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Hd500x Newbie, Back To The Drawing Board


djspleen
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Hi HD users!

 

I had my first live gig with the HD500X over the weekend.  I set-up 4 patches with various effects during different songs to use during the evening.

 

The acoustic pre-set (DI Dreadnaught) served it's purpose for my 12-string.  I did add a bit of chorus so it didn't sound quite so dry, but other than that it worked.  I also created a patch for a "clean" and tube driver type model that I ended up using most of the night, so that one seemed to work ok. 

 

However, the Recto and Marshall sounds I attempted didn't sound good in my monitor at all, so I ended up staying away from them most of the evening.  These were primarily canned pre-sets so I'll likely need to start from the ground up and re-design these two.

 

It's amazing (read "frustrating") how things seem to sound ok in my basement when coming up with the tones but then with the full band things sound tinny, overly saturated with treble, thin and just plain "blech".  I was using a Pod 2.0 previously and I wasn't pleased with how I was always getting lost in the mix during practice so I thought maybe the 500 would help that out.  I'm not completely there yet.

 

When creating the tones I use my amp (Peavey Bandit-112, which I also use as my stage monitor).  I have all my amp EQ settings set to 12:00 and it's running on the clean channel but maybe it's still coloring the sound somehow.  Our band uses QSC K12s for house speakers so I decided to take one of those home and use that for my "design monitor" instead of my amp. 

 

Maybe something will start to click soon and it will all come together!

 

No, there isn't a direct question here.  I'm just throwing some thoughts out and if anyone happens to have a comment/suggestion about my logic I'd be happy to hear it.

 

dj

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My only suggestion is that I've found that you can't really depend totally on the floor monitor for knowing what you're FOH tones will sound like. If possible, you need to try to go out and hear the FOH tone. I think floor monitors can sound overly harsh sometimes because of the tweeters and the performer's proximity to them. That was my experience when I used to play direct with a large sound system. I often thought my tone on stage wasn't the best, but then I'd run out in front of the stage, and it sounded awesome. When we switched to in-ears, I rarely had the experience of thinking my tone was overly harsh then.

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I hear what you're saying, phil, but I was using the same amp for my monitor that I used when making the patches.  Things just always sound different once everything is set up and everyone is playing together.  Maybe I should tell the band that we need to have all of our gigs in my basement so I know what it's going to sound like...?

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Maybe I should tell the band that we need to have all of our gigs in my basement so I know what it's going to sound like...?

Sounds like a plan... :D

 

The other variable in all of this, though, is volume. It's good that you can use the same monitors that your band uses when you're setting up your patches, but you probably aren't doing it at the same volume. This is where the Fletcher Munson effect comes. Essentially, our ears don't hear bass and treble as well at low volumes as they do at high volumes. This could be at least part of the reason why patches you create at home sound harsher in a live situation.

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Yeah...that makes sense.  I'm usually tweaking at night when people are in bed so it's at a pretty low volume.

 

*adds 'sound proof head gear for wife' to shopping list*

 

Actually I could start looking for some AKG K240s, I've seen them mentioned on here a time or two.  I've never used headphones for this purpose before, but it evidently can work.

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I was using headphones to create patches, but ended up with a trebly & thin tone because of the proximity bass boosting effect headphones have.

I now use a small PA I have for tweaking. Sounds the same when I play live thru a PA then.

I do use a good set of headphones for playing around and working up songs, just not to tweak.

YMMV...

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I was also going to shed light on the volume factor. I think that's a pretty big one that extends beyond even the Fletcher-Munson effect. Of course there's that, but I believe there's also a significant difference in frequency response throughout the volume spectrum between bedroom levels and gig levels. As you probably know, your speakers are going to react differently at different volumes. That, plus the Fletcher-Munson effect, plus other frequencies washing out yours, equals bad. I think more than anything it's a frequency/EQ battle.

Mick Thomson talks about the difference in EQ between his recording sound and his live sound.

 

So there's that, there's also the fact that you're using the clean channel. I think that's a pretty big factor too. You may get it to sound good at low volumes but you're essentially using two different pre-amps. As you know, every pre-amp has its own voicing and clean ones are no exception. So, in a way, your signal is going through a filter before hitting the power-amp. This usually translates poorly in a live situation. Try using an FX loop if possible.

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Thanks Sam, I'll take a look at that video.

 

My amp does have an FX send/return and I used that method with my Pod 2.0 in the past, depending on the circumstances.  At the gig last weekend I ran an XLR from the HD500 directly to the snake so my amp was available for a monitor.  I used the amp's regular guitar input for that so I could regulate the volume to my liking without changing the house volume of my guitar. 

 

That's the same way I was wired when creating/testing the tones:  1/4 out of HD500 into guitar input of amp. 

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Hey Djspleen.

 

Agreed on the other posts - better to go into FX return, and volume makes a huge difference.

 

But, and sorry if I've missed something here...

 

You don't mention the output mode you've set.

 

If I've read your posts correctly, you're creating sounds and monitoring with a 1*12 combo, and taking a feed from the Pod xlr to PA.  I'm afraid that these are very different - the guitar amp naturally rolls off treble, and a PA most definitely does not.  If you've set the output mode of the Pod to match combo pre and / or set the sound the way you want it through your combo, I'd expect it to sound pretty harsh and nasty through the PA.

 

One feature I miss from my X3 Live was the ability to have output mode for PA on the xlr, and combo to monitor on stage through th 1/4 inch outs - HD can't do this.

 

It might be worth trying Pod in combo power amp output mode into your Bandit, tweaking your patches at something approaching the volume you intend to use on stage, and then using a good old fasioned mic in front of it to feed the PA.

 

Hope this helps

 

Mark

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All of the above suggestions sound good. I've wrestled with similar concerns with my HD500, which I got about four months ago.

Some tips I've learned: Back off on the drive and distortions, so your sound will come through when playing with the band.

Boost your midranges.

Learn how to tweak your sounds on the fly instead of having to do everything in front of the computer, so you can make changes during a show and see how they sound. I made a little cheat sheet that I keep in my phone on how to adjust presets. I refer to that a lot since I can never remember how to move effects in the chain or how to get into deep edit mode.

You're on the right track just working on a limited number of sounds. Once you find some basic sounds that work, you can try creating new presets that add this effect or that and testing them during gigs. You might set up an MP3 recorder out in the house to see how it sounds when you're up on stage.

Good luck. The HD500/500X takes a lot of work, but it's worth it!

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Hey Mark.

 

For the gig I had the Pod set to Studio/Direct.  I didn't think about that perhaps changing how it sounds through the amp, so that was a mistake due to a lack of experience on my part.

 

Now that I have the QSC K12 to monitor my patch creation, hopefully I can adjust the amp EQ to sound somewhat similar to what the QSC gives me so they'll more closely match.  I haven't had a chance to try that yet...hopefully soon.

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+1 to what Si said.

 

Less distortion is a great idea when you move from bedroom to gig levels, what sounds great with guitar on its own won't necessarily cut through in a band situation, and what you hear on stage is nothing like what the audience (or your MP3 player) hears in front of the PA.

 

We've all spent more time that we'd care to admit to developing patches, and starting from one or two patches that work and tweaking is a great idea - not many guitarists would carry a dozen different amps to a gig and switch between them.

 

I've used my HD at a few gigs with FRFR speakers / PA and not had any complaints from audience, so if you keep plugging you'll get there...

 

Keep plugging

 

Mark

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yeah, you definitely do not want to tweak your patches in combo amp/pwr amp mode then switch to studio for XLR outputs. In that configuration you're basically setting up your patches without having any idea what they actually sound like when you use them. Someone mentioned it up above, but you should always tweak your patches in the closest approximation of the setting you're gonna be using them in. I think taking the QSC home was a good idea, but you'll have to give it some volume to know what your tones really sound like. So if you get a tone you like in Studio/Direct with the QSC just know what its going to be dark and a little less vibrant coming out of your Bandit. Even using a home stereo speaker set-up will get you closer to PA sound than your amp will. Or, you can tweak all you want on your amp and stay in amp output mode, but get a Behringer Ultra G DI box that has some surprisingly decent speaker modeling and stick in between your POD and the PA

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had another gig over the weekend and I was pleased with how the Pod sounded...finally!  I guess all of the searching for tones and tweaking has been paying off.

 

I also played at church for the first time since purchasing the Pod and with some tweakage of an existing pre-set I had an acceptable sound to use during the service.

 

So...I guess I'm finally getting into some type of groove with this new equipment.

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Good for you.

Re reading a high gain amp model into the amp's preamp is harsh. Two preamp stages basically, it might of been okay thru FOH but not on the amp.

The analogy above that the HD is like being given 30 amps and near a hundred pedals and a few rack units. 

At first it is fun but after a while it becomes a bit of a chore trying everything out. I've had mine over a year now and 

still having fun with it setting to only a fraction of what is available at first is a good way to start for gigging.

Sounds like you got it sorted.

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Can you tell me which frequenties we're actually talking about here?

 

I wish I was that smart. Meambobbo's EQ chart is very useful:

http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/ampTone#preEQ

I usually just turn up the mid on my amp sims, so it might be, on a 1-10 scale (it goes to 11!): Bass: 6, Mid: 7; Treble: 5, and roll back the Presence pretty low. That's just personal preference and varies from tone to tone.

I used to go after a more scooped tone, Bass: 7, Mid: 4, Treble: 8. But I was playing a different guitar, no Pod, and less often with a band.

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Distortions mean your tone spreads across more frequencies, I believe, and some of them can get masked by a bass guitar or bass drum, cymbals, snares, etc. That's one reason it sounds different in a band setting than at home. Cutting back on the drive or distortion can focus your guitar tone and help you cut through when playing with a loud band.

I love loud!

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I've been chasing this one for some time as well -- I was going into the return on my guitar amp, and was using a guitar speaker cab (actually a floor monitor wedge I refit with the speaker of my choice), but he FOH sounded bad when I got my stage tone good, I like using the modeled amps and speakers, but when I would set the studio/direct mode and tweaked the tones I found I could sound good in one or other of the stage amp or FOH. I tried a self-powered FRFR monitor, but it didn't have enough "guts". I changed to a light weight but powerful Crown XLS1000 amp, but had to change from a guitar speaker to a full range model, and am pretty much on the same sound page on stage and FOH.

 

What was happening was the guitar speakers have a pronounced mid-range peak response and the modeled amps/speakers also have a pronounced midrange peak, so they added up and made the stage amp sound "honk-y" and the JTV acoustic guitar models and patches really bit through the stage amp. I wish the HD500 and 500X had separate settings & levels for the XLR and 1/4" outputs like the X3L does (did), but my work around and others here on the boards do compensate, so over all, I've come to terms with it all. I always set my tones on the speaker/amp I'm using, and run it up to near performance volume levels to get past the Fletcher-Munson effect -- I have a very understanding wife, but try to do it when she's not home...

 

My 2 cents.

 

Dave

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