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thebluesman666

Line 6, amp modeler philosophy, How do you tweak your tones?

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Hey guys, how Y’all doing great.

Okay I’m reaching out, this topic might have already been discussed here before.

 I’m new to the « DIGITAL » world. I’ve also been very conscious about my guitar tones (Tone Geek).

The « ANALOG » world is my background, I’ve been using « Boutique » or « Vintage » gear for the last 15 years or so and I’ve managed to get GREAT TONES.

I would like to know your experience and how you use your modelers. How do you guys see it through and tweak your tones.

Just to be clear, I’m asking for your Presets or how you set your knobs or control settings here.

I’ve had the HX Stomp for about a month now. I’ve done A LOT of research and a lot of testing tweaking etc.

- First, I started to tweak my tone at home using Headphone through a DAW (Logic Pro X).

- Second, I bought an Own Hammer’s player pack (IR) which made a good improvement to the overall tones. (Warmer, more dynamic, more organic etc.)

- Third, I started to rehearse with my band, and we decided to go DIRECT and to use IEM. We record every rehearsal. I’ve been through a lot of thinking to figure out to use the Stomp has an IEM monitor console. Using the Stomp side inputs feeding the mixer (BUS) to the AUX IN and using a SEND L/R block to send unaffected audio to recording DAW.

- Fourth, I’ve plugged the Stomp through and FRFR speaker (EV ELX 112P) and it was a total new experience. I really had to re-tweak my tones in order to make it sound good. 

The question is, how do you guys deal with this ?

- If I come up with a good tone via IEM it will likely sound BAD through FOH.

- If I come up with a good tone via FRFR, it will likely sound GOOD though FOH speakers/ stage.

I’m confused, is there a solution to make it sound good either way?

If i use IEM I wish to have a good inspiring tone but the audience also as to get the goods.

Thanks for your knowledge and precious time.

 

2019-07-03 HXSTOMP.jpg

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How do you get set your patches/Preset up ? 

 

A- Using your favorite set of Headphone.

 

B- Using the FX Loop of your favorite «Tube Amp

» set to gig volume

 

C- Using an « FRFR speaker monitor » set to gig volume.

 

 

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Well . . . the simple answer is  . . . no. There's not an easy way, in fact I'd say it's impossible, to create a patch that is perfect in all situations.

 

Now, I love hearing my patches through headphones. I do it all the time, but as soon as I need to play it through my FRFR it sounds like crap. So typically I have to adjust again when I'm switching over. Likewise, a patch I created on my FRFR also needs tweaked on headphones.

 

I don't gig even close to as much as I wish, but the same rules apply there.  If you're going to gig, you should always test your patches as close to gig volume as you can. 

 

That's just the name of the game. 

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30 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

Well . . . the simple answer is  . . . no. There's not an easy way, in fact I'd say it's impossible, to create a patch that is perfect in all situations.

 

Even with vintage analog gear, every room you play will be different because rooms are like giant filters+delay+reverb anyway. And you don't get to tweak the parameters :)

 

Since most of my work is in the studio, I optimize presets to sound good in stereo, in the context of a mix. This is why I use multiband presets so much. Then, I come up with "live" versions that strip off some effects and collapse well to mono. In my Multiband Presets Pack, there are snapshots for mono without effects, stereo without effects, and some with only some of the bands. Usually, at least one of those will work well for live, but retain the essential aspect of the tone. 

 

Another issue is impact. Subtleties that sound great in the studio can get lost live. So if you're listening on headphones and a DAW, the aspects you like most may be something that people don't even hear in a live performance situation. In the studio, a lot of what's important about a preset is the ability to blend. Live, it's often the ability to stand out because a) the instrumentation will usually be more sparse, and b) the acoustics mush things together.

 

Hope this helps...

 

 

 

 

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I setup my live tones in my home studio using 2 sets of monitors. One set are 2 way studio reference monitor(s)  with 6.5" woofer, the other is a set of 3 way consumer grade speakers (from the 80's) with a 10" woofer. When I get my sound working on both of those... it translates very well to FRFR, PA, stage monitors, headphones, etc... etc... It's the same approach I take to mixing music on those same speakers. When it works well on both, it works well pretty much everywhere. 

 

All of my live tones are set up at 85db - 90db... which is really loud in a small room, but pretty average (almost quiet) on a stage. The trick is getting the tones above 80db so the Fletcher-Munson effect is minimized. If you don't set up your tones at live volumes you may add too much lows/highs and the guitar could sound thin/weak in a live setting. 

 

Please note.... how I setup my studio tones is very different, I am only talking about how I setup my live tones with the above statement.

 

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4 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I should point out that I set my tones up at 85db - 90db... which is really loud in a small room, but pretty average (almost quiet) on a stage. The trick is getting the tones above 80db so the Fletcher-Muson effect is minimized. If you are not aware of Fletcher-Munson, that might be part of your problem :) 

 

Excellent point! Here's the Fletcher-Munson curve. It shows that your ear approaches flat response only at very high levels. BTW 85 dB or so is a standard monitoring level for film studios, although of course, they have bigger rooms.

 

Fletcher-Munson.png

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I wonder what everyone's opinion of what Helix amp models are ideally tweaked for DB wise. At default settings.

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A couple of good rules of thumb: 1) Something that sounds good quiet will likely sound as good or better louder (but watch out for too much mid scoop which doesn’t scale up as well). 2) Something that sounds good through speakers will likely sound good through headphones. What’s notable about these rules is that the opposite is generally not true. Something that sounds good loud might not sound good at all turned down. Something that sounds good through headphones might sound terrible through speakers.

 

This means set your patches through the system you’re going to use live, focusing on the FOH FRFR tone. After all that’s who your playing for right? Your audience? And set them up at the lowest stage volume level you’re likely to play. Don’t worry too much about the difference between your FRFR and IEMs. In a live setting, with some bleed from the backline, you won’t notice tone subtleties in your IEMs. 

 

I use a Powercab+ as my backline for me to feel and to provide some acoustic feedback with the guitar. This also provides stage fill in small clubs where the dancers are up close to the band and don’t get that much of the mix in the PA. I have my own IEM mix which I control live through iPhone/iPad or computer. And I set the IEM level so that I can just barely hear it. The IEMs are really just backline fill for lost frequencies and ear plugs to tame the drums. I’m really focused on preserving my already damaged ears, and enjoying playing without doing further damage. Having the IEMs too loud can really tire you out and give you a false sense of what you’re delivering to your audience.

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Just tweak a patch with a simple amp block and a cab block. Use your ears close yer eyes and tweak the Bass, Mid and Treble until without looking at the freeking numbers, until it sounds good to you. DO NOT re-postion the numbers after viewing them being way off (worst mistake you can make setting tone with your eyes instead of your ears). Then (and ONLY then) start adding FX.

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51 minutes ago, amsdenj said:

A couple of good rules of thumb: 1) Something that sounds good quiet will likely sound as good or better louder (but watch out for too much mid scoop which doesn’t scale up as well). 2) Something that sounds good through speakers will likely sound good through headphones. What’s notable about these rules is that the opposite is generally not true. Something that sounds good loud might not sound good at all turned down. Something that sounds good through headphones might sound terrible through speakers.

 

This is GREAT advice for more than Helix. When mixing, I mix at low levels. Then if it also sounds good loud, I'm done. Also, I used to mix on speakers and use headphones as a reality check. However, with headphones becoming the dominant music delivery system, I'm doing the opposite - mix on headphones, use speakers as a reality check. My experience totally confirms what you say - after tweaking for speakers, it sounds even better on headphones.

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Thanks for all the replies, there a lot of useful informations and experiences from many point of view. 

 

Much appreciated. I’ll do my best to apply theses thoughtful advices. 

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12 hours ago, codamedia said:

All of my live tones are set up at 85db - 90db... which is really loud in a small room, but pretty average (almost quiet) on a stage. The trick is getting the tones above 80db so the Fletcher-Muson effect is minimized. If you don't set up your tones at live volumes you may add too much lows/highs and the guitar could sound thin/weak in a live setting. 

 

11 hours ago, amsdenj said:

A couple of good rules of thumb: 1) Something that sounds good quiet will likely sound as good or better louder (but watch out for too much mid scoop which doesn’t scale up as well).

 

I just want to point out to the OP that although these two comments look like they contradict each other, they really don't. My initial comment about getting above 80db to minimize Fletcher Munson goes hand in hand with mid scoop comment from amsdenj. When you get acquainted with how the tones scale when you turn up/down you get better and preparing your tones at lower levels. I really should have said "I test my tones at 85db - 90db"... because I prepare them at much lower levels... I just put the final touches on them at stage levels. 

 

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The quality of the IEMs is also important to remember. The best practice seems to be to set up your presets using an FRFR monitor and use a good pair of IEMs for performances, with the understand that the tone you hear in your head won't be exactly what your audience hears. Something I recently noticed is that there is a vast difference between a high quality pair of IEMs and a poor or even middle-of-the-road pair. I recently upgraded to a Sure 215 IEM from something I can't remember the brand name of right now, but nothing absolutely cheap. Even though the Sure 215 is one of the most affordable of that line, they are in a different league from moderately priced IEMs.

 

My point is that the Helix through a cheaper pair of IEMs is going to sound much different from the same tone through an FRFR monitor, but a higher quality pair of IEMs gets you a lot closer. The point is not that the Sure IEMs and an FRFR are identical sounding. There is still a difference.

 

If the OP, or anyone else with the same question, is using cheap IEMs, this is what I suggest:  Follow the advice of those commentators above and create your presets using an FRFR monitor at as close to performance levels as possible. Then, use a high quality IEM during performances so that you are confident that what you are hearing is close to what the audience is hearing, and you won't be tempted to adjust your settings on the fly based on what you are hearing in the IEMs. But still expect that there will still be some difference, but that it will be minimal enough that you won't really notice a difference once you are in the middle of the gig. 

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So I originally found this pretty easy as I was just setting up the PA, which I own and which we also use to rehearse at my house.  So I would tweak my tones through the system and had consistent sound when we went out to play.  It sounded pretty good through my IEMs but I have JH Audio JH16s which are pretty good IEMs with 8 drivers per side.  The rub was that it wasn't that great when I wanted to just plug direct into my power cab.  It was confusing and I was just about to return the powercab and maybe just invest in another FRFR to leave setup (when I don't want or need to set up the PA for other reasons.)  I discovered that if I brought the bass up in my patches it started to sound good in the powercab.  I also noted that in my acoustic simulation patches I had a real problem somewhere between 160 and 170 hz making any of the lower E notes out of control boomy.  I was controlling that with EQ on the patch but it made the acoustic sound kind of weak.  So, I switched to the global EQ and dialed out some of the 170 hz with a wide enough Q to take out some of the 160 plus a bit of low cut.  I re-tooled all my patches to adjust for the global eq settings.  My acoustic patches are a thousand times better, and all the patches sound great on the powercab, on the PA, headphones straight out of the Helix and IEMs.  I just have to remember to turn on the global EQ for the PA and turn it off for the powercab.

 

Obviously those global EQ settings are unique to my PA.  I suppose that there may be PAs that require nothing.  OR that I could have added some bass on the global EQ to use with my powercab.  But it seemed to me that the powercab was designed to be used with Helix so it sound good flat.  And given that my a) my acoustic sim patches improved dramatically and b) I found I was dialing the bass way back on all the amp models, it was more likely the PA I should be addressing.

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I haven't seen this mentioned yet so I hope I'm not repeating what's already been said but one aspect of modelers to wrap your head around is exactly what you're reproducing and listening to. Since you're new to all of this remember you are not actually modeling an amp alone. In other words, what's happening is your are not reproducing what you would hear if you were next to an amp in a room. What's actually being reproduced would be better characterized as you in an audio control booth listening to a mic'd amp in another room.  It's a concept that has helped me.

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One other anomalie that's worth being aware of is that it's much easier to produce higher frequencies than lower frequencies and they travel better in open air than do lower frequencies (less air resistance).  This all tends to even out over space, but can cause you to end up with a muddy tone in your performances if you're too close to your speaker or in a smaller space when dialing in your tones.  I find that I often need to dial in a bit more highs than I'd normally like with my presets at home, but then they sound perfect once I play live in a larger space.

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Hey guys, thanks again for all your replies it's appreciated. 

 

I'm in the market for an FRFR speaker cabinet, the PC+ would be my first choice because of all the feature and especially MIDI. Being able to switch speaker by the press of a footswitch is fantastic.

 

Does anybody know what material are the Powercab made of ? Plastic or wood ? 

 

I hear that the material of the cabinet affect greatly the transparency of the final tone.

 

A plastic enclosure would be misleading your tweaking.

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10 minutes ago, thebluesman666 said:

Hey guys, thanks again for all your replies it's appreciated. 

 

I'm in the market for an FRFR speaker cabinet, the PC+ would be my first choice because of all the feature and especially MIDI. Being able to switch speaker by the press of a footswitch is fantastic.

 

Does anybody know what material are the Powercab made of ? Plastic or wood ? 

 

I hear that the material of the cabinet affect greatly the transparency of the final tone.

 

A plastic enclosure would be misleading your tweaking.

 

I have no idea what it's made out of. I only know it sounds awesome. BUT . . . if you didn't already know this it's important that you do, the Powercab+ essentially give you an extra block - it's like turning your 6 block Stomp into a 7 blocker, so to me that's a big, big, BIG reason to get one. 

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Hey guys here’s an update ! 

 

Tonight we had a rehearsal with my band. We’re using and X Air 18 console everyone is using IEM. Vocals on Gtr, Bass and Lead Singer.  

 

I’ve been tweaking some tones all week long using and FRFR speaker ( EV ELX 112P) in FRFR mode. 

 

I’ve connected the Main out to feed the monitor and the Send our to the console. 

 

The monitor was pushing around 88dB of sound which is pretty average. 

 

My experiences with this setup was a total game changer ! The monitor gave me a mic in the Room feel. I wasn’t ALONE IN THE WORLD ANYMORE. The feeling was pretty satisfying. 

 

I had to make minor tweak to the EQ Of some presets being too bright or lacking Bass. Other than that is was a STELLAR performance. 

 

Tomorrow I’m heading to my local store with my Stomp and my FRFR monitor to compare to Line 6 PC+. 

 

I wanna know what it’s all about. 

 

Ounce again thanks for sharing your experiences and recommandations. 

 

Cheers 

 

 

 

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