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Helix & power amps, what's your experience... PowerStation/Matrix/Rocktron/etc...

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Trying a Helix after being a very-happy-ecstatic Kemper owner for the past year   :unsure:   GAS got ahold of me, I see the Helix as being possibly a little more flexible for me and one less thing to carry than the Kemper setup

 

What are you all using for power on gigs??

 

I will be running the Helix through a poweramp/guitar cab setup and sending a virtual cab to FOH ... my first choice would be the Fryette Power Station, it looks like the Power Station might even fit in the Helix backpack??
This would be f*ckin incredible... anybody doing it??

My second choice would be a Matrix poweramp since the Fryette's are a little pricey right now, I've owned and been happy with a GT800fx... it would suffice

Do any of you have experience with either of these Poweramps AND the Helix?? Any other power amps you are loving?? The Magnum 44/ISP Stealth are just not enough power, Rocktron/ART SLA's are more sterile than Matrix IMHO and anything big like a VHT two/fifty/two is not an option either... too big

Lastly, I'll be using Ownhammer IR's for sending to FOH

Let me know what you are using and how you are enjoying this style of setup, I am NOT interested in hearing any FRFR comparisons

I have not seen a thread dedicated to the Helix and Poweramp setups, forgive me if I've missed it and direct me to it please

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I love helix preamp blocks into my Mesa 2:90 power amp and Recto 2x12 cab. But that's 2U and heavy like the VHT you don't want. My Mesa 20/20 power amp sounds great too and it's 1U and much lighter. I just like to use the Deep and Modern voicing switches on the 2:90, with I can switch with Helix.

You might also consider using the effects return of one of these small format, ultra light bass heads that would fit in the Helix backpack. Markbass Little Mark III is 500 watts and an analog power section. You can get them pretty cheap in the used market, but playing a bass amp for guitar might affect your "cool" factor ;) Helix sounds great into the effects returns of my Mesa M9 (big) and Mesa Walkabout (smaller) bass amps.

I just remembered I have an old Crate PowerBlock that is 75Wx2 or 150W bridged. That would fit in the Helix backpack. $100 all day long for one of those. I'll try it and let you know.

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I love helix preamp blocks into my Mesa 2:90 power amp and Recto 2x12 cab. But that's 2U and heavy like the VHT you don't want. My Mesa 20/20 power amp sounds great too and it's 1U and much lighter. I just like to use the Deep and Modern voicing switches on the 2:90, with I can switch with Helix.

 

thanks for the suggestions roscoe, just curious do you send FOH an IR via xlr or something else?  what's the advantage of preamp blocks?

 

I've read the manual once, but my Helix doesn't land until Monday

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thanks for the suggestions roscoe, just curious do you send FOH an IR via xlr or something else?  what's the advantage of preamp blocks?

 

I've read the manual once, but my Helix doesn't land until Monday

 

Haven't played guitar live with it yet, only bass.  

 

For guitar and a tube power amp/Recto 2x12 setup, preamp-only Helix blocks sound best to me.  Things start getting muddier to me with full Amp blocks, and even worse when you add a cab.

 

Heck to be honest, I would probably still let FOH mic the physical Recto 2x12 cab in a full rock band and loud venue.  Alternatively, you could split the signal after all of the blocks and configure a Path 2 with the full amp and cab blocks.  You would manually have to match your settings of your preamp and full amp block though :(

 

I'm assuming Line 6 has power amp only portions of the models since they have given us preamp portions and cabs of the models.  I wish they would make those available to us so we could split the signal before the power amp model, send that to our tube power amps or tube amp effects returns, then send the full amp cab signal to the Helix XLR/FOH.  Then we wouldn't have to duplicate preamp settings on both a preamp only block for a stage amps, and full Amp blocks for XLR/FOH.

 

There is already a post on idea Scale in review...can vote anymore.

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Independent-pre-and-power-amp-blocks/748793-23508#idea-tab-details

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I run cab sims to FOH but I always run a send out to a 2x12 cab w/ an EHX 44 magnum power amp for stage noise so I get the best of both worlds. If you only need stage noise the 44 magnums are plenty loud, im not sure about miking them up but honestly I reckon it would sound pretty sweet and they are cheap as chips. 

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While I haven't played out with mine yet, I have a similar setup with a 2 x 12 custom Genz Benz (slanted horizontal, 4 ports) loaded with EV  Series II 12L's.  Bottom line...  fairly flat response guitar speakers.

 

I have an assortment of stereo amps both tube and solid-state and all I can say is the tube amps color the sound a little.  This is either bad or good...  As example, I happen to like the JC 120 Amp/Cab model and I had a JC 120 and to the best of my memory, it sounds essentially same through my current rig.    With a solid-state amp, it sound roughly the same as I remember the real JC120 sounded, however, if I use a tube amp, it sounds a little warmer than I remember the original.

 

Good? Bad?  meh...   Great either way.   FWIW, some of the amps I have used are Carvin TS100, Carver PCM120, Rockman XP-100 (just plugging into the power amp section), QSC 1100, QSC 9000, Hafler 2500, and Dynaco ST70

 

I think I could tweak the global EQ on any one and make it sound just like any other there was that little difference.

 

Get something you like, with as few knobs as possible.   I like the QSC's as they only have a left and right volume and power switch.

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I was able to get a Fryette Power Station, it's one of the very few solutions I have not tried

 

the thing I like the most about the posts in this thread is their is no "right" way ... there a many ways to achieve the same result, very cool stuff

 

if you are using IR's to send to FOH I'd love to know your faves

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Not sure where you are located but if in Europe it might be worth checking out the (inexpensive) harley Benton GPA-400 from Thomann.

 

I have 3 power amps here:

Matrix GT1000

Fryette PowerStation

GPA-400

 

I actually like the GPA-400 the best. Of course it's very subjective but it seems to have a little more punch then the others... and the Output EQ (depth, presence) works better then the Fryette one, I think it's very nice to have to make some quick changes on stage.

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I use the Fryette powerstation together with Helix since 6 months.
First I used the guitarcab solution, which was very easy to manage. Fullamp models without cab sim into powerstation into guitarcab.
The powerstation is very neutral. Therefore I used the fullamp models.

But since 2 month I switched to FRFR, The main reason was my acoustic guitar. I wanted only one monitoring system both for

acoustic and electric guitar. (Meanwhile I use it also for bluesharp)

I use the Fryette Power Station with a Matrix Q12 Cab (FRFR) and in parallel a 1x12" Palmer guitar cab (Maverick speaker).
I use the FullAmp Models together with Ownhammer / Rosen IR's.

XLR goes to FOH.

This is a FRFR/Guitarcab solution which works fantastic !!! great amp in the room sound !
First I tried the Q12 alone and there was something missing, but together with the Palmer cab, I get the sound I love.
I use this combi live. The powerstation give you the power and the feel of a tube amp, which it is.
Our second guitar player with a two rock amp, was very impressed with the sound. 

 

I created some Twin Reverb and AC30 patches with the according IR's and the amp sound is very authentic. You can feel the amps.
You hear the chime of the twin and the ac30. But I must say that the IR's have a big influence on the sound.
I use the 212-VX30 pack and the Rosen Twin IR.

There are many options, which can sound very good. 





 

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many thanks for the info Ruben40

 

I'm a little similar in that onstage I have a guitar cab and I use IEM's ... the IEM's loosely sit in my ears so I still get guitar cab as well, I guess what I listen to is some combination of IR's and live guitar cab, although I think what you have going on would be more hip

 

the Mission Gemini is supposed to be a combination of guitar cab and FRFR (kind of what you have going on) but I've never heard it

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Not sure where you are located but if in Europe it might be worth checking out the (inexpensive) harley Benton GPA-400 from Thomann.

 

 

That looks like a bargain. However, is 100 watts per channel at 8 ohm loud enough to adequately terrorise the audience for those of us that usually rely on our guitar amp for volume rather than going through a PA?

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The Helix preamp models sound great with my Randall RT2/50. Being able to choose EL34 or 6L6 for the different amps makes it fit even better. :)

If the Powerstation fits in the bag that would be insane, you could walk in casually with an extremely powerful setup!

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The Helix preamp models sound great with my Randall RT2/50. Being able to choose EL34 or 6L6 for the different amps makes it fit even better. :)

If the Powerstation fits in the bag that would be insane, you could walk in casually with an extremely powerful setup!

Just curious, how are you running this setup with the Randall RT2/50?

 

I've considered the Randall before because I liked the idea of having different tubes in each side. It looked like while it would switch the input signal from left to right, it didn't switch the speaker jacks so that you could just use one mono cab.

 

It looked like you had to use a stereo cab or two cabs, and still then you would be left with 6L6 on one side and EL34 on the other.

 

I though maybe you could use something like a Radial Headbone VT to switch the power amp sides to a single mono cabwith Helix doing the remote switching.

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Just curious, how are you running this setup with the Randall RT2/50?

 

I've considered the Randall before because I liked the idea of having different tubes in each side. It looked like while it would switch the input signal from left to right, it didn't switch the speaker jacks so that you could just use one mono cab.

 

It looked like you had to use a stereo cab or two cabs, and still then you would be left with 6L6 on one side and EL34 on the other.

 

I though maybe you could use something like a Radial Headbone VT to switch the power amp sides to a single mono cabwith Helix doing the remote switching.

 

I've only been testing it (had it for a week now) so the setup is not solidified yet, If Line 6 doesn't fix the latency it has to go as well, so I'm hesitant to even put too much effort into it.

 

That said: you can do both. The Randall can work in several configurations:

- One mono cab, switching between the EL34 / 6L6 sides (or whatever tubes you put in)

- Two cabs, switching between the channels and cabs (one cab would be silent at all times... I don't know why you'd want this but it works)

- Two cabs or a stereo cab, both channels active (basically just a regular stereo poweramp with different tubes in each side)

 

It's a really good poweramp, even if you wouldn't use the channel switching it just sounds great. It's awfully heavy though.

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Thanks for the info.  It's good to hear that it can switch EL34 & 6L6 side to a single mono cab.

 

I like Helix through my Mesa 2:90, but two tube options would be nice.  I always thought that was something the L6 DT amps were lacking.

 

I have a Randal RM100 and 4 modules, but havent touched it in a while.  I thought about selling it, keeping the modules, and buying the RM4 4 module preamp and the RT2/50 power amp.

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Thanks for the info.  It's good to hear that it can switch EL34 & 6L6 side to a single mono cab.

 

I like Helix through my Mesa 2:90, but two tube options would be nice.  I always thought that was something the L6 DT amps were lacking.

 

I have a Randal RM100 and 4 modules, but havent touched it in a while.  I thought about selling it, keeping the modules, and buying the RM4 4 module preamp and the RT2/50 power amp.

 

That is my setup, and I can tell you it rocks! And I don't need to tell you about the weight then haha, that RM100 weighs two moons!

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That is my setup, and I can tell you it rocks! And I don't need to tell you about the weight then haha, that RM100 weighs two moons!

 

I'm pretty curious about the Synergy Amps stuff, but I'm sure it's gonna be pricey.

 

They have a 1U rackspace 100W or 50Wx2 6L6 power amp, SYN 5050, designed by Steve Fryette.  Maybe similar to the Pwerstation design.  It would be amazing if they put the same multi-tube and switching functionality of the RT2/50 beast into the 1U space of the SYN 5050.

 

https://www.facebook.com/SynergyAmps

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Lots of people use Matrix for the Axe FX. I use a SLA-2 bridged Mono with a Marshall 1960a cab for my Kemper and it just sounds great! But with Helix, I plan on using a Firehawk 1500. Its the best of both worlds Amp Combo AND FRFR active speaker wise.

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I'm pretty curious about the Synergy Amps stuff, but I'm sure it's gonna be pricey.

 

They have a 1U rackspace 100W or 50Wx2 6L6 power amp, SYN 5050, designed by Steve Fryette.  Maybe similar to the Pwerstation design.  It would be amazing if they put the same multi-tube and switching functionality of the RT2/50 beast into the 1U space of the SYN 5050.

 

https://www.facebook.com/SynergyAmps

 

It's actually based on the Fryette LXII. Not switching, stereo 50/50 watt, only 6L6. They couldn't use EL34s in there because of the heat they produce. (in a 1U box you don't have much space to dissipate that properly)

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Lots of people use Matrix for the Axe FX. I use a SLA-2 bridged Mono with a Marshall 1960a cab for my Kemper and it just sounds great! But with Helix, I plan on using a Firehawk 1500. Its the best of both worlds Amp Combo AND FRFR active speaker wise.

 

have you heard the F1500 live yet? or just in the vids?

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I'm pretty curious about the Synergy Amps stuff, but I'm sure it's gonna be pricey.

 

https://www.facebook.com/SynergyAmps

 

it's a small package, looks light (if that's possible) hope to hear more soon

 

based on the look of their website I imagine it will be awhile

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have you heard the F1500 live yet? or just in the vids?

I have a Firehawk 1500 and its awesome!

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I was able to get a Fryette Power Station, it's one of the very few solutions I have not tried

How do you like the Fryette Power Station? What cab are you using it with?

 

I went to the Freyette site and it says they are Preorder.

 

The site specs list dimensions as 14" x 9" x 2.75" which would fit in the Helix backpack. The reactive load and other features look really great too. $699 price tag isn't bad.

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I love the Power Station... it's incredibly flexible... yes it fits in my front pouch of my Helix bag... it sounds and feels great, it's an amazing guitar tool

 

For me the coolest thing is the flexibility... Fryette has a GPDI coming out (basically a one watt amp with multiple uses)... soon I'll be using the Helix just as a pedalboard sometimes via the 4CM, the Power Station will provide 50 watts of oomph for the GPDI (Preamp which is also a standalone recording device AND it can send a signal to FOH with an IR) ... this way I'll have multiple options for recording/live playing, sometimes I can roll in with just my Helix, sometimes Helix and PS and sometimes Helix, PS and GPDI...  at $699 is not the cheapest, but it's worth every penny ... usually you can pick one up over at TGP/Reverb/eBay for $500 which is an incredible deal

 

Last but not least the Power Station can attenuate your big amps and help you record them... I just don't have any big amps lying around, but I hope to in the future... did I mention the PS can provide an effects loop for any amp/preamp that might need one as well

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/FryetteAmps/videos

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Thanks for the info! Yeah, I saw it was quite the Swiss army knife and could punch a lot of tickets for me now and in the future. Looks like it could be used with a regular guitar cab and maybe an FRFR cab too.

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