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Everything posted by gbr13697

  1. Whilst there are 8 normal stomp buttons on the Helix, I like to cram as much as possible into "do-it-all" presets, and there can never be enough buttons! By using Paths I can have 2 separate tracks through the signal chain in Helix, and populate each with a collection of pedals that are similar in function but alternative in sound (e.g. FuzzFace and Klon in one path, ToneBender and TubeScreamer in the other - same principle for Mods and Delays). Each stomp button turns both equivalents on/off at the same time, whilst the Path is selected using Snapshots. I have every odd number snapshot switched to Path 1A/2A, and even numbered snapshots to Path 1B/2B. Odd and even number snapshots give me a different selection of pedals, all controlled by the same 8 stomp buttons. The alternative pedal switched by the same button is in one Path, and bypassed by switching to the other path with the snapshot. Snapshots 3/4 and 7/8 also have a slightly different EQ/Gain to compensate for single-coil guitars, and whereas 1-4 have 1/4 note delays, 5-8 have dotted 1/8. I also have the expression pedal assigned to progressively increase output level of the Merge block that precedes the Send/Return block whilst simultaneously reducing level from the final output block that goes to my amp return. This enables me to increase gain by pushing the pre-amp in my amp, whilst also compensating for some of the excess volume increase that would normally go with pushing up the gain. Swiss Army knife?
  2. Spring has been gone for a while - it will be mid summer in 3 weeks!
  3. You can do pretty much anything in a computer simulation or Helix etc. Just as long as nobody is daft enough to think they can do this with a real amp, Tubescreamer, and cab. Putting the output from a power amp into a pedal would be disastrous!
  4. As I suggested above, these are not necessarily ground loop problems, particularly if it only occurs when using the effects loop but not straight in the front of the amp. Methodically eliminate anything else first. Eliminate interference to the guitar by turning the guitar's volume pot to zero. Try the Ground Lift button on the Helix, if there is one (there is on my Helix Floor, though it has never solved anything). Noise will always get worse with gain - gain amplifies everything - not just your guitar signal, and that is not indicative of a ground loop. Try removing the Helix from the loop - replace it with just a single ordinary pedal, or just with a patch lead across the amp's effect loop. It is also well worth while testing the rig in another house - if the problem does not occur there, you can be sure that the cause is EM interference in your own house. Then you just have to find the cause.
  5. You are sending signal to your pre-amp via the Send block. If this is set to send 100%, there is no signal at all going through the subsequent effects before the signal from the pre-amp comes back via the Return block. If there is a mix both ways in the Send, then this will cause the dry signal to come through as well. The Send and Return blocks have some odd settings that you need to check carefully. Rather than using separate Send and Return blocks, you are better to just use a combined FX Loop block at the point you send to the pre-amp (i.e. where your send block is now). The signal goes through the pre-amp, and then comes back into the same FX loop block. The subsequent effects are "in the loop" and add to your pre-amp sound before the signal goes back out to the amp's power section. This is unlikely to be the cause of the hum, but it may not be a ground loop. There can be all sorts of causes for this, and it is nearly always external. One that nearly drove me mad was interference to the effects loop only of a Blackstar Artist 15 (didn't happen when just going in the front end). It turned out to be a ripple on the power supply caused by power-line networking. Subsequently I had a similar problem caused by an electric reclining chair - it had always been there, but it had just got plugged into a different electric wall outlet in the same room! If possible, turn off and unplug all electrical appliances on the same circuit, one by one. And I do mean all appliances - lights, TV, TV cable and satellite, clocks, fridges, heating timers, sound systems, alarm systems, - I even turned off the fountain in my garden pond! Chances are it will abruptly go quiet just as you turn off some seemingly innocuous bit of equipment.
  6. There can be all sorts of causes for this, and it is nearly always external. One that nearly drove me mad was interference to the effects loop only of a Blackstar Artist 15 (didn't happen when just going in the front end). It turned out to be a ripple on the power supply caused by power-line networking. Subsequently I had a similar problem caused by an electric reclining chair - it had always been there, but it had just got plugged into a different electric wall outlet in the same room! If you are getting noise exceeding -35db it is almost certainly an extraneous source. If possible, turn off and unplug all electrical appliances on the same circuit, one by one. And I do mean all appliances - lights, TV, TV cable and satellite, clocks, fridges, heating timers, sound systems, alarm systems, - I even turned off the fountain in my garden pond! Chances are it will abruptly go quiet just as you turn off some seemingly innocuous bit of equipment. All noise gates work in the same way and, whilst some may be slightly better than others, they just gate everything below a set level. -35db is pretty high, and more than enough to cut off sustain and harmonic transients on low output pickups like Strats etc. I do tend to use one in my Helix at some point before the Send to the Pre-amp, and another one further down the chain before it goes back into the power amp. You do have to be conscious of the varying levels in the chain, particularly if you are using Send/Return at Instrument level. Always use Line level if your amp can take it. My Blackstar loop is switchable for Instrument/Line level, but my Egnater Tweaker is more than happy with the extra boost - more signal/less noise.
  7. There are various wah pedals in the Helix, and most have very controllable parameters. But they are all controlled using the built in pedal, or a separate expression pedal. There is no AutoWah effect, as such, in the Helix. That said, there are filters such as the AutoFilter and Mystery Filter (based on the old Mutron) that can be configured to act very much like the Boss Autowah. They are just a couple of the effects in Helix, and can be switched on and off using a footswitch like any of the other effects.
  8. You can always download the manual from Line 6.
  9. It does come with instructions. Manuals, in several languages, on a USB flashdrive included in the pack.
  10. No, providing that the Send/Return block in your patch matches. There are 4 so the blocks and the jack loops need to match up.
  11. I do more or less the same as Silverhead. In my Templates folder I have several presets that contain just a bunch of effects each, arranged in Overdrives, Modulations, Delays etc, with each effect optimised to my taste. When I want to add one to another preset I just Cut and Paste.
  12. Hi Jerseyboy - I have only just realised how much your idea of removing the intonation compensation makes sense! It is always stressed to slide beginners that the slide should be held over the fret but, if the intonation is set for fretting strings normally, a slide over a fret will be out of tune. I suppose we all adjust the slide position by ear when playing, but precisely over a fret isn't necessarily right for a guitar intonated for conventional playing. It had never occurred to me before!
  13. I had forgotten about the nut extension - I never actually got one but I did make a DIY version a few years ago. It obviously didn't work very well, or I would still be using it! Perhaps I should buy a proper one.
  14. I had a quick look at the YouTube demos. The HX can certainly do parallel paths, but I couldn't get a clear idea of how the input/output routing works. I can see little point in having 2 inputs, parallel paths, and 2 outputs, if you can't route them separately with different effects. My assumption must me that you can do something pretty similar to what I do in the Helix. My Blackstar has an emulated output, and the acoustic amp has a Line Out, so I could send to FOH via the amps, but the XLR could just as easily go straight there with an IR and without the acoustic amp. With the Helix I could obviously use an emulated amp and IR for the electric/magnetic path, but I prefer to use a real amp. The Helix came with the usual 2 banks of Factory Presets, but also with another bank called Templates. This included some useful templates for Wet/Dry, 4 cable method, 7 cable method, Stereo, super serial, etc. If there is something similar in the HX, it may include a good starting point for what you need. It would be worth checking before you start from scratch.
  15. I don't have a HX Effects, but I use a P245 through a Helix. I go into the Helix via 2 separate guitar cables, one to the Guitar input and the other into Aux. The inputs then go through 2 separate signal paths in the Helix, with whatever effects I want to use on the magnetic and piezo pickups respectively. The magnetic/electric path goes to my Blackstar Artist valve amp using the 4 cable method. The piezo goes out through XLR to an acoustic amp. The micro switch on the P245 allows me to switch between magnetic, piezo, or both, and there are separate volume controls on the guitar (as well as having the coil split available). The P245 is a very versatile guitar! I could also mix and blend the signals within the Helix, but I haven't yet found a need for any more options!
  16. Thanks Jerseyboy. I have experimented with a Dunlop 741 Elastic Capo Slide Converter (much like an ordinary elastic capo but with a bar that sits on a fret to raise the strings) and the results were encouraging, particularly when using the electronics to switch tunings. I wouldn't want to use it all the time as you lose at least one fret at the nut end, which does rather mess things up for open tunings. However, I have struggled just trying to use a slide with normal strings and action. I generally use 12s and a pretty high action on my other slide guitars, but I just leave them tuned to Open G, Open E, etc. If you have found that heavier strings and higher action work OK with the Variax pickups and electronics, it might be worth getting another Variax just for slide.
  17. Anyone tried using a Variax for slide? I do have a couple of other guitars set up for slide, but on those I use heavier strings and a significantly higher action. Using a Variax appeals because I could switch tunings instantly, but I don't want to put on heavy strings and raise the action if it is going to mess up the Variax electronic setup. It's a lot of trouble to go to if I find it doesn't work, and have to put it all back as it was!
  18. A rough way is to use a patch with just a noise gate, and then play notes continuously whilst increasing the gate level. (It helps to assign the level to the Expression pedal for this patch). You will get to a point where the volume decreases markedly, and make a note of the db level. Be aware that this will vary for high string notes, low string notes, double stops, power chords, full chords, and how hard you pick or strum, so you will need to repeat the exercise several times. You will get a feel for the range of levels your pickups produce with different strings, chords, and dynamics. This range will be much higher for humbuckers than for single coils. You will also get a clearer idea idea of where to place the compressor threshold for mixed playing, e.g. when you are playing a mixed rhythm of single note riffs with chord stabs, you may want to balance things out by boosting the single notes but not the chord stabs. You can then place the threshold between the level for riff notes and the level for chords. This technique can be quite useful in other contexts to check levels in various parts of a patch chain. For compressors, it obviously only works with those that have settings for db levels - for the simple compressors it is just hit and miss until it sounds right.
  19. If you have a noise floor lower than -90db I'm surprised you can hear any noise! That is a tiny level of noise, and there would be very little point trying to eliminate it. The mere fact that there is a difference when you change the input gate from -74db to -60db implies that there is a noise level somewhere between those figures. If you then increase that noise by amplifying it through a drive pedal, the noise floor will likely be higher than -60db, and a subsequent -90db gate will let it all through. There is a reason that the default is -48db.
  20. I have duplicated the test in the video that Victorcastro1 posted last year, and there is certainly a problem. Fortunately the number of pedal models where it becomes an issue are fairly limited. I have tested a workaround that seems to work, using an FX Loop to bypass the problem pedal. Use a patch cable to bridge the Send and Return of a spare effects loop, and then insert the appropriate Send and Return blocks before and after the problem fuzz pedal. The pedal itself can be left on, and a footswitch assigned to both the Send and Return blocks. Turning them on entirely bypasses the problem device. When they are off the signal passes straight through the fuzz block. It appears that the Automatic Z does not see the Fuzz as the first device in the chain when the loop is used to bypass it.
  21. OK - that clarifies things a bit. To avoid further confusion, the button you refer to is the "Battery Test button". A "flush" button is something you find on toilets! It is still not clear what works without the battery, and what works with it. Without the battery in, you must be connecting via the VDI - can you use both magnetic and Variax modelling modes? Do the lights on the Model knob light up when you press it down to activate the Variax models? When you replace the battery, what changes? With the battery in and connected via VDI - can you use both magnetic and Variax modelling modes? Do the lights on the Model knob light up when you press it down to activate the Variax models? With the battery in and connected via 1/4" jack straight into a normal guitar amp, do the magnetic and Variax models work? If we are to help, we do need to know your signal chain, and you do need to check and substitute every item in the signal chain to isolate what is wrong. Don't just assume that your cables, interface, USB port, computer, DAW app, etc., are all OK, and that it must be something wrong with the guitar. It could be anything but, at the moment, we don't even know what you actually use. As you have already discovered, it can be something as simple as a volume knob turned down! Check, test, substitute, and retest, every item in your signal chain. Let us know the result, and we can try to help.
  22. I am getting pretty confused about what you are saying. In your post above you said "turned out i had just tuned the volume down on the guitar so it works fine without the battery in". You also said that you got 4 green lights when you inserted the battery, which implies that the battery is OK and fully charged. I have no idea what the "Flush button" is. Are you saying that everything works fine, including Variax modes, when connected via VDI? But that it stops working when you insert the battery? How do you normally connect the guitar? What is your signal chain? Have you checked and substituted each if the items in your signal chain, including cables? Have you tried plugging into an ordinary amp with a jack cable, and does it work in Variax mode under battery power?
  23. The lights are a battery check. They will light up momentarily when you insert the battery, or when you press the small button next to the lights. 4 lights means a full charge - less means partially depleted. If you got 4 lights the battery is OK and fully charged. You can test this by plugging in to an ordinary guitar amp using a 1/4" jack cable (with the battery in and VDI disconnected) - all the Variax models should work. The unexpected light display from your charger could just be because you tried to charge a battery that was already fully charged. My experience indicates that the chargers can be a bit glitchy. I would just leave it until your battery needs charging again. You can then try recharging it. It may be fine, in which case you don't have a problem at all. If it doesn't recharge after a few attempts, you could consider getting a new charger, but you are not there yet. Given that your original problem only arose because you had the volume turned down, it may well be that there is nothing wrong with anything.
  24. I recently bought a Variax Standard and the charger was faulty from new. The light kept flashing repeatedly, or just stayed on without the battery being in the cradle. The retailer exchanged it. The Variax will work without a battery, but only if you are using the VDI cable interface. If you are using a jack cable, it must have a battery in to function in Variax mode. However, it should work in magnetic mode through a jack cable (i.e. as a normal electric guitar) regardless of whether there is a battery. The fact that you get 4 lights on the battery check implies that the battery is OK. I would certainly check your cables first. If you are connecting to a DAW you must be using the VDI and interface in some form. If this is connecting, the Variax should be powered via the VDI. The signal chain is the first place to start. You can substitute the VDI cable with any computer ethernet cable. Try a different USB cable, port on your computer, or different computer. If you are using an interface of some sort, substitute in the Variax VDI USB Interface that came with the guitar. Also check the guitar plugged into an ordinary amp via a jack cable, with the battery in. If it works in Variax mode, there can't be anything wrong with the guitar or battery.
  25. I didn't accuse anyone of lying, and I apologise if I gave that impression. But please do put yourself in the position of a kid with very little money. He may well have a cheap electric and a solid state amp, or a second hand valve amp. He wants something better, but can't afford an expensive guitar, better amp, or a decent acoustic. Then he sees the advertising for the Variax Standard. Take a look at the product pages yourself - they are only a couple of clicks away from the Line 6 logo at the top of this page."Imagine if you could switch your guitar from its natural electric guitar tone to perfectly modeled versions of the world’s most coveted vintage electrics, classic acoustics and exotic instruments, all with the simple twist of a knob." The Variax Standard is a cheap guitar and, to a kid who can afford that modest investment, it can look like the answer to his dreams. It is easy to fall for the idea that "one guitar is all you need". The adverts, and the product pages I referred to, say nothing about needing a modeler and FRFR powered speakers. He buys a Variax and plugs it into the gear he has, and discovers that all the acoustic simulations are virtually unusable. He turns to sources of information such as this forum, where the more experienced, and better resourced, old hands tell him that he can't hope to get decent acoustic sounds out of a Variax without spending at least 5 times what he has already spent on getting a modeller and FRFR speakers. He doesn't have that money, and ends up very disillusioned. I based my approximation of the price on the Helix because that is what I have - it isn't the cheapest, but it isn't the most expensive either. Likewise the FRFR speakers can cost huge amounts. I have seen many contributions to these forums from people who have been very disappointed that the Variax doesn't do what they expected. Their expectations may have been unrealistic to those "in the know", but they were not members of that privileged club when they bought what they thought would do it all. Being told that the Variax won't do what they expected unless they can spend at least 5 times as much again on other gear is not very helpful. I understand that the purpose of marketing is to sell products, but it should include some pointers as to the minimum gear requirements that will allow a Variax to perform the way it should.
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