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My Tonal Dilemma

hd500 pod hd stereo dt dream rig 4cm frfr

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#1 radatats

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 12:43 PM

in my eternal quest for tone I have ventured down many roads and I am firmly committed to the JTV/POD HD combination.  However, there still remains the final piece of the puzzle, the physical amp and speaker combination.  I am lucky enough to have a very nice tube combo with an FX loop for the 4 cable method, a DT25 head with a 2X12 cab for L6 link and a Velocity 300 with a pair of Peavey 15" PA cabs for my FRFR rig.  Each has its own specialties and its own limitations.

 

The tube combo with 4cm is a PITA to setup.  Getting levels right throughout and keeping the noise down is not easy.  I have to build special patches for it and set the POD to Combo Power whenever I use it.  There is no real payoff in tone vs the other setups either.  As a standalone amp for taking to open mics or jam sessions it is fine but still a 2 trick pony (2 channels).

 

The DT sounds awesome as anyone who has one will tell you.  Still, it has limitations too.  While I have created and shared workable solutions, it is not good at doing acoustic or synth tones.  My particular rig is heavy to cart around too.  Still the added features like topology, pentode/triode are nice to have.  Again though, it automatically switches me to Stack Power and I have to create a whole set list of patches just for the DT.

 

The FRFR rig is as good as the DT to my ears on just about everything.  I leave the POD set to Studio Direct and have a boat load of patches set for it.  It works in mono and stereo just as well.  Electric tones are solid and acoustic tones clear and resonant.  I can do synth tones and all kinds of trippy delays, mods and reverbs playing off the stereo.  I can also use this rig as a back line/ monitor setup while also feeding the same signal to the main PA since it is Studio Direct.  It isn't pretty though.  Having an old pair of PA speakers just doesn't look cool right?

 

So here is my dilemma.  Which solution do I concentrate on?  Frankly I am tired of wasting calories on all 3 methods.  It's tough enough chasing one rabbit down a hole without trying to nab 3 of them.  While I may keep the combo just for use on its own, I need to settle on one POD solution and stick with it.  I am considering selling the DT, cabs and the FRFR rig and using the cash to reconfigure with a quality pair of powered monitors or even keyboard amps.  I have also thought of selling the FRFR rig and sticking with the DT but it just isn't taking root with me.  If I sell the lot, combo, DT and FRFR I might be able to swing a pair of L2 speakers.  Would it be worth it?  I don't know.

 

So tell me what you are using and why.  What made you go that route and would you change it if you could?  What other FRFR solutions are you using besides L series and would you recommend them?  Bring it on...    :)


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#2 hurghanico

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 04:18 PM

So tell me what you are using and why.  What made you go that route and would you change it if you could?  What other FRFR solutions are you using besides L series and would you recommend them?  Bring it on...    :)

 

Hi Rad :)

 

I'm using a Roland keyboard amp..

It does what I expect from a reliable FRFR system done mainly for live use..

it has some channels in case you need to plug in also other instruments at the same time..

previously I had a powered monitor but I didn't like it as much..

I didn't try all the other solutions, so I can't say which one is absolutely the best for me, in particular looking at the quality/price ratio, but at the moment I'm fine with this system..


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#3 radatats

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 04:55 PM

Hi Rad :)

 

I'm using a Roland keyboard amp.. It does what I expect from a reliable FRFR system done mainly for live use.. it has some channels in case you need to plug in also other instruments at the same time.. previously I had a powered monitor but I didn't like it as much..

I didn't try all the other solutions, so I can't say which one is absolutely the best for me, in particular looking at the quality/price ratio, but at the moment I'm fine with this system..

 

Thanks Nico!  I am also looking at the new Behringer KXD-12 but it is still not released... a pair of those is less than one L2...


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#4 radatats

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:52 PM

I would love an FRFR set-up, and I've been looking at various options (EV, QSC, etc). The Stagesource stuff seems like the ideal way to go, but all the reports of obnoxious rattling at stage volume has me spooked a bit. Supposedly has something to do with the fan, and a fix is expected eventually...but I'm holding out. Way too much coin to drop on something that might end up farting at me when things get loud.

And I agree...none of the FRFR options "look" like a guitar rig. But I'm too old to care at this point, lol. Less to lug around, and when I'm packing up at 2:30 am, I won't give a rat's a$$ what it looks like.

 

Thanks cruisin...  yep, I don't really want to pay over a grand for a quality pair so I have to keep looking.  If whatever I end up with can double as PA then that's bonus too...  if I go that route...


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#5 jandrio

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 02:25 AM

Hi there radatats . :)

4 many-many years I've been playing classic rock lead with a 1972 Strat (with 3 position selector switch) and Fender Fender Prosonic Custom Shop tube amp, really cool 'n original pure vintage stuff.

Since I got the JTV/HD500 bundle, all this gear is now decommissioned (the Strat is still my "disaster-plan" guitar, the Prosonic stays packaged @home).

I connect the JTV via VDI 2 the HD500 and I am using only the XLR’s out 2 the PA 4 ALL sounds (acoustic + electric) with “Studio direct” output mode (in stereo).  

If no IEMs or other venue-supplied stage-monitor-system is available, I run the 1/4 out of the HD500 2 a small combo (effects loop return), using the amp only as stage monitor.

Each song has at least one different patch, in an effort 2 mimic the original studio recording sound (I know this is the most difficult path 2 implement, but the results are most rewarding).

I always power the HD500+JTV through a UPS (tech specs attached here).

Future expansion plan (4 stage monitoring purposes ONLY) is L2m/s or Roland keyboard amp, like Nico's and a second "disaster-plan" JTV/HD500 bundle.

I believe the JTV+HD500 directly XLR'ed 2 PA, no amp, is the optimal solution 4 gigging AND studio recording as well.

rgds/john


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#6 radatats

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 03:21 AM

Hi there radatats . :)  I always power the HD500+JTV through a UPS (tech specs attached here). Future expansion plan (4 stage monitoring purposes ONLY) is L2m/s or Roland keyboard amp, like Nico's and a second "disaster-plan" JTV/HD500 bundle. I believe the JTV+HD500 directly XLR'ed 2 PA, no amp, is the optimal solution 4 gigging AND studio recording as well.

rgds/john

 

Thanks John!  Good thinking on the backup plan...


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#7 billlorentzen

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 07:40 PM

I mostly use a pair of Yamaha DXR 10 powered cabinets. They sound really good, and they have many EQ options for use as floor monitors or on poles, or with a sub. If I'm going through a PA, what I usually do is aim one at me as my monitor and one sort of across the stage at the drummer and bass player. Or, if I need it to fill the house, I just aim them out. I haven't used poles in these scenarios.

Obviously they sound perfect for acoustic patches, or if I run blues harp through an amp on the mic input.

When I play with my duo or as a single I use them with a sub. So you get a PA out of the deal too.

Another option is my Atomic Reactor, which is almost an FRFR amp, but adds a little tube mojo. It sounds pretty nice too, but frankly I don't need more tube mojo with the Pod HD, so it doesn't see much use.
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#8 radatats

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 03:30 AM

I mostly use a pair of Yamaha DXR 10 powered cabinets. They sound really good, and they have many EQ options for use as floor monitors or on poles, or with a sub. If I'm going through a PA, what I usually do is aim one at me as my monitor and one sort of across the stage at the drummer and bass player. Or, if I need it to fill the house, I just aim them out. I haven't used poles in these scenarios.

 Thanks Bill.  i was looking at those and the DXR12's too... one more thing to consider...


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#9 Leftzilla

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 05:44 AM

radatats-I have been using a Behringer 50 watt keyboard amplifier for live work as a monitor if needed.  Other than that I have been running direct to the PA for botha original prog band that just played RosFest and an 80's cover band and folding back through the monitors.


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#10 ColonelForbin

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 06:02 AM

I have been brainstorming pedal / effect sequence lately, with the intent of incorporating external / analog pedals into the JTV+HD500+DT25 rig. While I was driving to work today, a variation of an idea I had about dual-outputs / dual-paths came back to me, so I will pass it along to you as a side-road to the question you asked in this thread- this may possibly be a totally killer idea, or maybe not -at the very least, it will serve to let you explore an option for how to work around some of the issues you mention.

 

Here's the idea, in as simple expression as possible:

 

Use both the VDI and 1/4" outputs from the JTV to feed both the DT25 and the HD500.

 

Send the 1/4" cables into some cool stomp boxes and create a more 'traditional' rig using some drives, wahs, whatever - into the DT25. Maybe even put some more effects into the DT25 effects loop. That becomes your "path A". Place a tuner pedal that you can set to "mute" to be able to switch off the DT25 signal. A variation on this, would be get an "A/B" splitter box, and run the main signal chain into the front of the DT25, and a side chain into just the DT25 effects loop. More on that in a minute.

 

Next, set up your HD500 with the studio/direct patches, run the outputs (in stereo if you want) into your existing FRFR speaker setup, or maybe into a pair of L2's or something like that.

 

So, now the crux of the JTV+DT25 issue is the acoustic models. The idea about the A/B splitter could be achieved in a couple ways. Easy way, use that tuner on mute on the 1/4" signal, and that cuts off the front input path. Then, program the HD500 to send a 1/4" effects loop out, and depending on what you want to do with processing for the acoustic signal, if you place the FX loop at the end of the signal chain, you would then route that FX loop send to the FX loop return on the DT25.

 

At this point, you could also move the FX loop around in the signal chain, depending on what sounds best going into the return on the DT25. You could technically also make that FX loop on/off status controlled by footswitch assignment or just patch routing. When  you switch back to an electric guitar model, you could even keep the fully processed HD500 path active out that FX loop and merge that with what you are hitting the front input of the DT25 with - in theory.

 

The primary reason for doing this, and given the flexibility of the HD500 in terms of programming the patches, you could send a "Dry" JTV signal at the front of the signal chain out the Fx loop into the Fx return of the DT25, and do nothing to process it except amplify it. Or, you could set that FX loop send at any point in the signal chain; maybe it sounds better here or there, who knows. But you'd essentially get "full rig" switching for when that FX loop send is going or not based on both patch construction and possibly footswitch assignment - if you are using the "all 8" FS mode, vs the 4 FS mode + 4 bank switches. Whichever gives you more "actual" control over your signal.

 

For me, I am leaning toward the 8FS mode, just to be able to play with "controlled" chaos, giving myself over to swiching individual items on/off, instead of relying on "predicting" what I will want to do in how I program the patches.

 

Now, this idea has many limitations, not the least of which, you can't use the l6link to control the DT25. So it's definitely not ideal. And, you'd be setting yourself up to spend a bunch of $$$ on effects pedals to put in the 1/4" signal path.

 

However, you could do some pretty interesting things.

 

Another variation on this, would be create a dual path in the HD500 programming, and split the variax and the variax mags, and send the mags out the HD500 FX loop into the DT25 on path "A", while processing the variax models on path "B", or reverse, whichever seems more feasible.

 

Again, I am already kind of down this rabbit hole of thought, due to my more recent attempts to combine the HD500 signal chain with a stomp boxes in general, and haven't really put it all together quite yet - looks like that will happen this weekend, so I will probably try out some variations on this idea.

 

Personally, I am still trying to figure out how to retain the "amp switching" function on the DT25, though it's not 100% crucial, since I can still switch amp models with the HD500 if it came down to programming - though in many ways, that sort of writes the DT25 out of it's more valuable feature, so - good luck sorting through this mess of a bunch of ideas! I hope you get something awesome to work, I feel like you are on the cusp of getting it to all function in a way that will benefit alot of people around these parts when you make that break through.
 

Cheers! :)


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#11 radatats

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 08:47 AM

Thanks Leftzilla and Colonel...  The goal here is to SIMPLIFY not COMPLICATE!  hahaha....  Wow, I can honestly say I wish you well in your quest but I will NEVER go that route. 

 

I really like the DT but I am heavily leaning towards letting it go along with the heavy cabs and my current mini PA rig.  I am not currently playing with a band but I want to be ready if the opportunity pops up.  So playing direct through the PA is a great idea but I am not there now.  I think I will be better off with a pair of quality FRFR units (powered speakers, keyboard amp) that I can use both in my studio and easily grab and go to a gig or jam session.  I don't even need to take two if its just to jam.  Most of them have at least 2 channels, some with mini mixers and even their own effects.  That would let them do double duty as a small PA if needed.  Sounds like I am talking myself into it...

 

Keep the ideas coming... it's really helpful to hear what others are actually using in the real world.


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#12 ColonelForbin

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:25 AM

Yeah, a keyboard amp does sound pretty good with the HD! I guess, I realized there is a strange and noticeable difference in how the HD500 gear sounds *with* a drummer in the room, vs. without. I think the approach with a FRFR speaker, it ends up wanting to be a floor monitor in front of you, or to the side. Keyboard amp could go in a more traditional position, but anything other than a guitar amp doesn't sound right behind you.


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#13 radatats

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:48 AM

Keyboard amp could go in a more traditional position, but anything other than a guitar amp doesn't sound right behind you.

 

Do you mean to the audience or to you as the player?


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#14 ColonelForbin

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:48 AM

One idea you could work with; run the XLR out from the DT to the XLR in on a full-range speaker system. The L2t/m for example, would sound awesome as your floor monitor tilted back in front with the DT in a 'traditional' amp stand type setup. Or put the DT cab up on an amp stand, and turn an L2t on it's side and lean it back against the front of the amp stand.

 

I am guessing that would still mean you could run the XLR out from the L2 speaker setup to the FOH mix. (or out of whichever FRFR setup, like a keyboard amp would do the same)

 

In terms of signal routing, there are lots and lots of options that would allow you to set the gear up in various ways and means, to allow the JTV acoustic signals to be processed differently than the electric. Voodoo Labs makes some cool amp, pedal and whatnot switching hardware. Further down the rabbit hole!

 

I am trying to zone in on what seems to be the biggest challenge to the rigging you are working on - which is getting the JTV acoustic models to sound right, and if that won't work with a DT rig, how to switch the DT in and out of the signal path while using the L6link... Like, sending FX loops out or other means to bypass the preamp - like your "Rads Acoustic DT" patches.

 

Somethings to think about, I will have time this weekend to plug in and see what happens!


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#15 ColonelForbin

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 06:58 AM

Do you mean to the audience or to you as the player?

 

Well, sort of both! A keyboard amp to a keyboard player is often set up as a side fill, and is somewhat determined by their placement on stage. In my previous band, the keyboard usually sat 90 degrees to the rest of the band on one side of the stage, and his keyboard amp was then positioned as his side fill monitor.

 

I think what happens, is when you have FRFR gear on stage, it doesn't always translate well to the audience because it's in a different plane of sound from the mains. That' why I was always obsessive about putting *everything* into the main mix, even in smaller bar gigs. I wanted a full mix coming out of both mains, obviously with the vocals on top of the mix, since that was their sole source of amplification, but I also wanted the bass DI, and a kick mic, a snare mic, and an overhead at minimum for the drums, and mic the lead guitar, and DI the keyboards, and make sure everything was in some way, coming from that single plane of amplification.

 

Alot of sound guys don't think like that, they mix to the "room", and leave the lead guitar out of the mix, and don't even try to mic the drums if they can be heard acoustically from the stage plane. To me, that sounds like a muddy mess, and the ears strain trying to reconcile the source of sound being divided up into several levels and planes of volume. The bass rig from the back of the stage, the drums not crisp and present when lower level dynamics were employed.

 

Treat every mix like you are on a huge stage with giant main speakers. That's just my crazy approach, would cause some people more stress than they'd like. I even do the same thing at rehearsals with the M20d. I run a full multi-track recording, and then just monitor what we need to hear. A touch of kick drum and bass guitar all around, and mostly vocals.

 

But I've gotten some awesome recordings that way, which are a lot of fun to mix after the session - snare under, snare over, stereo condensors on the drums, kick drum, even sometimes toms. Mic the other guitar amp, DI off my DT25, DI the bass, mic the percussion guy.

 

In the world of sound, to me, "less is less" and "more is more". You need those tom mics for maybe 20% of any given song - but having them during the fills makes the drum sound amazing instead of just  "there". Heck, I've been toying with the idea of running two mics on the other guitar amp, and add a mic to my DT25, so I get four tracks of guitar total. Why not?

 

Practice thinking live, and thinking about what sounds good to the listener and the audience, and work backwards to what sounds good to you, then connect them.


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