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HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 05:11:05.3540

Long story short:

  • I'm replacing my entire rig with the HD500.
  • I tried running the HD500 through the power amp yesterday into my cab and it sounded like ass (guitar > HD500 > Velocity 300 > Randall cab).

What did I do wrong?

  • I checked all connections.
  • All cables are good.
  • I cycled through all output types on the HD500.
  • I tried outputting from the Unbalanced 1/4inch out to the power amp.
  • I tried outputting from the headphone out to the power amp.
  • I tried different guitars.

At home, I've been configuring my HD500 by going into a Spider amp - sounds fine. I came home from the rehearsal studio yesterday and ordered a Gainiac preamp (jumped the gun).

Again, what did I do wrong?

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by tommasi on 2011-05-12 05:16:35.3220

THe spider amp being a modeling amp, I expect it features a full-range speaker, unlike most guitar amps. It is to be expected for the tones to be different when changing rig that way. Still, you should be able to get a decent tone out of your rig, especially when using the appropriate output mode (you say you've tried them all).

The first thing I'd suggest is not to expect the tones created on headphones or very differen equipment from the one you're planning to use live to sound the same on your rig. You should really create the patches on your specific rig as a general rule. PA's don't vary as much, in response, as guitar cabinet and power amps. Apatr from this, can you detail a little better what was wrong with your tone?

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 05:29:43.5770

Just to clarify, when I say "sounds like ass" what I mean is: completed mushed and overdriven sound - like blasting the volume on a set of headphones and trying to hear it from across the room. Like the source is overdriven, but with not enough power.

  • I arrived at the studio with multiple batches of tones configured accordingly: a "preamp" batch with cab emulation, a "preamp" batch without cabs, a "full" batch with cabs, a "full" batch without cabs.
  • I was going to experiment with the batches and find which sounded best - I expected to run into some that sounded pretty bad and yet across the board, I seemed to be getting a signal issue - not tone.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by jasonbogen on 2011-05-12 06:53:04.0100

Do you have the 1/4" out switch nexts to the expression pedal set to AMP? 

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 06:59:36.3700

I switched between both to see if there was a change. There was none.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by jasonbogen on 2011-05-12 07:03:46.2200

That may not have solved your problem, but it is impossible that it wouldn't change things.  I guess it was so bad that the difference was unnoticeable.  Where do you have the master volume set?

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by slothrop1234 on 2011-05-12 07:13:06.8550

If you can't figure it out maybe you can post one of your patches and someone can try it?

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 07:45:09.3660

It's safe to say that it's not the patch(es). The blank "new tone" patches also sound like garbage. I'm beginning to think that there's something wrong with the power amp. The signal is just so weak and strained.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by jasonbogen on 2011-05-12 07:57:27.5230

Do you have the HD500 master volume up all the way?  It should be at or near max for the best signal to noise ratio.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by Nick_Mattocks on 2011-05-12 07:58:01.2410


I'm not familar first hand with the Rocktron Velocity 300, but I am very familiar with the Spider Valve and several other tube amps from Line 6, Marshall and Mesa Boogie as well as a number of solid state amps.

From what you have said, your experience with the HD500 and the Spider Valve power amp section pretty much echoes what I would expect from a normal guitar amp's power amp section too, so with minor variations between 'normal' guitar amps I'd say that what you hear from your Spider Valve is pretty much correct. The Spider Valve combo amps use a typical guitar speaker (Celestion Vintage 30) which has a pretty strong character of its own rather than being a flat response speaker like perhaps a Celestion G12K100 might be.

I have downloaded the manual for the Rocktron Velocity 300 power amp and taken a look through it.

This amp appears to be 'pre-amp ready' which to me means LINE level ready, and that being the case, with your HD500's 1/4" outputs being connected to the Velocity's inputs with the HD500 output mode set to Stack Pwr Amp and the AMP/LINE switch being set to LINE you should be in the right ball-park for the Rocktron to act like any other guitar power amp which is powering 4x12 guitar cabs - admittedly you might want to play a little bit with Cab modelling on or off to see which gets you your preferred sound, but pretty much with a normal amp you'd be nearly there bar minor tweaks here and there.

OK - the Rocktron Velocity 300 isn't quite a standard or 'normal' power amp from what I can tell.   It has Definition Controls to help your sound not to get lost in the mush of a mix.  For what Rocktron term 'Full definition' those controls need to be turned fully clockwise (100%), and for the Definition circuitry to be bypassed they need to be fully counter-clockwise (0%), so I would suggest that you need to have the Definition Controls for both channels turned all the way off (0%) for a more natural and expected sound.

You also have a couple of 'Reactance' controls which when turned right down (0%) do less to affect the output modelling than when they are turned up full (100%).

Finally you have a pair of Volume controls which will pretty much work as expected I guess.

So to recap, here's what I think should be the correct amp settings for the Rocktron (bearing in mind I don't have any experience with the Velocity 300)

Volume = anywhere between 0% and 100% - I'd probably start at somewhere around 25% and increase as necessary from there

Reactance = 0%

Definition = 0%

Then the HD500:

Outputs = 1/4" both (assuming you're not running the Rocktron in bridged output mode/mono or if you are running in mono use one 1/4" output only the same as you do with your SV)

AMP/LINE switch = LINE

Output Mode = Stack Pwr Amp

Amp Models = Probably PRE but maybe FULL for some presets depending on what you need to achieve

Speaker Cab Emulation = I'd try ON first - play with the actual cab model, AIR settings and Mic type, and then try with Cab Modelling OFF - basically whatever settings work with the SV should also work with the Rocktron and sound not a million miles away from each other.

Master Volume = 100% or near 100%

Other than that with the exception maybe of speaker phase issues, which could be caused by speaker cab modifications or cables that have been mis-wired (unlikely) I can't see why the Rocktron shouldn't give you excellent responses from your HD500.


Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by guitars69 on 2011-05-12 08:00:26.2260

Do you have a CD Player or MP3 player with line outs?  I would hook that up to the Velocity 300 and see if the same issue occurs.  If it does, obviously something is wrong with your power amp or cabinet.  If it does not, then it's something about your signal chain.

My chain would be set up as follows using your setup:

Guitar > instrument input on Pod HD500

Amp/effects simulation enabled and panned center (unless you're using the power amp in stereo)

Possibly use the cabinet simulation-possibly not

Set Pod HD500 to Stack Power Amp or whatever output you prefer

Set Pod HD to "Line" with the little toggle switch (the HD500 is outputting line level signal and your power amp is expecting line level as well)

HD500 1/4" output to Velocity 300 input

Velocity 300 output to cabinet at proper Ohm settings.

Turn the volume of the Velocity 300 all the way up.

Turn the master volume of the HD500 all the way down

Turn your guitar volume all the way up

Turn up the Volume pedal on the HD500

Slowly raise the HD500 Master Volume.

Does it sound ok when it's quiet?  Does it get bad when it's all the way up?  Make sure the HD500 isn't clipping the inputs on the Velocity 300.  if it is crap when it's loud, then turn down the HD500 volume until it cleans up and use the volume on the power amp to control your stage volume.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 08:11:28.5370


I'm going to try this again today. I kept Reactance and Definition both at 0 yesterday. I was just looking for a clean signal. I will double check again with your suggested settings, thanks.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 08:14:31.8130


Excellent suggestion! I didn't think to try this at all. I'm not sure which I prefer - a bum power amp or blown speakers. I'm going to try your suggestions to the T later today along with Nick's advice. Thanks.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-12 12:00:31.5030


Tested my iPhone with cable at home first - music player outputs fine, cable verified.

Went to the rehearsal space.

Ran separately through channels 1 and 2 on Velocity power amp, same low and garbled ouput.

Switched L/R output on each channel input / output as well as on stereo L/R inputs on cab, same garbled output.

Changed all settings on Velocity during tests, same output.

Final test ... using a different cable, ran output to my other guitar player's cab and repeated all switches, same output.

Verdict: bad power amp

Action: return / exchange

After I get my replacement power amp, I'm going to start the whole process over again. I'd like to thank everyone for their help. I'll update this thread when all is said and done. I've been doing lots of research into using the HD500 in live situations and have made the leap - giving up my Engl Powerball 100 and pedalboard setup. This forum has been very helpful. If things go well, I'll be happy to share my results here. Thanks again.

RE: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by darealagentp on 2011-05-13 10:03:47.3900

Let us know how your HD500 sounds through the replacement power amp, Kris.

Re: RE: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-18 16:16:44.6210

*** UPDATE ***

Finally received my replacement Velocity 300 Power Amp today along with the Line 6 G90. Went to the rehearsal studio. Finally, everything works.

I'll try not to give too long winded of an assessment concerning how things sounded, but I will preface my reaction with the fact that I've prepared for this for quite awhile. Metal guitar players like myself are searching for a pretty focused toolset when it comes to tone searching -  I spent weeks learning to use the HD500 before buying it and weeks after crafting my tones. Today after cycling through every patch I created (each individual one quadrupled with a cabless version, a full version with cab, full version without cab, center panned, etc.) as well as after exploring each patch with different POD output settings, my initial reaction is disappointment. Though more experimenting needs to be done, even the most solid tones I used still ended up sounding very flat in comparison to a tube amp setup. Perhaps the Velocity's solid state attempt at tube emulation is offsetting the tone to detriment. Pick response and tone clarity are solid through my Line 6 Spider at home - becoming muddy with this setup at higher volume. The best tones were the cabless versions I created.

This will be a work in progress. This is only my first impression. Thanks again to everyone for their help.

Signal chain: guitars (EMG 81/85) > Line6 G90 > POD HD500 (1/4 unbalanced outs L/R) > Rocktron Velocity 300 (stereo in L/R) > Randall 4x12 stereo cab (slanted)  

Previous setup: same guitars into Shure SLX w/ Engl Powerball 100, Keeley 4-knob Compressor, MXR Noise Gate, Boss Noise Suppressor, Boss Digital Reverb, VOX Wah, same cab

Music styling: in the vein of Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Shadows Fall, Pantera, Unearth

Re: RE: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by JoeIbanez on 2011-05-18 17:20:38.8980

Have you considered trying a tube power amp like the Carvin TS100 instead of the Velocity 300 Power Amp?

Re: RE: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-18 18:47:51.2820

Joe, I may have to look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by tighttritenight on 2011-05-18 18:55:45.7200

Please keep us up to date on your progress.  I'm interested in a setup like this myself.

Re: RE: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by glideman on 2011-05-18 18:59:25.4240

Bro, in addition to using my 60 watt custom built tube amp head (has regular preamp plus about 2 or 3 ways to go to the power amp), I also use mine with the older Atomic 2x12 60 watt full range tuber.  It is of course not 100% perfect full range, but it sounds great with any modeler I have used on it.

I see Fractal has newer Atomic amps that actually have a woofer and a tweeter and are supposed to be more full range/non-coloring.

It's a pain in the arse the first time you go modeler for sure...  Fortunately I started with a Tonelab SE and couldn't justify jumping on anything else until this came along.  I of course still have my buttload of pedals and a couple of other tube amps, but I rarely use them anymore.  I'm still dialing stuff in on my HD500, especially since the new update.  LoL

I hope it works out for you, bud.


Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by KrisVelasquez on 2011-05-28 12:13:06.0640


I replaced the Rocktron Velocity 300 with the Carvin TS100. Observations:

Rocktron - Very flat overall. Tube reproduction is not well represented via HD500 (regarding high gain metal tones). Best response was turning cab sims off and using PRE emulation.

TS100 - Tone still flat BUT opens up at higher volumes. Presence knob from 0-100 seems to affect tone only slightly.

Verdict: I'm sorry to report that the quest for solid, reponsive, and tight metal tones (everything ranging from Metallica, Pantera, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, and Periphery) using the HD500 through a power amp is thus far ... disappointing.

My goal was to achieve a versatile LIVE setup. I already know the POD's capabilities for direct recording. And the clean tones are solid both direct and through a power amp. Ultimately the HD500, while broad in its variety of high gain tones is still lacks the necessary headroom for the focused cutting tones of today's metal styles. In addition, the selection to achieve such tones is relatively small (I'm down to experimenting with only Treadplate and Uber). EQ sweep is week across the board regardless of which one is employed (even in combination). My plan now is to ... move forward. I'm going to continue experimenting but sadly, the question for me has been answered. My HD500 will be the midi floor controller for the Axe Fx Ultra.


Re: HD500 / Power Amp setup
by MerlinFL on 2011-12-24 13:10:51.7810

All new patches uploaded to CustomTone.  Something weird happened previously where all patches were the same.  This should no longer be the case.

Many of my favorites creations I've posted from everything from Acoustic guitars to classic clean and heavy electric tones for both 6 and 12-string guitars.

Hope they are useful to any who might check them out.  You can also go directly to them by searching under my ID.

Happy Holidays to all!!


The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.