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davidb7170

500 & 500X Side by Side Comparison

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I know others have compared the 500 & 500X in side by side comparisons when the 500X appeared on the scene, but I don't recall anyone mentioning what I've observed, so far....

 

I used my 500 for a couple of years after moving up the models from the XTL to the X3L, then the HD500, and was very comfortable with it, but having experienced a failure of the XTL at a gig, had in the back of mind, I'd need a backup in such a case with the 500. At that time is when the 500X came out, and I opted for it, seeing as it was the latest in the line and the same patches were useable in both.

 

I like the new switches, but never had any issues with the old. I did not usually run up against the DSP limits on the 500, so that was not a huge factor. I transferred the patches from the 500 to the 500X and went from there, and as usual, with continued tweaking of sounds, and going from a mid-heavy guitar speaker to a more full range speaker to address some tonal issues with the acoustics of the JTV's again, the settings as I had them "drifted" apart over time.

 

Recently before the latest firmware updates, I figured I would take my now current patches in the 500X and synch them back into the 500, so I could have an exact duplicate setup in my 500. I noticed that the 500X compared to the 500 was fuller with more "body" -- hard to define, exactly, but more bottom end with the same JTV, same Studio output, same Crown XLS1000 power amp, and same full range speaker, and same patches. The 500 sounds a bit more "trebly" than the 500X. I tried the acoustic patches, and they were about the same between the 500 & 500X, but the patches with amps seemed to sound different. I messed with different output modes, and found the closest I got was with the 500 set to Combo Power Amp In, but the distortions seemed "raspier" with this setting, but it was the best I could do.

 

I considered maybe I should re-install the FW version, thinking something might be afoot there, but by that time the latest batch of FW was out, so I save my Set Lists and updated the 500 & 500X and my 2 JTV's to the latest with the ability to use HD Worbench with the HD500(X) and Link revisions, etc., did the updates to both. I reloaded my Set Lists, and did the global resets and pedal calibrations, but the tonality differences were the same between the 500 & 500X.

 

Has anybody else noticed this? To preserve the use of Studio out, will I need to tweak the bass levels up on all my amped models for the backup 500 unit? Any ideas are welcomed.

 

Thanks,

Dave

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I had a 500 (still do, but don't use it) and replaced it with a 500x. When I first got the 500x, while using the same patches from the 500, I thought something sounded different. At first words like fuller, clearer, cleaner, and crisper popped into my head. I never really thought too much about it because the differences were so slight that eventually I chalked it up to my brain playing some sort of trick on me (not nice!). I have since forgotten about this and never investigated the matter further.

 

I don't know if the differences you are hearing could be your brain playing tricks on you? Maybe? Or is it enough for you to say that something really is, not subtly, different? Try and get another person who has the ability to critically listen to hear it. Or if it comes through on a recording, post it somewhere.

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I thought the only diff is the +20% DSP power, isn't it?

modelling software/algorithms r the same, aren't they?

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There's also an improvement in the footswitches, but that can't affect the tone.

 

Yes, the modeling software is the same.

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New versions of processor driven equipment that run say 20% faster has usually more subtle changes than just being able to do 20% more. For one, all things it does are done 20% earlier and that by itself could remove soundartifacts created by delay, e.g., although a faster digital processing step produces the same result, it may provide that result a few clock periods earlier and when this happens with a couple of things that are supposed to 'run' in parallel (but really are done in sequeunce) the outcome of summing signals will be sightly different. To sum it up, there is no such thing as 'just +20% DSP'. There are other effects at play and it seems a careful listener can pick them up.

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New versions of processor driven equipment that run say 20% faster has usually more subtle changes than just being able to do 20% more. For one, all things it does are done 20% earlier and that by itself could remove soundartifacts created by delay, e.g., although a faster digital processing step produces the same result, it may provide that result a few clock periods earlier and when this happens with a couple of things that are supposed to 'run' in parallel (but really are done in sequeunce) the outcome of summing signals will be sightly different. To sum it up, there is no such thing as 'just +20% DSP'. There are other effects at play and it seems a careful listener can pick them up.

 

  ?   !  ?

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More DSP doesn't mean any different sound if it's the same models!  If they had improved the models they would have been bragging about it!

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Well, the sounds are compatible, the algorithms work, the amp models and FX are set the same on the 2, and yet there is a tonal difference in my 500 compared to my 500X. Everything - JTV guitar, VDI cable, patch, amp, speaker are the same. The only difference is 500 or 500X. It is workable, but still different. Even if the DSP is doing the same thing, there can still be minor differences in the output stages that amplify the final output to the outside world -- tonal response differences could enter the picture there, after the DSP does it's thing without being intentional.  All the features work properly, but the sound is a bit different. I was not expecting it to be so.

 

Huh, maybe mine's different than everyone else's.....

 

Dave

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I know others have compared the 500 & 500X in side by side comparisons when the 500X appeared on the scene, but I don't recall anyone mentioning what I've observed, so far....

 

I used my 500 for a couple of years after moving up the models from the XTL to the X3L, then the HD500, and was very comfortable with it, but having experienced a failure of the XTL at a gig, had in the back of mind, I'd need a backup in such a case with the 500. At that time is when the 500X came out, and I opted for it, seeing as it was the latest in the line and the same patches were useable in both.

 

I like the new switches, but never had any issues with the old. I did not usually run up against the DSP limits on the 500, so that was not a huge factor. I transferred the patches from the 500 to the 500X and went from there, and as usual, with continued tweaking of sounds, and going from a mid-heavy guitar speaker to a more full range speaker to address some tonal issues with the acoustics of the JTV's again, the settings as I had them "drifted" apart over time.

 

Recently before the latest firmware updates, I figured I would take my now current patches in the 500X and synch them back into the 500, so I could have an exact duplicate setup in my 500. I noticed that the 500X compared to the 500 was fuller with more "body" -- hard to define, exactly, but more bottom end with the same JTV, same Studio output, same Crown XLS1000 power amp, and same full range speaker, and same patches. The 500 sounds a bit more "trebly" than the 500X. I tried the acoustic patches, and they were about the same between the 500 & 500X, but the patches with amps seemed to sound different. I messed with different output modes, and found the closest I got was with the 500 set to Combo Power Amp In, but the distortions seemed "raspier" with this setting, but it was the best I could do.

 

I considered maybe I should re-install the FW version, thinking something might be afoot there, but by that time the latest batch of FW was out, so I save my Set Lists and updated the 500 & 500X and my 2 JTV's to the latest with the ability to use HD Worbench with the HD500(X) and Link revisions, etc., did the updates to both. I reloaded my Set Lists, and did the global resets and pedal calibrations, but the tonality differences were the same between the 500 & 500X.

 

Has anybody else noticed this? To preserve the use of Studio out, will I need to tweak the bass levels up on all my amped models for the backup 500 unit? Any ideas are welcomed.

 

Thanks,

Dave

 

Do you could upload audios to compare?

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David,

 

I recently upgraded from the 500 to 500x and I had a similar thought/feeling about it. For me this was a pleasant surprise though as it was a kind of satisfaction that upgrading was worth it. I don't know all the technical details like others on this post  but I do know that my patches form the 500 sounded better when I loaded them onto the 500x. AQs I say though, I'm really happy about this. The sounds were "fuller" I wouldn't like to say they had more bass or anything - they just sounded richer, fuller and there seemed to be a better response from my JTV-69. I know all the scientists on teh site will say thats not possible but to my ears it is better.

 

Also I seemed to really battle with the 500 to get sounds I wanted and just put this down to thats what you need to do to get a good sound. On the 500x I seem to be able to create patches I like a lot quicker - they just sound good pretty fast. Even the presets are better and I found that with some minor tweaking of a few of the presets I got the sounds I want.

 

I too intend to keep my 500 for backup, although I'm finding now for a lot of my new patches I'm using two amps and a stack of effects so the 500 won't be able to cope with that. Still a similar patch as a back-up is better than nothing if the 500x fails at a gig.

 

The new switches are good but like you I didn't have any issue with the old ones. So, I intend not to analyse it all too much and just feel good in the fact that my new purchase sounds great and seems easier to use.

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Here's a possible explanation that builds on something that was said earlier. Many of the FX have a MIX control the combines the incoming dry signal with the processed wet signal. I've noticed there's often an unintended notch in the resulting frequency response due to the delay incurred processing the signal (I haven;t measured ALL the FX but I've measured quite a few - see http://line6.com/support/topic/335-frequency-response-graphs-for-hd500-eqs/?hl=pfsmith0&do=findComment&comment=1519 and http://line6.com/support/topic/848-gain-line-up-measurements/?hl=pfsmith0#entry466). The HD500X uses a faster speed DSP and the delay thru the FX should be less, moving the notch up to a higher frequency - maybe high enough that it becomes less of an issue. This would also be an issue for dual-path signal chains and maybe even within complicated blocks like amp sims that may have several signal paths internal to them. I can clearly see shorter processing delays as having a noticeable impact on sound quality.

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Sozeg --

Thanks for your note. I kind of got the impression from the other comments that I was "imagining" it, but really don't think so. It does seem to be a more "full" sound with the 500X versus the 500 and the same exact patches. I have not had time to create any sound samples of this, and frankly it would probably get a "meh" response from others.

 

I also find it easier to get good results with the 500X than the 500, so that is why I focussed on the new over the old, and it became quite apparent to me anyway that there is a difference. With the 500 as my backup plan, it would work "OK". I tried different output settings, and found the combo power amp to add in some fullness, but also added some harshness, raspyness, or fizz to the distortions not present in the studio setting. Another thought I had was to get an EQ pedal that can take line level between my pedal and the power amp to add a little bottom when using my backup 500. It seems to be across the board on the patches, which is why it would be great if their was a global EQ for the 500/500X, as everyone and their dog has been asking Line6 to include, but I think that is beating a dead horse at this point.

 

I have considered an EQ before, as I have a couple of gig venues with rooms that really make the 500X too boomy, and need to roll off some bass. I found that my Crown XLS1000 has high and low pass filtering built in, so in those situations, I use the highpass rolling the bass off at 95 or 100 Hz. I also keep the high pass mode on in normal use, rolling off at 50 - 60 Hz, as my "full range" Eminence Beta 12LTA speaker has a resonant frequency at 45 Hz where speaker impedance nears Zero, and had my 500X pop a speaker when I had the burst of noise, talked about elesewhere on the forums. With the frequency on the amp high pass rolled off at 50 - 60 Hz, I had a similar burst not kill my speaker -- it red lined the amp which switched off with peak control. The XLS1000 puts out about 700 Watts at 8 Ohms bridged, the speaker is rated at about 225 Watts RMS 450W "music program", and double that for peak. The burst was not affected with turning down the 500X main volume (I had it at less than 50% when it went) and I was not quick enough to kill the power to save the speaker that I popped. I have 2 Beta 12LTA's that I use in parallel when doing outdoor shows, and the amp in bridged mode will rate at 1100 Watts into 4 Ohms. This sounds like a lot of Watts, I know, but I have found to get an amp with twice what I think I need if using solid state (especially Class D) amps versus tube amps....

 

I was simply making an observation on the 500 versus 500X, and have been very satisfied with both. The thing is you have to know the equpment you're working with to avoid the pitfalls.

 

Thanks,

Dave

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The clock speed of the DSP does not affect the latency of the audio signal, or any timings in the mixer or any other module. DSP audio latency is based on the sample rate of the audio and the number of samples in the processing buffer (which are unchanged between the two units, if the software is the same).

 

The placebo effect is very strong with sound. It happens below the level of conscious thought, so there's no way to fully compensate for it in a sighted test, and it doesn't matter how good an ear one has - in fact I've found that people with better ears are often *more* susceptible. I for one have found it helpful to always check myself with blind tests on important decisions, as a reality check. YMMV.

 

However, even if a blind test shows a difference, it's also possible that a slight volume level difference could account for this. Level differences tend to be registered as quality/tone differences, not only because of the psychological impact, but also because our ears hear differently at different levels (see Fletcher-Munson hearing response curves).

 

Edit: basically I remain open-minded, but unconvinced so far, that there's a difference.

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The clock speed of the DSP does not affect the latency of the audio signal, or any timings in the mixer or any other module. DSP audio latency is based on the sample rate of the audio and the number of samples in the processing buffer (which are unchanged between the two units, if the software is the same).

 

The placebo effect is very strong with sound. It happens below the level of conscious thought, so there's no way to fully compensate for it in a sighted test, and it doesn't matter how good an ear one has - in fact I've found that people with better ears are often *more* susceptible. I for one have found it helpful to always check myself with blind tests on important decisions, as a reality check. YMMV.

 

However, even if a blind test shows a difference, it's also possible that a slight volume level difference could account for this. Level differences tend to be registered as quality/tone differences, not only because of the psychological impact, but also because our ears hear differently at different levels (see Fletcher-Munson hearing response curves).

 

Edit: basically I remain open-minded, but unconvinced so far, that there's a difference.

 

 

Its a new box, it must sound better than the old box.

I like to use this to my advantage when I was mixing our last EP...Drummer says "The snare is not loud enough through there." Move the fader, hit CRT+Z and play it again..."Yeah, that sounds better!"......

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DB, I keep an eq pedal in my case for that reason. Although mine is used for a bit of high-mid peakiness that often needs tuning out. The violin needs special attention in that area, and the eq takes care of it. I put mine in the loop, position variable based on the type of patch. I'm sure that a gobal eq could have made its way into the design, but whatevs. I don't always use it, but I never leave home without it.

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I like to use this to my advantage when I was mixing our last EP...Drummer says "The snare is not loud enough through there." Move the fader, hit CRT+Z and play it again..."Yeah, that sounds better!"......

LOL! I do that when they say "turn it down." I reach over and fiddle with the volume knob, leave it where it was and resolve to play more delicately, at least for a while.

I upgraded from a 500 to a 500X and I can't say I noticed a tonal difference, but it makes me feel good that someone else did.

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I owe a big apology to the OP, as I posted a semi-mocking reply earlier:

 

You are right. I was wrong.

 

I had to buy a 500x today as my singer busted a knob on my 500 "helping" me pack up.  I backed up my patches to the computer and copied them onto the 500x today and they sound much better.  Fuller and less trebly is exactly right.  I'm man enough to admit I am wrong, and I do.  The 500x sounds better with the exact same setup and settings. 

 

It almost sounds a little compressed, like they improved the input portion to account for the clipping folks used to hear.  My Pod was bought in Feb 2011, so maybe this was fixed in the later iterations of the 500 so folks didn't encounter the issue or notice the difference, but it's most definitely there.

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there have always been differences with firmware versions also, especially early on.

not always improvemental. i thought when i first got my hd500, it sounded best until my 1st update,  to 1.6 i think.

even if the modelling is the same, just compiling the code for a new dsp would produce a slightly different response if new opcodes offer shortcuts. in some older microcontrollers, you could not port firmware from internal to external rom because of different timing, it could crash or produce unwanted results.

 

they should have used the extra 20% and given us a stereo version of each of the mono effects.  they are mostly around 3 to 6% cpu, couldn`t have been such a big deal.  would have made the routing mess a lot more consistent.

 

used to hear some complaints about the 500`s thin sound.   i`m all for the trebly twang though. 

crisp sounds good too

now before i opt for a new pod500x:  does the 500x like the les paul better than the 500 does?

seems to me, with the gibson pickups producing more than twice the volume even if turned all the way down, the pod prefers the strat. my strat always sounds better with the same settings on the pod side and even with the vol on the LP rolled back to same level.

(i know about guitar-same issue). i guess i overexpected when i got the LP recently..may have to go for different pups soon.

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If the Les Paul is x2 louder than the Strat then engage the 6dB pad switch for the Les Paul. That's why it's there.

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I only use a Les Paul and it works great. I don't use the pad switch either. Plug in and turn a few knobs.

 

Also, I found I do appreciate the extra DSP. Just turned my old Soldano brown sound patch into a crunch monster by adding a Park 75 model to it.

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