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zappazapper

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zappazapper last won the day on October 26 2020

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About zappazapper

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  1. The Helix has an EQ model based on the classic Mesa Boogie 5-band, so it's really not a huge loss to not use the onboard equalizer, especially since you can have a different EQ per-preset by using the model. The only thing I really use the onboard EQ for anymore is that I have an "everything else" preset that I use for everything that I don't have a specific preset for, for which I have a basic EQ shape that I use but will tweak depending on the venue and my mood. It wasn't a deal breaker that my EQ wasn't properly switchable but I found the FS2-MIDI and it was within my budget so I bought it.
  2. The amount of power and flexibility that comes with something like the Helix doesn't always lend itself to convenience, which is probably the main reason why the Pod Go exists, as it's specifically designed to be easy to use in comparison. I don't have any specific experience with either of these amps. I do seem to recall that Mesa Boogie amps seem to have more issues with external switching than most brands, although I can't speak to individual models. My amp is also a Boogie, a .50 Caliber Plus, and the channel switching works fine, but I get a weird problem where it only half disables the 5-band equalizer. I ended up getting this: https://amtelectronics.com/new/amt-fs-2midi/ It's the only 2-button footswitch I've found that sends and receives MIDI CC messages. It switches both switchable functions on my amp, I can control it with the Helix via MIDI and I can control some functions on the Helix with it via MIDI. It might be your only option if the Helix doesn't properly control your Boogie on its own.
  3. Yes, the Helix has an EXT AMP jack which can be used to control the switching on many amps, but be aware that it doesn't work on every amp. I would search this forum for your specific amp and see if anybody has mentioned anything about whether or not the Helix can switch it properly. Helix doesn't have a dedicated output that does that, but it has a number of available outputs and a very flexible way of routing signal to those outputs, although you would have to set each preset up manually to function the same way it does on the Pod Go.
  4. Maybe I'm just getting hung up on terminology. To me, a pedal that provides its own saturation that's intended to simply be amplified is a "distortion" pedal, and an overdrive is something that's supposed to hit the input of an amp harder and with some tonal character that changes or improves the amp's character, rather than an overdrive just being a less intense distortion pedal.
  5. Fair enough. I guess I'm in the one camp. I never liked the sound of a Tube Screamer's gain turned up full. I just like the way it hits the input of an amp when its gain is at zero and its volume is at max. To each his own. I think I recall the Fender Deluxe being pointed out as the ultimate pedal platform somewhere.
  6. Maybe I'm wrong but I always thought the purpose of an overdrive was to drive the input of an amp, the goal being to maintain the character of the amp while providing more gain than the amp provides, and/or shaping the tone before the amp's gain stage to tweak the saturation. So in that sense, any amp can be a good platform for overdrives. When I got my X3L years ago, it was the first time I had access to a "Tube Screamer"-type overdrive, and I used to spend hours just putting it in front of every amp model on the list, and they all sounded good in their own way. So I would suggest running your pedals, with the same setting you would use on a real amp, through every amp model in the Helix and finding the sound you're after, rather than choosing one based on anecdotal reports of compatibility.
  7. Oh, your amp has midi, so no problem.
  8. Oh ya baby, two more upvotes!! Democracy at work!! "Ask not what your Helix can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Helix." - Jay Efkay
  9. You could, but be aware that not every amp works with the EXT AMP function on the Helix. For example, my amp's 5-band equalizer doesn't fully disengage when switched from the Helix (I know, it sounds weird, and I can't explain it either). That's why I bought the AMT FS2-MIDI. The benefit with this unit is that it gives me two dedicated buttons for my amp's channel and EQ functions, can be controlled by the Helix via MIDI and can control the Helix via MIDI. I use Instant Commands on every preset to select my amp's channel and whether the EQ is on or off, and then when I use Snapshots I can use those same Instant Commands to switch channels or turn the EQ on or off PER SNAPSHOT.
  10. Sorry, I didn't catch on to the fact that you were going to use a separate amp modeling pedal. I think that would be a shame, since I doubt the models would be as good as the Helix models. Are your presets so DSP heavy that having an AMP&CAB block not being used would prevent you from doing all the other things you want? Because here's what I would do. I run 4CM myself and I use an external footswitch to switch amp channels that actually sends and receives MIDI, so typically my presets will have a distortion pedal that is activated whenever I switch to my lead channel. My approach to presets is to try and cover as much as possible with each preset so I often do this trick to be able to have 2 different distortions that I can choose from. Both are activated at the same time I switch to the lead channel but they run in parallel with each other using a Split A/B controlled with a Helix footswitch that controls the Route To parameter to select which distortion i want to use. So you could run the Loop and an AMP&CAB block in parallel using a Split A/B and just assign a Helix footswitch to select which one to use. If you're changing presets during the same song and you're not using an external expression pedal, most people don't know that you can plug a standard footswitch into the expression pedal jack, and it will toggle between values of 0 and 127, and most importantly it will maintain its status between patches. So you could set it to control the Route To parameter to select either the Loop or the AMP&CAB block and it will maintain that selection between presets. There might be an option in Preferences that needs to be set to operate based on the status of the expression pedal jack and not the value the preset was saved with. Anyway, assuming it works (not at my Helix to check), that's probably how I would solve that problem.
  11. But somehow you can still hear the high end... And fair enough, I can't make a credible objective argument against the very credible objective argument you made, but just anecdotally, I'm sitting in a bar right now, and the people sitting at the other end of the bar just don't have as much low end content in their voice as the guy sitting beside me, whose voice isn't particularly bassy. You might be right that he also has more high-end also, but as we're talking about a "solo boost", my thinking is that I don't really want to touch the high-end of my tone because I don't want to mess with a tone I already like, and because I'm playing a solo, adding a bit of low end is just kind of adding a bit more thump, as opposed to if I added 6 dB of low end to distorted rhythm guitar. My advice is to try it in a full volume performance or rehearsal situation. I'm willing to accept the facts you pointed out as correct, as I don't have a credible counter argument, but it's been the most successful "solo boost" strategy I've tried, to my own ears.
  12. That would certainly work. Shorter the better.
  13. I remember the X3L worked like that. The manual proudly stated that the unit was "smart" enough to detect if there was nothing plugged into the loop and bypass it. I'm assuming that the jacks were the kind where connecting a plug broke an internally wired connection from the send jack to the return jack. It's my feeling that this probably doesn't exist on the Helix because of the multiple loops, and I don't recall ever reading anything in the manual about it, and I've used 4CM from the day I bought my Helix so I've never tried to insert a Loop block without having anything connected. Maybe someone who's not sitting in a bar inhaling stouts will test it out and chime in.
  14. Well then our ears must work like cardioid microphones, because if I play music through a set of earbuds and stand 10 feet away from them, all I can hear is the cymbals, but somehow the further I jam them in my ear, the more bass content they seem to produce. At any rate, that's what I use for a solo boost and to me it sounds more "up front" without necessarily sounding louder, which is what I want.
  15. Then I consider it my job to champion nifty controller arrangements, to convince "most users" that the effects they want would be far more powerful with a more convenient way to control them.
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