Up until last week I've always had problems getting levels and volume from the POD at consistently the same level so that you can switch from high gain models to clean without tweaking the amp settings, mixer setting and master output all the time. Set it in the house for a gig, then find at the gig sound check you need to adjust, then when people soak up all the sound have to adjust again. Also the sound tone has been alright but never really performed like some of the tones you here when you play some professional samples on-line.
I'd always put his down to signals levels (mic, inst, line etc) and the combination of the stack, direct, combo and power and the amp. To some extent this is true but I've got a pretty good amp Blackstar HT20 and have never quiet got the tones out of it via the POD that I do when going the guitar to amp route. I'd tried 4 cable method to stop pre-amp stacking, HD direct to the fx return loop to go to the power amp side etc and all sorts of other combinations including DI's and monitors to try and work out the differences. I accept that there will be a little different but some of my tones were pretty crap sounding and I couldn't seem to work out why.
I realised last week that everything you do with settings above is all about the carrier levels not the musical signal wave where the tone is. The lights came on and I had the tools to do something about it also. So hooked the POD HD direct to Reason and used that as the HD ASIO interface rather than the Balance. Fired up the BIG meter set to VU and Peak with the hold level marked and switched in a couple of patches. Levels very messy and all over the place transient clipping, VU hitting red + dB's, it's digital so if you do that it's never going to sound great.
Left POD HD output to stack and little black switch to amp and started systematically on the POD HD using the Amp drive and volume plus the Mixer output to get the VU to about -16dB and checking that the peak didn't take too far an excursion. The other thing that instantly jumped out at me was left/right panning and the routing, I'd normally just run one chain panned to the middle. However keep the signal path 1 left and signal path 2 right you get a VU and Peak at the same level, pan either one and they'll deviate, obvious when you see it but not intuitive as the sneaky channel 2 chain can have an impact with nothing on it really.
With my amp Levels great, Volume great, Master now is a volume signal master regardless of the amp patch's and effects. - Happy days, just have to try it with another amp at the next practice to see if it is now really plug and play.
Maybe should have posted this to the knowledge base but thought I share as it's solved one of my headaches.