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isaiahb93

Explanation Of Certain Effects To Achieve Good Metal Tone

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Hello, I have had my Pod HD 500x for over 2 years and I am very happy with it. I have learned many things regarding the wonderful world of tech knowledge and effects. I have always been more of a player than a gear head. So my understanding of certain effects and specs is very limited. 

 

I run my Pod through my Soldano Lucky 13 Tube Amp and it sounds great on many of my tones. I am happy with my Blues Overdrive tones and clean tones. I even have a decent classic rock AC/DC sounding patch I created using a Plexi Lead Bright Amp. My downfall in tone creation is my limited understanding of Compressors, Noisegates, EQ, and things like that. My goal is to try to create a tight sounding Metal tone. I am looking for a Lamb Of God kind of sound (obviously I don't expect to play or sound like Mark or Willy from Lamb Of God) however, that is my desired style of tone. I have a pretty plain patch created where the only thing in the chain is the Treadplate amp with a good amount of drive and basic configurations of the amp knobs. It sounds good but it's lacking good sustain and it's not very clear when I play leads. It sounds muddy and I know I can change it but I am not sure where to start. I gave up on noisegates because it clips my leads when I try to sustain. I'd rather just deal with the amp buzz than sacrifice tone. 

 

My real question is about compressors. There's the blue comp, Red comp, Vetta Juice... I have zero clue what these do and how to use them but obviously they are useful because I see many people have them in their effects chains. What do each of them do? And where do I start? I know I am a total tech dummy but I figure the only way to learn is to ask people who do know and experiment with it.

 

I noticed there is different types of EQ's I can use too. Why is that? I normally use Global EQ but my understanding of that is limited. Also where do I put these effects in my chain? Before or after the amp?

 

Do add extra distortion to an already overdriven amp? I've seen people add overdrives to amp models that are already overdriven. It just sounds awful when I do it. But I assume there is a good way to do it. This piece of equipment is very deep in details and I do love it however, I find myself confused a lot. I figure I can also improve some of my current tones if I learn more about EQ and compressors. One of my biggest complaints with my Marshall tone is that there is hardly any sustain of my bends. The tone just goes flat.

 

I am using a Gibson Les Paul and Gibson SG by the way. Thanks in advance for answers. I realize there is alot to answer in my post.

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A compressor normalizes the dynamic range of the signal, in other words it brings the all the notes that you play closer in amplitude. So with a heavily compressed signal, the dynamics are alerted. Notes that are picked very softly will seem almost as loud as those played when you're really digging in. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the kind of tones you're after. If sustain is an issue for you on leads, then a little compression can give you a bit more by helping the note to hang around a little longer, even as the signal from the guitar begins to fade.

 

Finding the right balance is mostly about experimentation. If you squish the signal too much, you'll lose dynamics altogether, and end up with a very muddy, dead tone that will tend to get lost in the mix.

 

For clean patches, especially those that have trouble competing for volume with a crunch tone, a comp is a great way to provide a boost.

 

As for overdriven tones, less is often more. Insane amounts of gain quickly becomes a mess...try dialing it back. Some of the amp models work very well with one of the distortion FX in front (I use the tube drive a lot), others not so much. Most, if not all of the distortions modeled in the POD have their own tone controls which allows a little "pre-EQing" before the amp model. I find this to be a good thing, many of the POD'S amp models tend to be a little bass-happy, so you can dial it back a bit.

 

But no matter which distortion effect you use, you'll need to roll off the drive on the amp itself (sometimes a lot), if they're gonna play nice together. Mix and match, trial and error...you never know what's gonna end up sounding good.

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Probably the best way to describe a compressor is it "squashes" the sound.  In other words it doesn't allow notes to go past a certain amount of volume while at the same time brings up the low volume notes.  So as Cruisin says, it brings them together to roughly be at the same volume.  Think about the beginning riff on the Rolling Stones "Start Me Up".  That's a relatively clean guitar with just a slight amount of drive, but it's fairly heavily compressed.  In a way it kind of makes it seem louder than it really is.

 

EQ is another matter altogether.  Of course you automatically have a certain amount of EQ with any amp model in the treble, mid, and bass controls.  Those controls have a pretty broad range though.  The other EQ's are simply used to fine tune the broad EQ on the amp model.  The Global EQ is applied across the board to all patches, but the individual EQ effects are assigned by most people including myself toward the end of the signal chain.  A graphic equalizer simply has a set number of discreet frequencies that you can either turn up or turn down in volume.  Most of the other equalizers are some form of parametric EQ which allows you to dial in a specific frequency (and width of the surrounding frequencies adjacent to it) to either add or subtract volume.

 

As an example I often use the Studio EQ at the end of my signal chain to address the bass boominess that occurs on certain amp models.  As Cruisinon2 says, some of the amp models tend to be a bit bass heavy.  But in reality that can be controlled pretty easily by selecting the Low Frequency option on the Studio EQ, setting it to either 500 or 700 Hz, then selection the Low Gain option and reducing the volume of that frequency range to about the -3 to -5 range.  That will leave a fairly tight and solid bottom end without the boominess.  The most important thing to remember with EQ is you are just trying to emphasize or de-emphasize certain frequency areas, and very often you can achieve the emphasis you want by de-emphasizing a different area.  For example, in the case I cited above, getting rid of the boominess will often make it sound like you have more low mids without having to emphasize the low mids.

 

Again, as Cruisinon said, the most typical problem people have with distortion is using too much of it.  The more distortion you use, the less articulation/clarity you have on the strings you play.  For a lot of my overdriven songs I use the amp model's drive/gain to get it just a couple of ticks past where it starts to break up.  That keeps the power chords tight and overdriven, but not floppy and muddy.  I typically use a tube screamer for leads because that has an extra level of EQ control to manage where it sits in relation to the rest of the instruments so it can stand out and sustain well without having a whole lot more volume.  Again, you don't want or need to overdo the gain because you just want to get plenty of sustain without reducing the amount of articulation/clarity in the notes you're playing in the lead.

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Because it has been all of 3 hours since I had to say this, I think it is time for a repeat. 

 

In retrospect, Global EQ is probably the worst thing L6 could have done. Or at least, they could have explained it better (where is the updated owner's manual!), because they know damn well that they have a lot of non-professionals owning their gear. 

 

The global equalizer IS NOT to be used more than once. Set it and forget it. In fact, just leave it turned off like I do. GEQ is not used to make each sound. 

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As for gain/distortion - if you are a beginner, too much will cover up your lack of ability and give you a false impression of your talent.

 

But if you are an old professional ---- 

We just had this discussion over at the Jackson fansite. Someone just had the opportunity to open for Whitesnake. He said that they sounded amazing. He checked out the rig and the settings. And then the next night, he got to jam on that rig.

 

He was amazed that there was so much gain because he was always under the impression that too much gain is bad. 

 

F'THAT. 

 

If that is the type of sound you are going for, turn it all up to 10. 

Everyone in the discussion, but me, was telling him to turn the gain down because "it won't sound purdy". Dumb lollipop mother lollipoppers, the very celebrity musicians that they admire all have their gear at 10. The guy just said that he saw the gear at 10 and loved the sound. He said that he sounded amazing when he played that same rig (tone is not always in the fingers) and was getting all sorts of tones out of his rig --- yet, they still told him to turn it down. They're so stupid. Find what you like and do the opposite? What kind of philosophy is that!

 

 

 

Think about it - Everyone told Hendrix that feedback was a bad thing. 

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consult foll links:

distortion:
http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/ampTone#distortionEffects

compressors:
http://line6.com/support/topic/263-bass-patches-pod-hd-series/?do=findComment&comment=1148

equalizers:
http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/eq

other effects:
http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/effects

 

ps
the entire MeamBobbo guide provides the details abt getting high gain tones with the Pod HD 500(x).
 

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IMO if you want to fool around and learn about compressors - start with a clean patch and pop the compressor in and out playing at various settings. For say a country tune if you are hitting the rhythm pretty good it will keep the volume spikes in check. For the lead parts I wouldn't use one too much but that's not a rule.

 

High gain is awesome if you have some good technique down - palm muting, accuracy, etc.. gain can make mistakes shine at high volume.

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As for gain/distortion - if you are a beginner, too much will cover up your lack of ability and give you a false impression of your talent.

 

But if you are an old professional ---- 

We just had this discussion over at the Jackson fansite. Someone just had the opportunity to open for Whitesnake. He said that they sounded amazing. He checked out the rig and the settings. And then the next night, he got to jam on that rig.

 

He was amazed that there was so much gain because he was always under the impression that too much gain is bad. 

 

F'THAT. 

 

If that is the type of sound you are going for, turn it all up to 10. 

Everyone in the discussion, but me, was telling him to turn the gain down because "it won't sound purdy". Dumb lollipop mother lollipoppers, the very celebrity musicians that they admire all have their gear at 10. The guy just said that he saw the gear at 10 and loved the sound. He said that he sounded amazing when he played that same rig (tone is not always in the fingers) and was getting all sorts of tones out of his rig --- yet, they still told him to turn it down. They're so stupid. Find what you like and do the opposite? What kind of philosophy is that!

 

 

 

Think about it - Everyone told Hendrix that feedback was a bad thing. 

 

What gave you the impression we admired them?

 

However, I'll give you the fact that each person has to come to a conclusion about gain to match their own tastes.  But to say Whitesnake is the example we all want to follow?  Hendrix used relatively little gain in most of this songs, Clapton or George Harrison or even Stevie Ray Vaughan weren't huge gain monsters.  That being said, if you're taste is purely hard core metal, then gain is likely your best friend.  But you should be aware of the double-edged sword that comes with it.

 

That's why we choose to use equipment that provides presets so we can have a variety of tones.

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What gave you the impression we admired them?

 

However, I'll give you the fact that each person has to come to a conclusion about gain to match their own tastes.  But to say Whitesnake is the example we all want to follow?  Hendrix used relatively little gain in most of this songs, Clapton or George Harrison or even Stevie Ray Vaughan weren't huge gain monsters.  That being said, if you're taste is purely hard core metal, then gain is likely your best friend.  But you should be aware of the double-edged sword that comes with it.

 

That's why we choose to use equipment that provides presets so we can have a variety of tones.

 

1. It was part of a larger discussion. So, no, it wasn't just Whitesnake that we were discussing. 

 

2. In that forum, yes, Whitesnake and bands similar are the tones we look for. I wouldn't go to a classical music forum and expect people to look for an electric guitar as the answer to their questions. So no, here, I would even bet there are people who don't even know who Whitesnake is. 

 

3. This post has in its title, Good Metal Tone, so yeah, I think he is looking for gain. 

 

4. It's a demonstration as to how the rules we were taught (don't use too much gain for metal) don't translate into the real world. Back in Jimi's day, the rule was "no feedback." He not only broke that rule, he made it his lollipop. 

 

 

 

Obviously, you need to make it sound 'good', but so many people are afraid to turn it up. I stand behind my statement here the same as I did there. Turn it up! 

I find it baffling, that the guy (over there) said that he found his dream tone and how to make it, but caught criticism because it wasn't "following the rules". 

 

 

 

What was it Yngwie said ~~~ people always say that less is more. How can that be? Less is never more. More is more. 

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What was it Yngwie said ~~~ people always say that less is more. How can that be? Less is never more. More is more. 

 

I'm always baffled by people that say less is more. That may be true, but only in some circumstances. The trick is identifying when less is more and when more is more. There is no absolute either way. Therefore, it's a dumb "rule", or even guideline, to begin with. Go with what works. Find out what works through experimentation.

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I'm always baffled by people that say less is more. That may be true, but only in some circumstances. The trick is identifying when less is more and when more is more. There is no absolute either way. Therefore, it's a dumb "rule", or even guideline, to begin with. Go with what works. Find out what works through experimentation.

Well when the initial complaint is "my high gain tones are muddy and getting lost in the mix", which is basically what the OP said, then he's got nothing to lose by trying another recipe. Back in the good old days Maiden, Priest, etc, weren't playing with the super-saturated tones that you hear so often today. It's not any better or worse...just different. Don't think anyone is accusing those guys of not sounding "heavy" enough.

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Many times its the "Metal Zone" syndrome. The pedal sounds kick lollipop in the bedroom - awesomely scooped EQ. With the band - oopsy doodle - better EQ the mids back to be heard. Or my fave DOD Death Metal \m/ - no gain knob as its always on 11. :)

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Unfortunately in my almost 50 years of playing live and in recording studios it seems like the curiosity level of people new to the business seems to have dropped off considerably.  Granted 40 years ago technology was just beginning to make it's entrance into the business.  But most people were eager to understand it and learn how to use it and tame it.

 

That's what I really appreciated about this original poster of this thread.  I work with a lot of younger musicians and the trend has been to jump on the bandwagon of something new without really understanding what's under the hood.  I realize there's a lot more technology not only in the market, but amassed into the small footprint of a unit like the POD HD.  At least this poster seems to be genuinely interested in how things work and what they do, which means he'll likely be more successful at using the unit and getting what he wants out of it.

 

I know through the years I spend countless hours in book stores and later on the internet reading and trying to grasp the intricacies of these technological advances.  Now we feel blessed if a new user comes on here and has actually read the manuals.  In my younger days I would have traded my left leg for access to the depth of information available instantaneously like we have now.

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