PodXT Live Tips and Tricks – The Gear Page:

I’ve divided it into five sections: tweaks on the PodXT Live unit itself, amplifiers that have worked particularly well, specific pedals people have used with the XTL, tips on creating tones, and finally links to various tone bundles.

  • XTL Tweaks: (Most of this comes from Scott P)
    • Use “Combo Poweramp” output mode to turn off mic/AIR sims
    • Try using the post eq to roll off the highest freq (9.3 k) by a few dB’s. This does a good job of taming the fizz on the distorted amp tones.
    • Use whatever amp you want to, but use the “Line 6 212” cab sim. It’ll sound bright at first basically no matter what cab sim you were using before. Then adjust the knobs on the amp model and use your ears.
    • Set the reverb to “chamber” and the other parameters at 30/30/30 and mix in about 5% on heavier stuff and more on lighter OD and cleans to taste.
    • Global EQ (from MLT): Basic Low/Hi Rolloff | 50Hz -3.0db | 70Hz 0db | 4800Hz 0db | 7500Hz -3.0db |
    • From epluribus: I like a chorus rate of .08Hz, depth at around 45%, and about 10-20% wet/dry. Exceedingly subtle if all you do is listen like you’re auditioning an A/B shootout in a stereo. But try this and listen instead for what it does to your imaging onstage. Something about it kind of makes the amp materialize in an eerily 3D way.
  • Amplification:
    • Crate Powerblock, EQ set to -20db lows, 480hz mid-focus, and -20db highs
    • Atomic 50-112, EQ set to -10db bass, 800Hz mid focus, and flat highs
    • Roland Cube, EQ set to -20db bass, 480Hz mid, -20db high
    • Tech 21 Power Engine
    • Full range powered PA speakers such as Mackie SRM450’s, JBL EON G2, and QSC HPR122
  • Pedals:
    • (Scott P) Radial Dragster to “load” the pickups properly. “Basically I use a humbucker on full, then roll the knob from “less” to “more” until I hear it crushing the signal. Then I back off till I don’t hear it at all and that’s my setting. What I find is that it really lets the single coil pickups retain life and volume compared to without the Dragster.”
  • Creating tones:
    • Scott Peterson model: “You have to do it at volume, less than 85db and it won’t work at volumes needed to gig with. Pick an amp model and shut off everything else. Use the default cab to start. Then put the knobs all at noon. Start playing and adjusting, using your ears more than your eyes. Once I get somewhere I like, I then try different cab models. Then I build from there. I tend to leave the volume up 100% on the Atomic. I set the output level on the back of the XTL to “Line” and crank it all the way up, then I set the output level of the patch using the channel volume in the preset. I use clean single coil presets to establish the overall max volume I’ll set the patches for, and then adjust all the higher gain humbucker stuff to match those volumes (my guitars are S/S/H).”
    • Removing Fizz, (epluribus): The first reaction to looking for lost detail is to crank the treble. That’ll get ya to fizz land in a hurry. Pushing up the Presence control is somewhat more forgiving, but it usually doesn’t address the root problem either. In either case, if you’re pushing a skewed EQ curve into distortion, you get exaggerated dirt and compression in the boosted parts, magnifying them, but those lost details stay lost. The culprits are several, depending on the rig, usually related to gain structure and signal degradation, IMHO, DSP being no exception. The first thing I look at is the guitar–will the pups and the setup cut through in the first place? Trying to get detail out of a bad setup, bad wiring, dirty strings, or an errant knob tempts people to try to “invent” detail later down the line. Ick. (IME, digital modellers are especially sensitive to setups that don’t cut through. I use slightly hotter setups for modelling rigs. Hence, I think, Scott’s experience with Radial Drag–theory is that DSP doesn’t load the pups right. Long suspected that. Gotta try one.)Comp pedals, or the comp FX in a modeller, can sap detail bigtime if the attack parameters are set “wrong.” (“Wrong” unless you have good reason for wanting them that way.) I often tell guys to think of attack parameters on comps as the “Detail” controls, because a lot of those pick sounds, percussives of all kinds, attack harmonics, and nuances of all sorts happen in the very early part of the note, IMHO. Easing up the squash of the compressor in the early going will let those details cut through–though now you have to watch the loud peaks and transients – which, conversely should be less problematic because the treble isn’t cranked up anymore. I always back the EQ on the guitar channel off about one notch at 2500Hz to keep the peaks and highs in line. Works great if you got a stout signal to work with.

      In amps of all sorts, DSP included, but especially the hi-gain variety, at demanding volumes, I see guys boost the bass and mid-scoop the daylights out of an amp wondering where all their bass went. My impression of the problem is that often the power section simply can’t produce the power it takes to put out that much bass, and everything fizzles when it runs out of gas–including the details. So now we crank the treble and presence, trying to reinvent the lost parts of the signal, trying to add boost to an EQ band when the amp doesn’t have any boost left in it. Flabby bass, blurry dirt, treble-screechy indistinct details–fizzy mid-scoop.

      The problem can usually be fixed by backing the bass off considerably and boosting the mids, which paradoxically sounds like tight bass. (Backing the volume off a bit can also help focus the amp, especially the small blackface types.) Once the power supply can keep up, the articulate grit and the details come back, so you can back off the treble as well, killing the fizz.

      Strangely enough, I’ve seen several modellers that model this behavior faithfully, including the Pod, the VAmp, and the CyberTwin, and they’ll just as faithfully fizzle if pushed too hard. IMHO, pushing a CyberTwin too hard, harder than you’d push a real amp, is the number one reason people say they’re “harsh.” Some of Fender’s presets are pushed crazy out of the box–doesn’t help. Bonus points if the Input Trim is set too cold, letting the littlest detail parts of the signal fall out of the amp’s range of “hearing.”

      Crucial for guys with pure DI DSP, mis-set gain on a channel strip on the board will often eat detail as well, and remember that notch at 2500Hz? Turns into a one-notch boost when guys start looking for that extinct detail, the channel still sounds muddy, and now it’s harsh and fizzy. Ouch. I refuse to sacrifice a stout, detailed signal anyplace in the chain, and mix all my levels with my faders, not my gain knobs. (Or pads. This is also why I normalize all my patches before a show, so my FOH’s gain settings don’t get trashed.) DSP with weak gain at the mixer will disappear in a big mix, IME–another gripe about digital. But the problem gets multiplied if the channel EQ screeches as well.

    • For Clean Boost (from MLT): Instead of the compressor for clean boost, I use Effects Boost + EQ set like this:| Gain | 70% | Bass 50% | Treb 50% | Mid 70% | Midfreq 46% |
  • Links to tone bundles:

~ by headcaver on June 16, 2009.

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