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Helix large volume knob


rectoverb
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Not sure where to set that large volume knob.. any ideas/information would be appreciated....

 

Helix is pretty comprehensive.. but seems like there could/should be the ability to check for levels going out of the unit. One main issue for me is wanting to have unity gain from the Helix to the input of my amp (no blocks active) when compared to a straight signal from my guitar.  With this,  then I could truly set levels on the Blocks to boost or cut gain ( comparatively ).    

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There's no 'right', or unity, setting for the Heli master volume. Generally speaking the signal-to-noise ratio is better at higher volumes but I often set it at less than 50% (say 10 o'clock) in my home studio with no audible noise. Normally you would set this level once at the beginning of each session, relative to the other instruments and vocals, and leave it for the session.

 

As for the inclusion of a level monitor in Helix, I'm pretty sure that suggestion has already been made in Ideascale. You could search and vote for it.

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I have always just set that knob on any gear like this all the way up for simplicity's sake and adjust levels in the unit. Otherwise I'm never remembering exactly where it was... and it's easy to get right.

Then again, I run direct so far all the time with my Helix.

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I too have read that 'full-up' is unity gain.  This works for me for live application as I am playing straight into a Stagesource FRFR powered speaker.  I just turn down the gain on the speaker and the sound man takes care of his end.  I also run an acoustic guitar (real one) through the Helix with no amp - just effects.  The "big knob" needs to be pretty high for this application to get a good signal to the speaker.  I do know from personal experience that if you are doing a 4 cable or WDW method into an actual amp that a 'full-on' "big knob" volume level is ludicrous.  It's my strong opinion that the Helix is designed from the ground up to be paired to a digital source first and any other use is bonus that has to be compensated for.  In other words, an upgraded version of the previously marketed "dream rig" which was a Variax guitar>HD500>Stagesource speaker.   I have found that if you have to use the Helix for 'various' setups the "big knob" volume issue is frustrating because using it to make large volume adjustments to compensate for changes in rigs/uses drastically changes the character of the gain settings in your preset (same as cleaning up the tone with guitar volume or pushing the volume of a tube amp).  The Helix is Awesome!  But you basically have to just create (or download) a preset you like and re-create as many versions of it as you have applications.  I'm going to check out the two Anderton's videos again in which  Paul Hindmarsh demos the Helix, one vid with an FRFR speaker and another with a tube amp, and see if there is a difference in his "big knob" settings.  I would think Line 6's rep would be the one to pattern after as a starting point.

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Okay I just viewed the 2 Anderton's videos in which Paul Hindmarsh demos Helix using [Video one]: a Line 6 Stagesource speaker (what they hear) and also going straight into recording equipment/DAW/whatever for the video (what we hear) and [Video two]: a tube amp and an analog pedal in one of the Helix loops (what they hear), and a room mic into recording video (what we hear).  Looks like his "Big Knob" volume settings are:

(1)  approx 11:30 for FRFR powered speaker application

(2)  approx 10:00 for Tube amp application using 4 cable method

Both vids are obviously studio examples and not live stage, but I think I'm going to start using 12:00 as a starting point in the future when creating new presets and see how it works for me and my equipment.  That way maybe if I have to change the volume setting a little either way for different apps, it wont mess with the tone much.

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I took what may be a goofy approach and effectively "disabled" the big knob. I set the global for it to only control the spdif outputs (which I will never use). Then I set the other output globals (1/4" XLR) to either "instrument" or "line" depending on how i plan to use them. That way all volumes and levels are controlled from within the patch and not dependant on the weird (to me) big knob.

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I took what may be a goofy approach and effectively "disabled" the big knob. I set the global for it to only control the spdif outputs (which I will never use). The I set the other output globals (1/4" XLR) to either "instrument" or "line" depending on how i plan to use them. That way all volumes and levels are controlled from within the patch and not dependant on the weird (to me) big knob.

 

 

Hi.. Now that, I've not tried...  great suggestion..      I'm glad to hear collaboration with others at setting the volume at about 10 or so for input to an instrument level amp.. which is where I'm finding a transparent level.

 

thanks.

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I took what may be a goofy approach and effectively "disabled" the big knob. I set the global for it to only control the spdif outputs (which I will never use). The I set the other output globals (1/4" XLR) to either "instrument" or "line" depending on how i plan to use them. That way all volumes and levels are controlled from within the patch and not dependant on the weird (to me) big knob.

 

Nice tip to know. I didn't realize the volume knob was assignable like that.

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Okay I just viewed the 2 Anderton's videos in which Paul Hindmarsh demos Helix using [Video one]: a Line 6 Stagesource speaker (what they hear) and also going straight into recording equipment/DAW/whatever for the video (what we hear) and [Video two]: a tube amp and an analog pedal in one of the Helix loops (what they hear), and a room mic into recording video (what we hear). Looks like his "Big Knob" volume settings are:

(1) approx 11:30 for FRFR powered speaker application

(2) approx 10:00 for Tube amp application using 4 cable method

Both vids are obviously studio examples and not live stage, but I think I'm going to start using 12:00 as a starting point in the future when creating new presets and see how it works for me and my equipment. That way maybe if I have to change the volume setting a little either way for different apps, it wont mess with the tone much.

He'll just set it to what's comfortable in the room for these demos

I doubt he worries too much about it

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  • 5 months later...

I spent a hour today messing with "volume" and here is my conclusion.... Guitar into helix and into JBL studio monitors and USB to computer.....it does NOT matter about where the channel or helix master volumes are... neither bother the tone of your patches..... I put channel volume on 2, helix master on noon and played.... i put channel volume on 4 and helix master all the way up and played.... i put it back to where i keep it for recording and that's channel volume around 8 and helix master around 10am and played, they all responded the same... all i do know is each 3 effected the way I recorded though.... channel volumes low and helix master high = low input in DAW, but channel volume set to around 8 or so and helix master volume set low = higher input in DAW.  Levels over the USB interface are not affected by the Big Master knob on the Helix unit. So this means, leveling your patches for recording vs leveling for Live over the xlr or 1/4 outs are really two different beasts.

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I use the same approach on the Helix that I used on the HD500, which is based on live use.

 

When I build a patch, I set my Helix master volume knob at 50% hooked up to my Yamaha DXR12 with it's volume also set at 50%.  I use a target level of 80db on all of my patches with leads going up to 82 or 83db measured by a sound meter.  This leaves me plenty of headroom for adjustment depending on the size of the stage we play on.  Even on the largest stage I've never exceeded 60% in order to have ample stage volume.

 

In my case for live performances I plug the 1/4 out into a DI box and send a 1/4" line to my DXR12, and an XLR out (which would be line level) to the board.  I do this because some of our mic's require phantom power and not all boards have the ability to limit which channels to exclude from phantom power.  The board gain stages my output to the level it needs and I've never had any problems with either noise, and certainly not with signal clipping because I've built in more than enough headroom.

 

The advantage to this setup is that once the board gain stages one patch, that same gain level will be good for all patches.

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  • 2 years later...

So what is Volume Control?
Digital attenuator/booster before DA converter which I can assign to Multi Output as a master fader for XLR/1/4/AES/USB1/2out or as master fader for individual outputs (after their faders in Output Blocks)? Where is its unity gain setting? What is it's maximal boost? Why have I to find it out by experimenting? I know how few people read manuals, but I would appeciate adding couple of sentences more.
BTW. When can I find specs like Input/Output impedancies, Full-Scale Input Level for Helix LT?

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  • 6 months later...
On 2/6/2016 at 9:11 PM, phnurt said:

I took what may be a goofy approach and effectively "disabled" the big knob. I set the global for it to only control the spdif outputs (which I will never use). Then I set the other output globals (1/4" XLR) to either "instrument" or "line" depending on how i plan to use them. That way all volumes and levels are controlled from within the patch and not dependant on the weird (to me) big knob.

Amen. A knob is supposed to go to 11, not only left... What´s the point of a knob all the way to the right?. Knobs are for "gimme more" !!!

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I took a scientific approach. I put a 1KHz sine wave at 100mV p-p into the Helix Floor (blank preset with no blocks, outputs set to instrument level in Global settings), then scoped the 1/4" output, and adjusted the volume knob until the output amplitude was also 100mV. Volume knob was at about 1 o'clock. I put a yellow sticky arrow on the panel to mark the spot. That's my unity gain.

 

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1 hour ago, aaronlyon said:

I took a scientific approach. I put a 1KHz sine wave at 100mV p-p into the Helix Floor (blank preset with no blocks, outputs set to instrument level in Global settings), then scoped the 1/4" output, and adjusted the volume knob until the output amplitude was also 100mV. Volume knob was at about 1 o'clock. I put a yellow sticky arrow on the panel to mark the spot. That's my unity gain.

 

You are still attenuating the full signal, which is not necessarily the best practice for connecting to most FoH and recording equipment.

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15 hours ago, aaronlyon said:

set to instrument level in Global settings), then scoped the 1/4" output, and adjusted the volume knob until the output amplitude was also 100mV. Volume knob was at about

Really?. With input pad off?. Why is this so complicated!.

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On 11/24/2018 at 3:38 PM, zolko60 said:

So what is Volume Control?
Digital attenuator/booster before DA converter which I can assign to Multi Output as a master fader for XLR/1/4/AES/USB1/2out or as master fader for individual outputs (after their faders in Output Blocks)? Where is its unity gain setting? What is it's maximal boost? Why have I to find it out by experimenting? I know how few people read manuals, but I would appeciate adding couple of sentences more.
BTW. When can I find specs like Input/Output impedancies, Full-Scale Input Level for Helix LT?

The Volume Control is manipulator for the digital attenuators before DA converters it is controlling.
I was given that info by Customer Service.

 

On 11/24/2018 at 3:38 PM, zolko60 said:

Where is its unity gain setting?

Fully cockwise if the input/output pair is set to the same level (instr or line).

 

On 11/24/2018 at 3:38 PM, zolko60 said:

What is it's maximal boost?

0dB

On 11/24/2018 at 3:38 PM, zolko60 said:

Why have I to find it out by experimenting?

Because Line6 probably doesn't think this is important enough to be published.

 

On 11/24/2018 at 3:38 PM, zolko60 said:

When can I find specs like Input/Output impedancies, Full-Scale Input Level for Helix LT?

You will find partial spec here:


Full Scale levels according to some unofficial measurements are 19dBu for line level and 11dBu for instrument level.

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4 hours ago, tahiche said:

Really?. With input pad off?. Why is this so complicated!.

 

It's not. There are those who insist on making it complicated, however. There is only one question worth asking, no matter what volume you're playing at,  or what you're playing through: Do you like the way everything sounds? If the answer is yes, then it's game over... you've won. If not, adjust whatever needs adjusting until the answer is yes. If there were one...and only one...optimal setting for master volume (or anything else for that matter) then that's all we would have been given as an option. No other explanation makes sense. You'll never find a brochure that says "We've given you 11 different options for 'Function X'! But the first 10 suck because they're "wrong", so don't use them".

 

The "best" way to do things is far from universal... and you're only "doing it wrong" if everything sounds like $hit.

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6 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

: Do you like the way everything sounds? If the answer is yes, then it's game over... you've won. If not, adjust whatever needs adjusting

The point is that no, I don't like how everything sounds. And I'm trying to make adjustments. Deciding on the output level, in my case seems like a crucial starting point. I'm going from Helix to a tube amp. If it's too low I have to drive the amp too much... I need to get the right level to the amp. I had the big knob at 6. Then I read about setting it maxed, but now there's doubts about that too... 

With no blocks input from guitar and output should be at the same level. From there I can work properly. If it's not right I have to go through every path adjusting everything again. 

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4 minutes ago, tahiche said:

...Deciding on the output level, in my case seems like a crucial starting point...

This is possibly correct.

4 minutes ago, tahiche said:

With no blocks input from guitar and output should be at the same level. From there I can work properly. If it's not right I have to go through every path adjusting everything again. 

This is not necessarily correct, however. If it's not a drastic difference in level, concentrate on other things.

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1 hour ago, tahiche said:

With no blocks input from guitar and output should be at the same level. From there I can work properly. If it's not right I have to go through every path adjusting everything again. 

It is. The unity gain is when each input/output pair is set to instrument level with no block or Volume Knob (attenuator). When you use instrument level for an input and line level for an output you can find 8dB attenuation spot with Volume Knob what corresponds to instrument level with lower S/N ratio but larger headroom.
Please consider that eg some clean boosters have 20dB of boost. If your headroom is 10dBFS at Helix input, what is the case of peaks of PAF style pickup, you are not able to achive such amount of boost simulating that booster not distorting the DA converter unless you set higher DA "gear".
If you use amp simulations the unity gain is irrelevant - only interfacing with other line level devices. In this case I like to know what is my full scale "gear" is. The ideal situation is when both digital units has the same, eg 0dBFS=18dBu which assures you can controll or monitor the headroom on one device only.

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19 minutes ago, zolko60 said:

It is. The unity gain is when each input/output pair is set to instrument level with no block or Volume Knob (attenuator). When you use instrument level for an input and line level for an output you can find 8dB attenuation spot with Volume Knob what corresponds to instrument level with lower S/N ratio but larger headroom.
Please consider that eg some clean boosters have 20dB of boost. If your headroom is 10dBFS at Helix input, what is the case of peaks of PAF style pickup, you are not able to achive such amount of boost simulating that booster not distorting the DA converter unless you set higher DA "gear".
If you use amp simulations the unity gain is irrelevant - only interfacing with other line level devices. In this case I like to know what is my full scale "gear" is. The ideal situation is when both digital units has the same, eg 0dBFS=18dBu which assures you can controll or monitor the headroom on one device only.

Or you can worry less about measurements and just plug stuff in and see if it works and how it sounds.

There's a LOT of headroom in Helix. If your boost pedal overloads the input, I would think that turning on the pad would do it. If your clean boost overloads the input with the pad on, GOOD LORD MAN, either get a different clean boost or turn it the **** down.

 

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Thank you so much for your help!!.

7 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

Or you can worry less about measurements and just plug stuff in and see if it works and how it sounds.

I totally agree, except it´s not sounding great... As soon as i get  that "oh yes" moment, beleive me I won´t care for input impedance or headroom.... But since I´m not there and there´s so many points of failure i want to tackle the first and obvious one. This wouldn´t be the case witha FRFR but I have the impression it is with a Tube amp.

 

I was thinking of bringing my iPad to rehearse and try to get an idea of what levels I´m working with... Not only checking if the input signal is too hot (or the opposite) but also to get an idea of where to start with in compression settings and so on... 

If I hook my iPad (Cubasis, AUM) to th eHelix as an interface... Will the readings on the app be accurate?. That is, if i measure the levels of guitar/vocals with no blocks will that be the same level that comes out of 1/4 and XLR (respectively) ?. 

I don´t know if my vocals are at -20db, 0db... i haven´t got a clue. For example i got the vocal input at +9db (shure58) but maybe i could push it harder... 

If at least it had a red "clipping" light, that would tell "ok you´re at cero" and then you´d back off some. 

 

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