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Amp models - any 'tonemeisters' out there want to help me?


Spiderplayer7
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Hi there,

 

If anyone could help out on this one I'd be grateful...

 

I've had my HD500 for a couple of years but not used it that much for a number of reasons I won't bore you with. But recently I've been using it with a Trademark 60 combo, sometimes using the 4CM, sometimes not. The reason for using the Trademark 60 combo is that I've never to my ears had much success using the POD's amp models - maybe that was down to my lack of familiarity with the unit, not sure, but I'd get a great sound at home (at volume) through my FRFR powered wedge-mini-PA unit, but when playing live with a band, the tone seemed to get sucked away and lost in the mix. I won't waste anyone's time by listing all the remedies I tried (but I searched these forums and tried a lot of things), but I ended up frustrated and wound up using the POD as an effects-only unit.

 

Now I'd like to try amp models again. I play in a worship band and my church has just invested in a new PA and sound system with great powered floor monitors, so if I could get the amp models right I could take one XLR out from the HD500 into the powered monitor for stage sounds and the other XLR straight to the desk for FOH suff. This means I wouldn't need to lug my amp along - guitar over one shoulder, HD500 (in nice Line 6 case) over other, how easy would that be?

 

So here's the thing. I don't really use a lot of different sounds, so I only need one (great) amp sound that I can stick some effects on - usually some compression, overdrive (usually 2 of these), chorus, a bit of delay, reverb, that's it. 

 

So what suggestions do you have as a starting point for finding that one amp model? I've previously tried the Fender amp models and could again, but I'm open to other ideas. I'm looking for a good, clean-on-the-edge-of-very-mild-breakup sort of sound. I don't want anything too thin-sounding, it needs to be fairly rich but with good clarity, something that could hold its own without heavy effects. I know some on this forum have suggested the Soldano model - any takers for that as an idea? I play a strat with Bare Knuckle Mother's Milk pickups if that helps...

 

Thanks in advance!

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I can't give you a specific amp or effect suggestion, because that really comes down to preference and what you want. But what you described regarding sounding good at home but disappearing in a mix is fairly common, and is generally caused by a couple of things. One being too much treble and bass and not nearly enough mids, and the other being too much gain for high gain tones.

 

The guitar's voice is in the mid range, and a really great crunchy sounding tone at home that has low mids, will completely disappear when used in a mix with a band. You really need to emphasize the mids and de-emphasize the bass and treble, or else you're competing with the bass guitar and the keyboards, and the guitar gets lost. Increased mids, with decreased highs and lows, helps the guitar cut through and keeps the bass/keyboard ranges from being in competition. When you set your tone up correctly for a live mix, it will sound nasally to you, so you may want to have one preset for practicing at home, and a different one for playing live.

 

It's also common to get a good distorted tone at home and then sound thin and weak with it live. Too much gain thins out the sound. And, when you play at higher volumes in a live setting, the distortion will naturally become heavier without needing the amp gain up as much as you would use at lower volumes.

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Watch this and see if any of theses tones appeal to you.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrP-WXiPlJs

 

If any do, they are on Custom Tone Just search for Cloudchair.  Don't worry about having the wrong guitar. The youtube will just give you an idea of how they sound. The great thing about these patches is they are a great starting point since they are mostly just the amp with maybe some echo so if you like the general flavor of the sound, it should be easy to adapt to what you want. I think they sound pretty good. Check out some of his videos. He's a Variax into HD500 directly into the PA kind of a guy and sounds pretty good to me. He's also a very good and creative player.

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Just Startin',

 

Your delima is not unique.  For the better part of 2 years I have had the same problem until I purchased a L2t, but that is another story.  There are a number of vid's that take you through the process of creating the tones of the stars.  http://line6.com/support/forum-18/announcement-27-new-hd500x-tone-building-videos/

check it out.  There are 4 or 5 vids that use different amps that take you through the process.  They were very heplful to me.

 

To your problem, I found that once I understood the difference between my home rig and gig/practice rigs sonically. I could then make the adjustments.  For instance I would normally build a patch on my home system using studio of monitors.  The play the patch a practice.  I would notice a consistent difference.  I always seemed to use too my drive on the amp and too much drive on my distortion pedal.  Also, I always seemed to have to much mix on reverb.

 

For the most part I found (1) that I would never gig a tone that I haven't auditioned at practice (2) patch creation is iterative.  (3) Patch quality is relative, one person loves it another hates it. 

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One thing about reverb is I try not to use it at all. I let the room's natural reverb work (unless the reverb is used for some effect). It took me awhile to figure this out but it made a big difference. Like jcosta said, I always seemed to have too much reverb. So I finally just stopped using it. Having said that I now play in a new movie theater which is totally dead soundwise. So I now use reverb because of that.

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On the topic of reverb, I use just enough that you don't know it's there unless you turn it off.  Usually the room's natural reverb is plenty.

 

In finding a tone, one thing that helped me is the Input Z setting.  Try all of them from Auto, 1m, down to 22k.  For me the tone was too bright until I turned down the Input Z setting.  But that depends on pickups, amps, playing style, and lots of other things.  I personally use the 32k setting but that may not work for you.

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Thanks everyone for your replies - some really useful tips here. I guess my real difficulty is using my HD500 as effects only with real amps gives me a really great sound, it's using the amp models that seems to cause tone problems live. But I plan to persevere and make it work as I know others have...

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Auditioning your sound with speakers on a desk will give problems.

What others have mentioned is true especially Alienux.

 

There is no one fix all here.

 

Much depend on the guitar and the pups but an amp and FOH are two entirely different listening enviroments.

 

One thing to experiment with is  the output mode. When you use stack or combo, roll off alot of top end and you can get a good result using cabinets into an amp. Enough off the top sounds like studio direct to me.

 

If Studio Direct is too boomy into side fill or fold back monitors try attenuating the low end a bit on a combo or stack output as well as the top of course.

 

The idea is if you can adjust the sound via those output modes it can save having two or more different patches.

 

turning off FX and listening to only the amp model is the best place to start.

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It's tough to recommend an amp without knowing your taste and what guitar you use, but you can't go wrong with the deluxe or /13. The Slo clean is nice but not much low mids.

 

As to tweaking at home I've learned a few things. First of all you have to tweak at a loud enough volume to hear tone properly (Fletcher Munson curve effect). Next, tweak it in the context of a song; play a recording of a type of song that you would play at church and play along to see how it fits in the mix. Of course your stage mix won't really sound as clean as a record, but at least you will know that your sound will be exactly how you want it. Lastly, after getting a tone you like, rest your ears for a while and check it again. The high mids may seem exaggerated with fresh ears.

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Plexi normal and bright are the two amp models I use more than any others.

 

A couple of other things worth looking at, are you assigning the inputs as two different sources? This can make a difference. Check out these links for some good ideas:

 

http://foobazaar.com/podhd/

 

http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/

 

http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/quickGuide#inputSettings

http://foobazaar.com/podhd/toneGuide/setup#input

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Vox models are good for 'edge of breakup' sound. Worth experimenting with tube screamer as well in conjunction with cleaner amp tones. I found that took quite a bit of tweaking to get listenable but worth the effort. I too really like the Soldano crunch so +1 for earlier suggestions on that.

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Ok, I'm going to try the Divided by 13 model as a starter, then have a go at the Soldano and Vox ones. Thanks everyone for your helpful replies - I agree that's a nice Marshall tone... I'm also going to try varying the Input Z setting. I'll let you know how I get on...

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There is one player in my area who has an original Soldano half stack. Not a Jet City piece of junk. The Line 6 POD HD500 Soldano sounds exactly like it and yes it is a great very usable tone.Clapton played them for quite a while for a reason.One of L6s best sounds ever!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The /13 is my favorite, especially with my strat. Very crisp cleans and extra nice with a tube screamer. The Dr Z is good for bluesy stuff. I like the Soldano for really ballsy stuff. And the Deluxe is good too, but the 13 sort of sounds the same, but better.

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Thanks, everyone. I tried the /13 and liked it a lot and then went back to the Deluxe and liked that a lot as well. I can't seem to make the Vox models work for me at the moment but maybe I'm missing something. I'm going to keep putting the time in and see what I can come up with. This epitomises my love/hate relationship with the HD500 - so many great tones and flexibility, so much time needed (at least by me) to get it sounding the way I want it to. I never had this with my (over the years many) pedalboards. But none of them had amp modelling, DI and line outs, cab emulation, mic emulation, infinitely adjustable effects, built in power supply etc. etc. etc. all in one unit. Curse you, Line 6!

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Yes it is an embarrassment of riches LOL! Along with building patches at VOLUME through one of my FRFR powered speakers(Atomic Reactor/Alto 10s and 12s) I will especially with lead tones increase the midrange up to the point that it starts to sound a bit unpleasant and leave it there. When played in a band context I never have any problems being heard with out being too loud when I apply this concept to my patches.Don't over do it.Stop adding mids when it starts to get a bit "ugly". I learned this from Will Ray of the Hellacasters  who wrote a great article about how we guitar players do not know how to manage midrange frequencies. My modelling adventure has been a lot better since I started following his advice.

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"I learned this from Will Ray of the Hellecasters  who wrote a great article about how we guitar players do not know how to manage midrange frequencies. My modelling adventure has been a lot better since I started following his advice."

 

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