HD500X just not doing EJ tones that well for me

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by armanHammer, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. armanHammer

    armanHammer Member

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    Disclaimer: POD is not a bad product overall, this is all subjective and I wouldn't necessarily recommend against it.

    Eric Johnson is, not surprisingly, my tone idol. My rig is:

    CIJ '57 RI Strat w/Texas Specials (middle pup tone wired to bridge pup) -> Tube Driver w/bias knob -> T.C. Electronic Flashback x4 delay (in FX loop) -> 500X -> Sony MDR7506 headphones [mostly bedroom use for now]

    Of course, using the Fender Twin and Marshall 100W Plexi models on the POD, and I've done deep editing (mics, sag, bias, bias excursion, etc.,) experimented with choruses (honestly just disappointing, all of them,) delays (ok, I guess) and 'verbs (disappointing, but the '63 Spring is ok,) and tried all the other amp models.

    Trust me, I've experimented a TON with different settings. None of the sounds are *that* bad, but the lead tone sounds fizzy and lacks clarity, and the clean tone lacks shimmer. The EQ curves seem a bit "off" too (I've tried the Preamp/EQ section, but when you're starting with bad tone there's no fixing it.)

    Now, the inevitable question: Would I really notice THAT much of a difference upgrading to Fractal or Kemper?

    Should I get lower output neck and middle pups? Put an HS2 or 3 in the bridge to tighten up lead tones?

    Try the Giggity Pedal?

    Run the rig through a nice tube preamp and/or compressor and mixer?

    I can't think of much else. Strat, Tube Driver, Twin, Plexi, Delay, Verb should equal EJ, right? It gets CLOSE.

    Am I expecting too much of modeling? My favorite tones of EJ's are of course Cliffs, SRV, Manhattan, and all of the new album, especially Gem, On the Way (clean tones on the POD get nowhere close, but am I being unfair?,) the lead tone in Arithmetic, the clean Plexi tone in A Change Has Come to Me.

    Thoughts? Am I being too hard on modeling?
     
  2. guitargod2u

    guitargod2u Member

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    may sound crazy but the truth is tone is in the fingers. Any video I see of ej he sounds like ej. I seen him play at guitar center through a golden cello and he sounded like ej. Through a fender gdec sure enough sounded like ej.
     
  3. drgonzoguitar

    drgonzoguitar Member

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  4. stratamania

    stratamania Member

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    One of the things that the HD500X cannot do is load speaker IRs and those represent a good proportion of a modelled tone.

    You could try a Two Notes torpedo C.A.B with the HD500 to add the capability.

    Or an Axe FX dependent on budget.
     
  5. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    maybe a modeler isn't for you, too. Consider that.
     
  6. bsuite

    bsuite Supporting Member

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    Gee, Eric could have saved a lot of money by just playing through a crate amp and an SX guitar. :dunno
     
  7. guitargod2u

    guitargod2u Member

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    op is talking about a hd500x. Should he have just saved his money and bought ej's exact rig? Oh wait that would cost him more money. EJ can sound like EJ with a crate and sx, both which from my exp. with crate and agile guitars which sold from same vendor as sx guitars sound/feel fine.

    Not everyone on TGP has doctor/lawyer salary where we can waist it on expensive gear choices. IMO i think the HD500x is capable of doing it along with other multi fx processers its just finding the right settings to make it work.
     
  8. rufedges

    rufedges Member

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    There is some truth to the "Tone is in the fingers" argument, however, you are being unrealistic to think you are going to be able to take the cheap shortcut and get EJ tone from the HD500. I recommend try Lincoln Brewster's main patch on L6 custom-tone for something close (by: geekydaddy, turn down the gain some though), and I am sure EJ can sound fairly close to his signature sounds with other gear, but EJ's rig is about as far from a modeler as you can get. That, and the POD is 500 bucks, vs. EJ's rig is EASILY over 10G's, and that is on the conservative side, considering he has a Dumble in there for his crunch tone. Besides being a phenom, monster player who can do things w/ a guitar I have never seen before, EJ doesn't even use power supplies and uses only batteries in his Analog pedals, to include pedal placement on the board, even uses specific batteries, and many other nuances. 3 different set of amps for his 3 main sounds...............You can't expect to buy a Subaru BRZ and be able to hang with a GT-R........you will get some performance and thrills out of the BRZ, but not only do you have to have the skills of the professional race car driver, you have to pony up for the real car as well. That, and there is only one EJ, if seen a few youtube videos of some folks that are pretty close to his tone/skills, but I'm not one of those prodigy's either. I've tried to nail the EVH and SRV tone and playing over the years to no avail, resigned myself to sounding like me, which gets better every year.
     
  9. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    With an AxeII I think you could get 95% of the way there. But I could have told you before you bought the HD500x that you wouldn't be 100% satisfied if you're a tone Nazi. I had an HD500 for a while and it paled in comparison to my Eleven Rack. The quality of sound is just Better to my ears and I was a big Line 6 fanboy before I got the 11r. That said, the Eleven Rack doesn't have the effects you need to create a proper EJ patch either and even if it did, I doubt you would be as satisfied as you hoped to be. EJ has some crazy ears. Someone in another thread I read long ago said that he had his Strat re-fretted a while back and when he got it back he asked his tech if it was re-fretted with his specific fret wire. The tech said it was, but EJ knew something was up so his tech called Dunlop (I think) and low and behold they had changed the metallic makeup of the fret wire he used. They had some of the old stuff laying around and sent it out for another refret and all was right with the world.

    Another thought though is to amplify the HD500x properly. When I had a PodX3 I ran it into an old Atomic Reactor and it sounded amazing. The Atomic Reactors were designed specifically to work with the PodXT and PodX3's. When I got the HD500 it sounded wrong through the Atomic Reactor, it just didn't work. My big suggestion here is to pick up a Line 6 Stagesource monitor as it was designed to work very well with the HD500's. When you amplify the Line 6 stuff the right way it seems to be a lot more forgiving and sound quite a bit better than when your just running it through studio monitors or some random power amp to a cab. I think you will definitely be able to get a sound much closer to what you're looking for that way than you are getting now.
     
  10. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    Oh man, I just noticed that you're using headphones. I don't care what modeler you have, even the AxeII sounds like s**t through headphones. Amplify it any other way, hell hook it up to computer speakers, and it will sound 100 times better, especially the HD500x. Start there.
     
  11. kevinpmajka

    kevinpmajka Supporting Member

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    The pod stuff sounds bad through headphones. Even plugging it into a mixer and doing headphone out of the mixer would sound better. The headphone impedance is bad out of the Pod.
     
  12. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Silver Supporting Member

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    I run out of the HD500 into a Focusrite 2i4 audio interface and into headphones. Sounds great that way. Running out the L and R xlr outputs into the two channels of the 2i4 makes the stock dual amp patches just absolutely blow my mind.
     
  13. jdalf

    jdalf Member

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    Could be a brighter strat would have some extra zing to get closer to his tones. I havent played a Kemper or Axe-FX but based on what I've heard there would be "that" much difference, good grief I've heard drool down both sides tones, lol.

    There are some good tips here if you havent seen this, James is using analog stuff to get there, but you could try matching tones with your HD, also good seeing how he builds EJ tones.

     
  14. rufedges

    rufedges Member

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    This guy's got the tone pretty close..... My point exactly, this guy has literally purchased most of the stuff EJ actually uses, there is no way you are getting even this close to actual EJ tone with a modeler, especially the HD500 (which is my unit, I love it, but it has it's limitations). I don't have any experience w/ the AXE II, I did have a Kemper for a about a week and returned it. See if anyone has the EJ tone from an AXE on Youtube, but probably unlikely. You want EJ tone, you are going to have to buy the the multiple amps and analog pedals....I can't imagine having to lug that stuff around for a gig, no way.

     
  15. dmbandtimmy

    dmbandtimmy Member

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    I disagree. I bet you can get this tone out of an Axe-FX for sure and likely a Kemper.

    It just reminds me of how fortunate we are to have these tools available. Looks at that wall of gear! We can have all of that conveniently in a 2 space rack!! Love it!

    If I didn't have a ton of football to watch, I'd try to duplicate that tone with my axe standard or Kemper. I bet I could come pretty dang close. I took Friday off, so I'll try to do it then and I'll record it direct with no processing...
     
  16. aizenx

    aizenx Member

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    Sorry guys but I have to respectfully disagree. I have an HD 500 and I can easily get EJ tones without a problem. I will agree that technique is a very big part of it, but you can get there without buying vintage gear. It's not THAT elusive of a tone. You need a moderate amount of gain, a darker Plexi-ish tone, a soaring reverb & a little bit of analog delay. Technique takes care of the rest.

    The thing with modelers is that you have to take the actual time to dial them in. You don't approach it the same way since modeling is a little bit different than the actual parts. So you need to think in an unconventional way and use your ears to come up with the tones rather than your eyes. I laugh when guys chime in with their whopping one week of "experience" and say its "impossible."

    What I mean is you may not dial-up a tube driver, a Marshall Plexi, and echoplex delay in the HD 500 and nail his tone. You might even go with a different type of amp and overdrive altogether, i.e. One that works better with YOUR gear and guitars.

    I'll record some examples and prove it if I need to, but i've been able to nail pretty much all of my tube amps tones without too much trouble. I will say that I've been working with modeler for over 15 years so that does make it easier, but still if you are persistent, you can easily get the tones you're after.
     
  17. InkStained

    InkStained Member

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  18. aizenx

    aizenx Member

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  19. nicolasrivera

    nicolasrivera Member

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    Exactly!.... EJ tone is in the finges, yes, but he is a very meticulous person when it comes to his tone and hardly the HD500 will give you such flexibility to achieve virtually what he is doing on the floor and amp.

    Get and Axe FX II and learn COD note by note, then you will sound like him, just like this dude did.

     
  20. aizenx

    aizenx Member

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    Not true dude. I have an Axe and the HD500. Both will work just fine. Is it a little more work to get the tone with the HD500? Yes, but it still is plenty flexible enough to nail the tone.

    Sure the "boutique" or more expensive stuff may sound better out of the box, but once tweaked, there is very little difference if you know what you are doing.

    I mean, case in point. Joe Bonamassa easily gets some of the best EJ style tones from his rig and he is now using (Oh No!) DSL's. I mean c'mon, you don't need a Dumble guys.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014

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