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HD Pro X EXTREME frustration


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So I saw the video on youtube about the POD HD Pro X and the tech21 power amp 60. Sold my Marshal Valvesate and a few other things. But no matter what I cannot get it to sound worth a dang. I have googled my arse off and see other folks with the same problem. Especially on the youtube video. Of course, Sweetwater has never replied to any of the comments.......

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First, you have to understand what a modeler is... it is the final product. It is not your guitar amp. It will never sound like your old guitar amp because... 

When you are in the studio or on a stage, the sound that you hear in the audience or on the cd is not what the musician heard. Your sound was mic'd and ran through another system. THAT is the sound you are going to hear with modelers. Modelers provide that extra sound layer to provide the "final" tone. By providing the "final" tone, it allows you to bypass the middle step - lugging an amp around, and then needing to mic it for stage or studio. 


But then, if we are skipping the amp, how do we hear it? And if we use an amp to hear it, doesn't that just add tonal color to the sound?

The Tech21 gear is made to be a "transparent" device that will provide "true tone". It is not something like a Marshall or Fender that each have their own tonal identities. Again, it is not something that is going to sound like the sound we grew up hearing in our bedrooms. It is not meant to be. It is meant to allow you to get out of it what you put into it, without any coloring. 




Now that we know those two things... 

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the (global) settings on the modeler. If you have them wrong, you will never get anything good out of it. 

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Set Input 1 to guitar and Input 2 to Variax.

Set output to Studio Direct.

Get it as close as you can then place an EQ in the patch and fine tune it from there.


At first it will take a lot of time and patience to get it sounding the way you want.  Once you learn what your guitar, amp, PODHD, and your ears want it'll get easier.

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The Tech 21 Power Engine is not an FRFR device.... it just uses a standard 12" celestion speaker.. The marketing hype makes it look like it's plug and play with something like a POD but It is just like plugging into the power amp input (or effect return) on a guitar amp... just with a couple more options. 


If I were using this product I would make sure the HD500 is in Studio Direct mode, then dial in the amp model I want but I would turn off the cab sim (choose "no cab") since the Celestion Seventy80 in the Power Engine already has enough color of it's own. IMO.... using any Cab/Mic models into anything other than a true FRFR setup is nothing more than a crap shoot!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you everybody for the great advice.

I have tried everything-I even did the tweeter mod (not impressed) and am using my BBE 482i.

I have many, many guitars, all with different pickups, etc. for the most part from Les Pauls to Jackson's to BC Rich's.


Problem is that no matter what I do, it always sounds like I have my tone knob rolled back 60%.

Also, every time I move an effect, it momentarily makes a distorted sound.

Are these things normal?


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Oh, a sonic maximizer. You don't need it bro.


The following is what will happen if you add a BBE to your rig...

"Just a word of warning. Maximizers are the guitar gear equivalent of crack. The experience one goes through is identical:

1. The first hit: You hook it up and initially think "Oh MY GOD this the greatest thing EVER DOOOOOD!!!!!111!!!!1! I've found THE tone!"

2. You start using on a regular basis: Buy some model BBE, hook to rig, engage it 100% of the time. Rewrite all your patches.

3. You try to get your friends hooked: Dude, check out my rig, this thing takes it over the top!!!.

4. You go into addiction/denial: Friends think your tone has gone to sh*t but you think it is totally awesome. You start talking msinformed BS about different sound frequencies traveling at different velocities (hint: violation of Newtonian physics).

5. There is an intervention: Friend let's you A/B his non-maximizer rig versus yours in live setting, Yours sounds like over-processed dung, his rocks. He tells you, as a Bro, the BBE must go. You realize the BBE is a band aid for guitar tone and not even a good one at that.

6. You go into rehab: Another "like new" BBE xx2 unit hits eBay.

7. Regret: I wasted a sh*tload of time futzing with my rig, patches, etc, and my tone isn't any better and I'm back to square one. I Wonder what GE-7 pedals are going for these days.

Maybe you should avoid the whole thing. If you must post-process your modelling tone I would strongly suggest an EQ. It's much more versatile and will be long usable after the BBE is gone."

- kdog circa 2005-6 I favorite post ever about BBEs..

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Lol! Ya, I'm not too impressed with the BBE.

I have tried various EQ's, it still end up with that tone knob turned down half way sound.

Sounds great when I run it through a DAW-so I'm thinking it might be the unit.

Any idea as to the distorted effect when I move ANY effect?

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IME... The BBE, similar to an Aphex Aural Exciter is best used like salt with food.... just a pinch is needed to go a long way. I wouldn't use one live, but in the studio having one on an effect send can help lift something out of the weeds. Never the whole mix, just a part or two, and just a touch.


NOTE: I'm not saying the two devices are the same,  I'm saying you use them sparingly in a similar manner :) 

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  • 1 month later...

I'd like to add my thought on this (and the video)


This is a complete non sense, if Tech 21 thing is presented as an FRFR system, micing this setup is absolute bul******t


If pod is studio direct with cab sim (them mic sim)  , what's the needs to remic a virtual mic ????????????


Lot of demonstration use the remicking thing , despite this FRFR is just a monitoring for player.



Also in this way i believe now that using FRFR as a live amplification system is weak as this will simulate a loud micked amp, not a live amp, that 's a bit different


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