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Pedal board or a 500X?


Brad_Ames
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Was debating or not a month down the road or so to buy a PHD 500x, or good old fashioned pedals. I recently sold my boss me-80 (sounded to...scratchy and ultra digital with its amp modeling to me) and I've just ordered a DT 25 combo as well so I want to keep that in mind also. $500 for a pod or looking at like $740-1000 for individual pedals (though I do have a ts-808) I am very tech savvy, but hardly ever use pedals save for volume and drive (never really needed more than a few anyway) advice?

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Here's my take on this: Nothing sounds as good as a pure analog lineup and the HD500 gets you only 85% there. Will the audience hear the difference? No. Neither will most guitar players out there. But analog may make you FEEL you're sounding better, so you'll play better cuz you've got that analog mojo on your side. This is psychological but is a real effect. Yet, with experience and confidence this subsides over time. You aquire the digital mojo.

 

Also, when I play with guys using analog boards they keep fussing with cables, power supplies, hum, etc. I don't have to mess with any of that. Plus, I can carry my gear with one arm/shoulder. Plus, I can play on small stages. With analog gear it is easier to dial in tones since all the knobs are right there. With the HD500 you have to enter menus, select a page, etc. A little more time consuming and a little more thought required. But it's MUCH more flexible and you can get sounds impossible with an analog board.. Can the analog guys put a delay AFTER the cab? The HD500 opens up a much wider pallet of tones.

 

The hunt for better gear and "the tone" is half the fun of analog GAS, but I don't have time/$$ for that anymore. I've learned to use what I have. I save my GAS for instruments (which have a much more fundamental/profound affect on tone), not FX.

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Here's my take on this: Nothing sounds as good as a pure analog lineup and the HD500 gets you only 85% there. Will the audience hear the difference? No. Neither will most guitar players out there. But analog may make you FEEL you're sounding better, so you'll play better cuz you've got that analog mojo on your side. This is psychological but is a real effect. Yet, with experience and confidence this subsides over time. You aquire the digital mojo.

 

Also, when I play with guys using analog boards they keep fussing with cables, power supplies, hum, etc. I don't have to mess with any of that. Plus, I can carry my gear with one arm/shoulder. Plus, I can play on small stages. With analog gear it is easier to dial in tones since all the knobs are right there. With the HD500 you have to enter menus, select a page, etc. A little more time consuming and a little more thought required. But it's MUCH more flexible and you can get sounds impossible with an analog board.. Can the analog guys put a delay AFTER the cab? The HD500 opens up a much wider pallet of tones.

 

The hunt for better gear and "the tone" is half the fun of analog GAS, but I don't have time/$$ for that anymore. I've learned to use what I have. I save my GAS for instruments (which have a much more fundamental/profound affect on tone), not FX.

True that, I've almost never used analogue pedals. I'm the guy that usually says hey (insert amp modeler here: usually a roland cube 80) is great. Always liked my tone port GX and use BIAS on my MacBook daily to record with. I like the warmth of tube amps, but the hard breakup of solid state amps as long as the quality is high. I'll play with my amp today and consider a PHD, always wanted one of the kidney beans, but the 500x really seems like a steal.

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Well, when I "played in a band", I needed one sound. I made my sound and never changed it. I could get away without all of the digital wherewithals. 

 

Today, I play with a dozen bands (each with their own genres) and record and do just about everything under the sun. 

I can no longer get away with one sound. I need the high tech gadget.  

 

 

BUT... 

 

Even if I needed one sound, I would consider buying my pod again. 

Skip the amp. Plug direct into the PA. 

 

It is a tuner. A de-tuner (pitch shift, for practice). A headphone unit. It's a multi-input unit. 

It literally is everything --- except an amp. But it is an amp. 

 

=============

Years ago, a gig was an all day event because I would need to load up the vehicle, unload the vehicle, setup, sound check, tear down, re-load the vehicle, and then unload the vehicle. 

Today, I can show up 10 minutes before show time and be ready to go. My HD500 is everything that goes between me and the PA. A single chord is all that is needed for sound check. 

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Well, when I "played in a band", I needed one sound. I made my sound and never changed it. I could get away without all of the digital wherewithals. 

 

Today, I play with a dozen bands (each with their own genres) and record and do just about everything under the sun. 

I can no longer get away with one sound. I need the high tech gadget.  

 

 

BUT... 

 

Even if I needed one sound, I would consider buying my pod again. 

Skip the amp. Plug direct into the PA. 

 

It is a tuner. A de-tuner (pitch shift, for practice). A headphone unit. It's a multi-input unit. 

It literally is everything --- except an amp. But it is an amp. 

 

=============

Years ago, a gig was an all day event because I would need to load up the vehicle, unload the vehicle, setup, sound check, tear down, re-load the vehicle, and then unload the vehicle. 

Today, I can show up 10 minutes before show time and be ready to go. My HD500 is everything that goes between me and the PA. A single chord is all that is needed for sound check.

 

 

That's true, I love multi effects units, and my tone' I'm a music performance student in college and I need many sounds to perform with. I like my DT25 a lot though, it's got that "sound" I've been searching for. For my self I guess. I hope I don't have it blow up or anything bad! I'll definitely pick up an HD500 though regardless, because I've decided not to spend excess money on pedals and such. And having heard sound samples, really don't notice the difference between the POD and pedals. Going to be a wild ride!

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I am an old codger that's kicked around studios and concert halls for more years than you would want to know. I can tell you honestly, nothing will ever completely take the place of a great sounding tube amp with a floor and rack full of analog hardware pedals and rack gear. NOW, that being said, Line 6 changed my life!!!!!

There are so many issues with the old school guitar gear, broken cables, spending 100 dollars a year on changing batteries, white noise so loud you can't think in quiet passages, and the list goes on. I have boxes of pedals in storage, 4 racks of FX units wheeled in the corner of the storage bin gathering dust, all because I traded a guy for a POD 2.0 and that little gizmo saved my aching back!!!

Since then I have run thru PODs, Boss GT5, 3, 10, and now for studio work I use a laptop loaded with Amplitube 4, Guitar Rig, and TH2 and will next add BIAS. I have not used an amp or stompbox since acquiring that little kidney bean back when they first came out.

That being said, STILL nothing feels like the old school rig when it comes to touch and response of the guitar in your hands but Line 6 is as close as I have come and I don't see me going back to all the headaches of pedals, racks, and noise anytime soon. BTW, saving up for that Helix!!!

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If you have the DT25 already, then why not go for the HD500x?

 

As has already been mentioned previously, the HD500x will add extra flexibility into your rig that will allow you to experiment with numerous amps & effects. The only downside (if you can call it that) will be editing patches and storing them where you can access them easily.

 

Again, there is something very special about an analogue rig, but if you need to cover a lot of musical bases, then it makes sense to go with the option that gives you more flexibility.

 

When the "flexible" option sounds as good as the HD's, then you can't go far wrong (unless you go with a Helix of course! :D ).

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I just noticed a price drop from $500 to $425 on most places like GC and Amazon. Wonder why sweetwater hasn't jumped on the price drop bandwagon yet. I think I'll order it while I'm waiting on my DT to be replaced. So I have a week to mess with it first.

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This may seem like a dumb reason to some but one of the things I like about the HD500X vs analog pedals is the ability to backup all presets in the event of loss, theft, or damage. If you had your pedal rig damaged by rain or stolen or lost by an airline, how long and how much $ would it cost to get back to playing where you wanted to be and would it ever be quite right? With the HD500X it wouldn't be cheap but with one purchase and one upload of my backup and I am exactly where I need to be.

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is the ability to backup all presets in the event of loss,

But most analog users aren't having multiple sounds. They set their knobs and are done with it. 

 

With the HD500X it wouldn't be cheap

Yes it would. L6 stuff is considered the low price (cheap) stuff. 

 

and one upload of my backup

Well, more downloads than that. If you consider that your pc was probably also lost to theft, damage, rain, or stolen. So, you'd need to re-download monkey and edit. 

 

 

 

But, yes, you are absolutely correct. 

Upload your 'gear' to your 'gear'. 

It isn't just about a loss. The other guitar player can have the exact same setup as you without trying to manually 'tone match'. You can have a Pod in each home and not actually need to take one with you. Hell, if you get a phone call and need to be in LA for a gig tonight, you email them your 'tones', you can hop on a plane and they can provide the gear you need, and again, you can still have your sounds. 

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and one upload of my backup

Well, more downloads than that. If you consider that your pc was probably also lost to theft, damage, rain, or stolen. So, you'd need to re-download monkey and edit.

I never thought about tone matching and that is another great point. But I can imagine crafting tones over years and saving the banks anywhere, cloud etc. Loss, theft, damage is limited to the cost of the unit, whether you feel it is cheap or not. You can be back up and running in a day, or keep units in different parts of the country as you said.

 

But the loss or damage of an analog pedal set, broken knobs switches, cables, etc may include pedals that are hard to find or no longer made not to mention the physical setup of power, board, and other materials. The sound and cost is debatable, the ability to clone a pod is not.

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I still use Marshall amps.  But I did away with noisy pedals and all the cables they needed.  I even did away with the Marshall pre-amp and just use the PODHD into the FX return.  Took a while to get my tones just the way I wanted them now I never touch anything and just plug in and play.  It always sounds great.

 

This past weekend a guitar tech from PRS showed up to hear us play.  He couldn't believe how good the guitar tone was and wanted to know what I did to get this sound.  I think that says it all right there.

 

I want to switch to a FRFR setup one day but tubes and guitar cabs still have that special roar.

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Update on that HD500x. Works amazingly good even by itself. Sounds great too. Spent almost 4 hours to get 1 or 2 good patches working to find out they sound great into my speakers and laptop but complete lollipop through my guitar amp. Looks like I'm going to need to make separate patch banks for different things like Amp, Recording, and sort it by type of guitar (SS,HH,HSH) it's fun.

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Yep. Exactly. 

A mic'd amp running through an amp is going to sound like lollipop. 

That is why they made FRFR. Flat, bland, boring. No personality whatsoever. What you put into it is what you get out of it. 

 

 

You should try plugging direct to the power section of the amp, so that you can bypass all of that coloration. 

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It takes a LOT of work to get it sounding right through a guitar cab.  It can do it, but it takes some serious tweaking to make it work.  That's why there's a lot of discussion about FRFR (Full Range Flat Response) systems.

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My intent is to plug it in via 6link or XLR (I hope my regular XLR cable is good enough x.x) and just play with it on my day off to get it sounding good, it's like that thing I always wanted, but instead of losing interest years after pursuing it when I finally got it, I want to spend more time with it and make it my own. Not really sound like other bands, but something interesting and fun! That being said. Death to all the God awful presets, only 2 are any good, the rest just....suuuuuck.

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