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spawn2031
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Just got done answering a question concerning the Fletcher-Munsen curve with a 500x and it dawned on me to ask the same about the Helix....

 

Will the Helix suffer from the same issue that the 500x did when cranking it up?  Patches made at low levels sound great at low levels but sounds horrible the louder you get, thus forcing you to make gig level patches at high volume to get something good.  I'd love to hear from some Helix users that have cranked the thing up.  I'm expecting the answer to be yes on this but man it would be cool if somehow that curve had somehow been accounted for.

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this is not a matter of "suffering" or anything to do with line6 or any other processor....

it's physics... sound perception changes as the volume changes... fact.

 

Just got done answering a question concerning the Fletcher-Munsen curve with a 500x and it dawned on me to ask the same about the Helix....

 

Will the Helix suffer from the same issue that the 500x did when cranking it up?  Patches made at low levels sound great at low levels but sounds horrible the louder you get, thus forcing you to make gig level patches at high volume to get something good.  I'd love to hear from some Helix users that have cranked the thing up.  I'm expecting the answer to be yes on this but man it would be cool if somehow that curve had somehow been accounted for.

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this is not a matter of "suffering" or anything to do with line6 or any other processor....

it's physics... sound perception changes as the volume changes... fact.

 

Yup, I never said it was a L6 problem.  I know it's science.  But technology is freakin cool too and it's not outside of the realm of possibilities to somehow account for that Fletcher - Munsen curve, I couldn't tell you how... but we break boundaries all the time these days.  Since no one had really been talking about it, that's why I brought it up to see if it's just as prominent as it has been on past devices.

 

If so, no big deal, I've already learned to account for it on my 500x.  It's just good to know.

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although in theory they could compensate the frequencies as you increased the volume...you may not like the changes to your tone though...so yeah it is "possible" however there are tons of factors, size of room, actual volume, room material..tone itself ( what amp, guitar ) blah blah...I guess I don't see how they could do a one size fits all algorithm for loud versus soft compensation...

 

interesting thought though...maybe sample the sound low and create an eq curve of sorts and as you turn to volume resample the sound and apply the EQ curve...anyway the stuff line 6 does is all black magic to me...

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Maybe I read something into it but I thought one of the main points with the Helix was it's ability to more accurately model analog stomp boxes at different levels. Now that I think about it, I guess this would be more of an input level modeling rather than an output level.

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My ears are fatigued now because I've spent a few days straight converting my HD500X patches over to the Helix at gig volume.  I've never been able to compensate eq'ing at lower volumes as spawn2031 does.  I just can't seem to get it right.

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Mine sounds ok cranked, guess it depends on how your powering your sound. I've caught my studio monitors breaking up a little at higher volume but my Engl tube power amp ( no pre amp) does great loud. I'm about to step up my speakers on it.

 

I'm still learning about pro audio, I'm great with car audio but that's a different world.

I see some things that are the same in both. Signal+ amp+ speakers. If you get a good set up in this chain your off to a good start.

 

Wish pro audio would show more specs like signal to noise ratio,, total harmonic distortion, dampening and so on.

Again I have a lot to learn on this side of audio.

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You can use the global EQ to boost bass and treble at low volume like the loudness function on a normal stereo, and then disable the EQ when you're playing at gig level. You have to use the same levels for gig and practice in each patch though in order for it to work with a single EQ setting.

 

One practical way could be to tweak one very familiar patch at gig level and then use the global EQ to make the same patch sound similar at practice level. Then you should be able to tweak all other patches with the same EQ.

 

I'm going to try that once Line 6 fixes the black screen or PC backup problem.

 

Usually I'm tweaking patches at gig level with the same in-ear monitors I use with the band (M-Fidelity SA-43), but if the global EQ compensation is working well, it will be less tiring on the ears.

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This is one of the main reasons for the global EQ. When you get to a gig, play at gig level and adjust the global EQ to suit the room. This will then compensate all your patches equally. Usually, this is done either with a post-EQ like an MXR, or at the mixing desk, but the global EQ gives the HELIX operators the opportunity to compensate themselves.

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This is one of the main reasons for the global EQ. When you get to a gig, play at gig level and adjust the global EQ to suit the room. This will then compensate all your patches equally. Usually, this is done either with a post-EQ like an MXR, or at the mixing desk, but the global EQ gives the HELIX operators the opportunity to compensate themselves.

 

Granted, I am still speaking out of pure conjecture since I dont have the Helix yet ... come on SW come on!  But I know with the 500x, adjusting the global EQ was never as effective as just making your patch at the intended level, or at least I haven't had much luck with doing that. 

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Granted, I am still speaking out of pure conjecture since I dont have the Helix yet ... come on SW come on!  But I know with the 500x, adjusting the global EQ was never as effective as just making your patch at the intended level, or at least I haven't had much luck with doing that. 

 

The level is part of it, but each room also has its own acoustics so you have to adjust the global EQ to suit the room in any case. The acoustics also change once the audience turns up, so you will also need to make final adjustments at the start of playing.

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The level is part of it, but each room also has its own acoustics so you have to adjust the global EQ to suit the room in any case. The acoustics also change once the audience turns up, so you will also need to make final adjustments at the start of playing.

 

Yeah I'm aware of the room acoustics, that's what I got a sound guy for though so thank god I don't have to fiddle with that too!

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The level is part of it, but each room also has its own acoustics so you have to adjust the global EQ to suit the room in any case. The acoustics also change once the audience turns up, so you will also need to make final adjustments at the start of playing.

 

Yeah I'm aware of the room acoustics, that's what I got a sound guy for though so thank god I don't have to fiddle with that too!

We do it the same way ... EQ the room on the mixer since it's not only the guitar that is affected.

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I have had good results going from creating patches with the Helix at home with headphones and using them live through FOH. This was difficult with the HD500. One thing I did do different from the 500 was I used some of the forum tips to adjust the low cut and high cut cabinet filters. Adjusting these parameters helped me set better in the mix. The high cut especially was helpful to tame some of the harshness/brittleness I was getting live.

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It's something that gets mentioned here from time to time, but the real issue is Helix knowing the volume at which you're playing. The main VOLUME knob could be going into a power amp at the threshold of hearing... or the threshold of pain.

 

I suppose a future Helix could have a mic built into the top chassis that would pay attention to ambient volume, but what happens when the rack's close to the drums? Or the cab's in a different room? Or across stage?

 

These are the things that keep us awake at night. Yes, a Fletcher-Munson curve could help, but Helix understanding context is a big leap.

 

Pro Tip: Many of Helix's amp models default with their Master knobs set to 10, as this is how they're generally recorded in the studio. If you're not used to hearing a Vox AC30 at 10 (and if you're in the same room, you probably shouldn't), it'll sound more "right" with the Master volume setting reflecting that which you're accustomed to on the real amp.

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  • 1 year later...

It's something that gets mentioned here from time to time, but the real issue is Helix knowing the volume at which you're playing. The main VOLUME knob could be going into a power amp at the threshold of hearing... or the threshold of pain.

 

I suppose a future Helix could have a mic built into the top chassis that would pay attention to ambient volume, but what happens when the rack's close to the drums? Or the cab's in a different room? Or across stage?

 

These are the things that keep us awake at night. Yes, a Fletcher-Munson curve could help, but Helix understanding context is a big leap.

 

Pro Tip: Many of Helix's amp models default with their Master knobs set to 10, as this is how they're generally recorded in the studio. If you're not used to hearing a Vox AC30 at 10 (and if you're in the same room, you probably shouldn't), it'll sound more "right" with the Master volume setting reflecting that which you're accustomed to on the real amp.

 

I have just become the proud owner of a Helix LT (after having a 500/500X for years), that is why I am reading this thread with great interest.

Can you please explain a bit more how to understand "Helix knowing the volume at which you're playing"?

Can I understand it that it does not matter what level the Volume dial is set, the equal loudness/Fletcher-Munson curves are taken into consideration by the software so regardless of the volume settings everything will sound the same at low and at high levels or even at headphone and gig levels?

Thanks in advance!

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..

Can you please explain a bit more how to understand "Helix knowing the volume at which you're playing"?....!

 

I think the point that DI was making is that Helix does NOT know the ambient volume at which you are playing; that - as he says - is the real issue. Hence, what you're hoping is the case (regardless of the volume settings everything will sound the same at low and at high levels or even at headphone and gig levels) is not the case.

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Can I understand it that it does not matter what level the Volume dial is set, the equal loudness/Fletcher-Munson curves are taken into consideration by the software so regardless of the volume settings everything will sound the same at low and at high levels or even at headphone and gig levels?

Thanks in advance!

No...just the opposite. Helix has no idea what your final volume is, no matter where it's master volume is set. You can have the master volume red-lined and still be listening at a nice comfy volume through your chosen method of amplification, or you could be rattling windows in the next zip code. Either way, Helix neither knows nor cares.

 

And no device will ever sound the same at bedroom vs. live performance volumes. But that's because of how your brain works, not the device. Nor will any set of headphones give you the exact same tone as what you'll hear through another amplification method. Every time you change what you're listening through, and/or the volume at which you're listening, the tone will change...sometimes drastically. It all depends on the scenario and the listening environment.

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I followed the guide in this thread for my gig last Saturday:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/18372-eq-setting-experiment/

 

...and ended up cutting the 5.2MHz frequency with a Q of 1.3 I think, at about -3.2. Sounded much better to my ears, and not as 'piercing'.

 

OP - there is a patch on customTone that has some blocks used to simulate the Fletcher-Munson curve at low volumes. Well worth grabbing the patch; just copy and paste the blocks into your patch.

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I have just become the proud owner of a Helix LT (after having a 500/500X for years), that is why I am reading this thread with great interest.

Can you please explain a bit more how to understand "Helix knowing the volume at which you're playing"?

Can I understand it that it does not matter what level the Volume dial is set, the equal loudness/Fletcher-Munson curves are taken into consideration by the software so regardless of the volume settings everything will sound the same at low and at high levels or even at headphone and gig levels?

Thanks in advance!

On IdeaScale, we get lots of requests for some magical tool that makes presets appear the same volume, regardless of the user's playback system, playback frequency response, playback level, room, ears, or even what other band members might be playing. This is quite literally impossible, not unlike requesting "Make it so my mix sounds the same on $50,000 studio monitors in a mastering room AND Apple earbuds on the subway."

 

The human ear is very sensitive to level discrepancies, and if, for example, your headphones have a 1.5dB bump at 800 Hz (or your room has a standing wave at 800 Hz or your bass player's part is deficient around 800 Hz), any preset with a boost at 800 Hz will sound noticeably louder than another preset without one—because of your playback system, environment, and/or band members, none of which we have any visibility towards, and therefore, no control over.

 

Any in-line measuring tools may tell you your presets are the same peak, average, and/or RMS level, but your ears will tell you otherwise. And we haven't even gotten to Fletcher-Munson.

 

Every time we tweak Helix presets, we'll go through and adjust them by ear, at multiple playback levels, down in our control room, switching between Genelec studio monitors and an L2 FRFR speaker. Because presets must be level-adjusted by ear. There's literally no way to do it via measurement software, for the reasons given above.

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Yup, I never said it was a L6 problem.  I know it's science.  But technology is freakin cool too and it's not outside of the realm of possibilities to somehow account for that Fletcher - Munsen curve, I couldn't tell you how... but we break boundaries all the time these days.  Since no one had really been talking about it, that's why I brought it up to see if it's just as prominent as it has been on past devices.

 

If so, no big deal, I've already learned to account for it on my 500x.  It's just good to know.

Car audio has been doing it for a long time.

 

Most car audio systems these days have an "auto" sensor. So when you're pulling up to a red light or driving slow, the volume is lowered and the "loudness" (extra bass) switches on. 

Then when you're driving fast, the volume is increased and the "loudness" switch is deactivated.

 

So yeah...I would think that it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to have something like that for the Helix. 

It's probably just something that nobody thought of doing....a "low volume" mode.

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Every time we tweak Helix presets, we'll go through and adjust them by ear, at multiple playback levels, down in our control room, switching between Genelec studio monitors and an L2 FRFR speaker. Because presets must be level-adjusted by ear. There's literally no way to do it via measurement software, for the reasons given above.

That sentence tells me what I've been wondering.

What exact speaker set up do you guys use when working on the Helix to listen to the amp models. 

:)

 

So there is the answer. If you want to know what the creators of the sounds used to listen with...get an L2 speaker.  Then you will be hearing the same exact thing as DI is hearing at Line 6 (with variations of guitar and pickups...but at least you would have the starting point)

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That sentence tells me what I've been wondering.

What exact speaker set up do you guys use when working on the Helix to listen to the amp models. 

:)

 

So there is the answer. If you want to know what the creators of the sounds used to listen with...get an L2 speaker.  Then you will be hearing the same exact thing as DI is hearing at Line 6 (with variations of guitar and pickups...but at least you would have the starting point)

 

Except you'll also need our room, our location within the room, the exact dB level we listened to everything at (admittedly, we didn't bother with a dB meter), and our ears...

 

If your set uses 10 presets, leveling them all takes a few minutes at the venue. No getting around it.

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Because presets must be level-adjusted by ear. There's literally no way to do it via measurement software, for the reasons given above.

I think this part bears repeating, especially for those fond of deferring to various metering toys for leveling volumes...

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....

 

Most car audio systems these days have an "auto" sensor. So when you're pulling up to a red light or driving slow, the volume is lowered and the "loudness" (extra bass) switches on. 

Then when you're driving fast, the volume is increased and the "loudness" switch is deactivated.

.....

 

The behaviour you describe is accurate but I doubt the feature uses an 'auto-sensor' of any sort. I expect it simply adjusts volume based on vehicle speed, which it already tracks separately. There's probably no sensing of any external factors involved - just an automatic volume adjustment to compensate for the known change in interior cabin sound levels as velocity increases/decreases. Doing that is the same as adjusting the speed readout as you accelerate/brake, whether changing the digital display or moving the analog needle.

 

I don't think there's any analogy to Helix here.

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The behaviour you describe is accurate but I doubt the feature uses an 'auto-sensor' of any sort. I expect it simply adjusts volume based on vehicle speed, which it already tracks separately. There's probably no sensing of any external factors involved - just an automatic volume adjustment to compensate for the known change in interior cabin sound levels as velocity increases/decreases. Doing that is the same as adjusting the speed readout as you accelerate/brake, whether changing the digital display or moving the analog needle.

 

I don't think there's any analogy to Helix here.

That's exactly what I'm saying. Faster your car goes, more volume and less "loudness" button.

 

I would say that a "low volume mode" would sort of be the same thing. :)

Extra bottom end.

 

Then at "Gig level" disengage the "low volume" mode and crank it up.

 

For me personally, it's not that big a deal. Learned a LOOOONNNNNNGGGG time ago what to set an amp on as far as bass, mids, and treble go. 

You learn (obviously) over the years what translates with a drummer, bass player, keyboards, and vocals. And several decades of really good soundmen working for my bands didn't hurt either (they let you know real quick if your sound if big and tight OR shrill and flappy).

 

I was just saying that car audio manufacturers figured it out decades ago with the "loudness" button they used to have on stereo systems in the 80's and 90's to make the sound have bottom end at low volume. And you were supposed to turn that button off when you cranked it up (because the speakers start moving air and creating bass naturally).  And then in recent years, many cars have that "auto" function that works off of your cars speed to determine whether to apply the "loudness" function or not.

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Except you'll also need our room, our location within the room, the exact dB level we listened to everything at (admittedly, we didn't bother with a dB meter), and our ears...

 

If your set uses 10 presets, leveling them all takes a few minutes at the venue. No getting around it.

Of course there are always variables. 

But at least now we know which speakers you use and if a person were so inclined they could get the L2 and listen with a bit more accuracy to some of the factory patches as well as the amp models.

Obviously the same criteria existed when Jim Marshall made his first Marshall amp....he heard it in his room at his volume with his ears. 

But it still sounded like a Marshall amp when you played it anywhere (with slight variations)

 

With modeling I would think that knowing exactly which speaker you are using to listen with ..would be very helpful for a person wondering which speaker system they should buy to go with their Helix. :)

If I'd known that...I would have gotten an L2. 

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Yup, I never said it was a L6 problem.  I know it's science.  But technology is freakin cool too and it's not outside of the realm of possibilities to somehow account for that Fletcher - Munsen curve, I couldn't tell you how... but we break boundaries all the time these days.  Since no one had really been talking about it, that's why I brought it up to see if it's just as prominent as it has been on past devices.

 

If so, no big deal, I've already learned to account for it on my 500x.  It's just good to know.

 

It would be the same for any device by any manufacturer. IT all has to do with volume not the devices.

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I think this part bears repeating, especially for those fond of deferring to various metering toys for leveling volumes...

 

My reason for metering "toys" in the system are to debug where (possible) clipping points in the preset....

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That's exactly what I'm saying. Faster your car goes, more volume and less "loudness" button.

 

I would say that a "low volume mode" would sort of be the same thing. :)

Extra bottom end.

 

Then at "Gig level" disengage the "low volume" mode and crank it up.

 

For me personally, it's not that big a deal. Learned a LOOOONNNNNNGGGG time ago what to set an amp on as far as bass, mids, and treble go. 

You learn (obviously) over the years what translates with a drummer, bass player, keyboards, and vocals. And several decades of really good soundmen working for my bands didn't hurt either (they let you know real quick if your sound if big and tight OR shrill and flappy).

 

I was just saying that car audio manufacturers figured it out decades ago with the "loudness" button they used to have on stereo systems in the 80's and 90's to make the sound have bottom end at low volume. And you were supposed to turn that button off when you cranked it up (because the speakers start moving air and creating bass naturally).  And then in recent years, many cars have that "auto" function that works off of your cars speed to determine whether to apply the "loudness" function or not.

 

But, as DI mentioned, how does Helix know it is playing at "gig" level?

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But, as DI mentioned, how does Helix know it is playing at "gig" level?

Exactly my point earlier. Helix has no sensing of external factors to determine this. The car doesn't need external sensing - it has its own internal info. And the audio systems Loudness function has to be manually engaged, as would Helix's if it chose to implement the equivalent of a Loudness feature.

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You guys are making it too complicated.

A "low volume mode" to turn on and off manually would work just fine.

Or you could simply set up a global eq for that purpose right now.

I guess I misunderstood you - I thought you were talking about an automated feature. You're right - a manual feature could be done easily I would think. Ideascale? 

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I guess I misunderstood you - I thought you were talking about an automated feature. You're right - a manual feature could be done easily I would think. Ideascale? 

Probably when I mentioned that some car audio works that way with the speed of the car. I made it more confusing by even mentioning that. 

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Dear silverhead, cruisinon2, Digital Igloo,

 

Thanks for your explanations. I always forget that F/M is all about ratios of different frequency ranges to each other and to get a ratio you need a base to compare to.

Yes, I also wanted a kind of magic wand that can be used instead of my ears... but now I understand (again) that there is no other way but tweaking a bit. :-)

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you guys seem insane to me.  Guitarists have been working with this issue since the 1930's on "real" amps...and with the advent of stomp boxes some had dozens of settings...yet they just got on and set their tones up at rehearsal and maybe tweaked the amp a bit at the gig.

I thought the whole point of helix was to be like a "real" amp?

I have not had previously with the Pod, the HD500 or now with the helix , any problems in leveling presets and setting tones.

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