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vaalix

Frustrated.. Can't Get A Decent Tone..

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I don't know wtf I am doing wrong but I just can't get a decent tone out of my gear and I am too poor to get anything decent like a tube amp etc. 

 

Ill list my gear, how I set it up and maybe someone can point out what I am doing wrong.. 

 

Fender mustang V head

peavey half stack/supreme xl

Pod HD 300

MXR distortion +

Charvel http://www.charvel.com/guitars/index.php?partno=2931110557

 

I set it up with the distortion + being the first thing in the chain which goes to the pod 300, then to the FX loop on the mustang head. I have also tried running the pod first then the MXR and it sounds worse. Removing the MXr completely means I lose a desired effect.. Something about the pedal that just helps sustain a note is amazing so Id rather keep it in the line up. 

 

I have the pod set up properly I am sure because it took me nearly 3 months to figure it out.. I know there is some hidden settings like combo stk front, live or studio switch etc.. I put it on stack. front or stack amp as those 2 sound better than combo's. 

 

I am trying to achieve a kill switch engage sound.. A nice clean distortion. I don't know how else to describe it but my sound is so muddied. It doesn't matter how much or little drive I use, if I turn off the pods FX 1 distortion or leave it on etc it just doesn't sound good.. It doesn't seem to matter if the mxr is on or off.. 

 

I went from using a line 6 spider 1 12 to using the 1 12 with the pod 300.. to using this half stack and pod and nothing sounds good anymore.

 

I should probably mention I only have been playing electric since october 2012.. My first 15 years were all acoustic guitars lol.. So I have very little knowledge of gear but if I could go back in time Id certainly aim for a tube amp over this ss crap..  

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Well upon further tinkering.. Using the pod 300 with headphones sounds simply amazing.. I am starting to think its the cabs speakers just sounding awful.. 

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If it sounds good with headphones that probably means the Output Mode switch is set to Studio. This is a physical switch on the device - rear panel I think. If you are using an amp try setting this switch to Live, as well as selecting your Live mode output in the preset (combo, stack, ...).

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Yeah, that is explained in the manuals.  I think you'd want a line level out if you are sending the main outs to the FX returns on your guitar amps. 

 

You really should check out this online guide for some crucial setup tips: http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/

 

I'd skip the FX loop and the MXR+.  I don't think you really gain anything but more confusion with those factors in the mix.  Just use the amps as your stage monitors.  Maybe just run the MXR+ in the HD300 fx loop if it has one.  There must be something similar to the MXR+ in the HD300.  Maybe a compressor into a distortion, or two distortions in series.  Something involving the Screamer, Overdrive and/or Classic Distortion might be what you are after. 

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Yes I have quite a few dirt boxes I've run with the pod and have found that there is something and someway in the pod to achieve it. You can shape anything with a trusty eq pedal though. That is the only exterior effect I run now. Gain staging the Vetta Comp or Vetta Juice into most of the Overdrive and Distortion models has spawned some righteous toneage for me. Especially the Juice highly under rated and disregarded if u ask me. To me it's my "you want dirt.... You got it" aide.

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(I set it up with the distortion + being the first thing in the chain which goes to the pod 300, then to the FX loop on the mustang head. I have also tried running the pod first then the MXR and it sounds worse. Removing the MXr completely means I lose a desired effect.. Something about the pedal that just helps sustain a note is amazing so Id rather keep it in the line up.)

 

Well for starters you should never run distortions through the effect loop.  Always run them infront of the amp.  Run Delays, Reverbs, chorus or flange through effects loop... 

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Yeah, he might be clipping the Pod input with the MXR+.  You can run a distortion pedal in a Pod FX loop as long as it's placed b4 the amp model, but I guess the HD300 doesn't have an FX loop, so forget that. 

 

If you must use the MXR+, I think you need to turn it's output down fairly low.  My experience with running an old delay pedal to a guitar amp (way back when I used guitar amps) was that the pedal output should be below halfway, maybe  ~1/3 up.  You want it to have about the same output level as your guitar going straight in.  If the pedal is "true bypass", you can compare the level when it's clicked off.  If it's not, you need to compare it with the level of the guitar plugged straight into the Pod.  Clipping the pod input would sound atrocious.  I imagine it's an op amp preamp.  They break up very harshly -- like digital clipping.  You really need to leave ~6dBfs headroom throughout the entire signal path to ensure against clipping when you play loudly high up on the neck.  You should use accurate computer software meters through USB to achieve unity gain after each successive effect.  Aim for average peaks between -12 & -6dBfs and you should be OK.  You might sometimes get -2dBfs peaks, but it probably won't ever clip. You might be able to use an effect to drive an amp block much higher without clipping it.  That question remains unanswered.  Then it's just a mater of where you set the Master Output knob going to your Amps.  I think you can leave it up all the way if you use the correct output switch and internal output type settings.

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Thanks for the responses and the setup guide I will read right after I post this..

 

to clarify.. 

 

I run the patch cord from my guitar to the MRX in, the mxr out to the guitar in on the pod.. The pod L mono to the fx return on the back of the mustang head. That was my normal way of setting this up which disabled the mustangs effects and basically the only thing I could adjust on the head itself was the volume which was drastically lower than not using the pod at all.. 

 

Right after I posted this I also tried another method which gave me a different sound altogether.  Everything was the same as the above except I ran another patch cord from the pods Right out to the guitar in on the front of the mustang head.. 

 

It gave a unique sound because it didn't disable the mustangs amp settings and it didn't disable the pods effects or amp models.. I also had control over the treble bas mid reverb on the head and pod where as my normal way of setting this up just uses the mustangs head as a power amp and disables everything but the volume knob... 

 

Now if I run the pod L mono out to the amps guitar in port, (not the fx return) The pod loses functionality to where I can only use the FX's and no amp models... Its all rather confusing..

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And again, the MXR is not really a distortion pedal.. Its really a booster pedal that helps sustain a note like you wouldn't believe. You can read some reviews on it and people say it sucks as a distortion pedal because its actually meant to supplement a distortion channel.. and a few of you are right if its cranked to high with the a pod patch that is using an fx 1 distortion it sounds bad but it can be adjusted for optimal sound. I really only use it because what it does to a pinch harmonic and when playing lead solos.. If you guys tried one you would see right away what I am talking about.. but you all probably have you're own ways and better amps to get the same effect anyways lol.. Thanks again everyone.. I just skimmed that guide and read it awhile back.. Great info in there and its the only reason I didn't sell the pod because when I first got it, I was so confused with it I wanted to break it in half lol.. 

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He only has a 300, so cascading distortions are out of the question.  Keep the MXR, it will sound great once you line everything else out.  I wish I had firsthand experience with your amps and could help you along on your quest.  Perhaps create a topic with those amps in the title will pique the interest of someone with a similar setup.  Good luck!

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Play around with drive and mix settings on heavy distortion and line6 distortion. I have gotten great results doing that. A lot like how u described.

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I do not think having anything like an overdrive in front of the Pod is a good idea.  The input isn't designed for it or expecting it.

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True. my opinion is don't run anything but a guitar into the HD...

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Traditionally over drive pedals, distortion pedals sound best when ran into a clean guitar amp.

In the case of an amp modeling box like the hd 300 you should try using a clean amp model.

Running a distortion pedal into a distorted amp along with a modelled distortion pedal will most always sound like sh!t because all the overtones and harmonics clash.

My suggestion start with a clean amp model turn on the distortion + pedal and adjust it to get close to the sound you are looking for.

Only add other stuff after you are happy with the basic sound.

Make sure you try several different clean amps and adjust the tones as you tweek the MXR pedal.

I've owned a MXR distortion + pedal since 1978 - they've never sounded good to me through a distorted amp.

They always sounded their best through Fender amps that were just on the edge of distortion but not fully cranked.

Try the Fender Twin or Deluxe models in the HD 300.

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