Jump to content

Trying to run an electric cello through 500x, bad tone?


slikchik
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys. I received a Ned Steinberger NTXa5 electric cello from my awesome husband for Christmas  to replace the acoustic I had been borrowing to play at our church and various youth concerts. After a ton of research, I discovered that both Simply Three and 2Cellos (on YouTube) use the 500x to process their electric cellos to reproduce that acoustic woody resonance that makes a cello sing for their live concerts. Simply three's cellist uses the exact same cello also.

 

i scooped up a used 500x but thus far have been completely unable to get any sort of acoustic tone out of it. Everything sounds electric, nasal, and like I'm playing a duet with a bad French horn. Messing with the EQ parameters has not been successful, though I have never messed with EQ before so there is a very strong chance I have no clue what I am doing. At all my venues I go direct to FOH and was hoping the POD would help me keep the pile of gear I have to lug around to a minimum, meaning no amp. The electric cello finally allows me to fit through doorways again. All the venues do a silent stage since there is no other way for me to be able to hear myself, even with nice in ear monitors.

 

i want to play with all the other fun effects this thing has to offer but I must nail down a good acoustic tone first. Otherwise I just blew a ton of $. Can anyone help point me in the right direction?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats on the gift! Sounds like the perfect combo for the next stage of your career.

 

Are you navigating through presets or are trying to build from scratch? I am hoping / assuming / presuming here that you're building from scratch because none of the presets are going to help your sounds...they're not set up for a smooth attack string instrument. Guitars have a hard attack with a more defined transient, so start with a blank tone and build from there.

 

Have you read the manual for the 500X?

Start with the Pilot's Guide, then Advanced Guide, then Edit Pilot's Guide.

https://line6.com/support/manuals/podhd500x/

 

To start, I recommend setting Input 1 Source to Guitar and Input 2 Source to AUX or Variax and not have it be set to 'Same.'

 

I would start with a transparent (as close to transparent) effect at the start to get some good levels. I like the Vintage Pre or 'Gain' setting of the Studio EQ treating it like Input Trim on a mixer. You'll have to test the level with some other audio source for comparison to ensure you're not getting too hot of a signal or, worse, not enough. (Sorry I know absolutely nothing about electric cello electronics).

 

You could then try the cleanest amp like the Blackface Dbl Nrm and see if you get anything you like sound-wise.

 

If this gets you started then you can start experimenting with some of the FX but my guess is you're going to have to diagnose how the Pod reacts to the electric cellos signal levels before too much experimenting with the FX.

 

(I hope this helps. I am not a technical person and they will also be along to help I'm sure. But the basics of sonic creation is always going to be from having a good source to start from and your cello's pickups and electrical signal are going to be the key to not making this a frustrating experience. If you've got low signal and start adding FX it's going to just be noise.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was tweaking the closest preset I had found but after reading your post wiped it and started over.

 

yep, I have not closed the pod's user Manuel window on my iPad since getting this thing. I have to google an unfamiliar term about every third line and have fallen asleep reading it the past five days in a row. But most of it is still above my head.

 

i reset the input settings like you said.

 

signal chain now has the vintage preamp up front with the gain set at 60%. Any higher and it gets crackly in my headphones (which are presonus hd7 2x32ohms, borrowed from a friend).

next is graphic eq with the following levels: 80hz +5, 220hz +1.3, 440hz +5.4, 1.1khz -10.7, 2.2khz -10.5. I set these values based purely on what sounded good as I swept from one end of the extreme to the other. To much high end gave a stronger signal and more body but also smoothed it out too much and make it sound honkey.

next is a BF dbl nrm pre, assuming this is a pre amp but not really sure what a preamp does. With a 6x9 super o and a 421 dynamic mic? 

Drive at 50, bass 60, mid 75, treb 90, presence 10, volume 85.

finally I have cave reverb with decay at 60.

 

all this was done mainly by listening to the subtle changes as I messed with various knobs, although I have no clue what they do.

 

the electric cello, like the acoustic, has incredibly quiet output. I got pestered by my sound guy on Sunday for having almost no output volume. Not like anyone in the congregation would have wanted to hear such a horrid imitation of a cello anyways after having the acoustic a few weeks before.

 

what am I still missing? It's miles better but still sounds too electric.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/4/2019 at 8:40 PM, slikchik said:

Next is a BF dbl nrm pre, assuming this is a pre amp but not really sure what a preamp does. With a 6x9 super o and a 421 dynamic mic? 

 

IMO: With a Cello I wouldn't advocate the use of any amps models in your chain, including the "preamp" versions. Of course you can use it for a special effect, but not for a natural tone. Essentially you are plugging into the preamp of a Fender Twin, then putting that through a tiny oval 6" x 9" speaker that looks a bit like an old car speaker. (even the speaker is not natural to the Twin). That would explain why your tones sound "electric and nasal". Would you plug your Cello into a Fender Twin amp in real life? Likely not, so why do it here? 

 

When I process my acoustic instruments (acoustics, mandolin, dobro, etc..) I don't use anything more than the "Vintage Pre", the "Studio EQ", the "Tube Comp" and a "Room or Hall Reverb". Those should help attain a natural tone, then you can enhance it with delays and/or other effects. 

 

On 2/3/2019 at 5:51 PM, slikchik said:

After a ton of research, I discovered that both Simply Three and 2Cellos (on YouTube) use the 500x to process their electric cellos to reproduce that acoustic woody resonance that makes a cello sing for their live concerts. Simply three's cellist uses the exact same cello also.

 

Have you reached out to any of these players to ask their advice - especially the Cellist that uses the same Cello? I find most people are happy to help when asked. Who knows, maybe they will offer you a copy of their patch. (although I would never directly ask for it)

 

Just my 2 cents... Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I built that patch and it was better, less honky. Thank you! Still a bit electric and honkey but have not messed with any of the new eq settings.

 

any suggestions for where to set the studio eq? I was using the graphic eq since it was the only one that I could make sense of, not sure exactly what the options on the studio eq do.

 

yes, I did shoot the cellist a message on Facebook explaining my utter ineptitude and asking for any pointers he might be able to give me. No reply back yet, will keep waiting and tweaking and picking your brains. So grateful for all yall's help!

 

tried to use the looper pedal to record a scale to listen to while I tweak parameters, but once in looper mode, I cannot access my sound chain. Am I missing something?

 

again, thank You! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LbBoSbr-KSo

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ycdk5sSn4oA

 

 

Here are two videos representing what 2cellos is doing with the 500x. I know the sound they are getting is not a totally authentic copy of a good acoustic but it is close enough to make me happy. Just in case anyone was wondering what sound I am shooting for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great videos... wonderful playing, beautiful venue. 

I don't hear anything there (tone) that is out of the ordinary... 

 

What you are monitoring your HD500 through will make a big difference. What speakers are you using when setting up your tones?  I could be wrong, but I would bet that if you got your hands on one of their patches you would be underwhelmed at how it actually sounds. BUT... when used on high end PA's/Monitors/Studio Speakers the tones translate very well.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry to bug out for so long, had a string of gigs that required my attention.

 

You know that might be my weak point. Right now I am surviving on my MEE6 Pro IEM's. I have never really enjoyed the sound coming out of them, they translate the range well enough but always seem harsh and cold. Everyone in church said they loved the sound of the acoustic cello coming out of the mains but the sounds coming out of my IEM's on stage at the same time stunk.

 

We added a Mooer Radar impulse response loader with IR's of a french cello from 3Sigma to the chain in front of the POD. This almost eclipses the need for the POD. I was able to cut everything from the POD's signal chain except reverb. I turn off the speaker and cab in the Mooer and just use a Parametric EQ cut of 10Db at 700hz with a Q of 2.5 to cut out honkiness. Seems to sound a bit better but I am sure my ears don't translate as well as a good set of speakers would.

 

So here is the next question that follows: what constitutes a good set of monitors for my home office? I was torn between picking up an amp next or a small set of speakers for home monitoring. I lean towards speakers for home since I never gig in a place that does not have a PA system. I do not need high volume (you know, small house, lots of kids, can only practice when everyone is in bed) but I do need high quality so I can dial in the exact sound I am looking for. I am game for a set of cans if that would save even more space without sacrificing quality. I need to plug them direct into the POD or the Mooer, don't have a DAW set up on my computer to run everything through. Trying to keep things as simple as possible since I have to set up and tear down at least twice a week for rehearsals. Also working on a budget. Any recommendations?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, slikchik said:

Sorry to bug out for so long, had a string of gigs that required my attention.

 

You know that might be my weak point. Right now I am surviving on my MEE6 Pro IEM's. I have never really enjoyed the sound coming out of them, they translate the range well enough but always seem harsh and cold. Everyone in church said they loved the sound of the acoustic cello coming out of the mains but the sounds coming out of my IEM's on stage at the same time stunk.

 

We added a Mooer Radar impulse response loader with IR's of a french cello from 3Sigma to the chain in front of the POD. This almost eclipses the need for the POD. I was able to cut everything from the POD's signal chain except reverb. I turn off the speaker and cab in the Mooer and just use a Parametric EQ cut of 10Db at 700hz with a Q of 2.5 to cut out honkiness. Seems to sound a bit better but I am sure my ears don't translate as well as a good set of speakers would.

 

So here is the next question that follows: what constitutes a good set of monitors for my home office? I was torn between picking up an amp next or a small set of speakers for home monitoring. I lean towards speakers for home since I never gig in a place that does not have a PA system. I do not need high volume (you know, small house, lots of kids, can only practice when everyone is in bed) but I do need high quality so I can dial in the exact sound I am looking for. I am game for a set of cans if that would save even more space without sacrificing quality. I need to plug them direct into the POD or the Mooer, don't have a DAW set up on my computer to run everything through. Trying to keep things as simple as possible since I have to set up and tear down at least twice a week for rehearsals. Also working on a budget. Any recommendations?

 

Here's the rub... whenever you switch from one kind of monitoring to another, your tone is gonna be different. Maybe a little, maybe a lot, depending on the circumstances... but this is why you're having issues with your in- ears vs. the PA. Much of this can be attributed to volume. The perception of loudness of different frequencies varies substantially with volume... it's just how our brains work. There's nothing to be done about it. 

 

Dialing in tones at comfortable living room levels on anything... headphones, studio monitors, whatever... will not sound the same when you pump it through different speakers, and at a greatly increased stage volume. 

 

So the bottom line is, it doesn't much matter what studio monitors you pick... there are plenty to choose from, and with a little tinkering you'd be able to get satisfying results from almost anything you choose, (assuming it's not bargain basement crap from some company nobody's every heard of). But small near-field monitors are very different from a PA that's designed to throw sound around a huge room at artillery range volumes. Setting up your patches needs to be done on the speakers you intend to use live (or ones as similar as possible), and as close to stage volume as you can get. Most of the time you'll end up with separate sets of patches for different scenarios. The ones I use live are EQ'd quite differently than those I use for my home studio monitors. I'd love to just set everything up once, and just have it just "work" for every possible situation.... unfortunately, it ain't that simple.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like the iLoud monitors from IK Multimedia may be perfect for you at home. They are basically really, really good computer monitors with very flat response.

 

One thing my do with my acoustic instruments is play them really loudly thru the HD500 - loud enough that I get feedback. I hold the instrument up close to the speakers and thump the instrument. A dominant frequency should be heard. If not, turn it up more. I then use the Studio EQ FX (it has the best dynamic range, low distortion, transparent sound) to notch out that frequency. Then I turn it up again to get the next feedback frequency, instantiate another Studio EQ, and notch out that frequency. I do this 3 - 4 times. Nothing else is in the signal path. Just a bunch of Studio EQs. This way you get a nice balanced tone with no honking frequencies. But you'll need some nice balanced, flat monitors (like the iLouds, but there are others) for this to work well. You don;t want speaker resonances to muck with your cello resonances. 

 

The suggestion to set Input 2 to Variax is excellent. Also, you may need to adjust the input impedance. Depending on the transducer being used, you may need to max it out. An impedance too low will give you a nasally sound. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...