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HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-22 22:11:40

Hi - looking for some help pls.

Wondering if I'm doing something wrong withmy setup - as the basic fact is my patches/tones sound loads better through my headphones than through my powerd monitors.

I've heard what this unit is capable of - so am convinced its something in my setup/gear

I'm just a bedroom player using amp/cab sims and have no real depth of knowledge of gear & their setup - but to be honest through the monitors the Amps sound quite flat & don't sparkle - but through the headphones they sound great & how I think an amp sound sound.

The contrast is like chalk & cheese.

Gear: Fender Strat (60's re-issue) - no mods > HD500 > pair of Alesis M1 Active 520 USB Powered Monitors (connected via 1/4" out).

HD500 General settings:

Input 1 Source: Guit +Aux +Variax

Input 2 Source: Same

Guitar in - Z: 1m

Output: Studio/Direct

Master: 4 o'clock

Volume: to suit bed room level

Switches:

1/4" Out: Line

XLR: Ground

Guitar In: Normal

Monitor Volume: approx 75% of max

I get the feeling it's something really simple - as I've heard some great sounding clips on you tube.

Any advise is welcomed pls.



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by Ed_Saxman on 2013-01-23 02:57:39

[Input 1 Source: Guit +Aux +Variax] = Noisy. Choose guitar instead.

[Master: 4 o'clock + Monitor Volume: approx 75% of max] = Bad signal-to-noise ratio. Turn Master Knob as high as possible, then set an appropiate volume on your monitors. Personally I used the Master Knob cranked to 100% all the time (this only applies to analog outputs. No effect using USB/SPDIF). Please RTFM and/or: http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/tipsAndPitfalls#masterKnob

">http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/tipsAndPitfalls#masterKnob">http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/tipsAndPitfalls#masterKnob



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by hurghanico on 2013-01-23 03:55:18

Ed_Saxman ha scritto:

...[Master: 4 o'clock + Monitor Volume: approx 75% of max] = Bad signal-to-noise ratio...

I'm sorry to contradict you Ed_Saxman
but I wouldn't say that Master: 4 o'clock = Bad signal-to-noise ratio..

actually it is nearly at max!



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by Ed_Saxman on 2013-01-23 04:19:23

hurghanico escribió:


but I wouldn't say that Master: 4 o'clock = Bad signal-to-noise ratio..

actually it is nearly at max!

You´re right, I´m sorry. I have misread 40%



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by hurghanico on 2013-01-23 04:30:45

Ed_Saxman ha scritto:

....I have misread 40%...

it also happens to me



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-23 10:28:51

Thanks for advice.

Yes 4 o'clock is just off max. I had indeed read that in the manual.

so if I crank the masttr to 100% ( 5 o'clock) - Do you recommend having the monitor volume or amp volume as high as possible.



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-23 12:02:37

Changed settings as suggested

ie

Input 1 Source: guitar

Mastter Knob as high as possible,

Result - no difference really - just a little louder - still missing the sparkle/punch as heard through headphones



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by spaceatl on 2013-01-23 12:28:23

Are all the tone switches neutral on the 520s?

Are you using balanced 1/4 TRS or unbalanced TS cables? From what I recall, the 1/4 outs on the HD500 are unbalanced and that would present you with a thin tone is you used balanced 1/4" cables with those 520s...The reason is that the 520s have balanced 1/4 inputs...As long as the 1/4 cables are unbalanced, that should be fine there...hmmm...

The headphone output is actually a stronger line level signal than the 1/4 outs are....have you tried running the HD headphone outs into your 520s...

just a thought...



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by mdmayfield on 2013-01-23 12:30:58

Those aren't particularly powerful monitors, especially in the low bass and high treble range, so it might simply be that they're not as good as your headphones.

Another, maybe more likely, possibility is that the volume is simply much more different between the two than it seems. Our ears hear differently at different loudness levels, and louder sounds with the same tone settings have much more bass & treble (punch & sparkle) at higher volume than lower.

To get speakers to be as loud as the level most people listen to headphones, the sound would almost have to shake the whole room.



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-24 04:42:12

Hi spaceatl - thanks for your input.

With ref to your question about balanced/unbalanced 1/4" cables.

To be honest - I'm not sure. The cable was supplied when I bought the monitors - which is a while ago now.

Whilst trying to understand the difference to help me identify visually (still not sure yet - gonna take a little more digging), I  read that:-

"Unbalanced audio should not be run more than about 10 feet."

I believe it's a 10 meter cable - so now wondering if that could be contributing - if I am indeed using unbalanced cables that is.

Once I determine what cable i'm using - I will confirm.

I also just checked the spec of the 520 1/4 inputs - they are quoted as being Balanced  as you stated.

Do you know if I am able to connect the 520's 1/4 (balanced) connectors to the HD500's XLR (Balanced) connectors via some kind of special cable.?

Cheers



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-24 10:50:05

Just checked the actual cables - looks like the cable are 1/4" TS (ie un-balanced) - based purely on the fact (from newly gained Google induced knowledge) that there are only 2 sections to the 1/4" jacks (ie Tip & Sleeve).

Is that assumption correct?

If so - then I am running an unblanced cable between each of the un-blance HD500 connectors & the Balanced connectors on the 520 - which you suggested earlier should be OK - right?



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-24 10:52:43

What kind of cable would you suggest for connecting the headphones to the 520?



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by spaceatl on 2013-01-24 11:33:22

Generally this is called an insert cable or injection cable...It will be TRS 1/4 on one end and two TS 1/4 on the other...Most music shops with an audio department will carry them...If you have XLR cables you could try that also I think...don't the 520s have XLR inputs...might be a little weak though...HD500 XLRs are mic level...

this is where a little mixer might come in handy...that would allow you to hook up all the HD500 outputs and contrast them side by side on your nearfield monitors...pick the output you like the best...30 foot cables are a bit long...but really should not be much of a problem for a buffered line output...but generally, the shortest practical cables is always a good approach...XLR would likely give you a slightly better result at 30 feet or more...but then that is where a mixer might be needed for a mic pre to get the level matched for your monitors...



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by meambobbo on 2013-01-24 11:48:27

it's natural for open-air sounds to have less highs than headphones due to interference in your room.  Sound reflects off of walls, floors, and ceilings.  It doesn't go from your speakers to your ears and disappear.  the reflections will likely interfere with the sound coming directly from your speakers.  lower frequencies have longer wavelengths and thus will be more likely to create positive rather than negative interference, especially in a smaller room.

In a room with somewhat good dampening on the walls, the reverse is true, because high frequencies are easily absorbed while low frequencies are difficult to absorb.

Depending on the position of the speakers and the shape/size of the room, it's possible to interference patterns, where certain frequencies converge and will be dampened in certain places in the room.  So try moving around the room.

Also note that it's not simply an even roll-off of this frequency or that.  It is more of a comb filter that can create notches through the frequency spectrum (although not nearly as straight-forward as a true comb filter because the audio is reflecting off of infinite points).  But the point is that the tone can sound weak and dead, and even slightly phasy.



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by meambobbo on 2013-01-24 11:50:54

someone recently asked me about what is better - headphones or monitors.  here was my response:

That's a very open-ended question unfortunately.  For instance, what if someone else is listening using the exact same headphones as you or the exact same monitors as you?  Then they'll hear it probably very similarly to how you're hearing it through those devices currently.  The real question is whether the headphones or the monitors more accurately represent the average listening experience for others, who will be using a wide variety of headphones and speakers.  You should record some stuff, then play it back on every system you have - car stereo, home stereo, tv speakers, cheap headphones, etc.  Get a feel for the sound on all of these devices, and keep asking yourself whether the monitors or the headphones better represent all those devices.

Headphones have an advantage over monitors in that they are consistent from one room to the next.  Monitors are not.  The size, shape, and wall/floor/ceiling material of your room will affect the tone.  Also, where you position the monitors in the room matters as well.  On the other hand, a room can make things sound better - the natural reverb adds a bit more space to the tone and things don't sound as dry.

The above point needs to be taken care of in your patches.  If you have absolutely no reverb of any kind in your patches, there will be an obvious difference in tone between headphones and speakers.  Keep in mind real mic'ed cabs, even when close mic'ed, capture some reverb from the room.  It may not be much, but it's enough to make the recorded sound be more similar sounding when listened to via headphones vs. speakers. So for my really dry rhythm guitar tracks, I tend to use at least a tad of E.R. in my patches.  Even if it's < 5%, it makes them sound more similar in headphones vs. speakers.  I tend to use dual cab patches for rhythm guitars.  For the darker cab/mic selection, I use more E.R.  For that channel the E.R. doesn't have the noticeable echo-y sound that can stick out too much.  I'll use between 12-20%.  For the brighter cab, I am more conservative, usually between 4-8%.  And I never use E.R. if I can use a Reverb effect instead.  Usually I simply don't have the DSP to do so.  If you do use reverb on a rhythm track where you don't want it to be too prominent, rather than exclusively messing with the decay and mix parameters, try setting the tone to darker/lower settings.  I usually set pre-delay to 0.

For me, I mainly use my headphones.  I can use them at louder volumes, and there's no room to consider.  I find they pretty accurately represent the majority of other playback devices I have.  When I follow the above advice about using a tad of reverb to prevent the tone from being too dry, they sound very similar to my monitors.

Now, there's occasionally some strange differences.  Really I'll hear something annoying about the tone in the headphones that I don't hear on the monitors or vice versa.  Once I hear it on one, I can pay attention and hear it on the other.

As for monitor settings, if you have EQ switches, I'd just play with them to try to get them to sound as flat as possible, which can be a difficult exercise.  I know my headphones are relatively flat, so I shoot to make the monitors sound as close as possible to the headphones.

So I'd say your headphones are probably gonna be the better representation, but your tone should sound good on both.  Don't rely on one totally over the other.  Test on both.  If a tone works one way but not the other, you may end having to compromise where the tone doesn't sound perfect on either but pretty good on both.  But you want it to sound best on whatever device most accurately represents as many other playback devices as possible.



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by bossredman on 2013-01-24 12:00:03

Definately a lot of food for thought - thanks!

If you have XLR cables you could try that also I think...don't the 520s have XLR inputs...might be a little weak though...HD500 XLRs are mic level...

.. unfortunately not - just 2 x balanced 1/4" inputs.

There is an xlr connector on each - but that's just to link to the L & R monitors together - as there's no other inputs on the Left one. (Both outputs from the POD go into the Right monitor).

Sounds like I'm gonna have to buy some various new cables to experiment.

spaceatl wrote:

Generally this is called an insert cable or injection cable...It will be TRS 1/4 on one end and two TS 1/4 on the other...

... the TRS 1/4 for the headphones o/put & the 2 x TS 1/4 for the 520 inputs???

But shouldnt the 520 i/puts be TRS too?

Sorry new to all this balanced/un-balanced stuff.

But I'm learnng.



Re: HD500 amps/patches sound loads better through headphones than through Powered Monitors
by meambobbo on 2013-01-24 13:14:58

Isn't XLR just a description of the connector, not the cable?  I believe a cable is balanced so long as it has 3 distinct connections.  Whether it has an XLR connector on one or both ends or a 1/4" TRS is only meaningful as far as the ability to connect it to your gear.

I have some cables that have an XLR connection on one side and a TRS connector on the other side.  I think that's what you need.  Then you'd get a good balanced connection between Pod and monitors.




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