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POD HD Start-up Guide
by MerlinFL on 2012-01-05 18:33:30

I wrote this elsewhere on this POD HD User groupd as a guide for a newbie to the POD HD experience and also hoping others who have dismissed, given horrible reviews, or returned the POD HD line of products because of the higher than average learning curve for such not-so-simple computer based gear.  Here is what I wrote and I hope it helps anyone who chooses to read it.

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Out of the box I would say the HD500 is NOT gig ready.  Does it function - certainly unless defective, but I don't think that is what you meant with your questions.

I offer my findings as a long user of Line 6 guitar gear exclusively, well almost as that has changed in the past few months) but I digress.  When I first got my HD500, I was very disappointed with the very limited number of amps/cabs compared to my Vetta which has 80 instead of the 16 (now updated to 22).  I think the factory presets are mostly unusable by most players.  The following is what I recommend you take as your first steps to get to know this product properly...

Forget about all your other gear except the guitar (or guitars) you plan to use with this unit.  Get a GREAT pair of headphones, DO NOT use an amp at low volumes at this stage.  This will seem very strange to you perhaps, and perhaps to any others who read this as well, but there are very good reasons I am writing my suggestions to you in this manner and in this step by step fashion.  The end result should make everything very clear - I hope.

be VERY careful with the power supply and how you plug it in, where it sits on stage, and take care to be as gentle as possible with the power connection point as it breaks quite easily.  A replacement power supply is about $50.00. and much worse if the jack inside the unit breaks or "falls in".  Sure it's all covered by a warranty, but who wants to wait weeks for something as simple as a power supply problem?

Take the time to find and either print or simply save the expanded HD500 Users Guide online.  The manual with the unit is far too basic to be much help.

While reading through the expanded manual...use the most recent version of Monkey to upgrade the unit to the full 22 amps/cabs with the added features of bias adjustment, etc. AND the POD HD500 EDIT software!!  This requires the use of the Line 6 monkey which is FREE if you do not have the most recent version.  then connect via the USB cable to your computers HUB directly and follow the updating procedures.

DO NOT even bother with ANY of the banks of presets in the POD HD EDIT software for the time being.  I STRONGLY SUGGEST working this way instead of working only on the unit as it will save you lots of time and make many "hidden" inner workings and signal paths of the unit much clearer.  Plus the advantage of copy and paste for some sections of repeated programming is useful.

After all the updating of all the hardware and software is finished, then go to an empty USER BANK and start there with a blank slate.  Any patches from any of the presets can be simply dragged in and dropped into any slot you choose and modified if needed.  But I would want YOU to get to know which amps are there and what default settings each amp has.  Each amp has two versions PRE and FULL.  Pre is just that...the PREAMP section of whatever amp you are looking at plus the FX you may choose to add in the signal chain.  HOWEVER, if using the unit without any amp you should choose FULL as it will then model whatever cabinets and microphones you desire.  Using the headphones automatically puts each amp into this mode.  This mode is also adjustable as you will read in the advanced manual.  This is an important step BEFORE you plug into the power section of the SpiderValve.  Some sounds may sound better for your purpose in PRE and others better in FULL.  But that will come later making those choices.

Without turning the volume up too loud and cause your ears to ring, plug your guitar into the 1/4" input jack.  put on the headphones and then sit with your HD500 connected to your computer with POD HD500 EDIT running.  As you change amps, you will hear each through the headphones and give you the best possible idea of what amps will do the job you are looking for.  Also, please do not let the name alone fool you.  Just because it's a Vox/Fender, does not mean it can't be used for heavy metal, or Bogner/Mesa can't be used for warm clean sounds.  That is a combination of your guitars volume knob setting and the input gain of each amp.  Seriously spend time checking out all the sounds in FULL mode as with headphones on -as I wrote before- the unit will default to FULL anyway.

One other bit about why headphones...It is so you can hear what the amp SHOULD sound like when turned up to a volume that the amp was designed to actually run at.  And you hear much more detail with GREAT headphones this way as well.  Truly great headphones will cost about $150.00 - 300.00 and is worth the expense if you are serious about getting the most from this unit.

LEARN - TRY - ADJUST - TWEAK - REPEAT............this should go on for quite a while until you get to know each and every nuance of each amp model you wish to use.

Once all that has taken place, then simply run the HD500 into the power amp in or FX return and there you have your SpiderValve as your power amp to the preamp of the HD500.  You'll know everything you need to know to choose PRE or FULL for each patch you intend to create if you've taken my instructions seriously up to this point.

Last thing before playing out - turn your amp up to the stage volume you usually perform at and then make any final tweaks or adjustments to the HD500.

If you wish to cut some corners, there are TONS of worthwhile patches @ CustomTone.com located from this website.

If after all this you still wish to use the SpiderValve amp models and just use the HD500 as an FX pedal, that is obviously your choice.  no matter what I've written, it always comes down to what is best for the player using their gear to get the best performances possible.  You might find that you don't need the amp models on the SpiderValve which would give you much more flexibility in WHERE you place your FX in the signal chain.  Using the SV amp, you are limited to all your FX being in front of the power section unless we get into the "FOUR CABLE METHOD" and I'll leave that method for others who use it and like it.

I hope this helps you and anyone else who might read this small booklet of one persons findings on how best to work with the HD500.

Take care,

Neal

PS - you can always use your current FX pedals inside the FX loop of the HD500 which also gives you options on where to place those FX in the signal chain.  Dual amp sounds are best in my opinion as you create TWO independent signal paths that will both end up in front of your SV power section.  In other words, you can have FX in one path that are different or the same as ones in the other signal path.  And each amp can be completely different from each other for switching back and forth or combining for wider sonic possiblities.



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by MerlinFL on 2012-01-05 18:40:37

Posted in case a visual of my rig might help substantiate that I do know this gear.

Line 6 rig_2012.jpg

Please ignore anything NOT Line 6 for the purposes of these forums.



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by spikey on 2012-01-09 16:16:34

Nice Merlin, thanks.

I might add, for all of us old school amp users, the HD doesnt work like a normal amp with a normal cab does. Let me explain...

There are several "pre- amp" out settings and only "one" (at the moment) that can be used at a time. You pick the one you depending on where its going to be sent to. For example, studio direct mode might be sent to your board or to a DAW interface with studio powered monitors, and stacked pwr amp mode for sending to the Marshall (or DT-50) amp with your real speaker cabinet. The stacked pwr amp mode sent to your amplifier is used most of the time with speaker emulation off, and the studio direct mode is used with your choice of speaker emulation from the many that are available in the HD. That said, there is no hard set rules, use whatever sounds better to you (speaker emulation on or off wise).

Now for the bad news... Keep in mind that while each pwr pre-amp mode is supposed to go to different amplification devices they are designed for, the tone of these preamps (Stacked Pwr Amp vs Studio Direct) do NOT change until you add the same kind of speaker emulation, at which time the tone changes between the two amp pre's... . I am hoping that Line-6 fixes this( making the different amp-pre's sound differently as they should before any speaker colorization add-on),  because using the same kind of speaker emulation on two amp-pre's that sounded "exactly" the same way "BEFORE" the speaker emulation was added, should sound the exact same again (with the added color of the new speaker emulation) when the same speaker emulation is now added to both kinds of amp pre's..., currently they do not sound the same, and this is not how real amps act.

So can I/we live with this a while longer ? Sure...

Is this a show stopper?  No...

Just an FYI on what to expect so that you, like me, (who expect this to act like a real amp in this regard) wont spend hours trying to figure out what happend to your sound...



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by MerlinFL on 2012-01-16 17:08:34

Copied from a question regarding closed back cabs NOT having enough control over low Q's in comparison to closed back cabs...

Re: Close vetta combo back  

 

+ 1 to what "jvblack" wrote on how to turn the speaker off within the software.  That is exactly correct. 

Or you can disconnect the speakers inside the open back cabinet and leave them unplugged as long as you use a closed back cabinet of ANY KIND that matches the minimum Ohm load per channel.

My personal favorite answer to this question it to ask a question first.  How loud do you play on stage?  You've written that you've turned the low Q down and you still get "uncontrollable low frequencies especially when palm muting".

I've had a Vetta 2x12 combo since 2003 with the original Celestion Custom 90 speakers in it and have never had this problem.  I play a variety of material and I can't even play my amp with FULL POWER MODE on.  I use HALF POWER mode and I get more than enough volume for any style of music I play heavy metal or not.  I also do not play a 7 or now 8 string guitar, but I DO have custom tunings I've created on my Variax guitars that are tuned down to "B" like a Baritone guitar is tuned with no bass "overload" problems.  If you're like most metal players I've worked with live or in the studio - they have this weird EQ thig they do where they THINK they are getting the sound they hear by their favorite metal players, but in reality they are far from how that sound is accomplished.  These guys I've worked with scoop out nearly all the mids and crank the highs & lows.  That is precisely the opposite way of getting that mean crunk for playing metal.  But I digress...

Please don't try making your combo into a head, do as previously suggested if the knobs are not where you want them...buy a used good condition Vetta II head and perhaps sell your Vetta combo.

ALso, I've found that using my Line 6 Vetta and opther Line 6 gear that produces acoustic guitar sounds (don't know if you ever need this or not) The BEST cabinet solution is a good (4ohm for mono or a pair or 8ohm for keeping the stereo output the same) BASS CABINET by several of the better bass cabinet makers.  I don't recommend PA cabs for this as nearly all of those horns are NOT adjustable as they are on bass cabs with horns or tweeters.

Oh, and you always do have the option of using a stereo power amp (tube or solid state) from your Vetta into any cabinets you choose.  This would give you the option of using your internal speakers, PLUS using the external amp and speakers.  One with a VARIABLE horn and my personal preference is one with 10" speakers. 

BUT if you want more bottom end, go with one with 12" or even a combination of 10/12 with a 15".  These cabs are ALWAYS closed backed for the PUNCH gained by the air compression within the cabinet that MOST guitar cabs don't have, PLUS you gain the added bonus of having a full range cabinet that can produce shimmering high Q if needed for acoustic patches.

And it that is still not enough frequency control for you - you also can add a stereo 31-band Graphic EQ cheaply from Behringer or other company that makes quality gear at inexpensive prices.  In this manner you not only do not have to make severe EQ setting within the patchm, but just let the amp "cruise" at a nominal volume and crank up the external amp/EQ and that will come out of whatever external cabinets you have connected to the external power amp.

I hope this helps you in your decision making.  Perhaps other might even get some ideas based on my out-of-the-box thinking in matters like these?

Take care,

Neal



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by grimm26 on 2012-01-18 19:30:07

MerlinFL wrote:

IEach amp has two versions PRE and FULL.  Pre is just that...the PREAMP section of whatever amp you are looking at plus the FX you may choose to add in the signal chain.  HOWEVER, if using the unit without any amp you should choose FULL as it will then model whatever cabinets and microphones you desire.  Using the headphones automatically puts each amp into this mode.  This mode is also adjustable as you will read in the advanced manual.  This is an important step BEFORE you plug into the power section of the SpiderValve.  Some sounds may sound better for your purpose in PRE and others better in FULL.  But that will come later making those choices.

Without turning the volume up too loud and cause your ears to ring, plug your guitar into the 1/4" input jack.  put on the headphones and then sit with your HD500 connected to your computer with POD HD500 EDIT running.  As you change amps, you will hear each through the headphones and give you the best possible idea of what amps will do the job you are looking for.  Also, please do not let the name alone fool you.  Just because it's a Vox/Fender, does not mean it can't be used for heavy metal, or Bogner/Mesa can't be used for warm clean sounds.  That is a combination of your guitars volume knob setting and the input gain of each amp.  Seriously spend time checking out all the sounds in FULL mode as with headphones on -as I wrote before- the unit will default to FULL anyway.

Whatever you mean by "Using the headphones automatically puts each amp into this mode" isn't the case.  The headphone output gets the same signal with whatever settings you have applied as the other outputs do.  Also, PRE amp models also do get cab and mic settings, just not power amp settings (since there isn't one in the model) like bias, master, etc.



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by grimm26 on 2012-01-18 19:31:32

Can you re-explain this, Spikey?  No offense, but I can't make heads or tails of it .



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide
by 1oldguitarman on 2012-06-09 13:38:26

Merlin,

I must say, you are one of the most dedicated members of the Line 6 support community I've experienced.  Your advice & ideas are always helpful and I find myself paying more attention to posts when you're in the loop.  BIG THANKS for being out there for all us users. 

Now, for a question:  I'm a new HD500 owner, using my Variax 700 (serial number 0000001 as a matter of fact) with it.  I've read with interest many opinions about which amp to use and it seems intuitive to me just to use a good, flat-response power amp (the recommended ART SLA-1 seems reasonably priced).  HOWEVER, I would REALLY like to stop the outward flow of $$ and was wondering, viewing your gear:  wouldn't using either of my Vetta's with "Bypass (no amp)" selected do the same for me?  I have a Vetta II Combo and a Vetta II HD with 4x12 cab.  Seems the one thing I might lose  would be the stereo capability (unless HD500 into Vetta FX loop maybe?).

Just wondering what your experience/thoughts would be.



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide
by MerlinFL on 2012-06-12 08:38:05

Thank you for your very kind words - they mean a great deal.

In my opinion you will be sacrificing many functions with any amp not in the DT line of amps.  Being able to use the L6 Link functions on the HD500 make for a terrific experience.

However, you don't have to continue to spend money when you have the Vetta.  my suggestion would be to run the HD500 1/4" out puts L+R into the the TRS stereo FX return insert.  This way you will be accessing ONLY the power amp section and by passing the entire preamp section of the Vetta.  And just to be clear on the cable I'm speaking of - on one side, it is a Tip/RingSleeve = TRS and then it splits off into TWO Tip/Sleeve = TS cables all of which are 1/4" and will give you the continued stereo imaging you have come to enjoy from the Vetta.  And sometimes this cable is referring to as an insert cable because it is mainly used with PA consoles and outboard FX units.  I mention this in case you ask for it and the salesperson doesn't understand what you want.  HOSA makes decent one, as well as Tascam, and several other quality cable companies.  The function will be the same, the length is whichever suits your needs - probably about 3 Meter or longer (10ft or longer) might be best since the HD500 sits in front of the stage and the amp at the back?  Try NOT to use adapters and extension cables if at all possible.

Please keep in mind that you will now ONLY have what the HD500 offers and nothing the Vetta offers aside from power in stereo.  As a long time user of the Vetta amp, there is a very large transition to the HD500 from how the new unit functions, as well as the much more limited amp/cab options and the ever "dreaded" DSP overlimit message.

Give this a try since it will only cost you the price of a cable and nothing more.

I'm retiring myself from the public boards so if you need any further assistance, please PM me on this system and I'll give you my direct email address.

Take care,

Neal



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by Ryte on 2012-07-19 16:14:55

I just got my Pod HD Pro after using a Pod X3 Pro for the last three years.  After reading your great guide and playing with the unit for two day, so far I must admit I'm disappointed with the sound.  I tried to follow your guide but for some reason everything is brighter and more nasal sounding.  I use a Schecter 7 string with active EMG's same out put at the 81 & 85 set up.  I've Padded down the input on the HD Pro thinking maybe it was overloading (never did on the X3).  I've tried to use an old MXR six band eq before the HP Pro to help cut back a bit but still doesn't sound the same.  I've tried to match some of the best sounds I had on the X3 Pro to the HD Pro and not even close.  Anyone else find the HD series more bright sounding than the previous?   Any tips on helping get the sound/tone closer to what I was getting with the X3.  I've got patches I could send if anyone else has both the X3 & the HD still.

I've tried the difference between the amp's pre & with cabinet, with different cabinet & mic combonations.  Just feeling lost now with the unit.  Easy to compare the sounds, I'm running the dry out of the HD Pro into the input of the X3 Pro and running the headphone out of each unit into a mixer so I can switch between them.

Scott...

PS there are many thing I like better on the HD Pro, just need to build the sounds I like (after I get the higher edge off from my guitar sound).



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by jimsreynolds on 2012-07-19 16:42:12

Scott. You might want to try this. Check out the demo tones and see if they are closer to what you are looking for. http://line6.com/support/thread/71651



Re: POD HD Start-up Guide by MerlinFL (aka Neal Van)
by Ryte on 2012-07-19 17:10:59

Yeah I had looked through that one also.  I know I play a 7-string and everyone thinks I play the heavy stuff (which I do) but it's the pure tones like the Styx, Kansas and ZZ Top tones I'm having trouble with.  But thanks for the tip

Scott..

A side note I have a 72 Marshall 50w jpm head I have but haven't used since I got the POD X3 Pro.  I also do Tube amp repair and all my customers find it so hard to belive that I use a digital amp.




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