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Meiannatee

"HD" compressor for the Pod HD line?

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I've had the HD500x for almost a year, and I must say that it's very convenient to use live, going direct and using IEMs.

 

1) Compressor control parameters

However, I've been struggling with using the compressors (and overdrive pedals, but that's another topic). Having used a Zoom G3, I find the compressors on the Pod quite lacking in tweakability. There isn't a single compressor where I can control the attack, release, ratio, and make-up gain. Being able to control mix would be nice too, but I guess that can be done, only post amp, using the 2 signal paths for parallel comp and using the mixer to balance.

 

With so many parameters to tweak in the "HD amp models", it makes one wonder why there isn't a single tonally transparent compressor with controls for attack, release, ratio, make-up gain, and mix. The Zoom G3, with all its shortcomings, has this kinda comp, and perhaps I miss having that level of control, more than I would miss having control over hum or sag.

 

2) Transparency

The other matter is the way the compressors color the tone, even at the lowest compression settings. This is quite noticeable when A/B-ing a patch with comp on and another with comp off after loudness equalization.

 

Even the tube comp does this, although to a far lesser degree. It distorts (mildly) fairly easily at higher levels of compression, which may give that added warmth that some like, but messes up clean stuff like strummed parts with piezo pickups.

 

Side note: the output gain control does not go low enough for equal loudness with the effect on and off. Even at 0, output is quite a bit louder with the effect on than it is when off.

 

For these reasons, I've been avoiding using compressors. Perhaps they are due to my own ignorance/mistakes. Except for this and other small issues, I'm pretty happy with the Pod. Can anyone help me get around these issues? Thanks!

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generally I don't expect any compressor to be completely transparent, given that by definition a compressor affects volume over time, and volume always affects tone perception..

Thanks for the input. I understand that the Pod’s compressors work like compressor pedals. I’m coming from the experience of using a studio-style compressor with a complete set of controls, like those found in DAWs (the G3 has something like this).

 

I’ll elaborate (sorry, quite lengthy):

What I do is set a moderate ratio, maybe 4:1, set the threshold high, make-up gain at unity and attack and release at default. At this setting, I'm not working/pushing the compressor: I can turn the compressor on and off with no effect on tone at all! Then, as I gradually lower the threshold, I start to notice more and more compression in the form of “flatter†dynamics, but the changes are gentle and gradual.

 

This is not the case with the Pod comps. Even at the absolute minimum levels of compression, there is a change in tone when I turn a comp on and off. It doesn't gradually come in; it's there as soon as you turn it on.

 

Due to my level (or lack) of skill, it’s tricky to identify if the comp effect is adding an EQ, or what I’m hearing is the result of the comp shaping the transients. Then again, if there was a comp pedal with enough parameters (threshold, ratio, attack, release, make-up gain) I could fiddle around and learn the comp. In particular, attack and release, since like you mentioned, they can affect tone perception. Can't do that with only Level + (variations of threshold) to play with...

 

Nevertheless, I’m motivated to mess around with the tube and vetta comps again, once I get home from work.  :)

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I am not really a heavy compressor user, but I do not like the Line 6 comps all that much...Never really have. The HD comps do seem to be a bit better than they were in XT, but I don't think they are great....At least not great for me as far as guitar comps go....When I need a comp for guitar, I tend to use my Strymon OB.1....How I wish they make a model that responds like that pedal does...

 

I do think that HD needs a couple of "track compressor" types....An optical type with standard thresh, ratio, attack, release and level....A Demeter HXC-1 would be pretty crazy to have...A VCA type with thresh, ratio, 3-4 speed settings and level would be great to have also...IOW, a dbx 160...These type of compressors would really make sense for Acoustic, vocals and bass or getting an electric a bit more mix ready on the tail end for FRFR cats...maybe one day they will give us some of the comps out of the M20 mixer...

 

In terms of knocking down some transients a bit and mildly shaping the guitar bandwidth a bit before it gets to the amp model, I really like the results I get with the Vintage Pre...The HPF and LPF are pretty handy for getting the guitar prepared for the amp model which helps in making the tone stack a little less radical...

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I personally don't consider compression on guitars as needed excepting for perhaps a very clean boost into a smallish low powered amp to add a sustain.

 

It is a mistake to add compression to distorted guitars imo as they are already clipped but it seems to be a growing trend.

 

Here is the scoop;

 

Average covers band guitar player listens to the Produced sound of fav records and learns the parts.

He reproduces that mixed and mastered sound on his current rig adding a Studio compressor just like the chain in the mix.

This produces its own set of problems if said band put out a record as now it is also getting compressed in the mix and at Mastering.

On we go,

The result: might as well use keyboards and make music without guitars as the guitar losses more and more life in recordings and less lively instruments are now sounding better then the now less lively guitars.

 

I can go on about what compression did to the kick drum of real players from the late 70's by Audio Engineers that made it acceptable for audiences to buy records with drum machines in them in from the early 80s and where even rock record drums had to be from a machine. Shamefull days.

 

Almost as shameful is the inability to record an acceptable drum kit without the need to layer in samples to fatten or thicken.

 

Alot of this has to do with Audio recordists, Mix Engineers and Mastering Engineers and I being one share responsibility for killing rock! 

 

Nowadays even pop and most genres including Country music have a very compressed backing track and a very loudly compressed vocal track where compression can sound alright but gets Auto tuned to artificially make a vocal something it is not;

 

THE FUTURE

The future will be more and more rhythmic, less instrumental and more robotic machine like vocals. Its already happening.

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THE FUTURE

The future will be more and more rhythmic, less instrumental and more robotic machine like vocals. Its already happening.

 

This is unfortunate.

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In terms of knocking down some transients a bit and mildly shaping the guitar bandwidth a bit before it gets to the amp model, I really like the results I get with the Vintage Pre...The HPF and LPF are pretty handy for getting the guitar prepared for the amp model which helps in making the tone stack a little less radical...

 

May I ask what do you do with the gain and the output setting though? How do you set these in order to use the vintage pre EQ only as a high and low pass filter?

 

Also, do you know what the phase setting does exactly? I have read some things about it, but I would like to hear another, more "practical" opinion maybe. 

 

Thanks in advance.

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Also, do you know what the phase setting does exactly? I have read some things about it, but I would like to hear another, more "practical" opinion maybe. 

 

The phase setting can be useful in a dual amp patch.  Some combinations are way out of phase and cancelling each other out. Putting one of them 180 out can totally bring it to life...

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phase does exactly what any phase switch on a mic or channel strip does...It reverses the polarity of the signal....It's a pretty DSP expensive block to use just for that...but in a straight simple single tone patch, it could help with you guitar blending with another guitar player...Handy if you are in a mix yourself situation...That is actually part if the reason I have it on nearly every patch I have

 

turn up the gain just below the point where it starts breaking up and adjust the output to adjust the level so that when you take it in and out it is the same volume....The amount of compression is very subtle in this use and for me it is perfect....It actually makes for a decent boost on clean to slightly dirty tones where you might want to drive the amp into breakup with the output and the HPF and LPF filters come in handy for this as you can turn it into a band-pass mid boost sorta like the mid-focus EQ, but with the nice color the pre has and a decent capacity to drive an amp model.

 

Another use of the HPF and LPF filters if to tune the bandwidth to around 80 Hz to 6K or so....That is basically the bandwidth of most 12 inch speakers (standard tuned low E is around 82 Hz)....If I am drop tuned, this certainly changes a little bit on the lower side....But I find that if I tame the bandwidth response of the guitar a bit before it hits the rest of the chain that it makes for less radical EQ in the amp model...I prefer to attenuate thing a little bit along the chain...

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The phase setting can be useful in a dual amp patch.  Some combinations are way out of phase and cancelling each other out. Putting one of them 180 out can totally bring it to life...

 

phase does exactly what any phase switch on a mic or channel strip does...It reverses the polarity of the signal....It's a pretty DSP expensive block to use just for that...but in a straight simple single tone patch, it could help with you guitar blending with another guitar player...Handy if you are in a mix yourself situation...That is actually part if the reason I have it on nearly every patch I have

 

turn up the gain just below the point where it starts breaking up and adjust the output to adjust the level so that when you take it in and out it is the same volume....The amount of compression is very subtle in this use and for me it is perfect....It actually makes for a decent boost on clean to slightly dirty tones where you might want to drive the amp into breakup with the output and the HPF and LPF filters come in handy for this as you can turn it into a band-pass mid boost sorta like the mid-focus EQ, but with the nice color the pre has and a decent capacity to drive an amp model.

 

Another use of the HPF and LPF filters if to tune the bandwidth to around 80 Hz to 6K or so....That is basically the bandwidth of most 12 inch speakers (standard tuned low E is around 82 Hz)....If I am drop tuned, this certainly changes a little bit on the lower side....But I find that if I tame the bandwidth response of the guitar a bit before it hits the rest of the chain that it makes for less radical EQ in the amp model...I prefer to attenuate thing a little bit along the chain...

 

Thanks for you answers guys! I really appreciate that!

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all the other available comp FXs are models of stomp boxes and like the originals offer very basic controls..

 

when I build a patch, if I need a compressor, I always consider also the way it affects the tone and not only how much compression it adds to the signal, so maybe at some point I change it for another one because it's better for that particular tone I have in my head..

It's a shame that they didn't make a model of just ONE compressor with the 5 controls mentioned, as this single compressor would have done the job in most situations without the need to change the compressor model! Yes, it may take more work, but hey, it's a Pod, and I thought Pod owners love tweaking  :P

 

Taking your advice, I think I'll make my patches after I select a comp so that I can EQ with the comp turned on in the chain. Then I'll just leave it on, and if I wanna turn it off, I can make another patch without the comp and with different EQ settings.

 

I personally don't consider compression on guitars as needed excepting for perhaps a very clean boost into a smallish low powered amp to add a sustain.

 

It is a mistake to add compression to distorted guitars imo as they are already clipped but it seems to be a growing trend.

 

Here is the scoop;

 

Average covers band guitar player listens to the Produced sound of fav records and learns the parts.

He reproduces that mixed and mastered sound on his current rig adding a Studio compressor just like the chain in the mix.

This produces its own set of problems if said band put out a record as now it is also getting compressed in the mix and at Mastering.

The application in which I need compression is using a piezo pickup in a live setting (FRFR). Those buggers are annoyingly overly dynamic, and the sound guys complain about the plucked stuff being lost and the strummed stuff being too loud. This is also the situation where the tone effects of compression is not wanted at all. I don't need compression on my dirty tones, and even clean ones with mag pickups.

 

Regarding compression and mixing, sound engineers actually like to have light compression during the recording process. Then, a little bit more during mixing/mastering. Gentle compression in multiple stages sound more natural than a one-time heavier compression.

 

And if you're talking about "the good old days", music is already being compressed during recording, since everything's recorded on tape, and you get tape compression/saturation, if I'm not wrong.

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hurghanico,

I am not one of the POD owners that only likes to download ready made patches. I play 60s and 70s classic rock and I went through a lot of the stuff on customtone and found that I mostly wasted my time. I ended up using two or three out of over a hundred I tried and then only as starting place to create my own.

 

I feel as if the style of music I play is not what most owners of the POD play. Because of the all the ways you can hook up a POD you also have to wade through a ton of tones that are created for a connection method that you don't use (I use a FRFR type system).

 

-Max

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my personal perception is that the majority of POD owners love dowloading ready made patches rather than tweaking ;)

 

I was certainly one of those people.  I started out with a UX1 which was very much download and play mostly.  Imagine my surprise when I jumped from the UX1 right to the 500x.  Talk about a fish out of water and time to learn a bunch of stuff and learn it quick!

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Yea, there's a lot of good stuff in the model packs. Bought them all and not gonna return them! (No matter what the wife says..)

 

Besides a full (modern) studio compressor, there's the EQ thing, like Hurghanico mentioned. Like, who uses the bass and treble controls on the parametric and mid focus EQs??? Why not add more bands to the parametric instead?

 

And I wouldn't have such a big issue with the frequencies being shown in %, if it wasn't for the fact that when i change EQs, the same percentage value corresponds to a different frequency! ARRRGH But that's for another thread.

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It's a shame that they didn't make a model of just ONE compressor with the 5 controls mentioned, as this single compressor would have done the job in most situations without the need to change the compressor model! Yes, it may take more work, but hey, it's a Pod, and I thought Pod owners love tweaking  :P

 

Taking your advice, I think I'll make my patches after I select a comp so that I can EQ with the comp turned on in the chain. Then I'll just leave it on, and if I wanna turn it off, I can make another patch without the comp and with different EQ settings.

 

The application in which I need compression is using a piezo pickup in a live setting (FRFR). Those buggers are annoyingly overly dynamic, and the sound guys complain about the plucked stuff being lost and the strummed stuff being too loud. This is also the situation where the tone effects of compression is not wanted at all. I don't need compression on my dirty tones, and even clean ones with mag pickups.

 

Regarding compression and mixing, sound engineers actually like to have light compression during the recording process. Then, a little bit more during mixing/mastering. Gentle compression in multiple stages sound more natural than a one-time heavier compression.

 

And if you're talking about "the good old days", music is already being compressed during recording, since everything's recorded on tape, and you get tape compression/saturation, if I'm not wrong.

Fair enough, in that situation you need some clamping down only to even out the notes like with bass.

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I like the compressor that line 6 put in the first pod and pod 2.0 and wish that it was an option on my hd500, if anyone knows what comp. on the hd500 is closest to that comp, please post it. thanks

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