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Best method of setting patches levels to the same volume??

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It would be a giant time saver if Helix had a way to set a baseline volume for all snapshots in a setlist instead of having to individually adjust 100 amp levels one at a time. Maybe there is a global amp level I am missing?

 

As a new user, I was able to purchase hundreds of snapshots and was up and running playing cover songs quickly. The problem is the volume levels are all over the place and I have to stoop down and adjust the master volume at the start of every song. Of course the band gives me crap about guitarists and the search for the perfect sound.

 

I'd rather play music than sit in front of a computer for hours (which I already do for my day job).

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4 minutes ago, Mall_Security said:

The problem is the volume levels are all over the place and I have to stoop down and adjust the master volume at the start of every song.

 

Take the time to set it up at home and balance the patches as much as possible to eliminate this. There is a channel volume on every amp, and there is an output block that you can adjust the volume on to achieve this. 

 

There is no way the Helix can magically set all levels... you do have to do this on your own. When done, you won't have to bend over between songs ever again :) 

 

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1 hour ago, Mall_Security said:

It would be a giant time saver if Helix had a way to set a baseline volume for all snapshots in a setlist instead of having to individually adjust 100 amp levels one at a time. Maybe there is a global amp level I am missing?

 

As a new user, I was able to purchase hundreds of snapshots and was up and running playing cover songs quickly. The problem is the volume levels are all over the place and I have to stoop down and adjust the master volume at the start of every song. Of course the band gives me crap about guitarists and the search for the perfect sound.

 

I'd rather play music than sit in front of a computer for hours (which I already do for my day job).

 

There's no global way to level all your patches... but the problem isn't technical, or a lack of features. It's your brain, and the way loudness is percieved. You could arbitrarily set all the output levels to the fixed value of your choice, and the relative volumes of one patch to another would still be all over the place, but it has nothing to do with the hardware. It's the squishy grey stuff between your ears... how we perceive the relative loudness of different frequency ranges varies with volume, and also with qualitative differences like clean vs. dirty tones, or completely dry vs FX- heavy tones. A saturated high gain tone registering 90 dB on a meter will always seem louder than a crystal clean tone at that same 90 dB. There's nothing that can be done about this... we're all in the same boat. Everything needs to be leveled manually.

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After reading a page and a half on the subject, I think nobody is mentioning clearly one of the limitations when trying to balance volume in multiple patches: Even for the same instrument, and conditions (tone knob or pickup configuration), if you have 10 patches perfectly balanced one day, they can be completely unbalanced next day no matter how accurate you want to "measure" loudness.Why?

 

Clean, uncompressed patches will sound much louder when you hit the strings much stronger. But heavily compressed and / or distorted patches will sound a tad louder... and dirtier.

 

So if my patches are perfecly balanced when I play my guitar or bass at home and "measuring loudness" with whatever procedure (ears or the best weighted loudness meter plug-in), next day when I tend to play much harder in a live situation the clean patches will sound stronger than the dirty ones. (For the same reason some subtle overdriven sound usually becomes more distorted).

 

Changing from pick to fingers (I am a bassist) or playing with volume control will make dispersion in loudness stronger. There is nothing to be done about it: Some patches "compress" levels (and therefore loudness) more than others. If levels are balanced at a given input, they won't be at a completely different input level. An easy example for some guitar players I've seen: If they balance patches with guitar volume at 1/10 (in an attempt to have margin to boost in a gig), when they go to full volume the overdriven patches will sound dirtier (and a tad louder), but clean patches will sound MUCH louder.

 

In short, when patches have different compression levels (due to amp channel used / compressor / overdrive / fuzz / distortion / etc), if they are balanced at a given input level they won't when the input is hotter / weaker.

 

There are more variables. An obvious example: Patches boosting lows or highs. If they are balanced in volume with the bridge pick-up, switching to the neck pickup will tend to boost the dark patch more than the other.

 

Just in case it was not mentioned before.

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On 7/17/2019 at 8:09 PM, brue58ski said:

meters don't really give a totally accurate display of what the level is because they don't show the actual loudness

The loudness meters give as accurate loudness representation as much as digital amp models represent sounds of analog amps.

 

On 7/17/2019 at 8:09 PM, brue58ski said:

Then there's the Fletcher/Munson curve

Irrelevant when comparing wide spectrum sounds at the similar monitoring levels. K weigting contais kind of conclusion of F/M curve influence. 

 

On 7/17/2019 at 8:09 PM, brue58ski said:

room EQ which will color your sound after the meters, making them another cause for the meters to be inaccurate.

Sure, but monitor/room EQ influence all sounds the same way at the same listening spot. To be nonsense precise one can make the loudness metering using reference mic at the listening spot (zone).
 

3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

There's no global way to level all your patches...

Yes, threre is. Recording direct signal, playing thru patches and adjusting their level accordingly. The software that makes a ping of the prerecorded signal and automaticaly adjust output level can be written.
 

3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

but the problem isn't technical, or a lack of features. It's your brain, and the way loudness is percieved.

Loudness metering is meant to minimize the particular brain and ears bias called perception. This is why LUFS measuring can be called objective and repeatable and ear leveling subjective and unrepeatable.

3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

A saturated high gain tone registering 90 dB on a meter will always seem louder than a crystal clean tone at that same 90 dB.

A saturated tone registered at -30LUFS should be precieved as equally loud as crystal clear tone at -30LUFS by average listening human target (dogs and bats would probably need a diferent weighting curve)
 

3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

There's nothing that can be done about this... we're all in the same boat. Everything needs to be leveled manually.

Something can be done about it - we can use the loudness metering to level the music material.

 

2 hours ago, Parapentep70 said:

Even for the same instrument, and conditions (tone knob or pickup configuration), if you have 10 patches perfectly balanced one day, they can be completely unbalanced next day no matter how accurate you want to "measure" loudness.Why?

 

Clean, uncompressed patches will sound much louder when you hit the strings much stronger. But heavily compressed and / or distorted patches will sound a tad louder... and dirtier.

You can not unbalance something balanced by playing. Leveling equally means you get the same loudness with the same guitar and playing with different patches. Different playing while leveling patches means cheating. However there can be some influence of the sample being used to make the leveling. 

I can be wrong of course.
If somebody demonstrates how three different patches can be set equally loud better with ear than with the loudness meter I can change my convictions easily.

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I mentioned 2 simple ways : )    Compresion + different levels AND EQ+ different spectral content at the input.

 

The good think about loudness meter is to measure to what extent. What I did by the way. I should be wrong then.

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1 hour ago, zolko60 said:

Loudness metering is meant to minimize the particular brain and ears bias called perception.

 

This assumes that perception is a fixed, measurable experience for everyone. It isn't...hell, it's not even fixed for any one individual from one day to the next, which renders most of this technical gibberish useless outside of a classroom discussion on acoustic physics. Perception is variable and notoriously fickle. Period. All the technical jargon in the world won't change that. But if you want to labor under the delusion that all of life's pursuits can be reduced to a series of equations and laboratory measurements, go right ahead... but good luck applying them in any meaningful way to every scenario out there in the wild. Nothing will ever be that neat and tidy... life is a mess. And since most of the us probably don't have access to the facilities at Cal Tech anyway, we'll just have to be content using Helix as it is... I'm betting this includes the OP, so that's how I answered his question. What he's asking for can't be done with the hardware as it currently exists, so indulging in technical hypotheticals, and theoretical possibilities accomplishes what exactly? Never mind. I don't care.

 

If you've made anything clear from your incredibly condescending diatribe, it's that you have a serious need to be right about this, whilst simultaneously pointing out just how dumb everyone else is...so here you go: You're the smartest guy in the room. And you're right...it's perfectly plausible to spend the rest of your life in a lab with fancy diagnostic tools, and create a magic protocol that will provide foolproof, push-button volume leveling, metered to the eyeballs, and accurate to +/- 3 femto-decibels. I wait with bated breath for the arrival of Franken-Helix version 1.0. If you're taking requests, I want purple meters. I'll pay extra.

 

I'm guessing L6 isn't gonna provide this for the masses though, so till yours is ready, I'll probably just go ahead and keep using the tools I was born with. It's worked just fine for me for 30-odd years of live performance.

 

Almost forgot...I have an uncle who owns a uniform supply store... lemme know if your lab coat gets dirty. I can get them cheap. Enjoy your data crunching.

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12 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

This assumes that perception is a fixed, measurable experience for everyone. It isn't

Sure it isn't fixed!!! Eq. some hoomans are deaf. If they claim they can hear we can test their experience against the truth. We also have measuring devices to check this out.


Reapeating the sentence "music material can not be made equally loud using the loudness meter" 1000 times will not make that statement true.
Some demonstration backing up the claim could. It is XXI century. People fly to the Mars and use digital amp models.
 

12 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

You're the smartest guy in the room.

Yes. I have spent whole night to think about the reference riff to be used as the world standard for leveling patches. ;)
So please play 4 bars "Smoke on the Water" thru the loudness meter, set the level of your patches and reveal the truth.
:D

 

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I think there is merit to both sides of this argument. Yes, the idiosyncrasies of human hearing require that the ears be used to match perceived volume levels. Also yes, some sort of reference is needed so that you are using your ears to set levels at a point that makes some kind of sense rather than just wherever your volume settings happen to land. For my part, I have a patch that consists simply of a 3-Note Generator that I’ve set to hit my DAW at -18dB. When setting levels in a new patch, I use that as a reference to set my squeaky clean level and then set other levels by ear with the squeaky clean sound as a reference. In this way, I know that my levels are in an appropriate range for interfacing with other equipment because my DAW told me, and I know that they will have the desired perceived volume relative to each other because my ears told me. It’s a process that helps the world make sense for me.

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Here's a link from a video from Scott's Digital Guitar Playground on setting volume levels.  In short, he uses the meter on the board to get the patches at a similar level, but uses his ears when setting the boost for solos (which he uses the expression pedal).  He does not set a clean tone, but based on the fact that he said he uses his ears for the boost, I suspect that he would do the same for clean - use the meter to start and then his ears for the fine adjustment.  He also states, as many have on this thread, that you should set your levels a gig volume.  Oh, and his main volume knob is at about 2:00

 

https://youtu.be/crB1RL0DqCs

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I have done some research on leveling patches by loudness metering using Youlean Loudness Meter 2 set to read EBU R128 integrated loudness value.

 

I have recorded three pieces of guitar playing (about 30s, DI track and then reamped tracks):
House Of The Rising Sun (HORS)
Smoke On The Water (SOTW)
D drop Chugga Chuggah (DDRP)

 

I have used three 2.81 firmware factory patches:
01A US Double Norm
01C Brit Plexi Brt
03D Revv Gen Red 

 

Absolute Measurements:

 

Title       DI     01A   01C   03D   (LUFS)

HORS  -30.7 -17.4 -19.0 -21.0
SOTW -31.9 -23.3 -20.2 -21.9
DDRP  -33.9 -24.7 -20.3 -20.3

 

Loudness differences with 01A as the reference:


Title    01A  01C  03D   (LUFS)

HORS  0.0  -1.6  -3.6
SOTW 0.0  +3.1  +1.4
DDRP  0.0  +4.4  +4.4

 

As you may notice on "House of the Rising Sun" patch "Revv" is 3.6 LUFS quieter and 4.4 LUFS louder on "D Drop" with respect to the patch "US Double Norm" with different playing. 8dB (LUFS) difference is the serious issue.

 

Conclusion

Using the loudness metering (EBU R128 integrated) for leveling very different patches with very different input material may not be the accurate method or require some additional "weightning".

Ouestion:
How do you judge the loudness of those three patches with your ears?

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@zolko60, I noticed what you say long ago. In my preactical cases variations are probably comparable to yours (+/- 4dB or more), so I didn't see the point in measuring.

 

I shared in this thread the simple explanation. It is simple. It is impossible to keep the balance in loudness among very different  presets  for different input signals.

 

Simple example: If you have 2 simple patches, one with a drastic compressor and NOTHING in the other, if you balance loudness for WEAK signals, when you play stronger the non-compressed patch will sound proportionally louder. And the compressed patch will compress... and sound LESS louder.

 

For the DSP experts: even an ideal linear, time-invariant system ("LTI") does not guarantee that you can keep equal loudness for different source signals. The counter-example to break this "false rule" is equally simple to find.

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I can see both sides to this argument, but I don't think they're mutually exclusive at all.

 

I personally tend to favor the use of a meter simply as a tool to establish a stable starting point, not a replacement for adjusting by ear.  The value is being able to see what the mixing board is going to see when they gain stage your signal, and some assurance that gain staging will be stable across all of your presets and snapshots.  Beyond that you still have to do some comparative work by ear so that your presets will work in context with an actual band.  Generally, in my experience, that type of adjustments won't be enough to throw off your signal enough to cause problems at the board, but it will help to level out the perceivable differences between vastly different  tones such as clean, crunchy or lead and lend itself to a better stage mix.

 

This becomes very important for those that run their own PA's (no soundman) as it helps to stabilize the FOH fader as well as the stage monitor fader (if used for your guitar signal) on your channel throughout the performance.  For example, the perceived loudness of a lead doesn't necessarily need a boost on the faders if the overall tone and character of the lead changes producing a jump in the perceived loudness.

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Hi,

 

i am also having problems with handling consistent levels over different presets.

And although i won't deny the effects of perceived loudness, EQing, Fletcher/Munson, .... i dont think they are the main reason for one preset being hardly audible and the next blasting your brains out of your ears.

And THAT is what i experience (esp. with imported presets).

I don't mind a metal preset being more gritty and powerful and the clean ambience preset being more constraint.

But when one Pink Floyd preset lets you turn the volume knob to 2 o'clock and the next one to 10 - and NOT having a simple way to fix that - is just weird.

And I don't  consider going through a 3 parameters of 3 Blocks over 9 Snapshots 'simple'.

 

 

I really love the Helix and i can live with that oddity - but i can't understand when people are just  denying it (and declare it a user error).

 

Bye

 

Simon

 

 

P.S.: Not that i want to go back, but with the tc electronics g system i never had (nor heard of) similar problems. ;-)

P.P.S: Thank God for the volume  knob at least ... it would have been far worse if one would have to go through menus for that.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Parapentep70 said:

It is impossible to keep the balance in loudness among very different  presets  for different input signals.

 

Simple example: If you have 2 simple patches, one with a drastic compressor and NOTHING in the other, if you balance loudness for WEAK signals, when you play stronger the non-compressed patch will sound proportionally louder. And the compressed patch will compress... and sound LESS louder.


I am just a sunday scientist... I believe the loudness measurement algorithm is immune even to drastic compression/limiting but the guitar distortion is apparently in some pathological ballpark. :D
My conclusion is strong but if you play "Chugga chuggah" you probably do not play "House of the Raising Sun" on the same patch, so LUFS measurement may be still usefull for comparing the same kind of patches or/and the same kind of playing. This is why I think absolute leveling to equal loudness is not necessary/possible at all.

My question is still valid: Can anybody prove that leveling (to equal loudness) those three patches makes sense and can be done by ear better regardless different playing?

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1 hour ago, Simon268 said:

But when one Pink Floyd preset lets you turn the volume knob to 2 o'clock and the next one to 10 - and NOT having a simple way to fix that - is just weird.

And I don't  consider going through a 3 parameters of 3 Blocks over 9 Snapshots 'simple'.

 

But there is a simple way.

The output block has a level control. Balance the two presets and you will never have to touch the volume knob between presets again.

 

If the snapshots are out of balance within a given preset... then it's a gain staging issue between snaps. You would have the same problem with a pedal board if all you did was crank up the gain on the overdrive without adjusting a level somewhere else to compensate. You cannot change a bunch of parameters (Helix, Multi FX, Pedal Board/Amp) and expect the level to remain the same without compensation.  

 

If you want an automated solution to this.... try setting a hard limiter at the end of each chain. No chain will EVER get louder than the settings you set there. Problem is... you will soon realize the perceptional differences still exist and there is no automated solution for perception.  

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On 6/12/2019 at 10:40 PM, Digital_Igloo said:

The Output block's Level parameter is probably the most transparent place to level presets, but if you don't have Dynamics blocks after your amp, there's a good chance you can just turn the Amp's Channel Volume knob. (It's completely transparent and doesn't affect the amp tone in any way.) This is how I quickly level my presets in the studio:

  1. Press the AMP button and turn Knob 6 (Ch Vol).
  2. Press SAVE twice.
  3. Switch to an adjacent preset and repeat steps 1 and 2. Rinse and repeat.

IMPORTANT! Meters do NOT help when leveling presets; in fact, they often make preset level jumps WORSE, because they lack the ability to compensate for how perceived loudness is often radically affected by your playback system's frequency response, playback volume, acoustics, location of your ears with regard to playback system, whether you're playing with other musicians, how close they are, what notes they're playing at any given point in the song, etc. If you play live, the ONLY way to properly level presets is at the venue, playing at gig level, with the band, with your ears. No amount of technology will give you a free lunch.

 

How about Peak Leds on each block? at least it helps to find which block is distorting.... 

I play with the Powercab plus and have found that checking each block helped me get a decent level without distorting in very extreme patches.... with many many blocks

 

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4 minutes ago, codamedia said:

But there is a simple way.

The output block has a level control. Balance the two patches and you will never have to touch the volume knob between presets again.

Balance to what reference on what playing? If the difference is 8 LUFS on loudness metering you can expect even more difference on RMS or peak metering.

 

10 minutes ago, codamedia said:

Problem is... you will soon realize the perceptional differences still exist and there is no automated solution for perception.  

So if the patches of the different kind can be leveled by perception (ears) please propose the output block volume corrections of those three patches I tested.

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1 hour ago, zolko60 said:

Balance to what reference on what playing? If the difference is 8 LUFS on loudness metering you can expect even more difference on RMS or peak metering.

 

So if the patches of the different kind can be leveled by perception (ears) please propose the output block volume corrections of those three patches I tested.

 

I am not in a debate with you about meters, lufs, rms, peak, etc... etc... I have my method of balancing patches (you can read my posts in this thread if you want) and they work 100% for me so I am not having an issue. That is NOT what I am talking about in the response you have quoted and decided to argue with. 

 

I am simply trying to explain to somebody that to balance a preset (however you want to measure that balance) is easy.... adjust the level at the output meter and save it. You DO NOT adjust it with the volume knob from preset to preset, snapshot to snapshot as the person I replied to is doing. 

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7 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I have my method of balancing patches (you can read my posts in this thread if you want) and they work 100% for me

I thought if you have your method of balancing patches and it works in 100% cases, you can demonstrate it on those three patches and somebody can check if it works for him. For the remote checking it is important to provide dB value of the correction.
Saving the output block volume value is of course more convinient way of leveling patches than using the volume knob with no scale. This is definitely the idea worth spreading.

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Maybe this has already been mentioned (this topic has a lot of posts) but I think one of the simpler ways to level out presets is often overlooked. Don't gain stage your signal path so hot. Consider what will happen with your signal when it hits your monitor when setting unity gain - I know a lot of people love the sound they are getting when the 'Ch Vol', volume knob, and everything else is cranked and the output is set to 'Line'.  When the signal feeding your FRFR, guitar amp, or board gets hot enough or your monitor itself is set too loud even relatively small changes in the levels between presets/snapshots can become wildly exaggerated; multiplied exponentially many times when it hits your FRFR or guitar amp's amplification section.

 

You can still have the heaviest distorted metal tone imaginable, just turn down the output level somewhere in your signal chain before your monitor or even turn down your monitor if necessary. . You will still have to make some effort to level your presets/snapshots but you may find the volume differences between your presets and snapshots way less jarring, dramatic, and problematic. Slamming your monitor with high output levels is really easy to do with a modeler, especially one with no output metering. Too hot a signal requires more frequent, more fidgety and precise, and more unnecessary adjustments to patch levels.

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15 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

Maybe this has already been mentioned (this topic has a lot of posts) but I think one of the simpler ways to level out presets is often overlooked. Don't gain stage your signal path so hot. Consider unity gain - I know a lot of people love the sound they are getting when the 'Ch Vol', volume knob, and everything else is cranked and the output is set to 'Line'.  When the signal feeding your FRFR, guitar amp, or board gets hot enough though even relatively small changes in the levels between presets/snapshots can become wildly exaggerated; multiplied exponentially many times when it hits your FRFR or guitar amp's amplification section. You can still have the heaviest distorted metal tone imaginable, just turn down the output level somewhere in your signal chain. You will still have to make some effort to level your presets/snapshots but you may find the volume differences between your presets and snapshots way less jarring, dramatic, and problematic. Slamming your monitor with high output levels is really easy to do with a modeler, especially one with no output metering. Too hot a signal makes the job of leveling presets/snapshots more necessary and frequent.

THIS! A good rule of thumb is, as you add blocks, if you disable the block the volume should not jump very much from the unaffected signal.

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On 8/15/2019 at 10:53 AM, zolko60 said:

I thought if you have your method of balancing patches and it works in 100% cases, you can demonstrate it on those three patches and somebody can check if it works for him.

 

I made that statement (100% success) in response to your comment... so I really don't think you were "asking that" from me to begin with.

Now that you are really asking me, this is my method.... Hope it helps someone else, but it does require access to a meter... then a good set of ears :) 

  1. Disable the volume knob
  2. Set the input gain on the mixer to unity (most mixers show this spot).
  3. Set the channel to SOLO so it's input is shown on the meters. 
  4. Set the level of the preset to reach 0 on the meters.
    NOTE: This is ANALOG 0, not DIGITAL 0. Translated it is about -18 on digital meters. 
  5. Adjust the levels from past knowledge... EG: I may want some presets a few DB lower, others a few a bit higher. If you know the results you want you start to get good at this. 
  6. Take the helix to rehearsal.... fine tune the levels with the band at full volume. 
  7. When I get to the stage... I NEVER have to adjust a single volume on the fly. This is 100% success in my book! 

NOTE: Sometimes #6 is not an option.... in that case I make a mental note during a live performance and tweak it after the set/show. It is NEVER a huge problem... just a small tweak here and there. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, codamedia said:

 

I made that statement (100% success) in response to your comment... so I really don't think you were "asking that" from me to begin with.

Now that you are really asking me, this is my method.... Hope it helps someone else, but it does require access to a meter... then a good set of ears :) 

  1. Disable the volume knob
  2. Set the input gain on the mixer to unity (most mixers show this spot).
  3. Set the channel to SOLO so it's input is shown on the meters. 
  4. Set the level of the preset to reach 0 on the meters.
    NOTE: This is ANALOG 0, not DIGITAL 0. Translated it is about -18 on digital meters. 
  5. Adjust the levels from past knowledge... EG: I may want some presets a few DB lower, others a few a bit higher. If you know the results you want you start to get good at this. 
  6. Take the helix to rehearsal.... fine tune the levels with the band at full volume. 
  7. When I get to the stage... I NEVER have to adjust a single volume on the fly. This is 100% success in my book! 

NOTE: Sometimes #4 is not an option.... in that case I make a mental note during a live performance and tweak it after the set/show. It is NEVER a huge problem... just a small tweak here and there. 

 

 

This is pretty much the essence of how I've done it over the last 3 years and it's never failed to provide a consistent level every time.  The difference is I don't try to match the gain knob's unity setting as that is expected to vary with every channel input.  I do target a consistent signal level between patches and snapshots as far as the meters are concerned, which can then be tailored to the mixer's unity level via the gain knob on the mixer the same as as is done on all other channel inputs.  I also do a comparative volume check by ear after setting my basic signal level to account for perceived loudness levels.

At sound check time it's just a matter of playing through any one of my presets so the signal level can be adjusted via the gain knob to whatever the sound crew wants (typically unity)

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On 8/15/2019 at 3:37 PM, codamedia said:

 

But there is a simple way.

The output block has a level control. Balance the two presets and you will never have to touch the volume knob between presets again....

Thanks for the advice.

The output block was always my first approach- But (if i recall correctly) in a lot of cases the output block was also part of the individual snapshots (exactly how you suggested to compensate different gain levels). So you have to  adjust it for every snapshot individually ... and risk to lose the original volume relations between the snapshots. :-(

 

So  e.g. a 'attenuate/push proportional over  all snapshots' feature would be nice.

And THAT's what the Volume knob does .... unfortunately not saveable :-D.

On the other hand that might be a solution: A gain block (not 'snapshotified') directly before the output block .... that should do the trick, doesn't it?

 

 

 

Bye

 

Simon

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1 hour ago, Simon268 said:

The output block was always my first approach- But (if i recall correctly) in a lot of cases the output block was also part of the individual snapshots (exactly how you suggested to compensate different gain levels). So you have to  adjust it for every snapshot individually

 

For the record, I have never suggested to use the output block to balance snapshots, I said you need to gain stage snaps accordingly.

I suggested you use the output block to balance presets! There is a difference. 

 

A parameter is only associated with a snapshot IF and only IF you assign it as a snapshot controller. 

By default, the output block will work as a GLOBAL level on the entire preset, not as a snapshot parameter. 

 

If you have a preset that has set the output block to snapshots you have the option of removing that parameter as a snapshot controller... or yes, you have to adjust it per snapshot. Although that is a valid approach, it's not the way I would do it... I would remove it as a controller and gain stage each snapshot properly myself. YMMV.

 

Gain Staging 101: Every effect on the Helix has a level control. When that effect is turned on the preset should remain the same volume (there are some exceptions to this with boosts and such).... if it's too loud, turn the level down on that block! If it's too quiet, turn up the level! Repeat for any block you add. This is no different to how you would have to do it with a traditional pedal board... the only difference is you can save it with the Helix. 

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On 6/14/2019 at 2:13 PM, PierM said:

 

Saying meters are useless, in a machine that does offer 2 instrument input, mic input, 4 send 4 return, digital input, digital output, multi channel USB routing, 4 paths, 2 xlr out, 2 1/4" out, L6 link.... and more... it's really something hideous to say, but you are free to say what you want really, I'd still enjoy to have advanced metering.

 

I do have any sort of toy connected to my Helix, and having meters for each input and out available, would be a great help to balance, level, find and isolate problems, just everthing a meter does. That's like a mixer without meters.

 

Isn't about being obsessed, it's about keeping signals under control when you move your rig all the time and you don't want to use the volume knob to trial and error your routing.

 

 

 

 

Exactly. 

Say you're getting horrible feedback. It might be the level is too hot. It might be you're over compressing. Or adding too much distorsión. Or it's that fuzz in combination with that other effect. 

This is even worse on the case of the mic signal, more prone to feedback. 

Signal level is the first place to check. Gimme a red light!. If I know the output level is healthy I can then go and check if the compression is crazy high or whatever. 

Let's not forget there might be other devices with their own level issues. A guitar amp, a PA system for vocals... Now if none have level meters, you're in for some figuring out. Gimme a red light!. 

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After proper gain staging, I agree your ears are most likely to be the best tool for final leveling.  But as far as clipping goes, even the X3 Live had a clipping light. 

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I see the second topic of this thread is the idea of implementing metering in Helix hardware.
I can imagine such a need but please consider:
- we do not know what is the screen refresh or if a display GPU (if any) can handle such a task,
- we do not know if and what DSP resources would be required,
also Helix Floor has 7 analog and 12 digital inputs, 8 analog and 10 digital outputs - that is a plenty of meters!

26 minutes ago, lungho said:

But as far as clipping goes, even the X3 Live had a clipping light. 

OK, but if you keep -20LUFS at output, your headroom is quite safe.

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2 minutes ago, zolko60 said:

... Helix Floor has 7 analog and 12 digital inputs, 8 analog and 10 digital outputs - that is a plenty of meters!

OK, but if you keep -20LUFS at output, your headroom is quite safe.

How do you keep - 20LUFS at output without a level indicator?. Let's not forget Helix is a pedal board multi effects unit, after all. It's supposed to be at your feet, probably in a rehearsal space. I don't have a PC or a DAW. And I shouldn't if I want to play guitar and just make sure I'm at healthy levels. 

Voicelive 3 has some basic rudementary leds to indicate the level. It can't be that hard. At least a red light... Say there's feedback and level issues, you should arlt least be able to tell the sound guy with some level of confidence that your signal level is OK. I don't think a "I checked it at home with a computer and a Daw a few weeks ago" would be convincing. 

 

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17 minutes ago, tahiche said:

How do you keep - 20LUFS at output without a level indicator?.

If you measure once or believe me that 01A, 01C, 03D are about -20LUFS no matter what you play then you can make a similar volume on any patch.

 

21 minutes ago, tahiche said:

Voicelive 3 has some basic rudementary leds to indicate the level

...and Helixes released so far have no leds to indicate the levels.

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5 hours ago, codamedia said:

...

A parameter is only associated with a snapshot IF and only IF you assign it as a snapshot controller. 

By default, the output block will work as a GLOBAL level on the entire preset, not as a snapshot parameter. 

...

 

I have this problem mainly with imported presets .... and usually they come with that...

5 hours ago, codamedia said:

...

If you have a preset that has set the output block to snapshots you have the option of removing that parameter as a snapshot controller... or yes, you have to adjust it per snapshot. Although that is a valid approach, it's not the way I would do it... I would remove it as a controller and gain stage each snapshot properly myself. YMMV.

 

Gain Staging 101: Every effect on the Helix has a level control. When that effect is turned on the preset should remain the same volume (there are some exceptions to this with boosts and such).... if it's too loud, turn the level down on that block! If it's too quiet, turn up the level! Repeat for any block you add. ...

And THAT is exactly what i call 'not simple' ;-)

... esp for presets that are created by somebody else, where i have to work through 10 blocks over 8 Snapshots and readjust the levels...

 

Compare that with one turn on the volume knob (or one gain block at the end of the chain) and i think it's clear what i mean.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, zolko60 said:

you measure once or believe me that 01A, 01C, 03D are about -20LUFS no matter what

And this is with Helix volume knob at full and no padding? (that's unity I believe). Is this independent of the guitar? 

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1 hour ago, tahiche said:

And this is with Helix volume knob at full and no padding? (that's unity I believe). Is this independent of the guitar? 

The volume knob does not matter with leveling patches. Its purpose is setting global monitoring volume. The unity is also irrelevant to leveling patches.
The guitar can be a factor. The brigde PAF style humbucker gives about -30LUFS unpadded. How the output loudness is dependent on the guitar is not researched yet. Still some measurements and setting some reference patches solves the problem.

 

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14 hours ago, Simon268 said:

And THAT is exactly what i call 'not simple' ;-)

 

It is a fundamental understanding of how to keep your levels under control. It is not new with a Helix... it has always existed. 

Have you ever owned a pedal board? Did you not bend over and adjust the level on your overdrive so the volume stayed consistent whether the effect was on or off? That's all I'm trying to explain :) 

 

14 hours ago, Simon268 said:

Compare that with one turn on the volume knob (or one gain block at the end of the chain) and i think it's clear what i mean.

 

That's a great solution for balancing presets...  but when adjusting parameters in snapshots you really need to keep each effect balanced. They are different...

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@codamedia

Maybe it's hard to believe, but i really didn't. :-)

 

i was always a multieffects guy and since my first steps in 1989 the Helix  is my fourth device and the first one without (what i call) a simple way of leveling presets....even the first one without a level meter.

 

But our main difference seems to be that we are talking about two very different scenarios:

- You are talking about building a preset on your own, adding one block after the other, routing paths, fiddeling parameters, customizing snapshots,...

- i am on the other hand talk about buying 12 presets from 5 different sources, all with different (but very sophisticated) philosophies about how to build presets (incl. Routing, snapshot design, .... and levelling!!). All those presets sound awesome ..... as long as i keep my fat fingers from the parameters. :-)

 

You explained very well why you don't need  'a simple way' (or how your way is simple) in your scenario.

But it doesn't apply to mine.

 

bye

 

Simon

 

 

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This also gives me another cool idea. If you could determine 6 parameters that could go to the 6 knobs when you switch to a new preset, all from different blocks if need be, so you could literally bend down and change that gain stage on the fly.

 

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On 8/15/2019 at 7:17 PM, codamedia said:

 

I made that statement (100% success) in response to your comment... so I really don't think you were "asking that" from me to begin with.

Now that you are really asking me, this is my method.... Hope it helps someone else, but it does require access to a meter... then a good set of ears :) 

  1. Disable the volume knob
  2. Set the input gain on the mixer to unity (most mixers show this spot).
  3. Set the channel to SOLO so it's input is shown on the meters. 
  4. Set the level of the preset to reach 0 on the meters.
    NOTE: This is ANALOG 0, not DIGITAL 0. Translated it is about -18 on digital meters. 
  5. Adjust the levels from past knowledge... EG: I may want some presets a few DB lower, others a few a bit higher. If you know the results you want you start to get good at this. 
  6. Take the helix to rehearsal.... fine tune the levels with the band at full volume. 
  7. When I get to the stage... I NEVER have to adjust a single volume on the fly. This is 100% success in my book! 

NOTE: Sometimes #4 is not an option.... in that case I make a mental note during a live performance and tweak it after the set/show. It is NEVER a huge problem... just a small tweak here and there. 

 

 

 

This is pretty much exactly how I approach things. I use the XLR outs to the PA with the Volume knob set to control only my 1/4 outs to my guitar monitor on stage. One exception is you must be doing a better job than me leveling all the presets ahead of time as I do find myself using my expression pedal(volume block) here and there to adjust the output levels to my liking.

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23 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

One exception is you must be doing a better job than me leveling all the presets ahead of time as I do find myself using my expression pedal(volume block) here and there to adjust the output levels to my liking.

 

So in other words, when all is said and done, regardless of what some meter has told you (ahead of time and out of context), the final arbiter is your ears... ain't that something? ;)

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13 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

One exception is you must be doing a better job than me leveling all the presets ahead of time as I do find myself using my expression pedal(volume block) here and there to adjust the output levels to my liking.

 

I wouldn't say that, I'm pretty sure what you are saying is what I address in my bullet #6 and within my note.

EDIT: I just noticed that my note is wrong.... I meant to reference bullet #6, not bullet #4.... which likely lead to a little confusion. I've fixed my original post.

 

12 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

So in other words, when all is said and done, regardless of what some meter has told you (ahead of time and out of context), the final arbiter is your ears... ain't that something? ;)

 

The vast majority that are in support of meters on this thread have made it clear they are to quickly set a reference level that matches the others... they don't say it replaces the ears as the final judge :)  Myself? I cannot trust my ears to set the reference level without context... that's why I like to use meters for that job. 

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