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Speaker cable vs instrument cable


zombie2473
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So I have a pod hd 500x and I'm running it through a yamaha dxr10. I have been gigging out with it for almost a year now but have been extremely unhappy with the sound. Bass sounds flubby. Crunch sounds weak and thin. But a thought just occurred to me today and I'm curious if anyone knows the answer. I've been using a standard guitar cable to go from the 1/4th mono out into the 1/4th mono in on the speaker. Would using a 1/4" speaker cable make a difference or would I just be wasting money?

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You don't need a speaker cable your using the correct one already. Must be something else causing your tone suck. Have you tried the different output settings? Studio direct? Combo Front? What kind of speakers are going into a combo amp? or PA?

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so its ok to use an instrument cable from the 1/4" out to the in in the back of the speaker? I'm using a powered yamaha DXR10 pa speaker. whats the difference between a speaker cable and an instrument cable then? if i were to use a speaker cable between the pod and the speaker i would not notice any difference?

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The speaker cable for a tube amp output is heavier than guitar cable. The HD500 only needs a guitar cable. Your essentially sending a small signal into your powered speaker witch translates/amplifies that small HD500 signal. I had flubby bass problem once when I was using the full amp models until I messed arounf with the deep cab settings. I usually always set the low cut to around 80-160, but be sure to work all those adjustments to find your sweetspot.

 

Here's something I was reading about speaker cable recently >>Stereophile Forums "Sheilded Speaker Cables" it's about speaker cable and someone who wanted to know about wrapping the speaker cable with tin foil or copper sheilding in order to ward off RF. it's always interesting to learn about design, helps in undestanding why things are made the way they are. Read the second to last post by commsysman.

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Good to know, thanks guys.

 

So now I'm back to square one of why I'm not getting a sound I enjoy. When I play at practice with my band, I can't cut through the mix at all (bassist , acoustic guitarist, singer, and drums). And the bass easily becomes flubby. If I use the lo cut feature, it works but seems to suck the tone and feel of the guitar away. I can't get a good tight rhythm tone. Can't get a lead tone that doesn't sound thin. I have better results when into headphones or recording but live through the speaker is an in enjoyable experience. I'm constantly fiddling with knobs during practice and it takes away from the stuff that actually matters during practice.

 

I've read countless threads of tips and tricks and I've tried them all. Input 2 to variax. Lo cut. Cab DEP settings. The pad switch.

 

At this point I'm at a loss.

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You might need to try a different powered speaker. Other things I do when using the DEP is set the low cut and turn the resonance and thump all the way up. Although it seems you tried all that, that's why I say try a different speaker or try turning the bass down on the powered speaker if it has the ability. Also you might try changeing the HD's 1/4" out AMP/LINE switch next to the pedal to see what happens. If you have too much trouble revert back to a real amp so you can at least play with your band and work with the HD500 on the side until you get used to the way you need to set it up. Also maybe your driving the powered speaker too hard try turning down the master on the HD and see what happens.

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Unfortunately given my funds, trying another speaker, or using an amp is not an option unless I sell off everything I currently own. I will try the master thing. I keep reading how people say that the master at 100% has the best signal to noise ratio so I always just kept it there. I'll try it at 50% and see if that makes a difference at all.

 

I've used line6 products for a long time including a pod xt live that I used to love and found it very easy to dial in useable tones. With the pod hd I'm feeling like I need a sound engineering degree to program it.

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Hey Zombie, I can relate with ya. I have an X3 Pro and still use it. I do like a challenge so I have the HD500 too but I have only used it into an amp like the DT50, Spider Jam, and Picovalve tube amp and they all sound good so I'm happy. It also took me a while to learn.

 

I see that there are some adjustments on the back of the speaker you use. Looks like your going to use Line Level out of the Pod and studio direct from the pod. Maybe someone else has expereince with this speaker.

 

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I can relate to this because I am also having this sort of problem, as I expect are many others who are using powered PA speakers thinking they are "FRFR".

 

The problem is quite simply that the lower-end powered PA speakers are intended to be "flattering" for vocals and full range signals - they are designed for DJ use, and by lower-end I mean pretty much anything sub £1000 per speaker.

 

I real terms while fairly full range (realistically 50 - 18K) they are simply not flat and often have peaks around 250 for punchy bass/kick and around 2.5K or higher for vocal clarity - mine as I was measuring using a RTA app and pink noise also appears to have a peak around 4.5K. So the speaker is boosting the bass so you clash with the bass player and emphasises the high ranges over the mid-range meaning that distorted sounds are weak and thin.

 

If you combine this with the fact that they were intended primarily to be mounted on poles and we HD users typically place them on the floor where the Amp used to be or in front of us as a "monitor" so there is an additional factor of bass being reinforced through contact with the floor, plus they have a wide dispersion pattern when we are used to having a beam pattern from a guitar cab.

 

It is no wonder that they don't work properly when combined with an HD500 that is intended to output a studio full-range signal ready to be post processed into a mix.

 

If Line 6 had introduced them earlier I would have got a Stage Source which specifically addresses a lot of these issues and even has a Guitar Cab mode where the tweater is suppressed, but it wasn't around at the time I committed my money and I am not is a position to replace what I did get.

 

You do have the tools to get a great sound, once you understand where the problem is, and that is to EQ to correct for the realities of using a PA speaker and deficiencies in the speaker.

 

Line 6 haven't helped much and the biggest omission for the standalone powered speaker user is the oft requested "Global EQ", because if you have 25 patches you need to use in a gig and for whatever reason your speaker is triggering a resonance on the low F then there is absolutely nothing they provide that can sort it out.

 

I don't have all the answers yet because I am still working it out while She Who Must be Obeyed is imposing a spending ban for "toys". Which is a right pain.

 

A few things that do help:

 

The Cab DEP Low Cut parameter appears to provide a 12db/octave cut which is not that steep, so you can set it a lot higher than you might think and make up the bass level using the Amp bass control which for quite a long time I thought was a complete waste of time because any value over 0 was just mud.  As said above it doesn't do anything much set low down at 80 for example (low E = 80hz), you need to raise it much higher - as high as 250hz (it goes all the way up to 500hz which should tell you something).

 

Have a listen to guitar in isolation in many Rock songs specifically listening for the amount of bass on the guitar, and in a lot of cases you will find there just isn't any

 

The fizzy high-end is another story - but dramatic changes to the Cab DEP can make some difference here; try turning Resonance down to zero on distorted patches; you don't need it so much live because your speaker will be resonating by itself (and thumping..); you might find that a lot of the fizz disappears.

 

You can also try mid focus eq late in the chain to tame both top and bottom end, but the problem is not necessarily easily addressed using HD EQs because what you are fighting is the higher end emphasis deliberately built into the powered speaker, and the end result of using the HD EQs is that you have a dead sound because you have cut so much high-end out while you still have that nasty peak at 4.5K which the speaker is giving you.

 

But you really don't want to set up your HD patches to compensate for the speaker, because then you have to sent a compromised signal to FOH. What you really want is that perfect FRFR you (or at least I) thought I was buying.

 

So limit the problems by experimenting with position - like using speaker stands so that the bass resonances are minimised and the speaker can be placed a lot closer to your ears. I had problems where the rest of the band said I was too loud while I couldn't hear myself at all which was partially down to dispersion from the speaker being so wide relative to normal guitar amp that you stand right in front of, so get your ears right in the line of your speaker.  If you are placing the speakers on the floor as a monitor make sure it points right at you, and try isolating it from the floor in some way using underlay or carpet. Also beware placing it too close to a wall and especially corner because that can reinforce the low end.

 

The stage where I am at is trying to compensate for the higher-end emphasis points without compromising the FOH feed or wired In Ears which I have tried.  The only option is to have an external EQ that will correct for the corrections built into the speaker plus any nasty room artefacts that every room has somewhere.  If it wasn't for the spending ban I was all for getting a DEQ2496 just to correct the speaker (it has an automatic EQ option when used with a reference mic to correct for speaker "features"), but once you start doing such a correction you discover that actually the boomy bass you spent so much time cutting out wasn't the HD500 or the powered speaker at all, but was really a Room resonance.

 

In the face of the tight budget such an EQ is not allowed to I am experimenting with plan B - that is using a laptop linked post HD processing, but pre output via the USB link (with real-time monitoring at zero) and a VST host in which an EQ VST can do the job. It works but at the cost of about 12ms latency which I can live with - the 24ms I had before I tweaked the ASIO driver settings was too long for me to play using.

 

This is the point that I am up to, but due to house guests and other family stuff I haven't been able to work on it at a sensible volume to find those problem frequencies with the PA Speaker.  And because I have now learned a lot more about speaker issues I am now starting to doubt what is speaker, HD and what is room....  arrrgh!

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I can relate to this because I am also having this sort of problem, as I expect are many others who are using powered PA speakers thinking they are "FRFR".

 

The problem is quite simply that the lower-end powered PA speakers are intended to be "flattering" for vocals and full range signals - they are designed for DJ use, and by lower-end I mean pretty much anything sub £1000 per speaker.

 

That was a great explanaition Rewolf48. I knew somehow it was that PA speaker. It would be nice if the HD line could work with them easier. Really a great post my friend. I just couldn't explain it like you 'casue I don't use a PA speaker

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Rewolf, thank you for that post! I'm going to try the couple of tips in there that I have not tried. But what your post really did was help me feel that I'm not crazy and understand the speaker better. More than any of the problems, my biggest is cutting through the mix. And like you, my band tells me I'm WAY too loud when playing by myself but when the whole band comes in , I can barely just hear myself. Have you demoed the stage source speaker? I could feasibly sell the pa speaker and a few other pieces of equipment and probably come close to the price of the l2t. The fact that I can't get myself present in the live mix drives me absolutely insane.

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Regarding being able to hear yourself, there are two fundamental points here. Firstly, where is your speaker pointing? Secondly, how much mid focus do you have in your tone?

 

I went from being continually asked to turn it down, bordering on angrily so to being asked to turn it up just by moving on to amp/speaker stands. And that great isolated guitar tone often gets lost in a full band situation, hence why you need to shape your tone with a full band in mind.

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Reowolf48 was great post and really accureate as for the way speakers are designed. I did this same thing myself and had very similar problems. I dumped the PA speaker and when to Atomic at the time which solved those problems. That was with a X3 and I'm now with 500x and DT25 and have no intentions of going back FRFR. Maybe the sound source speaker solve these problems but I think I'll keep my guitar amps.

 

my band tells me I'm WAY too loud when playing by myself but when the whole band comes in , I can barely just hear myself. 

 

This is a common misconception for any amplified instrument in a full band, even not using the digital stuff. If you have acoustic drum set there is only so soft that the drummer can play, and most of them guys don't play soft either.  Without the drum set going any guitar amp sitting on stage is going to sound loud. If you have starting part in the song before the band comes in then it will likely be too loud. The simple answer is that is what a volume knob or a volume pedal is made for. Just turn down on that part. If you have distorted sound you like and turning down the on the guitar cleans up the signal too much then use a volume pedal in the post mode so it's after the amp. This is a great advantage of the POD units as they can do that and bring the volume down without changing the way it sounds. 

The secondary problem is a guitar tone that sounds good in a mix often sounds like crap alone. In the mix to cut thought you need pretty trebly tone. You need to listen to it in the Mix instead of alone. When mixing down a recording a lot of time is spent adjusting the EQ to make each instrument sit correctly and that often involves cut frequcies on a para EQ plug-in. So that each instrument sits in space.

I'm gonna take a wild guess your acoustic guitarist plugs directly into the PA? If so then part of the volume thing might be truely a monitoring situation not a actual sound problem. They will hear the acoustic as wide angle disprused sound from the monitor, plus just tiny bit direct off the instrument, but if you are running full blast of the stage. So on the stage, yea you are loud because you are having to push your signal out to where the audience is and get decent mix. I'm often suprised how differnt things on stage sound vs. standing in the audience. 

Lastly it might be performace issue as well.  If you have multiple gutiars on stage, I've found a lot of guitarist don't know how to work with other guitarist. We all practice in our rooms with our guitars and maybe a backing track. So we have this tendency to fill up the entire middle section. Generally we are pretty good a moving out of the way of the Bass and Vocals but another guitar is problem because we are playing that part. In groups were you have more than one guitar part going, may would be suprised on simple each indiviual part is. And the Truth is those little parts don't sound like much alone but when you add them together is where it works. Acoustic guitars are the worst about this, I find as they are played alot alone or with just the guitar a vocal. Being you probably are not going to get the other guitarist to change the way they play, change the way you play. If he is playing the say the full G Major chord on the third fret, I probably don't want to play the same thing. I may play the G using a D chord type of shape on the 7th fret, or maybe a barr G using the A form on the 10th fret, or maybe just a selection of the notes out of the chord. I've also had success playing the same exactly chord but picking thought the notes while the other guitarist is strumming them, which works great with a just touch of a chorus effect.  Capos can add a lot intresting stuff here too. If say the acoustic is capo'ed on the 2rd fret and playing a G major shape chord, well then that is actually a A major chord. I can play that open. Or I could do something really odd like put a capo 8th fret a play D shape which is still a A major, but it's gonna be different with a capo that high!

 

 

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Nice post Palico

 

The band I was with already had to work very hard not to overlap as there was a lot going on: Lead Vocals + 2 Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar, Keyboards, Bass + Bass Pedals and me playing guitar or keyboards or both depending on song.  

 

We didn't have overlapping parts but there is not a lot of space left - and that is where part of the problem comes from, as to fit into the mix when we all played required different treatment from when by yourself and there were quite a few bits like that.  And we didn't have a dedicated sound man to sort it out and a venue soundman wouldn't have a chance to react.  So my acoustic guitar (JTV simulated 12 string) playing Wish You Were Here had to be really full because it was the only instrument sounding, but then in another song like First of Fifth it had to just be background "texture" something that you don't specifically listen to, but would miss if not there.

 

I actually added an EQ effect that I would switch out when solo and in when the whole band came in to avoid a lot of the clash especially in the bass frequencies.

 

 

I am making progress as I finally got some speaker stands yesterday and between getting the tweeter up to ear level and disconnecting with the floor (plus a lot closer to my ears) the change in sound is massive; all that overpowering bass is gone - for £20 a stand I wish I had done this while that band was still together.  I am determined to sort out the on stage reinforcement and patch programming before getting into another band. Soo... as and when I get "Loud Time" it is back to recreating my patches

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Yea, this is one that kind of struck me on that statement becuase I've been told that before. Only to tell the group if they don't want and electric guitarist then I'll leave, no hard feelings.  Trying to make people understand how sound works can be hard work! Even with my current band which is a great group that we are actually all friends and have similar mind set; I have to tell my singer who occasionaly pays acoustic guitar to quit turning the bass up on the guitar up because I will just re-eq it out on the board if she does. I run the sound, from the stage as well. It has to sit in the Mix and it doesn't have to sound perfect when we are playing live, a little thin at the beginning when the acoustic is by itself is not huge issue. When we record I we set it where it sounds good in the mix and I'll adjust just the open parts to have a bit more full sound with an EQ plug-in.

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Rewolf, thank you for that post! I'm going to try the couple of tips in there that I have not tried. But what your post really did was help me feel that I'm not crazy and understand the speaker better. More than any of the problems, my biggest is cutting through the mix. And like you, my band tells me I'm WAY too loud when playing by myself but when the whole band comes in , I can barely just hear myself. Have you demoed the stage source speaker? I could feasibly sell the pa speaker and a few other pieces of equipment and probably come close to the price of the l2t. The fact that I can't get myself present in the live mix drives me absolutely insane.

Boosting your mids will definitely help you cut through the mix, most likely at a lower volume. I swapped my Marshall tube amp for a L3m (to finish the whole dream rig thing) and I have found it WAY sweeter. I cut through the mix better and the tone is more transparent to my ears. I probably didn't need the extra power the L3 delivers though- it's insanely loud- an L2 would have done the job.

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Yeah. The problem definitely goes deeper than boosting my mids on the amp eq though. I've owned many amps. And I'm a pretty basic setup type of guy. I don't use a lot of effects. And I've never had this problem. I could jack the mids and treble (and trust me I've tried this) and cut the bass on my current setup and it still doesn't cut through even at ridiculous sound levels. I tried using the mid focus eq and it works to a certain extent but I have to tinker with it a little more. But point is, with other amps I've used I've never had to use an eq to cut through the band. I'm pretty sure the problem lies in what was mentioned before about the pa speaker being built mainly for voice or for loud club music. There's a really extreme mid frequency cut in it. I think when I can swing it financially, I'll be switching to the stage source speaker.

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Yeah. The problem definitely goes deeper than boosting my mids on the amp eq though. I've owned many amps. And I'm a pretty basic setup type of guy. I don't use a lot of effects. And I've never had this problem. I could jack the mids and treble (and trust me I've tried this) and cut the bass on my current setup and it still doesn't cut through even at ridiculous sound levels. I tried using the mid focus eq and it works to a certain extent but I have to tinker with it a little more. But point is, with other amps I've used I've never had to use an eq to cut through the band. I'm pretty sure the problem lies in what was mentioned before about the pa speaker being built mainly for voice or for loud club music. There's a really extreme mid frequency cut in it. I think when I can swing it financially, I'll be switching to the stage source speaker.

Stagesource certainly did it for me. It was a hefty lay out for me too but I'm glad I did it!

 

Good luck.

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Do you use the stage source in the "guitar" mode or sometbing else?

In general I use electric guitar mode. In theory you should use the PRE amp models (without cab emulation) in this mode but I also use full amp models on a couple of patches and they still sound great. If you have a variax the acoustic guitar mode sounds fantastic.

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In general I use electric guitar mode. In theory you should use the PRE amp models (without cab emulation) in this mode but I also use full amp models on a couple of patches and they still sound great. If you have a variax the acoustic guitar mode sounds fantastic.

 

Where is it documented that when using an HD500 or HD500x with an L2 or L3 in ELECTRIC Guitar mode that ideally you should only use the PRE amp models? I thought that the PRE models were designed for use with the DTxx amps, because the DTxx amps provide an analog power section so you don't need a modelled power amp, just the pre-amp.  I thought that the Stagesource speakers just provided some DSP speaker modes - I wasn't aware that they provide modelled power amp section to work with HD500 modelled pre-amps.  However, I think they provide a 2x12 speaker cab emulation when in ELECTRIC GUITAR mode - so my understanding was that you could opt to have NO CAB on an HD500 patch and still get a good usable sound.   I know there are no rules when creating your own tone and that perhaps to some people, a PRE model will sound better than a FULL Model running into a Stagesource speaker, but I would have thought that the FULL model would have been the one to start with when running into a powered speaker, even a Stagesource speaker.  

Please point me at the thread or doc that is recommending PRE models when in ELECTRIC Guitar mode for an L2x or L3x ?  I would be interested in the rationale behind the recommendation. 

Thanks.

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Try them all, and use whichever you like best. That's the best recommendation.

 

Where is it documented that when using an HD500 or HD500x with an L2 or L3 in ELECTRIC Guitar mode that ideally you should only use the PRE amp models? I thought that the PRE models were designed for use with the DTxx amps, because the DTxx amps provide an analog power section so you don't need a modelled power amp, just the pre-amp. I thought that the Stagesource speakers just provided some DSP speaker modes - I wasn't aware that they provide modelled power amp section to work with HD500 modelled pre-amps. However, I think they provide a 2x12 speaker cab emulation when in ELECTRIC GUITAR mode - so my understanding was that you could opt to have NO CAB on an HD500 patch and still get a good usable sound. I know there are no rules when creating your own tone and that perhaps to some people, a PRE model will sound better than a FULL Model running into a Stagesource speaker, but I would have thought that the FULL model would have been the one to start with when running into a powered speaker, even a Stagesource speaker.

Please point me at the thread or doc that is recommending PRE models when in ELECTRIC Guitar mode for an L2x or L3x ? I would be interested in the rationale behind the recommendation.

Thanks.

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