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.
- 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?!