I'm trying to discover whether I want to switch to Guitar amp VSTs with IRs, to replace my POD HD500 for guitar recording. My setup: Guitar>POD HD500 phones out>monitor speakers. POD and Macbook connected by USB. I ran a completely empty POD HD patch into an armed track with VST and IR loaded in the FX chain, record monitoring turned on in Reaper to hear the FX chain. Here I arrive at my first issue: I can still hear my dry guitar sound in the mix. The POD is set as the sound device in Reaper's preferences and its sound is routed to my monitor speakers from the phones output. The POD outputs will send basically anything to the speakers that gets sent in, meaning I don't think I can mute my dry signal. I can get around it by using the POD only as an input device and use the system out (Mac OS) to get sound to my speakers. This works, but... 1) In Reaper adio device preferences I checked the 'Request block size' and set it to 64. I went smaller than 256 to get less latency. Is this correct? Judging by ear, I think it does decrease the latency and I can record fairly spot on. 2) Back to using the POD as a line out. Is there a way to do this without hearing its dry signal in the mix, without the help of a second audio interface, but still using its own output? (In other words, routing Reaper out through the POD, bypassing the clean signal) 3) Bonus question: I perceive a bit of slapback echo type sounds while monitoring. Could these be phase issues from monitoring the same signal from two speakers that sit on two sides of my desk? A sidenote, if a VST+IR setup convinces me of its quality I might get a Focusrite Scarlet and cut the POD from the setup, but only if I can play latency free... So please also consider giving some advice on this subject. What factors in getting the best experience. Is it mostly in the soundcard, or do my computer specs also count? I consider myself a bit of a newbie in DAW matters, so please try to explain it without too much jargon. Looking forward to some good advice!