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Essentials for a new patch template

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Hi chaps,  I got my Helix yesterday and it's fantastic!  I've played around with most of the presets and now it's time to start making a few of my own. 

 

I still consider myself a novice even though I've been playing for a few years and I don't really understand EQ and all that sort of stuff.  I only play along to my favourite songs at home but I HAVE to sound like the original, sad but true! 

 

I was wondering if I could ask you knowledgeable gentlemen what you would consider the absolute essentials when starting to build a patch.  I was thinking I could create a template of my own and then use that for all my patches.  Most of the songs I play are quite similar anyway,  mainly late 70s early 80s punk sounds.

 

Appreciate any advice you can offer.  I love this forum and think I am going to get endless hours of enjoyment from my Helix.

 

I am running a variax into the helix and then out to the effects return of my Roland Blues Cube Artist.  It sounds great with most of the patches I've tried and I haven't tried the four cable method - does anyone think that may be a better option?

 

many thanks

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I use the following template: EQ block, wah, phaser, 3 drives, amp 1 and 2 IR's, amp 2 and 2 more IR's (I use a footswitch to toggle between the two amps/IR's. Also, I could just share the IR's between the amps in mot cases, but some times I need different IR's or even volume settings, so I just keep them separate), volume pedal, gain block (DB boost), chorus, trem, 2 delays, and reverb. This takes a super serial path. Depending on the patch, I'll swap out amps (usually one clean or cleanish and the other dirty) or drive pedals.

 

A few things that are helpful for me with this style of template...

1) Footswitches are already assigned. When I swap the amp, I don't have to reassign the FS.

2) I intentionally use the volume pedal block rather than assigning the expression pedal to the amp channel volume. That would actually free up DSL (not that I need it), but then I'd have to assign the expression pedal every time I change an amp. Same with the gain block. I could assign a FS to boost the volume of the amp or output block. But I prefer the gain block.

3) Since this is a fairly complex path (using all Footswitches, paths, and making sure it's set up properly for dual cab), it makes creating new tones very easy. I just save any of my patches to a blank patch and swap as needed. It feels like I have an analog pedal board and large amp selection. It's like I'm just running through my amps to see what I like best. Then I'm just grabbing a "pedal" to swap out gear. The work flow is very quick this way.

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Being new at this, I would start with one amp, one IR, and reverb. Make a few, keep the ones you like. Then add from there.

 

A better option than the 4 cable method will cost you, but just love my Firehawk 1500 and plan on running Helix in to that.

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I highly recommend checking out the 4 cable method.  It does everything you're currently doing and then some.

 

I love building patches from scratch.  I plan on building some templates soon and I'm sure they will go something like:

 

guitar -> volume pedal -> wah -> compressor (for clean patches) -> distortion -> split to dual amps and cabs -> delay -> reverb -> LA2A compressor at the end of the chain.

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Thanks to everyone for your advice.

Spikey, I would love to hear how you get on with the Firehawk 1500 + Helix.

DarellM5, what extra does the 4CM give you?

 

Thanks again

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Everybody will have a different perfect base patch.

 

You will discover what works for you very quickly.

 

Then you will learn other awesome things about how the unit is laid out and change your mind.

 

If you're like me, third time's the charm. I know EXACTLY what I need to do to get the setup that works well for me.

 

Some tips.

 


Leave the very first and last blocks in a path, or even the first 2, open for last minute additions to the very end or beginning of the chain.

 

Save often.

 

DON'T USE THE DEFAULT "MULTI" INPUT!

 

Use the LA studio comp... every time... set subtle... thank me later.

 

Always always always use separate amp and cab so you can put FX in the "imaginary loop" between the amp and cabinet.

 

Use dual cabs. Even in mono.

 

Run multiple delays in parallel, not series.

 

Figure out how to set up the footswitches (and use 10-switch mode for goodness' sake) the SAME way on every patch so you always know what you're stepping on. My delays, gains, modulations, verbs... always in the same place.

 

The Klon is awesome. The Timmy is awesome. Both at the same time is freakin' hysterically amazing... into an overdriven Matchless will cause you to collapse giggling from pleasure instantaneously.

 

I could go on, but I'm goin' to lunch...

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Some tips.

 

Leave the very first and last blocks in a path, or even the first 2, open for last minute additions to the very end or beginning of the chain.

 

Save often.

 

DON'T USE THE DEFAULT "MULTI" INPUT!

 

Use the LA studio comp... every time... set subtle... thank me later.

 

Always always always use separate amp and cab so you can put FX in the "imaginary loop" between the amp and cabinet.

 

Use dual cabs. Even in mono.

 

Run multiple delays in parallel, not series.

 

Figure out how to set up the footswitches (and use 10-switch mode for goodness' sake) the SAME way on every patch so you always know what you're stepping on. My delays, gains, modulations, verbs... always in the same place.

 

The Klon is awesome. The Timmy is awesome. Both at the same time is freakin' hysterically amazing... into an overdriven Matchless will cause you to collapse giggling from pleasure instantaneously.

 

I could go on, but I'm goin' to lunch...

 

Hi Peter, 

 

I'm doing/using everything in your list with great results...However, I'm not sure about the bolded item above....would you mind expanding on that?

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Hi Peter, 

 

I'm doing/using everything in your list with great results...However, I'm not sure about the bolded item above....would you mind expanding on that?

 

Manual Page 14. The default input is "multi", but you're probably way better off using the input you are using ONLY.

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DarellM5, what extra does the 4CM give you?

 

 

Using the 4-cable method you're able to:

  • Run Helix effects straight into the front of your amp (just using Helix as an effects board)
  • Run Helix effects into the front of your amp, come back from your amp's fx send, add some more Helix effects and go back into your amp's fx return (utilizing your amp's poweramp)
  • Run Helix effects and preamp or amp models and send them into your amp's fx return (thereby only utilizing your amp's poweramp)

And probably a few other options that aren't coming to mind right now.

 

You can easily switch between all of these option within the same Helix patch.

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PeterHamm

 

Wow, great advice thank you.  Some very useful tips. 

 

Will that work with DarrellM5's 4 cable method? If so, I could incorporate your tips into that?

 

Thank you

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Manual Page 14. The default input is "multi", but you're probably way better off using the input you are using ONLY.

 

Thanks!!  So much in this unit it's hard to catch every little nuance.....I'll look at this when I get home this evening...thanks gain!!

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PeterHamm

 

Wow, great advice thank you.  Some very useful tips. 

 

Will that work with DarrellM5's 4 cable method? If so, I could incorporate your tips into that?

 

Thank you

 

Yes, I believe so!

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Everybody will have a different perfect base patch.

 

You will discover what works for you very quickly.

 

Then you will learn other awesome things about how the unit is laid out and change your mind.

 

If you're like me, third time's the charm. I know EXACTLY what I need to do to get the setup that works well for me.

 

Some tips.

 

Leave the very first and last blocks in a path, or even the first 2, open for last minute additions to the very end or beginning of the chain.

 

Save often.

 

DON'T USE THE DEFAULT "MULTI" INPUT!

 

Use the LA studio comp... every time... set subtle... thank me later.

 

Always always always use separate amp and cab so you can put FX in the "imaginary loop" between the amp and cabinet.

 

Use dual cabs. Even in mono.

 

Run multiple delays in parallel, not series.

 

Figure out how to set up the footswitches (and use 10-switch mode for goodness' sake) the SAME way on every patch so you always know what you're stepping on. My delays, gains, modulations, verbs... always in the same place.

 

The Klon is awesome. The Timmy is awesome. Both at the same time is freakin' hysterically amazing... into an overdriven Matchless will cause you to collapse giggling from pleasure instantaneously.

 

I could go on, but I'm goin' to lunch...

hi . how do you use LA studio compressor instead of MULTI INPUT? When I use helix edit I don't see an option for LA studio compressor.  thanks

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hi . how do you use LA studio compressor instead of MULTI INPUT? When I use helix edit I don't see an option for LA studio compressor.  thanks

He meant those as separate thoughts. For the first, he means to change the input impedance from multi-input to whatever fixed impedance you prefer. For the second, he means to use the LA Studio Comp effect block, which is under the "dynamics" group.

 

[...]

Use the LA studio comp... every time... set subtle... thank me later.

[...]

I agree with this. But, where do you usually place it? I always run Helix to FRFR. I've been putting the LASC right after the Cab/IR block. Often, I also have a compressor at the front of the chain, and I usually use it subtly as well. I also reduce the mix on both to about 80%. It seems to work for just about any style I tend to play, so I'd make it part of my template.

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Some additional template ideas that have helped me:

1. I like snapshots, but keep a few parameters you can change that don't depend on snapshots. For example, the built-in expression pedal is usually tied to an EQ so that it works like a volume boost and adds treble/reduces bass, and an external expression pedal is usually set to trigger a wah when the heel comes up. I also like to keep at least one footswitch tied to a drive pedal that isn't affected by snapshots. I also keep an Ernie Ball VPJr. in loop 1, which is always on regardless of snapshot.

2. As PeterHamm mentioned about keeping your footswitches in a consistent layout between presets, do the same for Snapshots. For example, you might arrange them as follows: (1) Clean-Dry; (2) Crunch-Dry; (3) Drive; (4) Tremolo-Dry; (5) Clean-Delay; (6) Crunch-Delay; (7) Lead; (8) Teremolo-Delay. 

3.  I renamed one of my setlists "PERFORMANCE" and I use it just for that. I renamed the other setlists to correspond with the five guitars I most frequently use, and I save presets for each guitar in the respectively named setlist. I use the presets in the "Guitar" setlists as templates and, when I want to perform with one, I save a copy of it into the "Performance" setlist in the order I will use it. If I need to make changes to an active preset during a performance, I know I won't be changing the template. If I know I'll be playing a venue again in the future, and I've made changes to suit the venue, I'll save the "Performance" preset back to the "Guitar" setlist and label it to indicate that it was modified for that specific venue. Same thing if a modified template works for a particular song.

4. Although I don't have a problem with the Cab models, as some have voiced, I usually use an IR block instead for templates. The reason is that it's a lot easier to switch between different cab models using an IR block. Same goes for snapshots, you can completely change the type of cabinet in an IR block, whereas you can only tweak the parameters of one cabinet in a cab block. (I suppose you could use a dual cabinet block and set the levels to 0% and 100% and swap them between snapshots.)

5. For a pure template--as opposed to a template that has been more customized over time--it's probably better to save it with just 2 or three unique snapshots filled in, and copy those to the remaining snapshot spaces. When it comes time to customize the template, if you have 8 unique snapshots, you have to figure out the different parameters in each one and can spend all day adjusting. Instead, once you have one snapshot the way you want it, copy it to the next snapshot space and make changes from there. Yes, that conflicts with my item 2, below, but my "pure" templates would really only have the Dry and the Delay snapshots, and I would add the clean, crunch, etc. sounds when I customize them.

6. If you have external effects in the loops, it goes without saying that your templates should have those fx blocks all set up and MIDI controls set up to some default setting in your MIDI controlled devices.

7. Make use of the volume control on the final output block. When you customize a template, especially with different amp models, you could end up with wildly different volumes between presets. If I were smart, I would have created all of my template presets to be at a good volume with the final output block at -6db. The max is +6db, and sometimes there hasn't been enough room to bring a quiet preset up if the default was 0db. And resist the urge to tie this parameter to snapshots, or you will lose the ability to use it as an overall volume adjustment. Use a gain block at the end of the signal chain if you need something to level volumes between snapshots.

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.

 

The Klon is awesome. The Timmy is awesome. Both at the same time is freakin' hysterically amazing... into an overdriven Matchless will cause you to collapse giggling from pleasure instantaneously.

 

I could go on, but I'm goin' to lunch...

Funny. Old thread, but that is exactly what I use for every church/worship patch. Came up with it all by myself though, so I guess that is why I consider it funny. :-p. Especially love channel 2.

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He meant those as separate thoughts. For the first, he means to change the input impedance from multi-input to whatever fixed impedance you prefer. For the second, he means to use the LA Studio Comp effect block, which is under the "dynamics" group.

He actually means the actual input. Th impedance selector isn't there for every input and there is no MULTI option when it is available. Just AUTO and then some numerical values. I am curious where he puts the LA compressor, I'm assuming it's at the beginning but what do I know?

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Peter Hamm has some patch tutorials on YouTube which might answer your question about the compressor.

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If you're using an amp that has an effects loop, you want to try the 4CM.  OMG does it sound so much better than running everything in front of the amp.  Like the others have said, there are tons of videos on YouTube demonstrating the 4CM method.  There's even a 4CM example template preloaded into the Helix.  Here's how to plug everything in:

 

  • cable #1 guitar to Helix
  • cable #2 Helix FX send loop 1 (1/2) to amp main input (top left of the Helix Send/Returns)
  • cable #3 Amp FX loop send to Helix fx loop return 2 (1/2) (top 2nd from left of the Helix Send/Returns)
  • cable #4 Helix 1/4" left (mono) to amp's fx loop return

Use the Mono connections on all parts of your amp using this method.

 

You can also use a TSR cable to have Helix control your amp's channels or other foot switch capabilities.
 

Hope this helps you!

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Funny. Old thread, but that is exactly what I use for every church/worship patch. Came up with it all by myself though, so I guess that is why I consider it funny. :-p. Especially love channel 2.

Interesting. Timmy and Klon in series I assume? What order? Approximate settings?

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Interesting. Timmy and Klon in series I assume? What order? Approximate settings?

 

Correct. The main "drive" is the Klon. The Timmy is added in front for extra boost and gives combined with the klon a "natural" compression. The Matchless is alway just over breaking up and I use a middy sounding IR (celestion 412 creamback hi gain), which nicely combines with the SD'59's in my guitars.

 

Main idea: stack low gain stages. neither of the pedals nor the amp is pushing hard, but the combination works. the timmy is not alway on by the way, only for leads. for crunchy rhytms I prefer just the Klon, providing more dynamics

 

amp matchless channel 2:

channel drive: 1.5

tone: 4

cut, presence: 0

master: 10 (pretty much stock settings, just lowered the gain)

 

timmy

gain: 1.9

bass cut: 5

treble cut: 5

clipping: up

level: 7.1

 

Klon

gain: 3

tone: 5.3

level: 6

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He actually means the actual input. Th impedance selector isn't there for every input and there is no MULTI option when it is available. Just AUTO and then some numerical values. I am curious where he puts the LA compressor, I'm assuming it's at the beginning but what do I know?

 

 You can put it anywhere it sounds good.  Most people will use a compressor at the very beginning of their signal chain, HOWEVER, try putting it at the end as well.  Jason Sadites does this and his patches sound amazing!

 

The rationale is that the Helix doesn't give you the "amp in the room" sound, it gives you more of a finished, produced, mic'd cab sound... and for most final tones we're used to, they've been post-processed in the studio.  So putting a compressor (especially the LA Studio Comp) at the end of the chain is analogous to the sound engineer "adding" compression to the mix during the mastering process.  It really helps to keep everything "glued together" and more balanced.  

 

by the same token, I find that I prefer reverb, delay, and some modulation effects AFTER the amp and cab.   This is not something you could do with an Amp/Pedal board set up - again, more like adding those effects during post processing.   The beauty of Helix is that you can try these anywhere and everywhere and find what works for you.   I've learned more about signal chains and what does what best and when and in which combinations since getting a Helix than I ever did in 30+ years of playing amps and pedals!

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Absolutely nothing wrong with using two Compressor Blocks; one at the head end of the Signal Path (to tame incoming signal transients to taste), with another at the tail end of the signal path as a Mastering concept before sending to the Helix outputs. The only rule to audio creativity is, if it sounds good, go with it!

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...and don't forget that the looper block is useful for testing things. Use it as your first block, record a guitar loop, and then play with subsequent blocks and parameters while you're designing your template. This frees up both hands for tweaking, and ensures your guitar playing is consistent for testing stuff.

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If at the tail of the signal chain, don't forget to use the stereo LASC block if you are using stereo effects.

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Hi chaps,  I got my Helix yesterday and it's fantastic!  I've played around with most of the presets and now it's time to start making a few of my own. 

 

I still consider myself a novice even though I've been playing for a few years and I don't really understand EQ and all that sort of stuff.  I only play along to my favourite songs at home but I HAVE to sound like the original, sad but true! 

 

I was wondering if I could ask you knowledgeable gentlemen what you would consider the absolute essentials when starting to build a patch.  I was thinking I could create a template of my own and then use that for all my patches.  Most of the songs I play are quite similar anyway,  mainly late 70s early 80s punk sounds.

 

Appreciate any advice you can offer.  I love this forum and think I am going to get endless hours of enjoyment from my Helix.

 

I am running a variax into the helix and then out to the effects return of my Roland Blues Cube Artist.  It sounds great with most of the patches I've tried and I haven't tried the four cable method - does anyone think that may be a better option?

 

many thanks

Start simple. Drop in your favorite amp model (preferably and amp you are familiar with), a cab model, and maybe a simple delay/and or reverb at the end. Building a preset is just like putting together a rig with the actual components, except it is represented on the screen. If you think of it like that, it doesn't really get that complicated. Start with what you know and have experience with in terms of real rigs, and go from there. 

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