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Is this normal or should I return the Helix?


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I have a loud hum/whiny buzz/background static noise that renders the helix pretty much unusable for me. When I touch the metal controls on my guitar or cover the strings and hold my fingers on there it goes away, which with my limited understanding leads me to believe it's a grounding or power conditioning problem. If i turn the volume of the guitar off it goes away.

 

I have tried adjusting the input impedance of the guitar as well as seting it to auto, also tried pluging into the, fx loop returns and aux input (which wasn't as static-ly noisy but was a lot quieter decibel wise-is this normal too?!). I have also tried various electrical plugs around the house. The problem is the same whether i use headphones, a small battery powered blackstar fly 3 amp, or a proper valve amp-fender champ 600.

 

It's similar soundwise, to a problem I used to have when daisy chaining high power requirement digital strymon pedals, but once I bought a dedicated isolated power supply for that pedalboard it was absolutely silent, so I know the problem isn't just with the wiring in my house and this makes me think it's a grouding/power conditioning problem.

 

Is this normal?! I imagine there must be a fault with it to be so loud and buzzy that I couldn't possibly practically use it live.

 

Are there any other settings I can try or shall I simply return it for a refund?

 

Also every few seconds I get what I would call a digital, glitchy, "shhck" come out the output. I assume this isn't normal?!

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If your using a standard strat / tele or any single coil guitar i would expect a little 60hz hum if your not using a noise gate.

This sounds like a bit more than that. an you try it with another guitar to check its not a shielding or grounding issue with the guitar?

If its not that and the Helix is still misbehaving then install the firm ware update from line 6 in a sequential order to see if it makes any difference.

If you get up to the latest firmware and still have issues i would firstly open a ticket with line 6 support and email your vendor to let them know the issues you are having.

It may just be firm ware that will fix the issue but there are a few people with serious hardware issues on the Helix out there too (yes i'm one of them) so you may be advised to return it for repair or replacement.

Hope this helps,

Cheers

Fraser

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I've tried multiple guitars including humbucker equipped and multiple cables. Nothing is connected via USB. I'm on latest firmware. The fact that it goes away completely if I touch and hold something metal on the guitar makes me think it must be a ground noise issue or poor power conditioning.

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I've tried multiple guitars including humbucker equipped and multiple cables. Nothing is connected via USB. I'm on latest firmware. The fact that it goes away completely if I touch and hold something metal on the guitar makes me think it must be a ground noise issue or poor power conditioning.

 

Does it still hum if you are using a very low gain amp.  Even my best humbucker guitars still have some hum when im not touching the strings on anything but a very clean amp.  A lot of it has to to with the other electric interference around you.  My office, for example, has 3 computers, 5 monitors, and plenty of other sound gear.  In a small 10x12 room, that is a LOT of potential interference.  

 

If i turn off everything but my mac and its monitors (as i do when recording) a large part of the hum goes away.  

 

If you are using high gain amps, hum is expected without a noise gate. 

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I had the same thing. The hum was coming from my wall A/C plug it was on the same circuit as my ceiling fan. When I turned the fan off the hum went away. Check your helix in a different outlet.

Ceiling fans are often the culprit. Dimmer switches can be a disaster too...I've got both in my "music cave", lol. Makes using single coil pickups interesting sometimes.

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Ceiling fans are often the culprit. Dimmer switches can be a disaster too...I've got both in my "music cave", lol. Makes using single coil pickups interesting sometimes.

 

Dimmer switches are Satan's tools of destruction. I will never have one ever.

 

Fluorescent lights, even those nasty CFLs... just as satanic, evil, bad and evil.

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Just as a matter of interest are you only getting this when using the Helix? Have you been using any other units without this issue prior to the Helix?

It certainly sounds like a grounding issue and i'd get it checked out with someone who knows there way round a muli-meter to test your home earthing issues first and take it from there if you can't identify the culprit yourself.

As the rest of the guys say, it could be something as simple as an other appliance causing the problem but when it comes to electricity and your not 100% sure please have a qualified spark give things the once over if the issue persists.

Cheers,

Fraze

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I think i've narrowed it down to 60 cycle hum but it seems to be much more pronounced than any of my other gear and I am using humbuckers as well. 

 

I had similar problems with my fx pedals until I got a dedicated isolated power supply (hot stone deluxe) and then it was silent. You would think that there would be good power filtering inside something as high end as Helix. 

 

The problem is much worse with high gain amps but even with a JC120 model it's still very noticable when i'm not touching the strings. 

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I think i've narrowed it down to 60 cycle hum but it seems to be much more pronounced than any of my other gear and I am using humbuckers as well. 

 

I had similar problems with my fx pedals until I got a dedicated isolated power supply (hot stone deluxe) and then it was silent. You would think that there would be good power filtering inside something as high end as Helix. 

 

The problem is much worse with high gain amps but even with a JC120 model it's still very noticable when i'm not touching the strings. 

You definitely need to check that wiring in your house, or have you already?

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pluggwd in my zoom G3 today and the problem is nowhere near as bad as with the helix. Almost unnoticeable which makes me think it's not something wrong with the wiring of the house.

 

Makes me think it IS. Because your G3 probably has a 2-prong power plug. This still sounds like a grounding issue to me.

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  • 1 year later...

Feb 23, 2017.

 

Had the issue.  I bought a HumX, and it solved the issue.  

 

My Mac is on another outlet, tried the HumX on the Mac.  Did not work.  

 

Put the HumX on the Helix outlet.  Fixed.  It's definitely created by the Helix.  They need to address that USB, it needs some kind of update.

 

Nothing to do with your Mac.

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Feb 23, 2017.

 

Had the issue.  I bought a HumX, and it solved the issue.  

 

My Mac is on another outlet, tried the HumX on the Mac.  Did not work.  

 

Put the HumX on the Helix outlet.  Fixed.  It's definitely created by the Helix.  They need to address that USB, it needs some kind of update.

 

Nothing to do with your Mac.

 

 

I don't know that something is "wrong". I've had issues with hum in different places before, and I've had LOADS of issues over the years connecting a laptop to a device and having hum, then disconnecting the laptop from power and having it go away.

 

Power and grounding and such is just finicky.

 

I will say that if you have a mac that has both a 3-prong cable and a 2-prong adaptor for its power supply, that one or the other often solves the problem.

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Dimmer switches are Satan's tools of destruction. I will never have one ever.

 

Fluorescent lights, even those nasty CFLs... just as satanic, evil, bad and evil.

Not only CFLs, but some LED lighting causes some serious EMI/60 cycle hum issues. I put in a set of dimmable LED recessed lighting with a digital dimmer in the room where I have my music equipment, and everything buzzed like crazy. Even going straight into an amp with "noiseless" pickups still had severe buzz, especially when dimming the lighting. I removed the dimmer and most of the buzz went away, but there is still a little. 

 

If you can find a circuit that is not powering any motors (ceiling fans, refrigerator compressor, etc...) and not powering any fluorescent/LED lighting, then you will be much better off. 

 

I doubt anything is wrong with your Helix. 

 

 

Now when you touch your guitar strings or anything metal on your guitar and the buzz goes away, that sounds like a grounding issue on your guitar itself. So, you may have a combination of dirty power and a guitar grounding issue. 

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All guitars will hum/buzz to some extent when you are not touching the hardware. That is why the ground wires connect to the bridge - so that you touching the strings can complete the circuit. That is expected behavior. Considering that you should be touching the guitar when you are playing it, this shouldn't be a problem. That's just how guitars work.

 

As mentioned by others, certain things can make it worse - for example, we practice in my vocalist's basement every other week. Even with my active bass, if I face one direction, the buzz is pretty bad. If I stand in the exact same place but face the other direction, it goes away almost completely. At the end of the day, your pickups work via electromagnetism and will interact with other electromagnetic elements in the room.

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I've tried multiple guitars including humbucker equipped and multiple cables. Nothing is connected via USB. I'm on latest firmware. The fact that it goes away completely if I touch and hold something metal on the guitar makes me think it must be a ground noise issue or poor power conditioning.

 

Are you close to a computer/ monitor with the guitar?  Any florescent lights on near you? I've also heard of noisy AC power stepdown transformers in the alley.  Noise can come from anywhere including a bad ground or ground loop. The fact that it goes away completely if you touch something metal on the guitar tells me it's probably not Helix. Unplug the guitar cable from Helix. Do you still hear the noise? 

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  • 1 year later...

Hey, I have the same problem. Its so noisy that I cant use it and i am doing a gig on an island where i am not able to get any other equipment or DI box or anything. Curious to know if you found a fix for your problem?

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1 hour ago, Dre_un said:

Hey, I have the same problem. Its so noisy that I cant use it and i am doing a gig on an island where i am not able to get any other equipment or DI box or anything. Curious to know if you found a fix for your problem?

did u turn pff phantom at the mixing board?

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I think I know what it is but you have not stated the exact guitar you are using - if it has a battery in it thats your problem - if not then I am not sure

 

I have an Alex Lifeson Les Paul when I hook up my Xvive wireless to it I get his annoying hum - I removed battery for piezo problem solved

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