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4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-07-29 14:46:03

So I have a Randall MTS modular amp.  I'm using two of it's preamps along with effects only patches  as well as a Hiwatt (pod) patch, bypassing the amps preamps.  I've tweaked all this to allow me to switch between the amp's own Plexi and Deluxe channels, and then choosing the Hiwatt on the Pod with that patches effects.  works pretty well although I could mess with levels till I'm dead to make it better.

This setup is awesome so far.  The problem arises when I go to say a Pod AC30 patch.  the volume available does not match the Hiwatt patch or the amps preamps. 

I have the mixer level all the way up on the left side, right is muted, I also have a studio EQ in there to bring up the volume but this adds gain and flavor which I'd like to eliminate, just getting the intended Pod preamps sounds through the amp.  I can max out the gain on the Pod preamp and I'll have volume but it's all gain.  not ideal for me

The Hiwatt amp works well because the gain is pretty well maxed and the nature of a Hiwatt is that it';s not high gain, more like a boost, the others so far do not work the same way...  Is this just the physical nature of the modeled amp? a 100 watt Hiwatt vs. a 30 watt AC30?  seems like there should be a global volume.  I have followed the 4CM notes up here and like I said, it works well with the Hiwatt model

what am i missing here? 

input appreciated



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by jimsreynolds on 2012-07-29 16:08:48

Working on a smartphone here so excuse brevity. Basically, the trick is to set the amp loop level to instrument level and the Pod 1/4" output to line level. You need to turn the mixer tap level down for your Randall preamp but it gives you much more headroom on your modelled amps. For the AC30 in particular can i recommend that you use the full model because is makes a big difference to the authenticity of the tone.



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by jimsreynolds on 2012-07-29 16:12:30

Follow method 2 in this doc. http://line6.com/support/docs/DOC-2522



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-07-30 07:10:15

thanks,I'll give it a try.  I'll be back with questions I'm sure.  do you have experience with MTS?



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by jimsreynolds on 2012-07-30 10:47:59

Nope but pulled the manual here.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=randall%20mts%20manual&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CFMQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bandslink.com%2Frandall%2FRM100manual.pdf&ei=08QWUJP-BMGa0QWluYAo&usg=AFQjCNHqsYg0pVFL_xDb0CBsi_10nLgFeQ&cad=rja

It">http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=randall%20mts%20manual&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CFMQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bandslink.com%2Frandall%2FRM100manual.pdf&ei=08QWUJP-BMGa0QWluYAo&usg=AFQjCNHqsYg0pVFL_xDb0CBsi_10nLgFeQ&cad=rja">http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=randall%20mts%20manual&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CFMQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bandslink.com%2Frandall%2FRM100manual.pdf&ei=08QWUJP-BMGa0QWluYAo&usg=AFQjCNHqsYg0pVFL_xDb0CBsi_10nLgFeQ&cad=rja

Itsounds like you have a choice of parallel or series loop.  Use the series one: the parallel one will cause you all kinds of pain because of the requirement to kill the dry signal within the POD.


The big pain is that the loop runs at line level.  It is quite tricky to get the Pod setup for this in 4CM - really 4CM only integrates cleanly with loops that run at instrument level.  You can do it but there is risk of distortion and it will be difficult to get rid of your mismatch between the real and modelled preamps.

The problem is

  • Tthe second cable in the 4CM goes between the POD FX Send and the amp input.  This really needs to be at amp level or it provides a 'hot' signal into the amp input.  Also, in practice it introduces a lot of hiss when you set it to line level.
  • However, the third cable goes from the amp FX Send back into the POD FX Return.  This will definitely be at line level and therefore risks distorting if the Pod loop is set at 'stompbox' level.

It's catch 22. 

The only practical suggestions I can come up with are:

  • Ditch 4CM and just run the POD in the loop.  You can do this with everything at line level (using the FX Return on the POD as the destination for the FX Send on the amp),  This option clearly sucks if you want to exploit the benefits of 4CM.
  • Mess with the levels and try and get things as clean as you can.  I have tried running 4CM with line level (so I can use the Serial loop on my JVM) and never found a satisfactory setting.  That is not to say that you cannot get something better from your Randall. 
  • Try a box like an Ebtech Line Level shifter or a GLab SA-1 to convert levels in your rig to the correct ones.  

Sorry to be a buzzkill  



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-07-30 16:36:54

yes, I think you've nailed one of the problems in that the loop is line level.  the converter is a good idea and I'll look for one.  This could be the reason all my speakers sound like crap. It;s not something that is out front and obvious but is a buzzy distortion of a bad kind, making me think the Celestion is a POS, which it is, but perhaps not as much as this setup is making it seem.  The amp is great, the pod is great, the two together work well is the Pod is an effects unit.  the  switching back and forth between amp's and pod's preamps is key to making this work

Ima tweak some more with these considerations then try to locate the converter and retry. 

Thanks for the input, I'll let you know



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-07-31 15:00:45

got the ebtech, we'll see.  thx



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-08-01 15:54:44

Jim,

damned if I can make sense of where exactly to put this thing in the chain,  each have a 1/4" +4 and -10.  I reckon on the loop send? cable from loop send goes to +4 and cabpe goes out -10 and then to the pod fx return, that simple?

Thx



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by jimsreynolds on 2012-08-02 02:25:24

I can think of a couple of ways ...

First

  • Cable 1:  Guitar --> Pod Input
  • Cable 2:  Pod FX Send -->  MTS Guitar Input
  • Cable 3:  MTS FX Loop Send --> LLS Channel A +4dB
  • Cable 3a:  LLS Channel A -10dB  --> Pod FX Return (Left)
  • Cable 4:  Pod 1/4" Out (left) --> LLS Channel B -10dB
  • Cable 4a: LLS Channel B +4dB --> MTS FX Loop Return

Hookup like this then try first method 2 in the doc I posted.   If that doesn't play nice then fall back to method 1.

The other variation you could try is

  • Cable 1:  Guitar --> Pod Input
  • Cable 2:  Pod FX Send -->  LLS Channel A +4dB
  • Cable 2a:  LLS Channel A -10dB --> MTS Guitar Input
  • Cable 3:  MTS FX Send --> POD FX Return
  • Cable 4:  Pod 1/4" Out (left) --> LLS Channel B -10dB
  • Cable 4a: LLS Channel B +4dB --> MTS FX Loop Return

The setup would be as before but the Pod FX Loop switch would be moved from 'Stomp' to 'Line'.  Both Method 1 and Method 2 are worth a try.

I would try all variations and see which one sounds the most neutral and/or allows levels to be balanced best.

Do come back -  I am very interested in how you get on with this.



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-08-02 12:52:35

good stuff thank you.  It should be here soon, I'll try all things and get back to you.  If it works well this could be the most versatile rig I've ever had. 



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-08-05 11:13:50

Jim, method 1 in your above reply is the deal .  It worked so well that I did not try method 2.  I can match the volume of my amp's pres to any Line 6 pre or amp. no noise, no bad distortion, pure tonal goodness from both channels of my amp and the POD. 

The only problem I can see with this setup is how fast I can toe tap to various patches and back to the effects only patches, but really not a big deal because i don't think I'll switch mid song too much if ever.  The ebtech also has a hum eliminator circuit that works very well and should be handy in the studio I play in because of some ground problems there. 

Thank you much for your input, this setup is the bomb.  I recommend it



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by jimsreynolds on 2012-08-05 11:46:04

Good stuff!   Glad it worked for you



Re: 4cm with tube amp, some preamps have more volume mkaing switching difficult
by wetredbox on 2012-10-12 20:25:39

further update for you Jim, this setup is increasingly impressing me.  The more I tweak within this rig, the more I get really great tones.  The MTS rigs are very cheap because Randall has discontinued them and with the modders like Salvation and Jaded Faith, coupled with the POD, you have an amazing sounding rig with seemingly endless possibilities.  I would recommend trying this gear if ever possible.  from what I've heard about the DT amps, MTS is a better option.

Best




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