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I considered the following:

Setting ampsim to cabinet off and on, output =line. Did this for every option for output.stack front, combo front, combo power amp, stack power amp and line out. Per Todd and Bruce below, i have left the cab sim on - yet no cigar.

The receiver takes analog in (red white). All sound terrible - like solid state amp i got with my guitar amp combo from lyon by washburn. Bass is excessive , sounds very digital. Zoom sounds wonderful on headphones and on my blackstar fly 3watt via aux in. Interestingly, i record with tascam dp006 and it sounds perfect exactly like the headphones.

Another example: i can get a nice sustaining lead tone with my headphones on, but it sounds like very little sustain through the 5.1

what am I missing. Receiver is a Harman kardon in 2.1 mode (polks+pioneer). I have checked to make sure there is no funny eq, bass boost or other stuff. My sneaking suspicion is that because zoom combines the line out with headphones the output level is actually not true line out. Yet it works awesomely with the tascam. Completely befuddled.

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    If this is a guitar processor and you're playing a guitar through it then why are you turning the cabinet off? You probably want that on. – Todd Wilcox Dec 10 '15 at 15:07
  • Could you be more specific than "sounds terrible"? – Bruce Fields Dec 11 '15 at 16:08
  • Dear Bruce and Todd, thanks for your responses. I did keep the cabinet on. Please see my revised question. – pythOnometrist Dec 12 '15 at 17:37
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As Todd says in his comment, if you're plugging the Zoom straight into your speaker system, you will definitely want the cabinet ON, not OFF. It sounds terrible because you are essentially getting the sound straight from the back of an amplifier and no speaker. It's debatable that the speakers in a cab colour your tone as much as the amp yourself, so turning the cabinet function off is bound to sound awful.

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It turns out that you need to monitor volume for the line out. it ranges from 30 to 120, 90 works perfectly.

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