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Using Hd500x - Baby Steps?


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#1 maddog24

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:48 AM

Hello all - was wondering if someone could offer some advice or thoughts.

 

I have a DT25 amp with Variax and getting tones I'm happy with for now using the DT25 amp models, but with a few stomp boxes.

 

Recently acquired a HD500X and have a gig coming up that I want to try this out with live (fairly new to gigging as well!). Got all the relevant cables to make up the dream rig.

 

Was a bit thrown when the practically all sounds coming out of the standard presets sound really thin and wiry and not really usable for me in a live band setting. So I have spent a little time creating my own presets to get a chunkier sound.

At this point in time though I don't really have much time to play around and experiment much so I have just concentrated on getting some presets created with the right amount of drive/effects, FX switching, and volume pedal for our set list.

 

At the moment therefore all my presets do not have an amp model in them – I figured I’d just use the amp models on the DT25 – and fiddle around with the basic e.q. and master volume on the amp itself, and change the models on my guitar manually like I have been doing so far.  My reason for this is that I don’t want to lock the presets into a preamp model just yet as it’s a pain to get the laptop out in a practice to change stuff if the sound is not right. (i.e. in HD Edit, the icon for the amp is just blank).

 

Does it matter that I don't have a preamp specified in the preset? - Is this a valid approach or is it kind of dumb? 

 

Is this actually doing what I think I’m intending it to do? (I don’t really know what switching the dream rig does by itself in this situation) – is there a setting I need to check to make sure that the DT25 pre-amp is not bypassed or does HD500X realise that you are not specifying a preamp and  automatically sends signal through the DT25 preamp?

 

I do realise that i'm not yet using the full potential of the unit, and somehow I probably need to get to the point where the HD500X drives everything including acting as the preamp (bypassing the preamp on my DT25 and just using the power amp stage and cab) - but for now just want to stay as flexible as possible as its the first time I will be using this in a gig.

 

Thanks in advance


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#2 cruisinon2

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:41 AM

You got it...baby steps.

 

Forget the presets...they're mostly useless. Same goes for most of the stuff on customtone. The 500x is not a plug and play unit. You will need to spend a considerable amount of time tweaking things to get it to sound the way you want. For use with the DT amps you will usually want to use the pre-amp only models with cab sims. And if you're connected with L6 link, the output settings will be configured automatically by the DT. This is what I've seen thrown around on the forums...I don't have a DT myself, so someone with more experience will chime it I'm sure, but I think I mostly got it right.

 

But regardless of what amp you're running it through, there tends to be a steep learning curve with this thing. There are many deep edit parameters to play with that will affect your sound, and there's just no way around spending a lot of time with it before you will be comfortable. I wouldn't rush into a live situation with it either (or most other pieces of new gear for that matter)...if you find yourself having a Spinal Tap moment on stage, trying to fiddle with gear that you don't know upside down and backwards tends to makes things worse.


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#3 jenningsmusic

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 08:41 AM

I will be keeping my eye on this post. I, too am frustrated that there are really no useable presets on my new HD500X. I remember when I got my Vetta II back in the day, there were a lot of factory presets that were ridiculous and completely unuseable but there were at least a few that I loved and only required a bit of tweaking. I can't find anything like that on the HD500X. I am running this thing through my StageSourceL3ts and cannot get a good sound. Admittedly, I haven't spent much time yet but is it too much to ask to have a couple presets that sound good out of the box? I hope there are more replies to this post that can help me and maddog24 out.


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#4 cruisinon2

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

I will be keeping my eye on this post. I, too am frustrated that there are really no useable presets on my new HD500X. I remember when I got my Vetta II back in the day, there were a lot of factory presets that were ridiculous and completely unuseable but there were at least a few that I loved and only required a bit of tweaking. I can't find anything like that on the HD500X. I am running this thing through my StageSourceL3ts and cannot get a good sound. Admittedly, I haven't spent much time yet but is it too much to ask to have a couple presets that sound good out of the box? I hope there are more replies to this post that can help me and maddog24 out.

 

The real problem is that you can read other people's suggestions until you turn blue and start spitting wooden nickles, and still not find a tone you like...just because a patch works for my guitar, amp, and fingers doesn't mean it will sound the same with your set-up. In fact, it's pretty much guaranteed not to...too many variables in play. There are lot's of ways to set things up, and none of them are "right" or "wrong". If it sounds good to you, then it's "right".

 

There are no magic bullets here, and no instant workaround for the trial and error stage, which admittedly can be frustrating.

 

That said, since you're going into an FRFR amp, you will probably want to be using full models, as opposed to the pre-amp only ones, and keep your output setting on studio/direct. I believe the various modes that the Stagesource amp has (electric guitar, acoustic, etc, etc) can be configured in each patch on the 500X if you're running L6 Link to the L3T. After that it's just a matter of experimenting until you hit on something that you like. It's not rocket science, but it is time consuming...days to weeks kind of time consuming. Some don't like hearing that, but it's the nature of the beast. You need to mess around with all the deep edit parameters too (SAG, ER, BIAS, BIAS EXCURSION, THUMP, MASTER VOLUME...the one specific to each amp, not the global master volume control for the whole unit). If you only dial in the gain, bass, mids, and treble and call it a day, you're ignoring a ton of stuff that can further shape your sound.


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#5 maddog24

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 01:34 AM

Thanks for the replies so far – general consensus in this thread others I have read since point to lots of experimentation – so I have bit the bullet and spent more of my precious time on the unit, but I am determined to take small steps. Definitely don’t want a spinal tap moment!  (I have pretty much already been there).

 

Just as an update to this thread - I tried out my theory last night in rehearsal with some fairly patient band members - and it seems to work for me – leaving the amp model and cab out of the presets meant I controlled the overall amp model from the DT25  (realise this is probably not best way of using a preset – but it works for me at the minute as I am comfortable and familiar with my current DT25 amp sound – and it gives me a starting point and one thing less to worry about when setting up effects).

Not sure ifthe delays I setup after the empty preamp icon still cut in after the preamp stage of the DT25, but it sounded ok (am hoping the line 6 cabling and routing takes care of all the '4 cable method' stuff).

To control my levels in practice I made sure that I set up a volume pedal (set the range from 100% max  to 50% min to reduce the sensitivity of the sweep – and tweaked my master volume on the fly to set the max range)

 

When I get more time, I will experiment with controlling amp and cab models from the HD500X, but for now my priority is to get some usable sounds I am happy with.

 

Have got to say though – a laptop and HD Edit is pretty much essential. Not used anything like this before and gotta say it’s amazing. I love the way I can experiment with dragging the effects to different parts of the chain and hearing the difference it makes.


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#6 maddog24

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 02:17 AM

I will be keeping my eye on this post. I, too am frustrated that there are really no useable presets on my new HD500X. I remember when I got my Vetta II back in the day, there were a lot of factory presets that were ridiculous and completely unuseable but there were at least a few that I loved and only required a bit of tweaking. I can't find anything like that on the HD500X. I am running this thing through my StageSourceL3ts and cannot get a good sound. Admittedly, I haven't spent much time yet but is it too much to ask to have a couple presets that sound good out of the box? I hope there are more replies to this post that can help me and maddog24 out.

 

Yup - I’ve been through all the factory presets in band rehearsal and reckon none of them are usable live at all!

 

Some sound 'fun' when playing alone as no one else is filling the frequencies that the factory presets are hitting – but when you are with a band those frequencies get swamped out! None of the sounds had any ‘oomph’ and made my DT25 sound like I was playing out of a tin box.

 

My best recommendation is to not even bother tweaking the presets, and to setup your own. If I had a Stagesource, I would probably do the opposite of what I originally posted, and concentrate first on setting up a clean preset with just a full amp model /cab and nothing else. Maybe setup a few of your amp models and get the sound out of your stagesource that you are happy with as if playing your favourite amp.

 

Remember to lean a bit more on the mids as the bass frequency is taken care of by the ‘bass’ and the highs by the vocals and percussion. I would then save these to disk and use these as a solid base for experimenting with when adding effects (assuming you are using HD Edit – if you are not, it’s definitely worth the hassle). I’ve spent a few days now messing around with just simple effects and reckon I’m starting to get tones I’m happy with. It's actually helping me to understand effects a lot more.

 

On a side note - I’ve been really tempted by a Stagesource myself, but guess I need to figure out how to use what I’ve got first!


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#7 jenningsmusic

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:18 AM

Glad you don't mind me intruding on your post. I've gotten some good info from both of you guys. Thanks so much.


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#8 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 10:00 AM

It is really unfortunate that Line6 did not do a better job with the factory presets.  Most are not at all useful.  I recommend pulling some of the Custom Tone ones to  start with until you get comfortable making your own.  That's how I started and I found a few that I like.  I now feel that I understand the methods of making my own tones.


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#9 cruisinon2

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 10:18 AM

It is really unfortunate that Line6 did not do a better job with the factory presets..


I think this is probably a lot harder than it seems, for whatever reason. Patches that I really like with one particular guitar, sound horrendous with others, and thats only switching one variable. And from my experience with customtone, I don't think there's any way to really tell what a patch is gonna sound like with anything but the rig in front of you. I DLed dozens of things when I first got it, and had no better luck than with the factory presets. Some of them sounded so far removed from what they were supposed to be emulating, that I found myself wondering what could possibly have been going through the head of whomever posted it...I think this unit, more so than any other piece of gear I've owned, is very dependent on the other components in the rig, and whoever is behind the wheel.


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#10 Charlie_Watt

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 11:47 AM

I agree that rig and playing style make a huge difference but I have found many tones from Custom Tone that were a good starting point and sound far better than the presets from the factory.  I happen to like and use clean tones - and tones geared toward the JTV acoustic models.  I have found several good ones.


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