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XII. Effects

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I'm not a huge effects guy, but I had to learn a few things to really dial in some patches, and I thought I should share.

A. Preferred Effects

These are my personal preferences for certain types of effects, with why I prefer them.

i. Chorus

  • Analog Chorus - Good traditional chorus sound. Just be aware that it only affects one side of the stereo spectrum. If you are running mono, be sure to place a mono effect behind this to force the sound to sum to mono. Don't put this in one of the two channels in the path split, then pan that channel hard left/right in the mixer.
  • Dimension - Great modulation tone. Despite lacking configurability, it seems to give me the tone I want from a Mod unit. Also it takes up very little DSP.
  • Pitch Glide - Yes, Pitch Glide. Turn the expression controller off for the pitch, and set pitch to +/- 0.1. Now you're just getting a slight detune effect, which is the same thing as a chorus (although a real chorus actually modulates the amount of small pitch shift). Some prefer this tone to the true chorus effects. I think it's a great tone, but I can rarely justify the DSP consumption.
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ii. Flanger

  • AC Flanger - Honestly, this is the only flanger I use. It needs to be specifically dialed in to sound right (See Below).
  • 80A Flanger - Good but not great. Easiest to dial in and instantly get that flanger sound, but a bit dark and really messes with your tone.
  • Analog Flanger - According to the model gallery, this is a variation of the AC Flanger.
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iii. Compressors

  • Tube Comp - This is the only compressor I like. It is very transparent to the tone, but offers a nice compression. It can squash a clean tone or thicken up a distorted tone. The other compressors tend to kill your pick attack, or do something funky to the tone.
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iv. Reverb

  • Spring Reverb (Either one) - Most lush-sounding reverb in the Pod, but a high DSP price.
  • Hall Reverb - This is my go-to. Great tone and natural decay. It's also mono wet, stereo dry, so you get stereo bleed via the effect, which I find sounds nice, but may be a dealbreaker if you're running dual outputs.
  • Room Reverb - Similar to the Hall Reverb but not quite as nice and its hard to get the decay to sound completely natural. True stereo effect, though.
  • Plate Reverb - Pretty good and basic reverb sound. Maybe less expensive DSP-wise than Room Reverb?
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v. Delay

  • Digital Delay - I like my delay to sound simply like delay. Here it is in full transparency. However, to make it sound more like a real echo, turn the treble down a hair.
  • Digital Delay w/ Mod - If I can't fit a Mod effect due to DSP constraints or I want a very subtle mod in the tone, I like this effect.
  • Echo Platter Dry - This is what I use if I want to let the delay shape the tone a little. This effect warms it up a bit.
  • Stereo Delay - If I wanna sound 80's.
  • Ping Pong Delay - I actually dial this in so there's no ping-pong effect, but I like to use it because it takes up the least DSP, allowing me to squeeze in another effect.
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vi. Pre-EQ

For more on Pre-EQ'ing, see the Amp/Distortion page

  • Q Filter - I set this as a band-pass with low Q, medium low Mix, and center the frequency around 56%. Somehow it works better than a Parametric EQ. It's eery how well this works to boost an amp.
  • Line 6 Drive - With a Mids parameter that actually sets the center frequency of a mids-boost, this Distortion effect is equipped to be used as a boost. Find the sweet spot for mids, then compensate with bass/treble.
  • Screamer - Classic overdrive pedal. Low drive, high output, leave the bass/treble around 50% (don't even exist on the real deal), and slowly increase Tone until you find the sweet spot. I find it's a little scratchier/brighter than the Line 6 Drive, which can sometimes be too much but other times be the extreme sound you want.
  • Tube Drive - A bit more vintage than the 2 above options.
  • Mid-Focus EQ - Useful to trim bass to dial out the mud or some extreme high end to make the amp less scratchy or splatty. I use this in addition to one of the other offerings on occasion.
  • Graphic/Parametric EQ - Either can be used to put a nice hump shape in the frequency response to get that mid-boost you need to get a tight distortion from an amp. The Graphic gives you a bit more ability to shape the low end at the expense of finding a good center frequency.
  • Wah Pedals - I don't usually use this approach, but some have found luck using a Wah as a filter to dial in a tighter amp tone. I believe the Pod's wah offerings include a mix parameter, so if you keep that low, you won't sound like you're just using a cocked wah.

B. Dialing in the Flangers

The flangers suck! Or do they?!!? I've tried to dial them in for a while and found a couple paradigms I liked, but only recently truly figured them out.

The quirk is the inclusion of the "Manual" parameter. This control seems designed to be assigned to the expression pedal. Then you can use Width 0% and manually manipulate the "sweep" using the pedal. So you'd think if you don't do that, the setting for "Manual" shouldn't really matter, OH BUT IT DOES! If you set it too low, the sweep seems to bypass the "neutral" position, causing a double-swoosh sound as the sweep hits the extremes. It sounds pretty crappy. So you have to take into account how large you set Width and increase Manual enough to avoid the double-swoosh. But if you go too high, it dilutes the flanging effect. So if you adjust Width, also adjust Manual to find the sweet spot.

The other trick is not to use too large a Width setting. You'd think a higher Width is a bigger sweep sound, but if it's too large, the flanger's comb filter will get into frequencies that are outside the core midrange frequencies that guitar really focus on. This is especially true when running the flanger in front a distorted amp. You hear the swoosh in the middle part of the sweep, but less so on the extremes. I like to keep Width lower and use Manual to center the sweep on the core frequencies where you can really hear it. I like to use the looper to record some simple palm mutes when run before distortion, or some big chords if after. Use settings that get you strong action on that.

High feedback/regen settings can initially sound off-putting and fake, but they really emphasize the flanger sound. I rarely like 100%, but you can't be afraid of it. That said, you don't have to put it high if you want a more subtle effect.

Although some of the flangers include mix settings, they might not actually do anything, so keep that in mind. If you NEED a mix, you'll have to put the flanger in Channel A and use the Mixer to blend it against the "dry" Channel B. You can put your amp behind the mixer.

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C. Substitutes

Instead of a reverb, you can use multiple delays - I typically set one short and one longer. They mask the obviousness of each other and get you an ambient sound, but it's different from reverb. It may also consume less DSP.

Instead of a chorus, you can use a Pitch Glide with -/+ 0.1 Pitch for a similar detune effect. Also if you can't fit a mod effect but need a delay, you can use the Delay w/Mod delays. This is more subtle than a true mod effect, but it adds that aspect to your tone.

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D. Ordering

Effects that affect dynamics or distortion are sensitive to what is being sent into them, compared to non-dynamic effects. Be aware of how ordering effects matters, and experiment with each effect before or after a compression or distortion element. For instance, the whole section on distortion character was mostly about how the way a signal is EQ'ed impacts how distortion will operate. EQ before distortion sounds completely different from EQ after distortion. This equally applies to Wah pedals, phasers, choruses, and other effects. On the other hand, certain effects will operate virtually the same and have negligible impact on other effects independent of where it occurs in the effects chain, such as a pitch shifter.

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The best advice is to experiment, but here are some general tips:

Noise Suppressors/Gates

The general consensus is to make this the first effect in your chain. There it will simply mask your pickup noise when you are not playing. It has the most impact on tone at the end of the chain but can lead to unnatural sounding cut-off on notes. An interesting place for it is after a compressor but before distortion. Sometimes you can use two on each side of a compressor/gain stage to tighten up how effectively it works. This is how Periphery gets their very punchy tone, going quickly from searing power chords to complete silence. For more on noise gates, see here.


Generally, you get the expected swooshing sound behind your distortion phase, but placing it beforehand can give a very difficult to describe but interesting sound. I kind of like it in this position, because it has less of a swooshing sound to it, which I find detracts from the actual music. It also makes your distortion character change, which makes it a bit more interesting, especially if you're playing a very repetitive part, such as straight palm-muted single notes. I use mod effects in both positions.


As mentioned in the amp/tone page, EQ before distortion has a much larger effect on how the distortion operates than how the frequency response is changed. I generally use a single Studio EQ or Mid-Focus EQ to sculpt the distortion character, while I use multiple Parametric EQ's and/or a Mid-Focus EQ after distortion to dial in the desired frequency response in my final tone.


I don't know how anyone gets away with putting delay before a distortion phase. The distortion will compress it and cause the delayed signal to be just as loud or nearly as loud as what you are currently playing, sounding like two guitars fighting for space, playing different things at the same time. People have said EVH put his delay in front his amp distortion, but I can't get it to sound right. I think they're wrong and his echoplex was being used for tonal changes, not actual delay.

I generally put my delay and reverb last (or close to last) in the chain. I don't think it matters which goes first. Occasionally I'll use two delays.

Pitch Shifters

(Octave, Whammy [Pitch Glide], Smart Harmony) - I like these in front my distortion phase usually. The whammy especially sounds more like a real whammy bar that way. Smart Harmony I like behind my distortion - then it sounds like you're playing with another guitarist or double-tracking it. When in front, it sounds more like you're playing double-stops. Experiment with the mix when pitch shifting, especially when you put it in front your distortion - low settings will subtly change your tone rather than sounding like you're adding another track at a lower volume.

Sorry if this section is a little light, but I'm not so much an effects guy. I focus on getting a good distortion sound, rather than layering up a bunch of effects.

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