POD X3 Tips and Tricks: Reamping Results

« Show me how to set up reamping with my POD X3

In part one of this article we explored a method for setting up your POD X3 to do hardware reamping with a single 1/4″ to 1/4″ patch cable. We got our DAW and POD X3 configured to record and playback dry signals at the same level. If you are interested in seeing my results, this article is for you.

Tweak and record your reamped POD X3

It is time to lay down a few reamped tracks and see how close we can get to the originals. Since reamping is about flexibility to tweak the tone, we’re also going to explore a few new tones applied to the dry tracks. and Reamp X3 with POD X3 ASIO outs 3-4 as input. Start playback on your DAW and you should hear your POD X3 magically playing itself. If you got everything routed correctly you will be hearing your previous guitar part playing back through your X3 (be sure you are listening to the right output of the X3). I recorded a sample for comparison with the original patch used for the reference track. Just like our dry wave comparison, the live and reamped tracks look idential (see Figure 5 and Figure 6).

reamping wet wave comparison
Figure 5: The live wet signal is on top and the
reamped wet signal is on the bottom.

reamping wet overlay
Figure 6: The reamped track is overlayed
on the original dry track. Again we see
very little difference.

This is what they sound like. Compare and listen for differences.

POD X3 reamping sound samples

I’ve shown how to set up your home studio to record your POD X3 in a reamping configuration. We’ve compared original dry signals to reamped dry signals and live recorded processed guitar tracks with reamped guitar tracks using the same patch. What good is reamping though if you only reamp to the same tone you already had recorded? Here is a list of reamped tones I got while playing around.

The A sample for each guitar track is the POD patch that matches the original recorded patch, while additional reamped sound clips are alternate patches recorded via reamping. The vocal track only had a dry track to start with. The reamped sounds have some subtle differences as most of them are just the different models of POD X3 mic preamps with their EQ set flat and everything else identical. This not only makes a cool reamping sample set, but also can function as a nice way to get used to the sound of each preamp model.

Instrument Original Reamped tracks
guitar crunch Live: dry, wet Reamped: A, B, C, D, E, dry
guitar lead Live: dry, wet Reamped: A, B, C, D, dry
vocal Live: dry Reamped: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, dry

POD X3 reamping problems

My journey into reamping was not without its trials. The primary setback is the amount of additional noise while connecting the homemade reamping cable. Remember when I asked you to compare the samples and listen for differences? Did you hear the extra static underneath? If the answer is yes, then this method of reamping may not work “out of the box” for you. If you answered no, then you shouldn’t care about the extra noise. It is much more apparent while you are actually tweaking the reamped tone than it is when you listen back in a mix. The extra static will bother some, but I think my sound samples demonstrate it is not so glaring as to create tracks that are unusable in a mix.

I have a theory that the extra static may be caused by a mismatch between impedance of the output and input on POD X3. I would like to see if using something like one of the commercially available reamping boxes would get rid of this extra static. If anyone has one of these boxes and would like to perform the tests, please post some comments here explaining your results. If you have other suggestions on how to solve the static problem then please post those here as well.

Commercially available level matching reamping boxes
Radial Pro RMP Passive Reamping Direct Box


Radial Pro RMP
price check

Radial X-Amp Active Reamplifier


Radial X-Amp
price check

The dual tone feature of POD X3 is powerful and recording dual tones suffers just a bit with this reamping setup. You can do it but you will still have to pan both amps hard right to avoid the feedback loop. This means you can only record your dual tone patch in mono from ASIO 2, or in dual stereo (use two stereo tracks from ASIO 3-4 and ASIO 5-6). Recording dual tones isn’t too attractive in mono and the dual stereo is a good solution unless you are worried about track count, disk space, or computer power to process the extra audio during playback.

Setting this system up is a bit of a drag. It has the tendency to take you out of creative mode and into scientific mode. It might take you thirty minutes to an hour to configure the hardware reamping and create/audition/choose a new POD patch to use on the track. You could instead take five to ten minutes with a nice EQ plugin and just make the existing track work in your mix. I choose the EQ method every time. This is a general problem with reamping though and has nothing to do with POD X3 specifically.

POD X3 Reamping

This concludes my POD X3 hardware reamping experiment (unless someone wants to sponsor a Radial). I think this experiment proves that hardware reamping with this unit is a viable solution. The extra static noise is only really noticeable on high gain patches (listen for it in the vocal samples) so I don’t view it as a barrier to experimentation in your home studio. You could opt for trying one of the Radial boxes mentioned above, but once you spend money on that you get dangerously close to the cost of adding the
Line 6 GearBox Plugin
to your repertoire. Still, the Radial box would allow to reamp Marshall stacks and all other sorts of interesting things while the Gearbox Plugin only lets you use your Line 6 models. Whatever you decide, I hope your journey down that road will be full of good music and unlimited creativity. Have fun fellow tone monsters!

Share
Share this Post[?]
        

9 Responses to “POD X3 Tips and Tricks: Reamping Results”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Yellowbeard says:

    Cool article, thanks for taking the time to post all those samples. It’s pretty amazing how such a weak dry signal can be modeled into such a furious distorted tone.

    Wanted to comment on the reamping, as I was led here by the discussion on the Line6 forums about the upcoming Pod X3 Pro (the rack version). That product has stereo line-level inputs, so if you’re right about there being an impedance problem that’s causing noise issues, it would seem that should solve that problem. In such a case you could run 1/4″ cables from your DAW outputs straight to the X3 Pro line-level inputs, then set the X3 Pro to use those inputs as its source. Then you’re free to record any of the available outputs as the reamp result.

    Also, I assume Line6 removed native driver support for reamping in order to force people to use the new DAW plugin feature.

    (For the record, I have no Pod X-series products. Only an old Pod Pro 2.0 rack that I plan to upgrade when the X3 Pro comes out.)

  2. bvesco says:

    That could be true. In fact, I don’t think I tried the “Aux” line input of X3L because I was focused on a solution that was the same for X3L and X3 bean. I agree with your assessment of the removal of reamping “on the wire” with the X series, but who knows.

  3. John Zed says:

    Have you tried plugging the cable into a guitar effect pedal (in bypass) before going back into the X3? Depending on the pedal, this can solve any impedance mis-match problems. I have done this (using a custom boost pedal which does NOT, I believe, have a true hardware bypass) when re-amping in the analogue world –

    1. split guitar signal to go to an amp for monitoring and to a high-impedance input on my interface for recording
    2. send recorded signal out of my interface into the pedal (lowering the output level in my interface control panel to approximate guitar levels) and then into my amp, which I then recorded with a 58 and/or Rode NT2000 mic.

    I stopped using this process (for the most part) when I bought my XT Pro Live (and Variax) as I now just switch over to the Line 6 ASIO driver and use the re-amp facilities included therein. Actually, I reamp much less these days as I’m trying to get sounds at source, as I used to in ‘the olden days’, as you describe with the ‘bit of eq’ comment.
    Still, I would now be reluctant to move across to an X3 now that I know the driver does not have the reamp function. A bit of a step backwards, I think, but perhaps the complexity of the new ASIO driver made Line 6 take the decision to remove this feature.

  4. bvesco says:

    Thanks for the impedance matching trick!

  5. Das Böse says:

    I gave this a trial go with my X3 bean and it works actually pretty good. I did hear the hiss, but that can be brought down by turning on the noise gate in the reamped channel. This is good news since POD Farm won’t work in my 64 Bit install of Sonar 8.

    But, BUT! The possibilities extend beyond reamping with POD hardware…I’ve got a great tube amp and a palmer speaker emulator. I’m going experiment by running the dry signal out the back of the bean, through my amp, which is hooked up to the Palmer back into the XLR input set to either a tube preamp sim, or simply capture the raw unprocessed sound which will already have a amp/speaker sim on it. I’m hoping that will work out…the principle is the same so it should work…

  6. bvesco says:

    @Das

    Yes! That is actually the original meaning and use of the word ‘reamping’ in the studio. Sometimes it wasn’t even done with ‘dry’ unamplified guitar tracks but was a recorded, fully amped and miked guitar track that was run back out through an amplifier. So it would sound like a miked amp through another miked amp. Quiet Riot did this with all Randy Rhoads guitar tracks on that re-released demo disc they did a few years back. They ran all Randy’s already amped/miked/recorded guitar tracks back out through their current guitar rig to thicken/modernize the sound. Caused quite a ruckus amongst Rhoads’ fans.

  7. John Hartman says:

    i have the Pod x 3, when i set my output setting to stack pre-amp,and play through my stack pre-amp everything sounds fine…..IF, iturn the power off or press my tuner on ,(witch i would do on stage, the out put setting changes back to studio direct, witch is the first setting in the output,area..it sounds crappy..is there a way to set ether of those setting,so that it will stay,say after tuning….????

    Hartman-MortalDecay

  8. dug says:

    hey man, follwing everything you posted to the word and it isnt working..
    Nothing was mentioned about how to rout the outputs of the dry track or any track for that matter, back into the x3 so that it affects the amp model. the only signal sent to the x3 via USB from the PC goes straight to the phones – not to any of the 1/4″ outs. the x3 was set up exactly as you said, the inputs in my DAW are set up exactly as you said but i fear you are leaving something out as the audio is going from track 2 straight to track 3 via the send, but no where near the x3’s signal chain…

  9. bvesco says:

    Some of the routing stuff is on page 1 of the article. The link is at the top of the article.