I recently wrote an article covering a method for turning a mono track into a rich stereo track. This effect does not need to be limited to your home studio recording. You can also apply this effect to your live guitar sound and fill the stage. Any reasonable guitar effects unit with a robust stereo delay or dual tone capability should be able to create the effect. Here is how to set it up with the Line 6 POD X3 (technique should also work with POD XT or any Line 6 unit with the Stereo Delay effect).
You can read the other article for a more in depth explanation of this effect. This page is going to focus on setting it up in your POD X3 or POD XT. Start with any of your favorite tones that could use a nice stereo boost. You will likely want to use a mono tone (no chorus) but feel free to experiment. Pick a patch that is pretty dry for the purposes of following along here. Start with a basic amp with no effects or reverb. It can be clean, dirty, or anything in between. Turn on the delay effect and choose the Stereo Delay model. Configure the settings as shown.
This configuration is a bit unconventional so I’ll go over each parameter.
- Time – The stereo effect we’re going for has the original mono sound coming out of one speaker and a slightly delayed (0-30ms) sound coming from the other. POD’s minimum delay time is 20ms so we are really talking about setting the delay time from 20-30ms.
- Mix – Though we want the dry sound coming from one speaker and delay coming from the other we still set the delay mix to 100% wet. We are going to exploit the features of Line 6’s Stereo Delay setup to force the right channel to be equivalent to the dry signal.
- Feedback – Both left and right delay are set with no feedback. We are creating a stereo effect not a delayed effect. Therefore we want no repeats (which is what delay feedback gives you, more repeats).
- Offset – This is the tricky part of the stereo delay. This controls how long the right channel delay is in relation to the configured delay time. We set Time to be 20ms so an offset of 100% is 20ms delay, an offset of 50% is 10ms delay, and an offset of 0% is zero milliseconds delay. That means the right channel is delayed by zero milliseconds which is to say not delayed at all. This makes the right channel give you the same sound as if you turned the delay off. Don’t believe me? Try unplugging the left speaker and toggle the delay on and off. You won’t hear any difference.
- Config – Set this to post. If you set it to pre your delay will be placed before the modeled amp which will collapse it to a mono signal. This is definitely not good for creating a stereo effect ;)
That is all there is to the setup. Of course you will want to have a stereo monitoring system set up. You can use headphones, two amps, or my favorite which is a stereo 4×12 cab and tube power amp. You will be amazed at how your guitar fills the room and surrounds you.
The Behringer BG412S is a cabinet switchable between 4×12 mono operation and dual 2×12 (stereo) operation. The top two speakers are angled away from each other for enhanced stereo imaging. This is the 4×12 cab I personally use when I play live guitar gigs. The casters are a bit cheap but you can replace them easily. The rest of the cabinet is built like a tank and the speakers have survived everything I’ve thrown at them. Considering the beastly Mesa Boogie power amp I have it mated to, that is saying quite a lot!
If you create a patch with this effect that you want to use live then be sure the sound guy only mics the right speaker or you only send him the right direct signal. This effect probably won’t go over well coming out the PA system, even if the place happens to have a stereo PA. You definitely don’t want it being summed to mono.
The delay effect can sound great on a dirty or clean tone. Be sure to experiment. You will probably find some amp settings make you feel like you were transported back to the eighties or an early Pantera album.