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Helix for silent band practice


matthew85
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Got a quick question for you guys; I've recently moved into a house which has an out building which would be great for band practice but I'm a bit concerned about the noise levels. So I'm wondering if I'd be able to use the Helix to achieve a silent band practice situation like this:

 

2 Guitars and a Bass -> Helix -> Mixing Desk

Electric Drum Kit -> Mixing Desk

2 Microphones -> Mixing Desk

 

Mixing Desk -> Headphones for the 4 band members.

 

Is it possible to use the Helix for 2 guitars and a bass at the same time like this? If so how would you connect it up?
 

Cheers,

Matthew

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Got a quick question for you guys; I've recently moved into a house which has an out building which would be great for band practice but I'm a bit concerned about the noise levels. So I'm wondering if I'd be able to use the Helix to achieve a silent band practice situation like this:

 

2 Guitars and a Bass -> Helix -> Mixing Desk

Electric Drum Kit -> Mixing Desk

2 Microphones -> Mixing Desk

 

Mixing Desk -> Headphones for the 4 band members.

 

Is it possible to use the Helix for 2 guitars and a bass at the same time like this? If so how would you connect it up?

 

Cheers,

Matthew

Yes, this can be done. However there's only so much DSP to go around. So there's definitely a limit to how complex each signal can be.

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How limited would it be? I wouldn't be looking for anything particularly complex in any of the signal chains.

 

The bassist doesn't really use any effects so it would just be an amp + cab model for him.

 

Then for the guitars would you be able to have an amp + cab model along with, say; some reverb, a distortion pedal and a modulation pedal for each signal chain?

 

I assume it would be difficult to estimate this without trying it out, anyone have any experience of actually doing this?

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I really think you'll have to test it yourself. It could depend on which amp/cabs you use, and even which model of FX.

 

If one of your guitars is a Variax that can be connected via VDI, and if another guitar has active pickups then the physical inputs setup is no problem. Otherwise, if you have three standard pickup non-Variax guitars two of your physical inputs will not be well matched unless you use the Return inputs. The Aux input is meant for active pickups, and the Mic input is meant for - well, a mic. You may need to use a dummy plug in the Send part of the Send/Return pair.

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I really think you'll have to test it yourself. It could depend on which amp/cabs you use, and even which model of FX.

 

If one of your guitars is a Variax that can be connected via VDI, and if another guitar has active pickups then the physical inputs setup is no problem. Otherwise, if you have three standard pickup non-Variax guitars two of your physical inputs will not be well matched unless you use the Return inputs. The Aux input is meant for active pickups, and the Mic input is meant for - well, a mic. You may need to use a dummy plug in the Send part of the Send/Return pair.

 

This is a good point. For instance, I found that for my two-voice guitar rig (which is basically ALWAYS an acoustic and electric guitar signal at the same time) my passive piezos from my electrics do NOT work in the aux in the way they did in the aux input on the HD 500. My active electronic equipped Crowdster Plus is fine, but my PowerBridge-equipped guitars are unusable plugged into the aux input.

 

I suspected when I read about the unit before it got here that this would be the case. So my work-around is to use a DI into the mike input, which might work well for the bass. I have DIs comin' out my ears, so this is no problem.

 

If the bass has active electronics, it might not be an issue, as that aux input is setup for an active signal, so try it first.

 

That said, I think that setup would be a pain in the neck. My setup has the same instrument with two outputs, but two guys with two instruments fighting through the same unit? That could be a pain (although obviously you can split the whole chain to separate outputs).

 

Let us know if you do it how it goes! And, don't use one path for the electric and one for the bass. Split the top path (1a) so that one input is bass and totally separate, and then you can cascade the second path in the top chain (1b) into path 2 for the electric. Separate the amp (put it in path 1b) from the cab (in 2a) and you can do any effects you can imagine on the electric I'll bet, even using some of the processor power for the bass.

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Thanks for the help, I haven't actually got a Helix yet so can't try it out. I've been extremely tempted and the ability to do this might tip me over the edge!

 

The bassist uses active pickups so it sounds like he could go into the AUX IN, then the second guitar could go into one of the FX returns? (or possibly just have them both going into returns).

 

I'll then be using the XLR OUT to go into a mixing desk, this means the 3 guitars will all be on one channel on the desk so I wouldn't be able to balance the volume levels from there. I'm assuming I'd be able to alter the levels of the 3 signal chains from within the Helix?

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Thanks for the help, I haven't actually got a Helix yet so can't try it out. I've been extremely tempted and the ability to do this might tip me over the edge!

 

The bassist uses active pickups so it sounds like he could go into the AUX IN, then the second guitar could go into one of the FX returns? (or possibly just have them both going into returns).

 

I'll then be using the XLR OUT to go into a mixing desk, this means the 3 guitars will all be on one channel on the desk so I wouldn't be able to balance the volume levels from there. I'm assuming I'd be able to alter the levels of the 3 signal chains from within the Helix?

 

Wait, are you doing one guitar and a bass or two guitars and a bass.

 

If two, that'll be a challenge, because only the guitar input is really suitable for an electric guitar. You'll need a preamp or something.

 

Yes, with a preamp on one or something you CAN do 3 instruments (or even 4!) with the Helix. Only you know if you want to.

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The Send/Return channels can be configured to handle instrument level input, which is good for a normal guitar.

 

You should be able to (and will need to) balance the relative levels of the three instruments within the Helix paths so that they reach the mixing board's single stereo channel without needing further levelling.

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I got my helix today and ran a logic session re amping dry guitars with the helix. Got two different guitar tracks with Minotaur and reverb on each, divided amp for one with delay, fender clean amp on the other. bass was using a LA comp, Cali and 8x10. I think there were a few other things going on but they were bypassed. Helix was running as audio interface too.

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Well Matthew, I wouldn't bother to connect the bass through the Helix, Just connect the 2 guitars. Connect the bass straight to the mixing desk through a DI box. Many many pro bass players do that Live all the time. So Helix can handle 2 guitars quite easily.  ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...

 This should work. I've used a guitar with bass before. Set up each path independently. One for guitar and one for bass, then select whatever amps, cabs, effects you want. Just be sure to assign one of the paths to AUX to you can use that input. Maybe a little trouble if both guys are trying to stomp on pedals, but that's the biggest issue I've had with it.

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