Vetta – Live Use=Frustration – Please Help!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by ExtraStrength, Jun 7, 2005.


  1. ExtraStrength

    ExtraStrength Member

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    I have a Vetta combo with the long floorboard upgraded to Vetta II software and hardware by Line6. To date, I have been unable to use this device in a live band situation. I am posting here for comments and advice before giving up entirely.

    Background: I am a cover band hack, playing songs from the 50’s – to today. I cover a wide variety of genres country rock to hard rock. Artist covered include Neil Diamond, Metallica, Van Halen, Monkees, Avril Lavigne, Pat Benatar, G’n’R, Eagles, Skynyrd, Green Day, SR71, 3 Doors Down, etc. My current gigging combo is in the shop for repair so the Vetta has a chance to see some use.

    I embrace the concept of this all in one combo, recallable presets with decent sounding effects with lots of live flexibility using the long floorboard. I accept the differences in touch sensitivity between a tube amp and this recreation of a real amp. I can work around that.

    I can’t seem to make this amp sit in the mix of a band. Because I can’t “hear” the amp and thus my instrument at a volume that works at live band levels, it definitely affects my performance negatively. I need help! As a point of reference, I have similar problems, though not as severe, getting my mesa dual rectifier to sit properly in a band mix, and of course we know that this amp, at lower volumes with the gain maxed looses touch sensitivity.

    I have read the previous posts concerning the Vetta on this forum and currently lean towards the opinions expressed by LeonC. I don’t trust this amp live because I am not confident it will work in a live situation. I don’t want to spend the night tweaking and have my band mates complain that they can’t hear me when I am at the right volume and complaining I am too loud when they can hear me.

    I just saw Pat Benatar with Martina McBride on CMT last night. Neil Geraldo was using a line 6 vetta and it sounded fine and sat in the mix, popped out of the mix when he needed it to, came back down at the appropriate times. That’s really all I want the amp to do.

    I just saw this posting by Frankenstrat2 in another thread, <begin paste>“If you also have the Vetta, you can save all your presets including the guitar models, together with the amps and fx, and everything else, name them, store them, and call them up from the floorboard instantly.
    I'll tell you something- I did a fill in gig with a rock band a few months ago- the bass player from Zebra and a producer friend of mine. I didn't know how big or small the venue was, or the set list, or even what kind of stuff we'd be playing. I took the Vetta with my floorboard.
    It reminded me how good that amp can be if you have it tweaked right and know what your doing with it.
    And like the upcoming G-system-
    One amp, one floorboard, one cable. Fastest setup and packout I ever had”. <end paste>

    This begs the question, what don’t I know? I have talked to line6. Based on their recommendations I have turned off all simulations, and “no cabs” and selected some simple amp models like Marshall JCM 800, Soldano, DC30 etc. I also have downloaded live patches from the community forum at line 6. When I A/B the presets with a regular tube amp it is not even close. At this time, I wouldn’t dare try this with any of my projects.

    Maybe it is me? Maybe my ears, chops and playing aren’t good enough; if that is the case, then I will give up on this rig and move on. But . . . . . before I give up entirely, I hope to hear comments from this terrific forum of knowledgeable guitar players. All constructive comments will be appreciated. Thank you.

    Bruce
     
  2. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    Maybe you're trying to do too much with too many choices. Find *one* good sound that you like, and get it dialed in with the band. From there, create another good sound that works for you in the band setting. Repeat until you have a full set of presets.

    Really, it's just *not* going to work to sit down with the amp and build presets by yourself. You *have* to hear it in the context of the band.
     
  3. ExtraStrength

    ExtraStrength Member

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    David,

    Thanks for your reply. I have tried this method previously with one or two sounds but never got there. Most of my gigs these days are currently without rehearsal, so my opportunities for tweaking are limited. I need to be more confident in the sound before pulling out the Vetta with the band this time around.

    Bruce
     
  4. bjm007

    bjm007 Member

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    I've been a tube guy since the 60's.... but when it came out I bought a bunch of Line 6 gear - POD, POD 2, Vetta (all versions).......

    It was an interesting journey to learn how to tweak those amps. After about 3 years, I sold all of it. I actually got some good sounds out of it, but I just found that I liked tubes better.

    I think within about 3-5 years I think they will refine the technology to the point where it will be worth trying again, but for now, it just doesn't sound like my tube amps.........
     
  5. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I saw Neil Giraldo and Pat Benatar two summers ago...with Frankenstrat2! hahah. Ironic huh? heheh.

    He was using Flextones at the time and he sounded fantastic. There are basically two sounds that he uses...clean and dirty. I wouldn't be surprised if he only used one or two patches. The really big, big BIG difference between his performance situation and yours is that he's not using his amp to fill the room or even the stage. He's using a PA, monitors and a professional sound man to do that.

    So, I doubt if he has to do ANY tweaking whatsoever. He did NONE when we saw him. I remember him having the L6 floorboard on the floor too and he may have even used it...but I don't remember him using it.

    So, what did I glean from this and my experiences?

    1. Line 6 (and probably other DMAs) are capable of sounding extremely good live.

    2. You probably need to use it pretty much like a regular amp (i.e., no more than 1 or two patches).

    3. If you're not playing the same venue all the time, (hell, even if you are) you'll really benefit if you have a soundman controlling your sound and you're not relying completely on the amp's EQ.

    Really, I knew all that before I saw Neil that summer, but that experience helped solidify my feeling about it. The problem that I had is, if I was going to have an amp with a zillion features, damn, I wanted to use some of them :). Well...a lot of them.

    Finally...I wanted an amp that was more responsive to how I played. I had several tube amps at the time that were just WAY WAY WAY more responsive. The Vetta was an improvement over the earlier L6 technolgy in this regard...but it still didn't compare to the real thing. At least not for the way I play. If you can get by with as few sounds as Neil seems to, then maybe it'll work for you.
     
  6. Twangmeister

    Twangmeister Supporting Member

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    A trip to member Andy Z.'s website:

    www.instituteofnoise.com

    This is the home of the Line 6 users group, and Andy is a great guy and an amazing resource. He can help you, and if not, he can suggest who can.
     
  7. ExtraStrength

    ExtraStrength Member

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    Twangmeister: Thanks I will check out the URL.

    LeonC: I need three to four good sounds with the ability to boost the volume a notch for leads. I agree that most good tube amps are way more responsive to my playing than the vetta ever will be. I am not about to give up on them. I just think the vetta would be very useful with all the built in effects and easy setup.

    I don't have a soundman at almost any of my gigs but I do mic the amp to spread the sound. I agree that filling a room is different than using the PA, but if it sounds like **** going in it is going to sound like **** going out.

    My problem, patches I create or user/factory presets I modify or use straight, in my opinion don't compare to how Neil Geraldo sat in the mix (albeit, with a soundman to balance things out) or how a real amp sits in the mix. I have never felt the way Frankenstrat2 describes his experience. My sound just gets lost.

    I started this thread to make sure I'm not missing anything.

    Thanks for your replys.

    Bruce
     
  8. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Well then here is my advice re: patches and boost:

    1. Create your patches at performance volume. And equally important, test them with the band at a full-throttle rehearsal. If you can't do this, you're much less likely to get satisfaction from the Vetta.

    2. A good boost trick is to use a patch cable in the loop. Then set it up patches so you can engage the loop w/a boost in volume. I also seem to remember using the compressor as a clean boost for solos working out decently.
     
  9. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Dear ExtraStrength:

    What popped out of your post was 'dual rectifier' and not being able to get the amps (either one) to 'sit well in the mix.'

    My guess is you probably have the Recto EQ thing going which is a lot of low-end, not much in the midrange, and a razor sharp top end.

    *IF* this is the case, your guitar tone is competing with a bass guitar, a kick drum, toms, cymbals and high-hats. Bass guitar wins every time in that sonic space.

    In a live situation, you need a LOT more midrange, less low-end and infinitely less high-end than you think you need.

    A possible suggestion might be to dial in a stock marshall or Soldano patch on the Vetta and see what you get. Do NOT scoop the midrange out of the stock patch!

    dave

    dave
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>Finally...I wanted an amp that was more responsive to how I played. I had several tube amps at the time that were just WAY WAY WAY more responsive. The Vetta was an improvement over the earlier L6 technolgy in this regard...but it still didn't compare to the real thing. <<

    Here is why modeling amps fall short, in my admittedly personal opinion based on experience trying to record them and make them sound good:

    1. The leading edge of the waveform doesn't "cut"; the models don't quite replicate the speed and transient response of a tube, and the edge of the waveform (the picking or attack portion) isn't as defined. So the initial pick attack is just a tiny bit mushier, and the ear doesn't perceive the onset of the note as well, which causes the note to be "lost in the mix".

    2. The amp doesn't "bloom" the way a real tube (or even some solid state) amp does. Tubes are inherently fairly nonlinear devices, and they do their own special things. Beyond that, put several of them in a signal chain, and those special things are more difficult to model. There are just too many parameters on a real tube amp to adequately model with today's technology. So they tend to "feel" different when you play them.

    3. The models feel relatively stiff or static, because they can only do what they're programmed to do. But tubes are fairly chaotic in comparison, and what a given guitar player might do may not be taken into account by the model; your unique playing style might get a tube amp to respond in a certain way, and that response may or may not be programmed into the model. So there is a limitation in what they can do based on your unique style of play.

    This is not to say that modelling amps don't have their place; of course they do. But there will be compromises in working with them. There are also compromises in playing a real tube amp, and one of them is that you really have to play them loud to sound their best.
     
  11. Baba

    Baba Supporting Member

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    Number 1 is the best advice you can get IMO. It's very strange, modeling amps just sound/feel/whatever different when they are played loud and with a band.

    For No. 2, I just used to set my different patches at different volumes, my solo patch being the loudest.
     
  12. Slick51

    Slick51 Colonel Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    A big ditto on programming at end-state volume. I've used the L6 stuff since the first AxSys, through the POD XT Live. You can get decent sounds out of them, but they are not scalable, in my experience. The bedroom patches whimper and fade on stage. If you can't program at volume, I'd venture you'll sell it before ever finding it's strengths...

    Slick51
     
  13. pfrischmann

    pfrischmann Member

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    Things I've learned using racks, modelers and other complicated stuff over the years. FWIW...

    1. Tweak at live volumes with a band. I have never been able to use bedroom settings with a band. They just don't match up.

    2. Guitar lives in the midrange. I used to hear good players say this all the time. I came from the scooped "v" school and didn't get it until an engineer showed me one day.

    3. Get rid of the effects. They diffuse your sound and may make you get lost in the mix. Start dry and add as you go.

    4. Turn the gain down (more of an 80's thing). All that saturation and compression just squashes the tone and can cause it to get lost in the mix.

    5. Record. Take your tone and put it to tape (virtually these days) get it to a point that requires no post eq'ing. This really opened my ears. You have to mic the amp though. You wond get the same effect if you go direct unless that is how your audience will hear it live.

    IMHO.
     
  14. ExtraStrength

    ExtraStrength Member

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    Thank you all for the replies. I am going to try to respond to the group.

    I have tried twice to dial in the sounds at band volume, without the success I was looking for. Currently, I do not have regular rehearsal with a band, so I have limited opportunities to tweak. I have a project that still gets gigs, once or twice a month, with no rehearsal and I do fill in work for some other bands.
    In the gig situations I don't want to blow a performance. I am aware and agree that the bedroom volume patches just don't work

    Obviously, I would not be able to tweak at any auditions that may come up soon.

    It is very possible I did not have enough midrange in some of the patches, but I have used many of the Marshall amp patches with so-so results. I have tried all levels of gain.

    I agree the feel of the amp is wrong, and I can hear and feel it, that is not what is stopping me from using it. My inability to mix and match the level of the band is the main problem.

    Finally, I could not imagine just grabbing this amp and showing up to play, not with my current understanding of this amp. It may very well be that my ears perception of the sound is a big part of the problem.

    I will ask this of the forum and I don't know if this question is taboo in the digital modeling world. I stated earlier that I downloaded patches from the line 6 forum that the authors specifically claimed to design for live use. These patches did not give me any real improvement over what I had created before. I would be very interested in seeing the patches created by those of you who have had success with this amp in a band situation. Could any of you email some of the patches that are working for you? pfrischmann? Slick51? Baba? dave s?

    Finally, if Frankenstrat2 sees this I would be interested in his take also. He actually used the Vetta in a grab and go gig!

    Thanks again for your replies. This forum is very much appreciated.

    Bruce
     
  15. bluestein

    bluestein Member

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    Some things I've found....

    The Vetta can sound and feel as good as virtually any amp I've played through - but there is a learning curve to it.

    Start simple.

    Get used to the individual models by themselves before you try to combine amps. Start simple - say Twin Reverb, Class A and jumpered plexi. Get a feel for how they respond to your guitar - both clean and pushed. Don't add the effects in until you are comfortable with the sims. When in doubt - use less distortion.

    I find the twin to be the best overall amp sim - works well in most situations. I use it for my "favorite" channel.

    Keep your banks organized in the same general way. I use the first switch as a clean setting, the second switch for pushed/crunch settings, the third switch for the exotic settings with heavy effects and the 4th switch for balls-out lead settings.

    Once you understand the basic character of the sims, you can start combining amps to get the tones you desire - for instance combine a tight clean twin with a tweed bassman. The twin gives you the punch and bottom end, the tweed adds the harmonic bloom after the initial attack. etc etc....

    Balance the volumes of all your patches using a meter.....AFTER you have the tone you want. Use the post gain. This can be done through the XLR outputs (mono) - with no volume through the speakers. I'm using a pink noise generator into the guitar input, and balancing the output using a VU meter. This way, your volume remains the same as you use different patches.

    I've programmed the volume pedal to be "on" in all my patches, and set the pedal minimum at 70%. The pedal is at the end of the chain. This allows me to use the minimum pedal setting as the "rhythm" volume - and easily goose it for leads. I also use the 3rd footswitch as another "clean" boost - for solos if needed. This gives me a very controllable volume goose - helps when soundmen aren't familiar with your material. I use the global volume for general adjustments - balance against the band. Then boost your own leads.

    I have the power setting at "half volume" - and close mic with a 57 into the PA. The amp sounds better to me when the speakers are pushed hard. Many folks have used the direct outs - I find them to sound different from the speakers....I would need to adjust the patches through the PA for this.....A guy named Armin makes a mod that has the direct outs sounding like the speakers....I haven't tried it - but have heard good things about it. Check over at the ION board for more info there. The directs would be good - stereo effects, double tracking and all.....

    You mentioned not being able to hear the amp in the mix? I use a set of the Fender 16" tilt back legs to aim the speakers at my head. I think they were about $20.
     
  16. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    I have had some experience with a Line6 Flextone II amp in a band rehearsal and a jam setting. My buddy has one of these that he keeps in his jam room as a backup / extra amp. I have, on many occasions, used this amp for rehearsals and jams (usually when I'm too lazy to bring my rig :D ). I have also played in the same setting on many occasions when another guitar player is using that amp. I have recorded a few traqcks for my friends projects using this same amp. I also owned several versions of the POD which I used for headphone jamming and scratch tracking. Here are my observations:

    I found it very difficult to set the amp up so that it sounded natural (like a decent guitar amp) at volume with a band. I did manage to find several settings that sat well in the mix and sounded good but it took alot of tweaking over time. Once I found something that worked I wrote all of the parameters down and kept those notes with my grab-n-go guitar just in case.

    Regardless of how the amp sounded it never felt right. It didn't respond naturally to my playing style. I have no trouble adapting to practically any decent tube amp but I was never able to get the Line6 stuff to respond to much of what makes my playing work for me. I basically had to strip my playing style down quite a bit to get the amp to work for me but it did work OK. This said it was utilitarian at best and a long ways from inspirational.

    I find it interesting to listen to other guitar players use the amp (using the same settings I use). It sounds much better to my ears when I'm not the one playing it - more natural. The tactile part of the equation has a negative impact on my perception of the sound of the amp. With this said I would never choose to perform with a Line6 modeler. I've played or demo'd everything from the POD and Vetta series and all of their modelers share this shortcoming from my perspective.

    I have also used the same Flextone amp to record a few tracks on my friends recording projects. These recordings were done direct, not mic'd. The experience was much the same - didn't feel right playing it and, as such, was uninspiring but the finished tracks sounded good. This was also my experience in recording scratch tracks with the PODs - not much fun involved in playing but the results sounded good.

    I have since sold the PODs I owned. I also have a Korg Pandora headphone amp that covers the headphone jamming and I mic my amp for tracking. I am looking forward to the day that digital modeling amp can reproduce the experience of playing through a good tube amp. The day this becomes a reality I'll own one.

    This is my experience with Line6 DMAs. YMMV. I hope it turns out well for you!
     
  17. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I use a l6 Duoverb. It totally cuts through in a band situation. But I use it as a big clean amp with pedals.

    Try picking your fave clean preset and then A/b with a known acceptable amp in the same room. Clone the tone, or close, and save that as your go to preset. Modify with caution.

    All those old Fenders etc., were developed with live band use in mind and the basic tone works. Enhancements are rare and it is easier to ruin the tone than improve it.
     

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