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HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-02-23 12:49:51

Building a new custom tone and auditioning my way through the pre-amp models and noticed that they have vastly different volume levels even though the DRIVE and VOLUME levels for each amp are the same.  I double checked each of the full amp models and they are pretty much all the same level - with the exception of the Line6 ElekTrix which sounds much louder.  By vastly different - I mean vastly - its like turning the master volume from half volume to full - but the output volume dial for each is shown as the same which is at max position.

These are the pre-amp models I noticed it on:-

BF LUX VIB PRE - really loud

CLASS A30-TB - very quiet

BRIT P-75 NRM PRE - really loud

BRIT P-75 BRT PRE - really loud

TREAPLATE PRE - loud

ANGEL F-BALL PRE - really loud

LINE6 ELEKTRIX PRE - unbelievably loud

All other models are are a comparitive level and are what I thought was the normal or average level.

I am on the latest level flash 1.43.  My new tone had input set to INPUT1: GUITAR and INPUT2: VARIAX.  All preceding fx models were turned off.  Single Preamp models placed before the mixer block.

Is this a bug?    Has anyone else noticed this?   Or is this just a problem with my HD500?

Thanks.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by TheRealZap on 2012-02-23 13:02:19

some amps get their tone from a hot preamp... and some from a louder power amp...

it's normal.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-02-23 13:09:39

I accept there could be differences between amps and expected the TREADPLATE and ANGEL F-BALL models to be louder.  But the fact that all the full amp models come out at pretty much the same volume level (including the TREADPLATE and ANGEL F-BALL) and that some of the pre-amp models are also at that similar level makes the few I have listed sound really odd because they are so vastly different.

Also - the BF LUX NRM PRE preamp is at the normal volume level but the BF LUX VIB PRE is almost twice as loud - and aren't these effectively just different channels on the same preamp?  So why the huge volume difference?  

Are these huge volume differences really normal on the HD500?    

Thanks.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by Nick_Mattocks on 2012-02-24 03:04:43

Hi Eddie

The PRE models are primarily designed to be used with a Line 6 DT-xx series amp and the preamp defaults are matched to the different power amp topologies in use. This isn't to say you can't use a PRE model with a a third party power amp and neither am I saying the levels are necessarily spot on matched even when using a DT-xx amp but that the levels are better matched to a DT-xx.

It's really when the user creates their patches that they need to balance their levels

Nick



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-02-24 06:00:03

Thanks for your input Nick.

I understand what you are saying, however, I can't get my head around the vastly different volume levels.  I expected some volume difference but not to the degree I experienced.

For example the BF DOUBLE NRM and VIB pre-amps are not very different in volume level - as per the Model guide the VIB channel should be brighter and have more gain - which it does.   However the BF LUX NRM and VIB pre-amps are vastly different but I would expect them to be similar to the BF DOUBLE versions especially in terms of comparative volume - but my BF LUX VIB volume level is easily twice as loud as the NRM volume - and that I don't understand. I expect a difference and a volume boost - but not such a vast difference. It goes from a comfortable home volume level to a rehearsal room volume level just from going between BF LUX NRM PRE to BF LUX VIB PRE.  Is that normal for the HD500?

Thanks.

Eddie



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by KozMcCharlie on 2012-02-24 06:23:05

The Blackface amps have 2 more gain stages on the Vibrato channel compared to the normal channel. I suspect that there is more volume discrepancy between the actual modeled preamps than is in the POD models. I've used a few modified amps over the years... A Twin with a preamp out, a Deluxe with an effects loop... And then a few different Boogie amps with modded effects loops and they all put out a different signal level from the preamp.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by jimsreynolds on 2012-02-24 10:50:20

As everyone says ... there is a big difference in the pre-amp volume levels.  They are there to align with the expectations of the DT Amps that they are designed to work with.

The trick of course is to turn all the patches on the louder models down (using the volume knob or mixer) so that they are level.  

I struggled with this when I first started trying to use the Pre-amp models with the Power Amp on my Marshall JVM.  I was not happy that the pre-amps were way quieter than the 'Real' Marshall pre-amp.  I worked round it by setting the FX Loop on my Marshall to -10dB (instrument level) but setting the 1/4" output on my Pod to +4dB (Line Level) - about three times more voltage than if I had matched up correctly.   Of course this meant that I had to back off the volume on all of my patches to compensate (around 10dB IIRC) but now everything is balanced, on a par with the JVM Pre-amp and loud enough.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by meambobbo on 2012-02-24 12:41:15

To be honest, I think that's a stupid design.  Most Pod users aren't likely to also have a DT-XX amp.  The DT-XX amp is what should be compensating for the selected topology to deliver a consistent output volume across topologies.  For instance, if pentode is louder than triode, than this should trigger an attenuator to lower the incoming signal level when in pentode mode INSIDE THE DT-XX.

Thus, the Pod can deliver the same output volume across the board, which works great for DAWs and power amps that don't switch topologies AS WELL AS the DT-XX line of amps.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by Nick_Mattocks on 2012-02-24 13:11:24

I can't comment on whatever the design principles used were or were not.  The PRE models are primarily designed for use with the DT-50 and DT-25.  Users without a DT-xx can use the 'Full' models if they wish.  Whichever models they decide to use with their third party amps or even the DT-xx series, they may need to perform a balancing act.  It's part of writing a preset. However, it's always been the case pretty much with any POD that the end user may need to balance levels between their presets.

Nick



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by jasonbogen on 2012-02-24 21:34:12

Even with the DT it seems the levels are vastly different.  Should this not be the case?  I just got my DT25 stack today so I am just getting the hang of it.  By the way, do you use the cab sims with the DT or do you turn them off?  I am now in the process of redoing my patches for the DT so I can use it at a gig tomorrow.  I know I should probably just stick with the keyboard amp and work on the patches for next week, but I am just not wired that way. ;-)  I have waited to long for a DT to have it sitting at home during a gig.  LOL



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by Nick_Mattocks on 2012-02-25 03:56:26

That may be the case.  Balancing levels is a necessary evil I think  

I tend to turn the cab simulation off when using PRE models with my DT50 or DT25, but that's just personal preference rather than from guidance.  I should probably not do this as when plugging in to a DT-xx, the cab sims used are 'live' models and therefore the actual speakers are taken into account.  The DT-50 212 I have is equipped with a V30 which has a strong character of its own, so turning the cab sim off is probably not quite as noticeable as it might be when using a sole speaker with a flatter response such as maybe the 112 combo variant with its G12H90.  It's all a bit subjective and the bottom line for me is getting a great sound that I can work well with.  There are times when I will use the cab sim depending on what exactly I'm after.

I'd keep your original set of tones in a separate set list and take your keyboard amp to the gig anyway and maybe even wire it in so you can flip to the original amp set of tones between songs if necessary   I hear you on redoing all your DT patches, but experience has taught me not to 'fix' something that works before a gig, so you're better prepared with a known good backup system just in case s*d's law decides to pay you a visit.

Of course some of the reasoning behind the differences in levels might be traceable to the architecture of the original amps modelled.  The POD HD500 family series hardware is equipped with six controls for Drive, EQ, Presence and Volume.  Those controls more or less match a typical Marshall or Mesa amp's real controls, however a Vox AC30 doesn't have the same set of controls wired in the same way, so for consistency in terms of control, Line 6 may have exercised a little license in adding a control where on the real amp it doesn't exist - if that makes sense.  The interaction between the Gain/Drive control and the channel Volume control is necessarily different between the different real amps.  I do know the designers' aim with all HD modelling is to try and stay as true to the way the original amps work and sound as is physically possible.  When you have a specific user interface on the hardware itself it is difficult to apply something in terms of the variety of amps modelled to a 'one size fits all' hardware package.  I agree that it might be a bit of a bind having to adjust amp model levels to match, but doing so is possible and not a particularly difficult thing to do and for me personally it's not a big deal in the scheme of things.

Nick



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-02-26 04:22:59

Thanks to everyone for their input to this thread.

I accept that different models will have different gain characteristics and fully expect to have to compensate via mixer or master volume controls if I want to use different models during the same song or set and have comparable output volume levels.

I don't understand why the BF LUX NRM PRE and the BF LUX VIB PRE are vastly different. I mean magnitudes of volume different - not just a few db. The BF DBL NRM PRE and BF DBLR VIB PRE are different but only by a few db.  I would have expected the BF LUX preamps to be similar - as the description in the model catalog sounds very similar to the BF DBL design - so it strikes me as odd that the BF LUX VIB PRE is so out of whack compare to the BD LUX NRM PRE- even if it is designed to work with a DT-XX amp - I can't imagine the topology changing that much for two channels of the same amp. 

Does everyone else who has tried these two models also notice that the BF LUX VIB PRE is magnitudes of volume louder?- like turning your amp up from half to full volume?  I just want to be sure that my HD500 is not faulty and is behaving exactly as every other HD500 at v1.43 flash. Please can someone confirm that they experience the same huge volume leap in those two specific models?    Thanks in advance.  

Best Regards


Eddie



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by austone12 on 2012-05-05 21:22:31

I agree with edstar1960 some of the volume differences don't seem to make sense.  It takes quite a lot of tweaking to get the volumes all the same, which is generally what you want when perfoming live.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by MartinDorr on 2012-09-28 14:33:53

Just stumbled over your older post after messing with the same problem yesterday night. Still not quite happy ... but this is what I found and what I am currently thinking: There is about an 18dB difference in output signal between the Normal and the Virbrato preamp models for the BF Lux.

Because the Normal preamp output is fairly low compared to the other amps I tried, you probably want to bring the Normal preamp's output level up. If I remember right (I might mix up how much max gain you can do in the different places) one has 4 choices besides putting HD channel volume to 100%. All choices change the tone in varying ways (the mixer probably the least unless you cause clipping of the output signal):

  1.     Raise the guitar's input signal to the preamp using a stuido EQ (or an effect you already have in front of the preamp) by 18dB (you may not be able to go that high for your guitar w/o clipping)
  2.      Raise the guitar's input signal to the preamp by 6db and the output signal by 12dB (the max) in the mixer (this seemed to be the best way to cause only minor tone changes)
  3.      Change the preamp Drive knob to make up for the lack of output, I found that for every 4dB more output I needed about 7% more drive (may only be about right for Drive below 50%)
  4.      You can do combination of the 3 choices described above and optimize for target tone, e.g.,
    •          Superclean: Gain on 35 or less, use a combination of mixer and input signal gain to get to the target output level, on single coils you can probably afford a bit more input signal gain
    •          Overdriven:  Balance a combination of input gain via stuido EQ (watch for clipping) and Gain control to reach the tone you look for, use mixer to raise output signal to the target level.

Let me know if you found other options or find my approach does not work for you. As I said earlier, I am not quite happy yet and will some more time on the problem to make the best of it.

Martin



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by MartinDorr on 2012-09-29 19:53:50

A little update after more testing ...

For 7% Drive reduction you need about 6dB more gain either before or after the Lux' Normal preamp to maintain your volume for Drive values less than 40%.

The BF Double Normal and Vibrato preamps also have about 18db difference in output level. This does not seem to match what I read about those amps (I have never played on them though).

Maybe the Line 6 thinking was that the Vibrato (loud) channel is intended for clean sounds while Normal preamp could be cranked with Drive settings about 20% higher and hit about the same volume level?



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-10-05 07:46:14

Thanks for your contributions Martin. Much appreciated.

I have not revisited this thread for some time and just noticed your updates.

I am now trying to master programming JTV59 - vdi - HD500 - L6Link - DT25 to get usable sounds and one of the major challenges is extreme volume differences between amps.

As the DT25 picks the correct config for chosen PRE-amp models there seems to be no easy way of controlling or levelling out the volume differences - it is a matter of adjusting OUTPUT VOLUME fir each amp and then tweaking with the MIXER to either decrease increase gain - plus I could also use some FX blocks to also adjust the gain but I don't like to waste valuable DSP adding FX just to adjust volume level.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by MartinDorr on 2012-10-06 16:53:28

Eddie,

I learned a couple more things since my last post. First I screwed up on my BF Double Normal selection and found that I picked the full amp model. When I fixed it to select the preamp I found that there is only a 9dB difference between the Virbrato and the Normal channel preamp model, i.e., the power amp stage adds another 9 dB gain for the BF Double Normal.

I started to go through all preamps and build a simple tone for each with a Stuido EQ before the preamp and a Studio EQ after the mixer. I matched the BF Double Vibrato in the HD to the channel B setting for 'Classic American Clean' on the DT25 (turn amp off in HD tone). I found that there is no gain adjustment necessary on any of the Studio EQs or the mixer to get a matching tone between the DT25 builtin preamp and the and the HD bypassing the DT preamp.

Then I went through about half the preamps, started with a 0 gain setting on all gain stages, and watched on a DAW the level of a loop I played. My target is to get the same the same signal level I saw for the BF Double Vibrato. If a preamp is not producing the same gain as the Double I first adjust the mixer, most preamps need extra gain, some all the way to +12dB. There was one that needed an extra 4db or so on the Studio EQ after the mixer. I have not tried all the British and High Gain amps. This may break the scheme, bu the mixer can do a lot more on -dB ;-).

Oh, I have all channel volume knobs set to 100% so far and I turned all CAB sims and ER off. When I started with the BF Double Vibrato it seemed that different CAB sims did not change the tone when playing through the DT25. But just now I tried the same listening to the preamp out on headphones w/o a DT connected and found that there was a clear difference using CABs and using different CABs. I need to revisit this later and check whether the HD is aware that a DT is connected and uses this knowledge to turn CAB/MIC/ER sims off. That would be kind of puzzling. Afterall there is no loss when we can turn it off by choice if we don't like it.

Let me know how it goes,

Martin



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-10-09 07:01:45

Thanks very much for all the useful info Martin.

I don't understand why you don't hear a different betwenn using a CAB sim and NO CAB.  Whenever I dial in an amp on the HD500 it has its preferred cab sim set - if I change it to a different cab then I can clearly hear the tone change coming out of the DT25 - so I usually start off setting it to NO CAB so that I am only hearing the DT25 1x12 Celestion speaker.  It is odd that you are only hearing the CAB choice make a difference if you listen on headphones.

I don't know if the CAB sims are reproduced in a much more authentic way on the DT25 then on previous gear (eg: the X3L) - so I tend to think the NO CAB option wil give a better live sound - but I may be wrong and maybe the CAB sims will work just as well in a live situation.  I have not been managed to program my JTV-HD500-DT25 rig to the point that I am happy to gig with it yet - so I don't know how it will sound in a live situation.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by MartinDorr on 2012-10-09 10:07:30

My CAB sim puzzle is solved! I just did not check enough and after retrying different CABs or turning them off makes a significant difference in all output modes I checked. Looks like the BF Double default CAB sim is just very close to no CAB when listened to with a DT25. I jumped to the wrong conclusions ;-(. Sorry confusing the topic.

Let us know how your programming goes and how it stands up to live use.

Will post when I have more data on the adjustments I made to balance output volume of amps. My dream would be that there is some rough guidance table that masp a set of Drive values (e.g., 0, 10, 20, .. %) and an average tone stack setting (e.g., everything at 12 o'clock) to some required gain adjustments to maintain volume. Based on what I have seen so far the amps have a fairly linear drive to output volume range in their clean operating range and start to change to a curve and then flattening out as you get into breakup / overdrive territory on the Drive setting. I would not be surprised if there are some cases where more Drive would actually lower the volume in the extreme case. On teh other end of the spectrum, I found that on the BF Double increasing Drive from 0 to approx 7% will require increasing the mixer gain to maintain the output level, which seems counter intuitive. Thereafter uping Drive will require reducing gain somewhere behing the amp to keep output volume the same.



Re: HD500 pre-amp models vastly different volume levels
by edstar1960 on 2012-10-10 09:03:46

Thanks Martin.  I have been happily programming away and experimenting with sounds over last couple of days but only at home volume levels.  I have now decided that I prefer using the CAB sim options rather than the NO CAB option - it does seem to add something extra for each AMP sim and gives greater diversity in the sounds. I will make sure I take it with me for my next band rehearsal middle of next week to see if it cuts it with a live band.

Regarding levelling out volumes, I am making use of the mixer to attenuate as necessary, and if that is insufficient I will tweak the drive/master volumes for the specific amp as well.  I seem to be on the right track.

Plus - I have also made sure that my HD500 input settings are INPUT 1: VARIAX  and INPUT 2: GUITAR - so I don't double the input signal - and I am using only one AMP model to match the fact I have only one DT25.  I also have output mode set to COMBO PWR AMP as I am sure I read somehwere that was the correct setting when using with a DT25, however, I have tried the other settings and they don't seem to affect the output of the DT25 via the L6link - so maybe that doesn't matter.

Thanks once again for your help and advice.




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