Recording vocals with Pod HD500?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Rizzo, May 15, 2017.

  1. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Does anyone have advice on a vocal patch for recording for the Pod HD500? I actually just need advice on the gain and output ratio for the vintage pre more than anything, as I use a blank patch with just that.

    My mic pre hardware setting is at roughly 75% and have the +18 software switch activated. The mic preamp is still kind of weak.

    Then as for the actual input signal in the DAW, I can't find the sweet spot as anything with low gain seems weak but getting at 50% gain on the vintage pre introduces weird metallic resonances, especially on higher notes. Maybe it's also my mic and-or my room but well. My present patch has 50% gain and 70% output, and it gives me that feeling.
    Anyone minding to share any experience?
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Isn't a POD a guitar processor? Unless my understanding of that bit of gear is wrong, I don't think it's going to have "good vocal settings", and the kind of distortion you might get from pushing that hardware is meant more for guitar than vocals.... isn't it?

    IMO if you're just using the POD because it's your only interface, then I would focus on getting your signal in as clean as possible, then add character later. It doesn't matter if the signal doesn't appear to be very hot, you can get "volume" from your processing/DAW (compression).
     
  3. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    ^^ I used to own the POD HD Pro and I once did record vocals from it. It added some noise so I'm pretty sure (if I remember) I used a noise gate in the chain, but that was it. I also remember it being difficult to achieve proper levels.
     
  4. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Yup being the Pod originally a guitar processor, it is possible to record vocals through the XLR in (as was in the X3 live and pro, and is also in the HD pro). But being this kind of an accessory, the quality of the mic preamp and chain is probably the least qualitative part of the machine.
    It is indeed really difficult to set levels due to the weird routing and the absence of a clipping indicator.

    However the Pod is the only interface I have at the moment, so I have to get along with that.
    I don't really care for character, much more for the best usable signal.
    I just tried the "vintage pre" as it was advised for creating vocal channel strips within the user manual.

    I also tried a patch with just the tube comp just for turning up level (no compression happening, 100% threshold).
    Two things I still didn't try are a completely blank patch (but I suppose I'd have a too much weak signal) and a patch with just the boost comp as another kind of clean boost.
    I wouldn't use a noise gate since it would cut usable frequencies, I'm just looking for the best signal to noise ratio. It is inevitable to not have any noise.

    If anyone has any kind of direct experience, that would be great!
     
  5. shnizzle

    shnizzle johnny

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    i used to record screams with the Pod HD Pro and it worked just fine, even with a rather cheap mic that has a low output. i left the tone completely empty so i could record a clean signal and did all processing in the DAW. to set the input signal on the Pod i just looked at the metering in the DAW. worked perfectly fine.
     
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  6. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Thanks Johhny for the input
     
  7. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Just for reference, if any user gets back here. Did some testing. In order of preference...

    Assuming a roughly 70-75% hardware input gain and the +18db software switch ticked.
    1) (on par) Total blank patch, or just with vintage pre: gain 50, out 70. Peaking at max -23 or -18 respectively
    2) Just a tube comp, threshold 100 as to not actually compress, level 5 (more gets unusable for the purpose). Peaking around -20
    3) Just a boost comp. Technically incorrect as it is a guitar clean boost, but it kinda works. Comp at 0, flat eq, drive 50, out 50. Peaking around -20.

    I can't think of any more possible sort of vocal strips. Of course it depends on your mic, singing technique, room and mic distance but I thought I'd share my tests. Currently sticking with the vintage pre. Cheers
     
  8. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

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    Hey there I got here because I also only have the POD HD500X as an interface and want to use it for some vocal demoing. I am also a complete guitar tech and recording tech noob so I don't understand half of the words you are using. Can you elaborate more on what you mean by the three "situations" you are describing (tube comp, boost comp and so on). Much appreciated, thanks in advance!
     
  9. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Sure binz!
    Basically I wanted to test any possibile Pod signal chain comparable to a vocal channel strip (vocal recording signal chain) in the real world.
    I started by setting the hardware mic gain knob to roughly 75% and keeping the +18db switch in the L6 audio-midi devices control panel ticked. This doesn't mean the settings would be automatically right for you, just check your DAW metering for your ideal input signal, but they worked for me.

    Then i tested with different patches as mentioned above, each number is a different scenario. The effects mentioned are in the Pod.
    1) Totally blank patch (all straight bypass, nothing active)
    2) Just a vintage pre: gain 50, out 70
    2) Just a tube comp, threshold 100 as to not actually compress, level 5 (more gets unusable for the purpose)
    3) Just a boost comp. Technically incorrect as it is a guitar clean boost, but it kinda works. Comp at 0, flat eq, drive 50, out 50.

    To this day, I'm finding the best results (again, for me) with scenario 2. Feel free to ask anything if I need to clarify.
     
  10. DaybridgeGhost

    DaybridgeGhost SS.org Regular

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    I don't own a POD HD500, but this post reminded me of the following video, in case you haven't seen it already:



    I vaguely remember him talking more about his setup in the comments section. I thought it sounded pretty neat for what he was doing!
     
  11. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the reply! First of all I am not sure which mic gain know you mean, my mic (Behringer XM 8500) does not have any controls, it is just a bare mic. Second I am not sure which dB switch in the L6 audio-midi devices control panel you mean. Do you mean the one in the "mixer" (see screenshot attached)?

    [​IMG]

    So I guess this knob you're describing is actually what I am looking for right now because the signal I get in reaper is very weak. Or do I miss an important point here? I chose the Setup you described with vintage pre, do you turn anything on the high pass and low pass knobs or leave it default?
     
  12. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    Clarifying:
    1. as for the mic input gain, I mean the actual hardware gain trim. It's on the back of the unit next to the XLR in. Keep it at roughly 75%. I recommend to stick a minuscule piece of paper tape on top of the knob as to mark the correct "0 point angle" with a marker, since the existing notch on the knob has no relation with its position. Pic attached.
    [​IMG]

    2. L6 audio-midi devices is an actual separated software which acts as a device control panel, and comes with all the rest from L6 but is not linked to desktop by default, search for it in your pc.
    Looks like this, in the "inputs and recording" section you'll find a "+18 db" switch, tick it to obtain the signal boost if necessary.
    [​IMG]

    3. Actually forgot to tell you about the low pass and hi pass filters. Set the high pass to minimum and the low pass to maximum so that you're not filtering anything. You'll process stuff in Reaper. Also it's ok to keep the mixer centered on both channels. As for Pod inputs, set Mic-Variax to eliminate excess noise.

    Also don't use reverb or any other effects, it's detrimental. Record dry and then apply them in post-production. If you need reverb to actually sing (everyone does), again don't use it in the Pod but prepare a send bus in Reaper as to only effect your monitoring but not your recording. I'm probably speaking too much jargon right now but I can explain if you have the need.

    BONUS
    You'll not understand my talking since it's Italian, but I actually made a tutorial about these tests of mine (and others). You can still just follow the video and copy my settings. If you wish, check approximately from 4:00 to 6:00 for the vintage pre part.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  13. binz

    binz SS.org Regular

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    Thanks so much for your effort! That helped a lot! :)

    My idea was only to use a little of reverb on the POD because I was not too happy about the Reaper Reverb (ReaVerberate (Cockos)). But maybe that's just me setting up things the wrong way. I will try it like you said though!
     
  14. Rizzo

    Rizzo SS.org Regular

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    You're welcome!
    Bussing the reverb is pretty much a recording standard, otherwise you'll have the reverb printed in in your recording and the vocals will be pretty much impossible to mix.

    Don't worry Reaverbate is ok, you just have to find the right setting.
    I haven't been recording vocals in a while but from memory: generally, you don't add reverb in series but in parallel. That is, you create a separated "reverb" track with just the reverb effect on it, max the wet to 100% and create a send from any track you want to have reverb on (ex. vocals in this case) to the reverb track, the "send" fader will determine the quantity of effected passing signal, and that's how you balance your reverb. So the source signal stays clean, but you have the effected vocals through the send. That pretty much works for any effect in general, depending on the result you want.

    Sh*tty explanation, but that's recording-mixing 101 and you'll find tons of material googling.
     

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