Plan B, Re-amping and POD HD

There are a number of things I’ve recently noticed working with the POD HD, but the biggest one that’s jumped out at me is how dynamic the guitar gain is now.

For example:  with POD Farm, I can dial in a good tone but rolling down my volume doesn’t really affect the timbre of the signal.  While the volume lowers it’s tonally the same.

With the Pod HD, if I have a distorted track and back off the gain – it acts more like a tube amp does and cleans up a little.  My go to Marshall rhythm sound right now is a JTM-45 with the volume rolled off about 20 %.  It’s a really useful function.

I was thrown for a small loop when I went to track some Rough Hewn Trio tunes last week.  I had eq’d and set everything up for miking an amp but when we went to go track it, Craig preferred DI’ing the POD instead.  As the Atomic Amp I use (more info below) colors the sound (less highs and more bass), the tweaking I had done to dial in the tones with the amp was now resulting in some tones that were not happening in the headphones.

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Lesson 1:  Be willing to take your own advice!! 

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Back in the Laptop Guitar rig/AU Lab posts – I had talked about the necessity for setting up multiple guitar tones for multiple occasions.  I had gotten a little tunnel visioned on how we were going to track and in doing so forgot to set up direct signals.  Lesson learned.

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Lesson 2:  Whenever possible,  have a plan B.
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It’s difficult to track something if you’re not happy with the tone.  Also, until you’re actually tracking things – it’s often difficult to know how your tone is going to fit into the mix overall.  With both of those observations in mind, I try to track things with a dry signal (i.e. un-affected) as well.  This has 2 advantages:

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  1. I can get a tone happening that I like and am comfortable with.  If it’s a solo, this might be a take with some verb and delay to fill out the tone.  but that specific tone might not work in the mix.
  2. If that tone doesn’t end up working in the track, I have a duplicate performance recorded as a dry signal that I can re-amp.

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For those of you not familiar with that term, re-amping is the process of running a pre-recorded guitar signal through an amplifier (or modeller) and recording it.  It’s often done to “punch up” lethargically timbred guitar tones.  In this case, it’s a tonal safety net in case the tone doesn’t end up working down the road.

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Splitting the signal – the easy way

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The easiest way to do this is to get an ABY Box.  I like the Radial Bigshot.  It sells for about $80 but it’s really well-built and should last you forever.

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Run your guitar into the ABY box input.

Run one line out to the modeller and one line into a mic pre.  Then run the modeller to the amp or to the DAW via USB.

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Note:

For those of you with a SPDIF in – the POD HD can send an unaffected signal through SPDIF as well.  See the POD manual for details.

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When I track this way, I just mute the direct guitar signal and monitor with the FX’d track.  Most DAWs have plenty of tracks.  But the danger of recording wet signal is that if it doesn’t work in context – there’s no way to un-affect it.

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To re-amp with the POD HD:

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The way I use – involves running a signal out of the DAW into the 1/4″ POD input and then running the processed signal back out of the POD (via the 1/4″ out) and recording it on an empty track on the DAW.

As a variation, you could assign the POD as your audio drive and send the track via usb to the pod and re-amp it by cabling the mono out to the guitar in. (Big thanks to Line 6 Don for this suggestion – you can see his steps here.)

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That’s all for now!! 

Thanks for reading!

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-SC

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GEAR

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