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Dream Rig Advice.

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#1 djprentis


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Posted 19 December 2013 - 07:37 AM

Hi guys,



I know that most of what I ask has been covered before but now that people have has a chance to gig and live with their dream rig for a while I'm hoping for some more up-to-date answers to a few questions. Basically, I'm looking to buy a HD500x and either a L2t or a DT25 as a lightweight and portable substitute for my current valve amp, pedals, several leads, guitars etc. I play in different bands so want something to cover all bases and in theory a dream rig set should be ideal.


I'd love to get my hands on the gear for a few days but trying it out in a shop 100 miles away for 1/2 hour or so is currently the only option here. This makes me reluctant to drop nearly £1100 on a bit of a 'blind' gamble so I'm getting as much info as possible!



I currently use either a DeVille or Blackstar HT60 in my main band (an 11 piece) and only have monitoring from my amp due to our setup. I already lug to much gear (why I'm trying to cut down) so will not be taking an extra monitor just for myself so my amps have to be loud enough to cut through. I'm then mic'ed up in the normal way.


My preference would be DT25 and HD500x because if one goes down I have a back up in the other but the L2t is significantly lighter and louder.



1. Clean headroom - can you squeeze more from the DT25 using modelling?


For a lot of what I play I need a good, loud clean tone which I don't think will be an option with the DT25. My main band is a 11 piece and stage volume is a massive issue - for perspective my old Mesa Express 5:25 just didn't have enough, and even a Hot Rod only just coped. However, can using a super clean fender style pre-amp from the HD with the power amp of the DT open up the headroom significantly (more so than the amp alone)?


The DT50, whilst would be wonderful, is simply to large and heavy.



2. Ease of use - making usable patches for gigging.


I'm well aware that it's no plug and play setup and my past experience with Pod stuff has really put me off. In the POD XT days even minor volume/room changes had a drastic effect on your sound and whilst I don't expect miracles (all rigs need tweaking to the environment) is it easier now? I lost countless hours reading about Fletcher Munson curves, messing with EQs and such and am hoping that things might be simpler these days. The fun is creating tones, not spending hours on end trying to get them to translate at volume.


Does a basic amp tone scale up when increasing the volume (fine-tuning aside)? Can you make minor changes e.g. patch volume balancing without having to rework the entire patch?



3. Connections - 4 cable (for DT), Line 6 Link, XLR etc.


The Line 6 link sounds wonderful but I've read about problems with it changing modes on the L2t and people have reverted to using the POD's audio outs. Also the L6 link seems to bypass the master volume on the POD which is very undesirable. What are you guys using now the dust has settled?



4. Reliability


Any concerns or things to consider yet?



5. Which is currently preferred sound quality wise - DT or L2t? 


I completely understand 'tone is subjective', 'what sounds good to one person...' etc etc. However, is there a reason to go for one over if I'm probably going to be using full modelling from the POD? Does the DT give as accurate a representation of the different models as the L2t? Does the DT add a warmth and 'thump' you can't get with the L2t?



I understand that's a lot of info to ask for - I will be hopefully able to A/B them at some point to decide which is for me but a quick test run in a shop won't answer all of my questions. Anyway, we all love taking about gear which is why we're on guitar forums!


Thanks in advance!

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#2 Tboneous


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Posted 20 December 2013 - 07:50 AM

I can only help with a few of your questions. I have a DT 50 so clean head room is not an issue. It is a big amp but for me that drawback is minor.

As for the ease of making usable patches? At first it sucks! You've got to learn how each amp model works and responds. You have so many choices that you are going to need to sit for a while and tweak until it sounds right. Fiddling with it in your bed room is not going to cut it. You got to gig with it! I've had my rig for over a year and I am STILl fine tuning patches. But now that I am over the learning hump, it's a fantastic sounding rig!

L6 link works just fine and is super simple! I like simple.

Reliable? I've had one issue where the amp cut out on me duing a show. Took the amp home and everything worked again. Pissed me off to no end! There was another time I had issue but that was operator error. So basically one issue over a year of gigging. But an issue that I never experienced with my Two Rock. In short, I always bring a back up!

The "Dream Rig" is the Pod Hd 500(X) DT or L series and a Variax. You didn't mention your variax. Do you have one? Which model?
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#3 aggravation


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Posted 20 December 2013 - 10:18 AM

I have the HD500x with the DT25 and it can get a loud clean sound going. But loud in my home studio room and loud in your bands environment may be quite a different thing. I never have pushed a really clean tone to the max to see how much headroom I have.


In spite of how much I love the DT I find myself using the PodHD500 direct into my studio monitors at least half the time because I'm using a TwoNotes Torpedo CAB in the HD500's loop just after the mixer as the speaker cab and it sounds incredibly good. So I think if I was in your place I would go with the FRFR solution. It gives you so much more flexibility with massive headroom and the ability to mix in other channels from your bands mix.


The one caveat is I never spent much time with the PodHD's speaker cabs since the Torpedo CAB sounded so much better right away so I may not love the FRFR over the DT if I wasn't able to get the PodHD's speaker cabs to fulfill my needs...

I know a lot of people are just fine with the factory speaker cab sims so it probably is a better choice to go FRFR in your band situation. Clean headroom isn't something you can fake. You either have enough or you are doomed.

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#4 djprentis


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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:02 AM

Hi guys, 


Thanks for your thoughts. 


R.e. the Variax, it's something that I would add but probably afterwards (to stagger the cost) as it's the one piece of the 'trinity' I wouldn't need right away.


I agree that without the headroom you need, you're doomed from the start which is a shame because the DT is such a compact package. Size and weight is a real issue because I gig a lot all over the place and we often car share meaning that anything bigger/heavier than, say, an average 1x12 isn't an option. The DT50 1x12 is pushing AC30 weight and dimensions let alone the 2x12.


R.e. patches: I don't mind fine tuning (I've always been a fiddler with my pedals) and would anticipate it taking a long time to get those sounds in my head out. I like to think of that as part of the fun. However, If you set a very basic and quick (say, just an amp model without effects) clean, crunch and lead sound could you be off and running after a quick balance of patch volumes at gig level (specifically if you went the FRFR route)? I'd like to think that you could get the basics of a tone in place and working in a live situation without to much hassle and then continue to build over time. With my old XT this was impossible as volume change didn't just affect a 'tone' you had built but render it useless. 


I'd also find that even simply changing guitars rendered patches unusable as I'd have to then mess around with EQs for hours. Again, unlike with the older gear, I'd hope that if I swapped from say a Variax to my Strat or PRS (because I fancied a change) that I wouldn't have to rebuild a patch for each guitar - I'd hopefully just make a couple of tweaks to the treble, mid and bass knob. I also must stress that I appreciate any rig (even just guitar>lead>combo amp) changes character when you go from practice to recording to rehearsal to gig volume or swap guitars.


I know from videos that you can get some stunning tones with the HD, it's just being able to use those sounds live that concerns me. It's like the holy grail of guitar within arms reach - too good to be true!


Thanks again for your responses!

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#5 malnack



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Posted 23 December 2013 - 10:51 AM

I've had the HD500 for a few years and the DT25 for about 2 years. I just added a JT59P.


Getting the volume levels even between patches is indeed the most time consuming part. When I first got the HD500, I set up a different patch for every song in our set list. The changes in volume between them caused me to rethink that approach. When I added the DT25, I was amazed with the quality of tones that I could get. So I consilidated from lots of patches to just a few; a clean, a crunch, and a distorted. That worked pretty well for me for over a year. Then I decided to simplify even further; one patch that has about everything I need as a foot click option. I started by getting a clean patch for my Strat and then assigned  chorus, delay, tube overdrive, swell, distortion, and volume to the footswitches and volume pedal. Now it was simple for a gig to have everything I needed without adversly affecting volume levels.


Since adding the Variax, I've started over with a similar concept. Have a few base patches that are best suited to the guitar model that I'll be using. Start with the best clean patch for the guitar model in question, and then build on top of it with the other effects.


If I had more time available and if we gigged more often, I'd probably spend more time creating mre song specific patches.The way I'm using it is that today I have a pretty good aproximation of an AC30 with some great effects and a nice tube overdrive. If I tire of it, I can change things up and have a Marshall type amp. I'm still carrying a small rig to the show and I know that the levels are going to be pretty consistent for the entire show.


I have not tried the L2. It does look promising.


My gear has been entirely reliable for lots of shows over the last few years. I did have an issue of the amp cutting out once and traced it to a faulty L6 link (DMX) cable.


Hope this helps,



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#6 djprentis


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Posted 24 December 2013 - 04:51 AM

Hi Brent,


Thanks for your reply and it is indeed helpful. That seems like a pretty logical and workable approach you're using. It's reassuring to hear that, whilst it obviously works in theory, building on one base tone (and then adding fx as required) can still give you a satisfying 'rig'.


That's also what I was hoping to hear - you can strip things down a bit for live use eliminating a few of the variables that might be problematic on stage (like volume across patches).


If anyone else has any thoughts or experiences to add, it's much appreciated!





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#7 Joer43


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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:35 AM

Just got L2t, JTV89F AND HAD HD500. STARTED PLAYING WITH IT AND ON THE EARLY SIDE OF THE LEARNING CURVE. Any suggestions would be awesome...

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#8 rslongi


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Posted 30 December 2013 - 05:27 AM

Just bumping this thread.  I have the JTV59 and the HD500...wrestling with the decision between the DT25 and L2 to finish out my dream rig.  Would love to hear more input from those that have tried both...

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#9 ColonelForbin


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Posted 13 January 2014 - 12:27 PM

Just to offer a totally "what's behind door# 3" viewpoint / speculation...


JANUARY 23rd?????? New L6 Amp? I can give L6 props here : the NSA could take some tips from Line6 on how to control information release. It's easier to learn national secrets that the POTUS wants hidden than it is to get info about new L6 releases before the time they choose to tell us.



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