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Helix + Marshall JVM410H + 4CM

marshall jvm410h 4cm 4-cable-method parallel serial level send return fx loop

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#1 Axxxeman

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 12:42 PM

Hi folks,

 

being a newby on Helix I dare another question here.

I am using the HELIX just as a multi-FX-board and as a control panel for my Marshall JVM410H. I love the amp's sound and would not have another one (as long as the Marshall won't go down. If one day it would do so, I plan to use the HELIX' DI-OUT with an alternative set-list with amp, cabinet etc. directly into the mixer).

First step was to control the amp's sounds by MIDI Program change mode which worked absolutely perfectly. No need for the amp's footswitch anymore. :) 

Second step was using the 4CM in order to put the Wahwah at the beginning of the signal chain and delay etc. after the MARSHALL's pre-amp. I've been watching this video for instructions:

Well, I've been doing as was said here, but the results were so bad, so that I had to switch back to standard send-/return (3 cables).

So, maybe someone can help me with this problem, by answering a few questions:

  • My amp has 2 effect loops, one serial (preamp out, return) and one that can be used in a serial (by putting the mix knob on 100%) or a parallel mode (mix 50%). The latter has the big advantage, that the original signal stays in the amp while the Helix (when its effect mix configured correctly) delivers just the FX signal, while the Marshall mixes the original with the Helix' FX to an optimal sound ... in theory.
    Now in the tutorial it says, that the amp's SERIAL FX loop should be used. Well ... is that so, that good results can get achieved ONLY with the serial FX loop? I ask, because MARSHALL does explicitely not recommend this, if you are not using hi class studio rack effects. Well, no idea, whether the HELIX qualifies as such ... ;-)
  • I learned, that in the HELIX' preset you have to add a send/return block each. But then, there is a "fx loop" block, too. Is this the same thing as one send with the return block combined?
  • I DID make it work, even in parallel mode by putting the delay's mix to 100% and the amp's return mix to 50%. Sounded great. Problem was: when I chose a Helix' snapshot of the same preset that has no active effects but noise gate (as I do many times for rhythm sound), there is some screeching and loud humming that I cannot explain. Even when I turn the guitars volume to total zero, there is a feedback loop somewhere and I cannot find its cause. So I have no idea, where to search. But like this, you cannot use this setting at all. Anyone any ideas?

Sorry, if I repeat some questions for the hundredths time, but the forum's search routine could not find answers to my questions ... I appreciate any help, because I need the Wahwah and the delay. First one sounds crap in Send / Return, second one sounds crap in front of the Marshall ... HEEEELP!   :(


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#2 fsambucaro

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:19 PM

So You only use the channels from the jvm? Everything coming from the helix is just FX with no amp modeling?
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#3 Axxxeman

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:08 AM

So You only use the channels from the jvm? Everything coming from the helix is just FX with no amp modeling?

 

Right. And it is almost working, apart from the strange effect, that when switching by MIDI into the lower master volume setting (I don't even change channels here) and having the solo FX (reverb and delay) turned off, I get this feedback loop I can't explain. No level editing on the Helix, no preamp, no amp, no cabinet whatsoever. It is all happening in two snapshots of the same preset.

What I shall try next:

  • Changing the send- and the return-blocks into a single fx-loop block
  • Programming a sound from the scratch with one of the templates for 4CM inside the Helix and look, what happens. But this still will not explain how to run Helix FX in parallel amp fx loop

Another question here: I programmed most Helix effect blocks (reverb, chorus, phaser) as stereo effects, even when only using a mono output. Could this maybe have such an effect as described, that the signal gets double the volume, when turning the stereo effects in a mono surrounding off??? Hardly imaginable, but still ...


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#4 fsambucaro

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 04:06 AM

I'm trying to do the same thing with my EVH 5150. I'll keep you posted. Choosing stereo fx will definitely do this. Run mono. I would look at YouTube videos from Richie Castellano. He has over 200 minutes explaining how he runs his helix.
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#5 fsambucaro

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 04:29 AM

It's called Line 6 Helix- switching amp channels with 4cm and snapshots
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#6 Axxxeman

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 10:43 PM

So far I unfortunately made no big progress on the main topic. All is running now as it would be expected but for two unacceptable issues:

  • There is a feedback loop somewhere in the signal chain and I cannot find its source. Whenever I am not playing the guitar and the Helix' volume pedal is up, there is a fast increasing screaching sound just like a really bad feedback. But mind, this is happening with guitar volume being cut to zero! Still feedback rising, so it is NOT the classical guitar/amp feedback. It happens somewhere else. And it happens even with NO FX whatsoever turned on apart from noise gate!
  • The FX that are put in the Send/Return path do not really convince. A delay, for example has an audible quality drop. With a mix rate set to 50% it should be equally loud as the original signal, but it is not, it is muted. And the sound itself is kind of mutilated (little high frequencies), independently, which delay type I choose.

So this solution is worse than with the cheap DigiTech multieffect pedal I was using previously ...  :wacko: It is also worse as using the classic 3-cable method (send/return) which I do not want to use, because then the HELIX' wahwah pedal sounds absolutely lollipop. 

To my assessment, both problems mentioned above are caused by the same error. If there is any MARHALL user out there who knows how to avoid this signal chain mess, please help ...


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#7 ricksteruk

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 01:27 AM

Yes it sounds like the problem is being caused by one thing - parallel mode.

It is much harder to get your head around and has a lot more problems than serial mode - most likely none of the presets you will see anywhere will work for you - none of the factory presets for example should ever be turned on!

 

Firstly - the mix ALWAYS needs to set to 100% on the delay and reverbs.  

You NEVER EVER want any dry signal to go through Helix and back into the amp - this means you can't use any FX that might include the dry signal like tremolo or chorus (these would need to be in the PRE amp part of 4cm - which is where you normally would put them anyway thankfully).

 

If you bypass the delays FX blocks (or have a patch with no FX blocks at all) then you will be sending some of your dry guitar signal back through Helix - which is most likely causing your feedback.   And also.. the dry signal through Helix is delayed by one or two milliseconds due to the A/D and D/A converters so when it gets back to the amps parallel FX return and is mixed with the original dry guitar sound then you can get nasty phasing interference between them (which is probably what you describe as the sound being a bit mutilated)

 

You cannot simply Bypass an FX block - you need to add a gain block to turn down / off the Helix output on that path.

 

You can use parallel with Helix if you 100% understand how to rig it up - but in my opinion any minute sonic benefits are totally outweighed by the lack of flexibility you are making for yourself - you lose so many possibilities.  For example - a post amp volume volume pedal.... (which needs to live in the FX loop.. and only will work in serial mode)  I love using a delay pedal after my distorted amp and then use a volume pedal to fade in and out the distorted sound into the delay.   This isn't the same thing as putting a volume pedal before the amp... it sounds different... as your volume is pre the distortion so when the volume pedal is low you are feeding a clean signal into the delay.. not a quiet distorted one.


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#8 Axxxeman

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 02:21 AM

Wow, that sounds like a good step into the correct direction, thank you very much, Rickster!!!

But some question keeps being open. I was experimenting with parallel mode only, but did not yet establish it. My experiences come from serial FX loop use of the parallel Marshall FX loop path. If you set the Mix-knob of the Marshall to 100%, then you get a perfect serial loop ... That is at least, what the Marshall manual is stating. But I am no technician at all and there might STILL be a parallel "component" in the game. It seems plausible to me, after what you wrote. But if Marshall is wrong here, then how to correct it?

There is another FX path (pre-amp out / power amp in), but Marshall does not recommend using it, but with hi-class studio effects. And ... I did not get it to work with the helix so far. No signal coming through at all. With the cheap DigiTech I had previously it worked (3-cable-method), but not with Helix and 4CM. Any suggestions what could be the cause of this prob??
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#9 Joepeggio

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 03:58 AM

I do not own a 410h, but have used cable. I would used the serial only loop on the 410 set at -10. Use a single send/return block. Be sure mix is set to 100%.

Always start with a blank preset in the Helix. Just some thoughts
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#10 ricksteruk

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 04:28 AM

Wow, that sounds like a good step into the correct direction, thank you very much, Rickster!!!

But some question keeps being open. I was experimenting with parallel mode only, but did not yet establish it. My experiences come from serial FX loop use of the parallel Marshall FX loop path. If you set the Mix-knob of the Marshall to 100%, then you get a perfect serial loop ... That is at least, what the Marshall manual is stating. But I am no technician at all and there might STILL be a parallel "component" in the game. It seems plausible to me, after what you wrote. But if Marshall is wrong here, then how to correct it?

There is another FX path (pre-amp out / power amp in), but Marshall does not recommend using it, but with hi-class studio effects. And ... I did not get it to work with the helix so far. No signal coming through at all. With the cheap DigiTech I had previously it worked (3-cable-method), but not with Helix and 4CM. Any suggestions what could be the cause of this prob??

 

 

No problem :)

 

Yes I see your point about the possibility of there still being a parallel signal even when the mix is 100% and it should be off.   I have had this happen with one of my amps before actually.  (it's my current H&K switchblade I think... you still get a very very small amount of signal through even when the loop is in series mode.. but it is is slight that it does not affect the sonic quality of the amp when you are playing.. I only noticed it when I was using headphones with Helix in 4cm for some 2am practice so there should have been silence.. but a TINY bassy signal came through the speaker).  

   

You could test your Marshall for this by plugging the guitar into the front of the amp and then running the Marshall's Series/Parallel at 100% with Helix in the loop - but turned off so that no signal comes through Helix.  Then if you can hear any sound through the Marshall you know there is a leakage.

 

Once you've decided on how to plug it all in - the next step is setting levels.  Choosing instrument / line level on Helix and -10/+4 on the Marshall, as well as setting the send and return block levels in Helix so that the overall signal level / gain through the Marshall remains exactly the same as it was before adding Helix.  I can talk you through this if you need help.  


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#11 Axxxeman

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 10:14 AM

 

You could test your Marshall for this by plugging the guitar into the front of the amp and then running the Marshall's Series/Parallel at 100% with Helix in the loop - but turned off so that no signal comes through Helix.  Then if you can hear any sound through the Marshall you know there is a leakage.

 

 

Ah, good idea. I'll try that first thing next time in rehearsal room. And if there is a leakage, might that eventually be a reason for a  repairing by Marshall on warranty? Anyone with experience in this field?

 

And if there is no leakage ... what else could be the possible reason for such a strange feedback loop?

 

Once you've decided on how to plug it all in - the next step is setting levels.  Choosing instrument / line level on Helix and -10/+4 on the Marshall, as well as setting the send and return block levels in Helix so that the overall signal level / gain through the Marshall remains exactly the same as it was before adding Helix.  I can talk you through this if you need help. 

 

 

That's very nice from you. When I finally get rid of the main problem and I do not succeed to get the levels straight myself, this will surely help. Thank you!

 

 

I do not own a 410h, but have used cable. I would used the serial only loop on the 410 set at -10. Use a single send/return block. Be sure mix is set to 100%.

Always start with a blank preset in the Helix. Just some thoughts

 

All of this I have already done / tried. So far in vain unfortunately ... Thanks! :-)


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#12 Axxxeman

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 03:10 AM

Update on the issue: the Marshall JVM410H has a defect serial loop, which I verified with the testing method, described by RicksterUK and - to be sure - by cables in the S/R-Loops that led nowhere. So I could be sure that the sound coming was not a rest signal running through the turned-off Helix. The amp is heading back to Marshall now. I really do hope that this will solve the problem. The dealer said, it might not, because this special head amp was highly overbred for gain and too much gain could as well be part of the problem ... I will report once I got the amp back.
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#13 Woodlandsu35

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 03:43 AM

I'v been working the 4cm  for very long time,  and I owned a JVM 410 too (now a 2555 besides a MKV).  

 

In terms of sound quality I can only speak in highest regards of the Helix.  With the Marshall  I used the serial option mainly, due to 

the need to regulate volume after the preamp. I experienced no issues at all with the JVM concerning the serial/parallel loop.

 

To match the correct levels and impedances in a 4 CM Setup (or 7 with 2 amps), and hum elimination, is challenging,  but the key to maintain sonic integrity.

Its worth the effort to keep the patience to work yourself through.


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