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Live setup info please!

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Calling all play out live helix owners only! Please use this thread to post how you run to FOH, I.e. Xlr out, 1/4 out, etc. DI boxes? Do you isolate the volume knob to a specific output. Any -db pads for xlr output volume. do you run a dedicated monitor for your self how is that set up. What kinda pitfalls have you found. This is to help all of us that play out live to not have a bad first gig with the helix.

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Last week I played through the left XLR out with the ground lift engaged. I had the output set to half and I was running at mic level. I turned the Hum down to 3 on my patches which seemed to help with the clipping that I had been experiencing. I want to try going 1/4 to a direct box and push my output a little more this weekend. I was mostly using Glenn's Ambient 3 Amp Patch.

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I use the XLR outs into the Stagescape mixer and the left 1/4 inch into an Atomic reactor 1x12 valve power amp speaker which I picked up for 100 quid. I have an EWS simple volume control in line to the Atomic to allow me to control my stage monitoring level independently.

I have the mixer block set at unity With the heel down in EXP one and 7 DB of boost at the top end of the expression pedal. I don't like a button solo boost as sometime I just need to give it a gentle punt and other times I need to give it all the beans

I have a line 6 exp in exp 2 which just controls delay mix

I'm waiting on a Freyette Power Station as a portable power amp for venues that supply backline

That way I can just run the line of the helix out to the Freyette and into a 4x12 or whatever cab they supply and run the XLRs into FOH

For me it's a very neat set up compared to my old dual amp dual Redbox live rig

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I'm using the Helix connected to a L2T via L6link for my feedback that I manage with the "Volume" knob and XLR output connected to mixer/PA an let the sound engineer manage it.

That's works perfect for me.

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I'm using the Helix connected to a L2T via L6link for my feedback that I manage with the "Volume" knob and XLR output connected to mixer/PA an let the sound engineer manage it.

That's works perfect for me.

 

Ge31, are you running line level or mic level thru your xlr out?

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i'm using 1/4" in stereo to my personal mixer and then from there to the PA system..we use the behringer power play for monitors....the problem that i am having...is always having to try and get a balanced volume control in all my patches...one problem is that the my volume pedal seems to go to 100% when i am verely pressing about 40% of the the expression pedal..one reason i have my own mixer is to physically be able to see the levels that i am putting out in a live situation...i can see the mixer lights go up and down when i am playing. but, still having some dificulty when i start to add overdrives and distortions.. sometimes it get too loud..or i start to clip....so i am still working on this...i love the helix....just so used to HD500x....

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Ge31, are you running line level or mic level thru your xlr out?

 

 

I'm using "Mic" level for the XLR output when connecting to a mixer.

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I'm using the 1/4" output to a DI. volume knob always at full for simplicity's sake. I monitor with IEMs through a Behringer system.

Works fantastic.

Compared 1/4 through DI to direct XLR output when I first got the unit. Went the way I did because I have gobs of DIs around anyway, and because there was no difference in sound whatsoever and this way, if phantom power is on on my channel I have no issues. Did the same with HD 500 but there 1/4" output sounded better to me.

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I haven't played live yet with the Helix, as I've only had it two weeks.  But my plan is to run the Helix 1/4" outs to a Mesa/Boogie Stereo 2:Fifty power amp, driving a 412 cab. I will experiment with mic'ing the cab but will probably end up running the XLRs straight to the board.

 

For home use, and as a backup to the Mesa, I also have an ISP Technologies Stealth Power Amp that I can use to drive one or two cabs. I like having a traditional power amp and speaker cabinet on stage, even if I am running direct.

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I'm using the Helix connected to a L2T via L6link for my feedback that I manage with the "Volume" knob and XLR output connected to mixer/PA an let the sound engineer manage it. That's works perfect for me.

 

+1

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Since running a di box from the 1/4 outs seems to be the way to make sure you get all the benefits of no hum, no white noise with volume pedal off, no phantom power problems if board can't turn individual channels off, etc.... I will be taking from a couple of posters above hybrid system. Helix>1/4out to di box then xlr out of di to FOH. Then I will run from the di thru 1/4 out to ews subtle volume pedal to second DI box> xlr out to my own monitor put in front of me to hear my self play on stage or in back either way. Sometimes were limited on wedges on stage. So now I can send a perfect noise free signal to FOH and then noise free signal controllable by ews volume pedal to easily raise or lower my personal monitor without bending down behind it. I'll report back how it works.

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Yeah I know, it seems like a lot of stuff to make the helix compatible with FOH mixer boards and all the different combos of ways to monitor your self. But, it's a lot easier this way using di boxes then it is to always have to bend down and retweak hum settings, eq, put in phantom blockers and the like to get your helix to work well live. IMO. Now don't kill the messenger, this is a short coming from line 6 not making there helix perfect for live players. Sometimes you wonder did they beta test the helix live in not so state of the art places with older FOH systems or just in there perfect line 6 studio with million dollar equipment.

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If I have to, I just use an XLR to 1/4" TRS adapter cable and send to the TSR line input on the mixer. In environments that only have 'mic' inputs, I always use a DI - even if it's just a transformer isolator (with optional pad) from the XLR output on my equipment. That also applies if I'm using a sub-mixer to send to a dodgy FOH where the mixer is locked in a cabinet and only has a bunch of mic sockets available to the musicians.

 

I don't really have an issue with the Helix XLR outputs being 'line' outputs and not DI outs. Meaning, I wouldn't ever expect to directly plug the line output of mains powered gear into the 'mic' inputs on a mixer. I've always applied this rule to my equipment - ie. never plug in anything to an XLR mic input, or any XLR for that matter that is not a known dedicated 'line' input. This protects both the equipment and the FOH PA (desk, amps and speakers).

 

BTW, most small (and large) mixers have both an XLR mic input (where phantom power may not be individually switchable) and a 1/4" TRS line input on each 'mic' channel. On those mixers, only the XLRs provide phantom power. So my rack/Helix/wireless/etc use XLR to 1/4" adapter cables to go to the dedicated TRS line inputs on the submixer. This is electrically much safer with less chance of making a mistake when your tired. Also, no loud bangs/pops from plugging into a phantom powered line while the system is on and not muted. Generally all around safer for any gear involved, including the speakers and your ears.

 

The most annoying situation is when you don't have access to the FOH 'desk' and all you get is a bunch of 'mic' inputs on a wall plate. Think small churches or community halls. Doubly annoying is when these inputs have already been EQed for a typical vocal mic and have phantom power permanently active on the sockets. That usually also means you'll have to 'undo' the vocal EQ with an inverted curve, and hope that the FOH isn't rolled off so heavily that you can't get anything below 150Hz and/or above 8kHz. A small sub-mixer is your friend in these situations - as is the global EQ on the Helix.

 

So, even if the Helix had a super isolated output block, I'd still be using the above procedure - mostly to avoid mistakes with other line output gear. I use enough rack and pro audio gear that have pure line outs that I know are not isolated. I don't want to risk the equipment outputs or the mixer inputs because I was asleep at the wheel.

 

I can understand some people wanting to have an isolated DI output built into the Helix, but it's really only necessary when you are plugging into an unknown input (or a mic input known to have phantom power enabled). And then some would still be complaining about why Line6 didn't use the 'right' transformer (ie. 1:1 vs step down, etc) or a decent quality output transformer (eg. Jensen/Lundahl with a full range and flat response curve), or bigger/better quality coupling capacitors. I'm all for Line 6 having a clean DC coupled line output on the Helix and then using my own high quality outboard isolator(s) if I need to.

 

Although I have nothing against a Helix v2 having an additional transformer isolated DI output, or more ruggedised line outputs, I definitely don't want to give up the high quality full range flat response of the existing XLR line outs. Clean, full range, balanced interconnects are important in the studio.

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Another +1

- XLR to FOH

 

I was taking out a dedicated powered wedge.

We work with the same sound company... so I quickly realized that wasn't necessary.

I just have them throw the Helix thru my wedge.

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Since running a di box from the 1/4 outs seems to be the way to make sure you get all the benefits of no hum, no white noise with volume pedal off, no phantom power problems if board can't turn individual channels off, etc.... I will be taking from a couple of posters above hybrid system. Helix>1/4out to di box then xlr out of di to FOH. Then I will run from the di thru 1/4 out to ews subtle volume pedal to second DI box> xlr out to my own monitor put in front of me to hear my self play on stage or in back either way. Sometimes were limited on wedges on stage. So now I can send a perfect noise free signal to FOH and then noise free signal controllable by ews volume pedal to easily raise or lower my personal monitor without bending down behind it. I'll report back how it works.

Hi, which DI box will you recommend? I have seen some inexpensive passive di boxes from Palmer, but not sure if the will modify helix's tone. By the way, a passive one will not be damaged or produce noise if phantom power is enabled in the mixer?

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Hi, which DI box will you recommend? I have seen some inexpensive passive di boxes from Palmer, but not sure if the will modify helix's tone. By the way, a passive one will not be damaged or produce noise if phantom power is enabled in the mixer?

 

The Palmer PAN 01 should work. I have a bunch of Radial Stagebug SB-2 boxes that I use for generic interfacing.

 

Any passive DI (ie. transformer based) from a reputable company will be fine for live use. No extra noise with phantom power on or off, and protects all equipment (including itself) from being damaged if accidentally plugging into a live phantom powered input. They also soften the 'bang' if you plug into the system while phantom power is on and the channel is not muted.

 

It also depends on what you're trying to connect. If you want to go from a high level line output to a super sensitive low level mic input, you'll probably want a box with a built in pad, or a step down transformer. If you just want to isolate the two ends without changing the signal level, use something like the Whirlwind ISOXL, which also lifts the ground.

 

However, if you're in a studio, I'd avoid going through a desk preamp at all, and just go from the Helix XLR outputs into the balanced line (not mic) input on the desk (most desks seem to have 1/4" balanced line inputs - which almost never have phantom power). This may only need an XLR to 1/4" balanced cable.

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Xlr at Mic level to mixing desk, 1/4 out at line level to my Alto monitor. Volume control only affects 1/4 out, my out front volume controlled from the desk...

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I go out the Line 6 Link to an L2 speaker and then run XLR to the mixer. The big knob is set to only change the volume to the L2 speaker, so that I can't mess up the mix by changing my stage volume.

 

-Max

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i'm using 1/4" in stereo to my personal mixer and then from there to the PA system..we use the behringer power play for monitors....the problem that i am having...is always having to try and get a balanced volume control in all my patches...one problem is that the my volume pedal seems to go to 100% when i am verely pressing about 40% of the the expression pedal..one reason i have my own mixer is to physically be able to see the levels that i am putting out in a live situation...i can see the mixer lights go up and down when i am playing. but, still having some dificulty when i start to add overdrives and distortions.. sometimes it get too loud..or i start to clip....so i am still working on this...i love the helix....just so used to HD500x....

Curious as to where exactly you connect your XLR on the mixer? Do you connect it directly on a track then have to readjust the eq on the mixer or do you somehow bypass all that and keep the original sound/tone of your Helix patches? Wanting to use the Helix for the first time with a mixer and kind of a newbie on using it with a mixer.

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Curious as to where exactly you connect your XLR on the mixer? Do you connect it directly on a track then have to readjust the eq on the mixer or do you somehow bypass all that and keep the original sound/tone of your Helix patches? Wanting to use the Helix for the first time with a mixer and kind of a newbie on using it with a mixer.

 

I'm not sure whether you're talking about a personal mixer prior to sending to the main mixer, or direct into the mixer.  In either case I would assume you would be connecting into the mixer via an XLR input on a single channel (if you're using mono, two channels for stereo).  I don't see any particular advantage to using a personal mixer.  You have all the facilities and more of a mixer built into the Helix.  It's quite easy to control the output volumes between different patches simply using the volume control in the output block of your patch.  Of course this should be done ahead of time so that all patches are roughly the same volume assuming, of course, that you're managing the increase in volume for leads.  The only thing you would need to adjust at the gig is the main volume knob on the front of the Helix to match up with the room.

 

To be honest, I would be hesitant to depend on any sort of EQ from the mixing board.  Most mixing boards don't have anywhere near the facilities to manage your tone effectively, whereas the Helix has everything you could ever need to do such things.  This is the reason so many of us use FRFR monitors on stage and at home to develop and setup our patches.  You need to have some way of gauging how your patch will sound through the FOH to get the tone correct.  Depending on the FOH guy to make the adjustments is a disaster waiting to happen...and this is coming from someone who's run FOH sound for 4 decades.  Your best bet is to send the front mixer a fully formed, equalized, and volume managed direct XLR signal and just leave the guitar channel on the mixer set to flat.  Once you've set your master volume on the Helix to match what's needed for the room, the person at the mixing board will manage the level of the signal you send him to blend it appropriately with the other instruments and voices.

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Since running a di box from the 1/4 outs seems to be the way to make sure you get all the benefits of no hum, no white noise with volume pedal off, no phantom power problems if board can't turn individual channels off, etc.... I will be taking from a couple of posters above hybrid system. Helix>1/4out to di box then xlr out of di to FOH. Then I will run from the di thru 1/4 out to ews subtle volume pedal to second DI box> xlr out to my own monitor put in front of me to hear my self play on stage or in back either way. Sometimes were limited on wedges on stage. So now I can send a perfect noise free signal to FOH and then noise free signal controllable by ews volume pedal to easily raise or lower my personal monitor without bending down behind it. I'll report back how it works.

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Love to hear how this works out. I played a room this week that had crazy electrical issues so I'm a cutely aware of the potential risk for ruining the entire band mix with hum & hiss, so I would love a fail safe solution. As for my live setup, at first I tried to keep my guitar amp on stage while going stereo XLR out to FOH, but it was a disaster. Now I'm XLR to FOH with a powered wedge in front of me for guitar and vocal monitor.

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Another XLR to FOH guy, using in-ear monitors. Last weekend, I used an FRFR powered monitor that I just got for the first time and sent it's output to FOH and wasn't using in-ears. I had to do a lot of last minute tweaking because there was so much bass and treble going on from the patches I made with the headphone jack. That caused me to rethink making patches using the headphone jack, though I suppose they'll work in the studio. Yesterday, I spent about two hours with my powered speaker at something in the ballpark of "gig volume," using hi and low cut filters quite a bit. I have a feeling those re-tweaked patches are what I'll be using most, direct to the FOH and/or with my powered speaker. Live and learn!

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Another XLR to FOH guy, using in-ear monitors. Last weekend, I used an FRFR powered monitor that I just got for the first time and sent it's output to FOH and wasn't using in-ears. I had to do a lot of last minute tweaking because there was so much bass and treble going on from the patches I made with the headphone jack. That caused me to rethink making patches using the headphone jack, though I suppose they'll work in the studio. Yesterday, I spent about two hours with my powered speaker at something in the ballpark of "gig volume," using hi and low cut filters quite a bit. I have a feeling those re-tweaked patches are what I'll be using most, direct to the FOH and/or with my powered speaker. Live and learn!

Interesting! I was wondering how presets designed using IEMs would sound through the FOH. For me the message keeps coming back to whether you prefer to use an actual guitar amp/cab, IEMs, FRFR, or PA type monitor/speaker on stage for your guitar, that perhaps you are best off designing or at least finalizing your presets at or near stage volume through something like an FRFR or a PA monitor/speaker that gets as close as possible to the sound of FOH speakers. That method seems to be the easiest way to ensure the audience is hearing what you want them to hear. Not that good results can't be had using other methods, they are just much more unpredictable and require you to anticipate the potential differences in the EQ required for the FOH.

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I think this is one of those areas that is a "must learn" thing that comes with these type of modelers.  I know when I first got my HD500X I was a bit upset when I encountered the harshness and boominess my patches would have going direct into the PA, which started me down this road of understanding how to best deal with the issue.  And I've learned a lot about how to best deal with this over time and it's modified the way I build patches.  Surprisingly, I could have learned it much easier if I had just paid attention and watched a few videos of how some people were building their patches.  The good news is, having learned some of these things I honestly feel like, for the first time, I'm getting some of the best performance out of my patches I've ever had.

 

Like most I originally focused on hi and low cuts which do a pretty good job of getting the patch presentable through FOH FRFR speakers.  I've recently learned how  cabinet selection, mic selection, mic placement, early reflections, and final EQ can really polish the sound to be exactly what you want.  Hi and low cuts still play a factor, but not as dramatic as it was in the beginning.

 

What's remarkable to me is how much of an effect cab, mic, and mic placement can have in mitigating the harshness and boominess just by themselves.  I've also started to incorporate some form of final EQ on the signal in the form of the 10 band graphic EQ or the parametric EQ to limit or enhance the frequencies I really want to hear.  I still use a hi cut set around 10,000 hz, but I use the EQ to gradually dial down the upper frequencies which makes the sound much more natural.  The same holds true for some of the lower frequencies between the low cut at 125 hz (which is handled by the FRFR speaker) and 1000 hz.  Depending on the cab, mic, and mic placement I may also adjust some of these low and mid-range frequencies  up or down.  It's about 4 or 5 minutes of additional work, but the sound is remarkably better not only to my ears but to the ears of my bandmates and our sound guy based on their feedback.  Normally I do all of this before adding any additional effects to the signal chain.  I figure if I get the base tone where I want it, all other things will fall into place, and that seems to prove out in practice.

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I regularly perform with my cover band, Thrown Together, at the Hudson Room in Peekskill, NY. I recently started using my Helix live to replace my Digitech GSP1101 for my tones and effects. The Helix is obviously a HUGE step up. Well, I received nothing but raves saying I never sounded better, including from the sound engineer, which was great to hear. In any case, at the Hudson Room, which is a fairly large room holding a few hundred people with a big stage, lights and a sound man, they prefer to mic guitar amps to FOH. So I set up my FRFR Tech 21 Powered 60 Speaker to push my signal from the Helix as a monitor for my use and for the band to hear in the monitor mix fed back to the stage by the sound engineer as well as out to the FOH via close mic'ing. Videos now sound great at this venue from pretty much anywhere I've seen/heard them to so the mix is being handled well by the sound engineer. I also let him know I prefer a totally flat response with no FX for my FOH guitar channel on the mixing board as the Helix controls all effects and tones he's receiving up front. Seems pretty much SOP and very common. I could, of course, feed the XLR out to the FOH as well but this engineer prefers to mic everything.

 

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1/4" goes out to a pair of Mackie Thumps behind me in wedge position unless there's something I can stand one on or we're playing on the floor, then they go on a pole. XLR outs are for the sound guy. If he's willing to take both, I'll give him both (I have some stereo delays and pitch shift stuff that sound better with the separation, but its not necessary). Headphone output goes in Mono (instrument cable) to our IEM mixer rack. I have the Volume knobs as standard, usually about 3/4 of the way up and if I need more/less volume on stage I use the controls on the back of the speakers. Headphone volume is MAXED for consistency in the IEM. On bigger systems I don't even really need the monitors on stage with the IEM, but it helps for people who wanna get up close similar to having the stage sound of an amp and I like a little air moving for personal comfort. 

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XLR mono to FOH and 1/4" mono to channel 1 of powered monitor (JBL 610 EON). Then FOH sends monitor signal (full band, including my signal) back to me via XLR to DI to 1/4" and into channel 2 of my powered monitor. I fiddle with the balance between channel 1 and 2 on the monitor to suit how much of my own signal I want to hear.

 

I actually keep the master volume relatively low compared to others who have commented. The above-described setup is for when I play at church, and I think I started doing it because, at first, every week I got complaints that the sound guy put me too low in the mix, so I purposely set it low for rehearsal knowing I would push it up during the service. Since then, he's started setting me higher in the mix from the start and I just stayed with the lower volume setting (I know, it's bad for signal-to-noise ratio purposes).

 

The upside is that I have more control over how much of myself I get to hear. The downside is the sound guy has less control over stage volume. I guess I'm just selfish, but I'm fine with that tradeoff.  

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i notice a lot of people send xlr to desk at mic level.. what is the advantage here? I would have thought a nice beefy line level would be better.?

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i notice a lot of people send xlr to desk at mic level.. what is the advantage here? I would have thought a nice beefy line level would be better.?

 

 

Line level overloads a lot of mixing boards, or the sound guy doesn't know how to handle them.

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XLR mic level out @ 0dB straight to FOH, 1/4" line level @ 0dB out to my poweramp for stage cab.

Volume knob controls only 1/4" out for setting stage level.

I use a volume block in all presets assigned to EXP2 with EXP2 set to global position to control volume swells and muting during the show.

All my snapshots are leveled appropriately for performance relative to each other in the studio and then during soundcheck all I do is set the big volume knob to an appropriate level for how much I need to hear from the onstage cab in order to get good feedback and hear clearly and that's that. Job done.

I've only once had to adjust the XLR out master level at a show to lower it slightly because the console in question had really hot preamps. Consoles are designed to accept mic level voltages on their preamps so it's logical to send them mic level signals.

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