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POD HD500x connected with a Soundbar


ankitmittal
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Hey Guys,

 

Just got the POD HD500x delivered and starting to try out now. I used to use a Marshall MG15 CF amp but that's not available to me right now. Hence I'm wondering if I can connect my POD HD 500x to a Samsung Soundbar which I have been using as a computer speaker to listen to general music, watch movies etc (here it is: http://www.samsung.com/in/consumer/tv-av/audio-video/soundbar/HW-J450/XL).

Here's what I have tried:

1. Connected a 1/4" cable to my POD HD 500x 1/4 L output going in to the 3.5 mm Audio in of the Soundbar using a 1/4" to 3.5 mm connector

2. Used the same setup as 1 but connected to the Headphones output jack in Pod HD 500x instead of the 1/4 L output

 

With option 1, I'm getting volume from only one side of the Soundbar (the left side). The tones do not sound too good either. With option 2, I do get sound from both sides of the Soundbar (L+R), but the volume output is somewhat low unless I turn the volume to about max on the POD and the Soundbar. Also, the tones sound all bassy. I'm sure the mids and highs are being cut off. Hence, here are my questions:

 

1. For the 1st option, should I be connecting a cable going to both L and R 1/4" outputs on the POD and then merging to a single 3.5mm connection as audio input to the Soundbar (something like this: http://www.amazon.in/Ugreen-3-5mm-Stereo-6-3mm-Splitter/dp/B01CI7J3OG?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00)? Willthis solve the PAN issue? Or can I tweak some global settings in my POD which can recognize a single output going through the L 1/4" output and play through both speakers in the Soundbar?

2. Is the Headphones output supposed to be used with speakers? Anything I can do here to make the tones sound better or is this as good as it gets?

 

3. Should I be using a pre-amp if I have to work through this setup? I don't own one yet, so need to figure out if I need to.

 

4. I need to use the same setup - POD going to a mixer connected to a PA system for a live gig and a few practice sessions before that. I'm afraid I might face the same issue there as well. What's the best practice here? Based on all the posts I have read on this forum regarding connecting the POD directly to the PA, I believe a single 1/4" cable will go from the L or R 1/4 output from my POD to a channel in the mixer to which the PA system is connected and then I need to tweak the Mixer in my patches according to this setting. Could you please confirm? I won't have access to a PA system and mixer until the live gig, so I'm terrified about going in blind there with terrible sounding patches.

 

Needless to say, I'm just starting to figure this sound stuff out and learning more everyday. Would appreciate your support and understanding if my questions sound amateur.

 

Thanks and have a great day!

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...so I'm terrified about going in blind there with terrible sounding patches.

 

Which is very likely to be what happens if you try to do things this way. Don't take this the wrong way, but you're setting yourself up for some major disappointment. Those sound bars are designed for a completely different purpose...and they generally don't sound all that great, even when used as designed. They can't remotely be considered FRFR speakers...even if you managed to get it sounding decent, the odds of the tone being anything close to what you'll get when you run the same patche(s) through a PA...even a crappy one...is essentially zero.

 

You're best bet given the circumstances, and with minimal expense, is to dial in your patches with a decent pair of studio headphones that will give you a frequency response close to a typical PA's. In other words, as flat a response as possible. You'll never wring that out of a sound bar no matter what you do...it's a losing battle.

 

You can get a pair of AKG240S headphones for about $70-$80. They have a pretty flat response, and have been a studio mainstay for years. I use them all the time, and find that my tones are very close to what I get through my L2T.

 

Trying to use a sound bar for creating tones is like trying to cut all the grass in Central Park with toenail clippers...it's an impossible task. It's got "gig disaster" written all over it.

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Which is very likely to be what happens if you try to do things this way. Don't take this the wrong way, but you're setting yourself up for some major disappointment. Those sound bars are designed for a completely different purpose...and they generally don't sound all that great, even when used as designed. They can't remotely be considered FRFR speakers...even if you managed to get it sounding decent, the odds of the tone being anything close to what you'll get when you run the same patche(s) through a PA...even a crappy one...is essentially zero.

 

 

Trying to use a sound bar for creating tones is like trying to cut all the grass in Central Park with toenail clippers...it's an impossible task. It's got "gig disaster" written all over it.

 

I agree with cruisinon2, I've tried running a POD thru a Dolby 5.1 system (4 small speakers, center speaker and sub woofer), and it didn't sound very good at all. Didn't really spend any time making any adjustment on the stereo or POD but it's like cruisin said..they're made for a different thing. Good enough for dinking around at home but definitely don't build any patches from it unless they are specifically for the sound bar. They very likely won't sound good anywhere else.

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If I read that all correctly --- 

 

Why not plug the guitar in to the computer (via USB), and have the computer hooked up to the soundbar. 

Yeah, I tried to do that, but I'm getting a weird modified sound for every patch that I try. The modified sound seems to have an added delay over the original sound of the patch. I'm guessing that's because of the latency. So I'm going to try this out on another PC - hopefully that will solve it. Will keep you updated on what I find. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Re #1. The 1/4" left output is a mono signal so bottom line, the amazon solution is your best solution for that.

But if that's true then does that mean I always need to use both 1/4 outputs? I'm asking because I'm pretty sure the live setup that I'm going to have will have a mixer which will have a single 1/4 input jack. Does that mean my sound will always be panned to one side if I'm using a single cable?

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Which is very likely to be what happens if you try to do things this way. Don't take this the wrong way, but you're setting yourself up for some major disappointment. Those sound bars are designed for a completely different purpose...and they generally don't sound all that great, even when used as designed. They can't remotely be considered FRFR speakers...even if you managed to get it sounding decent, the odds of the tone being anything close to what you'll get when you run the same patche(s) through a PA...even a crappy one...is essentially zero.

 

You're best bet given the circumstances, and with minimal expense, is to dial in your patches with a decent pair of studio headphones that will give you a frequency response close to a typical PA's. In other words, as flat a response as possible. You'll never wring that out of a sound bar no matter what you do...it's a losing battle.

 

You can get a pair of AKG240S headphones for about $70-$80. They have a pretty flat response, and have been a studio mainstay for years. I use them all the time, and find that my tones are very close to what I get through my L2T.

 

Trying to use a sound bar for creating tones is like trying to cut all the grass in Central Park with toenail clippers...it's an impossible task. It's got "gig disaster" written all over it.

Thanks cruisinon2. I know what you said make sense. I have since read countless articles about how important it is to build tones using a flat sound source. I think I will have to shell out that extra $80. Arghhhh. I believe you get what you pay for.

 

One more question - do the PAs which are normally used during live gigs have a flat response too? I'm not sure what I will get during my live gig, but imagine JBLs. How do I know that they are not configured to sound like my sound bar? If they are, wouldn't the patches that I make using the AKGs sound terrible on them? Or is the only way to fix this would be to know what kind of sound gear I'm going to be playing on during the gig?

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The mono outputs would be centered, not panned, unless you pan them at the mixer.  So a single 1/4" mono output to the mixer board would be fine.

 

The PA should be FRFR.  They all might sound a little different, and the room acoustics will come into play too, but generally a PA should give you a pretty consistent sound. 

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How do I know that they are not configured to sound like my sound bar?

Simple. One is designed to amplify the myriad musical instruments that get used in a live performance setting, and the other one is for sitting around in your underwear watching "Orange Is The New Black"...that's how you know. ;)

 

A sh*tty $150 sound bar from Stuff Emporium is not musical equipment. If you show up at the Indy 500 in a golf cart, you'll finish the race 2 days after everyone else has gone home.

 

As for the headphones...like I said before, you need to create your tones using something with a frequency response as close as reasonably achievable to that of a PA's. A good pair of headphones is as close as you're gonna get without investing significant $$ in a true FRFR speaker. Will they sound identical? No...but nothing you buy will, no matter how much money you spend. The completely flat frequency response doesn't exist. No two PA's are gonna sound identical either. You have to expect some degree of tweaking from PA to PA and room to room. That's what sound check is for.

 

Even if you owned your own PA and used it for every gig, the dive bar with the hard wood floors and bare brick walls isn't gonna sound the same as the hipster-ish lounge with the carpet and puffy leather couches.

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 "and the other one is for sitting around in your underwear watching "Orange Is The New Black"...that's how you know."

 

 

:o Was that you creeping around my window while I was watching Orange Is The New Black? I swear, I only watched it that way twice.

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Simple. One is designed to amplify the myriad musical instruments that get used in a live performance setting, and the other one is for sitting around in your underwear watching "Orange Is The New Black"...that's how you know. ;)

 

Okay - to explain this better... the venue is a closed pub which blasts rock music through the same sound setup when a band is not playing live. So I'm wondering if those songs sound good on the PAs, then the PAs must be configured to play general music rather than having FRFR output, right? In that case, if I my POD is plugged in to the same PAs, will my patches which I create on the FRFR headphones sound good?

 

Should I be asking the venue to specifically get FRFR speakers or am I worrying about this too much? Just not able to understand this - because I have seen bands playing with great sound in HRC and then once they stop, recorded tracks start to be played and both sound pretty awesome. How is this possible using the same sound setup?

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Okay - to explain this better... the venue is a closed pub which blasts rock music through the same sound setup when a band is not playing live. So I'm wondering if those songs sound good on the PAs, then the PAs must be configured to play general music rather than having FRFR output, right? In that case, if I my POD is plugged in to the same PAs, will my patches which I create on the FRFR headphones sound good?

Most PAs approach FRFR. That's what they're designed for. It's extraordinarily unlikely that the house sound guy (if there even is one) is "configuring" anything when he fires up the jukebox in between sets. Because he'd then have to "un-configure" it 20 minutes later when you go back on stage. When you stop playing, he's presses "play", and wanders off in search of beer.

 

Should I be asking the venue to specifically get FRFR speakers or am I worrying about this too much?

If you're not Van Halen, and you call this place up and ask them to acquire expensive equipment that they don't already have...just for you...you'll get laughed at. It's also very likely that whomever answers the phone will have no idea what FRFR means. They'll think you're nuts, and you'll think they're stupid. It will be an awkward, and ultimately pointless conversation...but probably funny as hell for anyone listening. ;)

 

Yes, you are over-thinking it...it ain't rocket science. No, you can't plan ahead for every possible contingency...though you can't go wrong with a roll of duct tape, crazy glue, extra cables, and a Leatherman. Gear differs, rooms differ, and sound differs accordingly. You will not find a solution which yields 100% continuity of tone in every conceivable scenario. That's never been possible, and it never will be. We're musicians...sometimes you gotta improvise.

 

Good headphones will get you close to what you'll hear from a PA. Close does not mean "identical". No, I can't tell you "how close"...that will depend on the gear in question and your ears and abilities. What I can tell you is this: I've done it, it works, and I'll do it again. Tweak to taste at sound check. That's what the global EQ is for. Or let the sound guy do it, assuming that its not the same dude in charge of refilling buckets of ice behind the bar (yes, that happens). Just like the good old days with an amp and a few stomp boxes...

 

And if you're still worrying about it, consider this: without visual cues, the average drunk in the audience couldn't reliably tell the difference between a guitar, hedge clippers, or a screech owl.

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One more question - do the PAs which are normally used during live gigs have a flat response too? I'm not sure what I will get during my live gig, but imagine JBLs. How do I know that they are not configured to sound like my sound bar? If they are, wouldn't the patches that I make using the AKGs sound terrible on them? Or is the only way to fix this would be to know what kind of sound gear I'm going to be playing on during the gig?

 

By the very nature of what a pa does, it is to be flat. 

Of course, that doesn't mean that it is - because some people get a little cheap when it comes to spending money on gear or making repairs to gear. 

Nor does it mean that the guy running the system knows how to keep it flat. I never met a black man that didn't love his bass.

 

But, yes, because a PA sends out all of the frequencies through all of the various speakers, they are to be flat

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im not going to argue for the soundbar, certainly  not for tweaking, but if it sounds good with music from the tv, the pod should sound ok,  same goes for a surround system. got to be careful with the dynamics though if the speakers are small/cheap.

if they sell you a system with 7x100 watts output but the label on the back says power consumption is only 100 watts total, its either magic or a ripoff.  A stereo or surround setup with good big speakers will sound good. if it has tone controls it can be set to flat, if that is the requirement. i have friends who spent over 2 grand for a hifi and it doesnt even have tone controls because they like their sound flat. too bad they cant dial out the bass when late night listening...

 

have you tried to set the pod output to studio mode, might help with the bassy sound.

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if it has tone controls it can be set to flat, if that is the requirement.

Sorry, but merely avoiding additional EQ by leaving the typical bass and treble controls (which are often the only two adjustable parameters on many sound bars) at "zero" does not magically transform a unit into FRFR. If it did, everything would be FRFR, and a Marshall 4x12 could be made to respond exactly as an L2T, and there'd be no need for the latter to even exist. Clearly, this isn't the case.

 

Leaving the available EQ flat ONLY means that you are neither boosting nor cutting anything beyond whatever the unit's baseline frequency response happens to be...and I'll bet the farm that a consumer-level TV sound bar's inherent frequency response isn't anything close to flat.

 

Yes, you could probably get it functional with the right Rube Goldberg-esque combination of wires, adapters and happy thoughts...perhaps even sounding okay, IF you never intend to run the POD through anything else. But the OP wants to tweak patches through this thing, then use those same patches cranked at stage volume through an honest-to-God PA system. That being the case, the sound bar is simply the wrong tool for the job...comically so. It would be like a plastic surgeon doing a nose job with a chainsaw. There will be lots of screaming, and it won't end well...;)

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