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HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Deny777 on 2011-03-14 20:00:22

Hi there good HD500 users and Line 6 Tech Support folks!

I've noticed that the EQ curves for the HD500 output modes that I've tried have some very weird settings:

Studio/Direct: Seems to have a high shelf filter for cutting frequencies above 5k-6k. This would be perfectly acceptable IF it didn't also have a V-shaped EQ curve which cuts the mids and boosts lows and highs (apparently in the 3k-4k range) which gives it a very unnatural character for almost any amp (well the Fenders sound OK like this I guess, but I'd still prefer a more natural tone). The low end on the Marshall models is simply unbearable, and as soon as I dial any amp to high gain it sounds like a metalhead kid's tone.

Combo Power Amp: This was my second option, it sounds a lot more natural BUT lacks the 5k-6k high shelf filter so it has lots and lots of fizz all over the place.

Combo Input: If I set lows and highs to "FLAT", this one is almost useable, however it lacks low end, has a bit too much midrange and instead of its high shelf filter cutting at 5k-6k this one seems to be set lower than that, maybe at 4kHz or so, and therefore it sounds a bit too dark.

I didn't test the stack options because they're supposed to have less bottom end than the combo ones so I didn't really care for them.

So here's my question: does Line 6 intend to make these EQ curves sound better? I mean, the HD500 is SO CLOSE to sounding awesome, is it  possible to do one of the following:

1. Drop the V-shaped EQ in the Studio/Direct output mode, OR

2. Add a 5.8 kHz 24 dB/8va high shelf filter to the Combo Power Amp mode, OR

3. Include, besides the output mode presets, a "custom" EQ curve that allows the user to select highs, lows and shelving frequency and gain (best option)

Also if there are workarounds to this problem that I could use with the current firmware (mine is 1.20), please let me know.

Cheers,

Deny



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by KozMcCharlie on 2011-03-14 20:28:24

I'd like to know what you did to get this info. Was it just running it through a spectrum analyzer? It would be really great to have a detailed plot for each mode, but especially for Studio/Direct where a GEQ could be used to undo the damage that this is doing in terms of potentially hard to dial in PAs...



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Deny777 on 2011-03-15 04:17:00

I didn't run it through a spectrum analyzer although it's perfectly possible to do so, I might get to it when I have the time for the sake of accuracy. My guesses are based on my experience on recording, tweaking tons of gear and operating mixing consoles at live concerts.

BTW I should add that I'm running my HD500 through the FX return of a Marshall Valvestate 8080 (one of the very first valvestate models) with a JBL-style speaker which has a fairly flat response curve with a little more high end than a conventional guitar speaker.



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Karl_Houseknecht on 2011-03-15 05:08:52

If you're running Studio/Direct into your amp and cab, it's going to sound bad and unnatural.  I would try Combo Poweramp or Stack Poweramp using the Preamp models on the 500.  You might also want to disable the cab emulation.  You'll get something much more amp-like that way.

Well, wait a second....now that I read your response again you say you're using a "JBL like" speaker.  Does it have a tweeter?  I mean, is it really full range?  If you get into a situation here where it's not necessarily a full range / flat response system and you're running Studio/Direct, it will sound like you're stuck between two worlds: the direct world, and the guitar amp world, and neither of them will sound great.



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Deny777 on 2011-03-15 05:50:49

Karl, thanks for your reply. No, my speaker doesn't have a tweeter and its frequency response is not all that different from a regular guitar speaker, it's a bit louder and has a bit more high end, that's it. However like I've said the Combo Power Amp output mode has way too much fizz to it, and I've tried turning the cabinet sims off and that way there's even more fizz. I understand how much a lot of people (especially the support guys) must *hate* the word "fizz" and I'm sorry to use it so much but that's what I hear.

Still there's something that puzzles me, why put a V-shaped EQ curve on the Studio/Direct output mode? Now I'm seriously thinking about taking spectrum analyzer snapshots comparing the output modes' emphasized frequencies to prove my point. Can't the job of EQing the guitar be left to be done in the mixing console (if at all)? Besides, cutting mids and boosting highs and lows is not exactly the best way to make guitars cut through the mix IMHO. Some may argue it will sound more "polished" this way but to my ears it sounds unnatural and processed, be it through my combo FX return or a PA.

And since the HD500 doesn't allow for dual modes (different output modes for XLR and 1/4" outs), I think that's one more reason to leave the signal as natural and unprocessed as possible.

My recent comparison references are:

- Toneport UX2 running Guitar Rig 4

- Digitech RP1000

- Boss GT-10

- Mesa Boogie Triaxis preamp

- Marshall JMP1 preamp



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Karl_Houseknecht on 2011-03-15 06:56:46

Deny777 wrote:

Karl, thanks for your reply. No, my speaker doesn't have a tweeter and its frequency response is not all that different from a regular guitar speaker, it's a bit louder and has a bit more high end, that's it. However like I've said the Combo Power Amp output mode has way too much fizz to it

This would indicate that your method of amplification falls somewhere between FRFR and a regular guitar amp.   This is tricky territory as neither Studio/Direct nor one of the poweramp output modes will sound good.  I liken your setup to the original Atomic amplifiers, which are no longer made because they've gone to a more FRFR setup with a tweeter.  The original Reactor line suffered from the same shortcomings that your rig does now.

I amplify my HD500 in one of three ways:

1.  Preamp models (with cab models on) through the effects return of a regular guitar amp.  I've tried my Mesa 5:50 Express 112 combo, my Fryette Sig:X head through either a 412 or 212 with T75's and V30's, or my Marshall TSL100 head through the same cabs.  In short, awesome tone.  Very natural and tube amp like.  First POD that's ever satisfied me this way.

2.  Preamp models into the front input of those three amps using Combo or Stack Front output settings on a clean amp setting.  Again, just wonderful, lively tone.

3.  Direct to FOH or into powered FRFR monitors in Studio/Direct (cab and mic models).  I've gone through my studio monitors, in-ears, and through SRM450's.  Again, it sounds wonderful.

If you go outside these three scenarios, you're asking for trouble of the kind you're experiencing.



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Deny777 on 2011-03-15 07:08:10

Again thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions Karl, I'll give your suggestions a try tonight when I get home, and I'll also try running the HD500 through a bunch of other amps as well as recording it through USB for my spectrum analysis purposes and get back here to post my results.



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by markbrid on 2011-03-15 08:07:07

Hmmm, the Marshall 8080 should respond the best using the Combo Power Amp EQ setting with Preamp type models, if you are plugging into the effects return.  It could be that the JBL speaker is causing the fizz; it might be worth trying a different speaker to see if that helps the fizz.  Does the JBL speaker sound fizzy when used with the 8080's internal preamp in Overdrive mode?

Another thing to check (if you haven't already) is that the output level of the HD isn't overdriving the effects return circuitry of the 8080.  I haven't looked at the specs, just the schematic, but the 8080 has several gain stages between the effects return jack and the master volume level.  The circuit is probably also designed to use low level guitar pedals as effects, meaning it has high gain.  I'd try running the master volume of the 8080 on full, and adjust the volume of the rig with the HD master volume.

I am currently using a Marshall 8008 power amp, which is basically a stereo version of the 8080 power amp, and it should work extremely well with the HD.  The Valvestate power amp is an excellent one as far as solid state goes.



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by Deny777 on 2011-03-15 18:29:17

Ah well I wish I could click on both Mark's and Karl's replies as correct but as soon as I clicked on Karl's I couldn't do the same for Mark's so sorry man, your's had to go with "helpful answer". Thanks a lot for your replies, I've found that once I dial the sweet spot on the gain knob this thing sounds just like Christmas

I still hear a bit of high end harshness around 3k-4k (especially at low volumes) but it's practically neglectable in the mix. One thing I've noticed is that the amp models have a lot more gain than their preamp counterparts, even considering the full amps have power amp distortion, whereas the preamp models have a lot more volume than the full amps.

I haven't gone as far as testing this one because I don't have a mixing board nearby, but I suppose that now that I'm using Combo Power Amp output mode and preamp models without cab sims I can't use the 1/4" outs to the FX return of my amp and the XLR outs direct to the board can I? Since I can't assign cab sims just on the XLR outs, if I connect those to a mixer it will be a total fizz fest

Which means I'll have to put a mic on my amp, which totally defeats the purpose of having the XLR outs in the HD500



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by markbrid on 2011-03-15 19:12:31

Deny777 wrote:

I haven't gone as far as testing this one because I don't have a mixing board nearby, but I suppose that now that I'm using Combo Power Amp output mode and preamp models without cab sims I can't use the 1/4" outs to the FX return of my amp and the XLR outs direct to the board can I? Since I can't assign cab sims just on the XLR outs, if I connect those to a mixer it will be a total fizz fest

Which means I'll have to put a mic on my amp, which totally defeats the purpose of having the XLR outs in the HD500

As of right now, unfortunately you cannot defeat cab sims on the 1/4" outs and have them enabled simultaneously on the XLR outs.  That feature is on the X3 and HD400 IIRC, and it's one of the reasons I bought a HD500 as it seemed obvious that it would be on there also.  I'm hoping hard that Line 6 adds the feature in a future software release, hopefully sooner rather than later.



Re: HD500 output modes & EQ curves
by philwilks on 2011-06-24 00:47:55

I have an HD500 and a Marshall 8080 (with the original speaker) and the two sound amazing together. I use the HD500 in the Combo Power Amp output mode and run it into the effects loop return on the Marshall. There is definately no "fizz" at any volumes, and I use this set up for home practice, band practice and gigging.

I'd say it's definately your speaker.




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