Teach a noob: VST amps, IRs and using POD HD500 as interface and Reaper DAW

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by ZeroS1gnol, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. ZeroS1gnol

    ZeroS1gnol SS.org Regular

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    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!
     
  2. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    Yes, but afaik, POD, and pretty much every modeler has crap latency, even a cheap Scarlett is a significant improvement.

    It's some kind of setting either in POD or in your DAW, try reading the POD's manual with regards to it's I/O options and routing. Since you're using POD as your sound card, you only want to hear the output that comes via the USB, but I think in your case you're also hearing the Guitar -> POD's line out chain mixed with the USB signal.

    Both. No idea what the Mac situation is with regards to drivers, but in Windows it's messy. But still, either way, both drivers and the computer specs play a role.

    For your case, even a Scarlett should be fine, but you should probably look up Mac-specific latency benchmarks. For Windows, for driver stability, peformance, and latency, there's basically RME and everything else. For Macs there are more options though, afaik.

    https://oblique-audio.com/rtl-utility.php

    Read how to use this, it's pretty easy and it will give you an accurate RTL figure.

    No, if you're hearing the dry signal directly from the POD, and also the processed signal from your DAW, the POD itself should have much less latency compared to POD -> DAW -> POD's line out chain, and this will result in a shitty echo/phasey sound when the two signals are mixed together.
     
  3. profwoot

    profwoot SS.org Regular

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    I keep putting off building a new pc due to various stock shortages so I'm still rocking my 3770k from 2012. This means that in my tone-experimentation reaper project with a million VSTs I use 256 block size and normal (as opposed to high) oversampling in each VST so my pc doesn't choke. When I'm recording I use far fewer VSTs and can usually go down to 64 for better latency (then tweak the tone later when latency doesn't matter). Not sure how much this will change after a new build but probably quite a bit.
     
  4. ZeroS1gnol

    ZeroS1gnol SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the elaborate response. I did some more searching and and found that people were using Scarletts and getting between 1.5 and 3ms response times. I think that's really good actually.

    About that phasey sound, I also perceive it a bit when using the system out instead of the POD out. In that way I am already bypassing the dry signal, so that is not causing the effect. I think I hear it less when I pan my sound all the way to one side.
     
  5. gabito

    gabito SS.org Regular

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    I'm currently using a POD HD bean and a 2017 i7 / 16gb RAM MacBook Pro for recording, playing, etc.

    1) That's correct. These are my settings:

    [​IMG]

    That way it reports around 6ms latency. If you don't change "Request block size" you'll get around 12 / 15ms.

    2) Turn on monitoring on Reaper. And change the POD's settings from "System Preferences", like this (specifically, turn "Hardware Monitoring Level" to the lowest value:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    3) I don't know. Maybe?

    I also have a Scarlett 2i2 1st gen, which I used before I got the POD HD. It works well, but having only the POD HD plugged into the USB port is simpler. I didn't notice a big difference latency or sound wise, really, but YMMV.

    I mostly use the POD HD's amps and effects, but I disable the cabs and use IRs on Reaper. I also, like you, used an empty patch and VSTs and it works well too. Maybe the dry signal is better with other interfaces, but I can't be sure. It will always depend on the pre amps and converters, which on interfaces around this price range are generally OK but not great.
     
  6. ZeroS1gnol

    ZeroS1gnol SS.org Regular

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    Awesome, good tutorial. Thanks!
     
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  7. ZeroS1gnol

    ZeroS1gnol SS.org Regular

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    I'm digging this topic from the grave, because I have more questions.

    I got a Scarlett 2i2, which is lovely and now a thought came to mind. Can I combine the Scarlett and Pod HD into one setup? What I would like to achieve is twofold: I want to use the POD as both a midi-controller, to control my amp sim patches – and I would like to use the Pod's effects, with some level of control where in the signal chain they are placed (pre or post amp sim). I would still like to use the Scarlett as the main input, because the direct signal sounds A LOT better than the Pod.

    Now I understand that I need a midi interface to use the Pod as a midi controller, but if I get that, can I still use it in conjunction with its effects? As for the effects, thinking about using the Pod's effects, because running amp sims with DAW effects is draining my CPU. It's mostly for live jamming, for recording I can post process DAW effects.

    Any ideas how to achieve it?
     
  8. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    That's up to the POD itself. If you can make it send MIDI messages when you press the footswitches - then you're good. As long as you can utilize these MIDI signals with your plugins, of course.

    2i2 has two inputs and two outputs, plus an extra headphone output that has the same signal as the 1/2 outputs. If you're plugging your guitar into the sound card, you're down to 1 input only. So in the best case your POD can be utilized only in mono. Additionally, you'll have to sacrifice either the the headphone out or one of the 3.5" outputs so that you can use your POD in a send/return manner.

    That's weird. Amp sims and IRs are the beefy ones. Algorithmic reverbs, delays, etc., as long as they're not super fancy, should be very lean in terms of CPU time.
     
  9. gabito

    gabito SS.org Regular

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    I'm not sure I understand what you want to do.

    You obviously can use it as a MIDI controller (you know that), but to use the POD's effects you have to plug it into the Scarlett 2i2's input. Not sure if you are going to lose some of the direct signal's quality, maybe a little.

    If your question is about using it as MIDI controller and you want to use effects at the same time: yes, you can do that.

    But if you want to place some effects after the amp sim on your computer... I'm not sure. Maybe with some trickery you could do that, but I don't think you can.
     

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