Creating and Working with Dual Signal Paths
Some POD HD processors* give you the ability to create two separate parallel processing chains. These dual signal paths allow you to process two different input signals in one POD patch—or process the same input differently—and offer a wealth of different sonic options that you can use to create your own signature sounds and effects chains.
Before we get started, let’s assume that we’re going direct out of the POD into some flat studio monitors or headphones, that the POD is set to “Studio/Direct” output mode, and that we’re listening in stereo.
To create a dual signal path yourself, navigate to an empty patch on your POD HD, move the cursor over to the amp block, and press the MOVE button. The display of the amp block will change slightly to indicate that you can move it somewhere, so press the right arrow on the navigation button to move the amp upwards, and then press the MOVE button again to complete the move. You should now see that you have created two separate parallel paths, each with a blank amp block. If you’re using POD HD Edit software on your computer, it’s even easier: just grab the amp icon with your mouse and push it upwards…
Here is a shot of what your patch should theoretically look like at this point:
You can now select and move any of your available effects blocks to positions on either the upper or lower path, either in front of or behind any existing effects or amps.
Before you do anything else, you should probably define which of the POD input jacks you’d like to send to those separate processing chains. To see the input menu, hold down the VIEW button for a few seconds.
Hit the down arrow on the navigation button a few times until you come to this view:
“Input 1” refers to the processing chain at the top of your POD HD screen, and “Input 2” refers to the processing path below it. At default both channels are set to listen to any input jack on the POD, but you can set them differently if you like (even per patch) yielding some very interesting combinations:
For instance, you could set one input to listen to the onboard mic preamp, allowing you to create a vocal channel strip on one path. That would allow you process the vocal mic, or create vocal loops with the looper. Or, with a James Tyler Variax, you could dedicate one path to the magnetic pickups, and the other to the Variax instruments—allowing you to create all sorts of multi-layered sounds not previously possible from one guitar.
If you’d like to see an example of the JTV scenario I just mentioned, you can check out this tip video on the subject:
Even in search of more traditional guitar sounds, a dual signal path scenario can be helpful by allowing you to send the same guitar through two amps at the same time. For instance, you could pick two amps with varying sonic characteristics—using each one for a different part of your guitar sound—and blend them until you find just the right amount of each. You might choose one amp for its low and high frequency response and one amp for its midrange, giving you the added benefit of being able to control the level of crunch in both those frequency areas.
Or, you could simply choose the same amps on both paths, add a delay to one side, and pan them in stereo. The different ways that you can employ this routing technique are almost too numerous to count!
Let’s leave the input setting at the default, and go back to our POD HD screen to set up a quick two-amp scenario. In the first path, let’s select the Class A-15 amp and a 2×12 Silver Bell cabinet, for some aggressive midrange.
On the second path, go ahead and set it to be the Plexi Lead 100 Bright amp through the 4×12 Greenback 25 cab, for its crispy high and low frequency response.
FYI, to make these sounds easy to recreate without needing to download a patch from CustomTone, I left all of the amp controls at default.
I created two short video snippets to show how much the panning of the amp models can drastically affect the overall result.
I used only the magnetic pickups (the bridge pickup is stock, but the neck and middle pickups were changed to Suhr ML’s, because I have those in a number of other guitars—I’m used to what they do in the lower midrange when I’m playing live).
Here’s the first example, with the mixer pans at the default of hard left and hard right:
You get some nice stereo imaging from the amps being panned in stereo. However, you lose some power, as each amp’s girth is not sitting in the center of the stereo image.
Here’s an example of the exact same sound, only now with the pans on the mixer set to 0:
That’s a rather large difference! Even if you were to add wide stereo effects after the mixer, fooling around with the pans can make a large difference in the impact of the amp sound you’re going for—so experiment!
From here you can tweak the gain, EQ and master of each amp until you get something more pleasing to you—or swap out an amp for another—until you find what you’re looking for.
By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to check out what sounds like these really do through a flat response speaker, you should check out the Line 6 Stagesource L2. Create a few sounds in your home studio, and take your POD HD down to a store that has an L2 speaker you can try—800 watts RMS of clean power and headroom can really make your guitar sounds come to life. I’ve been doing some pop gigging with this scenario lately (using a pair of L2 speakers), and it’s been a blast.
If you want to do a bit more reading, the webpage for the L2 is here:
Hope this helps! Until next time,
* POD HD 500, POD HD, and POD HD Pro.