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billlorentzen

Helix as audio interface to DAW?

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I'm waiting on my Helix, and wondering if any of you have used it much as an audio interface - not just recording guitars, but for other sources as well?

 

BTW, what is the lowest latency?

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I've done a whole song on it now (https://soundcloud.com/darren-ramey/gravity-mp3). I used it to record and reamp the electrics, a bit of acoustic, bass and vocals. I lost a couple takes to the learning curve but I'm pretty happy with the results. As an audio interface it sounds at least as good as my last few. I found reamping to be a little awkward, but it didn't take too long to get the hang of.

 

As far as latency goes, it doesn't really matter. There really isn't any reason to use input monitoring on your DAW when you can hear it live in the Helix as you are recording.

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Nice song. Sounds good. I like the lyrics.

 

I use Helix for recording guitar and bass and it works just fine. I don't see why it wouldn't work with other sound  sources. As Dramey said above, no real need to worry about latency when monitoring directly from Helix's outputs.

 

The re-amping feature I'm finding a little less useful than I thought. It works fine, but when making a tone with re-amping, the feel is gone. It's almost like poking one of your eyes out and then trying to have peripheral vision on the side you no longer have sight on. I've tried it (not poking my eye out) and got a tone I thought sounded good, using re-amping, but when I went to play the part I knew immediately the tone was wrong.

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I've got 5ms input latency (a little higher at output) with Helix & Cubase8 64bit /Win10 at the lovest buffersize settings, when tested it. No pop's or clicks in the sound.
It was only a light test, because I'm normally use another audio interface

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I've done a whole song on it now (https://soundcloud.com/darren-ramey/gravity-mp3). I used it to record and reamp the electrics, a bit of acoustic, bass and vocals. I lost a couple takes to the learning curve but I'm pretty happy with the results. As an audio interface it sounds at least as good as my last few. I found reamping to be a little awkward, but it didn't take too long to get the hang of.

As far as latency goes, it doesn't really matter. There really isn't any reason to use input monitoring on your DAW when you can hear it live in the Helix as you are recording.

Your song is outstanding. Great recording too. I am in the process of deciding if I need a separate interface and your results have me leaning towards just trying the Helix.

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As far as latency goes, it doesn't really matter. There really isn't any reason to use input monitoring on your DAW when you can hear it live in the Helix as you are recording. 

 

 

Nope- latency does matter when using input monitoring on track layering. Only on playback does it not matter. Example- Helix as an Audio Interface and using a midi keyboard recording an AU/Vst piano on a song that you need to play along with. 

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Nope- latency does matter when using input monitoring on track layering. Only on playback does it not matter. Example- Helix as an Audio Interface and using a midi keyboard recording an AU/Vst piano on a song that you need to play along with. 

 

You're both right. And not all DAWs are created equal.

 

- Latency does matter if you are playing a soft-synth

- Latency does not matter if you are recording a guitar dub and your DAW is competent enough to include latency compensation

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I have helix setup as a interface into ableton through ASIO, and I'm having trouble getting any audio out of the computer speakers, is this because the computer is sending the audio back to the helix?

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.... is this because the computer is sending the audio back to the helix?

 Yes. You need to connect your speakers to Helix outputs.

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I'm waiting on my Helix, and wondering if any of you have used it much as an audio interface - not just recording guitars, but for other sources as well?

 

BTW, what is the lowest latency?

 

 

You can set the latency higher than normal than when one might using an amp-sim plugin because you can monitor straight thru the HELIX direct when playing electric guitar thru the helix amp models - even 512. One of the major advantages of buying a HELIX ( or Pod HD for that matter )

 

If you're recording other instruments or using a mic and need to monitor  - or a synth plugin with MIDIyou might need a smaller setting - 256 or less.

 

The HELIX is a high quality interface.

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The Helix works fine as a dedicated audio interface, but as people have pointed out, just like any other audio interface to your computer the speakers need to be connected to it to minimize latency and signal degradation.

 

I've used mine almost since day one for building demos of original songs I've written for the band.  I'm not sure what you mean by "other sources" but I typically record all guitar, bass, and vocals and generally only use a drum VSTi on the computer, and it does a GREAT job.  Here's an example of the latest demo track I did for the band (christian rock...or sometimes, as we like to call it, "biker gospel:) and everything worked great. 

 

https://soundcloud.com/dunedindragon/protected

 

The only thing you can't really do is simultaneously record multiple tracks very conveniently as it doesn't have multiple input ports.  For that you might need a multi-port audio interface.  For myself, when I record the whole band, I use a separate Zoom R16 multitrack recorder to capture the performance then just import it for mixing and mastering.  Here's an example of that sort of thing from a different original song with the whole band (using Helix for the guitar work).

 

https://soundcloud.com/dunedindragon/gods-children-1

 

Hope that answers all your concerns.

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I use it with ProTools 11 and it works great. No latency issues whatsoever.

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Thanks to everyone for there thoughts! Everything is working great now, feel a bit silly now, but really over that too!

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I used Helix for a few months as a USB audio interface in lieu of my firewire MOTU interface (Win 8.1 64bit- Sonar X3). I found the audio quality excellent and low latency (7ms) but there were occasional glitches like fading guitar sound. It appeared as if the setup was occasionally robbing CPU/memory resources from the Helix so I switched back to the MOTU. The plan to stream my backing tracks for live performance was scuttled. 

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Sounds like you were monitoring through your computer rather than the Helix itself. If you monitor through the Helix, there should be no latency compared to just playing through the Helix itself.

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Sounds like you were monitoring through your computer rather than the Helix itself. If you monitor through the Helix, there should be no latency compared to just playing through the Helix itself.

This.

 

I have had my Helix as my audio interface with win 10, since I got it. No latency as I monitor with Helix, not thru the DAW. No guitar fading...

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I'm current;y using Helix as my audio interface. Obviously it's great for guitars, but it also makes a fine midi interface. It has a ton of I/O on the back. so far, I like what I hear

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Ditto. In my case, I'm combing it with an Apogee Duet, as an Aggregate Device under Mac OSX. Powerful.

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Its super stable as an interface. I use it with the ASIO4ALL driver and FRFR monitor for the helix and my computer speakers/monitors. I use Presonus Studio One 3. Its so good, Ironically, I eliminated using my Presonus Audiobox  

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Since the Helix is the only audio interface to my laptop, i'd like to use it with AmpliTube.  This works with the dry signal from USB input 7, but how can I control the mix at the Helix outputs to include only the output of AmpliTube?  As it is, I hear the current Helix patch mixed with AmpliTube.  Is there a way to dumb the Helix down to just an ASIO interface for Windows?

 

One idea I am considering is to create a patch with nothing in it, but there must be a better way . . .

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If you select anything other than Multi, XLR, or 1/4" outs for the output block, you won't hear the tone from the Helix paths through the XLR outs, 1/4" outs or headphones.

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Just to get to know my equipment a little better, i have been using helix as an interface for a short while, and the thing i DONT like about using HX as an interface is that it renders the Global Eq useless. 

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the thing i DONT like about using HX as an interface is that it renders the Global Eq useless. 

 

The global EQ is primarily for quick corrections to unexpected room conditions. If you are in your home space it should be possible to tweak your presets to sound good in that environment. Global EQ comes in handy when you end up on stage in a really boomy room or something like that.

 

As a workaround, global EQ is exactly the same as the Parametric EQ block. You can put that block on your preset and match the global EQ settings.

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The global EQ is primarily for quick corrections to unexpected room conditions. If you are in your home space it should be possible to tweak your presets to sound good in that environment. Global EQ comes in handy when you end up on stage in a really boomy room or something like that.

 

As a workaround, global EQ is exactly the same as the Parametric EQ block. You can put that block on your preset and match the global EQ settings.

I would definitely choose the parametric. It is more flexible. The parametric can be recorded to disc. The global cannot.

 

I see a lot of suggestion here to set the HP/LP filters on the global EQ in a friendly manner, to accommodate for the extra highs in the native cabs. Those EQ corrections will not be recorded, so its somewhat counter intuitive. Whats worse is that if you DO have it engaged, you are monitoring it the entire time, but again, this EQ will not be applied to the recording, giving you a different result than what you are hearing. 

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I've been using my helix as my interface and its worked very well into cubase 5 for all of my guitar recordings. Recently I began to start adding synths and others VSTi's and I start getting an ASIO time overload and it will pop and crackle the audio.

 

computer specs: Motherboard MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition AM3+,

CPU AMD FX-8320 Vishera 8-Core 3.5 GHz,

graphics card MSI GeForce GTX 960,

Power supply 500w Rosewill Glacier

RAM 16gb hyperX fury

HDD Mushkin 250gb SSD

Seagate 1tb HDD

 

Sometimes I'll get this issue with just 1 instance of serum running...I've opened task manager and looked at the CPU/RAM performance and neither of them are being put under a huge load.

Last night I started to mess around with ASIO driver settings and then swapping over to other drivers (ASIO4ALL) with even worse results. Now i've created an entirely different issue because I have no sound coming from cubase at all after I switched back to the asio helix driver and it also has the input/output latency pretty high.

 

 

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All a matter of perspective:

If you expect the Helix to function like a $2300 RME audio interface, you'll be disappointed.

 

Helix functions fine as a basic audio interface.

It will not offer the same low round-trip latency as RME.

 

The onboard mic-preamp is pretty decent.  

The RME onboard mic-preamps are pretty decent.

Neither is the equal of a world-class outboard preamp.

 

If playing soft-synths is a major focus... or especially if playing/monitoring in realtime thru software based processing/EFX is a priority, then you'll want a dedicated audio interface.

In this scenario, get a quality dedicated audio interface with either coax S/PDIF or AES digital inputs.  This will allow you to send the Helix signal (digitally) to your audio interface (eliminating extra stages of D/A A/D conversion).

 

If your primary focus is overdubbing thru the Helix' onboard processing, Helix will function just fine as your audio interface.

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Quick question - do you have to setup a preset with the various inputs enabled and routed in order to record them? I tried using the Helix as an interface in Reaper and I see the 8 inputs but I only get a signal on 1/2 - I tried running my Amplifire into Return 2 and I can only record it if I add a return block in the preset (and again only on input 1/2) - shouldn't I be able to get the input with an empty preset?

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Anyone have experience setting up Helix Floor with Cakewalk? I'm using the Helix USB out to my Desktop PC. I've got sound recording as per screen snaps below but it's over-modulating and very hot in Cakewalk oer screen shot 4 attached. I looked for an input level adjustment in the app and also in Windows 10 but nothing seems to adjust the input to a usable level, including dialing down the large output knob on my Helix Floor. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Image-1.jpg

Image-[2].jpg

Image-[3].jpg

Image-[4].jpg

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There is a DIGITAL OUT LEVEL setting under IN's & OUT's. I think it's on the third page. Try that. (Page 54 of the manual)

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3 hours ago, brue58ski said:

There is a DIGITAL OUT LEVEL setting under IN's & OUT's. I think it's on the third page. Try that. (Page 54 of the manual)


Clarification.
 

Sadly, according to the manual, the “Digital Output” and “Digital Output Level” options that you mention only works with S/PDIF and AES/EBU or by connecting a L6 LINK which will disable those others two.

 

USB audio is not affected by these settings, which is what “Smootasbutta” is using to record into Cakewalk.
 

 

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5 hours ago, Smoothasbutta said:

Anyone have experience setting up Helix Floor with Cakewalk? I'm using the Helix USB out to my Desktop PC. I've got sound recording as per screen snaps below but it's over-modulating and very hot in Cakewalk oer screen shot 4 attached. I looked for an input level adjustment in the app and also in Windows 10 but nothing seems to adjust the input to a usable level, including dialing down the large output knob on my Helix Floor. Any ideas would be much appreciated.


Hi,

 

I’m not a Cakewalk user, but from your screen grabs it is obvious that the input signal is too hot and AFAIK, there is no way to adjust this on the Cakewalk end.

 

You don’t mention if this is happening with every preset or only one. If it is on a few presets and you are still clipping the inputs even with the large output knob, it may be worth trying to back off the output from each preset. Select the final output block from the signal chain (there can be up to 4), using the first 2 knobs under the display screen you should now be able to adjust both Pan and Level. Try rolling off a few dB of level until the signal in your DAW Is usable.

 

Check the Helix Owner’s Manual page 22 for more.

 

Oh! Once more you don’t mention what guitar is going into your Helix because, IIRC, I have read somewhere that batteries and active pickups have been known to cause issues similar to yours.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

 

 

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19 hours ago, datacommando said:


Clarification.
 

Sadly, according to the manual, the “Digital Output” and “Digital Output Level” options that you mention only works with S/PDIF and AES/EBU or by connecting a L6 LINK which will disable those others two.

 

USB audio is not affected by these settings, which is what “Smootasbutta” is using to record into Cakewalk.
 

 

 

Oh. Rat's I could swear there was a level parameter for the USB output somewhere. I don't really use them a lot so I don't remember the specifically where. 

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5 hours ago, brue58ski said:

I could swear there was a level parameter for the USB output somewhere


I thought that also - and you’re correct, there is a level parameter, but it’s on the USB input. ;-)

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The *only* way to dial in recording levels is to do it within a patch, there's no global level adjustment for the various USB audio paths. If you ask me, that's quite a shame, even my cheesy Zoom G3 has such a feature.

Personally, I'm using dedicated patches for my recording duties in case I'm not recording just the DI signal and slap it into Helix Native, which, btw, for many situations, is the most comfortable thing to do. I'm often recording at least a tad more traditionally, though, as committing myself to a certain sound while recording already takes away quite a bit of option paralysis later on.

 

So, this here is my typical recording chain, the important thing being the split in path 2.

RecRouting.jpg.5fce544021c61aeaaf25cc7ba3401384.jpg

 

2A includes everything up to the amp and has USB 1/2 as its output. I can adjust the recording level straight on the output here.

 

Path 2B is running through some more things, such as:

- An IR block. Don't want to record that, I load IRs when the signal is recorded, so I still have plenty of mixing freedom while already having decided on the amp.

- A volume (pedal) block that is used to quickly adjust my guitar monitoring level (I sometimes slap that into path 2A, in case I need to record swells).

- Delay and reverb. Just there for monitoring pleasure, don't want those to be recorded at all.

 

2B is running into the 1/4" outs (I may switch that to XLR every now and then, but I'm not having issues with noise and my monitoring mixer only supports 1/4" ins on its stereo channels).

 

Fwiw, usually the looper is sitting in the first block position on path 1A, so I can adjust patches while the loop is playing. I was just having some looper jamming fun with this patch, so it's at the end of 2B (I wish I could switch between two loopers...).

 

Once I had this basic layout set up, all I had to do was to copy it over and replace amps and what not.

Works a treat. And as said, for me it's a nice mixture of having to make decisions on sounds when tracking already, while at the same time having plenty of mixing options.

 

Anyhow, some, hm, "words of general wisdom" maybe: In case you're running into too hot recording levels (especially on "plain/default" patches using USB 1/2, representing the same signal that goes to your master out), this is almost certainly an indicator that your patches are too hot internally already. In case you load any of the factory patches, you can see that none of them will clip your USB inputs 1/2 (ok, you may perhaps run into issues with hot pickups, global input pad off and clean patches). I would take their levels as guidelines for your own patches. I have created most of my patches so they're even lower in volume, just to always be on the safe side. In case they're too hot, they may cause clipping on the DA converters, something you very defenitely don't want.

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