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  • Line 6 "Dream Rig" (Tyler Variax, POD HD500, DT25 amp)

    Call Line 6, and a cheery receptionist says “Thank you for calling Line 6, your cradle-to-grave musical instrument company.”



    Okay, I admit I made that up. But think about it: They’ve parlayed the POD into rack processors, computer interfaces, amps, guitars, wireless systems for mic and guitar, and now, a ground-breaking sound system. For keyboard players, Line 6 is the distributor for Reason, which isn’t just a DAW—but a wonderful virtual instrument suite for keyboardists. There are also keyboard controllers to match for Windows, Mac, and iOS devices. And speaking of iOS devices, there’s the MIDI Mobilizer, iOS Mobile POD app, and a matching interface. Finally don’t forget the BackTrack (itself the subject of a Pro Review), a clever mobile recorder/player that can also remember everything you play, as you play it, so you never lose an inspirational riff.



    I’m not just listing their products as an exercise, but because it’s a relevant intro for a Pro Review of the Line 6 “Dream Rig.” The Dream Rig consists of the James Tyler Variax (a family of three models, with three additional custom shop versions; this review covers the JTV-59), POD HD500 processor, and DT25 or DT50 amp. Obviously, these three components make for a serious setup. But Line 6’s background emphasizes synergy, and the Dream Rig is no exception: All of these components can be linked to work together as a system—and that’s where it really gets interesting.



    Of course, this doesn’t preclude using any element individually. The Variax is a fine guitar, the POD HD500 a versatile processor, and the DT amp series brings something new to amp design. Yet as a system, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. How much greater? Well, you’re in the right place to find out.



    Although it’s tempting just to hook all these bits together and jump into the system aspects, to really appreciate what these elements can do together, you need to understand what they do individually. Furthermore, there will be people who want to focus on just one element, so we need to cover each one on its own merits.



    All of the Dream Rig elements aren’t exactly brand new; for example, there has already been a fair amount of coverage of the HD500—including an in-depth review here on Harmony Central. But while most people are aware of the James Tyler Variax, it’s a deep instrument that deserves a deep look; and those who think that the DT25 is “just an amp...right?” are in for a surprise.



    So, we’ll do an overview of each element (Variax, DT25, and HD500 in that order), then move along to the real meat of the review, which is what happens when you put them all together.



    As usual, we’ll start with where to get more info, and a photo tour. So if you want to do a little prep work, here are some links—the landing page is the Line 6 page with descriptions, features, etc., while the catalog page has pricing, user reviews, and additional information.



    DT25 Line 6 landing page, DT25 catalog page

    James Tyler Variax Line 6 landing page, JTV-59 catalog page

    HD500 Line 6 landing page, HD500 catalog page



    Tune in tomorrow for a photo tour of the JTV-59, but I’ll give you a little preview: the JTV-59 is a honey of a guitar, with or without the electronics.




  • Sigmundo
    commented on 's reply
    How do I download the sounds? I can't find them anywhere.

  • John2E
    commented on 's reply
    Hi - new to this forum - I don't see any links to the recordings you reference in the post - how do I access?

    Thanks,
    John

  • paka
    commented on 's reply

    Are the samples still available or have they been removed? Don't see them.

     


  • AndrewH13
    commented on 's reply

    I'm registered but cant access any sample files. Have they been taken down?


  • DrFunky
    commented on 's reply
    Damaged, James Clausen made a good suggestion. A Fender G Dec. This is an amplifier that has models of ~8 useful amps, all the effects you might need and different styles of pre recorded sequences to play along with. You can also pipe in MP 3 tunes. So, it is very versatile, sounds good and is cheap

  • James Clausen
    commented on 's reply

    I have been playing for nearly 50 years and have some pretty good equipment. You can learn to be a really good player on a Fender squire and a G-dec. I continue to learn and become a better player. I have always found that my step up in the quality of my equipment has come from either the use needs that I have or from a jump in my level of playing. Sounds like the rig that you have will work until you know you need a step up.

    I have also found that unless I have stumbled on an exceptional deal, you have to pay to play. Better quality is seldom cheap.


  • Damaged262
    replied

    First, I know this thread was started about 5 years ago, but still that withstanding, I also know that folks have posted more recently than that.  I went through all 22 pages of this thread and loved it.  However; it did not address an issue I have.  I'm a 50 year old man who is trying to learn guitar and I'm open to all the new tech, no predjudaces at all about gear, no snob zone, period.  My problem is this, I'm struggling to play and I'm just using an Epi LPJ with a DigiTech RP90 with a DigiTech DG15.  I've made some mods to the guitar, removing the 400T pickup with an P90 and now it sounds worth a damn.  I'm absolutely facsinated with this system, but is there any way I can experience this without going broke?  I'm semi-retired (due to some major health issues) so my income is VERY limited and I can't possibly know if I'm gonna be great or if my guitar might end up on the wall looking great (I'm trying REALLY HARD to become better, so my statement was more of a "what if").  I just want to know if there's a way to experience this for a while to see if I should invest a few grand or it's a "give it a shot and screw you if you don't like it" affair as it would take me a very long time to find out if I can take advantage of all this great tech.  Let me be perfectly clear, I think this is a fantastic system, much better than the new Gibson system which appears to be a more physical approach to tuning and probably more likey to kill strings faster.  I've meant nothing rude or offensive in my statements, I know how protective folks can be over the things they care about.  It really seems like a great system, but I need to know before I make a decision that can affect my future earnings.  Thank you all for your time.  Maybe the company can sponsor me as an act of charity???  You know, to promote themselfs as I may become great and it would look great for them because they helped me get there?!  In all seriousness, though, is there a true entry level I haven't been able to find yet?  Or is the Korean $1,500 version, with a $1,050 scratch and dent my only options?  In any event, this thread, just like a previous post mentioned, is the reason I found Harmony Central, so thank you for that as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hennyrockstar
    commented on 's reply

    Hello,

    I'm faily new to Line 6 and to Dream Rig, having owned all three components for just under 8 months now. After finally reading the Advanced POD HD500 manual and watching every video tutorial I could get my hands on in the last two months - and following this exceptional thread - I've gone from supremely frustrated to extremely overjoyed that I decided to take the plunge back when all the rebates were being offered.

     

    My question now is this: Anyone out there own two (or more) DT amps? I'm running a stereo rig similar to the one Dr. Funky has described (1/4-inch line out from POD into the back of my Egnater Rebel 20 head through a Line 6 DT 1x12 extension cab), and it sounds pretty amazing. I just keep wondering if I'm missing something by not having two DTs. For instance, would having two DTs daisychained on L6 Link mean that POD would "tell" the amps when a stereo patch has been selected... sort of automagically? My current DT is the 25 combo, and with the 1x12 extension cab, I'd be looking to purchase just the DT25 head this time around. Of course, it's $899 new, which represents a large chunk of change for me. So I'm wondering if anyone either owns a pair of the DTs or has logged any time in front of a pair of them via a POD HD and JTV?


  • James Clausen
    replied

    I would like to know how other players organize their pre-sets for gigging. I use a wide variety when recording but find that I usually utilize several amp pre-sets and change guitar model selections manually when playing live.

    Leave a comment:


  • AnthonyLee
    commented on 's reply
    http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n528/Anthonylee2010/DSC09213_zps067ff00d.jpg
    http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n528/Anthonylee2010/DSC09210_zps4ae8e5c7.jpg

  • James Clausen
    replied
    Line 6 needs to do some video’s on how to build good tones using the dream rig. I finally got my DT25, plugged my guitar in and the amp sounded great. Plugged my HD500 in and could not get decent tones. I went back and made sure that all of my models had been switched to pre amps, I tweaked settings, I worked at gain staging in different ways and after spending most of a day working with it was ready to send the amp back. I had Marshal patches set with the gain on 90%, the volume on 50% and was only getting a mild overdriven tone!

    At this point I started analyzing the signal path, eliminating effects and lo and behold realized that I had not eliminated the cabinet models in my patches. Big change and there were my tones.

    The point is that I cannot help but wonder what else I am missing in setting up this gear system. I can get most of what I want, but still can’t get a realistic Tele/deluxe tone. The problem is not with the system, but with my knowledge in how to manipulate it. I have been following a video series on mixing tips and have realized that a small adjustment in level or placement of an effect/instrument can have a huge result. I suspect the same is so for set up of the Dream rig.

    Leave a comment:


  • WillerZ
    replied
    I am really enjoying this thread: seeing what you are doing with your POD HDs is very inspiring.



    I thought I would try using the POD HD to process my JTV-69 and my bass simultaneously. I connect my JTV-69 with a digital cable, the bass with an analog cable, set input 1 to "Variax", input 2 to "Guitar" and away we go.



    With no effects, the guitar is the left channel and the bass is the right channel.



    If you want to manipulate the guitar and not the bass you put all the effect blocks into the A path; if you want to manipulate the bass and not the guitar you put all the blocks into the B path. You can use both paths at the same time to manipulate both entirely separately.



    If you put a mono-in or mono-out effect (or any amp block) into the common chain before the A/B path split the two signals are combined so you can no longer process guitar and bass separately. You probably want to avoid doing this: unfortunately I can't find a table listing which effects are mono and which are stereo.



    The same combining happens if you put a mono-in or mono-out effect (or any amp block) into the common chain after the A/B paths come back together. This is much less annoying because your separate processing was already completed: in fact, adding a mono (or post-mono) reverb or delay might help keep your guitar and bass sounding like they were played in the same place at the same time.



    The FX Loop is stereo-in stereo-out but is not without its problems in this setup. If you only want to use it to process one instrument you can position it in the appropriate A/B path. If you want to process both instruments through the same mono- or stereo-effect you can put it in the common path.



    Processing the guitar with one external effect and the bass with another is more difficult: I do not have it working satisfactorily yet. You need to put the FX Loop block in the common path before the A/B split. The guitar will be the left channel and the bass will be the right. The FX return is separate sockets so it's simply a matter of connecting the output of your guitar-effects to the left-return and your bass effects to the right-return. Unfortunately the FX send is a single TRS socket and a simple passive splitter to convert it to a left/right pair of TS sockets doesn't work well, at least for me. If I use the splitter to connect only guitar effects to the left channel (or only bass effects to the right channel) that sounds fine, but connecting both at the same time results in high-frequency noise on both channels. I think this is because these are unbalanced connections with a common ground: and as either channel's effect measures the level relative to ground it perturbs the level of the ground as perceived by the other channel. I need to build some kind of isolating circuit to sort this out, and any links explaining how to do that would be greatly appreciated.



    In Summary:

    Easy to set up

    No table of which effects are mono and which are stereo, and you really need to know

    Using Bass and Guitar effects in the FX loop is tricky, but I may be the only person who cares.

    Leave a comment:


  • James Clausen
    replied
    The Ambient Rose patch is a lot of fun. My DT25 is in the hands of UPS and I am looking forward to adding the analog component of this amazing system.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anderton
    replied
    I really got into that ambience patch...it's amazing that the HD500 can get such keyboard-like sounds. So, I did a music video based on it for my YouTube channel (which now has seven music videos - subscribe!).



    The music was all done live, in one take, using the Variax and POD HD500. The track was then copied a few times for mixing, so each one could have a different effect added as needed (e.g., flanging in some parts). The only addition was a metallic cymbal sound to cover up the transition in one place where I disabled some effects from the HD500 patch.






    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2vWcm1BGBU





    The video was created in Sony Vegas Pro; all the visual effects are part of the Vegas software package.



    This is completely different from any of the other music I've done on my channel - it's an ambient, atmospheric instrumental I wrote for my daughter when was having trouble sleeping. However, I must admit I sometimes load it into my smartphone and use it as background for drifting off to sleep...I seldom make it to the end But if nothing else, it shows just how versatile the HD500 can be.

    Leave a comment:













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