Frequently Asked Questions
Q:  It seems like the HC is a bit sensitive about what it’s hooked up to... what’s the deal?
A:  The HC was purposely designed as a passive device, and although this offers many distinct advantages, it also means the HC is more sensitive to the impedance of the gear it connects to - IMO, this “tradeoff” is well worth the superior sonic results & dependability, as well as the elimination of any wall-warts or batteries.
Q:  Why is there more than one HC model?
A:  Because they are designed to work in very different impedance environments, each being optimized for their particular usage. Some modelers have programmable loops, but many (unfortunately) don’t.
Q: What is Fizz, and how does the HC deal with it?
A:  “Fizz” is a bogus-sounding background hash which is the absolute *antithesis* of the tight, defined hi-end most of us long for. Fizz is present in all modelers I've heard to date, but over time, the user's ear adapts to this sound until it seems "normal". Some HC users say they were never aware of any fizz until they heard the same tones processed thru the HC - now they cannot stand the sound without it! The HC specifically removes *unnatural* fizz, or harmonically-disconnected highs, which is the specific fizz that tells the ear it is not hearing "the real thing", and it does this while adding *more* urgency & liveliness to the tone (EQing fizz away usually does the opposite). Even many classic guitar amps have abundant fizz until they turned up really loud (the infamous "sweet spot"). Come to think of it, I have never heard anyone ask for the amp or modeler with the most fizz, have you? ;o)
Q: The HC sounds rather bright when I crank the Drive control... is it operating correctly?
A:  Yes, this is normal. I use an infinitely adjustable pot so you can always find the “sweet spot” for your particular preference and modeler. The Drive control has excessive brightness potential to make up for darker sounding setups and minor impedance mismatches. If it sounds best at 35%, then that’s all you need!
Q:  Isn't the HC basically doing the same thing as a BBE Sonic Maximizer or Aphex Aural Exciter?
A:  Definitely not. Both the principle of operation and the sonic results are quite different with the HC. The BBE uses phasing and controlled distortion to enhance the hi end - this process does not differentiate between *desirable* highs and fizz, so they are all "enhanced" together. The HC also provides added brilliance, *but* with the unnatural fizzy hash removed, and some added tube amp "snarl" and liveliness. The BBEs and Aphex units are very good at what they do, but it is *not* the same effect as the HC. BTW, I’m told the HC and BBE work very well together.
Q:  Because the Loop HC is mono, does this mean I cannot use my GT8/10's "stereo amp" feature?
A:  Not at all - you just have to use a somewhat different approach: Position the Loop/HC *in-between* the OD and the Amp models in the GT chain, then select a distortion source from one of the many excellent GT OD/Dist Stomp models. Now you can select any two clean (or semi-clean) GT amp models for left and right channels, along with different Cabs, Mics, as well as the dual amp delay setting - Phat City! ;o) Because the GT's OD/Dist model is the primary distortion source, the HC can add it's magic *before* the stereo amps split to discreet stereo - this setup offers a huge amount of tonal flexibility and EQ, and is my main source of Solo tones.
Q:  What’s with the wooden “Drive adjustment” tools?
A:  These are provided as a failsafe way of setting the HC without putting any internal components/circuitry at risk. (the tool will break before you can cause damage to the HC) - And because they are not metal, they can be stored in the HC’s box without damaging the black finish. ;o)  A common metal paperclip may also be safely used.
Q:  Why must the HC *never* be used to drive headphones, and yet the Stereo HC’s input connects to the modeler’s Headphone out?
A:  When the Stereo HC is connected to your modeler’s Headphone out, the HC normally only uses a small fraction of the available power, but if you connect the HC outs to headphones (they are miniature speakers, after all), the internal circuitry sees that extremely low impedance as a short circuit, and draws way too much power which could result in permanent damage to the HC circuitry. Even if it couldn’t damage the HC, the sound produced thru phones would be unusable - trust me.
Q:  Will the HC do the same magic for my acoustic guitar tones?
A:  No, because it was not designed for that use - it is designed specifically for electric guitars, or any instrument you would normally be using distortion with. This does not mean it doesn't have a cool effect on clean electric tones - it is definitely more amplike and less "chinky-chink" sounding when you dig in on rhythm parts. This is what is so nice about the Loop HC - it can be turned On/Off per patch so you have total control for both electric and acoustic patches.
 Q:  Why doesn't the HC have a setting where all my patches automatically sound perfect without having to "tweak" some of them?
A:  Oh, that life were so simple! ;o) Think of it this way: The HC produces it's unique processed tone which resides mainly in the mid-to-hi frequency range - the higher you can run the HC's Drive control, the more "process" is added to the sound. This also causes the sound to get bolder & brighter - sometimes too bright. The basic principle is that the more highs generated by the HC and the less highs generated from your modeler or preamp, the more realistic and fizz-free the sound will be. In other words, if you use high HC Drive control settings and back off on the treble and/or presence settings on your modeler, you will usually get the most dramatic effect from the HC.
Q:  Since the Loop HC is designed primarily with GT modelers in mind, does this mean I can’t use it to process other sound sources in my home studio?
A:  Actually, you can use it to process almost any source, and of any impedance. The trick is that you will use your GT’s input & output(s) to access the HC processing - this totally buffers the HC so it cannot be affected by impedance issues. You simply write a Bypass patch with only the GT’s loop/HC activated, and use any of the GT’s outputs, including both the Digital and Headphone outs. And if you need some EQ or Compression, it’s always available from the GT’s effects inventory. ;o)
Q:  Why do some people seem to get upset when the the HC is mentioned on certain discussion boards?
A:  It appears there are some people who need to believe their chosen modeler is *perfect*, and therefore see the HC as a "threat" or "challenge" to that belief, so they become defensive. It could also be true that some modeling companies see the HC as "competition" since it can transform inexpensive modelers into serious tone machines for a fraction of the cost. I believe it is much wiser to go by the opinions/reviews of actual HC users, who truly *know* the unit and what it is capable of.
Q:  I have read a lot of "conflicting" HC info on the internet... why is it so confusing?
A:  This is because I periodically redesign the HC models in an effort to improve their function and sound. The earlier models looked, sounded, and operated quite differently than the current units, and that is why the more "dated" HC posts or reviews are often more confusing than helpful - the newest models (July 2011) are definitely the most effective and versatile of any design. Please get all your HC info here and you will avoid all the confusion and dated information.
Q:  Hadley - Talk is Cheap! :o)  What is YOUR current stage rig for the typical Arena/Stadium concerts you play with Neil Diamond?
A:  So glad you asked :o)  I currently play through Boss GT-8 modelers for both my Electric and Acoustic sounds - all Electric guitar tones are processed through the newest model Harmonic Converger as well. I realize some people feel Roland’s COSM amp modeling is lacking, but you really need to hear it in conjunction with the HC processing - truly a great combination! Neil and the Band decided many years ago to not use *any* sound sources onstage (no Amps or Cabs) - this provides for a cleaner, more defined sound for the audience since all the sound is emanating from only one source - Neil’s monster Mains PA system!  There are many advantages to *not* using guitar amps onstage, but only if you can still get authentic-sounding tones that have the spark and growl of a great amp, cranked to it’s sweet spot, mic’d with a great mic placed in the ideal position, EQ’d to perfection..... you get the picture!

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