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Using HD 500 As Pedalboard

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I'm using an HD 500 in front of a Peavey Delta Blues 15 amp with either a Strat/Active or an Epi Paul/Seymore Duncans. I'm getting really mixed results on all effects and wondered if this is even a reasonable thing to do. I have a preset with just chorus, Here are my assumptions:

 

  • The "no effects on" should be a pass through (right now it doesn't seem to be -- sound is muddy)
  • A compressor on the front (before the preamp) shouldn't do much to dirty the tone. Right now, the Tube Comp is really dirtying up the tone. That's cool if I want dirty, but sometimes I want clean
  • Tone and volume can be managed on the guitar and amp
  • Crunch can be set on the amp

 

The main reason I'm wanting to do this is that I was using amp modeling with all the tone knobs at 5 -- as neutral as possible -- and it just colored the sound so much I wasn't hearing what I wanted.

 

I tried the 4-wire technique, but with just those effects, what would I put in after the preamp? Anyhow, is anybody running an HD in front of a real guitar amp instead of a PA? What are you doing?

 

Thanks!

 

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I have a pretty big collection of amps that have ended up in storage. The HD500 straight in to the board and hooked to a stereo pair of powered monitors has been my main rig for over a year now. Before that, it was a POD 2.0 or a Boss GT10 hooked the same way. I own a studio that does TV and radio work on a regular basis. Everything I have done in the past years has been with amp modeling. For my use and in my opinion, running any modeler in to another guitar amp is kind of like micing a killer 100 watt Marshall stack thru a 15 watt combo. I have used two Fender amps running stereo hooking in to the FX returns on the amps. This bypasses the preamp section and runs me in to the power amp and speakers. It works well if you are just wanting to hear yourself but the guitar cabs cut out all the top end clarity you would get running thru a great pair of floor monitors. You will never be able to truly hear what the POD or any other modeler is completely capable of. It will allow you to hear yourself but the tone will never sound as good as being plugged in to mixer. That's what these things were designed for.

On the other hand, if you disable the amps and just use the FX the HD will make a great FX pedal board. No lugging around a dozen stomp boxes that have to be patch corded and tweaked everytime you set up. It works very well at this,too.

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Here is something you could try; from what I can see, your Peavey has an FX return - this is crucial.

 

Try this:

 

Set the 'Output Mode' on the HD500 to 'combo/poweramp'

Run the 1/4" out from the HD500 into the Peavey FX return.

Set up your patch with any FX you want, and amp models you want to try.

 

This process basically bypasses the preamp on your Peavey and lets the HD500 digitally model the preamp and poweramp stages of the amp models without being 'squeezed' into the guitar input on the Peavey - amp inputs are designed for the tonal range of a guitar.

 

Next idea, after you get some patches you like - change the HD500 output mode to 'Studio/Direct'. try the Fender amp models, the Hiwatt, the Plexi, etc. There are several that I really like, can't decide which is my favorite, but I spend alot of time with the Plexi normal and the Bassman (tweed).

 

The distinction is this: combo/poweramp is modeling the amp model and cabinet, with no 'microphone emulation'; studio/direct adds mic modeling. The reason I say do it in that order, is it's kind of how you would dial in your tone on stage or in studio. Get your amp and FX sounding right - THEN add the microphone.

 

That basic process (1/4" to the FX return) is how I used my HD500 from 2010-2014; earlier this year I bought a DT25, and that is a whole new level of awesome - but I digress.

 

Try that mono 1/4" out to the FX return - try switching between the 'line' level vs 'amp' level on the HD500, I have used both, either sounds good, depending on how you build your patches.

 

Typically, I used the 'full' amp models in this case, especially if you are using the Studio/Direct mode. The 'pre' amp models (at the end of the amp model list, you will see all the models repeat in same order, but with the 'PRE' added - those are designed for use with a DT amp, where the HD500 only models the preamp, and the DT/Bogner does the poweramp portion in analog rather than with modeling)

 

The reason I mentioned trying the Studio/Direct, is that way your Peavey becomes a stage monitor - AND - you can also send XLR outputs to the mixer, and that will sound good. When you go to 'combo/poweramp' since it drops the mic modeling, it doesn't sound particularly good going direct to a mixer / full range. 

 

Cheers!

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The question is how picky are you about your on stage sound? If you just want to hear it to reference playing the song a guitar amp will suffice. If you want to hear the full amp modeling effect in all it's glory you will really need some higher fidelity cabs with horns or tweeters. I have used a Crown stereo power amp pushing 2 JBL floor monitors with 12" speakers before and the sound was incredible! Like standing in the main room of a world class studio. In smaller rooms I have plugged the HD500 in to the FX returns on 2 Fender Concerts and while the top end left much to be desired the setup was killer. These days I mostly do studio work. When I do play live it is usually at places that have a house PA and sound guy. I plug straight in the snake to the board and the sound guy gives me just enough volume back thru the monitors to hear myself comfortably. Quick and easy!

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So @gear head, when you were using the HD500 plugged into the FX return, what power amp did you have on the back end? This does solve some of the issues I was encountering, but the Peavey seems to control volume at the preamp stage, leaving volume modulation to the HD500 in your first configuration. Is this common and were you able to get sufficient volume without micing the amp? By the way I like it so far.

 

On a different but related topic, I have a couple of really different guitars. One is a Strat with an active circuit that is really a loud guitar when the preamp knob is turned up. This can add crunch in most preamps. I've found the Line6 models respond differently than a typical amp to this kind of overload (I wouldn't say overdrive so as not to confuse it with preamp drive). I have an Epi Les Paul that was pretty soft by comparison, but I'm getting some pretty hot pickups put on right now ($25/pickup! How could I say no?)

 

Thanks

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