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How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by mathius on 2012-04-16 05:26:59

Hi,

If i use my POD HD500 with Headphones, it sounds awesome.

If i connect it through HF audio at home, it´s sound awesome too.

If a used it through my amplifier, the effects sound good and the models amps sounds just ok.

But if i Connect the POD directly to a PA, the sound sucks, like shit. It sound very digital, no valve sound at all.

I really want to know how to fix this problem. Normally i take my amp with me to the concert, but sometimes i would prefered not to take it, and take only the pod, to connect it through the PA, because of the weight of my big stack and cabinet.

If anyone could help me, i´d be very apreciated.

Thank a lot.

Mathius



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by LewisBrunton on 2012-04-16 05:50:00

Hi Matthius

1) When you have the Pod connected through the PA which output are you using, and what output mode? (Studio direct / Combo power amp etc)

2) Are you using any different settings from when you plug it into your HF audio at home?

Regards

Lewis



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by mathius on 2012-04-17 01:27:48

Hi Lewis,

First of all, thanks for your interest in helping me.

1.- Through the PA, i used the balanced outputs (Stereo) in the "Studio direct" mode.

2.- At home, on the HF audio system, i used the unbalanced 1/4" outputs (stereo), also in "Studio direct" mode. The Presets and settings were the same from what i used in the PA.

At Home the amps models sound really great, very very close to the original modeled valve amps. The sound i get though the monitors of the PA, it´s horrible, totally digital, there isn´t a scrap of valve sound. It´s a sharp and gritty sound, a dead sound.

I don´t know what i´m doing wrong.

Regards

Mathius



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by LewisBrunton on 2012-04-17 02:44:20

Okay the first thing I would test is connect to the PA using the unbalanced 1/4" outputs with the master volume on the Pod set the same as when you connected it to the HF, you probably need to play with the gain controls on the PA to get a useable level. By doing that we are taking all the Pod HD differences out of the problem.

If you still get a bad sound then it would be wise to look at the differences (beyond the obvious) between the PA and your HR system such as:

  • Are there any default EQs set on either system that could affect the sound?
  • Is there an adjustable crossover on the PA (You might find that you are just listening to the treble output)

You could also try recording your Pod onto your computer if you have an appropriate setup. This would then clarify which of the two setups above is behaving 'normally'. i.e. if the sound on your computer is closest to the HF then it would suggest something is amiss with the PA.

Regards

Lewis



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by JerryWawak on 2012-04-17 07:21:23

I have been having the same problems since I bought it.  I love the way it sounds in my computer and in the headphones.  My amp is just ok, the PA is harsh and brittle.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by tdollaway on 2012-04-17 11:47:54

I had the same problem with mine when I first started using my HD500. After some EQ adjustments to both the Pod and the P.A., the tone got way better. Good enough that I A/B'd the Pod with my 5150II and couldn't decide which one sounded better. Don't give up. It can be done!



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by solizone on 2012-04-17 12:19:18

Do you have any advice to where I should start with EQing for a complete noob? I Have never had to EQ to the PA before or played with the Graphics EQ pedal either



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by tdollaway on 2012-04-18 05:04:53

The best thing that I can tell you to do, is to check out Meambobbo's high gain tone guide. He gets pretty in depth about how to get your HD set up and get the cleanest signal (no clipping) right from the start. His guide was (still is) immensely helpful to me. http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/index.html



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by lukegeis on 2012-04-18 19:04:28

My finding is that most people don't have realistic idea of what the amp should sound like when set up for a sound through the PA or monitor speakers. Most will set a sound that is more like an amp in a room. In the real world you would create the sound through your intended target scource speaker, be it a monitor speaker, or a PA speaker. This is fine as long as you have an understanding of what your truly trying to replicate. Most set up a sound that has too much bass and high end. Then there are those that set up for a bright, or dull sounding guitar. Lets go through some scenario's:

1. Monitor speaker where the sound is intended to sound like a recording.

2. Monitor speaker where the sound is intended to sound like an amp in a room.

3. P.A. speaker where the sound is intended to sound like an amp in a room.

4. P.A. speaker where the sound is intended to sound like a recording.

5. Headphones where the sound is intended to sound like a recording.

6. Headphones where the sound is intended to sound like an amp in a room.

The amp in a room sound is easier to create because that is likely the sound you are most used to hearing from your guitar.

The recording ready sound is elusive for many due to lack of experience working with sound that way. In other words you don't set up and listen to a guitar that is miced and mixed in with the rest of the band all that often. If you listen to guitars that are used in your favorite bands recordings and find perhaps a spot where there is only guitars, you will likely find that the guitars are actually fairly thin and there is actually not very much high end content. The simplest way to dial in a sound that you desire is to listen to a recording of that sound and try to emulate it. You will quickly find that you can get rid of more low and high end content than you had imagined. The mids may even be reduced a bit as well to let vocals pop through.

Another thing that changes the way a guitar sound through a stereo rig is panning. In 99% of recordings there is likley between 2-6 different guitar tracks. Perhaps more in some of the more produced bands like Korn, or Angels & Airwaves for instance. When you pan a guitar in the stereo field it becomes a little thinner and less apparent in the mix. What makes it thicker sounding is the coupling of multiple guitar tracks spread between the left and right stereo field. I don't suggest trying to create patches where you send a stereo signal with the guitar panned to your desired location. I feel it's better to send a mono signal ( truly mono and not just center panned across the left and right tracks ) and place it in the stereo field to taste when mixed in it's entirety with the rest of the band. This leaves for better control and less chance for possible phase issues.

Now lets say your not running your guitar through a P.A. but your using a P.A. speaker as your amplifier. I would then set this up as an amp in a room sound that sounds as you wish it to sound like when mixed together with the band. In a live situation where you are only running the vocals through a P.A. and nothing else is miced, this would be the best option. In essence you would place your P.A. speaker behind you as you would a normal guitar amp and run just like a simple band setup where there is only vocal support in the F.O.H speakers. Running your guitar through the F.O.H system ( which means front of house ) you would then set up again for a recorded guitar type sound. Sent in mono Preferably if there are two guitarists so the engineer can pan and mix accordingly. The best way to set up like this would be to set your sound the way you like while in a rehersal type setting. You will likely find that again ( especially with subs ) that you need less low end and less highs to sit in the mix comfortably. What defines the difference between the two is how the sound arrives and is mixed to the listener.

The major caveat for a sound sound system as a whole is that producing multiple signals isn't exactly easy if the source signal is no good.. The problem is the space in which each intrument consumes sonically. Each intrument on it's own is capable of eating up more sonic space than it needs in order to work well with the other intruments. The idea is to shape and contour each intrument to enhance and work together with each other in a mix on that particular speaker system. This is hard to do if your not monitoring it through the intended system. I.E. seting up a sound through your home stereo speakers will sound different than the more expensive ( likely anyway ) speakers of a pro audio set up. The only way to get the sound right is to set up your sound in as close a way possible as your intended sound source.

Really good, high end headphones may be one way to get that sound. But you must still be able to understand the overall sound your trying to achieve. If you as a person are shooting for a recoding type sound and you lack the ability to do so, you will have tough time getting it right. If you have a good understanding of the end result sound, you will easily achieve the desired results, even if the end result sound doesn't sound very good in it's own. A good way to understand this is to listen to your favorite bands recoding and listen to the sound of the instruments. Then sit there and think of the last time you actually heard that instrument sound that way naturally. Likely you will find that the intruments alone sound very thin and unatural to the acoustic representation of them alone. When was the last time you heard cymbals that sounded distant in a room where the drummer was pounding away? Likely never.........But in almost all recordings the cymbals are under in the mix and are not very apparent. Same goes for guitars. They are not as big and over the top as they are when you crank the amp to 11 in your rehersal space. The end result is not always a natural or good sounding representation to work really well.

As a sound engineer having worked with hundreds of bands I can say that this is true. I have heard some guitarists play with what I thought was the most good awful sound I have ever heard, but as soon as the band starts to play, as a whole everything sounded great and balanced! I have heard vocalists that sound like a million bucks through an SM58 mic and some that sound like absolute crap. Everything is relative and subjective to the some of all of it's parts. The easiest way to get the desired result is to compare your work to another of known quantity over the same monitoring system, be it headphones, or a P.A.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by mathius on 2012-04-19 04:36:00

Hi,

Thanks to everyone for your opinions, i really apprecitate it.

Lukegeis: Very interesting post. I am in your scenarios 2 and 3. I understand what you wrote, but still i think that the sound my PODHD500 is giving me through the PA and monitors, it is simply horrible. I own a good tube amp that I use in my rehearsals. I´ve tried to use the pod through the PA instead of my amp. What a want its very simple, I want my POD sounding as good as my real amp in during rehearsals. I realize that´s imposible, but at least i´d conform myself if a get a sound 75% or 80% good, compared with my tube amp.

The weird thing of all this, is that I get my wanted target sound very easily through headphones and through my home audio system. I cannot understand why it´s so difficult to created that sound in a PA or monitors. I know exactly the sound i wanna get, but i cannot get it. I mean, i can EQ the low and high ends, and even the mids, but still don´t get the sound i´m looking for.

would be the problem in the monitors? i don´t think so. I used to have a POD xt Live, and got the same problem. I´ve heard something about "flat response monitors". Do you think they could be a solution?

Thanks again for your help.

Regards

Mathius.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by litesnsirens on 2012-04-19 05:40:57

It's not impossible to get as good a tone in the PA as you get from your tube amp.  My POD HD500 through my Bose L1 PA sounds better than the Boogie Mark V that I had.  And that was a great amp.  I can't make the statement better than any amp I ever owned because I don't have all those amps for side be side comparisons.  I will say this though, I don't think I have ever been happier with my tone.  And it translates pretty well to other PA systems.  We rehearse through a traditional PA with one of my other bands.  I used to bring the Bose to those rehearsals, but I got lazy and decided to just start plugging into the PA that was already there and it sounds fine. 



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by jimsreynolds on 2012-04-19 06:13:40

Great reply Luke !



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by lukegeis on 2012-04-19 19:51:26

Interesting to say the least. I find it harder the other way around. I have a tough time getting a sound I'm happy with through headphones, but find it easy to get what I'm looking for through a P.A. speaker, or monitor speaker. I'm certain that the unit will produce it with some experimenting.

I think there are other issues that can effect outcomes. For one, the level at which your creating a patch and certainly where you are in relationship to the P.A. speaker. Keep in mind that monitors are designed for near filed monitoring and will work well when your directly in front of them. P.A. speakers are more or less meant to throw and you may find that setting it up and listening to it in a fashion similar to your audience would hear it, may change the sound you hear? A major factor is volume. Anything below about 80 dB will likely require a Fletcher Munson curve to eradicate problems when the volume goes up. By that I mean that at lower volumes the ear hears things differently and the lows and highs are usually subdued. If you create a patch at a lower level and then raise the volume you will usually find that there is too much lows and highs. In most cases it is suggested that when monitoring you should do so at a level that is above 80 dB to place yourself outside of the Fletcher Munson curve territory. If you create a patch at a low level and implement a Fletcher Munson curve you may find that when you raise the volume and disengage the EQ curve, that the sound is still even and representative of your intentions.

There is also the level of expectation........... There must be a reasonable level of expectation from a devise and an understanding of the difference between the real deal and the modeled representation. Here is the difference. You set up your amp in a room and you can make it sound great. That part is easy. Now take that same amp and place it another part of the house ( so you can't hear it ), mic it up and send that sound through the P.A. speaker. I would bet good money that the mic'd sound isn't nearly close to the " amp in the room " sound you originally had and it may not sound as good anymore either? The modeler is basically that though; a representation of an amp, mic'd up and sent back through X monitor source. Not really fair to compare an apple to an orange. An amp in a room is very much that. A mic'd amp in which the only sound you hear is the mic'd sound is another beast. You don't hear only that sound very often. A recording is basically an amp that has been mic'd and is represented back through the P.A. in a manor in which makes it fit into a mix. If you were to remove all the other instruments so you could only hear the guitar in that recording, you will find quickly that it probably doesn't sound all that great. But when mixed together with bass and all the other instruments the some of all the parts makes a great sound........

Your current expectation is that you can create an amp in a room sound from an amp that is not a representation of an amp in a room. Hence it sounds like dookie to you. You are creating an amp that is the representation of a mic'd amp in a room that is sent out speakers into another room. It's not that it can't be done, but it will take a level of work that requires patience and understanding. It is easier to get the amp in a room sound because that is the sound your used to. Try getting a record ready sound and the challenge is even greater.

Perhaps you can explain in better detail what it is you don't like from the sound you have through your P.A. speakers? You say it sounds digital and not valve like at all, but only through the P.A. speakers. You can get the sound you want through the headphones and home theater speakers, but not a P.A. Have you tried building the patch through only the P.A. speaker? Are you certain that you have the settings correct on the POD? Are you monitoring from a spectator position? Are you monitoring at a level represent to the level of most of your shows? If the answer to either of those is ?, or no, then your not making things easy for best results. The other issue is that without creating in the atmosphere in which you intend to perform, the results will always be less than stellar. Also very hard to get it right without having a reference in which to tailor your sound. Playing with your band may make it easier because you can tailor the sound to work with them. Reality and expectation have to meet somewhere.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by litesnsirens on 2012-04-20 05:23:24

Excellent points, I always craft my tones at volumes that I'm going to be playing at.  Well, let's say I craft my tones at reasonable volumes to get close and then crank them up to put the final touches on them.  I do have neighbours. I'm just saying I'm not done until the patch can cut it at real playing volumes.  This is why I didn't really care for any of the modelling devices being offered before I tried the HD series.  I don't know if there were viable options prior to the landing of the HD but I just got so turned off of modelling that I didn't try it again for a long time.  The early offerings sounded great at bedroom volumes but when you tried to get to live volumes the wheels just came off.

One thing that I will say though, in reply to lukegeis, is there is a big difference between some dude sticking a mic in front of an amp when you show up at a gig and someone that knows what they are doing in a studio.  There are tons of examples of great recorded amps out there and in fact those are probably more the tones guys are trying to cop than what they are able to dial up on their own amps in their own homes.  And I would imagine that the guy at home doing your experiment of putting the amp in another room and mic'ing it isn't even going to have results that are as good as the sound guy at the live show.  And to be fair to live sound engineers my comment about "Some dude sticking a mic in front of your amp" isn't meant as a slam to live sound guys but unless you are touring with a band and pretty much know what you are going to do with this guys guitar sound and have the time to do it, you're probably not gonna get the best sound.  A lot of real life situations are that you don't get a lot of time to do sound checks.

To me the HD500 is more like taking studio mic'd amps to the live gig, so in my mind you should have the expectation of getting a good amp tone (Wow, look how far I've come... from I hate modellers to the statement I just made).  And that is the experience I'm having with the HD500 but as easy to use as Line 6 tried to make it, they also wanted it to be versatile so that it would meet the needs of a lot of different players in a lot of situations.  I will admit that when I first got mine I struggled for a while before I got all the settings right.  Now I just set it up and I can dial in sounds no problem.  You have to get all the global settings dialled in to your particular setup and then go from there.  And all the tweaks might not be on the HD500.  Before they offered the deep editing parameters for the cabinets, I would use an 80hz cut preset on the Tone Match mixer of my Bose L1.  Now I can cut each preset more precisely so I'm back to completely flat on the ToneMatch.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by lukegeis on 2012-04-23 12:55:33

As a live sound engineer I can say that sticking a mic in front of an amp isn't an exact science. The issue is subjective. What I like sound wise, may not be what you or any other person in the world likes. In a live situation there are several factors that come into play on a sound guys micing decision. Generally close micing is desired to reduce bleed and get a more up front sound. This also usually gets a really dry a brash sounding guitar tone. Especially when mic'd on axis. But it also gives you enough frequency to play with in order to work it into a mix. This is of course dependent upon how loud the instrument is. If the instrument is too loud, and it doesn't sound good acoustically to fit into a mix, it will never be able to be fixed. This is assuming your small club type gigs. In a larger venue it changes a little since there will always be at least some amount of P.A. support. Distance micing will usually acquire a more natural representation of the instrument with a few trade offs. First in a band setting, bleed from other instruments and it becomes more difficult to get the instrument to pop in the mix. This is due again from the volume of band and instruments and because anything the mic picks up will go up in volume with it when raised in the P.A.

Flipping the coin. Line 6 has developed a devise that will get you a more record friendly sound with enough options to also get a close miced somewhat live type sound. This is of course minus the actual amp in the room. In theory it should be easier for an engineer to take any signal you give him and work it into a mix. This is because there is no bleed and also because there should be less stage volume. If you supply the sound guy anything that is usable and close to what your looking for it should be easy peasy! This is of course dependent upon the quality of the engineer, the sound system, and what you produced for him to work with.

In my experience as a live engineer over the last 8-9 years has been that the band creates most of their own problems. I feel that just about any P.A. can be made to sound good and will get loud enough to do the job. It's the little things that the band does that make the green engineer have a tough time. It is almost always volume related and stems from lack of thought, care, or understanding of the big picture. Not all bands are like this and many do have some sort of understanding, or at least think they do; but it's enough to get a good result. When I hear a band tell me they are loud and thats the way it is, I usually ask where their engineer is at so I can leave. Can't help those who don't want to be helped.

What I'm getting at with all this as it relates to the POD is that the sounds are in there, you just have to find something that works and is close to what your looking for. Then you have to work on trust and understanding to allow the mixer to mix you. You will not always be happy, but knowing that sound is subjective will help you get away from saying that he made me sound like shit, or something? Sound is subjective to the degree that 10 people can have 10 opinions on the same sound sample. There are general ideas of what sounds bad, or good. But nobody goes out of there way to make another sound bad on purpose. It's a team effort....... Keep working with the sound to get it close, fine tune it while playing with the band and trust the mixer to get it the rest of the way. Be open to suggestion and critisism and certainly be willing to accept change.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by jstock1 on 2012-04-23 14:14:55

This is a great reply and offers a excellent insight into the problems faced by the sound man. I think my frustrations with sorting out my bands sounds levels over the years and the various arguments that inevitably ensued actually drove me to look at POD in the first place. The simplicity of plugging straight into the board knowing that I get a consistent sound at every venue baring a few tweaks of the EQ is shear joy. That only leaves me to sort out the drums, bass, vocal..... will you turn that bass  down please!



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by litesnsirens on 2012-04-23 15:03:52

Hey luke. I get it.  I've been playing in bands since I was 14 started playing in clubs as soon as I was old enough to be in them.  And back in those days there were more clubs that were devoted to having live entertainment.  So you got to go in, in the afternoon, and spend some time getting a good sound-check, now it seems like I get no sound check time. I get the "we don't want to disturb the diners" kind of thing from the bar managers. Even the stage sizes has diminished, I don't think there's a single club that I play in now that could even come close to fitting the gear that we used to bring to shows back in the day.  Now to be fair I'm in Ontario and maybe this trend is locale specific but it just seems like live entertainment is an afterthought as opposed to what the clubs are using as a feature.

I used play through a Hi-Watt full stack, sound guy told me to lose the top half of the stack because he didn't want it bleeding into the vocal mic anymore.  He was a great sound guy, I got rid of the cabinet. I guess what I'm getting what I was trying to get at was that things have changed.  And in a lot of circumstances it's not that the sound guy doesn't know how to get a good sound when he "sticks a mic in front of the cabinet"  it's just that I'm finding that in a lot of cases he's gonna be trying to do it on the fly.  Even then as you pointed out your guitar sound becomes his guitar sound if you know what I mean.  He decides how you sound out front despite what you think your sound is or should be.

And really my point wasn't so much about mic'ing amps live, it was more about what the HD500 is actually offering.  Main point being that if you like the sound of amps you hear on CD's or records (dating myself) or mp3's, those amps were mic'd in a studio you aren't hearing those amps in the room with you.  And that's what Line 6 has tried to offer us.  It should sound like an amp and not a mic'd amp if the engineer is doing the modelling is doing his job right.  Choosing which mic is on the cabinet should be thought of the the same way you think of reaching for the eq controls on the amp (if you're even using them and not bypassing the speaker sims and going to an actual amp). 

All your points are valid and informative, and I think that while we are taking different routes we are coming to the same destination which is that you should be able to get good useable tones out of the HD500.



Re: How to make PODHD500 sounds good through a PA?
by lukegeis on 2012-09-26 00:41:15

My experience is that most people have a generally good idea of what they want. The issue arises when they expect another individual to have the exact same taste. Interestingly enough I have heard some sounds from players that I thought were god awful............ Turns out that alone it was, but as the band started to play, it sounded really really good. Point in case, if the sound you are getting sounds good with the entire group and all instruments have their own space and clarity, then things are fine. I'm beginning to find more and more that less is more. Less bass and appropriate amount of mids and highs will get the job done. An easy way to tell where you fit in the mix is to play through a mixer with all that you can fit into it and play together with little to no eq being used on the channels. place the channels at or about an appropriate level to have a studio like mix going, I.E. vocals on top, then drums or guitar depending on music style and so on. What you should find when you try to create a studio style mix is that all instruments have their own space. If it takes a lot of eq and work to create the space needed for all instruments to fit in the mix, you need to work on your core sound. I bet you will find that less bass on every thing and less mids on bass and guitars will help vocals pop and that the low end of the bass guitar is too high. What is happening to many of the instruments ( including vocals ) is that they pile up sonically reducing space.

Here is why that problem exists. Most all of us are used to working with an amp and instrument in a room. Also in a live situation most engineers and bands shoot for a larger than life sound. Think high impact, volume and sonic space use. Most modern recordings acquire the same effect but are cheating to do it. There are special programs out there that create the effect of more bass without actually using those frequencies to produce it. Some may have heard of " MAXX BASS "? Listening to a recording and trying to emulate the sound is not always possible in a live situation. When was the last time you heard cymbals that quiet while playing in a room? Most guitar amps sound good when cranked and filling the room with sound. A recording has a similar effect but it does it so much more efficiently. This is what the POD HD500 is allowing us to do. It takes a lot of work and understanding wrapping your head around the idea of the amp in a room that is mic'd and reproduced VS. having just an amp that sounds like it's in a room. Many players will use the unit to simply play through a guitar cab and get a somewhat life like representation of the said amp. For those that rely solely on the unit straight into a pa, it's a different ball game. It is different not only for you, but for everyone else too. It takes some getting used to and some work to nail down the core of your sound.

I will re-emphasize what I said before............. Volume is the biggest issue. Too many bands are playing too loud these days. It's seems cool to play at 110+ Db on the dance floor, but it is so destructive to sound and ears. Especially if it sounds bad and you can't hear everyone in the band equally. If you can't sound good quietly, how can you possibly sound good loud? This is a little joke I tease band members with in respect to volume levels....... You herd it here first by the way : )       " If you can hear yourself at all, your already too loud ".................. You only need to be as loud as is needed to hear yourself. Beyond that there is no point. In any venue where there is a PA and things are mic'd, D.I'd or supported in some way or another by a PA, you only need to be as loud as it takes to hear yourself and the others around you. If you can do that, the PA will take care of the rest. This is the starting point, the core of your sound will grow naturally from there.

Following these guidelines should help make it possible for even the greenest of engineers to make you sound good, even if you sound bad. I have a pretty good theory. Anybody can make a good mix as long as they know which knobs to turn, It's what the band gives that person to work with that makes the difference in good, or great. I am really good at what I do, but I still can only do as good as the talent I deal with. Listening to live recordings is truly the best way to get an idea of what we are really looking for. The studio is a differemt beast altogether. Your live sound will not be the same as what you use in the studio. As a matter of fact your live sound should be different at every venue. Each room is different and you will need to adjust your sound to work with that room. And no, it's not cool to have the walls rattling from bass and volume.




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