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).
Figure 5: The live wet signal is on top and the
reamped wet signal is on the bottom.
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.
|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
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!