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Just joined the club; any "gotchas" I should know?

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Hey all... long time Line6 user here (I still have my AxSys stashed away in my garage)

 

I just ordered a HD500x and a Mission Engeeering EP1-L6 expression pedal to go with it. For the moment, I'll be pluggin the 1/4" outs of the HD500x into the RETURN of my Vetta II - basically using the Vetta II as a powered 2x12 cab.

 

Are there any basic "gotchas" I should be aware in general for the HD500x? I'd also love to find out if others are using a similar setup (HD500x out to AMP FX Loop RETURN).

 

Cheers!

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The HD with your Vettas power section should work well.I am a new user of an HD500 and I am really digging it.The input settings are critical.Some of the customtone patches are pretty good and a time saver.Todd Rundgren still records his old AxSys amps and uses Flextone 3s live to this day.He can use any amp he wants so that ought to tell you something.I hope you enjoy your new HD unit!

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Congrats

I agree not to decide if you like it or not based on the onboard patches.

I also 2nd the input settings as well as output settings.

Try the amps on their own and get into just the amp menu settings first, then add FX from there

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The couple gotcha's:

 

1) Make sure Input one is set to Guitar and Input two is set to something else, like Variax.  Otherwise the input signal is way too hot.  The default is set both to the same and it's screwed up a lot of people.

 

2) Input Z setting is important to your tone.  Don't just set it on Auto, try the other settings.

 

3) The EQ sucks.  Some idiot at Line6 decided that an EQ should use Percentage instead of HZ.

 

4) It takes a while to get the tone you really like.  Be patient and spend time reading and trying things.  In the end, it's worth it.  There's a lot of really helpful people on this forum that will do their best to get you through the initial learning curve.

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Sometimes I run my HD500X into the FX return on my Vetta II and it sounds great.

 

I use the following method, which I found on the archived Line 6 forums:

 

I run 2 1/4" cables from the outputs of the Pod HD500 to the FX Loop return on the Vetta. You will need an insert cable (stereo male tip with two mono 1/4" female ends) for the FX Loop return since it only has a single stereo jack. You also need to insert a dummy jack into the guitar input (otherwise the Vetta mutes itself) - for that I used an rca-1/4" adapter I had lying around but you can use anything with that size jack.  In terms of settings, on the Pod I have it set to Line Output level, output mode to "Combo Power Amp" and run the master on the Pod at 100%. I created a patch on the Vetta with all amps and fx disabled except for the FX loop and made sure the FX routing was all series. FX loop send and return is at 0db.

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1) Make sure Input one is set to Guitar and Input two is set to something else, like Variax.  Otherwise the input signal is way too hot.  The default is set both to the same and it's screwed up a lot of people.

 

This is a critically important thing to be aware of, and may help a lot depending on your equipment, but it's not one-size-fits-all. On my setup, for example, the input is too weak if I do this, and it works better for me with the default.

 

A large number of people do report that they get a better sound the way joel_brown describes, though. You'll need to test for clipping or distortion at the input, vs. wanting more input gain than you can get, to know for certain.

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2) Input Z setting is important to your tone.  Don't just set it on Auto, try the other settings.

 

 

Ehm, where do I change the input Z? Do you mean the impedance?

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Ehm, where do I change the input Z? Do you mean the impedance?

on the pod lcd, with the pointer on the amp, hold the view button down a couple of seconds until the screen changes, page over with the nav key 2 or three pages. also access it from hd edit, upper left portion of the window

 

always perform a global reset and pedal cal after reflash

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Welcome aboard !  

 

Everyone's supplying good technical tips. I think the most important one is to Google away.  There's a lot of good education out there.

I'll throw in a couple tips of my own less technical  ones:

 

- Create baseline patches, level your pedals, get the gain saturation how you like it, and save that patch as a base or template, than copy from there.  I pretty much HAVE to do this because I find it very difficult to get unity gain through a chain.

 

- If you play live, build chains through your performance amp, at performance volume.  Be prepared to tweak them during rehearsals. 

- Backup your  patches to the computer every once in a while if you build anything elaborate

- When you add a pedal, be prepared to tweak it.   I don't like  the defaults one bit.

- If it has a "mix" setting, play with it.  Varying the effected versus direct mix can be all the difference betwen an overdone sound, and perfectly suited subtle sound.

- A/B against your favorite pedals and you should be able to replicate most of them in short order.

- Play with pedal orders, and with before/after amp. 

-Personally I'm quite happy playing it into the front of  my amp, others aren't.  It your amp, your ears.  I tried the four cable method that you'll eventually hit upon ( and will likely also try ) and it didn't do anything for me.

- Copy your fave patches over into new ones,  throw the POD direct into your console, and tweak the patches until you like them again.  Voila, you now have an emergency direct option should your amp ever take a dive.

- If you gig with two guitars, check out the various input options for input 1 versus input 2, and also consider cloning the patchs and tweaking them.

-I haven't found a use for plugging a microphone into the POD yet.

 

Good luck, congrats !

 

- Google.  There's a lot of good education out there,

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on the pod lcd, with the pointer on the amp, hold the view button down a couple of seconds until the screen changes, page over with the nav key 2 or three pages. also access it from hd edit, upper left portion of the window

 

always perform a global reset and pedal cal after reflash

 

Is there any impedance that one should avoid/favour? I wonder how it influences the tone.

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This is a critically important thing to be aware of, and may help a lot depending on your equipment, but it's not one-size-fits-all. On my setup, for example, the input is too weak if I do this, and it works better for me with the default.

 

A large number of people do report that they get a better sound the way joel_brown describes, though. You'll need to test for clipping or distortion at the input, vs. wanting more input gain than you can get, to know for certain.

there is no objective right or wrong "input settings" rule of thumb.

the only subjective one is "trust ur ears".

there r some cases where "input1=guitar/variax, input2=something else" provides good results, but there r also many other situations where "input1=guitar/variax, input2=same" is a must.

eg, check out this tone and hear the resulting (live) sound in this vid (patch designed 4 jtv, thus using input1=variax,input2=same).

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i tend to leave the input z at auto.

if it somehow changes your tone to be more pleasing to change it... go for it...

but auto, makes the effects chain behave more authentically.

so i get what i'd expect out of the effect modeled...

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Is there any impedance that one should avoid/favour? I wonder how it influences the tone.

 

The higher the impedance is, the more high frequencies there are, and vice versa. I often use this a final step in a patch (is a patch ever really finished though?). Think of it as a sorry excuse for a global eq.

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Is there any impedance that one should avoid/favour? I wonder how it influences the tone.

if you have too much treble in the tone, lower the Z. no right or wrong. another thing i noticed is that if you have to much attack when you pluck the strings, separate the right and left channels on the mixer. works for me, this also lowers the volume so just turn it up. seems to me it eliminates that plucky, trebley  sound.

in my opinion, you just have to learn where all the controls are (there's thousands of combinations) to shape your tone and try them all. i've had mine for 3 years and i still ain't done learnin'. happy tone hunting

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Wow.. thanks to all of you for the advice! I'm not too worried about spending time with the HD500x to get "my tones" out of it. I've spent a bunch of time with my AxSys (back the in day) and with my Vetta II over the years, dialing-in and tweaking to get the sounds I want. And I've already downloaded HD Edit to begin looking at how it works, and looking at how tones are constructed.

The input selection (from what I have read) seems to be a big issue for some, not so much for others. My main guitar is a "Franken-strat" with an late 80s Duncan Custom HB in the bridge, and GFS Lil Killers in the middle and neck. I'll just have to see what happens, but I would suspect I need to have Input 1 set to guitar and Input 2 to "other."

One of the issues I'm wondering about is have a "solo boost" function. The Vetta II has a boost function that I have assigned to a footswitch that gives me a +4 boost in volume for solos... very handy. I could probably still use that function on the Vetta, but then I'd have to have the FBV AND the HD500X on the floor, and that's a bit too cluttered. I'll just have to play around and see.

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An interesting trick for volume boost is to put a small amount of compression after the amp.  Be careful when dialing in the amount of compression.  What this does is make chords sound quieter and single notes louder.  More compression the quieter the chords.

 

This way it does it for you automatically without hitting a switch.  But it can be a little tricky to get it set just right.  You're mileage may vary...

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An interesting trick for volume boost is to put a small amount of compression after the amp.  Be careful when dialing in the amount of compression.  What this does is make chords sound quieter and single notes louder.  More compression the quieter the chords.

 

This way it does it for you automatically without hitting a switch.  But it can be a little tricky to get it set just right.  You're mileage may vary...

 

That is a thought. I was also thinking I could try adding the Vintage Pre at the end of the chain (I believe it's a stereo fx) and use it to do a bit of a gain boost assigned to a FS.

 

Alas... my HD500X won't be here until tomorrow, so this is all just speculation until it arrives!

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You can not set/save the tempo in the HD500(X) via the HD Edit software... you have to physically set it within the unit. :mellow:

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Probably the best piece of advice I can give you: don't waste hours of your time browsing the internet trying to find a preset you'll like. Rather spend that time messing around with the amp models and effects. This has proven to be more effective in my quest for a tone that I like, as opposed to expecting someone to upload the sound I want to achieve.

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I use the Studio EQ for my 4dB boost. It's a clean boost with no artifacts or compression or coloration (if you have it all set flat). If you want a little coloration with your boost then try the Mid-focus EQ, especially if your sound seems a little fizzy.

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Hmm, "Studio EQ" for a boost? :rolleyes:

 

I hate the typical sound coloration of the EQ's and just use the tone controls of the Amp model.

 

But I'll have to try that. I think we might all learn a little something here in this post. ;)

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Ehm. what does the "vetta juice" exactly do? I was thinking of using it as a boost pedal for solos and whatnot.

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Ehm. what does the "vetta juice" exactly do? I was thinking of using it as a boost pedal for solos and whatnot.

 

From the Vetta II manual:

 

"Another Line 6 original, the ‘Juice’ in Vetta Juice comes from the 30dB of available gain in the LEVEL knob. Holy smokes, this thing’s packin’ some heat! It’s got a fixed threshold of -40dB with the SENS knob varying compression ratio from 1.5: 1 all the way up to 20:1 (which is a whole heck of a lot). This combination of design features gives you the option of cranking the level enough to get some serious gain boost, or setting the gain lower and dialing up a smooth, clean sustain. Take your pick, and dial away."

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Hmm... I've not been impressed one iota with the Vetta Juice. <_<
Maybe it's a matter of placement in my effect chain but I've experimented with it in different locations (before the amp) with no "wow".

I may also be a matter of which amp it's used with? :unsure:

I just don't know. :huh:

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SYSTEM SETUP! In my humble opinion it is the first thing you should do and it should be #1. First in the Guide or Manual. If you got it new and run it into a Power Amp [iN] it sounds like crap because it comes setup to record direct.

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I use the Studio EQ for my 4dB boost. It's a clean boost with no artifacts or compression or coloration (if you have it all set flat). If you want a little coloration with your boost then try the Mid-focus EQ, especially if your sound seems a little fizzy.

 

If I may ask, if you ever have your POD connected to your DAW via USB while tweaking, what dB level do you set your patches?

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Sorry, I always use SPDIF. I usually set it for -12 dB peaks.

 

I noticed that the factory presets are also set for -12dB level.. But isn't it too quiet?

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When recording it's about right so that 1) occasional transient peaks don't clip and 2) when mixed with other signals I still get enough headroom to keep away from 0dB.

 

When playing live I use the master volume control to adjust how loud the signal is going to the FoH, monitor, etc. It hasn't been a problem for me.

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