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mikisb

Helix: different day - different sound?

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Hi,

 

i own my Helix just a few days and i'm really happy with a lot of features. But i'm still to silly when it comes to a "good sound".

When i hear samples of factory presets in the net, they sound pretty good to me if i use headphones or frfr speakers to listen to.

Most sources of those samples tell to have recorded via usb without any tweaking or patching, so these sounds should be easy to reproduce. I use the actual firmware and did'nt tweak anything.

 

When i play the same factory presets on the same chain, they sound extremely different and these differences grow with overdrive or distortion. No matter if i use different headphones or different speakers, there is a huge difference between samples other people recorded and what comes out of my helix. So if there is any distortion, the sound gets relly muddy, harsh and seens to have some kind of noise overlaying the tone. Sounds somewhat artificial like plastic.

I tried even different guitars from Strat style to neckthru humbucker, does'nt affect the noise on distorted sounds

If i use line out, headphone out or usb does'nt make a difference in sound. The global EQ is neutral and switched off.

 

On the second day, this effect was in general existant but far smaller without having changed anything (as far as i remember). The presets still sounded a lot better but still not great. So did my ears change overnight or what could be happened? As the samples from other people sound the same to me, i think my ears are still OK?

 

In POD HD500, there was the option to chose the output mode between line-combo-poweramp... with big effects on the sound. Ist there something comparable in the Helix i did'nt see and changed without noticing?

 

I know that getting my prefered sound will make it necessary to tweak and to try - no question. But im talking just about preset sounds and with a digital device, they sould be exactly the same out of every unit.

 

I'm pretty shure that the helix has the sounds i want inside, but how i get them? The presets frome line6 can't be so cruel as i hear them.

 

Thanks for your advice

 

Michael

 

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Nothing that you hear in a demo video is going to sound identical when you get your hands on it...factory preset, or otherwise. I don't care how they claim it was recorded, or what other gear besides Helix was involved...there are simply too many variables to expect anything that even vaguely resembles continuity between a demo video and what you hear in your living room, rehearsal space, etc.

 

As for your ears...yes, perception of tone can absolutely change from one day to the next. Ear fatigue is very real...especially if you're playing through headphones. Play long enough, even at modest volumes, and your ears start to get "numb", for lack of a better term. Tweak too much for too long, and the next day that patch is very likely to sound a bit "off".

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As Cruisinon2 stated there are too many variables between when you hear a demo to when you try and recreate it.  Guitar and playing technique I would say are the largest variables.  That being said all of the factory presets on my Helix I thought sound very good and quite a few were very useful for me to build upon and edit for my personal setups and patches for various bands. (Much more useful than the presets in the HD500 series.)

 

You could also have a bad unit.  Best thing would be to record some examples of the factory presets that sound bad to you.  It could also be you are very used to the sound of your HD500.

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As for your ears...yes, perception of tone can absolutely change from one day to the next. Ear fatigue is very real...especially if you're playing through headphones. Play long enough, even at modest volumes, and your ears start to get "numb", for lack of a better term. Tweak too much for too long, and the next day that patch is very likely to sound a bit "off".

This is true, a guy who makes great presets said before about IR's and stuff that after about 15 min of swapping IR cabs or whatever that your "ears are fried" and IR you go through say. 50 or 100 ir's you won't be able tell much difference and you need to walk away for a wile.

 

 

I use the actual firmware

 

On the second day, this effect was in general existant but far smaller without having changed anything (as far as i remember). The presets still sounded a lot better but still not great. So did my ears change overnight or what could be happened? As the samples from other people sound the same to me, i think my ears are still OK? Michael

have you loaded the latest firmware and reset the presets as well because the original presets were not very good because they had a problem where all the candidates somehow got changed to using the same microphone and don't sound the way they were supposed to.

I can say when I first went through the first presets on firmware 1.0 that I couldn't find anything really usable in the whole first bank in the second bank of factory reset as I did like several of the sounds but once I loaded up the latest firmware and then did a reset on of the presets sounds 10 times better.

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Hi,

 

first, thanks for your advices!!

 

Well, i did a complete factory reset after the firmware update. And i know the effect that ears get tired and after a while i hear everything i want but not the reality. I know well this effect from developping loudspeakers, but for loudspeakers, i can continue by measuring what is a little bit more difficult when it comes to distorted guitar sound. So i can even measure pickups at different loads, but not really a complex signal.

 

I agree that the guitar makes a difference but wich becomes smaller as distortion gets more. So i used different guitars, with different pickups and i have the possibility to change the characteristics of the pickups using c-switches and variable parallel loads. As i build my guitars myself and even some pickups, i know my gear about good.

 

The biggest difference makes sureley the playing technique, as im really not the most talented player in the world. Lets say that i can better build guitars and pickups than i can play, and that's not difficult ;)  So i'll never sound a second like Bonamassa even if you'll put me his gear in my hands.

 

But what i hear (sometimes more and sometimes less) is this hissy, noisy distortion overlay from my helix where i don't hear it from foreign records. I chords, the different strings ar'nt to sepatate, even at low distortion (crunch), the tone gets muddy verry fast.

 

I can't belive that the paying technique, even if it's really bad, can produce this noise. Even regular pickups with resonance frequencies between 1000 and 4000 Hz  ar'nt able to produce this. Again - i think that i can eliminate this hiss by tweaking or EQing, but that's not my point.

 

I belive that the guys from Line6 tried to get (at last in the first 40 patches in setlist1) an authentic sound of the modelled amps when connected to a frfr system like PA or studio monitors. I bet that none of the originals sounds this harsh - even without mic. Not in a small room and not in a church and regardless of the used microphone.  Sounds like there would be no cab sim, but all amps in this banks are Amp+Cab+mic models.

When i try to modify single parameters on these cabs, the sound changes, so there are active.

 

OK, if the guys recorded these files tweaked their patces before, there is nothing to compare and my question would be answered.

But they say "without modification - recorded via usb". So for my understanding, a digital signal is recorded digital in a digital computer file and the result on my speakers should be about the same as the signal from the same patch, the same computer and the same speakers i use to hear the recordings. Even if they have their global EQ active - on USB-recordings it should not influence the record.

 

I think about buying some good ir's (ownhammer?) and perhaps some good patches (Glenn Delaune?), but if the difference between the demo recordings in the net and what comes out of my helix is this big, it would be more useful to tweak my own sounds.

 

Soundfiles would be a good idea to compare. Problem: If you would hear my playing you would immediately start crying, and i don't want to make you sad ;)

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[...]

I can't belive that the paying technique, even if it's really bad, can produce this noise.[...]

How much did you pay?

(Sorry, just a bad joke ;) )

Anyway, if you're too 'shy' to play a song, record and share just a few notes (slowly) -

maybe this would be even better to analyze the (faulty?) sound...

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 "As for your ears...yes, perception of tone can absolutely change from one day to the next."   

 

 

Im glad someone else experiences this beside me lol...

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i find also the louder you play helix (within reason) the better it sounds.. at low volumes thru my mackie powered speakers the sound is not that great with a lot of presets.. once you crank up the volume on helix tho it starts to sound full, meaty and very amp like

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Hi,

 

i own my Helix just a few days and i'm really happy with a lot of features. But i'm still to silly when it comes to a "good sound".

When i hear samples of factory presets in the net, they sound pretty good to me if i use headphones or frfr speakers to listen to.

Most sources of those samples tell to have recorded via usb without any tweaking or patching, so these sounds should be easy to reproduce. I use the actual firmware and did'nt tweak anything.

 

When i play the same factory presets on the same chain, they sound extremely different and these differences grow with overdrive or distortion. No matter if i use different headphones or different speakers, there is a huge difference between samples other people recorded and what comes out of my helix. So if there is any distortion, the sound gets relly muddy, harsh and seens to have some kind of noise overlaying the tone. Sounds somewhat artificial like plastic.

I tried even different guitars from Strat style to neckthru humbucker, does'nt affect the noise on distorted sounds

If i use line out, headphone out or usb does'nt make a difference in sound. The global EQ is neutral and switched off.

 

On the second day, this effect was in general existant but far smaller without having changed anything (as far as i remember). The presets still sounded a lot better but still not great. So did my ears change overnight or what could be happened? As the samples from other people sound the same to me, i think my ears are still OK?

 

In POD HD500, there was the option to chose the output mode between line-combo-poweramp... with big effects on the sound. Ist there something comparable in the Helix i did'nt see and changed without noticing?

 

I know that getting my prefered sound will make it necessary to tweak and to try - no question. But im talking just about preset sounds and with a digital device, they sould be exactly the same out of every unit.

 

I'm pretty shure that the helix has the sounds i want inside, but how i get them? The presets frome line6 can't be so cruel as i hear them.

 

Thanks for your advice

 

Michael

 

Hi Michael, I had a similar experience, but now I think it sounds amazing.

I was used to hearing some great sounds on YouTube, but when I first plugged in I found it very bright with some boominess in the low end and the distortions sounding rather harsh, nothing like I had heard or was expecting. This was with decent studio monitors and headphones. Into the return of an Orange OR15 head with Marshall cab it was pretty decent, more what I am used to. I purchased an FRFR monitor, Atomic CLR and found it much the same as the studio monitor. Over the following 2 weeks including latest firmware upgrade I became happier, partly ears adjusting to FRFR as opposed to usual amp cab. I tried global eq cuts, Low cut as far as 200Hz high cut down to 3kHz, got a bit clearer in the bass but taming the shrill highs enough got quite muffled. It really started to become what I had hoped for when I tried some Ownhammer IRs and applied the cuts there rather than global, which I now set Low 60Hz and Hi 6kHz on top of IR cuts. Not the recommended use, eq in the presets, Global eq flat and just used as a master tweak for differing monitors to your norm or different venues. but works for me atm, for live use, with 6 string electric only.

4 weeks in I was getting what I wanted, I suppose more of a traditional amp sound and less a Mic'd up cab through a monitor.

12 weeks in, I am much more adjusted to FRFR, eq has become less extreme, I have really learned a lot. Quite into the stock line 6 dual cabs now. It is it's own beast and does require some taming. There are so many options even on just one cab, in terms of Mic choice distance and eq.

I am not new to hi tech, 53 years old, 38 years of regular gigging, all manner of rack gear and Valve heads and cabs, and studio engineering experience (mostly spare bedroom!), no experience with modelling. It took a long while to get the best from my Helix and now I couldn't be happier, so stick with it.

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How much did you pay?

(Sorry, just a bad joke ;) )

 

Not really, i think, it was a pretty good joke :D

 

Hi Michael, I had a similar experience, but now I think it sounds amazing.

I was used to hearing some great sounds on YouTube, but when I first plugged in I found it very bright with some boominess in the low end and the distortions sounding rather harsh, nothing like I had heard or was expecting. This was with decent studio monitors and headphones. Into the return of an Orange OR15 head with Marshall cab it was pretty decent, more what I am used to. I purchased an FRFR monitor, Atomic CLR and found it much the same as the studio monitor. Over the following 2 weeks including latest firmware upgrade I became happier, partly ears adjusting to FRFR as opposed to usual amp cab. I tried global eq cuts, Low cut as far as 200Hz high cut down to 3kHz, got a bit clearer in the bass but taming the shrill highs enough got quite muffled. It really started to become what I had hoped for when I tried some Ownhammer IRs and applied the cuts there rather than global, which I now set Low 60Hz and Hi 6kHz on top of IR cuts. Not the recommended use, eq in the presets, Global eq flat and just used as a master tweak for differing monitors to your norm or different venues. but works for me atm, for live use, with 6 string electric only.

4 weeks in I was getting what I wanted, I suppose more of a traditional amp sound and less a Mic'd up cab through a monitor.

12 weeks in, I am much more adjusted to FRFR, eq has become less extreme, I have really learned a lot. Quite into the stock line 6 dual cabs now. It is it's own beast and does require some taming. There are so many options even on just one cab, in terms of Mic choice distance and eq.

I am not new to hi tech, 53 years old, 38 years of regular gigging, all manner of rack gear and Valve heads and cabs, and studio engineering experience (mostly spare bedroom!), no experience with modelling. It took a long while to get the best from my Helix and now I couldn't be happier, so stick with it.

 

Thanks for this detailed answer, it will help me to find my sound(s)

 

But belive it or not, i think that what i heard within the first few days based on a hardware problem or a software bug. Because this hissy noise over all distorted or overdriven sounds is gone without changing anything ion the helix.

 

It's just like after firmware update and factory reset, the unit needed some time to implement all the parameters, specially the speaker simulations. I have really no explanation for this but i'm pretty shure that it were'nt my ears misleading me.

In the first days, all distorted sounds where way brighter and more "fizzy" or farty than everiyhing i heard with se same speakers in the same distance in the same room just a few seconds before on the same reproduction chain. So it sounded a bit like one of the very first modelling units or a cheap transistor amp.

 

Yesterday, i tried again and - surprise - the noise and fizz was gone - not a bit but completly. The sounds from my helix come now pretty close to samples from the factory presets i know from others. Shure, there still are some differences, but in a range wich can be explained by different guitars, cables and playing techniques.

 

How can it be possible that a digital devices behaves a bit like a brand new speaker who changes its sound by some hours of use because mechanical components as spider and surround gets more soft by movement. (At the end, the difference was way bigger than between a new and a used speaker)

Perhaps, Line6 implemented this behaviour by software, so a brand new device needs some time to settle the sound? ;)

 

To compare, i changed for some presets the and+cab models in separate amp and cab with the same parameters. Sounds identical. Then i switched of the cab (it's so great to be able to do all this with the feets while playing) and there was it again, this noisy sound i was used the first days. Just to tell you how big the difference was between before and now. So i rellay think that the cab simulations did'nt grip in the first time.

 

Then i made a factory reset again. My modified presets were gone but the sound is still ok. So i can not reproduce the effect.

There are sometimes funny effects in a digital world wich should not happen when it comes to processing zeros and ones, but they appear (think on your computer). So perhaps a software bug, perhaps a hardware problem, who knows. But for now, im totally satisfied what comes out of the factory presets and now have a (hopefully stable) base to tweak at my own taste.

 

So thanks again to all of you trying to help!! I could take some good advices wich will help me to use my helix better in the future.

 

Best regards    Michael

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for me, there seems to be a threshold- on the volume output knob if it is on or under about 10.30 (as if it is a clock) it sounds a bit bad and unpleasant.. once you go up to 11.00 ish and over it sounds awesome.. this is something i noticed. maybe you just have to break the threshold ;)

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Thanks for this hint,

 

but 'cause i've read about this point before here in the forums, i already started with mastervolume from noon to full.

I don't even thinkt that changing the output makes a similar difference as with cab simulation on or not?

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