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Fingers Crossed, Kool-aid Consumed, G.a.s. Mitigated (for Now)


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#1 ColonelForbin

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 09:19 AM

Well, 2014 is going to be a great year! For me, it means getting back into playing music after a relatively lengthy hiatus, and buying myself some new Line6 gear. Almost a year at the job now, and it's looking good for where things are going.

 

Very excited to add the third piece to the "Dream Rig", my JTV59 arrives tomorrow from Zzounds.. Here's to hoping to arrives all in one piece! And that the powers which be get the corrected HD firmware updated ASAP! :)

 

A little history - preceded by a horrible Boss ME50 pedal, I moved to the X3L, used it for years, then switched up to the HD500 when it came out. (I've had  the HD500 since 2010).

 

Now, in 2014, I just added the DT25 1x12 combo last week, and when I saw the JTV's on sale, decided to go all the way down the rabbit hole. For what it's worth, Zzounds did price match the Guitar Center sale price, and they still offer the 8 payments plan. Added the Epiphone LP hard case to the order, so all in all, a relatively light monthly bill for the next 7 months to pay for the gear.

 

If you can put it all on a card you'll avoid some fees, since they all are offering interest free financing; though it would appear at least that Sweetwater will not price match (even though their price is $400 more than the guitar center sale price....) No tax with Zzounds either. G.C charges tax.

 

SO. Good timing with the arrival tomorrow, we have an after work jam scheduled for Friday, and Saturday I have off this week! Bammm! Psyched. Hopefully won't open the package and see a bent knob or some other horrible QC issue... Will keep ya'all posted tomorrow! Most likely also won't have time to update the firmware, though this is a new shipment that just arrived, so it's vaguely possible they already have 2.0 on it.

 

Anyhow, will have to get serious about learning how to program my patches on the HD500 now! I've always taken a minimalist approach to what I actually use on the POD. My thinking is now changing to the mode which sets all the FS buttons to control FX and amp parameters. I keep stepping on FS4 when I try to set the delay tap tempo. I may also set up some patches with the FS1-4 still doing patch changes, but make those four basically variations of a common theme / amp. As in, four duplicate Plexi patches, where the only difference is the amount of gain dialed in on the amp model. I'll need to spend some time testing out some ideas, now that I will have all three parts, and figure out what works best for my playing style and the type of music we'll do.

 

So, on that note, just yesterday had a thought about how I would describe what I play - in terms of role in the band. I would call me the "Synth Player". Yes, it's a guitar, and yes it emulates amps and guitars, and no it's not a keyboard - but more to the point, I wouldn't want to 'compete' with or attempt to match amp and guitar sounds being created by the other guy I play with. He's 100% analog - I actually just bought a used Keeley 4 knob compressor, and loaned it to him indefinitely to help his rig come together. Greatest analog pedal I have ever used! That thing in the FX loop of a nice tube amp is literally all you need.

 

I digress. My rambling goes to this idea: I am the keyboard player in the band. I just use a guitar to get the sounds.. Rather than being a "two guitar" lineup, I am thinking in terms of he is the guitar player, and I am the "synth" guitarist.

 

With the insane amount of variation available in amp models and guitar models, I would embrace the synthetic and digital nature of the sounds being created, and almost push them into less realistic tones - just sounds that are cool to hear, mix well with a guitar-bass-drums kind of funk/rock/blues/jam sound. I'd like to involve the looper as well, get into some exploration of space and breakdown the idea of "rhy guitar" and "lead guitar".

 

That's all for now. Just a though that hit me.. People always say "digital" with some derision or judgment or condemnation, but the reality is, most of what you hear at any big broadcast or concert or large scale music event involves a substantial amount of "digital". Whether it's the mixer, the amps, the PA, this that or the other thing - digital is not bad, it's just different.

 

You hear a keyboard do a guitar solo, and you think "Cool!". You hear a guitar modeller through an amp model do a solo, and you think "digital". For me, I'd like to make it sound like all the various instruments that the Variax can do; down the road, I'd love to have the ability to buy add on instrument models for the Variax - woodwinds, strings, keys, whatever. The JTV59 as a trumpet, or flute, or electric piano, or whatever! I realize that's more the MIDI world of triggers, and this is a different beast, but the two worlds are slowly coming closer.

 

Cheers!


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#2 ColonelForbin

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:19 PM

On that note, I can't wait to have the house to myself one weekend soon, where I can stay up late, and spend all day on a Saturday or Sunday experimenting with patches, amp models, and guitar models. I really want to find a way to use the acoustic models, which may take some tweaking to get them usable - between the DT25 not being the ideal vehicle for acoustic tones, and the new JTV firmware causing such a hulla-balloo, I feel I'll have my work cut out for me.

 

I suppose I'd like to start with the new firmware, so I have no pre-existing conceptions of what it should sound like - but if using the new firmware means popping sounds when changing HD patches, then rollback it is, and wait for a proper upgrade. I can live with subjective A vs B, which sounds better - but NO ONE will argue that a loud popping sound is something that is supposed to happen, when it didn't happen on a previous firmware, and that is where the subjective ends, and the support tickets begin.

 

What I am unsure of, is if this popping sound being reported is happening to everyone on the new JTV firmware, or if it is patch / setting specific. IE, they changed some things between 1.9 and 2.0, and in the process, created new guitar models. Those models may have settings that are causing the error noises - has anyone who experienced the popping patch change syndrome been able to make it stop whilst retaining the newest 'HD' firmware? Could it be DSP related? Does it exhibit this erroneous behavior on the HD500 and the 500x, or is it attributed to certain amp / model / fx / guitar model selections? Or is it just not our problem, Line6 needs to acknowledge their mistake, and FIX IT!?

 

Typically when you buy new stuff, you don't want to manage expectations so drastically on the first day of use. Like I have said elsewhere, I typically take a minimalist approach to my patch programs, so we'll know right quick if this is a DSP overload issue, or some unrelated entity. For example, when using the HD500 to change models on the JTV, does the popping have anything to do with the type of connection from JTV to HD? IE, does it pop or not pop when using 1/4" vs VDI, or does it matter if the L6 link to a DT is connected or not? I would imagine it matters not if connected via headphones or to an actual amp, but for conversations sake, and in terms of getting to the bottom of the problem quicker, a more point by point analysis of this problem is called for.

 

For example, person 'A' says they like the new JTV firmware. Person 'B' says it is horrible. That is subjective. Whereas, "does it make a loud popping sound when you force model change on hd500 patch?" is not subjective, it's a "yes" or "no" response. If yes, then - is there anything you can think of which would be causing this that can be edited at the user level? If all options are exhausted, then it's on Line6.


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#3 ColonelForbin

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:24 PM

I imagine the primary issue with how to use the acoustics, is that the elec guitar models are creating a line level signal - emulating the pickups. Whereas the acoustics, rather than emulating string response, and modelling wood and body response - the sound of a guitar with a mic on it, rather than just the sounds of the guitar. Sort of like with the HD500 - you can make it sound like an amp+cab with a mic on it - or you can make it sound like just the amp, and leave the mic to the actual air.

 

Perhaps with the acoustic models, if they had a type of setting on the JTV that is similar to the settings on the HD - studio/direct = acoustic in a room with a mic. "? (akin to combo/stack)" = sound of the acoustic guitar with no room / mic modelling.

 

I guess that is where it gets tricky - you are playing the electric models with one way of sound creation, and then the acoustic models shift to a different mode of thought. The strat model has nothing to do with "room" or "mic" - it's a strat with pickups plugged into something. Perhaps the acoustics could be thought of in a similar manner - here is a Martin with a mic on it. That sounds very different than a Martin with a piezo pickup plugged in..


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#4 edstar1960

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:57 PM

Regarding the popping noise.  It only happens when using the VDI to connect JTV to HD500, that is also the only connection method where you can utilise the HD500 to force model changes on the JTV which is precisely when the problem arises. It also only appears when using JTV fw2.0.  I do not get the problem on JTV fw1.9.   Others have reported the same problem on fw2.0, and others have reported they have not had the issue.   So whether it is something lying dormant that only some of us have stumbled upon, or it is something specific with our particular JTVs, or something to do with our specific setup, is yet to be determined.  I am sure you will let us know if you encounter the problem or if you are fortunate and don't hit it. 

 

I hope your JTV59 is a perfect model and that you don't have any issues with it and that you get many enjoyable hours playing it through your HD500 and DT25.   When these things work they are AMAZING !!  As demonstrated by the awesome Sean Halley and Paul Hindmarsh videos to name but two of many talented people producing awesome music with these tools!   


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#5 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:02 PM

My guess is that this problem is due to not driving the digital level to zero DC on all of the models (Going to the VDI).  When you switch models the level shifts and gives a pop.  Line6 should fix this!  I am sure they are aware of it and I am also sure that they know how to cure it.  By the way my older 500 Variax did this when switching to the Acoustic bank the first time only after power up.  You could then switch away and back and it did not pop.


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#6 edstar1960

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:17 PM

My guess is that this problem is due to not driving the digital level to zero DC on all of the models (Going to the VDI).  When you switch models the level shifts and gives a pop.  Line6 should fix this!  I am sure they are aware of it and I am also sure that they know how to cure it.  By the way my older 500 Variax did this when switching to the Acoustic bank the first time only after power up.  You could then switch away and back and it did not pop.

 

Oh yeah! I am fully aware of the pop when manually moving the the ACOUSTIC bank.  My Variax 700 did it, my JTV59 did it.    That is well known and was never fixed.   However, never had a problem when models being swapped from my X3L or the HD500, until I moved to fw 2.0.


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#7 ColonelForbin

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 11:27 PM

Yeah. Wow. This thing is AWESOME.

Just got home from the first real test drive. It really is incredible. I had previously jammed with my strat > hd500; and more recently added a DT25 combo. But tonight. With the JTV59, WOW.

from a technical standpoint, easiest rig setup ever..

From a tone and playability index, totally believable. By that, I mean, changing Variax models while keeping the HD 500 on same patch, some insanely cool pallettes to work with.

Pitch shifter: "Impressive. Most impressive."

I didn't delve too deep into any particular models, but was loving how the sound clarity was just exceptional. After finally realizing 'press the knob'... ◀;-) for sure there is a learning curve.

So. Which firmware? I have no clue... very interested to find out! Have not yet connected to Workbench, Monkey, etc..

I did record, so will post clips of our very rusty (mostly me being musically out of shape) jams. I ran the DT25 DI to hard left. SM58 on the other guitarists amp, panned opposite. Also did another file with onboard mics pointed at drummer. Tascam gadget, does two stereo .wavs at 24/96 to SD card.

I can say, the JTV + HD500 + DT25 is a great combination. All it took was one jam session to know this IS the Rig for Me..

Cheers and GoodNight!
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#8 ColonelForbin

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 11:16 AM

I've taken some time, to listen to the recording I made from my first run using the 'dream rig'.. It's a decent recording, in that I can listen to the room mics independent from the DI off the back of the DT25. I also had an SM58 on the other guitarists amp - which was not his regular rig, but still worked well to listen to the two parts isolated,

 

I've noticed - and this is likely by design - that the DI signal level from the DT25 XLR out is very low. Even with the recording level set to maximum, the line level was peaking out at maximum of -21DB, so I suppose I would wonder is there a setting somewhere that controls this signal level?>

 

Since I am recording at 24bit, it's not a big deal, it still sounds clear. The signal is really quite good, definitely sounds better to me that the XLR out from the POD. I don't totally understand what type of emulation is happening off the DT25 in terms of cabinet, but it does sound legit.

 

I was able to get some nice, sweet singing 'feedback' tones without really trying too hard, nor being particularly loud overall. I was really pleased with the JTV59 handling the A/D conversion; something tells me this is the optimal condition for getting the best response from the HD500, especially when connected to the DT25 using the XLR L6Link.

 

So, yeah, quite pleased!

 

I should be able to get some time in this coming week with digging in deeper on the JTV / Workbench side of things. I still haven't had the chance to figure out which firmware I am using!


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