Hello y'all! I am new to the world of Digital Sound. I am a veteran here in my local music scene. I'v played through a Mesa Boogie F50 and Laney GH50 for the last 14 years. Using different setups from rack to floor fx setups. Like many on this forum I've gigged extensively, have written and have recorded many a track and tune. I took a break for the last 5 years. I stepped back in a year ago through a couple friends who wanted an EP produced, which I am hoping both will be complete within the next few weeks.
The reason I decided on Helix and to enter the world of digital sound are many. One it's where the market is progressing towards. 2. I needed to hear and feel the difference myself as a guitar player. 3. I am hoping to be venturing in to my creative disc in the coming weeks after I finish said artists production. So, I thought maybe this unit will offer some inspiration. Finally I decided this against the KEmper, Axe and Headrush. For the money my research found this unit is a solid overall machine for the value. We'll see.
I purchased the Helix rack, the controller and a Headrush power cab a few days ago. I am waiting on the power cab. Since my purchase I have started a journal documenting my journey with the machine.
I thought I'd post the journey here in hopes to A) Meet some incredible people, musicians and creative talent. B) Learn something from the community and finally C) If I can offer help that would be cool too.
With this said; Please chime in, offer anything such as direction, feedback and ETC. I'm here to be a part of everyone's creative journey as I frolic through my own. Cheers.
Below is my Journey through Day 1 through 3 with a couple pics.
Day 1: Not impressed with the machine, but all I have played through are the presets it came with, and I'm running through a pair of JBL 2300's. I'll need to create some patches using it as my source.
Helix update: Jumped on it this morning after beginning my fun diet of smoothies, boiled eggs and tuna. (I have officially acknowledged that my age dictates my weight. Therefore I must fight the battle of aging so that I may live longer, play more and do all of our favorite thing to do... How can I say this politically correct? Headboard against wall.
So back to subject at hand. My goal with this machine is to emulate a tube amp's characteristics. Such as touch response, harmonic clarity, string articulation, textures of gentle compressed lows, warm mids and pleasant highs. While offering that 3d visual one gets when listening to a tube amp. So out of the box the Helix is very very digital sounding. There is no love out of the box for an experience player. However, the interface is very intuitive. There are a few parameters that are new to me. Such as Sag, Ripple, Bias along with a couple more options. These are suppose to control an amps "characteristics". They do, but ummm.... Not as noticeable as one may think.
What I have found is like in music production a little goes along way when one is mixing. Same goes for the Helix rack or it seems.
Right now I am using the emulation of an Bogner Shiva connected to its Uberkab 4x12 loaded with V 30's. This has a high gain and dark sound from the get. I have a Ribbon 121 mic 8.5" away from the grill giving it about 30% of room ambience. Initially it sounded good, but nowhere near the goal I'm looking to obtain.
The first thing my ears notice were harsh grainy highs and muddy lows. (Remember my source. I am pushing the Helix through a pair of JBL 2300 studio nearfields. They are loaded with a 5" wolfer and 1" tweeter. A guitar cabinet is at least a 12" speaker. So, I am asking a lot out of the JBL's. I basically want the Helix to come across as a well mic'd 4x12 cabinet. Think about this, I want it to sound like 4 12" speakers out of 2 5" speakers. I am pushing the Helix. ;)
After eq'ing and compressing with emulated gear such a LA Studio Compressor, the MXR 10 band EQ, a low and high filter along with a noise gate. Spending about a half hour on it by figuring how each parameter, and piece of emulated gear react with each other. I have come very close to the sound being acceptable. Almost there.
If I can reach what my ear is asking for I'll post a video of it if you're interested in listening. I'm learning a tune from Metallica called "and Justice for All" I believed they used Mesa Mark IV's on that LP, but I decided to use the Bogner. Which is probably a fault since my ear is accustomed to that Mesa sound. Either way I started with the Bogner so I'll finish with Bogner.
Day 3: ;) 3rd Day with the Helix. Today I am running it through my recording rig. It's a modest set up with a couple Focusrite 18i20's and Pro Tools.
I recorded the patch I spoke of yesterday. An emulated Bogner Shiva with its 4×12 Uberkab. Thus far I am digging the tone. Both through the 5" JBL's and the recorded track through a pair of Tonnoy 6" nearfields. I'm still missing the touch response and 3D sound you can hear through a tube amp. I do not expect this unit to nail it. However I'd like to be able to feel as if I am playing through a tube amp. I'm sure some of this is physiological and a mental obstacle to I need to accept the LIne 6 Helix is what it is.
Today I am going to learn the cool features Sag, Ripple, Bias and ECT. Hoping to find that "touch response" I'm looking for. I know this will not nail a tube amp, but I'm sure I can get close, or am I asking to much.
Today my goal is to find it.
Below are pics of my modest jam room/studio, the axe I am using to workout my first patch and the patch I've started to build.