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donkelley last won the day on September 15

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  1. Just another viewpoint: spoiler alert - I use roland now but think the variax is possibly the best way to go for what you want, and it definitely wins in the way it integrates with helix. Details: I've recently moved away from variax to the gr-55 (again). I find the magnetic pickups of the roland system to sound a little superior for 12 string and acoustics (but both systems are simultaneously great yet flawed), and as I have it installed on my les paul I also find it great to be able to bring up a stratocaster (I can switch between neck and bridge+middle pickups with the gr pickup switches... all a les paul player ever wanted LoL). I found the strat emulations of the variax to always have sustain issues when you get to the quiet endings of notes, where as the roland doesn't. Also I can put it on my best guitarist, not what line6 sells. Conversely, the pickup on the gr-55 makes noises if you hit it, and isn't the most stable thing, and can have weird feedback issues (gk-3 gets that way after a couple of installs/adjustments).. variax piezo pickups though have gone through their share of not working right at times too over the years, in most models. I like having my own guitars, not the line6 guitars, as my main workhorse instruments, so gk wins in that way for me. BUT - the modern line6 guitars are very good instruments, and I particularly am interested in the headless one in standard scale. Variax is great. I prefer the Roland system, but I'm a nerd, geek, what ever you like to call it - I'm a software engineer and audio engineer. So I love the complexity of the gr-55, and actually wish it was deeper than it is because I keep running into limitations that ought not to be there imho. So it isn't a problem for me to play an axe that requires a second floorboard and a big plastic hunk of electronics attached to my guitar... I'm good with that. For looks though, variax wins, unless you go for built in gk roland pickups which require serious permanent modding of your beloved instruments. I have custom setup my gr-55 stereo outs so one output does real and modeled (cosm) guitars, basically without effect, and the other does synths, also "mostly" without effects (fx are hard to separate in the gr 55 stereo outs, but a couple can still be used individually like that). Then I put the guitars through my helix lt, and the synths currently direct into the 2nd input of my powered speaker. I may use the helix for a synth reverb/delay effect path one day also, but I prefer the separation of entities right now. Variax being entirely united between helix and guitar though - THAT IS THE BEST SYSTEM TO USE BY FAR. I prefer my roland tone and capabilities, but the variax easily wins for how well united it is. Totally great system, the variax. Back when I used my xt live and a variax 300 (highly modded), that was amazing enough. And I used it professionally like that for soundtrack work. And the helix invited me to try again, so I had a modern variax on loan, and it was a nice instrument with variax along for the ride.
  2. Totally, positioning matters. I won't get into the decoupling thing (I disagree with it based on simple physics, but whatever, they are just money), but whatever, decouple if you think it is helping. The biggest thing you want to avoid with near field monitors, and which is challenging to impossible with a normal desk, is early reflections off the desk surface itself. The woofer, which provides midrange sounds also, will have lots of audio artifacts destroying it's imaging and in fact adding a ton of distortion to it's output, just by putting it on a table. Same with teh tweeter, of course, assuming it has half decent dispersion. The next worst thing is having your speakers too close to the wall behind them, and possible a wall beside. It muddies up and over accentuates the bass, and even if you can reduce bass output to compensate (as on some nicer near field monitors), it's never as accurate bass as having the speakers a ways away from the walls. So yes, placement is critical, and the best thing to do is have them on stands with the WOOFERS exactly at ear height when sitting, but not near enough your desktop that it is causing a lot of reflection in the sound. Woofer should be at ear level, not tweeter (unless on side in which case you can have both!), because the woofer gets quite directional at upper midrange frequencies, and you need to hear that stuff when mixing and monitoring. tweeters get directional too, but most people forget about the poor woofer doing your midrange stuff in a two-way speaker.
  3. That makes a lot more sense, thanks for explaining it. I don't get the sense that he's hell bent on anything other than the fact that lots of us can only afford one decent guitar. I only had one good guitar for many years, as a professional. It can get the job done just fine. Again - with a GOOD guitar, that is setup for versatile wiring, you can get a lot of the strat or les paul or HSH superstrat tones. You can't really get good 2/4 tones on anything ohter than a split coil HSH or a strat, though. That's why I don't just play my les paul. I also play my RG. And yes, you're right. If you ever get to the point where you need to cop strat and Les Paul type sounds, then you need both. If you ever do metal then you should at least consider high output pickups (although I've always preferred more classic output humbuckers with boost pedals and EQ changes when I do metal). This is why I personally own a superstrat and a les paul. But I played for a long long time professionally without a strat or a superstrat around. It can be done. And this brings us back on topic: What helix choices can he do, as well as a guitar swap that gives him as much versatility to do texas blues as well as other styles? I tried to suggest some things, and other folks have too. So with only one guitar, let's help the guy out!
  4. Oh, and avoid a variax if you're looking for a great guitar as your only instrument. I owned one and used it professionally for soundtrack recording since it could cop certain famous guitar sounds when I was rerecording famous guitar parts. But it's not a great experience to play, and after a few weeks you'll regret it as your only instrument, unless you get one that has stratocaster pickups for real, since those are what the variax is the worst at copping in a musical, expressive way.
  5. I didn't get the feeling that "the OP seems convinced that somewhere in the wild there's one magical instrument that will enable him to convincingly recreate a wide variety of very specific tones with pinpoint accuracy". Just sayin' I got the feeling that he's wondering how to get the srv style tone, and isn't experienced with different guitars yet having only the one guitar, which is fine but definitely less of a character guitar than a strat is, or a les paul for that matter. OP, keep in mind that SRV played a dumble amp with a wah and a tube screamer on his first album. He also played very specific fender amps much of his life, and that sort of thing definitely contributes to your tone as well. You DO need single coil pickups to nail the tone, though, for sure, an ideally 3 of them with a 5 way switch. Eric Johnson plays strats and plays es335s. He sounds like him, with his tone. The guy wants to play texas blues. I mentioned billy gibbons, legendary for his texas blues tone. Most of his great work was done on a les paul. He's also worked on strats and on telecasters a ton. He always sounds like Billy Gibbons. If you want to sound like SRV, you DO need a strat, or something close. I can get VERY CLOSE with my ibanez RG with the pickups split. Like, so close that it's hard to tell. It's not as shiny as a strat, but that's due to wood and build design of the instrument, and also due to the pickups I use. But I mean, superstrats are strat designs with tons of improvements and changes from the norm, and they can be brought back into the sound of a strat without much difficulty.
  6. All of this in the thread is true. however, also, there are those guitarists who play nearly exclusively one guitar and are very versatile. Clapton, sure he started with a 335 and got famous on one, but moved to a strat shortly after and never went back (Except for occasional variations for fun). Very versatile, played in all kinds of different groups and styles of music. SRV actually had a very versatile tone, all from a strat... listen to him to jazz or soft ballads or screaming heavy wild speed playing or texas flood style SRV tones. So did hendrix, for that matter... super versatile tones (nearly) all from a strat. But then, ZZ Top is also texas blues (if you ignore their era of sequenced synth backing tracks, at least). And Billy made nearly all of his greatest sounds on his les paul named "Pearly Gates" (so famous that you can buy copies of his pickups). His tone is just as intense as SRV's, although without the ridiculous speed and dexterity of course, no offense to Mr. Gibbons - a truly brilliant musician, but there was only one SRV. Another super crazy brilliant guitar playing legend, Jeff Beck, did the album Blow by Blow with his les paul, and used a pick often. Then he moved to strats (with finger picking exclusively) and never moved back. He sounded INCREDIBLE on both axes, even though they are wildly different instruments, and completely different right hand technique used as he moved along with his albums... and for a guy who's brilliant and original with a strat's whammy bar, when he played his les paul you could swear he used a whammy but he didn't... he was just that incredibly good. With a great instrument, a great tone, the right pickups, and the right strings... plugged into the right amp setup properly, you can get all kinds of awesome tones. With my own les paul I have a coil split setup (and several other custom pickup settings, not to mention a top mounted floyd rose), and I can get close enough to the neck single coil of a strat that lots of people have been fooled when listening to my recordings. But I cannot get the 2 and 4 quack positions out of it at all. For that I need a real strat, although I honestly far prefer playing superstrats like my vintage ibanez RG, which I've coil split and sounds amazingly like a strat, and with the flick of a switch sounds like a metal guitar. But it can't quite sound like a les paul - close, but no cigar. Funny things, guitar tones. I do think you need a coil split on your guitar though, if the pickups can be split. If not, then replacing pickups is probably not worth it for the money unless you love that particular guitar, so I'd look at some other type of versatile super strat that has HSH pickups (2 humbuckers with a single in the middle) and a coil split mode. Higher end ibanez RG models do that for positions 2/3/4, whiel leaving 1 and 5 and a single humbucker in neck or bridge position. Makes it very versatile, but I love the sound of a single coil neck, and I also love a telecaster style neck and bridge both single coils together..... and with a super switch or a couple of extra switches added on manually you can get there. But you also need very nice pickups that sound good both split and hb. Mine has 1991 stock ibanez/dimarzio USA pickups which are incredible, but of course it's a 1991 instrument also (Japan/USA built, that weird era when they finished assembly in the USA plants and did fit/finish in USA also for the rg7XX series). So yea, probably your guitar itself. And for what it's worth, stratocasters have been used for everything from jazz to heavy metal since day one... so don't write off the 3 single coils as being only good for texas blues. And they're not the only way to get it, but they SURE do sound good for that stuff. Cheers
  7. No? Yes, you mean. Your information about meters goes into far more detail than mine does. Good resource to add. But the ENTIRE point of how AB comparisons works is by ensuring the levels are the same. I am obviously, for the sake of this discussion and for the sake of the relevance to the OP's video, summarizing level meters into an overall term. I specifically said I was not getting into the details of how it works, and how to do it, since there are resources all over google that are great for that. I don't see how my summary of what level checking with meters is done for, and the high level summary of how to use them, is incorrect when the alternative, for this simplistic discussion, is to disregard meters and only use your ears. So I hope you now understand what I was trying, in a very simplistic high level way, to get across. The point being, don't ignore meters - they are critical to audio work, and the only way to ensure that the brain is not being fooled. Cheers
  8. yea, totally. I get it. It's just that the numbers, measuring tools etc, are trustworthy ways to help us silly humans to avoid the pitfalls described, that you too described. Cuz it really is super frustrating to find out that you were duped, most often by your own mistake. I don't want to admit how many times I've ABed changes I was making in a mix for hours, only to find out that I was listening to the same source each time due to an error in routing LoL Cheers - and the info was not just for you in case it was helpful, but for anyone who may have been confused by the video. Or, maybe the video was clear and I confused things! LoL
  9. Just an interesting little sidetrack here, if you don't mind, while I explain why you can experience the phenomenon you explained here. Not fighting, just explaining from an audio measurement point of view that respect the math of signal levels in db, without bothering with any actual math and crap which is all over the internet explained better than I could here. If a meter says the two sounds (one EQed differently than the other) are exactly the same level, then that is the total average weighted level across a wide frequency spectrum, summed. That's how level meters work, and why the are the cornerstone of recording studios around the world. They are not biased to certain frequencies in any random way - they have very specific, exactly known, weighting, which results in very specific frequency response sensitivity. db measurements are based on human hearing response, and that is why a certain db level, measured using a properly calibrated level meter, at any normal audible frequency, will sound about the same loudness (approximately) at all source frequencies. If you hear two identical sounds at identical volumes, literally the same thing played twice, and believe one is different from the other, then you are normal. Even the best recording studio mixing engineers can get tricked by that, even though they are much better at hearing those things than most of us are. So, now, taking that information to your point about one tone perceptually sounding clearly louder... let's say one signal is EQed differently.... and you prefer one to the other. Either you happen to prefer bassier tone, or more midrange in your tone, or a brighter tone (... and as noted in the video, we tend to immediately adjust to brighter sounds as attractive, and get used to them fast, making less bright sounds seem dull by comparison very quickly). But the levels saying they are identical volume? They are correct. The sum of all frequencies measured by that meter is the same between the two versions. So there is nothing faulty with hearing one as being louder than the other - it's just some frequencies are louder, and some are quieter (hence the total output level is the same as per the properly calibrated and properly used signal level meter). The frequencies that are louder, to you, in your opinion, in the one you think sounds overall louder must be frequencies that you find to dominate the sound in some way. On the other hand, if two different sounds SOUNDED the SAME level with in an AB comparison, but MEASURED as DIFFERENT levels (the meters show one as quieter than the other), then clearly the sound of the quieter one showcases frequencies that you, personally, find more jarring, or are more sensitive to. Trust the meters, set levels identically, and THEN decide which sounds better. In a mixing situation in a recording studio, you WANT identical levels when ABing sounds... otherwise you will be biased towards louder. Engineers know that. So you learn to hear the differences in tone/eq/compression(attack sustain etc). That is what really counts, not volume, since volume will change every time you play it back on your stereo (volume won't ever be set exactly the same).
  10. The truly "golden ear"ed crowd already knows this stuff and checks levels to the db always when ABX testing. Most of the world's top recording/mixing engineers are generally considered to have golden ears. Unless you mean the analog/tubes-are-better-for-hifi/LP-is-superior-to-digital crowd, in which case, yea, those people will never get it. :-)
  11. donkelley

    poly sustain

    No prob. Please let me know how it works for you. Keep in mind it is basically a gate followed by a long delay and slow fade in that drives a synthesizer (set to an octave up) followed by a short thick reverb. Then then what digitech did was similar, but with a special algorithm that detects when you change the note you're playing and resets the gate/delay path, so you don't get that problem mine has where you can get into feedback, and NOT let go of the foot pedal, and it just turns into an octaver that tracks everything you play. Hence why I added the momentary button so you can let go when you change notes, and it sounds pretty much like it should if you remember to do that. Note on adjusting sensitivity of the effect: Go into the 2nd path (out of 3 total), which is the one that has all of the auto-swell effects etc. That path is the freqout thing. In first of the 3 autoswell effects, turn DOWN the threshold parameter (first param in autoswell effect), and it will trigger when you play quieter, so you'll get the effect running much more easily. I personally don't like it lik ethat, but you could get a little closer to the delayed-octave freqout effect from the real pedal that way. Also I'm experimenting with the complete opposite of the settings I have now for the freqout's first EQ block, to instead emphasize higher notes rahter than reduce them, so you can get feedback on higher notes on the guitar. But even then it really doesn't work very well on those notes, and it makes it so sensitive that it no longer really works properly to me so far. Anyhow, this patch is a good starting ground for anyone to play with. Technically speaking the helix doesn't have the right type of pick trigger to work how the freqout works... but this is a good effect, either way.
  12. donkelley

    poly sustain

    Note that while it sounds IMHO very convincingly like real amp feedback, maybe moreso than the freqout does, you do have to take your foot off the pedal when playing normally. You can actually hold it down for several notes in a row and it'll build up the feedback effect while you play, which is cool, and then let go when starting to play other notes again cuz otherwise it will sort of just turn into a heavy octave kind of effect. I'm really enjoying it and finding it very expressive to work with. I updated the patch so volume pedal works now and there's a wah pedal also, although I haven't uploaded that one here yet.
  13. USB port configuration, the sleep mode options for your usb host configuration, and so much more which are controlled by the OS, by the settings in your computer, all of that stuff can tie into being triggered by idle time events, among other things. Windows is more susceptible to this, but I'm certain Macs can suffer from it too since they are all running standard intel chipsets and architecture (at least until the last couple months when everyone's giving up on Intel in the computer design world. Depending on how your usb ports are configured (something possible to see in windows 10 with lots of effort, but more of a low level config file editing thing on Macs the last time I checked (several years ago), the USB port could be entering a different mode after a period of user input-idle time. So it's possible that if you just move your mouse every 30 seconds or so during FW updates that the computer will not go into any change in USB power mode (such as performance limiting changes, a default setting on most windows laptops (for example)). It's worth a shot. It's also possible that the last time you tried your update, because you're anxious about it, you kept moving things, touching mouse or touchpad, or similar... and that's why it worked. Or this might not be the problem at all. But it's worth considering that you might have unusually setup USB ports that aren't behaving how you need them to behave during user idle time. PS: printers don't transfer nearly as much data as a fw update to a USB device would.... so the fact that your printer is reliable does not mean that I am wrong about this being one possible cause. It's just a slim chance that this is your problem, but it certainly doesn't hurt to move your mouse once every few seconds to make sure the computer stays WIDE awake. It can go into lower power usb mode while the screen is on and you have no idea.... USB power mode timing is set independently of your screen lock or anything else.
  14. donkelley

    poly sustain

    Here's a little blues wank demo of me playing my les paul through the patch. First note is just the patch with compressor/TS/amp/verb. It sustains great etc, but no freqout effect. Second note is me pressing and holding the freqout pedal and playing the same note. Note the feedback effect of my freqout emulation. Yes I have a floyd rose after market on my les paul (the top mount FRX kind - no routing). That's both pickups on, even though the freqout effect works better with just bridge pickup I find (just like real live feedback)...I chose this setting for the demo because my LP buzzes like mad on the bridge pickup (although it sounds amazing, I didn't want that in the demo). Then I wank some more and press the freqout pedal only on a couple of notes to emulate how real live amp feedback might work, from my personal experience. I'd say it's pretty convincing, although not as over the top as the digitech freqout pedal is. Oh, and I'm using an aftermarket cab ir instead of the stock cab for my demo - just adds some presence and brightness to it. DBK Freqout 3 for helix - demo by DBK.mp3
  15. donkelley

    poly sustain

    Ok, here's V3. It sounds WAY better and behaves WAY better than V1, so forget that one and try this one please! (I had posted, then deleted, V2 but it really did need the changes I just made to this to become V3.) This one replaces the bypass footswitch with a momentary footswitch. So now it plays normally, use any amp you want etc... but when you want to trigger the effect you hold down the BOTTOM left footswitch (It's currently called "Position" which I tried changing the text for, but it changed back.... you get the idea though). You have to hold teh footswtich down WHILE you play teh chord (like, before), for feedback to trigger, and keep holding it to get the feedback, although if the signal is strong enough and you have the compressor pedal on then it might still trigger if you play a note and then hold down the pedal. When you let go, feedback stops, although it'll stop itself when guitar volume fades enough from strings just fading as they do. It's not real feedback after all! I did add a reverb in the freqout path at the end, which you could bypass or edit of you like, cuz the way the feedback ends was so abrupt that I hated it, and the reverb adds a messy end to it that just sounds more like a real amp's feedback ending, to me. I also turned up the sensitivity of the feedback and the volume of the feedback when enabled, since mistriggers aren't likely now due to you being able to let go of the pedal when you are playing normally. Note that I purposely eq'd down the higher strings and higher notes on the guitar within the feedback trigger path (not in the regular guitar sound, don't worry), so higher guitar strings and notes don't do any feedback, because they don't feedback in real life as much as the low ones, and when they do they should feedback the real note, not an octave higher, which will be a much more complicated (maybe impossible with helix) task....(cuz I'd need to have two feedback systems, one for regular notes, one for octave notes, and so on.... ugh... but even the real freqout pedal doesn't do that) I also added a compressor, tube screamer, and increased the amp gain, and all effects have foot switches now. I suppose I should add volume pedal and wah pedal too... I'll add that another day. I reversed the paths so it's like this now: comp, freqout, screamer, amp, cab, reverb. This one, to me, is really good sounding and actually useful! I sorta wish it would trigger reliably by hitting pedal without having to replace your chord, but whatever, this is good enough for now. Dbk Freqout3.hlx
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