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Helix for P&W: Best Practices

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Hey, I'll be using my Helix each week at church for Praise & Worship and would love to hear how others are doing the same.  Seems we likely all have the same constraints:  silent stage, IEMs, and either going direct, going through FRFR, or going through a mic'ed amp located somewhere offstage.

 

I'll be using mine through my DT50 offstage with an SM75 mic.  I find that my sound is fuller that way, but I haven't experimented much with going direct yet.  As for the connection, I'm using the L6 Link, no MIDI cables.  My amp has already been configured to the following using the DT Edit app (and also through the Command Center's Instant commands for when I do connect MIDI):

  - Pentode mode (CC #75=127)

  - No amp (CC #11=0)

  - 4x12 Greenback 25 (CC #71=11)

  - Class A/B (CC #73=127)

  - No mic (CC #82=0)

  - Topology 2 (CC #77=1)

 

On the Helix I'm using Amp only since I have the cab model enabled in the amp.  I don't understand why, but this sounds more full to me than using the cab models on Helix and turning off the DT's cab modeling.  It actually sounds pretty good with no cab modeling too, since, after all, the amp has its own cabinet!

 

I'd like to connect the MIDI cable up to nicely switch topologies between patches, but I don't have a MIDI cable long enough.  So for now, I just run my Essex and other Class A amp models in Class A/B mode.  I sure hope there is a future firmware version that fully integrates Helix DT support over L6.

 

I would love to ditch the amp and save my back, so how are you guys using your Helices in church?

 

If you're using FRFR, do you mic that, or is that just for stage monitoring?

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Well I found using Amps and cabs it's hard to set your tones, when you step off stage your tone is not the same as what you set up because of the amp tone not transferring the same thru FOH system. I run helix 1/4 out to radial Jdi passive direct out. From the Jdi I go thru to a second one that has ews volume pedal in front of it that controls my monitor. The first Jdi goes to FOH. I always set my monitor at home as if it were FOH speaker on a pole to get as close as I can tone wise. If you always set up your tone with wedge in front of you on the ground it will sound bassier so you will dial bass out. When you then hear yourself then thru FOH suspended speakers you will sound thinner. I use di boxes because they seem to cure most of the trouble posters have had using their main xlr outs.

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I play at a couple of different churches. Each rooms sound is different. That's when I turn on my global Eq. Usually if one preset is bassy or to much high, all might be. So I dial out what I don't like with global eq instead of trying to adjust each preset if needed.

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I'm in my third week of using the Helix at my church, and so far so good.  I found it easier to dial in my tones right off the bat, much easier than my old HD500.  I go direct to the house and let the sound guy do his thing, and we use wireless in-ears for monitoring.  I personally have a pair of Shure 535s and I think they sound pretty good.  I have used those buds as well as the studio monitor speakers in my small home studio to make my patches, and so far they seem to translate well to our worship center (seats about 1,200 or so, flown EV speaker arrays with multiple flown subs).  As long as it sounds good in my ears and I'm inspired by the tones I hear, then I'm happy!  The first week I brought my Helix the sound guy asked me if there was something different... he said it sounded better than my HD500, more warm and like a real amp.  And he would know, our worship leader plays a 335 through a Morgan and occasionally an old 70s Fender twin that are in an iso-cab off stage.  Overall, I'm pretty stoked about the Helix!

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I tried the xlr outs at some places I go, they work as advertised and other places I get some very light white noise when volume is off on helix. By using 1/4 outs to di all is well no matter where I play.

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I tried the xlr outs at some places I go, they work as advertised and other places I get some very light white noise when volume is off on helix. By using 1/4 outs to di all is well no matter where I play.

 

I've gone the same route in using the 1/4" outs to DIs to also eliminate noise (and yes, I had previously confirmed that the FOH console wasn't sending phantom power). I'm exclusively running through the Helix with no other outboard pedals other than a Mission L6 expression pedal I added. I love not having to move a few hundred pounds of gear a couple times a week. :)

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Using Helix to lead in church direct and it's a fantastic sound.

If you can use the amp and want to, that's cool, but I don't want that much stuff.

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Direct to the broad via xlr with outputs set to mic level. Zero noise. I actually forgot to set them back to mic this morning after the latest firmware update. I still didn't have noise issues and the some guy didn't complain but setting it to mic level in the past cured any issues.

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I'm new to the whole line 6 modeling thing but i'm happy with the tones coming out home studio monitors and recorded tones. my church runs all in ears and i'm using high end in ears (UE 7's) and i'm never quite happy with my amps sound thats running in an iso box in the back. thats why i figured i give the helix a shot and i'm using it direct for the first time this weekend coming up. after a week of playing with it with the sound coming out of my home studio monitors i realized that much tweaking is required to get good pleasing tones to me. when i plug in my headphones in the headphone jack the tones are not that happening. my question is for you guys using it to FOH, are setting up your tones through the headphones or are you listening coming out of the mains? i think it might be safe to say the sound i will be hearing coming to my in  ears is going to differ from the tone coming out of the mains? also if i set up the tones from headphone jack is that going to differ from the tone coming out of the avaiom in ear system?

 

basiclly when i set up the tones on my home monitors the headphone jack tone sounds terrible. haha

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...my question is for you guys using it to FOH, are setting up your tones through the headphones or are you listening coming out of the mains?...

 

Set it up for the mains, so that you have it sounding great for the audience.

 

If it's not perfect for you, that's okay, they're the ones that you are playing for.

 

That's my philosophy. Love your audience.

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OK, you've convinced me to give it a shot going direct.  So now I'll have to choose between XLRs and 1/4" outs.  I'll try the XLRs first and see how it goes.

 

Do any of you run a stereo feed to FOH, or just mono?

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OK, you've convinced me to give it a shot going direct.  So now I'll have to choose between XLRs and 1/4" outs.  I'll try the XLRs first and see how it goes.

 

Do any of you run a stereo feed to FOH, or just mono?

 

I never run stereo. The only time it would make sense would be in a room where the system is set up so that everyone can get the benefit, not just the 8 guys sitting right at center, and I'm never in one of those rooms. In fact, in the church I work at, our sound system is mono (bad room for stereo) anyway.

 

And a stereo signal can clutter up the mix if there's more than 2 guitars, which means you'll end up getting set lower and lower.

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Set it up for the mains, so that you have it sounding great for the audience.

 

If it's not perfect for you, that's okay, they're the ones that you are playing for.

 

That's my philosophy. Love your audience.

yea while i agree you , having stale digital sounding tone in the in ears is not that fun. haha as good as the helix sounds through home motors i'm going to be using it at church the most with the in ears. i'm getting amazing sounds when i record with into logic with it and i want to hear that tone in my ears and coming out the mains. can the helix do that

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yea while i agree you , having stale digital sounding tone in the in ears is not that fun. haha as good as the helix sounds through home motors i'm going to be using it at church the most with the in ears. i'm getting amazing sounds when i record with into logic with it and i want to hear that tone in my ears and coming out the mains. can the helix do that

 

Can you EQ the sound JUST in your ears? I know you can on the P16s.

 

IEMS are always going to be a compromise to some degree. Always. Anytime there's not a live speaker, you are compromising something.

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I was lucky and got one of the first shipments from Sweetwater back in Sep/Oct.  Been using it every Sunday since i got it.  I have already owned several Ownhammer packs from the Axe Fx.  I loaded the a couple of Acoustic IRs and the Taylor IRs.  Then loaded several of the mix and match IRs.  I purchased the Justin York after I had been using the Helix sometime in Nov/Dec.  All my patches you external IRs.  My go to patch is a Vox 30 with external IRs from the Justin York collection.  I start with the mix options then try out the SM57 based upon different positions across the speaker.

 

We use IEM at most of our area churches.  I tweak the amp knobs just like I would any real amp in a live situation.  Global EQ is always off and I will have the sound guy set everything to 12 O'Clock.  I usually play with one IEM in the ear the other open to hear the outside.

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I was lucky and got one of the first shipments from Sweetwater back in Sep/Oct.  Been using it every Sunday since i got it.  I have already owned several Ownhammer packs from the Axe Fx.  I loaded the a couple of Acoustic IRs and the Taylor IRs.  Then loaded several of the mix and match IRs.  I purchased the Justin York after I had been using the Helix sometime in Nov/Dec.  All my patches you external IRs.  My go to patch is a Vox 30 with external IRs from the Justin York collection.  I start with the mix options then try out the SM57 based upon different positions across the speaker.

 

We use IEM at most of our area churches.  I tweak the amp knobs just like I would any real amp in a live situation.  Global EQ is always off and I will have the sound guy set everything to 12 O'Clock.  I usually play with one IEM in the ear the other open to hear the outside.

 

I'm curious about the acoustic IRs. I hunt those down all the time. Have found Wes Hunter's and the Taylors. Both derived from Fishman Aura actually... 

 

Have you found others?

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I was lucky and got one of the first shipments from Sweetwater back in Sep/Oct. Been using it every Sunday since i got it. I have already owned several Ownhammer packs from the Axe Fx. I loaded the a couple of Acoustic IRs and the Taylor IRs. Then loaded several of the mix and match IRs. I purchased the Justin York after I had been using the Helix sometime in Nov/Dec. All my patches you external IRs. My go to patch is a Vox 30 with external IRs from the Justin York collection. I start with the mix options then try out the SM57 based upon different positions across the speaker.

 

We use IEM at most of our area churches. I tweak the amp knobs just like I would any real amp in a live situation. Global EQ is always off and I will have the sound guy set everything to 12 O'Clock. I usually play with one IEM in the ear the other open to hear the outside.

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Do you feel the ownhammer ir's make a big big difference in a good way? Especially with iem's? Haha I'll buy all of them if it does. The stock helix ir's sound pretty dang legit when recorded. Especially the vintage 30s and greenbacks. Here is are cording I did and the greenbacks sound pretty authentic

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Also... read this article and stop doing that right away. You are destroying your hearing without even knowing it.

 

http://www.1964ears.com/blog/2014/07/07/the-danger-of-wearing-only-one-in-ear-monitor/

I have read about this.  I run both about half way through the set.  Depends on the drummer we use.  If we have our hard hitting drummer I will tend to leave one out.  I do mix in stereo.  It is very good to span the instruments left/right mix.  Gives a much better mix.

 

On the Ownhammer, I did not do much with the internal speaker cabs in the Helix.  To me, what set the Axe Fx apart (Kemper for that matter) was the IRs.  So i was so used to using them on the Axe, I just immediately took them to the Helix.  I have downloaded many of the heavier tones from the CustomTone and use some of Glen's patches (the early VH one is very good, tweaked a little) that all use the internal speaker cabs.  They sound great.  Some of the Bogner/Engl stuff I use the Ownhammer IRs.

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I'm curious about the acoustic IRs. I hunt those down all the time. Have found Wes Hunter's and the Taylors. Both derived from Fishman Aura actually... 

 

Have you found others?

I e-mailed Wes from his website.  Have not got his IR yet.  The original one I used on the Axe was from the Axe Forum.  It was supposedly from a Taylor.  The Taylor ones are what I use the most.  I do adjust those sometimes.  I use a Taylor and a P22 with the Helix.  Both are using some form of the the Taylor IRs.  I have a patch with just effects for the Taylor but tend to use the IRs with a studio pre on it.

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I e-mailed Wes from his website.  Have not got his IR yet.  The original one I used on the Axe was from the Axe Forum.  It was supposedly from a Taylor.  The Taylor ones are what I use the most.  I do adjust those sometimes.  I use a Taylor and a P22 with the Helix.  Both are using some form of the the Taylor IRs.  I have a patch with just effects for the Taylor but tend to use the IRs with a studio pre on it.

 

Wes has publicly shared his right here.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/f2qdh9jtcl6s5cv/AACRlEt-UVeLAhuvV4YwMY7Wa?dl=0

 

I found one of them (HD28 martin through 414) to be my favorite with a PowerBridge.

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Well I tried going direct last night in our High School ministry room which has a far inferior sound system and I have to say it sounded really great in my IEMs.  I got some great tones using my fav Plexi Brt, Essex 30, and the new Matchstick Ch1.  I used the XLRs out and had them set to Mic level and didn't hear any hissy noise issues.

 

I think my next step will be to experiment with some IRs.

 

This is exciting - we're doing little 15 minute worship sets at 7pm the next few Wednesdays up there for the high schoolers.  Our rehearsals for big church start at 7:30pm downstairs.  So I wanted a light load up their so I wouldn't have to lug my amp around.  Going direct was perfect for that.  I mentioned this to the worship leader and we had the idea of using Helix for both our guitars next week.  I'll run my guitar through the top path out the right XLR channel and his guitar through the bottom path out the left XLR channel.  We can each have completely different amps, effects, etc.  How cool is that?  (And I'll make sure I'm louder than him!!!)

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Oh, and I had to share this.  We did the song Closer by Bethel, which opens with a violin-like pad followed by a piano-driven lead line.  We had no keys, so I created a patch that put a washy, ambient pad setting on the lower path to emulate the violin pad and the main lead tone on the upper path.  The patch loads up with the input directed only to the pad path with a 100% feedback on my last delay so that whatever I play repeats forever.  I have the volume at the beginning of the chain so I swell in a pad tone and let it ring.  I then used a footswitch to switch over to the lead path to start playing the piano lead line over the pad.  The pad amp's volume switches to 0 in this mode so the lead line doesn't feed into the pad path.  I was worried about how to taper off the pad at the end of the song, so I created a footswitch operating in momentary mode that defeats the delay feedback by setting it to 0%.  When I hold this down, the pad gradually and peacefully fades out to 0 in about 3-4 seconds.

 

This worked beautifully for me!  So cool, thanks Line 6!

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On the Helix I'm using Amp only since I have the cab model enabled in the amp. I don't understand why, but this sounds more full to me than using the cab models on Helix and turning off the DT's cab modeling. It actually sounds pretty good with no cab modeling too, since, after all, the amp has its own cabinet!

The DT's cab isn't full range—its, well, a cab, so you'll generally get better results bypassing Helix's cab modeling entirely. Trust your ears, but I've yet to hear a cab into another cab that doesn't sound weird.

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Thanks @Digital_Igloo.

 

Trust your ears, but I've yet to hear a cab into another cab that doesn't sound weird.

So I've been running the DT50 with no cab modeling and I like it better.  However, can you clear something up for me?  I'm still puzzled by the huge difference between applying a cab model on the Helix side vs. applying on the DT side.  When I enable/disable the DT's Greenback 25's cab, I notice slight EQ difference, nothing major.  However, when I enable/disable the Helix Greenback 25's cab, there is a huge degradation in sound quality, akin to running the amp through an AM radio.  This is what I think you mean by a cab running into another cab.  But why such a difference?

 

To illustrate, I've recorded a comparison.  I have guitar->Helix in->Plexi Brt (Amp only)->Greenback 25s->L6 Link->DT50 with no amp, no cab in the first clip below where I toggle the cab on and off via the Bypass button.

 

Helix cab off, on, off, on:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/content_link/jtzsFhmtuRxVzobXTQr92wECHqPnJWIiYZ8lMYBLbA1VXFMeetRlEs6rIjkrsOVw/file

 

In this clip, I have guitar->Helix in->Plexi Brt (Amp only, no cab)->L6 Link->DT50 with no amp, but Greenback 25s cab.  The cab is enabled/disabled via a footswitch sending MIDI CCs to the DT.

 

DT50 cab off, on, off, on:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/content_link/7sS8sXjjx0aiyV0BAk2xTnDux4ruChiJfv0r8QbzPLUwjHkQNjpJXCmqIkIJ9mtN/file

 

The differences aren't as evident in the recordings as much as in person, but you can hear what I mean.

 

Why the difference?

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The DT's cab isn't full range—its, well, a cab, so you'll generally get better results bypassing Helix's cab modeling entirely. Trust your ears, but I've yet to hear a cab into another cab that doesn't sound weird.

Hi DI, I didn't properly quote in the previous post, can you take a listen and let me know what you think?

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