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jaeger28

Ground Hum/Buzz when using Helix 4CM

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Got my Helix in today. It sounds pretty amazing. But using my amp I had a ground loop. 4 CM can be a real downer when using all kinds of gear (you get these issues as well with some high end switcher loopers, no names mentioned).

 

I found a solution: Used a Lehle P-Split to create a galvanic isolation on the connection between Send 1 on the Helix and the Amp input. Either the Amp input, or both send and return of the FX loop need to be galvanic isolated to avoid these issues with all amps and all power situations/venues. To be honest, the P-Split or similar products, as they work passive and suck no tone, is a little pain for a clean sound. If Line6 had wanted to avoid this, they'd needed to isolate all sends, returns, ins and outs. On a unit with so many possible routings probably overkill.

 

Apart from that, I am pretty chuffed with my Helix, sounds rather damn well. I'm pretty sure it will replace my Gigrig/booteek FX board.

 

Now wee need a longer list of FX, especially more phaser models, a proper, simple pitch modulator, and some other things I'm missing from my M5/9/13.

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EbTech's Hum X Hum Filters have fixed every ground loop I've ever experienced across many many types of gear - not just guitar and PA equipment but also computers and home theater systems.

 

on Amazon.

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the only hum that I'm getting with my Egnater is when i hook a cable up to the ext control (amp switch) and plug it into my amps switch jack and go to the lead channel.  I can move the cable and get it to go away.  It's weird because it's not there when im on the lead channel without the cable connected.  It does seem to be coming from the transformer though.  I've tried 3 cables and they are all the same.  Otherwise the 4CM is damn near noisless unlike my G system

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It depends a lot on the gear involved, what kind of power you're getting, etc.

 

A galvanic isolator box should always be around, unless you play guitar, tubescreamer, amp. As soon as power supplies, several routes to amps, mixers, etc. are used, some kind of ground noise will probably occur.

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If your gear is in the corner of a room, it's common for some people to plug some boxes into one wall and others into a different wall. If those outlets are on different circuits, you're almost guaranteed to get ground hum.

 

Start with plugging only Helix and your amp into the same outlet—no power conditioners, no pedals, nothing. If there's still ground hum, something weird is going on.

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If your gear is in the corner of a room, it's common for some people to plug some boxes into one wall and others into a different wall. If those outlets are on different circuits, you're almost guaranteed to get ground hum.

 

Start with plugging only Helix and your amp into the same outlet—no power conditioners, no pedals, nothing. If there's still ground hum, something weird is going on.

To take it even a step further - any gear that is being connected should ALL be powered from the same grounded power strip - this will solve 9/10 issues you will commonly run into

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They were connected in the same power outlet. I think it's a quite common issue when using 4 CM. As said, if other people experience this, something like a P-Split to the amp front in, or mentioned Ebtech at Send/Return will fix it without much pain.

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I got another undesirable 4 CM experience with my Helix and my Koch Twinton.

A very loud hi frequent feedback noise appears while the LEAD-channel is active.

Even if there is no guitar pluged into the Helix and a Plug tip from the Helix out cable is just touching any shield of any active Helix output!?!

 

If I only plug the Helix in front of the Koch or only to the FX Loop evereythig is ok, with the same levels!

 

Is it possible a galvanic isolation could help or ist it just a level problem?

 

Does anybody had a similar experience?

 

(I'm not a native english writer, so please give me a hint if something is asdöljquvwe! :-) )

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I have experienced this before with a Gigrig and Cornford Mk50 and buffering and isolation fixed it. I would assume the Helix is buffered but you could try a boss or any buffered pedal in bypass between Helix and amp in. If that doesn't fix it my bet would be on ground isolation. Order an iso box online so you can return it in case it's no remedy.

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...  you could try a boss or any buffered pedal in bypass between Helix and amp in. If that doesn't fix it my bet would be on ground isolation. Order an iso box online so you can return it in case it's no remedy.

 

Sounds good! I'll try.

Thank You

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I had the same issue using the Helix in 4CM with my CAA/Suhr OD-100 Classic Plus. Massive hum with the Ext Amp connected to the amp footswitch socket. The solution I found was to lift the ground on that particular cable (Helix end) and it's been silent since.

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Feb 23, 2017.

 

Had the issue.  I bought a HumX, and it solved the issue.  

 

My Mac is on another outlet, Plugged it into same outlet as Helix.  Did NOT work.  

Tried the HumX on the Mac outlet, Did NOT work.

 

Plugged the HumX on the Helix outlet. Mac on separate outlet.  FIXED.  It's definitely created by the Helix.  

 

Line6 needs to address that USB, it needs some kind of update. Nothing to do with your Mac or PC.  

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Did you try the ground lift switch on your Helix?

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I had the same issue using the Helix in 4CM with my CAA/Suhr OD-100 Classic Plus. Massive hum with the Ext Amp connected to the amp footswitch socket. The solution I found was to lift the ground on that particular cable (Helix end) and it's been silent since.

Actually this worked perfect, cut the ground cable on the TRS plug just on Helix end!

Worked!

THANKS!!!!!! 

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Actually this worked perfect, cut the ground cable on the TRS plug just on Helix end!

Worked!

THANKS!!!!!! 

 

And you can still switch amp channels?

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And you can still switch amp channels?

In the case of my amp (Mesa Electra Dyne), yes, silent and perfect switching, tip, ring and tip+ring, 3 channels green, blue and red.

(The ground sleeve does not change anything, just added this awful ground loop noise).

It worked! 

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In the case of my amp (Mesa Electra Dyne), yes, silent and perfect switching, tip, ring and tip+ring, 3 channels green, blue and red.

(The ground sleeve does not change anything, just added this awful ground loop noise).

It worked! 

 

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but if you cut the ground portion (sleeve), what do the tip and ring short to in order to make the switching happen?

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but if you cut the ground portion (sleeve), what do the tip and ring short to in order to make the switching happen?

Well, it is just the ground, the tip and ring cables are still connected, the amp switching just uses tip, ring or tip+ring.

In my case: tip+ring (clean=green ch), Tip(hi gain=red ch) and Ring (Vintage=blue ch)

It is just a ground lift technique:

I found a video of this:

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My Mesa needs to close the ring to the sleeve, so disconnecting the sleeve will not work.  Can I disconnect the tip on the Helix end, or should I swap the sleeve/tip on the Mesa end?  The Mesa wants to see Ring+Sleeve to switch, but does the cable really care if the shield is soldered to the tip?

 

Please, any thought or comments before I start soldering.  :)

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I have this problem with my Friedman Runt - Hum when I use the Helix Ext Amp ouput (other than that 4CM is working normally). 

 

If I understand well the Helix Ext Amp output Is TRS and the Channel switching input on the Friedman is TS since the cable Friedman provided to that effect is TS on both sides.  Please note the Friedman Runt is a 2 channel amp.

 

What's the connection logic technically between the tip, the ring and the sleeve?  I need to understand this to know what to do.  Thank you. 

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I've been using the Helix for a while, but everything I have done to date is self contained in the box.

I've now introduced an ENGL Powerball 2 to the mix and setting up the 4 cable method.

I have both the Helix and the ENGL plugged next to each other into the same Furman PL-8CE power filter. If I plug my guitar directly into the front of the amp and use AMP SEND> Helix RETURN, it's great, no problem. If I use HELIX SEND 1 to go to AMP Guitar Input, even with a completely empty helix patch and no guitar plugged in to the Helix, its unbearably noisy! I get the same results plugging the Amp input into any of the four Helix Sends or the 1/4 output. I also have the Amp EXT connected to channel switch the ENGL, but it makes no difference if this is connected or not...

 

Any ideas? I'd rather not have to use a Hum Eliminator, just because I feel I shouldn't have too!

 

Cheers,

 

Tim 

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That's also my experience with a Mesa Mark V. No amount of tinkering or even a Hum Eliminator really solved the problem. I feel like there's a problem somewhere and the Helix doesn't deal well with whatever electronic issue introduced by the 4 cable method and some amps but I don't think they seriously looked into it or it can't be solved and hence never aknowledged it but it exist because I keep reading people complaining about the same thing.

 

I just got a powercab because if you really want to use the helix then 4cm it's just not going to work well like I would and there's no point in fighting, one thing I realized is Line 6 has a real problem aknowledging issues of this kind and they treat you like you're crazy, which is crazy frustrating. Their product team likes to crack jokes in the release notes but NEVER ever aknowledges anything, then all of a sudden they have a solution but they pretend people complaining never said anything. It works until someone comes out and eats your lunch by having just a little customer empathy.

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For me just using a Lehle P Split to isolate the amp input completely solved the issue. If there is still a ground loop after using an isolation transformer on the audio, it might be related to power. Could be a pedal in front that is powered by the same supply as a pedal in the loop or in a loop of the Helix? Technically it makes no sense that there could still be hum in 4CM after using a good iso transformer to break the loop.  

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Thanks for the replies

Pretty disappointing to be honest...

I'm testing without any pedals in front at all,  even just a single cable connecting Helix Send to Amp Input causes the problem, even powered by the same filtered power source!

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8 hours ago, tshadgett said:

Thanks for the replies

Pretty disappointing to be honest...

I'm testing without any pedals in front at all,  even just a single cable connecting Helix Send to Amp Input causes the problem, even powered by the same filtered power source!

 

You need to break the ground loop. It's a common issue when using single units in 4CM or multiple pedals but with the same power supply in front and in loop of the amp. A single Palmer PLI01 or Lehle P-Split between Helix and front (guitar) input of the amp will do the job. As said, this is not specific to Helix. However, adding high quality isolation transformers to all of the many Ins and Outs on the Helix to cover for all possible scenarios would have made it very expensive.
Just get a good iso box as mentioned and issue solved.

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24 minutes ago, jaeger28 said:

 

You need to break the ground loop. It's a common issue when using single units in 4CM or multiple pedals but with the same power supply in front and in loop of the amp. A single Palmer PLI01 or Lehle P-Split between Helix and front (guitar) input of the amp will do the job. As said, this is not specific to Helix. However, adding high quality isolation transformers to all of the many Ins and Outs on the Helix to cover for all possible scenarios would have made it very expensive.
Just get a good iso box as mentioned and issue solved.

 

Thanks jaeger28,

 

I'll pick one up. Do you think I would need to isolate the Send/Receive from the Amp also, or just the Amp front input will be enough as you suggest?

 

Cheers

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I would just get a single iso box to break it on the input. Putting a unit in the send/return is just double effort for the same result.

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On 8/30/2016 at 2:53 AM, warrenm said:

I had the same issue using the Helix in 4CM with my CAA/Suhr OD-100 Classic Plus. Massive hum with the Ext Amp connected to the amp footswitch socket. The solution I found was to lift the ground on that particular cable (Helix end) and it's been silent since.

 

On 4/24/2017 at 7:02 PM, Giax1974 said:

Actually this worked perfect, cut the ground cable on the TRS plug just on Helix end!

Worked!

THANKS!!!!!! 

 

On 4/25/2017 at 9:21 AM, Giax1974 said:

Well, it is just the ground, the tip and ring cables are still connected, the amp switching just uses tip, ring or tip+ring.

In my case: tip+ring (clean=green ch), Tip(hi gain=red ch) and Ring (Vintage=blue ch)

It is just a ground lift technique:

I found a video of this:

 

 

 

 

Is this safe to do on the HXFX Ext Amp end of the TRS cable?  I’m having the same issue with my Mesa Electra Dyne.

 

There are members at TGP saying I might as well be asking to be electrocuted to death if I lift the ground on the TRS cable...

 

Thanks.

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