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Playing Live... Using Amp Modeling When Playing With A Guitar Amp?


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Do POD HD500 players use Amp Modeling when playing live through a guitar amp?


I use my POD HD500 to play live and have resisted the urge to use the Amp Modeling effects available for a variety of reasons. Mainly, most every patch I have played with that incorporates Amp Modeling produces a LOT of unwanted output noise. When I turn the Amp effects off, my output noise is greatly reduced.


I play Ibanez and Fender guitars through a Mesa Boogie amp and use the HD500 in "Stomp Box" mode making 8 different effects pedals available at any given time.


From time to time I will set the HD500 up in a more traditional manner and program my specific patches for my songs and then line up the patches to match my set list.


Can other users offer me some feedback on how they use their POD and if you are using Amp Modeling when playing through an amp?





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Try using the HD500 'PRE' (not FULL) amp models. The difference is that the pre amp models exclude the cab and mic modelling that is used in the full amp models. This difference is important when routing output to a guitar amp, which applies it's own cab - and mic as required for stage/recording.


Also try using one of the Live output modes - select the one that most closely matches your amp. Try setting the output switch to Amp. There's no right or wrong here. As was already mentioned, studio/direct mode can give good results too. Trust your ears.


You might also investigate the four cable method. Search this forum under 4CM.

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no disrespect but the PRE models do not exclude cab and mic modeling, they exclude Power Amp modeling.  They still have cab and mic assigned and you will have to turn that off manually if you don't want it.  You did not say how you are connected.  I assume you are using the 4 cable method as that is the most versatile with your gear.


If you are getting a lot of noise with the amp models, make sure you put a noise gate at the beginning of your patch.  With the 4 cable method you can switch from using the preamp of your Mesa to the POD pres by making new patches.  With a FX loop for the Mesa, without for the POD.


You will also be able to play with FX placement before and after the preamp.  Generally dynamics, pitch, distortions before and mods, delays, and reverbs after but find what works for you.


If you decide not to mess with all this, just run the POD straight into the Mesa FX return and use the POD full amp models.  Play with output modes to see what you like best.


As for cabs, if you really like your cab you can keep them turned off in the POD.  They do offer another level of tone shaping though.  Don't forget you can use the cab DEP to modify Low Cut, Resonance, Thump etc and even mic choice.


I like to start with just the amp, no cab or FX and play with the settings tillI I find what I like and then try out other cab/mic combinations.  There are so many ways to do this, just have fun and trust your ears...

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no disrespect but the PRE models do not exclude cab and mic modeling, they exclude Power Amp modeling.  They still have cab and mic assigned and you will have to turn that off manually if you don't want it.  ..

 Right you are... sorry for any confusion, and thanks for the correction.

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Thanks for the input so far.


A little more clarifications… I run the POD directly into the input of the Mesa Boogie amp. Have no choice. My amp is in an isolation closet off stage and the house (5,500 seat auditorium) is pre-wired with a single XLR cable from my area of the stage to the closet. As a result, I also cannot use any channel switching or EQ switching inherent to my amp. I had at one time thought of using a Line 6 amp with all of the effects built in to it, but I'd have no way to control it with our set-up.


Does anyone play live with their POD in StompBox mode?


Thanks again!



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hi guitarzan


- you surely can use the pod as a stompbox modeler;

if you can't switch channels on your amp, you will have to use the pod distortions


- but if are not satisfied with the pod's distortions into the input of your amp,

which I think is the case, because otherwise you wouldn't have tried the pod amps and posted here, would you? :-) ... if you are not satisfied and if your amp has an effects return input you can use the pod amps, as radatats suggested

but remember that you'll have to LEARN those amps AND experiment with preamps with and without cab/mic and also full amps with and without cab/mic and all this in combination with the output modes (Combo Power Amp, Stack Power Amp and Studio/Direct should be the ones to try out);

this can be FUN for someone or BAD for others (I'm on the "fun" side ;-))


- then, as a sound eng., I'd ask you:

how do you connect the XLR you have on stage to the amp's input? with a reamp box?

please tell me you're not using an XLR to jack adapter cable!



pod > XLR mic level out > mic preamp > reamp box > "single channel" amp > microphone > consolle > PA


a setup like this is the only one that will correctly drive your amp's input

and, if you use the return of the amp, you can only bypass the reamp box in that chain


- all that said I would change approach and ask: why not try the pod directly into the PA?

this is what I would do.

The only benefit of using a real amp is having it on stage as a perfect monitor for you,

but you're putting the amp "in an isolation closet off stage", so...


this way you'll also have to learn the amps to choose your favourites, but you can peacefully choose full amps with cab/mics and Studio/Direct output mode


AND you can create the sounds at home with more confidence that they will sound similar on stage


hope to be helpful



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wow, tough setup... You could definitely use a Line 6 amp in this setup, a DT 25 or 50 would work especially since there is an XLR feed to the iso box.  You can use that for the L6 link which completely integrates your POD and the DT amp.  You would not need any other cabling to the amp to take full advantage of everything the POD and the DT can do together. Check it out...


For your current setup, you need to know that the XLR outs do not sum to mono so you are only getting one side of the signal to your Mesa.  You need to go in to each patch and use the mixer to pan both sides hard left and use the left XLR out.  Try building your patches with the mixer as the last thing in the chain or else adding a stereo FX block after it will split the signal again.


You should try to keep the Mesa as clean as possible and then you can use the POD for all your tonal changes,  You should be ok with that and you can still follow the suggestions I gave earlier.  Play with different distortions to see which ones work best for your setup.  Remember,if you use amp modeling, use a noise gate.  And with just stomps in to the front of your amp, you should really pay attention to getting them in the right order within the patch.


Hope this helps!


Edit: just saw the advice about POD straight to the PA and have to agree, probably the best overall solution. And make them give you two feeds to go stereo!

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Why don't  u consider playing directly to PA?


1) Either use only the XLR’s out to the PA  with “Studio direct†output mode.

Since the house is pre-wired with ONLY a single XLR cable from your area of the stage to the closet, you could possible use a small mixing console ( to feed the single XLR, or


2) Use a  1/4'->XLR adapter through the 1/4 left unbalanced output of the HD500 to connect to the stage single XLR (don't forget to set the 1/4" out switch to amp/line as requested by the sound guy).


In either case the amp is not critical if the house can provide you with a stage monitor.


3) Alternatively, use the stage XLR for PA connection and through a wireless system , use your amp for stage monitor.


Since you cannot use any channel switching or EQ switching inherent to your amp, I believe  the HD500 is the ideal solution for an all-in-one unit, including full amp+cab+mic modelling and fx.


For detals, c also



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- the mono-stereo issue for me is often a non-issue

if you build your patch keeping the signal mono (or quasi-mono) you don't need to use the pod mixer's pan-pots or an external mixer, you can safely use a single XLR out


to fully understand why, please read point 2) of this post of mine:


- I would embrace the radatats's suggestion of the DT25/50

but I'm still convinced that, if you can't have your amp on stage, then you don't really need it


- and to jandrio

I think the "single XLR" is the one that goes to the closet

they hopefully will have more XLR from stage to consolle/PA :)


- anyway I would't use a jack to XLR adapter to go to the PA (the venue is big and noise can be a problem with unbalanced long cables)


if, and I repeat if, after reading the post I linked above, the mono/stereo issue ends up as a real issue,

I would connect the left jack to a DI and then to consolle/PA

or use both XLR outs




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Additional info… the XLR cable is for noise purposes as it is a long run and is converted to 1/4" on each end. Since there is only a single cable run, there is no option for stereo. Just mono.


In the past, at other gigs, I ran direct from the POD into the PA system all the time. I don't have that option here. The venue has it's routine down and I need to fit within it.



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I frankly don’t understand why you cannot connect directly to PA. Does the venue oblige you to use the guitar==>pod==>amp==>mic==>pa configuration?


Also I don’t know if you need stereo or mono sound.  I personally have found that the stereo option really improves my sound and makes the big difference when compared to the mono sound.


In any case, the second cable necessary for stereo could be implemented via the wireless guitar system (max Transmission Range 300 feet via the Relay G90).


But in order to provide you with the best possible solution, you must specify ALL “parameters†and any other additional info you have.


So, to summarize (pls correct me if I’m wrong):

  1. You have ONLY ONE long 1/4=>XLR==>1/4 cable at your disposal (using 1/4'->XLR adapters?).
  2. You CANNOT connect directly to PA due to venue’s procedures compliance requirements AND NOT DUE TO TECHNICAL REASON WHATSOEVER (technically speaking this option is by all means implementable).
  3. You MUST mandatory use the amp, again due to venue’s procedures compliance requirements.

If this is the case, connect the HD500 to the amp’s return loop (either via the venue provided single XLR, or via wireless), set the output mode to “combo/power front/stack†and tweak your presets accordingly.



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Do they also blindfold you and tie one of your hands behind your back ?  It disappoints me when I hear stories like this.




seriously, I'd like to talk to the sound guy / tech manager of a 5500 seats venue that:

- uses a 1/4>XLR>1/4 cable for "noise" issues... that cable system is unbalanced, they could use a mono jack-jack with identical bad sound AND noise results

- doesn't let you connect in the simplest/best way for you AND for them



disconnect the adapters from both ends of the in-famous XLR and connect the stage-end to the pod XLR-out

and the closet-end to the other XLR that normally is connected to the microphone which captures the mesa


this way you go to the consolle directly!


- @ John-jandrio (& Dave-theguitarzan)

I think Dave doesn't seem to need stereo since he was connecting to the input of the amp using the pod in stompbox mode;

of course with my sentence "the mono-stereo issue for me is often a non-issue",

I was referring to this particular case (that is very common indeed), in wich someone wants to use a mono signal and feels worried :unsure: about loosing the Right signal by connecting only the Left XLR...

...don't worry too much :) , 90% of the time there is no problem in doing that;


of course true stereo is an improvement over mono (in many applications), but then you have to... well... use a stereo setup

and you don't have the problem to mix to mono to use a single cable!


in case someone (Dave?) has true stereo patches but in one specific venue is forced to use a single cable I would:

A- create specific mono patches for that venue (annoying) and follow the workaround I described above

B- use his normal patches connecting the Left Jack of the pod to a DI and then use the workaround I described above from the DI to the consolle


in both cases some stereo effects mixed to mono COULD create some phase issues, so you'll need to check them by bypassing them and listening if they "suck" some of your tone

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in case you Dave can't change much of the venue's setup,

we go back to the original question:

"Using Amp Modeling When Playing With A Guitar Amp?"

my personal answer is:

no if you go into the amp's input

yes with experimentation (on preamp/full, cab+mic/no cab & output modes, see above) if you go to the amp's return




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A little more info on the venue… the venue is a well known church. Our praise team / band is a well known group, usually on the charts, on TV/radio, etc. 


The entire band is made up of volunteers. The sound team is staff.


A given weekend's band is made up from a pool of players. Because of the number of different players possible, the church had to establish some standards so as to eliminate every guitar player, for example, coming in every weekend with a different rig, set-up, and list of demands.


I know it is not ideal, but I am fairly new to the band and do not want to rock any boats. (It took me years just to get in,) I just want to do my job to the best of my ability… and, hopefully, use my existing gear.


Thanks again for all of the thoughts!



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I know the whole "live scenerio" set up has been debated/argued A LOT on these forums..Do you use amp pre models or the whole amp/cab combination...output settings...4 cable method, etc. 


I'd like to share my experience with you.  I play my HD500 from the mono out into a Blackstar HT 6- 2x12 return jack.  Now, I should say, neither the amp, the speakers, etc should have no bearing on my "2 cents" worth of advice.  All to often people go back and forth about cab speakers, types of amps, etc...YES, they DO make a difference, however there are things you can do to make even a small amp with a cheap speaker sound pretty good live with the HD500.


Anyway, I plug from the mono out into my amps return jack (therefore only using the amps internal power section.  I select my global output setting on the POD to "COMBO AMP", not the front, I forget the name doesn't matter, those 5 options of output modes are up to YOU to decide based on your own tastes, etc...don't let people on here bully you into selecting the "proper" output mode...sure, some modes were designed specifically for certain things, as a TOOL, not a RULE.


I then connect my MXR 10 band eq to the HD500 effects loop, add an FX Loop in the POD on each patch I want the eq on.  I found an external EQ in the after mixer within the POD gives you much, much more headroom to play with.  You will be able to dial in "bedroom level" sounds as well as dialing in high volume levels if you're practicing with your band or getting ready to play live.  I have also found it's EXTREMELY useful if when you show up to a gig and your sounds aren't quite right because of the venue, a quick EQ adjustment will save you the hassle of re-dialing your patches for that particular gig.


This is by no means an end all, be all solution to tonal issues some may be having, but it's MY solution and I wanted to share with my fellow POD users.  I like to make sure all my patches are relatively close in output volume and let the external EQ in the loop fine tune how to signal hits the amps power section.  Hope this helps some of you out that may frustrated with trying to figure out which output selection to make, why some patches have too much high end, some have too much low end or mids...Any other ideas suggestions are welcome.  Thanks for your time.

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I know the whole "live scenerio" set up has been debated/argued A LOT on these forums..Do you use amp pre models or the whole amp/cab combination...output settings...4 cable method, etc. doesn't matter, those 5 options of output modes are up to YOU to decide based on your own tastes, etc...don't let people on here bully you into selecting the "proper" output mode...sure, some modes were designed specifically for certain things, as a TOOL, not a RULE.




Excellent advice! ... (although I hope nobody feels 'bullied' here. :( )

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This sort of scenario is exactly why I quit playing on my worship team.. It's not a "performance".  You are supposed to be invisible and aiming the congregation towards God.  When these churches turn it into a 'performance" and are not accommodating, as a Christian organization should be, they put off an aura of "we just need butts in the seats".  If the sound crew at a megachurch can't plug a freaking XLR direct out of a Pod into the board instead of some cockamamie scheme through 1/4" adapters, then they are obviously inexperienced, lazy, or just stupid.  Being "on the charts" simply means you are using God's name for profit.  I'm quite sick of the worship community profiting from writing songs and claiming it is purely their heart for God.  If it takes you years to get in, then that's quite exclusive for a church as well. Come as you are, you will be loved. 


Now that my rant is over, let me clarify:  Going direct from XLR to FOH is simple.  Your sound person actually may appreciate that more than dealing with amps

Second: I use a DT25 for performance and at my house for solo practice with my HD500.  My sounds actually translate very well when doing Studio/Direct.  This differs with other amps as they have different preamps, but you can definitely get some very useable tones into your Mesa.  Plug it directly into input of effects loop and see what comes of it.  Good luck!

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