Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Way To Tweak AWESOME TONE From the Line 6 VETTA! (Part 1)

There is a way to get AWESOME TONE from the Line 6 Vetta.
It doesn’t involve twisting knobs, or hours upon hours of tweaking.
It involves the knowledge of one’s complete Rig within the context of the Vetta, and tweaking to that Rig’s strengths by a single method.
It’s what I call “Line 6 Edit Live Tweaking”.
And it works! If you’re not getting everything you want out of your Vetta,
then read this and try Line 6 Edit Live Tweaking for yourself…

I’ve owned my Vetta HD (now on ver2.50) for almost 6 years.
I’ve taken the tweaking of it very seriously since the beginning.
I wanted really awesome, Pro-sounding LIVE tone at an affordable price,
in a convenient, singular, easy to set up package with many controllable variables. The Vetta HD has delivered exactly that! But it DID NOT come immediately. It has been an ongoing process to completely compartmentalize all of the amazing processes that this amp can do. In lieu of Line 6’s recent Announcement that Vetta will receive NO MORE VETTA UPGRADES, I’m posting my findings in hope of helping Vetta Users everywhere get brilliant tone from their all-digital, complex, musical gadget, or Vetta’s for short. I do not personally believe that there’s any other way to get AWESOME TONE from the VETTA, other than the method I’m posting here.

I realized quickly that the factory patches that came with the Vetta were useless for my rig
(Ibanez RG1570>Vetta HD>Marshall 1960A 4x12).
I needed to tweak my own original patches for my specific rig. For the first 2 years, I tweaked my Vetta with the Vetta Face Tone Knobs and Edit Window. After 2 years tweaking the Vetta, I was pretty satisfied with my tone. I thought I was getting everything I could out of the amp.

In my third year of Vetta usage, my Bassist Ted gave me an old laptop computer for free. It quickly became a computer whose only role in the world was to tweak my Line 6 gear (Vetta HD, Flextone III). I got an M-Audio Uno USB midi interface and two USB extension cables, and began tweaking my Vetta after rehearsal at LIVE volume (95-112db) using the Line 6 Edit graphic editor. With the Vetta now 17 feet away from me, I could really hear a particular patch’s tone, rather than standing directly in front of the amp when making adjustments with knobs on the Vetta faceplate. As I made an adjustment to a particular value, such as DRIVE,
using my mouse after striking a note or chord, I could really hear the attenuation of the Amp Model’s pre-amp gain. Line 6 Edit’s excellent graphical interface allowed me to adjust every single patch variable easily from 17 feet away from my VETTA, in REALTIME!

Fast forward to 3.5 years of twice weekly, post-rehearsal sessions of purely tweaking my Vetta, with Line 6 Edit, from 17 feet away, at live volume in a rehearsal room when making new tones for new songs, or just for the fun of experimentation. The laptop stays at the rehearsal room for just this purpose. I currently tweak my Vetta while looking out a large window at the beautifully lit, and always working Los Angeles Harbor. I will sit and tweak patches until 2am, testing new theories and ideas of combinations.

I’ve intentionally deleted whole libraries of created for fun patches to start the whole process over again. I really know which Amp Models I like in the Vetta. The Engl Powerball, Diezel Herbert, 5150 II, Line 6 Chunk Chunk, Lunatic, Treadplate, Big Bottom are my favorite for Hi-Gain Tones.
I make only Blended patches, that utilize the Amp 2 slot for the Low, Low-Mid part of the patch with Channel Volume at 100%, and the Amp 1 slot for the Hi-Mid, Hi part of the patch with Channel Volume at around 50-80%. Both amps are panned to Center, and I always use NO CAB sim. The Vetta is in 4x12 mode in Stereo, Presence ON, Loudness OFF, SM-57 AIR Global. All these settings favor my particular Rig, with my EQ sitting within my Band’s Entire Mix for Live use.

Here’s the POINT of this whole thing.
And we are talking LIVE/GIG TONE here.

I’ve found while tweaking in Line 6 Edit,
that there can be HUGE differences between having, say, the Amp Model’s DRIVE set at 48%, 50%, 52%, 58%, 66%, 83%, 98%, etc… (Line 6 Edit uses percentage for all parameter variables). The knobs on the Vetta faceplate do not allow you to make such FINE adjustments. And these FINE ADJUSTMENTS are essential to creating Excellent Tone in the Vetta, for your Rig. These fine adjustments are not dialed in with the mouse. They are TYPED in exactly. Sometimes, those adjustments get made when you are dialing in the amp models at the start of creating a patch. But often, they come after you’ve customized every single variable within the patch and are at your final SAVE. It’s the last “Coup De Gras” to the TONE, and makes it just come alive! Your EARS will HEAR it!

(To TYPE in values, just double click on the number value above the knob/variable)

I’ve not only tested this theory on my own Vetta and Flextone III+,
but I’ve also helped many of my friends with POD XT Live, HD147, Bass POD XT Pro patches with this method. I’m even tweaking a POD X3 Live for our Violinist Shawna. There is a common thread for killer tone in all those Line 6 products and it is the AVAILABLE FINITE VARIABLE CONTROL of the adjustable parameters inside of Line 6 products. Forget the Knobs. In fact, put them in some crazy setup,
like all to “11”!!! They are irrelevant.
(The only faceplate knobs on the Vetta I might ever use are the Global Rev, Lo, Hi to compensate for a new live environment)

I firmly believe IMHO that if you are NOT Tweaking your Vetta, with Line 6 Edit, at your LIVE Volume, from a minimum of 10 feet away, you are not getting the most out of the Vetta.

I firmly believe IMHO that if you owned and later sold the Vetta without ever investing at least 6 MONTHS of pure “Line 6 Edit Live Tweaking” time, that you did NOT experience what this amp can really do.

If I did not intend to tweak patches in the Vetta this way,
I would play something else. Engl, Diezel, Krank…
See my Article on Vetta’s Subjectivity.

That is NOT to say that tweaking in Line 6 Edit is time consuming. In fact, it’s the opposite! Once you really learn YOUR RIG’S tendencies (plus the way you sit in your band’s mix with the Vetta, etc…)
you will dial in new patches with amazing quickness.
(But everything starts somewhere with any piece of gear)

For example, in January 09, I routed a Yamaha electric VIOLIN through my Flextone III+, into a Marshall 1960A 4x12 for a live rehearsal. I very quickly dialed in a tone for our violinist Shawna, using the Flex III’s JC-120 model and typing in values in even numbers (Edit/my rig likes even numbers for the most part), all the while, using our EARS to decide when we had the tone. We gave her some Digital Delay and Rich Chamber Reverb, typing in the values and testing quickly, and WHAM! We were rehearsing, not tweaking away forever, getting nowhere, like I hear from some who use the knobs. And she was cutting through as well!
(She now uses the POD X3 Live)

If you use Line 6 Edit in this fashion regularly, you’ll get to where the number values mean more to you than say, tapping the Tap Tempo button for Delay Time. It is NOT math, either. I will NOT do math. I’m all History/English/Art in the brain. Yet, Line 6 Edit is so easy and understandable for me, that it has become amazingly familiar. I can fully extrapolate my favorite effects settings in my head now before I even type them in. That’s 3.5 years of bi-weekly Line 6 Edit Live Tweaking only. Time and Regularity make it a simple process in no time.

Even the tube snobs I know, can’t deny the strength of my Vetta’s LIVE Tone. My Vetta’s tones have converted a bunch of my friends and fellow musicians to Line 6 products. In a blind listening test against the real amp, I’ve had people pick the Vetta as the better sounding. I attribute this to the use of line 6 Edit. Without Line 6 Edit, I couldn’t dial in these tones.

I still can NOT seem to fully Record my LIVE tone, and have it represent what it sounds like Live. But in the LIVE environment, I know I’m firing on all cylinders in regards to the Vetta. My tone is full, rich and totally 3-D live. Try Line 6 Edit Live Tweaking with your Vetta. You won’t be sorry…Cause this is a great amp, and it can be GREAT for you!

I’ve posted 4 of my Vetta patches at Line 6’s
under XONE. They were tweaked for my rig, so if you don’t play an
Ibanez RG1570>Vetta HD>Marshall 1960A 4x12
then you’ll have to tweak those patches to your own rig’s tendencies,
in which case, you ought to just start from scratch and make your own custom patches that are tweaked to YOUR RIG and customize EVERY variable to it. Now Go For It!!

Stay Tuned for Part 2


Jaysen St.Charles said...

Hello Will!

I read on your great breakdown articles of the LINE 6 VETTA HD tone that your not satisfied with the recording of your live sound. I also experienced the same issue but i've hit on a work around that seems to click.
I call it the: VETTA NUCLEAR OPTION i'm running four 4x12" cabinets! VETTA was designed for this,handles it with ease and the soundwave tone output is crushing! I have 2 LINE 6 SPIDER III STEREO CABINETS(Spider III Series was the last LINE 6 cabinets of this price range to be constructed of Baltic Birch Wood) both have
CELESTION SEVENTY/80 G12P 75W SPEAKERS installed and are my slanted top cabs. On the bottom are square: KUSTOM - AURIS SERIES 412 STEREO CABINETS (once again CELESTION SEVENTY/80 G12P 75W SPEAKERS are installed)these are a poor mans version of your Marshall 1960 Cabinet. Of course its only practical to use VETTA NUCLEAR OPTION for recording and/or band practice,need a road crew to carry around four 4x12 cabinets and that day hasn't arrived! I line up the cabinets in a half circle, place two mics front of the cabs with a dual female end 1/4" to a 1/4" male connector into a Fostex MR 8HD Multitrack Recorder with the same cable setup running direct out of the VETTA. A mix of these 2 feeds give me a soundscape that is amazingly crushing!! My mainstay guitar sound is a blended patch of "LINE 6 - Big Bottom & LINE 6 - LUNATIC with LINE 6 - IBANEZ TUBE SCREAMER stompbox (for solos and/special parts where extra dirt is needed. Some delay, chorus setup as post. Noise gate & LINE 6 -ROLAND/BOSS CE Compressor(Blue) of course setup as post. After doing much research, as i'm sure you have as well, I find that owners of the original
LINE 6 - VETTA I I V • AX3 USA HD , are the lucky ones because this unit was made in the USA with pride, it doesn't have the reliability issues that the Vetta 2 HD unit does. Vetta 2 HD was manufactured overseas and its hardware seems to have breakdown issues that the original VETTA hasn't had during its history. I totally subscribe to your theory: if you haven't used Line 6 Editor with VETTA then you've missed out on discovering all the possibilities that lie within this amp. Hell!, nearing 20 years since its original retail release and VETTA isn’t obsolete by a long shot!

Take care Will!
All the best in 2018!!


Unknown said...

Are you still using the Vetta HD? If so, can you recommend any service centers?

Jaysen St.Charles said...

I'm still using my VETTA HD everyday. If your having some technical issues with your unit, try joining LINE 6 VETTA Series Owners Group on Facebook. It has a full roster of longtime VETTA owners who have torn apart their VETTA amps, repaired & put the units back together. They are a wealth of information and good people, willing to help other VETTA owners. Search: Line 6 Vetta II, on Facebook. It's a closed group, so when you click to join it may take 12hrs or so, until Admin sees the request.