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Unusable HX Stomp Live Malfunction


ccollie
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Hey Line 6 community,

 

I bought my first HX Stomp 2 years ago, and in general am a huge fan of the unit. But I've had some weird random issues that are seriously making me reevaluate being a Line 6 user.

 

I have had two shows in the last year where an unacceptable malfunction has happened. The first time was on a decent-sized festival stage, where we all noticed that regardless of what preset I was on there was a sort of tremolo effect happening with the signal I was sending to the front of house, with the signal completely cutting in and out. Obviously incredibly disruptive. That first time it happened the crew and I tried everything before we figured out it was the HX stomp. New patch cables, new backline amp, everything. Finally, we isolated the problem to the HX Stomp. Once we did that we tried using the R input instead of the L input, as well as the R output instead of the L output. Nothing fixed it. We then noticed that the tremolo effect happened every time the drummer played his kick drum and I was making sound. The FOH engineer then proceeded to turn down the subs, and all of a sudden there was no issue. Thankfully this was a small-town festival and we were the opening band, but in general in my opinion the FOH should never have to limit the use of any of their speakers simply for the guitarist to have their signal uninterrupted.

 

Fast forward, I've had the HX Stomp looked at by amp/pedal repair professionals here in Nashville and they found no issue. Since then I've probably played 100+ shows on stages of all sizes with absolutely no issue. I chalked it up to some freak frequency issue on that particular stage with the particular subs, etc. I even bought a backup HX Stomp in case that ever happened again. Last night, 8 months or so after that first incident, I was playing in town on a small stage, and it happened again. Annoying? Yes, but at least I had my backup Stomp with me, I am prepared and grateful to own a backup! The only problem is I had the SAME issue as soon as I hooked up my backup Stomp. In between sets I isolated all of my pedals to be sure it was coming from my Stomp, and once I confirmed that I tried different 1/4"s, nothing helped. I had to finish the gig with neither Stomp even on my board, as both led to that same horrific signal cutting in and out sound that had audience members looking at me in shock. Also, this stage was nowhere near the size of the stage I first experienced the problem with, so I think it is unlikely that it's just an issue with subwoofer frequencies messing stuff up.

 

Blows my mind that I've gone so long since the last time it happened. The night before last I played a bigger gig with a medium-sized signed artist and was going direct, in the heat, subwoofers cooking, and everything worked great. Had the issue happened Saturday night I would have been absolutely unable to do the gig due to the necessity of my presets for that show, and surely would have lost this great gig I have with that artist.

 

Anybody else experience this? Would appreciate any insight into what's going on. I don't want to, but I am strongly considering switching to Fractal or the Quad Cortex. Can't have this gear liability that could cost me my next big opportunity. Thank you in advance for any help.

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There’s really nothing I can of that would make the Stomp itself susceptible to vibration like that. Do you have an expression pedal or a MIDI controller connected to it?

 

The fact that the same thing happened with two different units actually makes me think it’s probably not something with the Stomp itself. I have read various reports over the years of audio dropouts, but none in this particular manner… How are you powering them?

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 Hmm, maybe it's the guitar?  What is your entire signal chain and absolutely everything you use, e.g. FRFR?  Is there a wireless system?  What about the power?  All of those can theoretically glitch out. 

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On 5/16/2022 at 9:58 PM, ccollie said:

the FOH should never have to limit the use of any of their speakers simply for the guitarist to have their signal uninterrupted.

 

My impression from recent years is that FOH engineers (or rather, cough, cough, "engineers") are mixing drum sets waaay too LOUD these days. It's beyond annoying. Especially with drummers who can't play softly. (I play with one such specimen in a pop band. He used to play in heavy metal bands in the 1980s and early 1990s. Other than that, he's a nice guy though, being fully aware of his dynamic limitations. :) Then, if they use FOH speakers with built-in protection limiter, the "tremolo effect" could likely be the logical consequence. Some "engineers" want to push the subbass on kick drum. If they overdo it, the speakers may receive LOUD signal in a humanly barely audible low range, yet still loud enough for the limiter to kick in. (Disclosure: In the 1990s I used to partially work as a club FOH engineer for about 6 years, so I have some 1st hand experience here.)

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I have seen Line 6 gear and about every other digital brand experience drop outs on generator gigs & iify venues where the performer chose not to use an AVR on their input power..power drops below 90 volts you can get resets...If I had a dollar everytime I saw this with a support act and let them plug into my avr, I would have a new American P bass...Another thing an AVR does is isolates your power in the same way a DI isolates your signal...transformers always break ground loops since they don't pass thru a tranny.

 

If you are not using a direct box, I suggest considering it....Line 6 quasi-balanced...this situation reads like iffy power and poor power & signal isolation, but then I don't really have enough information to make an informed guess on this. Best of luck to you.

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On 5/17/2022 at 8:55 PM, lou-kash said:

speakers with built-in protection limiter, the "tremolo effect" could likely be the logical consequence

 

Which reminds me…

 

On 5/16/2022 at 9:58 PM, ccollie said:

Anybody else experience this?

 

In fact, yes:

 

For several small projects, I'm playing either an acoustic bass or an acoustic guitar together with a self-made stomp box which is a wooden plank with a built-in pickup to simulate a kick drum. I'm running both instruments through the HX Stomp as a two-channel setup, with the bass range on the stomp box path heavily emphasized to give the plank more of a bass drum feel. Then usually I go from the HX Stomp into an SWR Workingman's 12 bass combo that we actually often even use as a "micro P.A.". The SWR has a built-in global limiter. When I literally "overdo" it with my "bass drum" plank, the limiter kicks in – flashing a LED – and the typical pumping ("tremolo") effect appears. The limiter on the SWR can be bypassed, but usually I'd rather adjust the volume or the EQ because the speaker protection definitely makes sense with this small amp.

 

But that's definitely not the HX Stomp's fault. I've already experienced the same pumping effect on the SWR before I bought the HX Stomp, while still playing my kick drum plank through good ole fashioned analog EQs/compressors/noisegates/younameit.

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Description gave me an headache. These things, without a sound sample of the problem and a very specific documentation on power sources, routing, devices involved and settings, are just opening a door for an infinite list of assumptions, guessing or different interpretations of that "tremolo" effect.

 

Never had/heard something similar tho.

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