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Everything posted by amsdenj

  1. I don't necessarily play a song or solo the same way every time, so I'm looking for flexibility and consistency in Helix layout so that it doesn't constrain playing what I feel is best for the moment. I start with a single patch that models the tones I need and use most of the time. I use 10 footswitch mode in order to be able to control lots of different combinations of effects quickly and easily. Complex tone changes are often done by assigning multiple max and min values to the same footswitch to control multiple parameters. Snapshots can do the same thing, but are limited in that you can't combine snapshots, you only get the last snapshot selected. With footswitches, you have control of all possible combinations of effects. I do use snapshots, but for bigger, more unusual changes like open tunings (I use a Variax), acoustic tones, or other specific combinations of effects that might often be used together. Then I use presets for even more unusual needs that might be specific to a song, don't fit in my goto patch, or are effects I wouldn't normally use. A harmonizer effect is a good example since it has to be set for the key and mode of the song. I use the Mode switch to access footswitches, snapshots and patches as needed. It's an extra button press, but usually happens between songs.
  2. I understand your concerns. The VDI does indeed sound somewhat different than the 1/4". There's probably a lot of reasons for that: 1. The A2D converters for the magnet pickups are in the guitar, not Helix 2. The cable capacitance and Helix input impedance are not impacted by the VDI cable 3. There could be some limiting of the magnetic pickups as they go through the A2D on the guitar due to bandwidth, headroom or bit depth issues that aren't present with the Helix 1/4" input. There have been long discussions about using the VDI and 1/4" at the same time. But this is not advised because a normal TS cable will ground the power coming from the VDI which could cause malfunction, overheating, and damage. I suspect if you are careful and use a special TRS cable that leaves the sleeve open this would not be a problem. But Line6 would need to verify before I tried it on my guitar. I have come to live with the VDI "tone suck" and apparent loss of sustain because of the many other advantages. I compensate with a compressor and EQ block.
  3. I did not drill the neck mounting holes myself. Not that I couldn’t, but there were other considerations. The necks from Warmoth do not have the frets leveled and dressed, only pressed in. I do know how to level, crown and dress frets, but I don’t have the tools for stainless steel. So I took the neck and guitar to my local trusted luthier and let him do it. That added quite a bit to the overall cost, but I don’t mind giving some business to these guys as they provide real value to me. The higher frets are for bending. You need the string to dig into your finger so it doesn’t tend so slip when you bend. You also want your finger lifted off the fretboard so you don’t get a lot of friction between your finger and the fretboard when using vibrato. And you want those silky smooth stainless steel frets to reduce the friction to almost nothing. I don’t mind a thick neck. Most of my other guitars have pretty big necks and that’s fine. So I opted to have the JTV-69S be a little thinner to provide a new option. Now since that is the guitar I tend to pick up 90% of the time to play, even though I have a Strat, Les Paul, and Tele that are “much better instruments” should say something. My only issue with my JTV-69S is that the sustain is weak. But the combination of a Variax, Helix and Powercab is such a nice, convenient, flexible combination, I tend to gravitate there pretty often.
  4. I’m afraid OS updates are a fact of life with modern laptop computers, and early adopters of amp and effects modeling devices. Frankly I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to update and retain the value of my digital investment that would otherwise be obsolete long before it has reached it useful life. Re: Windows and MacOS, generally MacOS is easier, faster and more reliable to update. But not if you’re crossing the 32 to 64 bit threshold. You can probably updated a 2013 MacBook Air to the latest OS, but you will probably have to loose all your current 32bit applications. That may or may not be a problem. It’s the price of modernization. I think its worth the effort.
  5. Before you replace your JTV-69S neck, be aware that there are some advantages of a thicker neck. First they're more stable, hold their setup better, stay in tune better, and are not impacted as much by changes in temperature and humidity. This can be important if you're playing inside air-conditioning and outside gigs in the summertime. Second, a heavier neck and body can give better sustain, and more uniform response up and down the neck. It might be a good rule of thumb to use the heaviest neck that fits your hands.
  6. Another option is to use one HX Stomp in the effects loop of the other although this will cost you a block. Better yet, use on as a "pedal board" in front of the other in series, and only have the last one in the chain connected to the computer though USB. Put front of the amp effects (wah, compressor, phasor, flanger, UniVibe, fuzz, distortion, overdrive, etc) in the first HX Stomp, then use amp, speaker, chorus, delay reverb in the second.
  7. The Lexicon MPX-G2 also had an analog front end with analog and digital distortion choices. It was a fantastic unit. I used one for years. The big thing this unit lacked is the ability to use IRs for speaker models. Tone shaping is OK, but not nearly as realistic.
  8. Well... If you're clever, you can use a tool like Logic Pro X's Impulse Response Utility to capture an IR of the HX Stomp cab model you like and put that IR in PowerCab+. But I wouldn't bother. Just use an amp+cab block in HX Stomp to get both with one block.
  9. This is what I used: Warmoth Specifications Style: Stratocaster® Construction: Modern Construction Orientation: Right Handed Neck Wood: Quartersawn Maple Fingerboard Wood: Ebony (Black) Nut Width: 1-11/16" Back Shape: Standard thin Fret Size: SS6105 (Stainless) Tuner Ream: Gotoh/Grover (13/32" 11/32") Radius: 10-16" Compound Scale: 25-1/2" Fret #: 22 Mounting Holes: No Mounting Holes Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: GraphTech White TUSQ XL - Standard Nut Inlays: Mother Of Pearl Dots Side Dots: White Side Dots Finish: Vint Tint Satin Nitro But I have relatively small hands and like a pretty flat fingerboard. You might have other preferences. I should have used larger frets.
  10. Make sure you didn’t save the patch with the volume turned down.
  11. That only works in FRFR mode when the tweeter is on.
  12. When using Logic, or any DAW with Helix, you have to be aware of how you are monitoring the result. If you are using Helix as your audio interface, and your headphones are plugged into Helix, then you are like using Helix out 1/2 as the audio output device in Logic. You are probably also using Helix as a direct monitor - the output block in Helix is also going directly to the headphone output. If Logic is also doing input monitoring, either because you have turned input monitoring on, or are using auto input monitoring on record enable, you'll be hearing Helix twice with the latency delay in your headphones. This won't sound good. Either use direct monitoring or software monitoring, but never both.
  13. You can use the old variax power supply with at TRS cable.
  14. Somewhat off topic, but this post made me think of it. Logic Pro X recently released an update that includes support for Live Loops. These are cells of audio or MIDI that represent incremental pieces of sound that can be organized vertically in tracks called scenes, and horizontally on a timeline. Each cell is played in a loop. They're called live loops because you can click on cells or scenes to turn them on or off, and select what cell or scene will play next when the current scene finishes. This sound a lot like a multi-loop looper. So I thought I'd see if I could create a Logic Pro X project that supported a 5x5 live performance looper - 5 separate looper tracks by 5 different scenes. The separate tracks are useful for blending and panning the different looper parts instead of fixed overlays. The separate scenes could be used for different parts of a song: Intro, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Outro. I used my old Apogee GiO as the MIDI controller and Helix direct into each track. The lower 5 effect buttons on the GiO were used to select the scenes, and the upper buttons used for controlling recording, playback, clear and undo. The GiO next and previous buttons were used to select the track. Well, this worked great except for one insurmountable issue. Logic expects every project to have a key and time signature. And as far as I can tell, there's no way to have a Live Loops cell have an arbitrary length, it has to be a number of measures. This makes sense for Live Loops that are pre-recorded and played in a sequence selected live or to record into the timeline. But it would mean that each scene would have to be planned for each song with the proper tempo and loop lengths. That's not really the way to do live looping. Maybe If I set the time signature 1/4 with a really fast tempo, I could make it seem to support arbitrary loop lengths. What I need to happen is for loop recording to start when I press the record button, and stop immediately, setting the loop length when I press the record button again.
  15. What's in your HX Stomp signal path? Are you using a cab model or IR?
  16. This is something I never thought I would do, mostly because of the hype around the Klon over the TubeScreamer. But what works in some situations doesn't work as well in others, and you have to judge tone with your ears, not your eyes. I mostly play single-coil pickups - Strat Deluxe, Tele, and Variax JTV-69S. I just like the character and brightness of these pickups. I also have a '67 Les Paul with Tom Holmes pickups and a very nice black Epiphone Sheraton Pro II. What I found is that its important to match the distortion blocks with the guitar and amp. A typical single coil pickup is going to be a bit scooped in the mids, giving it that bright and deep tone that sounds so good by itself. If you pair single coil pickups with a Fender style amp, it's even more scooped. I typically use Derailed Ingrid or Litigator both of which are Fender style amps. I think Fender might have done this because it made the guitar and amp sound really good by itself in the showroom, helping sales. But in a mix, all that scooping can make the guitar get a little lost. The Klon is high headroom, low gain, hard clipper with some mid boost at 1kHz, but not a lot. Contrast with the TubeScreamer which is lower headroom, higher gain, soft clipper with a lot of mid boost at around 720Hz. When I compared them using the JTV-69s into Derailed Ingrid, I found the Scream808 just sounded better. I think it's because that guitar and amp needs that slightly lower frequency, slightly higher mid boost, higher gain and since the pickups are already pretty bright, the soft clipper's more even order harmonics seemed to fit better with the guitar. So maybe the magic with the Klon/Minotaur happens with double coil humbucker pickups into Marshall style amps. This combination is already pretty dark with a fair amount of mid focus and high output. So the Klon's lower gain, slightly higher frequency mid boost, slightly lower mid hump and hard clipper producing more odd order harmonics works better to brighten things up a little. I also swapped out the Compulsive Drive (OCD) with the Dhyana Drive (Zendrive) for higher gain sounds. I felt like this was a better fit with my guitar and amp choices, and was a bit more controllable. I'm pretty happy with the result. It seemed to enforce the fact that different distortion pedals work better with different guitar and amp combinations. So don't pick the "best" distortion block, pick the one that works best with your guitar, amp and musical style.
  17. Many of the amp models in Helix can produce a wide range of similar sounds. There's a lot of overlap in the tones, especially when using the amp pretty clean as a pedal platform. Choice of guitar/pickups and cab model or IR choice will often have greater impact on tone. Where the amps tend be more unique is in how the distort, how much gain they have, whether the distortion is preamp or power amp, position of the tone controls in the signal chain (before or after distortion), etc. If you're looking for tone, a good place to start is with musicians you like that have a tone you like. Do some research to see what amp and pedal platforms they use and try to reproduce them in Helix. Then find a good recording with the tone you like and use it as a reference to reproduce the tone, or refine your own. I model my tone based on Matt Schofield's using this technique.
  18. The mic level might be pretty low because the input for the return is either instrument or line, and you don't want to have to use a gain block because of the 6 block limit. You might need to use a small external mixer instead of a mic transformer.
  19. I have, I still don't think they sound or feel like the real thing. But every guitar is different, and they do sound pretty good. I do wish I could address that sustain problem.
  20. amsdenj

    Linear Overdrive

    Hard to tell. We don't know exactly what model Bassman Line6 modeled, what channel they used (probably Normal not Bass for guitar), or if it had a bright switch and whether it was modeled on or off. It was not uncommon for Bassman Normal channel to have a bright switch across the volume control. A quick google search of Bassman schematics shows that most did. This was very typical of Fender amp designs, and most schematics I've seen of amps that didn't have bright switches had the bypass cap hard wired. Fender liked pretty scooped amps and that bright switch is a key part of Fender clean tone. Made them sell. Update: looking at the model name "Tweed Blues Brt" it's probably got the bright switch on.
  21. amsdenj

    Linear Overdrive

    Depending on the model, the Drive control(s) could impact amp tone if they have bypass caps or bright switches. These bypass caps boost highs when the control is turned down low, but have less boost as the control is turned up. Past about 1/2 way, the bypass cap doesn't do anything. This is nice because it gives a nice sparkle when the drive control is turned down and the amp is clean. But as the drive control is turned up and distortion is introduced, the high boost is removed, avoiding ice-pick. Not all amps models do this. Litigator is one that I'm pretty sure does. S-Gear has a High-Cut control in the power amp section that does the opposite. As the power amp is pushed harder and distorts, there is more high cut. When the power amp is clean, there's no high cut. This is great way of dynamically controlling brightness between clean and distorted tones and adds a nice warming feel to the way the amp responds.
  22. Not a bad idea, and should work. QSC makes nice powered subs. But maybe Powercab isn't the best choice for bass?
  23. Cab blocks are essentially IR blocks with some additional processing for mic placement, room sound, and efficient processing. If you use separate amp and cab blocks, you can use a dual cab block to have stereo without using parallel paths. There are (currently) no stereo IR blocks.
  24. You can also use an aggregate audio device to use them both at the same time for recording. See Audio MIDI Setup app.
  25. amsdenj

    Linear Overdrive

    Overdrives by definition aren't linear - they achieve their tone by using non-linear clipping to add overtones. But there are different kinds of distortion: low gain/high gain, low headroom/high headroom, hard/soft clipping, symmetric/asymmetric, mid-boost/no mid-boost, device used to create the clipping (tube, diode, MSOFET, LED), silicon/germanium, etc. All these things have a significant impact on tone. is a good reference.
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