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Everything posted by amsdenj

  1. amsdenj

    Variax? Or not?

    Acoustic IRs have to be designed for the source as well as the target. That is, the IR is essentially the difference between the sound source, and the desired sound target. So an acoustic IR for a piezo pickup in an acoustic guitar will be a very different IR than one for the bridge pickup on an electric guitar for the exact same target guitar model. Creating these different IRs isn't the problem. There are really two problems. The first is that the exact sound source we're putting into the IRs isn't the same as what was used to produce it. Our guitars are different, our pickups are different, strings are different, etc. The second is that an IR can't produce sounds, it can only transform or convolve what it is provided as an input into an output. Electric guitar pickups just don't produce a lot of high frequencies. So they don't provide as much for the IR to work with. Acoustic IRs for electric guitars tend to over-hype that 4KHz frequencies because that's all they have to work with. This sound somewhat artificial and brittle to me. But an IR designed for a piezo pickup in an acoustic guitar in Helix does work really well. I use one for my acoustic guitar and mandolin for all acoustic gigs. These do a great job reducing the piezo quack, and warming the tone.
  2. amsdenj

    My update story

    The answer is to reduce the variability that Line6 has no control over, cannot predict, and therefore can't test - that's our computers. I too have had no issues with updates. But I'm using a high-end MacBook pro with a rigorously updated OS and USB-C through adapters and/or and OWC Thunderbolt 3 hub. The computer, OS, updates apps, drivers, and/or USB connections add a lot of unpredictable variability to updates of complex units like Helix. Maybe Line6 should abandon computer based updates, use Ethernet for connectivity and control the updates completely through the hardware. Worth a thought. Perhaps Line6 should start a poll to understand the configurations user have and their update problems in order to determine a correlation and zero in on the root cause.
  3. Wonder how those strings would sound on an acoustic guitar.
  4. amsdenj


    Try JamOrigin MIDI guitar 2 before you invest in too much hardware.
  5. amsdenj

    Helix-Powercab implementation

    I agree with Eric on this one. I want a PC+ preset to control PC+ parameters when used with devices (like HX Stomp) that can’t control those parameters. But Helix can control all the PC+ parameters. There’s no need to complicate things and store the preset parameters in two places.
  6. amsdenj

    Variax? Or not?

    If you're doing solo guitar, Variax might not cut it. If you're one of many performers in a 5+ group with a dense sound, Variax will probably sound just fine. Things in between could be good or bad depending on the context and instrument.
  7. amsdenj

    2x12 Stereo Powercab

    I really wanted a 2x12 Powercab+. I love the sound of stereo guitar. But for me I don't see how this works. I gig with a 1x12 Powercab+ as my stage amp, its driven by the L6 link in mono. But I also send stereo from my Helix to FOH and have my own stereo IEM mix of the whole band that comes from the PA. I don't do anything without either earplugs or those IEMs in place. My aging ears really don't like loud sounds. It's probably because of ear damage from the past. But I can't get through 30sec of a song without ear protection. So if I had a 2x12 Powercab, it wouldn't make any difference to me, or the audience. They're getting stereo from the FOH mix already. The Powercab 1x12 is perfect for stage fill and giving me and my guitar something to feel. A 2x12 wouldn't change that and would just be heavier and take up more stage space. That said, if I didn't already have a 1x12 power cab, I would get the 2x12 - just because - more is better, right?
  8. amsdenj

    HX Edit and global settings

    In noticed in 2.8 that HX Edit can edit HX Stomp global settings, but not Helix Floor. Any reason for that given they're on the same core platform now?
  9. amsdenj

    I’ve figured out the random volume loss on presets

    I also noticed an issue with Red Squeeze being too loud in all my patches. I had to adjust the level in all patches that use that compressor. I wonder if something has happened with the core Helix compressor algorithm.
  10. amsdenj

    Advice on creating a WDW rig

    https://jimamsden.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/wet-dry-wet-setup-with-helix/ I have a Powercab+ and a pair of JBL EON610s that I could use for WDW. But I haven't found the motivation to set that all up at gigs yet.
  11. I think I get it. If you use VDI to power the guitar, and TS plug in the output jack at the same time, the power terminal of that TRS jack will be grounded by the TS plug. That could easily cause at least a partial short on the VDI power supply. But if you used VDI to power the guitar and TRS with nothing connected to the ring, then this would seem to eliminate the short and potential additional load. Although that might actually be fine, it's a lot simpler to say don't use two cables at the same time. This would prevent situations where someone used TS cables, or used a TRS cable that happened to ground the ring on the other end. It's probably better to be cautious and avoid the potential issue. That said, I still think the 1/4" output sounds better than the VDI into Helix - better tone, more sustain. I wish that weren't the case since I use VDI exclusively.
  12. amsdenj

    Grammatico Brt

    The replies to this post raise an interesting point: the source of the distortion can have a big impact on tone and feel. I'll explain. There are three different configurations that have been describe in this post: Grammatico with master set high, Grammatico with master set lower, and some overdrive pedal into Grammatico. Let's look at what's different about these and why they might sound and feel different. Grammatico with master set high: In this case, its going to be the power amp that is distorting. Since Grammatico is using a tube rectifier and push-pull power amp, power amp distortion is going to generate a lot of odd order harmonics and exhibit quite a bit of sag. The only "tone control" on this distortion is the following Cab/IR model. This can sound brittle and harsh, and have sag that may negatively impact dynamics. But others might love the aggressive distortion that comes from odd order harmonics, and think the sag is providing the feel they've been missing. Grammatico with master set lower: this will cause the distortion to be created in the preamp section which will have more even order harmonics (preamp tubes distort asymmetrically) and no sag since the amp isn't actually being driven that hard. Some people like preamp distortion, others think it has no life. A lot depends on how loud the amp is. Louder is going to sound better. But preamp and power amp distortion will sound different even if the saturation and volume levels are the same. Preamp distortion will be a little less aggressive and harsh, and won't have much feel. Grammatico with overdrive pedal: in this case the amp is typically running close to clean and most of the distortion is coming from the pedal(s). This is the most flexible because you can use different pedals with different tone controls to control how much saturation there is, what harmonics make up the saturation, and have tone controls before and after the distortion to control the saturation voicing. This is why some people love pedals. They provide a lot more flexibility than preamp and power amp distortion. Which of these is better? There's no way to know, everyone's taste and needs are different, and different songs need different sounds. But what's key is that they are different and why. Knowing this might give you better control to determine what you like.
  13. amsdenj

    Stereo rig options for Helix

    I too am torn regarding PC212+. If it had been available when I got my PC+, I would have opted for the additional cost for stereo. But now, I'm not so sure. First I use IEMs for gigs, so I already have stereo in my ears, and PC+ behind me as a backline stage amp. Changing that to a PC212 wouldn't change anything for me except my stage footprint would be bigger and I'd be carrying a heaver amp (and I'm not that young anymore). If I really wanted stereo, I could use a wet-dry-wet setup with the two JBL EON610s I use to use for my live FRFR with PC+. I suspect that would be pretty cool. But bottom line I'm very unlikely to ever bother doing that. PC212 would give me stereo at every gig. So to me the appeal of PC212 is that its stereo, will have no problem as an outdoor backline (I play quite a few of those each year), and can be used for lots of purposes. PC212 isn't like POD HD500 and many other digital devices that became obsolete and worthless pretty fast. Its a quality powered FRFR cabinet that can double as a powered 2x12 guitar cabinet driven by any good guitar preamp. So I think they might last longer than other digital gear.
  14. The difference is where the A2D conversion is being done - with VDI its done in Variax, with 1/4" its done in Helix. I do think there is both a tone difference and sustain difference. To me the 1/4" sounds more natural, and sustains longer, and dies out without odd warbles. There's probably a number of reasons for this. First the A2D converters are probably different - Helix might have better converters. Second is the Helix 1/4" input has wide dynamic range and programmable input impedance, the input preamps might be better in Helix than in Variax. Finally, the Line6 VDI cable is 25' long. That's a lot of opportunity for jitter and noise to get into the digital signal and cause errors at the Helix input. From all the posts above, its still not clear to me if/why the TS 1/4" can't be run with the VDI cable at the same time - as long as there's no battery in the Variax. The point is there should only be one power source at a time. @psarkissian, could you clarify.
  15. amsdenj

    Chris Buck tube screamer trick in Helix?

    Whether this works or not depends a lot on the amp and cab/IR model you're using. For example, it will almost always work well with a Fender style amp, but not as well with Marshall. The reason is that Scream808, Minotaur and similar TubeScreamer inspired pedals have quite a bit of bass cut and mid boost. This works well with Fender Starts and amps because they both have quit a bit of mid scoop. Mid scoop sounds good by itself, but can get muddy and piercing as your get loud enough to cut through the mix. A mid boost on the other hand is warmer and more vocal sounding. A TubeScreamer in front of a Super Reverb adds some of that warm mid boost back. Kinky Boost doesn't have that same amount of mid hump, so it could sound better depending on the amount of mid boost in the amp model. For example, Derailed Ingrid is a pretty mid focused amp. Kinky Boost works well in front of it, but Minotaur doesn't, there's a bit too much mid boost and not enough low end anymore. Another thing Chris Buck does is use a lot of overdrive pedals, none of which is clipping that much. Different ones have slightly more or less clipping, and might have the tone set to voice the distortion different. Then he stacks these to increase the saturation. This way no particular pedal is clipping that hard, keeping the buzzy high-end odd order harmonics down, while providing a lot of flexibility with different combinations of stacking.
  16. amsdenj

    Expression pedal bug

    The EXP Toe state is not being stored in the patch. It's effectively global. I hope this bug is fixed soon as it impacts all of my patches.
  17. amsdenj

    Problem with expression pedal after 2.80 update

    I think the problem is that the EXP Toe state isn't being saved in the patch - its essentially global, and always comes up with EXP 2 selected on power up. If you use the default Wah EXP 1 and Volume EXP 2, then this will work ok. But anything else will have problems.
  18. amsdenj

    powercab 112 vs guitar amps for wet/dry wet

    Powerecab+ will be way more flexible, especially if you need different speaker/IR options and acoustic patches.
  19. amsdenj

    While waiting for the “Second Spring” to arrive...

    Cerberus bass amp from Kaussa is fantastic. I would dearly love to have S-Gear amp models in Helix.
  20. Yes, but the JTV models are pretty nice instruments without the Variax models. I really hope Line6 allows hardware upgrades of existing JTV models when Variax HX is released.
  21. amsdenj

    "smooth distortion" like Morning Glory

    Most power amps (at least those that are push-pull) will do symmetric clipping and produce odd-order overtones. Pedals that put the clipping diodes in the feedback loop, and offer asymmetric clipping options (as Teemah! does) can produce clipping with more even order overtones that can sound a bit smoother. Amp models with drive can vary depending on how many preamp stages they have and how hard you clip them. But preamp distortion is typically asymmetric and will produce more even order harmonics with moderate clipping. But the biggest difference between pedals and amp clipping is the ability to control the tone after clipping. Typically you want to cut bass before clipping to reduce mud, and cut treble after clipping to reduce fizz and ice pick. Again this is what Teemah! does and why its a good choice. But with Helix you can control pre-clipping bass with the amp’s bass control, and post clipping with an EQ, or to save a block, just use high-cut on the cab or IR model. My goto patch has a Drive footswitch that changes bass, drive, channel volume, IR high cut and switches off the compressor. By using more extreme settings you can get an great clean/overdrive tone on HX stomp without using a distortion block. Anything that saves blocks on HX Stomp is a nice plus. The reason I set all these parameters on a footswitch instead of using snapshots is that snapshots can’t be combined, footswitches can. So if I also have an overdrive pedal in the patch, I can gain stage it with the drive pedal to get 4 different tones out of two footswitches.
  22. amsdenj

    Stereo rig options for Helix

    Before getting PC+, I used two JBL EON610s for gigging. They sounded good, but never inspiring, maybe a bit scooped and harsh. I found they didn’t cut through the mix well, no matter how loud I turned them up. PC+ fixed both of these issues. I’m now getting the midrange I was missing and people are saying they can finally hear me. But I can now pair up those EON610s with PC+ to make a real nice wet-dry-wet setup. Haven’t gigged with it yet. But I might.
  23. I have found there’s some sensitive in how the battery seats in the charger and the guitar. I had a case where I thought there was a charging problem, but the issue was I didn’t get the battery seated well enough in the charger.
  24. This is the kind of response that makes me love this forum. You get people like @jerseyboy who clearly knows a lot about things we care about and is willing to share. Thank you!
  25. amsdenj

    Line 6, amp modeler philosophy, How do you tweak your tones?

    A couple of good rules of thumb: 1) Something that sounds good quiet will likely sound as good or better louder (but watch out for too much mid scoop which doesn’t scale up as well). 2) Something that sounds good through speakers will likely sound good through headphones. What’s notable about these rules is that the opposite is generally not true. Something that sounds good loud might not sound good at all turned down. Something that sounds good through headphones might sound terrible through speakers. This means set your patches through the system you’re going to use live, focusing on the FOH FRFR tone. After all that’s who your playing for right? Your audience? And set them up at the lowest stage volume level you’re likely to play. Don’t worry too much about the difference between your FRFR and IEMs. In a live setting, with some bleed from the backline, you won’t notice tone subtleties in your IEMs. I use a Powercab+ as my backline for me to feel and to provide some acoustic feedback with the guitar. This also provides stage fill in small clubs where the dancers are up close to the band and don’t get that much of the mix in the PA. I have my own IEM mix which I control live through iPhone/iPad or computer. And I set the IEM level so that I can just barely hear it. The IEMs are really just backline fill for lost frequencies and ear plugs to tame the drums. I’m really focused on preserving my already damaged ears, and enjoying playing without doing further damage. Having the IEMs too loud can really tire you out and give you a false sense of what you’re delivering to your audience.