thanks edstar, I really enjoy helping when I can,
reading your story I thought
1 - since you have many speaker oprtions why not using the pod in "stereo"?
stereo is in quotes because using both XLR ots does not mean you are in stereo
it's the kind of effect you use that create the stereo image
2 - if you are using a mixer as an additional gain stage you can avoid Y cables and connect both pod outputs to the mixer, pan them both to center
or maybe both to left for example and then take the left out of the mixer and connect the two linked speakers
3- a 12" speaker works better on guitar than a 10" speaker even if it's a PA, so if you can try that too
4- the pod XLR outputs carry a balanced microphone level signal, it's a little hot for a microfone level but it's definitely NOT a line level, it could be something like 30dB softer than the jack outputs;
the only benefit of XLR is the balancing which helps with noise interferences ON LONG cables
I mean over 10 meters, you don't need that
AND using a jack out will mix to mono internally
but, as I see from your edit, you discovered this by yourself ;-)
5- many guitarists know that a valve power amp has a way of treating dynamics that gives it more volume and cut-thru even with low wattage, your 200+200W system should be enough to balance maybe a 30-40W valve amp
Thank you very much Lorenzo! I really appreciate all your time and effort in giving me such a comprehensive reply. I have clicked on the links you gave me about Y cables and now understand that I have been doing the wrong thing! In fact I am now concerned that maybe I have damaged my gear because of this misuse of the Y cable - I hope not. I have also read your other thread where you and hurghanico describe in great detail the difference between the balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (jack) connectors on the back of the HD500. And I have also read through the HD500 ADVANCED GUIDE V2.10 specifically looking at detail about signal paths and also the connectors. I think that finally I understand the signal routing paths of the HD500. If it was not for your post here, I would never have got to the bottom of it, so thank you very much for sharing and for answering my questions!
Today, I will put into practice everything I have learnt, and will hopefully get a great sound out of my HD500 at GIG volumes with any gear. I will rework my powered PA speaker connections (STOP USING Y CABLES!) and then rework my HD500 patches to work with the correct connections. I will then repeat the process with my other patches for direct amp connections and for DT25 with L6Link to ensure the signal paths are correct. UPDATE: Removing the Y cable and taking the L/mono jack unbalanced out from the HD500 into my mixer channel, plus on HD500 setting using Global Option STUDIO/DIRECT and for each patch setting mixer pan controls to 100% for L and 100% for R, made a big difference. Everything sounds much better already!
Why did I start using a Y cable in the first place?
I had a V700 and an X3L. The X3L never cut through at gigs - always sounded very thin when amplified at volume. I thought it was because I was only using one half of the output signal, so decided to try using a Y cable to capture both L+R outputs and it certainly did seem to improve things, however, it still did not provide sufficient signal level to drive my STUDIOMASTER GX12A powered speaker at sufficient volumes to compete with the band at gigs. So I then introduced a BEHRINGER B105D, and took this combined XLR L+R signal and put it into one of the mic/line inputs. I only had to boost that signal by a few db's, with the trim control on the channel set to between 8 and 9 o'clock. The THRU output from the B105D was at line level and went into the input of the GX12A and bingo, I had the gig volume I needed and depth of tone I was after, although it was still not perfect and compared to a real guitar through an amp did lack depth and punch - in other words still sounded "thinner". I then got my JTV59 and used the same setup, and everything was improved with the better sounds produced from the JTV59. Then I got the HD500, and it took me many months to migrate from the X3L to the HD500. Many many hours of tweaking etc., and I am still doing it now as I have just bought 2x BEHRINGER B210D active powered speakers, so needed to get the sound adjusted for them. The HD500 seemed to have an even weaker output than the X3L when using the same PA setup, so I carried forward the idea of using the Y cable to capture both L+R outputs to avoid a thin "live" sound and also found that the HD500 output still needed a bigger boost before heading to the powered PA speakers to generate the correct volumes. So, I started using my XENYX 802 for this purpose. The XLR outputs from HD500 went into a Y cable and then a single XLR went to the XENYX 802 into a mic channel with trim set to about 9 o'clock - and then a little adjustment on the HIGH and MID EQ controls, set the CHANNEL volume to 0db (12 o'clock) and the MASTER mixer output to 0db (12 o'clock) - take both L+R master outs (jack connectors) combine with yet another Y lead (oh no!) and then into a jack to XLR converter and then XLR into the B210D and then link that to the next B210D with the THRU connector and another XLR. Both B210D's had their trim control's set to 9'oclock. That seems to produce a nice loud volume that is OK for home usage but will not be loud enough for gigs. However, I still have the ability to turn up the MIXER channel volume, the MIXER MASTER out and the B210D trim controls which should get me there, BUT, I have not had the chance to try that yet.
After reading all your information I now realise that ALL of what I have done to overcome the "live" thin sound of the POD at GIG volumes is WRONG! I will have to start again from scratch with the correct knowledge of how the HD500 signal routing works and work at getting a good "full" tone from the POD at gig volumes using other means!