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Global EQ and live sound advice?


ncockerill
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Just got my Helix and having a great time building patches in preparation for live use.  While I know it’s not ideal to build patches for live use using headphones, that’s what I have to do (think late at night, kids sleeping, wifey sleeping).  

 

Since the Helix has a Global EQ, I wondering if anyone had any advice on how I could use it (and set it) to help the guitar fit better in the live mix.  Maybe a low cut filter (150Hz) to stay out of the bass and kick drum frequencies?  A slight mid boost?  Hi cut?

 

FYI – I will run XLR outs of the Helix directly into my StageScape M20 mixer.  Main mix feed out to my IEMs (so I can ATTEMPT to make mix adjustments while playing). Using L6 Link out of the M20 to Stagesource L3T and L3S for live sound.  Sounds fantastic today using my Eleven Rack.  Sure it can (and eventually will) with the Helix.

 

I’m a guitar player, not a sound guy. That’s probably obvious. Thanks for any suggestions.

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Just got my Helix and having a great time building patches in preparation for live use. While I know it’s not ideal to build patches for live use using headphones, that’s what I have to do (think late at night, kids sleeping, wifey sleeping).

 

Since the Helix has a Global EQ, I wondering if anyone had any advice on how I could use it (and set it) to help the guitar fit better in the live mix. Maybe a low cut filter (150Hz) to stay out of the bass and kick drum frequencies? A slight mid boost? Hi cut?

 

Any or all of those EQ options might be necessary...depends on the room. And thats the thing, global EQ is for fine tuning everything for the room you're standing in, not creating your tones. If you try and build patches with the Global EQ on, you're gonna end up with a colossal mess that will require constant tinkering.

 

I was just having a similar discussion in another thread, I'll cut and paste:

 

"Bottom line is, you have to set up your patches at the volume at which you intend to use them, with the Global EQ OFF, otherwise there will be problems. Trying to EQ the Fletcher-Munson curve away doesn't work...it's putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. You're likely to have the opposite problem now...if you apply tons of EQ to account for large volume differences, when you try and use those same patches again at bedroom levels and the same global EQ settings, they're not gonna be anything close to what you now have at stage volume...you trimmed the highs. When you now lower the volume significantly, they're gonna disappear altogether, and it's gonna sound like your treble and presence are at zero.

 

Global EQ is really for fine-tuning for the room you're playing in, not patch creation, or for boosting/cutting large swaths of the audio spectrum. You need to start with a clean slate, everything flat...otherwise you'll find yourself overcorrecting for volume differences all the time."

 

I can't play at concrete-melting volumes at home either...I have 3 sets of patches. One for live, one for comfy living-room volume, and one for headphones. It's never gonna work any other way, at least not conveniently. You're better off spending the extra time at the outset, creating patches for different uses, rather than constantly re-EQing everything to account for volume. It's more work up front, but you only have to do it once.

 

The first couple of rehearsals/gigs with new gear are always dicey. In 25 years, I've yet to find a way around that...

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Any or all of those EQ options might be necessary...depends on the room. And thats the thing, global EQ is for fine tuning everything for the room you're standing in, not creating your tones. If you try and build patches with the Global EQ on, you're gonna end up with a colossal mess that will require constant tinkering.

 

I was just having a similar discussion in another thread, I'll cut and paste:

 

"Bottom line is, you have to set up your patches at the volume at which you intend to use them, with the Global EQ OFF, otherwise there will be problems. Trying to EQ the Fletcher-Munson curve away doesn't work...it's putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. You're likely to have the opposite problem now...if you apply tons of EQ to account for large volume differences, when you try and use those same patches again at bedroom levels and the same global EQ settings, they're not gonna be anything close to what you now have at stage volume...you trimmed the highs. When you now lower the volume significantly, they're gonna disappear altogether, and it's gonna sound like your treble and presence are at zero.

 

Global EQ is really for fine-tuning for the room you're playing in, not patch creation, or for boosting/cutting large swaths of the audio spectrum. You need to start with a clean slate, everything flat...otherwise you'll find yourself overcorrecting for volume differences all the time."

 

I can't play at concrete-melting volumes at home either...I have 3 sets of patches. One for live, one for comfy living-room volume, and one for headphones. It's never gonna work any other way, at least not conveniently. You're better off spending the extra time at the outset, creating patches for different uses, rather than constantly re-EQing everything to account for volume. It's more work up front, but you only have to do it once.

 

The first couple of rehearsals/gigs with new gear are always dicey. In 25 years, I've yet to find a way around that...

Thanks for the input.  Everything you say makes sense.  I wouldn't create patches using the Global EQ, but was thinking that I could use the Global EQ live to better tweak to the room --- and looking for general rules of thumb, so to speak.  What makes this so much more challenging for my band is that we don't rehearse at volume either.  Because we rehearse in the evening in my basement (kids asleep upstairs), we do everything "silently".  That is, our drummer has a Roland kit, and the other guitar player and bass player also go straight to the mixer via their modelers -- no amps at all.  So we all use IEMs from the monitor feeds --- sounds like a rock concert in our ears -- but pretty much silent in the room (other than the tap-tap of the drums and unamped vocals).  

 

Again, not ideal, but works great for practice.  This is also our live setup -- but with mains and subs facing the audience, of course.  Audience response is that things sound great, but like any guitar player, I always want it to sound BETTER.

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Thanks for the input. Everything you say makes sense. I wouldn't create patches using the Global EQ, but was thinking that I could use the Global EQ live to better tweak to the room --- and looking for general rules of thumb, so to speak. What makes this so much more challenging for my band is that we don't rehearse at volume either. Because we rehearse in the evening in my basement (kids asleep upstairs), we do everything "silently". That is, our drummer has a Roland kit, and the other guitar player and bass player also go straight to the mixer via their modelers -- no amps at all. So we all use IEMs from the monitor feeds --- sounds like a rock concert in our ears -- but pretty much silent in the room (other than the tap-tap of the drums and unamped vocals).

 

Again, not ideal, but works great for practice. This is also our live setup -- but with mains and subs facing the audience, of course. Audience response is that things sound great, but like any guitar player, I always want it to sound BETTER.

Lol...a creative solution. And it should make things a bit easier for you. Since you're running FRFR anyway, just get a good pair of flat, studio headphones. What you get from those should at least get you in the ballpark for live sounds. There's not a huge difference between my headphone patches and live ones...in fact, when I made the jump from an amp to the L2T, I used my headphone patches as starting point. Now I just run the L2T as a monitor, and the POD straight to the FOH.
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One thing to check is how actually flat you monitoring speaker is. I use a PA speaker - good quality one, Yorkville, but found after fighting it for quite a while that it is not actually Flat Response, even though it is Full Range.

 

When I got my Helix I was not liking the factory presets -- didn't sound anything like the video clips we've all been watching through the past summer. I plugged in a decent pair of headphones - nothing high end, but low end Sennheiser, and the factory patches sounded MUCH better than my speaker did.

 

I used the Global EQ to find where the differences were, and mostly found it (by ear) comparing with the headphones and found that at 3 kHz (for my speaker) if I cut the midrange by about 8 dB and had a low Q number on the setting, the harshness went away with the distortion heavy amp models and the sound was MUCH closer to the headphones and to the videos... It wasn't scientific - I'd love to get a reference microphone and sweep generator to nail it further, but frankly, I've gotten very good results this way.

 

Thinking about it, it makes a certain amount of sense -- PA speakers are built to bring out the vocals -- emphasize the mid range -- they are NOT studio monitors. Sounds like the L6 L2T and its family are built with FRFR specifically designed in, so that would be a good way to go, but I went a different way - each to their own.

 

I set the global EQ to only send to the line-level 1/4" out I use for my stage monitor, the XLR out to FOH is not sent the EQ'd signal, and I also send it mic level, not line, and the volume knob only controls the 1/4" out.

 

My first gig out with the Helix, we played a bar with a house sound man. He was impressed with my tone through my guitar monitor and the signal I gave him -- he said he didn't have to do any additional EQ -- left it flat, and complimented me on my tone.

 

Works for me, YMMV.

 

Dave

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One thing to check is how actually flat you monitoring speaker is. I use a PA speaker - good quality one, Yorkville, but found after fighting it for quite a while that it is not actually Flat Response, even though it is Full Range.

 

When I got my Helix I was not liking the factory presets -- didn't sound anything like the video clips we've all been watching through the past summer. I plugged in a decent pair of headphones - nothing high end, but low end Sennheiser, and the factory patches sounded MUCH better than my speaker did.

 

I used the Global EQ to find where the differences were, and mostly found it (by ear) comparing with the headphones and found that at 3 kHz (for my speaker) if I cut the midrange by about 8 dB and had a low Q number on the setting, the harshness went away with the distortion heavy amp models and the sound was MUCH closer to the headphones and to the videos... It wasn't scientific - I'd love to get a reference microphone and sweep generator to nail it further, but frankly, I've gotten very good results this way.

 

Thinking about it, it makes a certain amount of sense -- PA speakers are built to bring out the vocals -- emphasize the mid range -- they are NOT studio monitors. Sounds like the L6 L2T and its family are built with FRFR specifically designed in, so that would be a good way to go, but I went a different way - each to their own.

 

I set the global EQ to only send to the line-level 1/4" out I use for my stage monitor, the XLR out to FOH is not sent the EQ'd signal, and I also send it mic level, not line, and the volume knob only controls the 1/4" out.

 

My first gig out with the Helix, we played a bar with a house sound man. He was impressed with my tone through my guitar monitor and the signal I gave him -- he said he didn't have to do any additional EQ -- left it flat, and complimented me on my tone.

 

Works for me, YMMV.

 

Dave

Thanks Dave and Cruisinon2.  Appreciate your insights and the time you took to respond.  Happy Thanksgiving.

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I find my problem in a live setting is often the taming of bass frequencies. Even with lows almost off in the helix amp block, they are often a little overwhelming in a live setting for me, and for most rooms with poor acoustics that's very bad. Most of the times I just apply some low cut at the board and I'm good to go, but I pined for a global, post-everything eq ever since the POD XT -- was very happy when they added that to the HD. The Helix one is great -- it would be awesome if it displayed FFT analysis. Or, even better, if it could compensate for the room via a mic connected to the XLR in, as some system does, that would be way way cool. Anyway, yes, low cut around 150Hz is what I use the most.

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Got same problems.

Bought the L2M because everyone is raving about it in combination with the helix.

At my bedroom it sounds OK, yseterday I played it first with the band. Clean is OK, the rocktones horrible. Use the Brit 2204 and other brittish models. They all sound muddy, trebly....far away from the tones I'm hearing from all of you guys.

Output set to line, no global EQ, use a Variax (Lester-1) and the setting is PA/Reference on the L2M.

Can someone tell me how I can adjust the global EQ? Want to hear the rocktones at giglevel

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Can someone tell me how I can adjust the global EQ? Want to hear the rocktones at giglevel

 

As others mentioned, there might be many things involved. Get yourself acquainted with the fletcher-munson curve: at high volumes, bass and high frequencies tend to be percieved more prominently. Normally you can compensate for this in 2 ways:

  1. you enhance bass and high frequencies when at low volumes, so as to "mimic" the perception you get at higher volumes (i.e. the "loudness" switch found in many stereos)
  2. you tame bassand high frequencies when at high volumes.

It is a little bit trial and error. That is way it is beneficial to tweak a tone at the level you normally want it played back.

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Thnx Tommasi,

I'm aware of the the Fl-Munson principle. Also turn the bass and gain down at higher levels. Didn't do the trick in my situation.

I know it's in there. Just have to find it. 

But thought that an simple created patch from scratch, Amp-Cab (Brit 2204 for example or Mandarin) with some delay and reverb, gain on 3 everything else from the amp on 12 and the stock CAB would bring me on the road with my new L2M. 

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Thnx Tommasi,

I'm aware of the the Fl-Munson principle. Also turn the bass and gain down at higher levels. Didn't do the trick in my situation.

I know it's in there. Just have to find it. 

But thought that an simple created patch from scratch, Amp-Cab (Brit 2204 for example or Mandarin) with some delay and reverb, gain on 3 everything else from the amp on 12 and the stock CAB would bring me on the road with my new L2M. 

 

Have you tried high cut on the cab?

I cut it way down to somewhere between 2000 and 4000.

Before I did that it sounded like crap to me.

I wonder why it goes to 20.000. As far as I know guitar cabs don't have that kind of range

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Have you tried high cut on the cab?

I cut it way down to somewhere between 2000 and 4000.

Before I did that it sounded like crap to me.

I wonder why it goes to 20.000. As far as I know guitar cabs don't have that kind of range

Most guitar speakers drop off dramatically after about 5khz so a high cut anywhere from about 4-8khz will definitely help take the harsh high end out. Low cuts anywhere from 60-120hz can help with the mud and flub at the low end. I think many guitar modeling units provide the full range as the manufacturer cannot anticipate whether you will be using the modeler with a full range speaker such as an FRFR or PA speaker, or if you will be going through a guitar amp. In the case of a guitar amp the low and high end may be cut naturally by the guitar speaker, and providing a full range 20-20,000hz signal may or may not sound just fine without a low or high cut. Through a full range speaker or PA you will often or almost always want to provide at least a high cut depending on the preset. I like mine around 5khz depending on the preset. You may want a low cut as well if you are having issues with too much bass response. You may want to experiment on where in your signal chain you want to place the cuts, from the various locations available to cut in the Helix to perhaps the EQ on the guitar channel on your mixer. As always use your ears when you set up your low/high cuts and cut as little as you can to get a great sound.

 

Once you have the most egregious high and low issues taken care of, if you are still hearing nastiness(not the good kind) in your tone  you can use a parametric EQ to track it down. Crank the level on the parametric EQ all the way up and sweep through the frequency range until you pinpoint the offending frequency. It will be obvious because the sound you only had a mild lack of affection for will start to sound absolutely horrendous. Then cut that frequency's level with the parametric EQ. You can use the Q on the parametric to widen or narrow the range you are cutting. You generally want to cut the level as little as possible with as narrow a Q as you can get away with to get rid of the offending frequency range.  You can cut more dramatically if you need to or in multiple locations using the same strategy.

 

As has already been pointed out, try cranking up the large physical "Volume" control on the top of the Helix and lowering the sensitivity/volume on your amp/speaker/PA channel or whatever you are plugged into. I set the "Volume" control to 3/4 and have even seen some recommendations to crank it all the way. I like having a little play for volume adjustment on the Helix but do whatever sounds best to you. Just some rough guidelines.

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  • 3 years later...

@HonestOpinion I tracked this post down as I'm now at a cross roads with how I use volume on my helix. Up until now I leave my L3m on unity (0) and just control overall volume with helix big knob. This a roughly always been 3 pm on my big knob in conjunction with my current channel volumes. 

 

but I have been reading other forum posts that say you should dime the big knob ( for best signal to noise ratio ) and build your patches this way but this would mean turning down the volume of my l3m speakers below unity gain otherwise I'll blow my windows out. 

 

So ultimately is one way better than the other?

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2 minutes ago, xmacvicar said:

@HonestOpinion I tracked this post down as I'm now at a cross roads with how I use volume on my helix. Up until now I leave my L3m on unity (0) and just control overall volume with helix big knob. This a roughly always been 3 pm on my big knob in conjunction with my current channel volumes. 

 

but I have been reading other forum posts that say you should dime the big knob ( for best signal to noise ratio ) and build your patches this way but this would mean turning down the volume of my l3m speakers below unity gain otherwise I'll blow my windows out. 

 

So ultimately is one way better than the other?

 

In spite of what some people claim, there is no discernible difference in having your Helix master volume knob dimed.  I would probably say most of us don't do such a thing.  Lots of people cite arcane technical reasons, but I'd hazard to guess that in double blind test no one would ever be able to consistently pick out a Helix with it's big knob dimed and one that wasn't.  The Helix isn't that complicated.  Use your ears, dial in the tone that works for you and play guitar....and stop worrying about minutiae that has no bearing on your tone.

 

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57 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

In spite of what some people claim, there is no discernible difference in having your Helix master volume knob dimed.  I would probably say most of us don't do such a thing.  Lots of people cite arcane technical reasons, but I'd hazard to guess that in double blind test no one would ever be able to consistently pick out a Helix with it's big knob dimed and one that wasn't.  The Helix isn't that complicated.  Use your ears, dial in the tone that works for you and play guitar....and stop worrying about minutiae that has no bearing on your tone.

 

 

Thanks. I am for the first time getting into patch leveling using a DAW (Logic Pro X). I am a bit stumped though from reading past posts and whatnot. I have one patch, which is a Brit 2204, input pad is OFF, channel volume is on 9.0 and am I barely hitting -14DB on the track input metering/faders. I mean, channel volume of 9.0 is pretty much at the max. I would expect a channel vol this high would register a much higher reading than -14db

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On 4/7/2019 at 9:43 PM, xmacvicar said:

@HonestOpinion I tracked this post down as I'm now at a cross roads with how I use volume on my helix. Up until now I leave my L3m on unity (0) and just control overall volume with helix big knob. This a roughly always been 3 pm on my big knob in conjunction with my current channel volumes. 

 

but I have been reading other forum posts that say you should dime the big knob ( for best signal to noise ratio ) and build your patches this way but this would mean turning down the volume of my l3m speakers below unity gain otherwise I'll blow my windows out. 

 

So ultimately is one way better than the other?

 

On 4/7/2019 at 9:50 PM, DunedinDragon said:

 

In spite of what some people claim, there is no discernible difference in having your Helix master volume knob dimed.  I would probably say most of us don't do such a thing.  Lots of people cite arcane technical reasons, but I'd hazard to guess that in double blind test no one would ever be able to consistently pick out a Helix with it's big knob dimed and one that wasn't.  The Helix isn't that complicated.  Use your ears, dial in the tone that works for you and play guitar....and stop worrying about minutiae that has no bearing on your tone.

 

 

Pretty much agree with DD here. There are the technical specs that claim one method is better and theoretically I suspect leaving the large volume cranked is technically the "ideal" setting. In real time most people will hear little or no discernible difference. Reaching down and changing my monitor's volume from the Helix is hella easier than trying to poke around behind my monitor during a show. For most players having some room to make on the fly adjustments where needed to the master volume is  a substantial functional and practical benefit. One that will generally far outweigh what may be an extremely marginal or even more likely inaudible improvement to the sound gained by leaving it cranked 100%.  YMMV

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1 hour ago, xmacvicar said:

 

Thanks. I am for the first time getting into patch leveling using a DAW (Logic Pro X). I am a bit stumped though from reading past posts and whatnot. I have one patch, which is a Brit 2204, input pad is OFF, channel volume is on 9.0 and am I barely hitting -14DB on the track input metering/faders. I mean, channel volume of 9.0 is pretty much at the max. I would expect a channel vol this high would register a much higher reading than -14db

 

The channel volume parameters are relative... you will find that some models are inherently louder than others, so a level of 9.0 doesn't really mean much in and of itself. It also depends on what else you have in the chain.  You can get a boost a thousand different ways, though...virtually every FX block has a level control. Boost it at the output block if you need a little more, or stick a gain block in at the end of the chain, etc.

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