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This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by Stevetopsy on 2013-02-25 23:55:15

I know POD's are known to be fizz machines and I've read all around including Meambobbo's guide.  No matter what I do, no matter how I eq and what I cut or boost, my tones always seem to have this layer of fizz on top.  I'll cut somewhere only to hear something wonky somewhere else, and before I know it I have 7 different eq's going (not even counting those in the HD edit) and I might as well start over from scratch.  I've been at this for months now and I figured i'd eventually get the hang of it, but at this point I'm about ready to Ebay it and get an axe fx.

Full disclosure:  I have an Ibanez S series, pickups are Crunchlab/Liquifire combo (upgraded thinking that would solve my problem, still fizz city!).  I use the POD HD500 and go direct to computer using USB.  I record in Cubase 5 and use Izotope 4 for some light mastering.

Let me say that I know my mix now isnt TERRIBLE or anything, but when I hear what some people are able to accomplish using the same gear I have, I can't see why I should settle for anything less.  One example is Miroist. One of the reasons I was compelled to get an HD500 in the first place was because of the tones he achieved. Check it out here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VMPcohw4sA  Then theres my tones...  I have tried pre-made patches and I have made my own. No matter what amp, mic, etc. I use it's always the same result. 

The tones I have uploaded are from 2 different POD's.  "OLD POD no Eq" is from my first HD500 that I took back because I didn't like the sound.  Ironically, now I think it sounds the best and is the closest to that tight Miroist tone.  That pod had none of the fizz that i'm dealing with now with pod 2, but there was no low end.  I messed around with a POD X3 Live for a bit until I decided to get another HD500 a month or 2 later since I felt like I had learned alot about mixing and eq'ing and maybe it would be different this time.  First thing I noticed is my old presets from POD 1 sounded COMPLETELY different.  Now,  I don't know if pod 1 was defective, if pod 2 is defective, of it was just some crazy driver update which drastically altered the sound, but there is no mistaking when you compare the clips that they are totally different.  The rest of my samples are from the new POD 2.  "EQ" is the patch I made with some slight eq'ing to the lows and highs, "EQ full" is that same tone in a full mix.  "No EQ" is the patch as it was recorded, and "No EQ full" is that tone in a mix. 

About the difference in quality between the 2 pods, I'm pretty sure that the first was either defective or some update happened while I was in between pods.  I have downloaded some of Meambobbos pre-made patches and compared them to his recordings and for the most part they sound rather similar. So I'm guessing that my new POD sounds the way it's supposed to sound, which makes me even more confused and frustrated (even if I put in the same settings as the old pod tone I get a completely different sound...). 

Sorry for the wall o' text but I'm at my wits end here and all I want to do is record my music.  I'm afraid if I dont figure this out soon i'm going to give up on the whole thing altogether which I dont want to happen.  Any help or advice would be much appreciated, Thanks!

TL;DR  Tones are always fizzy and honky no matter what I do or how I eq.  I'm about all out of ideas at this point.  I've uploaded some clips for reference.

TONE SAMPLES: https://soundcloud.com/since-the-collapse

Edit:  I uploaded the patch I used if anyone is interested... http://line6.com/customtone/tone/223190/



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by Akeron on 2013-02-26 05:41:24

Since the sound of those clips seem normal to me, I wonder what do you mean by "fizz", maybe you play with headphones on? Whatever you do mean, I like the sound. I think that's the most ironic thing



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by DeanDinosaur on 2013-02-26 10:31:35

Some good sounding Fizz here! Even real tube amps can sound fizzy with super high gain.

Regarding your patches sounding different,  I blame that on firmware upgrade. Unfortunately patches never sound Identical after firmware upgrades.



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by Stevetopsy on 2013-02-26 12:40:26

I agree it sounds decent.  I like the overall tone but to me, especially in the mix, it seems like the guitars just don't sit right.  They seem like they have no weight, or crispness, or bite, or whatever.  It's just wimpy fizz.  During palm mutes, instead of a crunch or percussive bite it's just a wimpy fuzzy scrape.  If I could only figure out how to remove that layer of static.  You'll notice it best when you compare my eq'd mix with that Miroist track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VMPcohw4sA.  His tone just seems much more clear, defined, and present.  I've asked all around for POD users who have nice tones for their techniques but they guard them as if the tone is why people listen to their music and not the actual music.

I appreciate the helpful comments so far though, thanks guys! For what it's worth, you've made me feel better about releasing an EP with this sort of production.  Perhaps people won't be completely turned off by the mix job, haha.  Any further comments, criticisms, or tips are welcome.  Thanks in advance!



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by phil_m on 2013-02-26 12:53:14

First of all, I guess I should preface what I say with that this isn't really a style that I listen to, so maybe I'm not in the position to actually critique or anything. But listening through my headphones, I actually thought your tones sounded a little bit nice than the ones on Youtube you linked to. Overall they seem to have a bit more body. I do hear what you mean, I think, about them being a little more fizzy, but I don't know if find any if that undesirable. I always thinks there's a fine line between upper end definition and fizz. Sorry I can't be of more help. But I think your tones are really good.



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by DeanDinosaur on 2013-02-26 15:18:48

1-The best tip that I can give is similar to what is given to Reverb, when you start to hear it in the mix just lower it by a few decibles. If you want heavier clearer wall of sound, do this:  When you push the gain to where you like it simply lower the gain knob by as much as you can without losing the feel of what you're playing. Most if not all of the heaviest produced guitar sounds don't have as much gain or distortion as guitar player perceive when listening.

2-Try to place an EQ before the Amp and cut the very high frequencies before they hit the amp, this way the amp distortion is working on fundimental guitar frequencies.



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by HDProJohn on 2013-02-26 15:30:32

I'll chime in and agree with liking your tone over the Miroist tone. Also will say that I battled the same problem between getting the percussive/djent sound in the upper end vs. having a full tone. The rest of the guys in my group would continually laugh at me, cover their ears when I thought I'd find one that "bit" enough in a mix, and then pull up a parametric EQ and begin cutting. With that being said, we now only us my Pod for certain effects which aren't reproducible on my buddy's Axe 2 (seeker, etc.) for recording. It's just been easier for us. I too would like to know what some of those guys are doing to get bite and full-body from the Pod.



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by HDProJohn on 2013-02-26 15:44:49

#2 is a great idea, DeanDinosaur. I do the reverse live with a Boss pedal and boost my lows a bit to add "oomph," but have never tried cutting some of the highs. Should have thought of that earlier! Ha.



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by MontyM on 2013-02-26 17:05:03

A couple ideas -

Increase your Bias X control to 3-4 o'clock, I noticed the duration of fizz decreases on most patches when you do that.  Also, if you roll back some of your presense control, that will take away some of the brittleness you're getting.

Try different mics.  For heavier stuff, I normally bounce back and forth between the MD421 and the U87 models, the only catch is that I will also throw a studio EQ after the mic to help absorb some of that resonant frequency in the mids you'll hear.

Lastly, the stuff you're hearing might be higher in the frequency spectrum than you're used to hearing your guitar produce.  You might try running the mic pre model before your pedals/amp, and drop the LPF to anywhere between 8.5 kHz and 10 kHz.  If you try this, make sure to temporarily shut off your amp and distortion pedals while you set up the gain on that model to observe and correct any clipping that may occur.

Good Luck!



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by Stevetopsy on 2013-02-27 04:57:36

I can't thank you guys enough for taking the time to respond and offer advice.  There aren't many people I know personally with knowledge about this sort of stuff so it's good just having a dialogue about some of the obstacles i've run into.  Alot of great suggestions here that i'm looking forward to trying out, I'll make sure to update this with my results (hopefully they're good!).   



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by Stevetopsy on 2013-02-27 21:06:47

Okay, I seem to be having some progress here.  I took DeanDinosaur's suggestion of putting some EQ before the amp and went one step further and put it before my distortion pedal as well.  So the chain now goes gate - 4 band eq - para eq - screamer - engl - para eq.  I also homed in on my DAW EQ on exactly where that scratchy pick scrape fuzz was coming from and cut away at that.  I ended up with something way less honky than the "Full EQ" sample I uploaded.  It's sounding good to me at the moment, but the real test is when I wake up tomorrow and listen to it with fresh ears.  Any and all feedback is welcome! NEW TONE: https://soundcloud.com/since-the-collapse/new-tone-feb27



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by meambobbo on 2013-03-02 19:22:39

i hear what you mean on the older patches.  that last one sounds damn good to me.  I have a new setlist of patches due out soon too.

I know what you mean about hearing this or that little annoyance in the tone and you just fight and fight the Pod until you want to scream.  I know you said you read my guide, but there are some specific points I want to reiterate.

For going direct, all the stock cab/mic sims are not great indvidually.  EVERY one of them has some place in the frequency spectrum things sound a bit dead or dull.  If you simply want the highest fidelity sound possible and can use IR's in your DAW, I'd recommend doing that.  Even free ones will sound better than the stock Pod HD ones.  RedWirez or OwnHammer is even better.

For me, I use the stock cab/mic sims because I like a wide variety of patches, and I want them all stored in one place, accessible from a single button push.

To overcome the stock cab/mic weaknesses, I mix 2 of them together.  I cover this in massive detail in my guide.  But the point I wanted to make here is to make sure you didn't think it was as easy as picking 2 individual sounds you like and putting them together.  Some work better than others.  Some require phase correction.  I updated my guide a few days with my favorite combinations and if you need an EQ effect to get them back in phase.

If you want a completely badass sound, you can mix two external IR's together.  Start by keeping it simple - use the same cab for both, but different mics.  I find a 57 positioned on axis and closer than you'd normally want to the cone mixes well with a ribbon or condenser mic.

Rather than try to position a mic or use a darker mic to get the right final EQ, I prefer to use an EQ - a low pass filter.  The Mid-Focus EQ on the Pod works great.  Almost all my high gain patches use one.

If you use a lot of the Pod's EQ effects, be sure to make the ones that cut the signal first and boost last.  They are sensitive to clipping.  Also be sure to play any volume controls conservatively if the affected item has EQ's downstream.

Finally, make sure you smoke test your gear for clipping.  Try playing the pod with some aggressive picking on a completely blank patch with a loud volume on your monitors, or even better headphones.  See if you have clipping.  Might be overloading the Pod input - need to lower pickups (or raise action), use the Pod pad switch, or something like that.  And test toggling EQ's on and off.  Or reducing the amp blocks volume control.  Another crazy thing is I've even clipped EQ's when they're the first item in my chain.  I find sometimes I need to put a volume effect with the volume fixed to as low as 60% to dial out the clipping.

My latest Petrucci and Meshuggah patches use a Mid-Focus EQ as well as a Line 6 Drive to pre-eq the signal before any amp distortion.  I need both to truly tighten up the bottom end to the extreme degree necessary without making the tone sound thin.  The Line 6 Drive I find works as the best pre-distortion filter because the Mids parameter controls the midrange peak frequency, not midrange amplitude.  This really lets you dial in exactly how the distortion breaks up.  This works better than a large treble boost, because too much treble can make the distortion a bit scratchy and crackly.



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by Akeron on 2013-03-03 04:51:25

meambobbo wrote:

But the point I wanted to make here is to make sure you didn't think it was as easy as picking 2 individual sounds you like and putting them together.

Until he simply puts 2 sounds together... and he just likes them!



Re: This fizz is killing me and I feel like I've tried everything... (samples included)
by meambobbo on 2013-03-03 09:33:37

Sometimes you get lucky.  I have had far more WTF moments.




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