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Using Helix with Amps

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I know this has been addressed in numerous other places, but I'm too lazy to search. I have a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410 that I have been using with my Helix. As of right now, that is my only option (besides headphones) as I'm not currently playing live, etc. and purchasing FRFR or anything else is probably not an option if I want toe keep my wife around much longer after buying the Helix. I am still confused as to what the best route is for running in to the amp, as far as 4CM, ideal global settings, and the amp/cab, amp, or preamp options.

 

While I know many will just say do what sounds best, I think there are simply too many combinations and variables at play, and I want to make sure I am getting the most out of this thing. I feel like I have been "almost there" for awhile now, but something is missing, and I know I've seen others that have been happy running in front of amps. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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I have a Fender Hot Rod DeVille 410 that I have been using with my Helix. I know I've seen others that have been happy running in front of amps. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

I would suggest not running Helix into the front, instead run it into the DeVille's fx loop return. I think its labeled "power amp in" on Fender amps

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While I know many will just say do what sounds best, I think there are simply too many combinations and variables at play, and I want to make sure I am getting the most out of this thing. I feel like I have been "almost there" for awhile now, but something is missing, and I know I've seen others that have been happy running in front of amps. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Plugging straight into the front of the amp will be a noisy mess, now and forever. That aside...

 

You really answered your own question. Experimenting with the various options will be the only way to know what you like and what you don't. A "best" option doesn't exist, for Helix or any other modeler. Having options is what makes theses things versatile...try them out. Much of your decision will probably hinge on the kind of tone(s) you're looking for.

 

The only real suggestion that applies to pretty much everybody regardless of tone or style, relates to the 4CM. The only reason to bother with this is if you want the option of using your amp's preamp for your basic tone, and only want to use Helix for FX. But if you only want to use the amp for power, then it's a waste of time, and all you'll accomplish is using more cables. Just run into the FX return, and call it a day.

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Thanks for the feedback, guys. That's the way I've been running it most recently and has been giving me the best sound. I'm wondering if my global settings and chain need to be tweaked a little more.

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If you want to go straight into the front of a clean amp, and use Helix as a digital pedalboard, see this post.

 

Using Helix into the effects return or power amp input of your amp lets you add Helix amp models (but no Cab model) and have effects before or after the amp - your guitar amp is only used to provide the power and speakers, Helix does everything else.

 

Using Helix with 4CM allows you to position the amp's preamp in a Helix block position, allowing you to include effects before and after the amp's preamp. Whether this is useful or not depends a lot on you amp's preamp. It may overlap with functionality you can get nearly as well in Helix already.

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Using Helix into the effects return or power amp input of your amp lets you add Helix amp models (but no Cab model) and have effects before or after the amp - your guitar amp is only used to provide the power and speakers, Helix does everything else.

So are you saying if I plug straight in to power amp input and include a cab model, it won't matter because Helix is using my amp speakers as cab? I feel like I'm missing something here. As far as I can tell, I can add a cab model anywhere I want and in any setup, the sound will just change depending on which setup is used.

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While I know many will just say do what sounds best, I think there are simply too many combinations and variables at play, and I want to make sure I am getting the most out of this thing. I feel like I have been "almost there" for awhile now, but something is missing, and I know I've seen others that have been happy running in front of amps. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

 

I have a Huges & Kettner Grandmeister 36 and I run the Helix through it like this:

 

1.  I connect the Helix Send Loop 1 to the input on the H&K 36

2.  I connect the Helix Return Loop 1 to the Effects Loop Send on the H&K 36

3.  I connect the Helix Output to the Effects Loop Return on the H&K 36

4.  I connect the Helix Midi Out to the Midi in on the H&K 36

 

This way, I have a series of presets that use the Clean, Crunch, Lead and Ultra settings of the H&K 36 pre-amp and the midi out changes the H&K stored settings on each preset by including the Helix Send/Return Loop 1 in the signal chain.  In this mode, I only include pre/post effects in the signal chain and no amp/cab models.  I can also use the Helix amp/cab models and by-pass the pre-amp stage of the H&K because the Helix Output is connected to the H&K effects loop return.

 

I am VERY pleased with this flexible setup as I can still use tones I like from the H&K 36 pre-amp, and I can use just the power amp portion of the H&K 36 to use the Helix amp/cab models.

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Let me see if I understand if I wanted to use the helix for effects only I can connect the output of the helix to the effects return. This let's me use it as a pedal board. Then do you plug your instrument into the input of the amp or to the guitar in of the helix. Of course there would be no amp or cab in the helix chain. So it would be only one cable out of the helix.

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Let me see if I understand if I wanted to use the helix for effects only I can connect the output of the helix to the effects return. This let's me use it as a pedal board. Then do you plug your instrument into the input of the amp or to the guitar in of the helix. Of course there would be no amp or cab in the helix chain. So it would be only one cable out of the helix.

To use helix like a pedal board in front of an amp, guitar into helix - helix into normal amp input.

 

I believe in most any situation, guitar should go into helix first. (Unless u use helix as loop effects only - delay, verb, etc)

 

If I were going from helix directly into loop return only, i would include a preamp and or amp block excluding any cabs.

 

The 4 cable method lets you put that favorite amp (preamp section) into the helix as an effect block.

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When Helix is used into the power amp input or effect return of a guitar amp with its own guitar speaker cabinet, you don't want to include a Helix Cab model because then you have a guitar speaker going into a guitar speaker. Although there's no rules and you should do what meets your need, this generally will not sound good at all.

 

So typical signal paths would be:

 

1. Helix into a FRFR amp:

 

Guitar > Helix guitar input > Helix front of the amp effects > Helix Amp and Cab models (or speaker IR) > Helix back of the amp effects > Helix Output > FRFR amp (or PA).

 

See Creating a Helix Electric Guitar Patch (updated) for details.

 

2. Helix into guitar amp power amp and cab

 

Guitar > Helix guitar input > Helix front of the amp effects > Helix Amp or Preamp (no  Cab model or speaker IR) > Helix back of the amp effects > Helix Output > Guitar amp power amp or effects return.

 

3. 4CM - Allows you to use your guitar amp's preamp as a block in Helix
 
Guitar > Helix guitar input > Helix front of the amp effects > Helix Send > Guitar amp input > Guitar amp effect send > Helix Return >  Helix back of the amp effects > Helix Output > Guitar amp power amp or effects return.
 
Note that there is no Helix Amp or Cab model in this case because your guitar amp is providing both. You are just using Helix for effects, and have flexibility about where you put effects before or after the guitar amp's preamp. A guitar amp (model) into a real guitar amp might work, but in that case you're just using two guitar preamps in series. People have done this, but its generally not needed with modern amps or Helix.
 
Note also that other then the inclusion of your guitar amp's preamp (and therefore no Helix amp or preamp), you are still using your guitar amp's power amp and cabinet as in path 2.
 
4. Helix as a pedalboard in front of a guitar amp.
 
Guitar > Helix guitar input > Helix front of the amp effects >  Helix back of the amp effects > Helix Output > Guitar amp input.
 
Again, there is no Helix preamp, amp or cab model because that's all provided by your guitar amp. Helix is only used for effects into the input of your guitar amp. This puts all the effects, tone, phase, distortion, modulation and ambient effects, into the guitar input, like you would with a traditional pedalboard. See Using Helix as an effects pedalboard for details. 
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Thanks all for the great feedback, and especially the in depth explanations. I read through the manual when I got the thing, but I wish L6 would maybe provide more guidance for us users who aren't all that familiar with anything but analog pedals and a tube amp.

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When Helix is used into the power amp input or effect return of a guitar amp with its own guitar speaker cabinet, you don't want to include a Helix Cab model because then you have a guitar speaker going into a guitar speaker. Although there's no rules and you should do what meets your need, this generally will not sound good at all.

 

It's all relative of course, but I've always found the opposite to be the case. Even though it's not the "right" way to do it, I could never get the tones I'm after without running full amp and cab models with the500X, (even before my current FRFR rig), when I was still using a power amp and cabinet. Clean sounds would be OK, but with any kind of distortion, everything always sounded like a buzz saw. I suspect that I'll find the Helix to be the same whenever I get around to upgrading.

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I found the Helix harsh and buzzy through effects return on my Egnater without cab sim. But then cab sims were too extreme. So i used global eq to roll off highs and a few other freqs. I sat and a/b'd out to amp and out to studio monitors until i got close.

 

now i use 2 alto ts110a 's . Sounds great!!!

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If you're experience harsh tones from Helix into you're amp's effects return, it might be because of the Helix blocks you have configured, or it might be that your guitar amp's effects return isn't flat and is doing its own thing to the tone. If that's the case, you'll have to experiment with EQ in Helix to compensate for the amp's characteristics.

 

This is perhaps why a FRFR is the best choice - its predictable - full frequency, flat response. From a guitar amp, its hard to predict what you'll get. For example, you don't know what voicing compensation the amp designer did after the preamp to compensate or complement the preamp and effects that come with the amp. That may or may not work well with Helix.

 

However, there's enough capability and flexibility in Helix to do almost anything you might need. It will just take some experimenting and work to create your unique patches. But that's part of the fun.

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Please help I can't wrap my head around this. I used the 4 cable method. Here's my problem I have an amp with no clean channel I would like to use this amp without modeling for the dirty. Than model a clean amp from the helix using just the power section. Can this be done and how.

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Please help I can't wrap my head around this. I used the 4 cable method. Here's my problem I have an amp with no clean channel I would like to use this amp without modeling for the dirty. Than model a clean amp from the helix using just the power section. Can this be done and how.

 

Very easy to accomplish.  Set up all the 4-cable connections.  Start with an empty patch on Helix.  Insert an FX Loop.  Touch a footswitch for 2 seconds to assign the FX Loop to it and press OK.  To the right of your effects loop insert a clean amp.  Press BYPASS to turn the clean amp off.  Now hold the same footswitch for 2 seconds and press OK.  Now the same footswitch controls the FX Loop and the clean amp.  

 

Now that one footswitch does 2 things.  It either turns the FX Loop on and the clean amp off, giving you your dirty tone, or it turns the FX Loop off and the clean amp on, sending your clean tone straight to the power amp section of your amplifier.  There's your clean tone.

 

Insert any other effects you want in your patch and save it.  You should be good to go.

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Do i use send 1 or return 1

 

4-cable method would use both but the patch I described would work either way.

 

4-cable method should be:

  • Helix Send 1 to the normal input on the front of your amp
  • Your amp's fx send to Helix Return 1
  • Helix 1/4" out to your amp's fx return
  • Your guitar to Helix guitar in
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Is it possible to go from Helix straight to a speaker cabinet? If so, which output ohm should it be connected to?

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Nope. Gotta have some sort of power amp, whether built in the speaker box or external.

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Is it possible to go from Helix straight to a speaker cabinet? If so, which output ohm should it be connected to?

Only if that speaker cabinet is powered. Then just use the main left out (I believe) on Helix.

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Life will get much simpler if you invest in a powered FRFR speaker. There are some very modestly priced ones out there that guys are getting very good results with.

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Anyone using Helix into a PA cab - I have a couple of db Opera 605 cabs (1x15 with horn) which I'm thinking of using

 

Mike

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I use my Helix with a 65 fender twin head to marshal 4-12 cab and use the preamps as tone modules.

Note: it has taken a little while to dial in some sounds that I really like,but for me thats just half the fun.

To me the Helix is a tool and there are no rules to creativity.BTW....this thing is a blast and I 've already

used it in the studio.......My creative 2 cents

 

David

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Anyone using Helix into a PA cab - I have a couple of db Opera 605 cabs (1x15 with horn) which I'm thinking of using

 

Mike

 

I'm using it into an Alto TS110A PA speaker.  Sounds great.  The Opera 605 should be good to go since it's powered.

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Anyone using Helix into a PA cab - I have a couple of db Opera 605 cabs (1x15 with horn) which I'm thinking of using

 

Mike

 

I have done gigs using the Helix direct in several different setups: into whatever the soundman had available (mostly Midas boards and old school PA equipment), through a Line6 system (L2 monitors - L3 FOH, and also through the new Turbosound iP2000 column speakers. They all sound great although the Turbosound system needed the most EQ not to get an almost digital harshness out of the Helix. I have used an L2 behind me as a sort of FRFR although ultimately I think I still prefer traveling light and going direct to the PA with my guitar coming through the monitors or through the Turbosounds placed behind me.

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I know about the 4CM and everything, but I'm wondering if I can use the "Slave Out" on my Mesa, and use a helix Cab block? I would run an effects send on the helix into the input of the amp, and then the Slave out would go to the return on the helix. Would this work, or would it be too harsh sounding? I would keep a cab connected to the mesa, but the volume would be down most likely. I'm just thinking for recording.
This way, I'm using my FRFR to get the sound, but using the mesa as a preamp.

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I'm a newbie at this too higgs. Great insight from everyone here, thanks so much.

Here’s my situation where I NEED HELP!

 

I want to use my helix as a mere effects board as well – no amp or cab modeling. I’m running it with a VOX AC30 so just want to use a pushed clean sound on that, then am fine with using some distortions like the Klon on the Helix. I know I have to be using the effects loop to some degree and or the 4 cable method as the tones were way too harsh running the Helix into the amp input. Which should I use – 4 cable method or another effects loop configuration? And do I need to insert any send or returns into my signal change being that I’m not using any amp or cab models?

 

Thanks in advance!

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I'm a newbie at this too higgs. Great insight from everyone here, thanks so much.

Here’s my situation where I NEED HELP!

 

I want to use my helix as a mere effects board as well – no amp or cab modeling. I’m running it with a VOX AC30 so just want to use a pushed clean sound on that, then am fine with using some distortions like the Klon on the Helix. I know I have to be using the effects loop to some degree and or the 4 cable method as the tones were way too harsh running the Helix into the amp input. Which should I use – 4 cable method or another effects loop configuration? And do I need to insert any send or returns into my signal change being that I’m not using any amp or cab models?

 

Thanks in advance!

I would use 4CM so that you can put boosts, distortions, wah and other effects in front of your preamp on the Vox and other effects like delay, verb, modulation etc after. More flexibility and better tone IMO.

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I have a Huges & Kettner Grandmeister 36 and I run the Helix through it like this:

 

1.  I connect the Helix Send Loop 1 to the input on the H&K 36

2.  I connect the Helix Return Loop 1 to the Effects Loop Send on the H&K 36

3.  I connect the Helix Output to the Effects Loop Return on the H&K 36

4.  I connect the Helix Midi Out to the Midi in on the H&K 36

 

This way, I have a series of presets that use the Clean, Crunch, Lead and Ultra settings of the H&K 36 pre-amp and the midi out changes the H&K stored settings on each preset by including the Helix Send/Return Loop 1 in the signal chain.  In this mode, I only include pre/post effects in the signal chain and no amp/cab models.  I can also use the Helix amp/cab models and by-pass the pre-amp stage of the H&K because the Helix Output is connected to the H&K effects loop return.

 

I am VERY pleased with this flexible setup as I can still use tones I like from the H&K 36 pre-amp, and I can use just the power amp portion of the H&K 36 to use the Helix amp/cab models.

 

Could you share how you made the MIDI assignments? I'm reading the H&K manual and I am not clear which MIDI commands to use or how to assign them.

Thanks!

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After asking around and getting sent in the right direction I got midi commands working.

I made a quick video which I hope is clear (I'm currently medicated for spine issues so I think I rambled a bit) so let me know if this doesn't make sense.

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I would suggest not running Helix into the front, instead run it into the DeVille's fx loop return. I think its labeled "power amp in" on Fender amps

 

 

One of the bars I play has a Deville in the backline. I output the Helix to the power amp in, and it sounds great on the stage. At the same time I'll also run an XLR into the board for the audience. Sounds great.

 

Don't A/B the Marshall sim with a real Marshall (or whatever you're modeling), just enjoy the sweet tone.

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I´m using my Helix with a JC120, works just great.

Compared the sound with a StageSource Lm2 I bought and

it was easy to get same sound out of the JC120.

Just turned the treble and middle down to zero and

it sounds great!

 

Now I got a stereo setup!

 

Danne/

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How do I record my amp head into the Helix?

 

 

I tried this from another post, but I get a loud beep. Sounds like the signal is looping.

 

Guitar > Helix input

Helix look send > amp input

Amp speaker out > Rockcrusher

Rockcrusher line out > Helix Loop return

Helix main out > interface or PA/Mixer input

 

I saw a recent Pete Thorn video doing exactly what I want with the helix rack.

But he doesn't show his cabling method or patch.

 

Am I doing something wrong?

 

--Phil

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How are you coming out of the Rockcrusher?  

 

Is the signal line level or instrument level?  

 

Can the Rockcrusher go straight into your computer?

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After asking around and getting sent in the right direction I got midi commands working.

I made a quick video which I hope is clear (I'm currently medicated for spine issues so I think I rambled a bit) so let me know if this doesn't make sense.

Thanks!  Gonna try this soon with a GM40 deluxe I'm thinking.

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Hi there!!

I do not have Helix yet, I arrived in June !! ;) My set up would be a solid state power amp and cab. stereo setup with two 1x12 V30 cabs. Does anyone use it that way?
Anyone with experience using the quilter 101 or the tone block 201 with Helix?

Thanks!!

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