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POD Go Block Restrictions


RickDeck3030
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Hi,
I've been using the POD Go for a month now and very much like it but have a couple questions (issues). I'm fairly comfortable with the interface and generally how Pod/Helix works. To get me up to speed I've used a lot of videos from Jason Sadites, Rhett Schull, Johnathon Cordy etc, all have been very useful in starting out.

 

As an aside I have played guitar for 30+ years on and off. I've just started playing again and wanted a simple setup to just play and improve at home.

The issue I have is I'm not a pedal heavy player. I like OD, Chorus, Delay and Reverb, so POD Go looked like a good solution as it had 5 blocks available. The issue I have is that the 5 blocks don't actually give you much flexibility when you take on board suggestions from users. For instance Jason always uses an LA Comp at the end of the chain, most of the presets I've liked when starting to use POD  use compressors at the front or end of the chain. So I've adopted that as a template. Then you have the mandatory Eq block and you really need a Reverb otherwise it is incredibly flat. So now you're down to two blocks which even for my modest needs isn't enough. For instance I've seen suggestions of using two ODs to create better OD sounds - that eats up the two blocks and no space for a delay. The same thing would apply to adding a looper at the end of the chain - there isn't space for it except in quite a simple patch.

So my main question is how do you guys get around this limitation? I've considered buying an external delay or reverb and that should get me around the issue. I have also considered returning the POD Go and exchanging for the Helix LT. That would be total overkill for me, but I plan to keep this for a fair amount of time, so an investment now keeps me happy for the next 10 years. As I said I only use this at home, it won't go outside or gigging etc.

I see that Voxman uses POD Go with apparently no limitations, gigs and records happily with the setup (sorry for singling you out), so is it me expecting too much and wanting it to be 'wrapped up nicely'.

I'm not expecting a solution but would be interested in your observations.

 

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Keep in mind Jason Sadites' suggestions are, for the most part, only applicable as-is in Helix/Helix LT, as they often include using several compressors and EQs which, for POD Go and HX Stomp users, isn't really viable.

He does however have a base template for POD Go (which I downloaded, but haven't tried as my POD Go is currently in the shop), which might be a bit more undersized, given POD Go's limitations.

 

I also wanted to mention that there's usually a few ways of looking at POD Go's block availability - mine goes toward seeing it as a 10 block device with 6 mandatory blocks (Volume, Wah, Amp, Cab/IR, FX loop and EQ) and 4 free blocks.

If you need more than 4 blocks, which is usually the case if you want to have more than one of the same type of effect (be it OD, delay, modulation, etc.), the POD Go might not be the device for you. Before I ordered mine, I actually did the math and saw if the 4 blocks would be enough for most of my use cases.

It also might not be the device for you if you need any version of multiple paths, be it multiple amps, multiple cabs, multiple effect chains, or multiple instruments.

 

That said, there's also a workaround to the 6 mandatory blocks that allows you to remove some in less official ways (ie. manually modify the .pgp preset file, which is basically a JSON text file, or use one of the template presets that are around).

There are some caveats in some cases (if you remove the Amp, Cab, Volume, Wah or FX loop, you have no way of adding them back later through the interface), and people are still testing it out to see if there are no problems (so, if you don't want to risk it, maybe let some time go until you try it), but, hey, it's out there.

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If you like the GO form factor, the HX Stomp XL is basically identical minus the built-in expression pedal. The dsp limitation is the same between the GO and the Stomp XL. But the Stomp XL will allow you to choose what you like in any block up to the limit. I used the GO for over a year. It's a great bit of gear...I love the layout and it filled its purpose for writing and gigging...I decided to add some source audio stuff and needed midi...instead of going the midi host route, I went to the stomp xl...working great for me

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@spaceatl
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll take a look at that this evening.
Looks like the LT is in short supply, the shop that I purchased it from kindly said they would exchange it for me, unfortunately they're out of stock, and just been informed they're looking at 3mth lead-time. Others have them in stock though.
So, maybe the HX Stomp XL is something to look at.

 

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@skryptus
I see what you're saying. I thought POD would have enough blocks for me, but I am feeling it may be too restrictive for me. I don't ned multiple amps, and paths, but I would like some more flexibility.

I saw the other thread after I posted this one. So will be interested to see what people find using the edited JSON file.

 



 

Edited by RickDeck3030
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I can get 5 fx with the JSON file but not *6 - however, I can get a looper in the 6th slot for some reason so it's odd that I can't get a 6th FX block to work. I can physically add it but the 6th FX doesn't 'sound' and doesn't show in the PG display even when assigned a footswitch (* it's definitely not a DSP issue because I've selected low dsp amp/FX models) 

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I'm going to test the JSON file this weekend to see if it will do what I need. My concern is that you can easily run into DSP issues as you push the GO's limits.

I am thinking that if you offload the DSP intensive blocks such as Reverb and Delay to external pedals that would make GO much more flexible. I'm looking at using the JSON to include the FX loop but allow the EQ Block to be dynamic. Then use an extern Reverb - this would then leave 5 blocks free and already have reverb, so equivalent of 6 current blocks. I'm looking at the Fender and Boss reverb pedals as suitable solutions - as it would be always on, it doesn't make sense to get the cheapest available.

 

 

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2 hours ago, RickDeck3030 said:

I'm going to test the JSON file this weekend to see if it will do what I need. My concern is that you can easily run into DSP issues as you push the GO's limits.

I am thinking that if you offload the DSP intensive blocks such as Reverb and Delay to external pedals that would make GO much more flexible. I'm looking at using the JSON to include the FX loop but allow the EQ Block to be dynamic. Then use an extern Reverb - this would then leave 5 blocks free and already have reverb, so equivalent of 6 current blocks. I'm looking at the Fender and Boss reverb pedals as suitable solutions - as it would be always on, it doesn't make sense to get the cheapest available.

 

 

 

There are certainly work-arounds with Pod Go, but if you genuinely need to use a lot of FX and are concerned re DSP, then I'd honestly suggest that something like a Helix LT, Mooer GE300 or even the Zoom G11 that's come way down in price now (way better than the awful stock presets might suggest, and a nice layout for gigging) might be a better fit for you.   If a lot of the FX you need might be distortions, there are some really good options to gain stage with Pod Go without having to use multiple distortion blocks.  If you need multiple versions of delay, reverb, modulation, pitch-shift etc then Pod Go may still be a bit restrictive for you, even with external pedals. 

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8 hours ago, voxman55 said:

I can get 5 fx with the JSON file but not *6 - however, I can get a looper in the 6th slot for some reason so it's odd that I can't get a 6th FX block to work. I can physically add it but the 6th FX doesn't 'sound' and doesn't show in the PG display even when assigned a footswitch (* it's definitely not a DSP issue because I've selected low dsp amp/FX models) 

The easiest way to check if it's a DSP issue or not is actually freeing the block in the preset, then adding the effect, either through PG Edit or through the POD's UI.

 

Unless you actually did the math on all the blocks (and keep in mind the available usage data might not be reliable in this method, as it assumes 0 usage for some "mandatory" blocks, if I remember correctly), you can still hit the limit with "low" DSP blocks, if you try and use 6 effects blocks. 

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41 minutes ago, skryptus said:

The easiest way to check if it's a DSP issue or not is actually freeing the block in the preset, then adding the effect, either through PG Edit or through the POD's UI.

 

Unless you actually did the math on all the blocks (and keep in mind the available usage data might not be reliable in this method, as it assumes 0 usage for some "mandatory" blocks, if I remember correctly), you can still hit the limit with "low" DSP blocks, if you try and use 6 effects blocks. 

 

I did do the maths & was nowhere near the DSP limit & there was no overflow warning.  It's to do with the set up of the patch - you can see the 6th FX in the block, but it simply isn't being seen by Pod Go in the PG display window even when a FS is assigned to it and PG Edit accepts the FX & the assignment. 

 

Does anyone know where this 6-block patch came from & is there a link somewhere eg on youtube?   

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I had the same doubts about POD GO. In the end I decided to buy it because I already planned to re-add my Mesa Boogie Flux Five pedal (dual overdrive) to my setup again. I use this in the FX loop of the POD so no need fo drive from within the POD GO.  The 4 blocks can then be used for CMP, CHO, DLY and REV. Great setup :-)

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Interesting - thank you for the replies.

I coming around to the idea to keep the Pod Go and use an external pedal if needed. As I said in the original message, I don't need multiple paths, lots of layered effects or multiple amps. I just wanted to have a solid, modest effects chain with a good solid amp tone. I think I probably need to spend more time getting more out of the Go.

 

@superzult do you find that using the external drive pedal works well.? My concern with external drives was that they could 'overdrive' the POD's input causing digital clipping which would be nasty. I assume as long as the pedal's output level is within the limits then this won't happen - which would be different to how you would push a real tube amp's input stage.

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@voxman55 you mentioned options for gain staging without using distortion blocks. Do you mean using existing blocks being used such as compressor and EQ to push the front of amp into overdrive together with one OD pedal block rather than having to use multiple OD blocks? I'm not looking for heavy distortion just a creamy OD sound.

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On 10/16/2021 at 6:31 AM, skryptus said:

The easiest way to check if it's a DSP issue or not is actually freeing the block in the preset, then adding the effect, either through PG Edit or through the POD's UI.

You learn fairly quickly which effects are cheap and which effects are expensive.  If you want cheap effects, the legacy effects tends to be very cheap.  The more advanced modulation effects is definitely where the cost adds up, the the Benzin Amp is one of the most expensive at ~33%, the ganimede, searchlight, etc., reverbs are also around 33%, so anyway, thanks to benvesco.com and user's hard work, you can actually know which effects cost what;  https://benvesco.com/store/helix-dsp-allocations/

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On 10/13/2021 at 4:29 AM, RickDeck3030 said:

I like OD, Chorus, Delay and Reverb, so POD Go looked like a good solution as it had 5 blocks available. The issue I have is that the 5 blocks don't actually give you much flexibility when you take on board suggestions from users. For instance Jason always uses an LA Comp at the end of the chain, most of the presets I've liked when starting to use POD  use compressors at the front or end of the chain. So I've adopted that as a template. Then you have the mandatory Eq block and you really need a Reverb otherwise it is incredibly flat. So now you're down to two blocks which even for my modest needs isn't enough. For instance I've seen suggestions of using two ODs to create better OD sounds - that eats up the two blocks and no space for a delay. The same thing would apply to adding a looper at the end of the chain - there isn't space for it except in quite a simple patch.

 

What kind of tones are you trying to achieve?  With the Go, obviously, you can't use everything at the same time, so imho you kinda have to figure out what is your core tone and just go for the effects which are productive for this tone; ex; for ambient stuff, here's a few examples;    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6f4slSLGlo  like his tone at 6:00 is only using 3 effects.

 

If you want a chorus tone, that could be a different patch, or, again, it's just about finding the good compromise.  Do you really need a delay?  I found that most of my recent patches don't even have delay, just heavy reverb...   Chorus?  Again, just by increasing the mix of the reverb which already contains modulation modulates your entire tone, so...

 

Anyway; Go is like everything; always about compromises.  Want a tripod?   Weight/cost/stability; choose 2.   For Go vs Helix vs stand alone pedals, it could effects/price/power; the Go would be effects & price.  Effects & Power then LT or full blown helix, or full pedal board.  If you want to use all the effects and don't mind price, LT seems like a great choice.  So yeah, choosing the FX unit is a compromise, but even when you'll use the Go, you'll have to make compromises...

 

With Go; you'll have to be a bit more choosy and you will have to work around the limitations.  The Go is super complex imho, and getting incredible tones is possible, just maybe you'll have to be more creative and inventive to use effects how you might not have thought...  If you can't get that exact tone/sound because you can't use 5 dynamic blocks, which 4 blocks get you the closest?

 

Maybe you want heavy distortion plus delay reverb phaser and compressor, so just finding an amp and setting it up a certain way gives you the heavy distortion without having to use a distortion pedal.  Maybe you don't need the compressor because you're using the EQ as a boost, maybe you'll use the compressor with the drive setting to boost the amp.....  So many possibilities! 

 

Quote

For instance I've seen suggestions of using two ODs to create better OD sounds - that eats up the two blocks and no space for a delay.

 

Well for this I would just revisit the notion that 2 ODs create 'better' OD sounds.  And if your sound is really all about the OD sounds, then maybe you don't need a chorus...  Btw, your amplifier block has a drive/distortion, so if you add a distortion pedal, you will have stacked distortion; so that eats up just one block.  If you really want to stack 2 OD pedals on top of your amp, then again yeah you would be IMHO one of the users who would benefit from the Helix LT because you're trying to do some rather fancy sh!t   lol   :D

 

And btw, get an external looper!  Hamoon (sp?) Nano Looper is <50$ for instance, works really well, and having it outside of the Go is priceless!  But yeah obviously using outboard effects saves Go blocks! 

 

If you really want to use compressor all the time, then again getting a compressor pedal might be another compromise, I'm certain there are cheap and great sounding ones out there.   But yeah, you'd be 2 pedals plus go lol  But anyway, the Go just for the amp block and amazing effects, at the price of like 2-4 normal pedals is a steal!  Then IMHO, for 99.99999% of the people, the limitations to have great tones and make crazy music will be you, not the Go!

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5 hours ago, RickDeck3030 said:

Interesting - thank you for the replies.

I coming around to the idea to keep the Pod Go and use an external pedal if needed. As I said in the original message, I don't need multiple paths, lots of layered effects or multiple amps. I just wanted to have a solid, modest effects chain with a good solid amp tone. I think I probably need to spend more time getting more out of the Go.

 

@superzult do you find that using the external drive pedal works well.? My concern with external drives was that they could 'overdrive' the POD's input causing digital clipping which would be nasty. I assume as long as the pedal's output level is within the limits then this won't happen - which would be different to how you would push a real tube amp's input stage.

 

Yep for me this works fine! I indeed have the level of the pedal on a fairly low 9 o clock but my preferred sound comes through very nice! I always use an AC30 Fawn Nrm model with a bit of hair on it. Putting the Mesa drive in front of that gives me exactly what I want!

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On 10/13/2021 at 9:29 AM, RickDeck3030 said:

I see that Voxman uses POD Go with apparently no limitations, gigs and records happily with the setup (sorry for singling you out), so is it me expecting too much and wanting it to be 'wrapped up nicely'.

I'm not expecting a solution but would be interested in your observations.

 

 

To be fair I haven't yet used Pod Go for gigging or rehearsals, as between bands at the moment. I'd also correct you in that Pod Go offers up to 4 user fx blocks, not 5.  This is on top of the fixed blocks of EQ, wah, volume, Amp/cab, noisegate, fx loop. 

 

I've been playing guitar for 50 years and gigging for most of that. I first started to use digital gear in I think circa 1998 when I bought a Line 6 Flextone II rig.

 

So here's my take. As a general rule, less experienced players seem to always want more effects. More experienced players have learned that less is actually more and they are much better and more creative at getting the best out of what they have. 

 

Prior to Pod Go, I've been using a Vox Tonelab SE for gigging straight through the PA. Brought out in 2004 as a Stage Edition version of the 2003 Tonelab Desktop, with both based on the technology in the Blue series Valvetronix amps launched in 2001. 

 

So this is 20 year old tech. No IR capability, limited amp, cab, fx options, no proper fx loop, 20 bit processing.  And the TLSE is the best sounding most valve like and most giggable mfx I've ever had.  I can only have 1 amp, 1 cab, 1 reverb, 1 delay, 1 modulation and 1 pedal option effect, plus a noisegate. No worrying about DSP. Patch naming, great edit software, separate volume and expression pedal, AB switching that lets you have a different amp and/ cab model in the same patch ( poor man's restrictive snap shot). 

 

I can't have wah and tubescreamer together because those are in the pedal section and you can only choose one. Yet it's never been a problem and I've always been able to quickly dial in great tone and tweak on stage as it has real dials and knobs. 

 

By comparison the Pod Go flexibility and modelling is in another world with so many options it's just plain nuts. 

 

So trust me when I tell you that you've got all you need in Pod Go.  You can always add an fx or more in the fx loop if you really need it, but I never have.  The snapshot facility alone is worth it's weight in gold, especially with new naming/colour options; ditto multi FS options and user settings for amp/fx models.  You can use snaps and fs to create and switch e.g. between long and short delays with a single delay block, or multi gain staging using amp model, eq and one distortion block.  

 

So my advice is to invest your time to really learn what Pod Go can do, and learn to think more creatively to get your tones with what you have, rather than focussing on what it cant do. There are loads of vids showing tons of tips and tricks that are well worth watching.  And there are tons of tones you can create even with a single patch.  

 

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