• How to set up digital effect processors

    Digital multi effect processors has come a long way the last couple of years and are widely accepted as an alternative to analog stompboxes. I started out with a Korg A4 and a Boss GT3 before settling on pedals. These days my home studio is equipped with a Line 6 POD X3 that I use for recording demos etc. Spending some time on deciding on the right unit for your needs and learning how to use it will help you get the tones you want.

    Most digital multi processors on the market promise to deliver THE tone for any guitarist. Trying to meet the demand for vintage sounds most units also feature sims of classic pedals and amps. What is THE tone? Does Line 6 market their POD series as the ultimate Gilmour-in-a-box? Does Boss promise that you’ll sound just like Hendrix with their vast collection of classic amp and pedal sims? The answer is obviously a huge no and it would be a bit naïve to think that any unit would suit your very specific needs. My experience is that while some are better at producing overdrive and distortion sounds other units are better for cleans and modulations.

    For a Gilmour fanatic it’s tempting to just quit the whole analog stomp box insanity and go for a much cheaper Line 6 POD, which after all feature simulations of Hiwatts and Fender Bassmans, Big Muff, Fuzz Face, Tube Driver, Binson, UniVibe etc. It’s all there. But as it says in the manual – all amps and effects are simply simulations or so called “based on” models. They’re not the real thing.

    Keep in mind too that a simulation is created on given factors. We instantly think of Hiwatt and Stratocaster when one mentions a Big Muff but for a technician at Line 6 it’s perhaps more natural to use a Les Paul and Marshall as a reference for the Big Muff sound. Perhaps they listened to a certain BB King song as a reference when they fine tuned their Bassman sim? Mic placement is also crucial and no unit can simulate how you’d place the mic on your amp.

    Although all these digital units allow the user to have full control you can’t control how they were designed. That’s why we also prefer different analog pedals. I like triangle Big Muff but you might prefer Sovtek models. Apples and oranges. My point is that it’s wise to keep this in mind and not trying to force a simulation to sound like something else. As an example, to get the Muff tone I want on my POD X3 I’m using a Mesa/Boogie stack with a Dynacomp and Leslie sim with a Les Paul loaded with PAF humbuckers. Hardly the typical Gilmourish setup.

    Setting up
    Regardless which digital multi processor you’re using you should always start off with matching the in/out levels. This will give you the best signal and more realistic sounding effects. Start with plugging the guitar straight into the amp or soundcard/PC and set them as desired. Plug the guitar into the multi processor. Switch off any effects and amp sims and set all global levels to unity with the initial guitar+amp/soundcard signal.

    As none of these units have a unity bypass level you need to engage bypass mode as well and set the volume. I prefer muting the bypass allowing silent tuning. The same exercise goes for using software like Guitar Rig and Amplitube. Make sure all your levels are unity with the “unplugged” signal. When all levels are set on your processor or software you can start adding amp and pedal sims and set these as desired.

    Assigning amp and effects
    As mentioned above it’s easy to get temped by huge collections of amps and pedals but remember that most of these are simulations of analog units and they will behave different. In most cases you will have to think outside the box and “unlearn what you have learned” to quote an old Jedi. Don’t get frustrated or embarrassed that you can’t get the Hiwatt and Big Muff sims to sound how you want but try all amps and pedals if you must to find your tone. In most cases you’ll realize that David’s amp settings will apply to most models but you might also realize that you have to switch cabinets or mics. It also helps understanding how certain effects are designed. What’s the idea behind a RAT? Or a Tube Driver? I get the best Tube Driver tones on my POD X3 using a Marshall JMC800.

    Keep in mind too that volume is a key element for great sounding tones. Set your amp sims first and then add the effects. Match their volume as you would with a real amp and analog stompboxes. More on that here.

    Digital processor + amp
    Start off with matching the levels on your digital unit with the amp as described above. This is crucial to get the best tones. I recommend that you don’t use any amp sims with real amps. It’s easy to think that you can turn you VOX Cube into a Hiwatt stack but an amp sim is basically just another distortion unit designed to sound like a specific amp. If you’re using an amp sim with an amp and then adding a distortion or overdrive you’re basically adding distortion on distortion (even if the amp sim is clean), which again means more noise.

    Remember to consider each effect that you assign as an analog stompbox and don’t go overboard with settings that are too high or too much off how you’d set the analog counterpart. If the effect doesn’t sound right then simply try the next. Keep the patches simple as well. Although you have just about any effect available doesn’t mean that you have to use them simultaneously. Noise filters, compressors and EQs can just as much ruin your tones as improve them so apply the same rules here as you would with analog stomp boxes.

    Digital processor + analog stompboxes
    Using analog stompboxes with digital multi processors allow lots of different setups and tones. I used a Boss GT3 as a dedicated EQ, modulations and delay unit by assigning overdrives and distortions to different pre set patches. Each patch were setup with different EQs, modulations and delays and the delay was also assigned to a expression pedal allowing me to control the delay volume for different parts in a song. I could use a single distortion and by assigning different EQ setups I could make it sound like David’s ear pinching fuzz on Time or his silky smooth leads on PULSE.

    Not all stomp boxes likes to be placed next to digital units though and vintage fuzz, certain Big Muff models and also the Tube Driver might sound thin and harsh.

    Remember to place the analog pedals correct in the chain. Although there are no rules I’d place wah wahs, compressors, fuzz, distortions, overdrives, boosters and EQ in front of the board and modulations and delays after it. Most units also feature send/return connections allowing you to place pedals anywhere in the chain. You can also use the send/return for loops like looping a fuzz and delay assigned to a pedal on the processor that you can stomp in/out for the funky part on Echoes.

    Digital processors studio setup
    Many of us are using digital multi effects in a studio setup via a soundcard and computer. Whether you’re recording or using this setup as your main sound stage instead of an amp you should have some basic knowledge about how a guitar tone behaves in different environments.

    Again, start with matching the levels on the digital unit or software with the bypassed signal as described above. Assign an amp sim and effects for the desired tones. Keep all tips and principles as described in this article in mind.

    It might be obvious but the sound coming from your headphones or studio/PC monitors is not the same as the one coming from your amp. If you’ve ever been to a studio and heard a mic’ed guitar cab pouring out of the studio monitors in the control room you’ll know what I mean. An amp will colour your tone with its circuit and your settings but perhaps equally important the tone will also be coloured by the speakers, the construction of the cabinet and the amp’s placement in the room.

    All this will be simulated with a digital processor and studio monitors can’t compensate for a 100w tube stack and the natural acoustics it makes. This means that a POD simulating a Hiwatt and a Big Muff will never sound like the real thing on your computer but rather a simulation of how a mic’ed cabinet would sound like in a studio. This fact combined with what I mentioned above in regards to how these sims are designed means that you have to put your self in a different mode than on a stage.

    I always design a patch while listening to the song I’m either recording or playing along with. This forces me to not think like when I’m on a stage but rather tweaking the tones to fit into the given song. What this basically means it that I’m rolling off the bass, increasing the top and maybe even scooping the mids a bit. If you’re using a recording software like Garageband, Logic or QBase you can also use a hi-pass filter on the track and cut everything beneath 100Hz (or even more). This is of course something you can easily do, and must do, when you’re mixing the final track but it also helps matching the tone to the studio monitors.

    This is no rocket science but there aren’t any easy ways to great tones either. Please share your tips and experience with us!

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79 Responsesso far.

  1. Ken Watson says:

    Hi Bjorn. Great article. When you say do not play an amp sim through a real amp, what about solid state like Roland JC? cheers Ken

    • Bjorn says:

      I wouldn’t use any amp simulation through any physical amp. In a way, an amp simulation is basically an overdrive or distortion pedal or vice versa, but you often end up getting too much noise and distortion (as in less clean signal) by using an amp sim that’s designed to emulate an amp. In most cases it’s better to run the effects into the physical amp. That being said, it’s all about experimenting and knowing your gear so try a bit of both.

  2. Saeed says:

    Pleas help how can I creat sound effect David Gilmour with boss br800

  3. Berkay says:

    Hi Björn!
    I want to form my rig with TC Electronic Nova System, Vick Audio 73′ Ram’s Head and an expression pedal. You can consider these with Hiwatt T20.
    What do you think of this kind of system? It sounds prettyno nice to me. However
    some people who i asked said “don’t buy nova system cause its outdated. If you have that money go for line6 hx fx or some sort of stuff like that and sell the vick rams head etc. ”
    What do you think, is that worth to buy that rig? Or it is really outdated and waste of money?

    • Bjorn says:

      To be honest I really don’t know. I haven’t tried the Nova but it is old. My experience with TC is that they make very good high quality stuff and I use several of their pedals. People always have an opinion about stuff but that doesn’t mean that they’re right. I’d check out a couple of reviews and user comments and decide based on that. I’m sure you can come a long way with the Nova system. But it might be wise too to just see what’s out there. Line 6 is also very good.

  4. Chris says:

    I wonder what advice for a two amp setup bass + guitar amps with a single guitarist using guitar or bass depending on song with ability to mix lower octaves in with guitar or upper octaves mixed in with bass via whammy 5, cheap usm600 pitch shifter feeding both amps with appropriate signals and switching between. Pedals available at moment are whammy 5, boss tu3, big muff, digitech bad monkey, original crybaby wah. Songs in spirit of white stripes, black keys, flat duo jets, jsck white, royal blood and queens of the stoneage. Amps currently VHT Ultra 6 and Ashcroft Perfect 10 combos. All gigs mic’d up through venue PA, thank you so much for great resource.

  5. kunal Das says:

    Can you help me to make a set up with zoom G1XN EXT ?

  6. David says:

    Great article. I can’t tell you how indispensable this site has been to my tonal evolution and understanding of gear. Thank you so much Bjorn for your wonderful contributions. Here is something in the style of DG I recorded on Halloween using a POD HD. Hope you enjoy it! I apologize for those sour notes…it was an improv…


  7. David Du says:

    hi, Bjorn, I just fixed a BEHRINGER V-Amp2 from my friend, and it is a digital effect processors like Lin6 pod. I tried its sim amps like Marshall and Vox, it sounds great. but of course , not so real compare to the real tube amp. how can I use it with the transistor amp? directly into the input? should the cabinet sim be shut down when using? and how can we treat this v-amp2 as a amp, and connect the tube driver in front of it?
    sorry for asking so many questions, but just want to do some test, if this can be use in a small club and direct into PA, or using at home with a small transistor amp.
    Thanks a lot

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t have much experience with that particual model but in general, when you’re using these processors with amps, you should turn off the amp sims and just plug the thing into the front end of your amp, if the amp is set clean, which I assume is what you do. Some of these units have a send/return option, where you can place stand alone pedals. If not, then run the pedals first, the the V-Amp and straight into the amp.

      • David Du says:

        hi, bjorn, you mean turn off the Cabinet sims when using the digital processor with amp, right? We use the digital processor is for the various amps, right? and also about the setting clean on amp, should it be as much headroom as i can, or just the edge of breakup?

        • Bjorn says:

          You should never use the amp sims when you’re using the processor with a real amp. You could, but an amp sim is bacially a gain stage simulation, voiced as an amp, so what you’re basically doing is stacking an overdrive or distortion pedal ontop of that amp sim ontop of your amp. That’s a lot of gain and you will probably have noise issues, feedback and, some unwanted conflicting frequencies. If you are using the amp sims when you’re only using the processor, then try a recommended setup first and tweak your way around that. Which settings you ultimately end up using, depends very much on the amp sim and what tones you want. Obviously, a Fender shouldn’t be treated as a Hiwatt :)

  8. aj says:

    Dear Bjorn,
    For someone building his first electric guitar rig, wanting to sound Gilmourish on a budget, and going by your advice, faced with a choice between:

    1. – Fender Blues Jr = costing Norwegian Krone 6905/-


    2. – Laney Cub 12r = NK 3684/-
    – TC electronic Ditto looper = NK 1052/-
    – TC Polytune Clip = NK 549/-
    – BossBD-2 = NK 818/-
    – Mooer black secret = NK 639/-
    – TC electronic flashback mini delay = NK 1170/-
    – SUM TOTAL = NK 7902/-

    Which one should I go for? The latter seems more appealing to me.
    Please help me make a choice!

    The trouble I face is that I don’t have a local music equipment store nearby. I would have to order them online, so I cant really compare the sound of Cub 12r and Blues Junior iii. I’ve seen youtube demos of the amps and like them both!

    Also, since there wont be a guitar/amp technician located near me, an important consideration would be fixing the bias of the amp when the tubes need replacement.
    I could order matched tubes online, but I’d like to know which amp would take the new tubes without me having to bother much about bias issues.
    I’m basically looking for a bedroom amp. Won’t be gigging.

    Much thanks and greetings from India.

    • aj says:

      The thing I like about Laney Cub 12r is it’s <1W capability, which would make it a practical choice. I loved the sound of your modified Cub 12 (head+cab). What I didn't like about it is that it sometimes sounds rather muddy on other youtube demos I've seen. But what I love the most about 12r is the price and it seems like a great sounding amp for the money.

      The thing I like about Blues Jr. iii is the bright sound, but I've also read that it could be too loud for a bedroom practice amp. I've read reviews that one has to really crank it up for the tube to distort. Also, it is pricey.

      Thank you. I've been lately bothering you a lot with my questions. But I cant think of anyone else who could advise/guide me better. Thanks again.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi, sorry for my late reply. The Fender BJ has a typical Fender tone. Lots of headroom, mild mids scoop and a fairly bright tone. The Laney has more mids, a darker tone and less headroom, although it plays fairly clean on lower gain settings. The tone is closer to a Marshall/Hiwatt. So, it’s really two different sounding amps. For Gilmour’s tones, you could go either way, but I would perhaps recommend the Laney. It’s more versatile I think and it also works nicely with most pedals. None of these really need biasing but get matched pairs. Good luck with the project!

  9. Aj says:

    Hi Bjorn. Thanks a lot for showing us the way. You are doing a great service to music!

    What advice would you give to someone who has just bought his first electric wanting to sound gilmourish?

    #Q1. Which pedals should he get first if he wants to play comfortably numb, dogs, marooned, coming back to life, sorrow solos?
    Ofcourse there are so many more tracks but these are the solos i wish to master before i go anywhere else with my rig.

    #Q.2 I’d also like to sound like Clapton (hence contemplating on getting a blues junior iii amp. Could you suggest something better?)

    #Q3. Also, would it make sense to buy a zoom g3x or a line 6 m9, considering no pedal could emulates David’s tone perfectly. We all only get close enough. Plus the bang for buck one gets from these digital processors is just awesome.

    (I would really prefer buying analog pedals. If I could get the pedals you would mention in response to my #Q1 within my budget)

    Much thanks and greetings from India!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Aj, thanks for your kind words :)
      This whole site is about what gear you can use to capture this and that sound so I won’t go into detail here. Tone, is, as I’m sure you are aware, a combination of the guitar, amp, pedals, room/venue, your technique… to name a very few factors. Read this feature for some insights on what makes a tone.
      Digital processors has come a long way and you can produce some really nice tones with multi effects and software. None of these manages to do it all, so some are better at clean tones, some do vintage tones very well and others do metal. Pedals and analog gear allow much more tweak ability and leave more up to the guitarist to really fine tune the tones. Passive pickups, tube amps and analog pedals will always be more responsive to your playing than digital.
      In your case, I would get 2-3 pedals as a start and something versatile that would allow you to dial in a wide range of different tones but authentic enough to be inspiring. Versatile pedals also mean that they usually work nicely on any guitar and amp.
      I’d get an overdrive for rhythms and the more bluesy solos. Check out pedals like the Electro Harmonix Soul Food, Boss BD2 and, if your budget allow it, the Wampler Plexi Drive. Next would be a distortion for the heavier stuff and the bigger solos. Check out the ProCo Rat, Mooer Black Secret or, if your budget allow it, the Buffalo FX Evolution. Last would be a delay. Any would do but it’s hard to beat the TC Electronic Flashback (blue).
      You’ll find reviews for some of these pedals here on Gilmourish and most of them listed in the Buyer’s Gear Gudies as well. Please see the David Gilmour Gear Guide for specific song setups.
      Hope this helped.

  10. Mark Williams says:

    Thank you for your reply, how are finding you the HD500? I see there bring out something even better by the demo I have scene.

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried the HD500 but I’m using the old POD X3 a lot and must say that I prefer Line 6 over Amplitube and some of the other stuff.

  11. Andreas says:

    I have recently started playing with Pink Floyd revival. I have Fender Blues Jr and some good pedals. But it is very hard to achieve Gilmour’s tone during some song, I have to switch sometimes three pedals between verses and solos. It’s more dancing on pedalboard than playing:) (Midi controllers are quite expensive…) So I decide to TRY something from digital word. Eleven rack. Has anyone experience with it? It’s said to be better than Line6 stuff. Thanks!

  12. G. says:

    Also……No POD or any other unit out there will EVER get you the rich warm tone and sustain that tubes will. Never. You can bypass the amp simulator(what I do) and hear the effects as they were meant to be heard. Raw.

  13. G. says:

    I went from a solid state Peavey with a zoom 505 that I used for most of my adolescence, to a Mesa dual caliber. I have to say that even before I upgraded to a Digitech unit, even the crappy zoom effects sounded 10x better on the tube amp. They went from dry and shapeless to colorful and vibrant. I would never use a solid state amp ever again. They are garbage. Bite the bullet and go buy a used mesa or any tube amp and watch your whole sound spectrum change. BTW, I have had the Mesa for 14 years now. Never had to do anything to it. all original tubes and speaker. hardware.wiring. and it was a decade old almost when I bought it. No biasing needed. Will change your guitar sound world.

    [Yep, those Mesas are awesome! – Bjorn]

  14. Hud says:

    I dont know, and I leave this comment as a learning point for those starting on guitar and learning about “tone”. But when I started in the 90s (in London) i went ahead and got the early digital FX all-in-one units, Boss but I’ve used most of the brands. That and combined with the era that guitar was going through, plus music magazines spending very little time on analogue pedals, well, I really feel I wish I had simply concentrated on 2-3 analogue pedals.

    I completely missed out on the impact that a treble booster has on a valve amp. I completely missed out on the evolution of the fuzz to the muff to the rat (my ears got used to the sound of digital distortion). I completely missed out on the focus on developing your own “individual tone” that is way more important than the FX you can ladle out like soup with a digital multi-fx unit (which is what I did).

    So of course try both digital and analogue, but for me, the last 4-5 years have been all about a return to analogue pedals, more to the point a return to fewer pedals, and a concentration on using 2-3 really well. The great thing is that with the emergence of 1-5Watt valve amps you can get a great tone at far lower volumes. The other thing is the custom made pedals you can get from individual builders, many at the same price as the big brands most of whom will show a youtube demo of it. They are more likely to give you an individual sound :-)

    [Hear! Hear! – Bjorn]

  15. Uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    i was wondering what was your opinion about the POD HD Pro, in particluar the POd HD PRO X, new baby in the Line 6 family. Gilmourish speaking, of course.

    Are they better than the classic pods, knowing that the Hd pro X seems to be at the higher level…

    Thanks for letting me know… and by the way, did you have the chance to try the Torpedo CAB? Or torpedo live ?



    [Hi Uwe! Haven’t tried the Torpedos yet… The Line 6 HDs sound very impressive. You can definitely hear more details and dynamics in the tones. I haven’t played them enough to really tell whether they’re worth the upgrade or not but from my limited experience I was wasn’t blown away and I think that it always depends on what tones you’re looking for. I’m so used to the old POD X3, which I’m using for my Airbag demos, and I always use it together with a tube compressor and pre-amp. That in mind I don’t think I would need an upgrade but again I can’t really tell how big the difference is. – Bjorn]

  16. Uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Thanks for all those explanations.

    I’ve done my research, and it seems that there’s an anwser to my needs (keeping my pedalboards, and having the ability to plug it into different power amps /cabs, speakers, and ven mics simulations), without buying any cabinets or any amp. It is called “Two notes Torpedo cab”. Seems to be a killer solution, knowing that you can plug it directly into any amplifier (Hi Fi, Computer speakers, Monitoring solution, etc etc…)

    Have you heard about that baby: very popular on youtube.
    Thanks for your precious help


    [I’m not familiar with that one. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  17. Uwe says:

    Hello M; Riis,

    I’m really asking myself what would be the best solution for home pratice, between having a small amp, and a digital processor (like Line 6 Pro). Let me explain: I do onw a bunch of pedals (let’s say 30), that many used to be played with a Fender Twin Reverb when I was playing in a band.

    I only need something for home now; my only obsession is to be able to have a clean amp sound with headroom (Hiwatt / fender type) + a Marshall 60’s / 70’s type of tone ( let’s say from Jtm 45 to JMP or early superlead VH tone…)

    and in every situation, I’d like to be able to use my collection of pedals (many of them are dedicated to gilmourish tone, by the way, the others to hendrix to early randy Rhoads and VH tones).

    What is the real deal:

    – A good small amp like the Laney Cub 5W (but is it good to simulate a marshall, as good as simulating a hiwatt??? Maybe with my Plexidrive or my wampler Pinnacle?) + 2 X 12″ Cab

    – A digital processor like Line 6 Pod HD Pro or Pod HD, just for the amp sims? (but not using the intergated effects will be a waste of money…). Going through some kind of studio / Hi Fi speakers?

    Thanks for helping !


    [Hi Uwe! There’s no easy answer to this. Obviously, it’s two very different setups. A multi processor will give you a lot for the buck but it also has its limitations. You can only experiment within the parameters already set and the tones you want, say a JTM 45 with TS9, may not sound as you want it to sound. As explained in the feature, the tones you get from a multi processor may sound very close to the original but they may also sound very different. The reason is that they’re based on a specific setup when thy were designed and not for the possibility to emulate a gazillion different nuances… it’s just not possible. An amp and pedals setup however, can be a bit more expensive and perhaps not as easy to handle as a small POD or whatever but you have total control over the tones and how each part of the setup interact with each other and your playing. To get there however, you need to experiment and find the amp and pedals that suits your playing and environment, which can be a demanding task. Personally I prefer the amp and pedal setup for both stage, rehearsal and practice but I do use processors from time to time as well. Let me know if you need more specific recommendations. – Bjorn]

  18. Carlos Mink says:

    Bjorn. I understood perfectly your explanation and your answer via Facebook. But… The same way that exists a channel for Gilmourish.com exchange “backing tracks” for Pink Floyd and Gilmour songs, it should be very useful a similar “channel” for exchanging the patches (as are called the customized configurations for this digital units, like the GT-100s and GT-8s) that some people found for the same songs… But it was just a suggestion, OK? Gilmourish.com and your fantastic job are amazing just the way they already are. Best regards, Carlos Mink

    [Thanks for your suggestion, Carlos. I certainly keep it in mind for future upgrades of the site :) – Bjorn]

  19. Diogo Lopes says:

    Thanks a lot Bjorn, tomorrow I’m will be spending my whole day setting up my backup/secondary rig for a gig I’m having a couple weeks from now and I’m going to approach it in a whole new different way thanks to you ;) . Thanks again for the help and for the great work you’ve done over the years in putting and updating this wonderful David Gilmour’s tone searchers “spot” on the web!!!
    Diogo Lopes

    [Thanks for your kind words, Diogo! Good luck with your tone and the show! – Bjorn]

  20. Diogo Lopes says:

    Yes I’m using the hiwatt simulation when the RP is plugged my amps, a Marshall MG15FX and a Kustom KBA30 Bass amplifier
    Diogo Lopes

    [OK. It might be your amps and their settings. Keep in mind that your position to the amp often determines how you set it. The best approach is to listen to the amp from different angles and find a setting that works. See this feature for some amp setup tips. I wouldn’t use amp sims with real amps, especially not if you’re using gain effects as well. An amp sim is baiscally an overdrive or distortion effect voices specifically for an amp tone so what you’re really doing is combining several gain effects. This will cause more noise and harsh overtones. Keep in mind that your amp will always dominate the sound so adding a Hiwatt sim won’t make your Marshall into a Hiwatt but rather make it sound like a Marshall with a Hiwatt type overdrive (even if it’s set clean). To ensure a clean signal and good tone, I’d set the real amps up for a desired tone, match the global output volume of your processor and carefully add effects just like if they were pedals. Hope this made sense. – Bjorn]

  21. Diogo Lopes says:

    Hi, first of all congratulations for the great work you’ve done over the years and for the site, as you said some of us start with digital multi effect processors before even considering buying a bunch of pedals, well I have a Digitech Rp355 on my secondary/backup board witch I use for smaller gigs and manly to practice at home and I can get really authentic sounds out of it. What I want to ask you is: Could you give me some advice on about setting my amps, my whole setup and my virtual pedals and simulations because the only problem I have is an excess of treble even when I set my amps as you advice (I’m using a Hiwatt simulation just to give that “tone”).
    Diogo Lopes (Portugal)

    [Are you using the amp sims when the RP is plugged into a real amp? What amp are you using? – Bjorn]

  22. chris says:

    hi, i really need to find some truths about digital multi effect pedals. I heard you shouldnt really put these through a valve amp as this impairs what an valve amp does to make the sound the way it should. I currently thinking of getting a boss GT10 digital multi effects processor to put through my marshall valve amp, would it be wise not to, or am i just not understanding it all, any advice would be great.
    cheers Chris Roberts

    [It won’t hurt the amp. Just be sure to set the right master output volume and output source (the impendance may vary between amp setup and sound interface). – Bjorn]

  23. mark says:

    Hi Bjorn, just wanted to say “hello” from cornwall, uk and a massive thanks for taking the time and effort to produce this site, its been awesome to learn about davids set up and the site is a constant source of inspiration to me, thanks! anyway, i just wanted to post this as i feel there must be many people out there like myself who will never be able to afford some of the expensive guitars and effects that you and many others use, i use old 80,s squires, made in the “cortek” factory in korea, they,re awesome guitars and the old 80,s pickups are, in my opinion as good as todays USA fenders! i also have a “squire” classic vibe 50,s strat with the most gorgeous maple neck, beautiful guitars! as for effects, i use 2 multi effects units, the korg ax1500 and the korg ax3000, i use the ax3000 for all the delays, mods and reverbs, i place the 1500 in front of this to add extra compression and the “hold delay” setting for the “meltdown” SOS setting, which sounds awesome! my point is, and i appologise for rambling on, but i only play in a small “home studio” and all my gear probably cost me a fraction of the cost of just one boutique pedal, my playing aint that great but i really get a buzz out of getting close to the correct tones with the gear i can afford, my point being, you can enjoy “being gilmour” on a budget! anyway, thanks again for a great site, regards mark.

    [Hi Mark. Thanks a lot for your kind words! Glad you enjoy my site :) It’s definitely possible to get great tones with budget gear. I always try to stress that it’s technique and practice that matter and not the gear. Knowing your gear and how to use it will get you far no matter what you’re using. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  24. Vicus says:

    Nice article, I agree with everything said here. However, I wanna add something. I found in time that if I really want to get the best out of a POD X3 (and any other multieffects), I need to use 3rd party cab emulations. Specifically because, as you said, you cannot really place the mic on the cab emulation. There are quite a bunch of cab emulation packages, I mainly used free ones and 2 big paid ones: Recabinet and Redwirez. These things are incredibly awesome and are opening huge things to tone. Is as close as you can get to a real amp feeling…

    [Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  25. CRaSH says:

    Excellent article as always, Bjorn!

    For me, multi effects processors are an enabler: I’m space and time limited for the most part, so these units allow me to achieve close approximations of most of the Gilmour sounds I try to achieve – without the requirement for a half dozen individual pedals, patch cables, power supplies, etc, etc. What’s more, I can very quickly cycle through saved configurations – and just as quickly muck about with the effects chain sequences – without the needing to put the guitar up.

    I know that the ‘tone die-hards’ will likely disagree, but I believe that these multi-effects processor units offer a high-degree of utility and value.

    Having said this, I still struggle to find the ‘right’ sound for a bunch of Gilmour stuff. So, I reckon a valuable addition to your great site would be the inclusion of an area that breaks down the set-ups for various multi-effects units for track-based tones. User-contributed, of course!


    [Digital processors are of course convenient and not least money saving. As you point out one can create patches and basically fine tweak a setup for each song. However, one should consider these processors as any other pedal. Although there are more effects it’s just not possible to cover everything. Just like a pedal that might not suit David’s tones. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  26. Martin says:

    Bjorn how would work the blues driver with the Line 6 POD XT.

    [Depends on how you use it. I don’t recommend using additional pedals if you’re plugging the processor into the PC using the amp sims. Most pedals will sound thin and bleed a lot (sound fuzzy). However, combining digital processors and stompboxes and plugging everything into an amp usually works great. Just remember to switch off the amp sims when you’re using an amp. – Bjorn]

  27. Paul says:

    Just to demonstrate how many contrarian opinions there are on where to set a ‘Hiwatt’ Tone stack for a ‘flat response’ EQ, I’ve found another Reeves Amplification website link that shows a Reeve’s Custom 225 Bass Amp. If you look at Fig. F, on the last page of the article, they have set the Mids at 2.30 o’clock, and Bass at 10 o’clock, and Treble at 8 o’clock!

    So many factors affect the tone coming out of the speakers including the speakers themselves, the acoustics of the room your in, the type/ state of the valves, and the cables you use, and the volume you play at. The link if anyone’s interested is http://www.reevesamps.com/assets/articles/bassGearCustom225.pdf

    It’s a interesting article, even though it’s meant for Bass players, but also shows a frequency graph of a HiWatt (Reeves) Tone stack. As I stated previously, ultimately set your EQ to what YOU think, sounds best, and be objective about everything you hear. Even coming from my mouth!

    [+1! Thanks for the article. It’s difficult to set the amp flat unless you’re actually bypassing the preamp stage. Some amps even have an active EQ stage. – Bjorn]

  28. woonk says:

    would u say that digital multifloor based guitar effects are the NEW analog stuff and software guitar effects are the new digital??? cheers!!!

    [Not yet. We’re getting there I think but not yet and I think it will be hard to fully replicate the tone of an analog amp. – Bjorn]

  29. rdolfo says:

    you missed tip of the week this week¡¡¡¡ LOL….

    [Sorry! I’ll post on monday :) – Bjorn]

  30. Paul says:

    Hi, This is a comment left for Peter trying the Axe Fx experiment to help maybe shed some light on the Hi Watt tone stack. The most common tone stack used in guitar amps is the FMV type which stands for Fender Marshall Vox. In this type the Mid EQ actually is a mid cut, which means the mid EQ is actually flat when the knob s set fully at 9-10. I myself do not own a Hiwatt amp, but after a bit of digging on a Hiwatt owners website, it seems that most of the Hiwatt DR103’s, uses a different tone stack. Here is a link explaining how THEY believe, how to set a flat EQ.

    I never completely trust everything I read on the net, so I’d suggest trying these settings with a objective mindset. These guys believe that to get a flat EQ, you would set the Bass to centre(12 o’clock), the Treble to 10 o’clock, and the Mid to 7 o’clock! I know it sounds weird, but apparently a lot of Hiwatt owners complain of excessive treble, possibly for this reason.
    From my own personal experience with the different FMV style tone stack on my old Mesa Preamp, I initially believed, like most other people, that a Flat EQ was setting all knobs to half way, 12 o’clock, 5 position. The reality is I’m better to set the mid EQ close to 9 or 10, almost fully clockwise, near maximum. Anything less, and I’m actually cutting mid frequencies centered at 800 Hz. It was hard for me to believe, until a Guitar Amp Technician, showed me the frequency response charts. Then my ears proved this once I set the mids up near full.
    This is the reason the Axe Fx Techs told you to set the mids up full, as they thought the HiWatt had a FMV Tone stack like most guitar amps. Apparently a few of the really early ones did, but the majority don’t. Hiwatts can also have a Presence control which also boosts the High mids/ Treble EQ, once turned above halfway.

    All I can finish off by saying, is to ultimately trust your ears. Your playing guitar to please yourself, so set your sound to whatever makes you happy. I personally prefer a crisp, flat sound, evenly balanced across all strings, and set my EQ accordingly.

  31. Hugo says:

    I would like to share my opinion regarding the topic of portability of the digital modelers in a live band situation.

    I mean, everyone says “connect it straight to the PA” and that’s it, and others (who are more experienced) says “you need an amp with a flat eq response”. Good..where does this leave us?

    That even when you just connect your POD HD500 to your PA.. what speakers are you going to use? If its like in my experience (I owned a GT8 a few years back..great unit for those in cover bands), you are going to use the main speakers, the same that runs the vocals, and the keyboards. Very few people hang out with a crossover or dedicated speakers for each instrument.

    The result is that, at the very least, you need a lot of time setting the PA to manage all that sounds trough 2 PA speakers or more. In the worst scenario you will get a muddy sound because everything is coming up from the same speakers (except the bass which I assume is sounding trough a speciall subwoofer speaker).

    So, In my opinion its not about getting just the MODELER (even the great Axe-fx) and running in trough the PA…you will need a special amp or dedicated speakers.. so.. this ruins the whole concept behind portability of the digital processors, because if I have to bring the modeler + special speakers + another dedicated amp for those speakers or the modeler+specializaed amp… I prefer to carry my Mesa/Boogie and my pedalboard..

    Just my 2 cents…


    [Thanks for your input. I agree with you and you raise a good point. I’ve seen many guitarists that run their digi board straight into the PA and for me that has very little to do with what we call tone but rather an attempt at making the stage setup as light and easy to carry as possible. Even though you use the amp sims and modellers it won’t be the same as mic’ing a cab and feeding it through the PA. I think I explained why in the post. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  32. J.J.F. says:

    It’s out of the subject but… Roger Waters started his tour in Europe in my country… Portugal!

    Probably the best and biggest concert of rock history! He is a genius!

    You NEED to see it!

  33. Bjorn:

    Hope all is well and thanks for the new series:) Anyway, here’s a question I think you may be the best able to answer. I am going to test drive an AXE FX with my Hiwatt DR-504. I currently use a 12U rack with all my goodies for my Floyd Tribute gigs, but I am tempted to see what I can get out of the AXE FX as an “experiment”.

    My strategy is to use the AXE FX to replicate/replace my analog pedals but still use the Hiwatt and Fane Cabinet. I am going to bypass the power amp and cabinet simulator and use just drives and mods in the AXE FX. Fractal says that they recommend the Hiwatt head be set to a “flat response”. That means “set MID control to FULL and BASS and TREBLE to ZERO”.

    Do you think this makes sense? (Of course my curiosity will force me to try an entire signal chain and A/B it against the analog board and amp).

    Anyway, the main question here is the EQ on the head. This should be interesting and may help others who use digital multi fx with a tube amp.

    Hope all is well!

    Pete Tatooles

    [Sorry for my late reply. I’m not sure I’m the right to answer this though. Setting a flat EQ response on the amp would make sense if you’d bypassed the pre-amp stage on the amp and use the AXE amp sims I guess. I think you’ll get a better tone utilizing the amp and using the AXE’s effects only. Although Hiwatts tend to have a rather mild EQ stage they will sound quite dead with the EQ flat and I’m not sure you’d be able to drive the tubes properly either. But again, I’m probably not the right person to ask. Please keep me posted on your experiment :) – Bjorn]

  34. timinTN says:

    good job once again Bjorn.

    The first time i started using digital multi fx units was back in 2006 when i picked up the old Digitech RP300 multi fx unit. took some time getting use to it cause up to that point i had never used effect. later on with the addition of the Boss GE-7 and DD-3, and setting the RP300 and the tones on my Marshall MG250dfx and the DG-20’s on the Strat’s, got some great sounding tones and cleans when playing.

    Thinking of adding a Boss HM-2 and CE-3 to the line later on.

    keep up the good work as always, and thank you for this site.

    Tim in TN

    [Cheers Tim! – Bjorn]

  35. Frans says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    I also was not very fund on multi processors so I collected quite a few stomp boxesalong the years.
    But as you said the multi effects have come a long way and today’s me’s can’t be compared with the me’s 10 years ago.
    I recently bought a Digitech RP1000 and I’m very happy with it. So happy that I’m selling most of my stomp boxes.
    The ease of use (patches etc.) is a great advantage and not to have to tapdance your stompboxes is also quite nice. Changing tones from song to song is now very easy.
    Off course the tone/sound is most important but when you spend some time tweeking on it, you must be able to find every tone you want. I get my best tones by not running it through an amp but through studioboxes.

  36. Patrik says:

    Plato’s theory of ideas, now we’re talking about iteresting stuff Björn! ;D But yeah, no doubt there’s some “mysticism” surrounding the Big Muff; what exactly is the Big Muff “tone”… does it have a bit of an ethereal qaulity perhaps..? Or is it the physical box, with its electronical components that makes the Big Muff? Or the sound it produces? Hmm.. The essence of the Big Muff; the title of a doctorate dissertation, anyone? Wonder what Plato would say… :P

    [Ha ha! Yeah, well I think sounds in general are subject to personal opinion and preference. On thing is what you and I like but we also have different opinions of how it sounds if we were to describe it. My all time favourite Gilmour tone is from the Montreal 1977 show and Dogs especially. This is a crappy bootleg that’s been copied countless times from the original tapes that probably was worn when the show was recorded. Over the years the recording has somehow been pitched down – probably due to conversion from tape to digital – making the show and guitars sound even more nasty and muddy. In addition to this the show was recorded from different places in the hall and way off range from David’s amps. All this adds to what I would describe as the ultimate Big Muff tone. No wonder I’ll never find the perfect pedal :) – Bjorn]

  37. Thefatcyclist says:

    For just stomp boxes, without amp models, The Line6 m13 cannot be beaten, virtually every Gilmour pedal with the exception of the Mistress. Snowy White is using an m9 on the Wall tour, lots of memory and scenes to allow song settings to be saved. The distortions may be a slight weakness, but you can put your analogue ones in on the fx loop.
    A bargain

    [It’s a great alternative to the Boss GT boards and similar and although Line 6 has some of the better sounding delays and modulations on the market I must disagree that they’ve managed to nail David’s overdrive and distortion tones. The Tube Driver sim is decent but no where near a BK model. Perhaps closer to an OCD. The Big Muff and Colorsound sims are bleak at best and has little to do with the originals. Sorry, but as I said in the article, there’s no such thing as a Gilmour-in-a-box unit. That being said, and as you point out, the M9 and M13 offers a userfriendly interface and with additional gain pedals these units will produce quite convincing Gilmourish-tones. – Bjorn]

  38. Allan says:

    Yeah I had the amp on my radar since september :P Finally bought it around Christmas time and it’s just been excellent. Love the tone so much I could easily play with just the amp, my RAT and the TC delay.

    I’m definately picking up the OCD. it just seems to be a hands down winner.

    How is it in LP mode for boosting a muff? I know it’s fairly transparent but there seemed to be a bit of a mid hump… although not as extreme as a ts.

    sorry, no future posts about analog stuff from me in this discussion :D

    [No worries :) The OCD is basically just a hot-wired TS with more gain and lower end. The LP mode is a TS and in my oppinion a bit dark for boost. The HP mode is much more transparent and works better as a booster. – Bjorn]

  39. Alex says:

    Well… I have to admit that I’m a fan of digital :) I have followed the whole modelling story since the very first POD and Johnson J-Station (that sounded both soooo much more like amps than the other multi FX back then). Plus, I have been into that plug-in madness for studio FX for more than 12 years now. While there had been only slight improvements over the first couple of years, I think the current generation is a big step forward (and we haven’t reached the end of what is possible or will be in the future). Sure, there have always been limitations. Things like digital verbs, delays and modulation FX went quite well right from the start (depending on how good the algorithm was of course). But all that gain stuff was not right in the beginning. It had the right flavour but lacked dynamic response and too much latency always gave it a bad feel. But these things changed a good bit with the AxeFX and the POD HD generation.

    I believe that one of the next things where the developers put their eyes on will be the improvement of speakers/cabs, which are now based on simple convolution technology, but would be better with more dynamic behaviour. I think that the Nebula thingy is the right direction to get it better. Another option would be a phaser that isn’t controlled by a LFO but reacts on the dynamics of the signal instead (there already are phasing algorithms that do exactly this, but somebody needs to put them on a modeller chip)…

    Personally, I still use analog devices for over 90% of the gain stuff… But although I have an analog chorus/flanger as well as verb + delay stomp boxes on my pedal board… on a gig I get most all of my verb, delay and mod effects from my Eventide Eclipse… And I don’t have a bad feeling regarding the sound quality… Rather the opposite, I use the unit in my studio, too :)

    [Thanks for the input :) – Bjorn]

  40. Vova says:

    Ok, i’ll wait!))) thank you

  41. Vova says:

    Hello, Bjorn can you share your pathes of your X3 if it’s possible?! I think it will be usefull! Thank you!

    [I don’t have that many Floyd patches but I’ll try to post some soon. – Bjorn]

  42. Justin says:

    To answer Vergil’s question about the Hendrix pedal. I have owned it for a couple years now and like it alot! My favorite setting is for the Wind Cries Mary. The downside of it is that it is kind of a pain when it comes to switching between modes within the setting (has the toe up and heel down switches). I dont use the pedal much, until Im in a Hendrix playing mood. The Star Spangled Banner tone is spot on to my ears, however I am not a big fan of the Purple Haze tone.

    I am starting a collection of individual pedals slowly but surely. So far a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 Mosfet, MXR Carbon Copy, MXR Classic Distortion (Guitar Center exclusive pedal), a Boss SD1 and and Bd2 (not modded yet). I hope to find a decent all around distortion pedal soon….

    I also own a Digitech RP500 which I like for the most part. I can get some decent tones out of it usually. Some setting are usable and some are horrible. It’s really good to use for practice purposes. I can plug it into my computer through the audio out and play along to music through headphones. Great for Youtube!!

    Thanks Bjorn for all you do with this site!!

    Justin (from TEXAS)

    [Thanks for your input Justin. – Bjorn]

  43. GDKZen says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’ll try to get my HD500 patches documented ASAP so that you can take a look at them.

    My general opinion of digital technology is that it can affordably offer a guitarist a range of options that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. From a tonal point of view, my two favorite guitarists are David Gilmour and Eric Johnson. Both of them employ multiple amps for a myriad of sounds. Without digital technology it would be very difficult for me to create an acceptable replication of their sounds, not only in terms of expense, but room to house the equipment as well!

    The modeling technology is a closely held secret. As a software engineer, my own opinion is that each stage of a signal processor (I consider amps to be a kind of signal processor as well) needs to be accurately modeled and implemented separately. This runs up against the limitations of DSP’s to render the product signal in a timely fashion. Eventually, the technology will get there. In my opinion, digital technology will be the norm within the next 10 years.

    [As I said in the article, digital sound processing has come a long way and I think we’ll see more and more units over the coming years that seriously challenge analog sounds. Personally I think we’ll see that guitarists will combine digital and analog more and more. However, I don’t believe in a situation where digital will dominate over analog – we learned that in the 80s. One thing is producing convincing digital effects but there’s a long way from that to producing units that will fully replicate the acoustics and resonance of a speaker cabinet and allow multiple simulated mic placements that aren’t restricted to default setups. – Bjorn]

    • Mark Williams says:

      I have the HD 500 and I’m using analog pedals and a nova system with it, have you put any of your patches on Line 6 Customtone, if so love to share. Do you have any thing from Onan island?

  44. Giorgio says:

    Hi Bjorn, great topic.
    I’d like to trow my 2penny. Like Chris above, I have a Zoom G2 Nu (the latest release, much better than the previous one) and it really does a great job, especially if you play at home. I play Floyd, mostly at night with headphones and i find it indispensable. I never tried the Pod so I can’t really compare, but I find the G2nu fantastic. The thing that really excites me is that rather than a board Zoom has made it more like a pedal. And it can be used with other pedals. I use it with a Blues Driver or a Big Muff or a RAT, but also with Dynacomp, Small Stone and a Stereo Electric Mistress and the G2 can take them all in and sound better. With this combination of digital and analog I feel getting closer to THE tone. Digital by itself is not sufficient, but also analog by itself with a small tranny is not close enough.

    [Combining the unit with analog pedals will certainly make it more versatile and it’s a great way to start while building a tone. – Bjorn]

  45. allan says:

    I get what you mean Bjorn :P

    There’s some pedals I’ve been looking at recently as well, especially the tone print tc chorus (I have the delay, it’s great), and an OCD. I’d also really love that strymon lex :P

    But yeah, I might just stick with the amp. I’m teaching some kids a couple of tunes at a theatre and drama group I go to, so the marshall will come in handy for when we perform, because I’ll be using my cub head and cab, of course :P

    HAs your pedalboard been changing much recently with all these new pedals coming out Bjorn? haha.

    [I wasn’t aware you had a Cub (sorry if you already told me). That might change the situation and if you’re counting each buck you might want to consider selling the Marshall for some pedals. However, it always pays off having different amps for different occasions. The OCD is an extremely versatile overdrive that’ll both produce nice clean boost and creamy overdrive tones. I haven’t changed the pedal board much but I always experiment with different stuff :) – Bjorn]

  46. Greg Roberts says:

    No One has mentioned the new Pods, the HD 500. It has a “high def” HiWatt amp sim amongst a lot less amp sims to choose from. I love it, got it a month ago, so much more to download and program. I use mine to start getting a U2 tone, and playing without amp at church. It has some great features. I love the shimmer too. Have you looked into them Bjorn, or anyone???

    [I haven’t tried it yet. – Bjorn]

  47. Stephen says:

    I am using the TC Electronics G System limited with a myriad of stompboxes and it is a great system…I still often consider just going to a rack loop system with a midi controller and going back to the stompbox only route. I like having a lot of control over every parameter of a sound and digi systems often cage you into all on all off patches. The TC G SYS allows control over all parameters in real time and has loops for distortions as well…Over all I am really happy with it. Great article again Bjorn!


    [Never had the change to try the G System myself but it seems to be incredibly versatile and easy to use. – Bjorn]

  48. Leandro says:

    Hey, Bjorn, cool tips like always! This is a bit off topic but I was wondering if you’ve tried Paul Cochrane’s Tim overdrive pedal, if so, what are your thoughts about it?


    [I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll check it out :) – Bjorn]

  49. Allan says:

    This has been my favourite so far.

    My guitar tutor is one of the best guitarist’s I’ve heard in my life. He’s just so at one with the instrument. He’s using a gt-10 with no amp and just enjoying the general sound and convenience of the unit.

    I was thinking about selling my old marshall solid state and buying a boss me25. I think it would come in handy for late night headphone playing and also for just recording direct into my digital recorder.

    I’m toying with the decision though.. cause I could go for a nice RT-20 or yet another chorus for that money :P

    [Hmmm. I’d stick with the amp and save up for a nice small collection of some overdrives, distortions and delays or a multi unit. Even if you don’t play in a band it’s always nice to have an amp and with some patience it’s better to save some extra bucks for a good sounding pedal than to blow it all at once :) – Bjorn]

  50. Darkside says:

    THANK you for this Bjorn! :-)

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  51. Vergil says:

    Another very interesting and helpful article… I don’t have too much experience with it myself… I guess I’m more old school, which is a nicer way of saying I’m a bit techno-tarded… If there are more than 6 or 8 knobs on an amp, it makes me slighlty confused… I don’t like to have to do a pre-flight check just to play, I just want to pop open my pedalboard, plug into my amp and shut my brain down and play…

    Regarding how you talked about modeling not really being all that sonically accurate… I’ve wondered about that Hendrix pedal that digitech made a few years ago… I never tried it myself… but apparently they brought in Eddie Kramer (Hendrix’s engineer) and they went back to the master tapes to model the tones in the pedal… I was wondering if you (or anyone reading this) might have tried it, and what they thought about it’s accuracy in modeling Hendrix’s tones?

    Because if it’s possible to get accurate tones modeled from the master tapes, than we can start to petition Digitech to make a Gilmour pedal from floyds masters too!

    [I’ve never tried the pedal but the principle would be the same. It’s a simulation and to get it right you’d have to use a Marshall Plexi 100w and a Stratocaster with mid 60s pickups and you’d have to play as loud as Jimi. It may be cheaper but I’d much rather go for a nice fuzz, a wah and a UniVibe for the authentic tones. It’s not snobbish but that’s just the answer to what a sim really is. – Bjorn]

  52. Jesse says:

    Personally I dislike any digital modelers and effects with the exception of some digital delays. The effects processors need to convert your guitar signal from analog to digital, to be effected, and then back to analog again. This seems to take away alot of the organic tone that you get with a good tube amp, the “feel” also changes, the modelers seems to be less responsive to picking dynamics and volume control. I would NEVER use any equipment like this live as it totally kills my tone, and therefore my enthusiasm to play. Some modeling programs (the expensive ones) do sound very good for direct recording though. If I had the choice I’d choose a analog pedal board and tube amp every time. With good quality equipment, and more importantly a good player, you shouldnt need much more than a tube amp and half a dozen stompboxes.

    [I agree and I do prefer analog stuff my self but it depends entirely on what tones you want. There are some sounds and effects you can create with these units that are hard to get on pedals and vice versa. In terms of replicating tones it’s hard to achieve David’s tones with digital units because he’s using vintage analog stuff but on the other hand it’s easier to replicate more generic tones and tones from guitarists that has a more “anonymous” tone. – Bjorn]

  53. Joe says:


    Nice work!

    People need to remember that “tone” is VERY subjective to what you hear. Gilmour always says that the “tone” you’re chasing after is the tone that has been bugging you in the head when even you think about your guitar playing. I don’t have any kind of big muff pedal (yet), but I can replicate it with a generic Distortion pedal and an Equalizer. These are the things that people need to remember when they create there sounds.

    [True. What is a Big Muff tone? Is it the pedal? David’s Comfortably Numb tone? Or the tone in your head that you think is a Big Muff? Sounds almost like an idea from Plato but the answer is probably a bit of everything. – Bjorn]

  54. Kamil POLAND says:

    is good idea to buy next pedals like RAT and use BOSS ME-20 with it? I have ME-20 and I want to develop my rig, I want only use delay or reverb from ME. Will it sound good?

    [The RAT should work fine. A versatile pedal that fits almost anything. – Bjorn]

  55. PAUL says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Just thought I’d share my experience with multi-effects. Basically a good low cost way to get started, and some of them do sound quite good to a degree. I agree some have good distortions, some have good amp sims, some have good modulation effects, but in my experience, not all of these necessarily combine to give you the full package. I found my old Zoom GFX-8 had fairly decent modulations, the marshall sound was good, but the other amp sims were mostly average. Don’t know if it just the nature of Digital effects, but it really sucked my midrange, so I had to boost the Mids by 12 Db. It also didn’t let the true tone of the actual guitar shine. The ‘tone’ seems to come from the actual unit itself. Some of the newer stuff on the market, like the Fractal Audio Axe Effects, seems to have addressed most of these issues. They sound great, but I can still hear the digital, slightly cold, sterile, sound of the guitar signal, getting chopped up into digital 1’s and 0’s, then reassembled into a modeled analog sound. Advantages are it’s more portable, more versatility in producing a myriad of different sounds, no valves to be replaced, which at any time, could suddenly decide to die. Disadvantages are it’s DIGITAL! I’ve probably started a Analog/ Digital debate, but that’s to be expected. Interestingly, Jamie Humphries, did use Line 6 ‘modeling’, when he toured with the Aussie Pink Floyd Show, so I guess it has it’s place in getting a Gilmour tone. I’ll happily stick with my more expensive analog pedals, and heavy, back breaking valve amp, just to get that warm sound. Just hope I don’t get a hernia in the process!

    [I think Line 6 has some really nice delays and some of the amp sims are quite convincing too. Depends on where you wanna go though. I often use the POD for recording stuff and keep most of the special effects and power chords etc but I always replace the leads and signature tone stuff. Sounds better with analog pedals and a mic’ed cab IMO. – Bjorn]

  56. Martin says:

    Totally agree with you Bjorn.I am owner of an Line 6 POD XT and yes you are right.To achive Gilmour tone with this thing is posible, but not with the things that you think-I mean not with the muff, hiwatt and the univibe. I don’t wanna spam but check out one channel in youtube on a user called duey101 I’m sure you already seen that but still check them out-he uses basicly almost everything but the hiwatt.I think the digi toys are great.In my country one blues driver costs the minimum paycheck ( i don’t know the word sorry) so I can’t buy them just simply can’t.And I’m sure that anybody with this line 6 thing is for that reason-the money.Trying to do with nothing something…that’s hard but…Nevermind cheers. O and Bjorn who the hell is doing the solo in Have a cigar from NY 1977-Snowy or Gilmour

    [That’s Snowy. Some bootlegs from that show also feature a solo at the beginning of the first verse but it’s fake. – Bjorn]

  57. Eric says:

    Hello fellows,
    first of all: thanks for the interesting tips, Björn!
    My latest buy was that tc electronic NOVA System multi FX unit.
    There’s a lot of quality fx in it and they’re very good adjustable.
    Since i have it only a few days, i’m still in the ‘under construction’ phase but i could already tweak very nice Gilmour sounds.

    [You can’t go wrong with TC :) – Bjorn]

  58. Chris says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    Really good article on this topic. I use a Zoom G2.1Nu as my main pedal these days as it’s a very versatile unit and it allows me to create my own patches as well as record direct via USB to my laptop which has Cubase. I do use a couple of external pedals as well such as Line6 ToneCore Constrictor for compression and a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive. The Hiwatt amp sim on there is very good and I have created a couple of patches based on it for “Marooned” and “Comfortably Numb”

    I modified the pedal with the EFTP programme by Charlie Hall as I mainly play music by The Shadows. Here is one sample of what I normally play – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3z_ZJAAOEk

    Kind Regards

    [Nice! – Bjorn]

  59. Jay says:

    another great article, I have the POD xtlive and it was the first kind of any effect that i ever bought, and if it wasnt for it ide never learn how to work all the diffrent kind of pedals out there and get an idea of what colour of amps are out there. granted as you say these are just sims anddont hit home to the real deal, but the PODs do a great job and is perfect for when im at home and the babys sleeping. I find to get the true best sound out of them is to plug them up to a good powerful PA and the sims sound even more convninceing . Granted that there are some cruddy sims on it too..The muff sim on the Line 6 blows for anyone trying to cover David and the Binson sim is “okay” but lacks (you get the option to select diffrent heads for the binson but they all kinda sound the same to me), while the Memory Man sim and the digital sim do a good job for covering most gilmour eras. And i have to say the PODs do a not so bad job on getting the Hiwatt amp sim down along with many others. BUT! once again these are just sims and since i have a baby i dont use my amp at home much so i use mine with head phones but still sounds great for what i want to achive.
    I mainly use mine now though for just siming the Electric Mistress and delays/echos at the end of my pedal chain then into the front of my amp. I have a crappy $200 solid state amp and the amp sims on the POD actually give it a little more characters. So while not as great as the real deals, Digital Processers arent bad investments and can really teach people who are new to useing effects (pedals, studio eqipment ect) and give a great advantage to those who cant play loud at home. I love the PODs but there may be better ones out there , i havent looked into many others.

    [Thanks for sharing! – Bjorn]

  60. charaf says:

    Thanks Bjorn,

    Nice article as usual.Did you develop any new patches since your last pod x3 review, it would be nice to share! By the way , I re’cently used the dynamic delay on the POD and it was quite good.

    Cheers ,

    [I have lots of new patches but mainly for my band Airbag. Don’t really use it for Floyd stuff. I’ll update the feature soon. – BJorn]

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