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USING HELIX WITH A GUITAR COMBO / MESA BOOGIE

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Hello everyone, thanks for contributing for this forum! Amazing source of information!

 

I finally received my Helix today, I am so happy about it, played with it for 4 hours working on different presets. My question is what is the best configuration to use it connected directly to my guitar combo, I will mic the combo to the main mixer.

 

Since I already have a Mesa Boogie Mark V, should I still create an amp/combo block or should only create a pre amp, or create nothing?

Is there anyway to send the effect session into my boogie send/return session and use the Helix overdrives/distortion emulation in front of the boogie??

 

I need to know what is the best optimized connection and configuration in this case. I really appreciate any insight.

 

Thank you in advance.

Marcio

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I would say 4 cable method with the amp control would give you the most versatility out of the Helix and your Mark V. This way you can use your Helix or the Mark's preamps as well as place your various fx before or after the preamp, i.e. your drives before and delays after.

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I use my Helix with a Mark V combo, and plug the Mark V into a Recto 2x12 cab occationally (all V30 speakers).  4CM works best for me, and i find the the Helix preamp-only models (with no amp or cab modelling) sound best to me.  I used the Global EQ at first to shave a little of the highs off, but I really need to go back and just adjust each patch now that I found what I like.

 

I also use an RJM Amp Gizmo and matching cable with the Mark V so I can switch the 3 channels, reverb, EQ, Solo, etc. via Helix midi. Alternately, I think you can use Helix's "Ext Amp" jack  with a 1/4" stereo cable to a stereo/mono/mono Y cable to the Mark V Ch 2 & Ch 3 switching jacks to control all 3 channels (Ch1 default on), but I haven't tried that yet. 

 

You probably already know this, but the top left voicing switch on each of the 3 channels affects the power amp section as well, allowing you to tweak the Mark V power amp to the Helix preamps if  you like.   (Ch 1: clean/fat/tweed, Ch 2: edge/crunch/mark I, Ch3: mark 2c+/mark IV/extreme), in addition to being able to set each channel to 90W/45W/10W, and the rectification of Ch 1 & 2 to tube/diodes, and Ch 3 to pentode/triode.   

 

I'd like to eventually try EL34's instead of 6L6's in the Mark V since many of my favorite Helix preamp models are british-style.

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There are 4CM templates in the last preset bank as well as others but I haven't done anything with them myself I have seen them and wanted to point it out if you didn't know already...

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I would say 4 cable method with the amp control would give you the most versatility out of the Helix and your Mark V. This way you can use your Helix or the Mark's preamps as well as place your various fx before or after the preamp, i.e. your drives before and delays after.

This. Exactly this. I use the 4CM with Helix and all of my tube amps and it works fantastic. I've tried FRFR and while it has its' advantages, I still prefer a half stack on stage and you can't quite replicate the tube power section of an amp. Close, but not perfect. I still love bottles.

 

My main rig is an Egnater Vengeance and I use the clean and dirty channels on that amp as well as several modeled amps in the helix going to the power section of the Egnater. Having the ability to set different effects either pre pr post EQ is ctitical to getting a great sound. plus Helix will handle the channel switching on most amps (my Blackstar Stage 60 is a problem based on the footswitch connector). I also use it as a midi connector to run my HK Grandmeister 36 setup. Talk about ridiculous versatility. 128 channels of programmable tube tone plus all of the helix modeling all run through real power tubes. Incredible.

 

Overall, this is the best system I have used for live sound. The helix replaced my TC G-System and Digitech GSP as well as a few tube distortion boxes.

 

For recording, the Helix works great just as is. It's a terrific stand-alone guitar processor and interface for my ProTools setup. And it replaced my Mbox as I now have 8 in 8 out.

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If I had I Mark V I don't think I'd need a Helix...just saying.  Maybe an Eventide H9 - that's about all I'd need.

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To be honest, I was really considering the RJM Mastermind GT to control my Mark V with an amp gizmo, a few pedals, and TC Nova System when Helix came out. The RJM was about $1500 and offered control only. I thought I would give Helix a shot since it seemed to have a similar level of contol, scribble strips. loops, Ext switches, and expression pedals. The effects, amp models, usb audio interface were bonus to me. The Brit and Plexi preamps are a nice compliment to the Mark V.

 

I actually just hooked up my Mesa V Twin pedal and am able to switch channels and bypass with the Helix Ext Amp jack to the 1/4" jacks on the V Twin.

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4 cable method with no amp or cabinet modeling would be my recommendation.  That's

 

Hey, If your plan is to mic the amp into the board, what about trying to mic the amp at the end, and running the mic back into Helix instead?  Then run XLR out from Helix to the board.  It could open up a lot of cool options and give you more control of whats happening with your onstage sound as well as sound to the PA.

 

You'd also be able to use your own mic and have it placed exactly where you want every time. You could give different reverb or delay mixes to the house vs onstage, or just run dry onstage.

 

I have a buddy who mentioned he does this with a vintage amp since he doesn't have an FX loop to 4 cable with.  there is enough I/O and routing flexibility to run 4CM with the Mark V and still use a path for the mic at the end.  It might take some tweaking, but it could be a really cool set up

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I have a pod HD 500, DT 25 amp and a JTV 69. If I get a Helix will I still enjoy a Line 6 out to control the DT 25? I like using the Variax connection so I don't assume any problems with that.

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I think there are a few other threads on DT/Helix integration. From what I understand, L6 Link can pass audio, but not control at the moment. I believe users are controlling amp topology over midi through the computer DT editor and saving to a preset in Helix. The DT amps have great midi implementation docs and Helix can be set up to send midi control messages. It seems like you could set up a Helix preset to edit DT topology directly, but I'm not sure if users have tried it

 

I'm not sure how much time I would invest in that though as DT integration is one of the top Idea Scale items.

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Thank you guys for all feedbacks, I will definitely try all these options and see which one should give me better tones.

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I have been reading the forums and watching a lot of utubes videos, this is the closest topic I have found to post my question. I have a Bogner Ecstasy and just ordered 2 laney IRT-X expansion cabinets. I want to run a wet dry wet setup, which I never have done. Any help on how to hook this up would be greatly appreciated.

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I just bought a Mesa King Snake - it was listed at an insanely cheap price so I bought it.  This was after trying out my Helix with the Atomic CLR II Neo with a JBL Eon G2 sub (which sounded awesome) and then the next weekend using a Mission Engineering Gemini I Wedge with a Behringer 1200 Sub (which sounded even better - especially with the ability on the Gemini to dial back the flat response to a cab response control to tame the highs).  But the King Snake was at such a low price, I just had to pick it up.  So I hooked it up with the 1/4 inch out into Channel 1 which is the extra gain stage channel, and then send 3/4 into the return of the loop on the King Snake and the return 3/4 into the send of the loop on the King Snake.  This is where it gets crazy good:  I used a Groove Tubes Power Attenuator between the Amp out of the King Snake and the special Fillmore speaker of the King Snake and routed the cab simulator signal out of the Power Attenuator into the Behringer 1200 Sub.  Then I took the other cab simulator output of the attenuator and fed that to the house system.

 

OMG!  I was in tone heaven for sure.  I play in our worship band and OMG this sound beat the FRFR systems by a mile!  My Santana lead tone starts with compressor and noise gate before going into the channel 1 of the amp.  then in the loop I have the volume and delay and I just use the on board reverb of the King Snake at max.  My leads were singing and sustaining forever!  I put the wattage on the King Snake to 60 because it sounded better than the 10 watt setting and the attenuator was at 25% power versus 50%.

 

Now I have a santana lead for the FRFR set up that I got off the internet that sounded awesome, but this setup with the King Snake fearing nails it!!!

 

Now my rhythm is Edge U2 style with delays etc so I just use the Helix vox settings and delays without the cab IR and that goes direct into the King Snake power amp through the send 3/4 of the Helix.  OMG - that chimes and chimes and chimes like I was playing through my real 80's Vox AC30 that I played through before the Helix. That King Snake power section and speaker chimes exactly like my AC30.  And again it sounds better than running either FRFR setup through the Atomic or the ME Gemini.  And they both sound awesome too.

 

But I think what makes this sound huge (not meaning loud but dynamic and dimensional) is the feeding of the signal to the sub.  The sub and the amp combo makes it sound like I'm playing through a stack for 4x10's!  And again not the volume but the dynamic range and feeling of covering the frequency spectrum.

 

Well, also my PRS Santana MD also plays a big role in the sound in that i can get the edge sound in single coil mode and the Santana lead sound in the neck humbucking mode.  And then the volume control on the guitar does everything to control the attack and amount of sustain and liquid distortion on the lead channel.  I can totally get the Santana Moonflower sound or the Budokan sound (where he is not as distortion saturated) or I can get his current sound which is more distortion saturated.  He does use this amp on tour blended with a couple of Dumbles but I can really cop that modern sound too!

 

Tone heaven gang so I am a big believer in the effects loop and Helix as the controller.

 

Oh yeah, one more awesome accident i found was running the Bonamassa patch (I purchased through the internet) which is a marshal plexi amp into Channel 1 of the King Snake.  I didn't mean to do that - I meant to run it into the Send 3/4 into the Power amp of the King Snake.  Well, what I totally got was a Brian May queen sound that was clear articulate full of even order harmonics and sounded awesome!!! so I just keep that patch like it is.  This set up rocks gang so I fully endorse this type of set up.  Now I am pretty freaky about tweaking everything in my signal chain - like hours and hours and hours to get each patch and effect sounding perfect so it is not without a lot of time invested but the time was well worth it.  Rock on!

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I use my Helix with a Mark V combo, and plug the Mark V into a Recto 2x12 cab occationally (all V30 speakers).  4CM works best for me, and i find the the Helix preamp-only models (with no amp or cab modelling) sound best to me.  I used the Global EQ at first to shave a little of the highs off, but I really need to go back and just adjust each patch now that I found what I like.

 

I also use an RJM Amp Gizmo and matching cable with the Mark V so I can switch the 3 channels, reverb, EQ, Solo, etc. via Helix midi. Alternately, I think you can use Helix's "Ext Amp" jack  with a 1/4" stereo cable to a stereo/mono/mono Y cable to the Mark V Ch 2 & Ch 3 switching jacks to control all 3 channels (Ch1 default on), but I haven't tried that yet. 

 

You probably already know this, but the top left voicing switch on each of the 3 channels affects the power amp section as well, allowing you to tweak the Mark V power amp to the Helix preamps if  you like.   (Ch 1: clean/fat/tweed, Ch 2: edge/crunch/mark I, Ch3: mark 2c+/mark IV/extreme), in addition to being able to set each channel to 90W/45W/10W, and the rectification of Ch 1 & 2 to tube/diodes, and Ch 3 to pentode/triode.   

 

I'd like to eventually try EL34's instead of 6L6's in the Mark V since many of my favorite Helix preamp models are british-style.

Hi, could send your screen Command center with midi: cc....maybe toggle...etc?

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To be honest, I was really considering the RJM Mastermind GT to control my Mark V with an amp gizmo, a few pedals, and TC Nova System when Helix came out. The RJM was about $1500 and offered control only. I thought I would give Helix a shot since it seemed to have a similar level of contol, scribble strips. loops, Ext switches, and expression pedals. The effects, amp models, usb audio interface were bonus to me. The Brit and Plexi preamps are a nice compliment to the Mark V.

 

I actually just hooked up my Mesa V Twin pedal and am able to switch channels and bypass with the Helix Ext Amp jack to the 1/4" jacks on the V Twin.

Hey @roscoe5 

 

I have a Mark V head and a helix and I actually can't get the ext-amp switching to work. I'm using a Hosa STP203. 

 

If I pull the TRS end out of the helix slightly, it will change the channels. This is likely due to the tip/ring shorting to ground as it gets pulled out. 

 

What cable are you using with yours? I can't find any information about what is happening internally in the helix when you toggle the ext-amp control on a patch/snapshot after assigning the switch in command center. 

 

Thanks!

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I just got a Mesa JP-2C and am running 4CM with my Helix. I'm having difficulty programming the midi functions to control the channel switching of the amp. Can anyone offer advice. I've watched dozens of videos and read the manuals 100 times. This whole system is very new to me as I've always gone the easy route with my line 6 spider. It's finally time to be a big boy.

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I have been reading the forums and watching a lot of utubes videos, this is the closest topic I have found to post my question. I have a Bogner Ecstasy and just ordered 2 laney IRT-X expansion cabinets. I want to run a wet dry wet setup, which I never have done. Any help on how to hook this up would be greatly appreciated.

 

Lakas,i think it might be best to start a new thread with your question,i think it may get buried/ignored in this thread,of course i'm not suggesting this just because i'm really interested in the replies :D 

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