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Dissapointed with the HX Stomp XL in a live setting


paulbemi
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I've had an HX Stomp XL for about a month and have absolutely loved playing through headphones.  Finally got together with some friends to jam and was very excited to hear it live in place of an amp.  I used a Headrush frfr 108 for a monitor, with one output going to it, and the other going to the PA board and FOH.  The sound from the guitar seemed loud AF but when when the band started kicking in they complained I was not cutting through. Though they agreed the individual sounds were impressive hey all said, "I miss your amp."    Also a lot of the presets (notably Alex Price's) were very bottom-heavy and lacked high end "bite".  Any recommendations on how I can improve this live experience or maybe my expectations were just too high?

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classic "bedroom" issue. You tweaked by yourself in cans and now you don't cut thru....99.9999999993% of the time, the player has way too much gain AND not enough mid....A full tone that works by yourself generally does not work in ensemble....

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4 hours ago, paulbemi said:

I've had an HX Stomp XL for about a month and have absolutely loved playing through headphones.  Finally got together with some friends to jam and was very excited to hear it live in place of an amp.  I used a Headrush frfr 108 for a monitor, with one output going to it, and the other going to the PA board and FOH.  The sound from the guitar seemed loud AF but when when the band started kicking in they complained I was not cutting through. Though they agreed the individual sounds were impressive hey all said, "I miss your amp."    Also a lot of the presets (notably Alex Price's) were very bottom-heavy and lacked high end "bite".  Any recommendations on how I can improve this live experience or maybe my expectations were just too high?

 

It has nothing to do with your expectations, or the device's ability to create pleasing guitar tones. There are 1000 threads around here with the exact same complaint ... most recently just a couple of days ago.

 

 

The responses in the thread above will explain your problem in gory detail, but I'll give you the Cliff Notes version here:

 

Different output devices + radically different volume levels = Huge difference in tone. There is no escaping this, and it's not the device's fault... it's your brain's fault. The perception of loudness of different frequency ranges varies with volume, and the response across the audible spectrum is neither uniform, nor linear... not even close, actually. You will experience the exact same thing with any other modeler on the market. Your patches MUST be tailored to be output device and volume-specific. You have EQing to do...

 

Fwiw, the situation is no different with a "real" amp... play any amp under the sun at a comfy living room level, and then crank it to stage volume. That'll yield two different results too, for the exact same reason, and you'll have to turn a few knobs if you don't want it to sound like crap.

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All of the above, plus - 

If the 108 (which is notoriously "bassy") is on the floor, sideways like a stage monitor, the bass response is amplified by the speaker "coupling" (google it) with the floor.

Also, the HF Driver is designed for horizontal dispersion, and in that position, the dispersion is vertical, bouncing off the floor and ceiling.

Get a SHORT speaker stand or at least a bar stool and mount the 108 vertically at around chest height.

 

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Everything that has been said seconded.


I'll add this:


- Do yourself a favour and tweak at least 2-3 of the most common sounds you typically use at gig/rehearsal level, ideally with some friendly bandmates allowing you to do that while jamming. Once you find something you're happy with, save it for future reference (you could then compare any new homebrewn creations to those).

 

- In case you want an easier tweaking experience, insert a looper as the very first block (I know, there's a shortage of blocks with the Stomp, but this is just for the initial setup, you could replace the looper with, say, a drive block later on). That will allow you to tweak while the looper is playing for you. It will even allow you to, say, move the Headrush into different positions while listening. Fwiw, regarding the latter, I always found a little utility case (that I carry with me all the time) below my FRFR to be sufficient in terms of adressing whatever low frequency "coupling".

- For a short term remedy, you might want to check the global EQ. To at least kind of defeat the mentioned Fletcher Munson effect, a rather broad mid boost (atm I have mine set to 750Hz with a Q of 1.2, but you might need to experiment) could do a nice job already. Make sure to check at least the low cut, too. You might be able to get through a rehearsal easier that way, then, back home, you could try to move those EQ settings into the patch somehow, so the global EQ is freed up again (which always is a good thing).

 

- You might want to use some mid-heavy IRs. No real recommendation from my side as I'm using 1-2 pretty heavily customized IRs that I grabbed myself (I could post these, if you wanted), but I remember one of the York Audio IRs (from the cheap $1 teaser pack) to be pretty decent, but I wouldn't bet on it. In case you're using the internal cabs, try to find one that's more on the "warmer" side of things (which usually indicates more mids), possibly use one of the ribbon mics or just the good old SM57 with distance and early reflections turned all the way down (fwiw, unless you're in a recording situation, I would always turn early reflections all the way down).

- Prepare a bunch of patches like that, each featuring somewhat different overall frequency ranges. You might not have enough time to fiddle around during your next band jam.

- Try to borrow another monitor for a rehearsal. The HR 108 possibly isn't the greatest thing on earth. Even the difference to the sort of similar Alto TS310 (which I'm using) is very, very noticeable, especially the low range sounds a lot more balanced (I'm pretty sure they tried to get more "ooomph" out of that 8" thing via DSP processing, which usually doesn't work all that well). I wanted to get the Alto TS 308 (almost identical to the HR) as a smaller alternative, so I compared them side by side - it's been quite an eye opener. You might as well find a Yamaha DBR10 or DXR10 to try out, they're very common (fwiw, I also compared these to the Alto TS310 and they weren't any better for my purposes).

- As a last thing: Keep it civil with any kinds of room FX when trying out sounds. IMO, a great sound should work well without any (unless you're exclusively into ambient things), so you might only want to look at them as the final icing on the cake, not treating them as a necessity. Fwiw, this is what helped me a lot ages ago already. Anything roomy won't just repeat whats wrong in the first place, it'll also mush it up, making it a lot harder to pinpoint the real issues.

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I have two Headrush FRFR 108's and I can totally see that happening.  In addition to being bassy on the floor as wedges, they are pretty directional, moreso than a guitar cab.  I would highly recommend two off the floor if you are getting complaints.

 

I will also say that as much as I fought using the Helix HX cabs as they did not sound as good to me as IR's in a bedroom scenario, they do really well in a band mix live.   They play really nicely with the FRFR 108 speakers too.

 

By chance was your old guitar amp/cab open back?  Those REALLY fill up a room.

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