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markdenman123 last won the day on August 27 2017

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  1. I have been using a Helix Rack/Helix Control since they were introduced. I have done about 400 shows with them, locally and throughout the south eastern US. I have NEVER had an issue with my Helix gear. I keep my Helix Rack in a TSA-approved 4 space rack with a power conditioner and a G50 wireless hidden in the back. It has been an incredibly stable rig that has provided me with a consistent tone across every venue. I play original music, so I'm really only using one tone with some snapshots. Each song in our set has it's own preset of that rig with specific effects that work for that song - controlled by the snapshots. It has been a wonderful switch. Prior to the Helix I was using a Rivera-based rig with a 12 space rack that was MIDI controlled by a GCX/Ground Control Pro unit. I was able to replace 8 stomp boxes and three rack effects units, a stereo tube head and multiple cabs with the Helix Rack/Control and an EV ZLX12P wedge. I couldn't be happier.
  2. I gig a Helix Rack. In my rack case I have my wireless (G50) mounted behind the Helix as well as a DI box (connected to a 1/4" out) for the FOH signal. I have an XLR cable plugged into an XLR out to send to my FRFR. I keep the Cat5 cable for my Helix Control plugged in. All those things are neatly prewired and ready to go. I use a Columbia diaper bag to transport my Helix Control, two wireless packs for the G50, and extra batteries. I also have my plectrums, two Dunlop mic stand pic holders, a 15' guitar cable and to 5 hour Energy drinks. I bring two guitars, a Warwick Rockstand 3-guitar holder, as well as an amp stand to hold my rack.
  3. +1 to what AgingOrange said. I use JBL 305s because I already had them. I am sure there are better alternatives. Personally I am very interested in the Kali LP-6.
  4. When building my live patch, it was with a singular purpose.... Get the Helix to sound as MUCH like a Rivera S120 with EVM12L speakers as possible. That was NO easy feat, but I accomplished it. I play in an original band so I only needed ONE sound with a couple of pedals to give me what I needed. I also do session work on the side for local singer/songwriters. Often I will come in and just play some lead stuff, other times I will come in and be tasked with helping to develop an arrangement for electric guitar. In these cases, my approach to developing a patch varies. Often I will start by asking the "artist" or producer for a reference piece. Most songwriters have an "inspiration" piece or something similar that can give me an idea. If there is no reference piece, I will ask for a rough mix of whatever has already been recorded. Most of these artists and producers are people I have worked with before so they feel comfortable enough giving me that. Some don't. At that point I start by asking lots of questions. That is where I determine which guitar I will use, and the most likely amp/cab/effects combo. I will usually build a few patches so I have a few options when arriving for the session. If I can get NOTHING useful, I remind the artist they will have to pay me for the time it takes to build the rig, lol. The downside to that is that I usually just use something I have already created - I have a TON of guitar specific patches built around "standard" amp rigs. Once I get into the Helix, I tend to follow this pattern: 1) Drop an amp that I think will work into Path A. Go to the matching cabinet and drop it twice into the lower path, then I "stack" them. I will keep one cab "stock" and the other I will pull up either a ribbon mic or a condenser mic, move back to about 5 inches, add in some early reflections. I put my cabs on an A/B split, not a Y. 2) From there I press the amp button and start playing. A lot of the time I have to make minimal EQ tweaks - I will adjust gain/master/channel volume to get me close to where I want the amp to be. If I DO have to tweak the EQ, I set everything as neutral as I can, and +/- as needed - in small increments - to get me the sound I want. 3) Many times I'll add a splash of spring reverb between the amp and cabs. Most of my real amps have spring reverb, or I add it via a Fender Reverb tank. 4) If I NEED to add drive, I look for the most natural sounding drive. I will often stack 2-3 drives, and sometimes I pull them to a parallel path so I always have some clean signal blended in. That's VERY important to me. It helps with the clarity. 5) I pretty much always stick an MXR Dyna Comp model first in the chain. I run it at 1.6 on the sensitivity and 72% on the other control (forget what it's called). The output stays where Line 6 has it....+5.4, I think? That's it. I end up with stuff that sounds a little like me, but has the characteristics of the rig I am trying to emulate.
  5. When recording guitars I will always use a scratch guitar first. This will be done using a tone that I think I want to use in the song. I will then record as much of the arrangement as possible, usually including a scratch vocal. The reason for this is so I can hear how the guitars will sit in the mix. Often I will find that I need WAY less gain than I initially thought - so much so that these days I gravitate toward models like the Matchless with a drive pedal or a Marshall with a compressor. Once I have most of the track built, I will go back and do my "real" guitar tracks. Part of the reason I wait to do this is because, often, once the arrangement begins to flesh out, I realize there just isn't enough sonic space for everything I want the guitars to do. I want to keep frequency range for the bass and the drums. Not everything can sound "huge" and I would rather each part of the arrangement carry some "weight" then bog it down with one instrument. A usual song for me, by the time it is finished with drums, vocal harmonies, guitars, bass, synth/keys, buss groups, effects, etc., will be anywhere from 36 to 45 tracks. Gotta be aware of what frequencies will clog up when working with that many tracks. Another thing that I discovered, and YMMV, is that my Helix (I use the rack) sounds better when run through a channel strip on my console. Here's my signal path for recording guitars: guitar -> Helix -> channel strip (or two if I am doing a stereo track) -> a sub group -> interface -> Pro Tools I find that by running the Helix through the analog channel strip, I can add back the little "something" that gets lost by staying all digital. For instance, I have Helix Native, and use it when I am doing mobile work with the laptop. My tones NEVER sound as "good" as when I have the Helix running through the console. They are "bad", just not as alive - if that makes any sense. It might be the extra gain staging - I have to balance the signal coming from Helix into the console's preamp (I use line level signals at +4), then give appropriate signal from the channel to the subgroup, then from the subgroup to the interface (I mostly use a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 for ease, but also use an RME HDSP 9652). It sounds like it might be VERY convoluted, but I LOVE the sound. In the Helix I still use stock cab models, even though I have more than a few 3rd party IRs. I tend to do my hi/low cuts in the mix rather than at the Helix. It is always easier to subtract frequencies than to add them back. How dense are your mixes? I ask because if you are: There are ways to approach this using music theory to give you more room sonically. For instance: * one guitar playing power chords as 5ths * one guitar playing power chords as 4ths * two guitars splitting the octave - one plays the low octave, the other the higher octave. With the octave guitars, actually play a full octave higher. * melody/lead guitar(s) should share space with octaves....meaning, the octaves and melodies shouldn't necessarily be playing at the same time if you want those parts to have full impact. Some of getting the tone isn't totally limited to just the "guitar amp" either. Ideally, I will switch guitars for different tracks. But, sometimes it is just easier to switch pickups/configs. I am a PRS player. I have a couple of guitars with the 408 switching system. I might keep the same "amp" but use a humbucker for one track, and then a single coil for the next. The nice thing about the 408 system is that the humbuckers tap to single coils with no volume loss, so it is very easy to just add a different texture from the same amp. Another thing I'll do is record one tone "dry" and then the other (same guitar and amp) with spring reverb between the amp and cab - even if it's a higher gain sound. It'll vary the tone just enough to give space in the mix while keeping things strong. Hope some of these things are helpful!! Good luck!
  6. I run my Helix in to the FOH live and monitor with house wedges and my EVZLX12P behind me. After a year, it has worked every time. In rehearsals I just use the EV with no problem. It fills the room just fine. As far as "tube tone" I find my patch works fine - none of us miss the "tube tone".
  7. I have two copy paper boxes filled with stomps. The ONLY one I feel the need to keep is the BOSS/Fender FRV-1 because sometimes I need THAT reverb sound. Helix isn't there yet, though I did follow a fellow's advice and increase the predelay A LOT, and it got me closer to built-in spring reverb, but still NOTHING like the old outboard reverb units (which I still have an original but I don't mess with it much because the FRV-1 is that good!). As far as getting rid of the others....meh, too lazy to sell them and GC doesn't give too much on pedals, so they can stay hanging out in the boxes in the back of my studio's gear closet!!
  8. Hmmmm, good idea. Yeah, usually (and to be real it has only been 4 times I have done this) it is pulling teeth to get one. Every time though I have been pulling one from a box. I haven't really thought too much about it - I just pull it out, fire it up, and go through the process of loading my patches. Truth be told, it is kind of a hassle to do - thank God I haven't had to deal with firmware clashes or anything. Truthfully, I am a little paranoid about potential problems now that you guys have shared all this. Does Native run as an application, or is it only a plug-in? HAHAHA, maybe I'll just start bringing a note with my basic rig settings and just program one on the fly - might be less stressful. I only use one amp/cab/drive combo anyway....the extra effects and goodies can be left out. Might just be easier!!
  9. Cool. Great info and suggestions!! Thanks guys!
  10. I don't have a way to ensure it. My laptop has my Helix software, my flash drive has my presets. I haven't had an issue, so I am guessing it has been fine. I am guessing if it was an issue it wouldn't work, and I'd have to make a preset real quick - but I haven't had that issue yet. My presets were made on the first firmware and I haven't changed or adjusted them - would that be the reason it worked?
  11. Yikes!!! I use a Helix rack and that has never happened. We had a thunderstorm pop up during practice last week. Power went out for a minute and my Helix died. I unplugged my Helix after turning off the power conditioner. It fired back up with no issues and stayed running with no issues - even through the two gigs this weekend. Has that happened before? Or since?
  12. Thanks guys!! I'll make a very generic "Rivera" patch and add it soon. I'll let you kow when I do....
  13. Dude, I have done several fly dates since switching to Helix. I request that the promoter get me a Helix. I bring my laptop when I travel anyway, so between that and a USB with my patches, I just load them onto the Helix at the venue. It has worked every time. Do you have a booking agent? If so, just make it part of the rider....that's what we did.
  14. It's really cool how quick it is to find sonic joy with Helix. Glad you're digging it. I don't know anyone that regrets buying one. That says a lot!
  15. Thanks man. When I was considering the switch to Helix it was for convenience more than sound options. I knew it would not have the Rivera amp or and open back cab with an EVM12L. Problem was, and always has been, that I was LOVED the tone I already had. Even take away all the effects, which are only there for special parts of certain songs we have, the sound of my guitar plugged straight into the amp, dry, was perfect. The deal with my was that if I was going to buy a gadget like that (which at the time was really new and unproven, so to say) it would have to be something I would really use. It couldn't be a "tinkers" toy. Nobody had one in stock locally for me to try out so I kinda figured it out backwards, lol.
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