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HD500 Direct?
by tdollaway on 2012-02-14 10:22:01.7560

A couple questions about the HD500:

1) I just bought an HD500 and am thinking about running direct to our mixing console. Is this a viable option, or is running though the FX return on my 5150 II a better option? The reason I ask is because I bought the HD to basically replace my half/full stack when I play smaller venues.

2) So far I haven't been able to come up with any tones that really grab my attention. The high end seems to really stand out compared to my 5150 II. I'm currently going back and forth from a pair of studio headphones and a full range Mackie powered monitor for mixing purposes. I've read Meambobbo's guide and got some really good tips for the eq, but haven't found anything that has the depth that my current rig. Any tips? Anything?

Re: HD500 Direct?
by TheRealZap on 2012-02-14 10:26:44.8250

you can use it direct... you will probably need different output modes in order for the sound to be acceptable...

might be an area to look at for your other concerns as well.

Re: HD500 Direct?
by tdollaway on 2012-02-14 10:30:33.0020

Output options as in studio/direct vs the combo or full stack options? Currently I'm using the studio/direct output.

Re: HD500 Direct?
by TheRealZap on 2012-02-14 10:34:46.1290

yes those output options... studio direct is the best setting for going direct... but if you are using that with your amp... you're feeding the amp a mic emulation that may not sound that great...

its all subjective though... so if you like what you are hearing... run with it... regardless of what mode it says.

Re: HD500 Direct?
by tdollaway on 2012-02-14 11:02:22.6080

I've only had it for about a week. I was hoping to be able to just run direct to our board and use the Mackie as my own reference monitor. If I can get some good tones, I'll be keeping it. If not, it's back to stompbox tapdancing for me...

Re: HD500 Direct?
by trippy on 2012-02-14 11:41:42.4610

For many years I'm running 2 setups:

  1. Pure tube setup, currently a TriAxis with Mesa 2:90 and 2 Mesa cabs (the god of sound!)
  2. Pure digital setup, currently an HD500.

Since day1 of heaving the 500 (more than a year now) I connected it in the rehearsals straight to the mix and out to the PA in stereo, the sound is not less than f#$%ing perfect!

I don’t lose the Ping-Pong / liquid stereo chorus, everybody in the band get "a piece of me" the way he wants it in his monitor, no one shout to me "turn the volume down".

It is a blast!

I have in the studio a TSL half stack and a fireball half stack and a devil, I don’t use any! Now the other guitarist in my band got himself an HD500 as well and he goes direct as well.

HD500 direct = the perfect way!

Re: HD500 Direct?
by tdollaway on 2012-02-14 11:56:22.0560

This is good to know that it can be done. Definitely gives me some piece of mind.

Re: HD500 Direct?
by danerada on 2012-02-17 10:16:33.7970

I would also add - make sure you are using the full amp model when running direct and the amp pre when running through your amp...I find that when I set the Pan to the center, input 1 Guitar, Input 2 Variax (Actually I do this for all of my patches) gets me the best results.

Re: HD500 Direct?
by meambobbo on 2012-02-17 11:31:52.7160

There's pros and cons each way.  LET'S MAKE A LIST!!!!

1) through your half stack:

  pros: good sound quality, easier to tweak, don't need to rely on sound man or quality of PA

  cons: more stuff to carry, more stage space, directionality of speakers - different parts of audience will hear different tone, difficulty to monitor across whole stage, confined to mono tones, may have to deal with mic'ing your rig

2) direct to PA:

  pros: easy to carry, can adjust monitoring across entire stage, retain stereo tones (maybe), no mic'ing necessary, small stage space required

  cons: have to use onboard cab/mic sims which don't sound as good as real speakers IMO, can be more difficult to dial in, you look less badass without a lot of speakers behind you

With enough tweaking I've found tones high enough quality that I'd trust running direct.  Plus I HATE carrying lots of heavy stuff, and I HATE speaker directionality.  So my choice is on direct, but keep in mind that you'll probably have to spend more time tweaking to get your direct tones to sound as good as your tones through your amp.

If you do go direct, don't tweak your patches in your headphones or through computer speakers at normal to medium volume, then show up to the gig and expect the tones to sound great through a PA.  Tweak them through PA gear at high volume, preferably in a band mix.  Don't rely just on sound check to dial in all your patches - if they all sound too ___, you won't have enough time to tweak them all.  If sound check is the only time you'll have to dial in your tone cranked with the band through a PA, make 2 or 3 setlists that are copies of your main setlist but with all your tones tweaked to be a bit brighter or darker or more midsy.  Then at sound check just pick the setlist that sounds best and tweak a little from there.

Re: HD500 Direct?
by tdollaway on 2012-02-27 11:42:03.0730

I gigged with it for the first time this weekend. Ran direct into the board, and used the powered Mackie for stage monitoring. Sounded way better than I had expected and had to do very little tweaking to get some believable tones. And the sound guy was much happier not having a half stack throwing tons of mid-range frequencies at him from the stage. Thanks for all the info guys!

Re: HD500 Direct?
by tdollaway on 2012-02-27 11:44:02.0170

That is exactly how I set my patches up. Good to know I'm on the right path!

Re: HD500 Direct?
by meambobbo on 2012-02-27 13:05:51.2210

sweet - good to hear

Re: HD500 Direct?
by jpoprock on 2012-02-28 12:54:59.5110

I've ran it both ways, and for the reasons above.. prefer to a power amp>2x12 set up. I run my HD500 to an old Alesis RA100 reference monitor, mono, then into a 2x12 Avatar cab w/ two diff Celestions. I can dial in my tones much easier becuase I know once it's mic'd it's going to sound pretty darn close to what I'm heae,

Going direct is fine too, but you have to trust what your source is while dialing in your tones. If you're using headphoens, they'd better be REALLY good becuase your tone can sound HORRID if you use poor quality headphones. Once it hits the board, it's up to the soundman to deal with your tone, and if he's a really good soundman, he'll get it. if he's just "ok", you can count on your tone being fairly bad. Esp in a big room. The BEST way to go direct is to sit at the soundboard in the room, and dial in your unit from the board. That way you know exactly what it's going to sound like. If you go from room to room, it can be tricky and time consuming.

So, using the power amp into a cab is great because it's consistant, but a lot more to drag around.

that's my 2 cents anway.

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