest of the 'Dream Rig'.  L3t will come shortly and I will post my experience with it.  Thanks again.


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#30 wolbai

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:49 AM

I have played POD X3 Live and later the POD HD500 with a FRFR-system (RCF 310). Since 2011 I migrated to the so called "Dream Rig".

Not promoting anything here: But the "FRFR-system-road" (regardless what FRFR-system you use) cleary means considerable time spending on EQ-ing the FRFR-system to make it sound "right" or get it through the mix in the Band. The simple reason for that is: these FRFR-systems are made for a pretty much wider frequency bandwith than E-guitar rigs are.

Playing the "Dream Rig" (with a DT50 amp as the output system) time spending on tweaking / EQ-ing has been remarkably reduced to me. A lot of the amp sounds just sounds instantly right to me. Never found myself to increase / decrease any frequencies with a Studio EQ, etc. in my presets (the only exception is Acoustic sounds ---> direct to FOH and back to a floor monitor).


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