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Sound Matching (N00B warning)

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I've had a HD500x for a few months and really like it.  My main issue is with loading custom tones.  I've watched several YouTube videos of user's who have created some really nice sounding tones, but as soon as I download them and try them out, they sound nothing like they do on the video.  

 

I am running the HD500x directly to a powered PA speaker via XLR cable.

 

 

 

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This is very normal and has been discussed numerous times around here.

 

It's probably best to think of Customtone as a teaching tool than a resource for gathering up useful tones.  Although the patch may get saved to Customtone there are lots of variables the have a great bearing on the tone that aren't saved.  The most obvious is the guitar and guitar rig.  Although the patch may say it's for humbuckers or single coil, there are a wide range of pickups that fit into those categories.  And often even the guitar can make a difference.  For example a Gibson 335 and a Les Paul can have the same type of humbuckers, but sound very different on the same signal chain.

 

The biggest difference comes in the guitar rig however.  As you mentioned you use a powered PA speaker, but many use a standard guitar amp as their output.  Or they could be using a standard amp withj the 4 cable method.  Different amps and different powered PA speakers all have different effects on what you will hear.

 

Another consideration with Customtone patches is they only provide the patch information, but they don't provide anything as far as setup information in that user's System I/O or global configuration of his unit.  Some of these things can make a significant difference in the output.  Not to mention the mechanism that was used to record that tone to video, or the system you're playing it back on.  Bottom line, I would be more surprised if you downloaded a tone that sounded exactly as you expected it would.

 

That's why it's so important to stress to new users that they take the time to learn the equipment and to build patches themselves.  There really is no shortcut to getting what you will be happy with from this equipment.  Downloading a tone and dissecting it to learn a few things you may not have thought of before can be useful.  But ultimately there are many ideas that are shared and discussed on this forum that will probably serve you better than any tone you may download.

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Although I totally agree with all of the above , something else you can try is searching for tones created by Paul hindmarsh , a lot of his tones are created for use through a PA speaker and they might serve as a better starting point

 

But you really are much better off creating your own , then every little alteration you make is sounding better and better and overall at the end of the process you will most likely end up with something that sounds even better than the video as it will be entirely to your tastes.

Here is a video that might help with creating your own tones

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The Peter Hanmer videos were the bazinga moment for me, download his patches from his site and tweak to adjust, also make sure your output is in studio/direct mode to get the maximum benefit of a FRFR setup :)

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Thanks for tips folks.  I have been trying to figure out building my own tones, but also figured to try some already built since I tend to get lazy rather easily.  What Dragon mentioned makes a ton of sense.  I agree my best bet is to keep on truckin' with learning the ins and outs of building to my tastes, which is going to include learning how to tweak individual effects.  Thanks again.

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it might seem like rocket science at first, it was for me, but once you become a rocket scientist it's cake. I've had my 500x for almost a year now and I'm super happy and comfortable with it

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I've had a HD500x for a few months and really like it. My main issue is with loading custom tones. I've watched several YouTube videos of user's who have created some really nice sounding tones, but as soon as I download them and try them out, they sound nothing like they do on the video.

 

And they're never going to. Ever. The only common denominator is the POD. EVERYTHING else is different. The guitar, the pickups, the rest of that guy's rig, the acoustics of the room he sat in when he made the patch, the strings, etc etc. The list of variables is almost endless. Might have sounded God-like on his end...very likely won't for you. It's just the way it is.

 

You can waste days, if not weeks wading through Customtone. Forget it...build your own patches, and you'll get what you're looking for a whole lot faster.

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That's why it's so important to stress to new users that they take the time to learn the equipment and to build patches themselves.  

 

Exactly!!  Have any good resources for this?  The 500x sounds good but I'm having a helluva time getting the tones I'm looking for out of this thing.  Would love to be able to get Axe-FX-ish, Intervals, Polyphia types of tones but am having a real time with it, ESPECIALLY when trying to integrate the DT50 2x12.  Any tips, anyone?

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I think if you want to get some input on this you'll need to be more specific about what you're trying to accomplish.  "Axe-FX-ish, Intervals, Polyphia" doesn't really convey what exactly you're trying to do.  I assume that maybe you might be referring to polyphonic tones, but that's just a guess.  We would need either a general description or perhaps a link to a sample.

 

As far as the DT50 integration, again...integrate in what way?  You want to employ the various pre-amp and amp tone configurations of the DT50 as far as both the pre-amp and amp configuration with the effects in the POD?  I'm sure it's clear in your mind what you want to do.  It's just not clear from your description.

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I've always been bamboozled by Customtones that don't sound anything like the examples.

I think a lot of people use amp/cabs to demonstrate where as i go direct to a pc.

I'm afraid you have to sort it out yourself.

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I've always been bamboozled by Customtones that don't sound anything like the examples.

I think a lot of people use amp/cabs to demonstrate where as i go direct to a pc.

I'm afraid you have to sort it out yourself.

 

I'm sure some of them do, but I suspect a lot has to do with the specific guitar and pickups they're using as well as some of the system i/o and global parameter settings they're using which aren't captured as part of the patch.

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Bottom line is, Customtone is a great idea upstaged by reality. One could conceivably get wildly lucky, and download a dozen patches on day one that suit your needs prefectly...but you're far more likely to find little to nothing that's usable without extensive tweaking. In which case, why bother? Just do it yourself. You'll learn a hell of a lot more about the unit, and what combinations of amps/cabs/mics work for you, than you will by gambling that Eugene from Squashed Possum, TN actually did make a patch that "sounds just like Yngwie".

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I think if you want to get some input on this you'll need to be more specific about what you're trying to accomplish.  "Axe-FX-ish, Intervals, Polyphia" doesn't really convey what exactly you're trying to do.  I assume that maybe you might be referring to polyphonic tones, but that's just a guess.  We would need either a general description or perhaps a link to a sample.

 

lol...yea, sorry.  Intervals and Polyphia are bands.  They both rely heavily on what I think of as "The Axe-FX Tone".  Very controlled, not super gainy but a bit of bite, etc.  Eg:

 

Intervals - https://youtu.be/t8RFcWCWkcI?list=PLuj-WzKNCr7-QfPCi5VEkvFErx2oCwxof

(This is actually all only one guy, Aaron Marshall...not really a band.  If this isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.  lol)

 

Polyphia - 

(This is a group of kids out of Dallas...so awesome.)

 

Not that I'm anywhere near as good as these guys, but I LOVE their tones.  I know the HD500x != Axe-FX, nor do I want to completely copy-cat anyone, but I'd like to get close.  All the patches I make come out WAY too loud and...harsh, I guess you could say.  

 

 

 

As far as the DT50 integration, again...integrate in what way?  You want to employ the various pre-amp and amp tone configurations of the DT50 as far as both the pre-amp and amp configuration with the effects in the POD?  I'm sure it's clear in your mind what you want to do.  It's just not clear from your description.

 

Yes.  I am actually quite pleased with the tone of the amp so I'd like to use its tone, then the 500x for stomps and maybe USB-recording cleans (I quite like some of the cleans I can get out of the thing over USB) but I'm not sure if I'm putting the FX-loop block in the wrong place (if that's even necessary all the time) or what but I can't quite get it to sound the way I want through the amp...not to mention, half the time I get blasted by the amp as it switches to a patch that isn't volume matched...as pretty much none of them are.  lol

 

If all else fails, it'll just take more tinkering.  I haven't put a *ton* of time into it yet and I still haven't gotten a cable to do the correct link between the pedal and amp (I'm just 4 cabling it for now) but I have messed with it some and it's proving to be more complicated that expected...especially when coming from VSTs that are SO EASY to tweak, setup, reamp, etc.  

 

All that being said, it's fun to tinker with and does sound good.  I've got lots to learn, though!!

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Yeah, pretty much what I thought.  I think the key sound you're looking for is a harmonizer which on the POD is under the category of Pitch pedals and is called Smart Harmony which is based on the Eventide H3000 diatonic harmonizer.  Of course you have two different guitar lines playing in the case of the video you posted, but they're each using a harmonizer with the tonic and the key set to whatever key they're playing in and the shift set +3 and it sounds like scale is probably set to minor, though I'd have to play a bit with it to make sure.

 

I use this a lot when doing classic Queen style solos.  Even though it's a diatonic harmonizer you can also achieve 3-part harmonies by adding an additional smart harmony into the signal chain with the shift set to +5.  I normally place mine post amp and slightly lower than 50% on the mix  function of the pedal to get them to blend better, but that's more a matter of personal taste.

 

Since I use an FRFR setup I can't help you much with dialing in the amp tone.  It sound very similar in feel to what Brian May used with Queen (that's technically Dr. Brian May, Phd in Astrophysics).  He tended to use Vox AC30's for most of his stuff, so that's where I'd start with my rig.  Since you're using your DT-50 as the amp and basic guitar tone you'd have to figure that one out for yourself.

 

No offense, but I think most of the complications you're facing you kind of brought on yourself.  I went the path of least resistance so for me it's pretty much as easy if not easier then monkeying around with VST's in a DAW.  I just dial in the amp and effects to construct my signal chain, tweak them to taste and they go out one XLR cable to the PA and one to my guitar stage monitor which is a Yamaha DXR12.  It's all very straightforward and no messy cord configurations or amp manipulations.  The more complications you add to your setup, the more complications you have in finding your tones.

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Exactly!!  Have any good resources for this?  The 500x sounds good but I'm having a helluva time getting the tones I'm looking for out of this thing.  Would love to be able to get Axe-FX-ish, Intervals, Polyphia types of tones but am having a real time with it, ESPECIALLY when trying to integrate the DT50 2x12.  Any tips, anyone?

 

I have been trying to emulate, for over a year, these Axe FX tones from bands like Periphery, Intervals, Polyphia, Plini etc... And after hours of tweaking, I achieved getting close to their tones.

 

So the best advice I could give you is to stop searching in the custom tone, (because it can get very frustrating and time wasting) and start building your own tones. 

 

Start by finding a spot in a song that has the tone you are after being played with the least interference with other instruments, listen to it many times and try step by step to get close to it.

 

I can assure you that the Pod HD CAN emulate Axe FX tones. It just takes crazy amounts of time in order to do so. At least for me.

 

Happy tweaking! :)

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Yeah, pretty much what I thought.  I think the key sound you're looking for is a harmonizer which on the POD is under the category of Pitch pedals and is called Smart Harmony which is based on the Eventide H3000 diatonic harmonizer.  Of course you have two different guitar lines playing in the case of the video you posted, but they're each using a harmonizer with the tonic and the key set to whatever key they're playing in and the shift set +3 and it sounds like scale is probably set to minor, though I'd have to play a bit with it to make sure.

 

I use this a lot when doing classic Queen style solos.  Even though it's a diatonic harmonizer you can also achieve 3-part harmonies by adding an additional smart harmony into the signal chain with the shift set to +5.  I normally place mine post amp and slightly lower than 50% on the mix  function of the pedal to get them to blend better, but that's more a matter of personal taste.

 

 

Interesting.  I've toyed with that pitch thing before a bit while trying to pull off a shimmer/ambient patch (which came out sortakinda right).  I'll mess with it some more.

 

 

 

Since I use an FRFR setup I can't help you much with dialing in the amp tone.  It sound very similar in feel to what Brian May used with Queen (that's technically Dr. Brian May, Phd in Astrophysics).  He tended to use Vox AC30's for most of his stuff, so that's where I'd start with my rig.  Since you're using your DT-50 as the amp and basic guitar tone you'd have to figure that one out for yourself.

 

Thought about going the FRFR route for simplicity's sake...how do you like it compared to a "real amp"?

 

 

 

No offense, but I think most of the complications you're facing you kind of brought on yourself.  I went the path of least resistance so for me it's pretty much as easy if not easier then monkeying around with VST's in a DAW.  I just dial in the amp and effects to construct my signal chain, tweak them to taste and they go out one XLR cable to the PA and one to my guitar stage monitor which is a Yamaha DXR12.  It's all very straightforward and no messy cord configurations or amp manipulations.  The more complications you add to your setup, the more complications you have in finding your tones.

 

Oh for sure.  I do keep stuff pretty barren but it definitely comes down to inexperience/ignorance when it comes to the hardware.  No doubt.  Like I said...I've got lots to learn.  lol

 

(But...dude...NOTHING is easier than VSTs.  lol  I really miss them in a way but, after BIAS decided to freak out on me, I decided to get away from software and get back to hardware for a variety of reasons.  Here's the little video I tossed together to send to Positive Grid to show what it's doing:

 

 

Man...I really miss recording dry and tweaking away sometimes, though.  lol)

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I have been trying to emulate, for over a year, these Axe FX tones from bands like Periphery, Intervals, Polyphia, Plini etc... And after hours of tweaking, I achieved getting close to their tones.

 

So the best advice I could give you is to stop searching in the custom tone, (because it can get very frustrating and time wasting) and start building your own tones. 

 

Start by finding a spot in a song that has the tone you are after being played with the least interference with other instruments, listen to it many times and try step by step to get close to it.

 

I can assure you that the Pod HD CAN emulate Axe FX tones. It just takes crazy amounts of time in order to do so. At least for me.

 

Happy tweaking! :)

 

Another fan of "The Axe-FX Tone"!  Nice!  :-P

 

I know the hardware has it in it.  I know it.  It may not be an Axe-FX, but it's got a ton of great sounds in it and it sounds good the way I have it...I'm just looking for the few tones I fall in love with.  I knew it had it in it.  Good to see I wasn't wrong!  lol

 

Yea, I've ended up mostly just using the CustomTone stuff as tools, kinda.  Some do sound good but it's always a gamble, for sure.

 

What amps and stuff did you end up settling on?  Have any recordings?

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Thought about going the FRFR route for simplicity's sake...how do you like it compared to a "real amp"?

 

 

(But...dude...NOTHING is easier than VSTs.  lol  I really miss them in a way but, after BIAS decided to freak out on me, I decided to get away from software and get back to hardware for a variety of reasons.

 

Man...I really miss recording dry and tweaking away sometimes, though.  lol)

 

It may not be for everyone, but I know I'll never go back to a traditional amp.  After almost 50 years of trying to reproduce a studio sound in a live environment I finally achieved it with this rig.  Even in the old days of analog recording there was always a difference between what we would hear in the studio and what we could produce on stage.  I'm not really talking about nuances of the sound, but legitimate differences brought on by various things like mic and mic placement, and other stuff in the signal chain during mixing and EQ/limiters at the mastering stage.  I've come closer and closer using modeling and modeling amps as the technology progressed, but the limitations always came back to the inadequacies of guitar amp speaker cabinets in comparison to professional studio monitors.

 

The latest advancements in powered speakers using DSP, more advanced cabinet construction and high quality compression drivers really changed the game in my opinion.  That opened the opportunity to ensure that the sound I designed for a specific song is heard on stage and through the PA exactly as I designed it..  I've never played with the AXEfx or Helix units, and they may have some improvements in the modeling.  But those are what I refer to as nuances.  All the major pieces necessary to get the precision and detail in the sound that I want is available for much less.  So I'm a very happy guy now.  It's just not worth another $2,000 to $4,000 to please an additional 1% of the audience the might know the difference.

 

I've been using VST's since their inception, and they were pretty handy at first.  But ultimately they're software, not hardware.  So they inherently will either be less powerful or have more latency.  That's just simple physics and the nature of hardware that allows the handing over of direct execution of it's logic within the device versus software that depends on an external computer bus and register structure to execute it's algotithms.

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It may not be for everyone, but I know I'll never go back to a traditional amp.  After almost 50 years of trying to reproduce a studio sound in a live environment I finally achieved it with this rig.  Even in the old days of analog recording there was always a difference between what we would hear in the studio and what we could produce on stage.  I'm not really talking about nuances of the sound, but legitimate differences brought on by various things like mic and mic placement, and other stuff in the signal chain during mixing and EQ/limiters at the mastering stage.  I've come closer and closer using modeling and modeling amps as the technology progressed, but the limitations always came back to the inadequacies of guitar amp speaker cabinets in comparison to professional studio monitors.

 

The latest advancements in powered speakers using DSP, more advanced cabinet construction and high quality compression drivers really changed the game in my opinion.  That opened the opportunity to ensure that the sound I designed for a specific song is heard on stage and through the PA exactly as I designed it..  I've never played with the AXEfx or Helix units, and they may have some improvements in the modeling.  But those are what I refer to as nuances.  All the major pieces necessary to get the precision and detail in the sound that I want is available for much less.  So I'm a very happy guy now.  It's just not worth another $2,000 to $4,000 to please an additional 1% of the audience the might know the difference.

 

I've been using VST's since their inception, and they were pretty handy at first.  But ultimately they're software, not hardware.  So they inherently will either be less powerful or have more latency.  That's just simple physics and the nature of hardware that allows the handing over of direct execution of it's logic within the device versus software that depends on an external computer bus and register structure to execute it's algotithms.

 

Awesome, man.  That's cool.  Everything really has come SO FAR in the emulation, modeling and sound reproduction world over the past few years.  If I played live, I would DEFINITELY look into going the FRFR route.  Again...simplicity.  It's worth its weight in gold on the road.  You using the L2T?  That thing is a lot more expensive than I thought.

 

I've wanted an Axe-FX for a loooooooong time but, like you said, the cost...it's hard to justify.  There are options out there that cost much less that sound just as good if not better.  I wouldn't mind getting one someday for the epic ambient/spacy sort of presets but I'm hoping to eventually make a couple of those on the 500x at some point too.  Gotta get the basics setup first though.

 

The main issue I had with VSTs dawned on me when I bought Positive Grid's BIAS software.  Sure, it sounded killer...when it worked and apparently I'm the oddball out when it comes to this, but it glitched out constantly for me.  Positive Grid ended up refunding me my purchase price.  Their customer service was quite good.  But, I digress...as soon as I bought it (200 bucks) I was like, "well...that sucks."...it dawned on me that that money was gone.  All us music guys are gear hounds to one degree or another and being able to buy and sell is pretty important.  Well...can't do that with software.  If I buy a pedal for $200 new, I can expect to be able to sell it for 100-150 bucks when it's time to upgrade or whatever and depreciation is even less of a concern when buying used (which is why pretty much everything I buy is used)...but, once you buy a piece of software, that's it.  I couldn't sell BIAS to anyone else.  It was tied to my credentials.  This is the BIGGEST downside to software plugins in my eyes.  I never had a problem with latency or anything performance wise as I custom built my machine for recording.  Sure, there is technically more latency and all but I never noticed anything.  Honestly, I got used to double tracking guitars in a way that is very difficult to do now that I don't use the VST stuff anymore...relearning how to do stuff is a bit of a pain but, hey...always learning!!

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Another fan of "The Axe-FX Tone"!  Nice!  :-P

 

I know the hardware has it in it.  I know it.  It may not be an Axe-FX, but it's got a ton of great sounds in it and it sounds good the way I have it...I'm just looking for the few tones I fall in love with.  I knew it had it in it.  Good to see I wasn't wrong!  lol

 

Yea, I've ended up mostly just using the CustomTone stuff as tools, kinda.  Some do sound good but it's always a gamble, for sure.

 

What amps and stuff did you end up settling on?  Have any recordings?

 

I mostly use the Fireball and the Treadplate amp sims for mid/high gain modern stuff. (The Big Bottom is also a very good amp for specific tones.)

 

For cabs I mostly use the XXL and the Uber, but you should note that the XXL cab needs much of its bass out in order to be usable.

 

And then the typical FX's you find in a modern chain: noise gate, compressor, screamer and after the amp a lot of EQ pedals in order to shape my tone even more, because the cab/mic sims in the Pod HD are really meh.

 

You can find all of my recordings in the links bellow:

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....  It's just not worth another $2,000 to $4,000 to please an additional 1% of the audience the might know the difference....

+1

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I mostly use the Fireball and the Treadplate amp sims for mid/high gain modern stuff. (The Big Bottom is also a very good amp for specific tones.)

 

For cabs I mostly use the XXL and the Uber, but you should note that the XXL cab needs much of its bass out in order to be usable.

 

And then the typical FX's you find in a modern chain: noise gate, compressor, screamer and after the amp a lot of EQ pedals in order to shape my tone even more, because the cab/mic sims in the Pod HD are really meh.

 

You can find all of my recordings in the links bellow:

 

 

Nice, man.  The Polyphia ones on your site sound pretty good, too.  I'd like to try them out but...dude...ten bucks a pop?  lol

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Nice, man.  The Polyphia ones on your site sound pretty good, too.  I'd like to try them out but...dude...ten bucks a pop?  lol

 

Guys pay me to build their favorite tones. How much would you charge for a tone that someone requested you to build for him and you spent 4 hours minimum?

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Guys pay me to build their favorite tones. How much would you charge for a tone that someone requested you to build for him and you spent 4 hours minimum?

 

If it was a guaranteed-match type of thing, maybe ten bucks for the 4 in this case.  I know it takes time and all, but that's pretty steep...especially considering there's no real way to know what they'll sound like with someone's specific gear.

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If it was a guaranteed-match type of thing, maybe ten bucks for the 4 in this case.  I know it takes time and all, but that's pretty steep...especially considering there's no real way to know what they'll sound like with someone's specific gear.

 

I have 2 guitars. A 6string Schecter with passive pickups (Dimarzio Titans) and a 7string esp ltd with EMG pickups and I build my patches on those 2 guitars. Honestly, the main difference I notice is the output of the pickups and the sustain ofc. (6string has a floyd) 

 

Generally, most people that is interested in these tones have pretty much guitars with the same or similar specs as mine and they say that my tones work great. (You can see this for yourself actually by reading their reviews)

 

But ofc there are rare cases where people have much different guitars than mine, with alder body for example or totally non-"modern" pickups. In cases like these, I suggest tweaks based on their comments by comparing their tone with mine and we manage to make the patch sounding as it should.

 

I used to believe that the guitar makes much difference in the tone, as well, but after doing this for a while, I realized that the patch itself has a much greater impact in your tone.

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I have EMG 81/85s in one of my main guitars.

 

I'm curious. I'll tell you what...2 for 10 and I'll try out a couple of those Polyphia tones.

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FYI, in case anyone's interested the EQ frequencies Peter Hanmer uses in his video tutorial above are:

 

JCM800:

82% = 2880 Hz

85% = 3110 Hz

 

Plexi Lead 100:

80% = 2730 Hz

 

Cali Tread:

84% = 3030 Hz

 

These can be found in the Parametric EQ Frequency PDF located here

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...

 

 

Man...I really miss recording dry and tweaking away sometimes, though. lol)

Don't need VSTs or even a DAW to do that with Helix. Record a Loop (up to 2 mins) in Helix with the Looper in pre-position, i.e. as the first block in the signal chain. The looper records the dry incoming signal and on playback routes that signal from its position at the beginning of the chain. Tweak to your heart's content during playback and you can hear the changes applied to the signal in real time.

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Make me this tone (or show me one like it), I'll give you 10 bucks.  GOD I love that...I'd bet my right nut it's an Axe-FX, too.

 

 

 

Sorry, I didn't see the replies in this post. I only saw the post now that you quoted a message of mine. Yeah he uses an Axe-FX. And damn these trebly leads are the toughest to make..

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Don't need VSTs or even a DAW to do that with Helix. Record a Loop (up to 2 mins) in Helix with the Looper in pre-position, i.e. as the first block in the signal chain. The looper records the dry incoming signal and on playback routes that signal from its position at the beginning of the chain. Tweak to your heart's content during playback and you can hear the changes applied to the signal in real time.

 

Oh I know, man...I do...the routing options in that thing are unREAL!!  

 

Sorry, I didn't see the replies in this post. I only saw the post now that you quoted a message of mine. Yeah he uses an Axe-FX. And damn these trebly leads are the toughest to make..

 

I have faith, my friend.  Give it a shot.  I can't quite put my finger on what makes that tone so I just call it "the Axe-FX tone".  lol

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A trick I use to build tones is to use the looper. Make the looper pre, record the lick or riff, loop it. Now you can change the parameters while the lick/riff is playing your "dry" guitar back. Helps you to focus on just the tone.

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Make the looper pre...maybe THAT'S what's wrong with mine.  I gotta play with that setting a bit.  Didn't even know it was an option but I couldn't get it to do what I wanted it to do...

 

Anyway...got a couple tones from Giorgos02 and I'm quite pleased!!  Highly recommended!

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