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amsdenj

Analysis of 2.6 Acoustic Amp

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Well, after much anticipation, I'm a bit disappointed in the new Acoustic amp. I wanted to use it for a Variax 700 Acoustic and mandolin, as well as for occasional vocal use. Its better than nothing, but I was hoping it would be similar to one of the acoustic preamps in the POD X3Live. Here's what I found:

 

DRIVE: is a very gradual drive control, 0 - 100% doesn't make a huge difference, and to my ear doesn't add any distortion. So it appears to behave like a gain control into the preamp, and has pretty much the same effect as the CH VOL as far as I can hear.

 

BASS: typical medium bandwidth/Q boost/cut around 125 Hz, flat at 50% This is good for acoustic guitar, but is too low to have any much on a mandolin. Also pretty low for vocals.

 

MID: a narrow bandwidth/Q boost/cut at around 800 Hz. The high bandwidth makes it ok for cut, but pretty harsh for boost (its generally advised to use subtractive EQ, and to cut narrow and boost wide). Not only is it not that useful, but there is a wide bandwidth mid cut around 1k Hz with BASS, MID and TREBLE at 50% that this control can't get rid of. You can boost it a little to raise the level at 800 Hz, but because of the narrow Q, it still leaves a dip at 1K Hz.

 

TREBLE: a medium bandwidth/Q boost at 9k Hz and cut closer to 2K Hz - somewhat of an odd treble control.

 

PRES: All boost at around 6K Hz, flat at 0%, so it overlaps with and is a bit lower and therefore more harsh than the TREBLE control.

 

Setting BASS, MID, and TREBLE at 50% and PRES at 0%, you get a pretty deep wide cut at 1k Hz which make a typical smily face. That sounds ok by itself, but tends to make an acoustic guitar or vocal disappear in the mix due to the loss of important midrange. The MID control is too low and too narrow to correct this dip, and the narrow boost at a fixed frequency and Q don't make for a very useful MID control.

 

TREB and PRES overlap at similar frequencies and might have a crossover point that is a bit too low for acoustic instruments. Looks more appropriate for an electric guitar.

 

I could get a reasonably flat sounding setting with BASS 42%, MID 64%, TREB 50% and Presence 5% with the Variax 700 acoustic.

 

I'll stick with the Acoustic amp since its close, and does enable the use of the POD controls during performances to tweak the tone as needed. But I was really hoping for a more flexible acoustic preamp like those in the X3Live that have controls more like those of the global EQ.

 

Not sure what Line6 had in mind for this amp or what amp it might have modeled. It might demo well because of that mid range cut, but it doesn't seem that useful as an acoustic amp to me. My measurements could be off.  I used the Fast Fourier Transform in the AudioTools app on an iPad to do the analysis. I fed pink noise into the POD and viewed the output result in the app. My ears aren't as good as the use to be (a long time ago) either. So maybe you'll have a different experience/result.

 

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Thanks for reporting your experience. For me it is the acoustic amp and other amps in the vintage bundle that would drive me to buy the bundle, but I'll waiting some time before I buy to see how other users feel about the new amps.

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I was hoping that the "Line 6 Acoustic" was the same DSP effect that gives resonance to a piezoelectric guitar on the L3T speaker

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I noticed the acoustic amp being low jn volume too- try adding a cab to it! I messed with that briefly last night. JTV to HD500x, linked to L2t speakers. I made a dual amp chain, made both the acoustic amp, then added the JC120 cab to one, left the other as no-cab. I have to start working some direct and FRFR stuff to my rig for the JTV acoustics! I mostly use the DT amps for my rig, but the reso and acoustics never sounded quite right via the DT route. I was loving the banjo, sitar, the acoustics with the L2!. Got some nice tones using that new acoustic amp model, just too some messing with settings

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+1 the volume level seemed low on that one. I added a Stuido EQ after the Amp and pulled up the gain. Have not had the oppetunity to bring over the DT to see what I can do there. I thought sounded pretty good, even if I had to bump the volume up.

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the acoustic amp is from the X series, perhaps it was built at a lower level to accommodate that series?

just a thought.

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I am not sure which acoustic model it is (Have an HD bean and still in wait...)...I have an XT and I have used the Piezo in the past and it worked pretty nicely for a piezo loaded guitar...Perhaps its the VAX one they added to the pack?

 

From the XT Manual:

 

Line 6 Piezacoustic 2

This one is designed to work with the piezo output of solidbody electrics that have one of those newfangled bridges with the ‘acoustic’ pickup built in. Since you don’t have to worry about the body shaking itself to pieces with feedback on that type of guitar, we’ve cooked up this model with more low-mids and low frequencies.

 

Line 6 Variax Acoustic

One of the great features of the Variax Digital Modeling Guitars from Line 6 are their models of acoustic instruments. These sounds are best appreciated through a full range monitor or P.A., due to their high frequency content. This Amp Model was created in order to allow the Variax’s acoustic models to sound as full-range as possible through the speakers of typical guitar amps. This can come in handy when you’re using an acoustic model from a Variax, and listening to it through a guitar amp’s speakers. Keep in mind that since this model provides a large amount of high frequency boost (to compensate for the natural roll-off of typical guitar speakers) and overdriving a model playing an acoustic guitar is not usually a desired thing, this model will likely appear softer than most of its compatriots. If you need more gain, the Drive knob can be used to add some tube preamplification.

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Agree that the gain and channel volume for the Acousic amp are very low - forgot to mention that. I'm running the Drive all the way up and the Channel Volume around 75% to get unity gain through the block. This seems very low.

 

Designing an "Acoustic amp" that is tuned for either piezo pickups or a variax acoustic played through guitar speakers would be a very specific purpose amp model and doesn't make much sense. Rather it appears that this amp is either modeling something specific that we are not aware of, was designed as a compromise to limit DSP or memory space, or was designed based on some requirements that escape me. I await documentation from Line6 to indicate what their intent was for this model.

 

To use it, I'm using a mid-focus EQ right before the amp to replace the missing mid frequencies, provide a low pass filter, and boost the gain to more reasonable levels. I had that effect block anyway because there wasn't any acoustic amp. I had hoped to be able to use the block for some other purpose. As it is I have the mid-focus EQ, two sudio EQs and one studio preamp along with the Accoustic amp in order to get good Acoustic tone. I had hoped to simplify this, but the Acoustic amp isn't adequate.

 

Even after all this, the Mid and Treble controls don't really work that well for acoustic guitar, vocal or mandolin - all my requirements. They seem to be voiced towards electric guitar. I can make this work, but it isn't what I was looking for or expected.

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I don't use any amp model with the JTV variax acoustic tones. If I remember right I use the tube compressor and the studio EQ and that is it. I think it sounds great through my L2 speaker and it also sits well in a mix with the band.

 

-Max

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That's the way I was using the HD500X for acoustic tones too, and I run the EQ essentially flat. That works, but the controls on the HD500X aren't functional. I had hoped the Acoustic amp would be mostly flat, and voiced for acoustic instruments so 1) I could free up effect blocks that are currently used for EQ and 2) have functioning knobs for tweaking during performances. 

 

The Acoustic amp gets part way there, but is not flat, is too low gain, and does not seem to voiced for acoustic instruments.

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I never had good results that way, amsdenj.  The tone and functionality that is attached to the amp models is part and parcel of the HD.  If you haven't, try the Hiway amp/cab combo.  Set Res to zero, ER to 100, then adjust from there.  My EQ on that model is fairly flat, with a few tweaks, and I get a good violin sound.  I did set my master high-pass to 100 Hz, which you may want to set lower, maybe 60 Hz to get more body.  I am using the 4038 ribbon mic and 412 Hiway cab. It is about as neutral as any model in the pre-2.60 firmware.  Can't say about the new vintage models, since I'm using the first-gen 500..  I am eager to try the jc120 model, as well as the orange.  May end up being unusable as a standard clean acoustic tone, but you never know.  If not, the Hiwatt still works for me.

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...The Acoustic amp gets part way there, but is not flat, is too low gain, and does not seem to voiced for acoustic instruments....

 

r u playing direct or thru guitar amp cab?

 

since "This Amp Model was created in order to allow the Variax’s acoustic models to sound as full-range as possible through the speakers of typical guitar amps", one has 2 follow the manufacturer's "instruction-manual".

if u use it direct, then obviously u get unexpected results...

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That documentation is for the Line 6 Variax Acoustic Model in the POD X3 Live. I don't think that's the model that included in the 2.6 update of the POD HD500X. It would be too limiting for a general purpose acoustic model. It also doen't have the extreme high frequency boost described in that model. Rather it only has about a 6-9dB mid cut at 1k Hz. But you could be right, it could be that model. Unfortunately we don't know as there is no documentation for these new models that I know of.

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let us wait till official doc is released...

 

btw, ur analysis is based on playing direct or thru guitar amp cab?

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The new acoustic model was designed to be used with the Soundstage line of powered speakers, I'm sure. Giveaway is the amp icon that shows up in Edit: it's an L2m. And sure enough, at least to my ears, it sounds stunning thru my L2M. I plugged in a newer Guild GAD-30PCE with a Fishman piezo, no onboard controls, connected to Pod HD500X Guitar input, and out to L2m thru Line 6 Link, Studio/Direct mode. The only thing I changed from the default amp settings was to lower the bass a bit. (I find this is the frequency that will vary the most from room to room.) I added a touch of Hall reverb & a Tube Comp (Thought I'd need that for sure but turned it off.) Haven't gigged with it yet but I will tonight. Stay tuned. . .

Also tried it with the acoustic models on my Variax 300. Didn't need to touch anything, it also sounded great.

Thanks for fixing that acoustic amp no-show issue so quickly, Line 6!

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Frankly I was surprised at the inclusion of an acoustic amp. Everything you need for an acoustic is already available in other effects.

 

What they could try is some modeling to get rid of piezo ping. I would think they'd have that down from the variax.

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You can certainly use enough EQ effects blocks to get a good acoustic tone. But:

1. The Drive, Bass, Mid, Treble and Presence controls only work on the Amp block

2. It uses up a lot of effect blocks for EQ that aren't available for other effects

3. None of the EQ effect blocks are voiced that well for acoustic instruments, they're more focused on electric guitar frequency ranges.

4. The effect blocks have limited parameters (5)

 

The X3Live had a number of preamps that were well designed for acoustic instruments, and had global EQ for every patch. Too bad the HD series didn't keep this up. I had hoped the Line 6 Acoustic amp would be one of the X3Live preamps, but as far as I can tell, it isn't.

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..., and had global EQ for every patch. ..

I'm not sure what you mean. How is an EQ that is available for every patch (hence potentially different for every patch) global? To me, a global EQ (or any other global effect) applies in the same manner to all patches. Isn't that what 'global' means?

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I meant the X3Live has EQ like the HD500X Global EQ, but separate for every patch. 

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