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How I've set up HD500 and Dream Rig

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#1 chrisblythenz


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Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:05 PM

Hi all

I've recently bought a DT25 to complete my Dream Rig (JTV Variax and HD500) and have found it took some tweaking to get some good tones.

Previously I used the HD as an FX unti running into my Vox AC15 (which has no FX loop).  I generally didnt use the amp models.

Then I got a Variax, particularly for dealing with switching to acoustic sounds during a gig (and for the bonus of things like a 12 string!).

The band I'm in does covers so, while AC15 covers most of the ground, there are songs where I need good cleans (Fenders) or more weight (Marshalls).

So, a second hand DT appeared and I took the plunge. Part of me was hoping it would replace the AC15, but I'm not there yet.


I'm hoping this is a useful summary of how I got some basic good tones set up - perhaps for people who're new to the DR, and also to see if others can offer other tips to how I've done things.


I had some challenges getting the sound set up  - the main issue being a digital clipping distortion in some patches, particularly when I turn the gain up on the amp via the HD500. This happens no matter what the channel or master volume is, and can be heard through headphones as well as the amp, and with any of my 3 guitars.


I'm using L6 Link with I/O set to combo front.  I tried Studio/Direct but didnt like it.


I decided to set up 4-5 amp presets with similar FX as if I had a basic, similar pedal board switching between 4-5 different amps.  I wasnt aiming to set up a particular song preset, but rather some basic useable sounds that would cover most songs I do.  Some people have said on forums that they have presets for individual guitars - I'm yet to do this. And may not bother!


My best solution so far has been;


  • Create an empty setlist of new tones on the HD500
  • Start with clean amps as these have least headroom - they sound the quietest of presents while on full bore!
  • I chose the JC120 amp (Jazz Rivet) as I found this was the quietest amp I use.
  • I set up a sound I liked (gain on full and clean) and adjusted the channel volume to match the volume of the 'new tone' preset with the amp off (i.e. toggling the amp on an off). My assumption being this is the same volume as new tone and no gain staging would be happening by having an overly loud channel volume.
  • I added some FX of choice and made sure they didnt overly boost the channel volume (being a clean amp sound).
  • I then did the same for a Fender Blackface, AC15, Marshall 45 and Plexi (the main amps I use)
  • I switched between the new presets I created making sure the volumes were comparable. 
  • The FX I've added are much the same for each amp - EQ preamp, gentle compression, tube screamer, chorus or flanger, delay, reverb


I found adding an EQ vintage preamp block at the start of the chain helped add a bit of bite to the Variax modelled sounds.  I find that they sound a bit lifeless compared to mag pickups.  I made sure the EQ didn't boost the volume too much.


I also found running the HD master at 100% gave the overall volume needed into the DT25.  Before I used to run it at 50% as otherwise it would drive the Vox and add distortion.


Some notes

  • The AC15 needed a lot of tweaking as the preset channel volume is very loud, clean and mid-range.  I had to use the cut and treble and add a bit of gain to get the chimey Vox sound I'm used to
  • The Marshall 45 was quite bassy and boomy and needed some attention.
  • The Plexi, JC and Fender were pretty good to start with
  • I'll also be setting up an acoustic amp patch


So, my final issue

I've posted elsewhere about the digital clipping I seem to be getting.  This largely went away with the process I went through above, except for the gain on the AC15.  I really cant figure out why its happening and wonder if the Variax or HD500 are causing the problem.  I have no problem with clean tones and the preset setting when I dial in an amp seems ok. However, if I'm to replace my Vox AC15 with the DT25 I need to have the option to dial in gain. As soon as I get to the breakup point the clipping noise comes in.

Maybe I need a Helix?!




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#2 Palico


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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:50 AM

Try the -Pre models if there is one one for it. Don't remember on the AC15 if there was one for it. This is a preamp only (no power amp sim, DT provides real tube power amp stages). You might not like it as much but it's what the -Pre were made for. 

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#3 Tboneous


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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:01 PM

I did a similar setup with my Dream Rig. A couple of things that helped me....

I stopped focusing on getting my modeled amp to sound exactly light the original. instead, I focus on getting my amp to sound good. I ask myself, " what kind of tone am I looking for"? If I'm looking for a "chimney" tone, I go to the models that are going to give me that and so on.

If I'm using pre amp models , I turn off cab simulation.
I like using LVM on my DT50. I use full models with and without cab simulation. Whatever sounds good.

I primarily use 3 amps and I use none of the high gain stuff.


So my set up is very simple:

Clean Fender
Pushed Fender
Clean Vox AC 30TB
Pushed Vox AC 30TB
Clean Marshal J-45
Pushed Marshal J-45

I add FX as needed for a song.

I have one set up for pre models and full volume and one with full models and LVM

Setting up an amp for each guitar seems like too much work to me. Just because you can do it with this Rig doesn't mean you should. When I used my Two Rock exclusively, I plugged my Strat into it and rocked the house. I didn't scrap that amp during a show because I want to plug up my ES 335. I just did a quick tweet to the treble , bass and mid for that guitar and off I went!

Sometimes it gets lost amongst all of the cool things theses amps can do, that the DT's are real amps with knobs you can turn on the fly and get some great tone out of it.

Thanx for sharing. I love hearing how other people are using their gear. And since it seems that Line 6 has abandoned the whole Dream Rig concept, (no love coming our way anytime soon!) it's good to hear from others because I, for one, am still inspired and excited evertime I plug up my gear!
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