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hd500 astonishingly bad through headphones -- fixable?

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I just picked up a used HD500 mostly for use as a headphone practice amp. With dogs and neighbors and all, I can't fire up my real amps very often at the house.

 

Problem is every amp sounds fuzzy. Not a good fuzzy. A digital fuzzy. No effects, some effects, doesn't matter. Clean is digitally fuzzy, distorted amp is fuzzy.

 

I've been through the tone guide, I've been through pretty much every parameter via the edit software, I've tried everything and it all sounds horrible. Output is set to studio. I've loaded the latest firmware. Whatever I try, it just sounds cheap and fuzzy.

 

Anyone have a solution for this?

 

Thing is, I have an old kidney bean pod and it sounds great through headphones. No fuzz, no cheap, just warm and pretty real. How does a product several generations newer sound waaaaaay worse?

 

You could say, Go back the old pod then, dummy, and that'd be fair enough, but then I lose out on all the power and flexibility of switching cabs and mics and effect order and values, etc. I really was looking forward to newly remodeled versions of the old amps. The old Plexi is really not a great model for a holy grail amp.

 

It feels like it's missing the old A.I.R. II technology, which made the pod sound really good through headphones. Is that somewhere in the setup where I can't find it? Without that, it just sounds like a cheap spider amp.

 

How do people use these for recording? I just can't get it to sound like a true amp.

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The POD is not a "plug and play" unit. Nearly everyone struggles with it at first. Experimentation with various amp/cab/mic combinations is the only way to get comfortable with it. But I'd start with the following:

 

1) What output mode are you using? Anything but "studio/direct" will yield garbage with headphones.

 

2) Set input 1 to "guitar", and input 2 to either Variax, or aux...anything but "SAME"...that doubles the signal sent to the rest of the signal chain. Makes things a mess.

 

3) Then there's the headphones themselves...perhaps not quite as critical as inputs and outputs, but still a consideration. You need something with a reasonably flat response, preferably open-back, "studio-reference" type cans. There are many options, and you don't have to spend a fortune. Most of the amp models in the POD tend to be a little heavy on the low end...closed-back, consumer level, general use headphones are often deliberately bass-heavy as it is. If they say "Dr. Dre" on them somewhere, throw them away...;)

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Agreed about the Dr Dre's,... sorry Doc.

Inexpensive Sennheisers or the better (a little pricier) AKG K240's are good.

Something with a nominal impedance of 680-Ohms to 1K-Ohm.

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1) What output mode are you using? Anything but "studio/direct" will yield garbage with headphones.

 

 

+1 for this. Based on the OP description... I would go with this... particularly since the unit was used, who knows how it was setup.

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Well, thanks for the advice. Naturally, I've already made sure the output is set to studio and I did find setting the 2nd input to variax quieted the noise a lot. Still nothing took the digital fuzz off.

 

However, I will have to dig out my sony studio monitor type headphones, but I would be just gobsmacked if they made any difference at all.

 

Honestly, I expected more from line 6 as all my old products were awesome from the start (pod, axsys, mml or whatever, etc.). I've always avoided the spider stuff because it has pretty much the same cheap fuzziness. Even my 600 year old kidney bean pod was excellent.

 

I was hoping that there was some switch I'd overlooked. But I will try different headphones and see if that helps. Exhaust all options.

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Well, thanks for the advice. Naturally, I've already made sure the output is set to studio and I did find setting the 2nd input to variax quieted the noise a lot. Still nothing took the digital fuzz off.

 

However, I will have to dig out my sony studio monitor type headphones, but I would be just gobsmacked if they made any difference at all.

 

Honestly, I expected more from line 6 as all my old products were awesome from the start (pod, axsys, mml or whatever, etc.). I've always avoided the spider stuff because it has pretty much the same cheap fuzziness. Even my 600 year old kidney bean pod was excellent.

 

I was hoping that there was some switch I'd overlooked. But I will try different headphones and see if that helps. Exhaust all options.

Well the headphones may not be a cure-all...but like I said, there ain't much in the way of instant gratification with this thing. Doesn't mean the tones aren't in there, but you do have to play around with it for a while to find them. Took me several weeks of fiddling until I was happy with the sounds I was getting. It's now the cornerstone of the best sounding rig I've had in years, and I'm not a novice. I've used everything under the sun at one time or another. Cab and mic choice makes an ENORMOUS difference...give it some time.

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If by comparison to the earlier PODs your unit is a bitter disappointment.

You have a faulty unit I am sorry to say.

Despite offers of help so far none have solved it. It is not like your comparing the valve amps cranked in your room to the HD on earpods right! You have read the guide and confirmed the outputs are correct.

 

We can all attest the HDs are much better than earlier PODs and you know your stuff so

I am not going to suggest you set your global EQ flat or if there is some fizz remove it with an EQ.

But as it is used I would not rule out a faulty unit.

 

The HDs have a broader frequency response than a most amps they emulate. As such to reduce the high shelf is not uncommon.

For fizz zero in with a Para EQ narrow Q turned up to find it and sweep, then attenuate. Might need a little shelf boost or maybe not.

 

Some mic models are better then others too and s'times just changing it can make the difference. I find the 57 too shrill most of the time.

 

Seriously, get your Sony MDRs out

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Check limiting the frequency spectrum using the global EQ to a range 80 Hz to 5000 KHz.

If the fizziness disappears try to widen the range or better EQ by patch instead of the global option.

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I just picked up a used HD500 mostly for use as a headphone practice amp.

Problem is every amp sounds fuzzy.

 

Thing is, I have an old kidney bean pod and it sounds great through headphones.

 

i  also have both...a bean and a hd500x. the bean sounds good and the hd500x sounds even better thru headphones.

maybe your 'used' hd500 has been too used?

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I came from a PODxt (bean and Live) to the HD500x, and have found it to be a great improvement over the older versions.

 

IMO, you need to approach how you set up your patches in the same way as you would set up a sound on a new amp. It is trial and error tweaking, and does take a bit of time to figure out, but I've found the 500x to be a doddle to set up and get great sounds from very quickly.

 

Are you using the noise gate and/or compression in the patches? Maybe look at these as you may be picking up background noise as "digital fuzz".

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Well, tried new headphones and wow, what a difference. Didn't solve the problem, but completely different voicing. I expect it's like changing speaker cabs.

 

I can tell this unit has powerful options, but is anyone using the headphone jack for headphones, or mostly just using the other outputs as some sort of pre-amp?

 

I'm not adding gain anywhere but at the amp's drive knob. No EQ. No compressor. There is a noise gate early on to cut noise.

 

signal chain is...

 

guitar > wah (disabled) > tube screamer for slight boost (disabled) > noise gate > JCM 800 > chorus just for stereo separation > little delay > room reverb to add some space.

 

Played with moving effects in and out of the loop, but made no difference in the fuzz. It'd sure be nice if there was some clip meters internally to track down where it might be overdriving an input somewhere.

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Ahem, could be your guitar is picking up stray ultra high interference.

When I first got my HD I couldnt stand the noise.

The HD is basically a computer and my guitars picked up interference from it so

bad I was about to return it very disappointed compared to my usual Amp sims for recording.

 

Having to hold the guitar just right was a nightmare as well as my other PC and an Amp the noise was unbarable.

I shielded my fav guitar and prob solved. Then shielded all them!

 

IT may noy be your issue as I'd call it noise rather then fuzz but even a little gain and it was'nt for me.

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I think I might have solved this for you by accident.

 

My usual home setup is via s/pdif into sound card which in default is equal to the master volume fully up.

Since my music PC died I have been using my old Korg D3200 while I get a new PC.

 

I found tonight most of my patches have a fuzz like you describe and it took a while to work it out.

I am going out the XLR's into a Mic pre with a pad on and some gain to bring the level below peak and in the

recorder there is no clip.

 

I have had the Amp volume and Master volume on full as earlier in the chain as you do but this is causing a slight distortion overtone like a fuzz even on cleaner amp models or with gain down mainly on bassier strings.

 

It has often been remarked about this by others but never an issue on s/pdifs for me. All controls full, no problem.

 

What fixed it was to only have the volume and Master out knob at 75% and increase the gain in the recorder. 

 

It seems to be the analogue output gain. Makes sense as even any amp will clip when fully open.

 

Hope this helps your issue too!

 

EDIT: I checked it on the headphones it was there too but with Master knob about 50%. I rolled off the DEP master level and it removed it but what worked best was the Volume knob on the amp controls.

This is new to me but I have seen it posted from time to time to watch out for internal clipping.

 

Conclusion: There is more headroom on the s/pdif outs thru my Motu2408mkIII but the internal HD DAC is easily clipped when going from XLR outs to a mixboard.

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Where have you got the Channel volume [CH VOL]? With the high gain amp models, it needs to be about 45% to avoid excessive noise *and* clipping from effects placed after the amp.

 

If your unit is not faulty and if you have set up your patch sensibly, it *will* sound excellent on headphones.

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I do know we got master DEP level, effected by resonance and somewhat by thump.

 

Then there is the amp knob volume and then the master out knob.

 

Then you have the mixer block volume. That is a lot of places for level in a chain.

 

 

I did notice the tone cleaned up just fine lowering the volume knob to about 75%.

The mixer block was at zero

I was able to isolate this as the main source of the fuzzy overtone clipping.

 

CORRECTION: It seems it may of only been the 2204 which is what I been using and one other patch Both with their gains way down. 

On the Soldano clean no probs. 

 

Will look more into this.

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Maybe you've already tried this, but what does the HD500 sound like through an amp, compared to the headphone sound.

It seems logical that if you have a bad unit, it would sound bad through everything.

 

Also try running a line out from the HD500 to something else with a headphone out (stereo, the BeanPod, whatever) and see how that sounds.

If that sounds ok, it's probably the headphone jack is either bad or overloaded.

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Would it help if I upload my clean patch for you to try out? I also use the input pad, you might wanna try that.

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I seem to recall a regular here put up a post about in the DEP to lower resonance and roll off the bass. This seems to be the area I am getting a fuzz on my 2204 when trying to clean the amp right up it is still in there. Adding to it may be the fret buzz I just noticed.

As listening in headphones does give you more especially those reverb tails!

Will try a few other Marshal models now.

It just might be an artifact of the modeling of the amp and wont clean up but suprisingly the mic choice does change this the most.

 

A few changes in the mix for my tones, seems also my headphones on the left side might be not handling the low level and so too my Edirols.

No probs with other amps

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Interesting and probably one of the best explanations of the DEP I've seen.

Only remark I'd make is that to me the resonance effects the bottom end but that just may

be my small monitors talking. I certainly wouldnt descibe as a compressor but I get the analogy to me more like a slight sustainer effect which describes a tube amp a bit. Can be squishy or a tight fight. 

 

Late last night the problem seem to not exist after I raised the bridge on my Les Paul and removed the fret buzz in few spots. This was it as it correlated to a couple of spots the buzz came thru the headphones and being picked up as this fuzz I heard like a farting speaker overtone.

 

Also though, late at night the playing style was more sympathetic but I did try to reproduce the fuzz but it was not there.

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When I try an amp I go by what I once read a long while ago about real amp tone controls that without a tone control it is equal to the mid range being on full where the others are crossover like splits off of it.

For most of the Marshal models;

I put all amp gain and tone controls at only quarter and crank the mid and Amp volume knob, then raise the presence if needed for rhythm and treble for more a lead tone backing off the presence. This is useful if using the same amp model is used for two guitar tracks. 

 

With the HD models I can back the bass right off depending how much DEP resonance I reduce from default 50%

 

A bit of hum if I reduce the gain to near off ; clean with little roll off volume on guitar.

 

Suprisingly this gives a great tele tone on it's own, even better with a comp.

 

Feels like a clean tube amp!

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Did you buy the unit new or second hand / pre-owned?

 

Are the patches you're using and experiencing the excessive noise new patches, one of the old user patches or preset patches?

 

Have you tried the preset patches to see if there is excessive noise from them as well?

 

Have you used & owned other multi FX units previously?

 

Where they used in the same conditions that you are using the HD500x in?

 

If you bought the unit pre-owned, and using one of the previous owner's patches, they may have had it setup for their environment, not yours. It may be worthwhile re-flashing your HD500x and doing a "Factory Reset", and then start building your own patches (either from scratch, from the presets, or download some).

 

If you experience the excessive extraneous noise after the reset, then it may be time to delve deeper.

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hurganico

 

 


 

PS.

although in the past I adviced to try using more the presence control, I changed my mind..

lately I use it with moderation,.. if not at all

 

Back full circle, eh?  :)

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