Jump to content
Nightfly

PA Clipping/breaking up from XLR output

Recommended Posts

Hi all

 

I've been using my Helix successfully with the Friedman ASM12(1/4 output set to Line out), but recently I decided to setup the XLR output for plugging into the PA(XLR output set to MIC). The PA really doesn't like it at all, it breaks up quite badly, i have to really back off the volume to keep it from doing it. I tried using the 'line' output setting but that was worse. It's like the signal is just too hot for the PA, yet my Friedman sounds great. If I have to mess with Global EQ then isn't it going to mess with how the Friedman sounds!! What am I missing ?

 

Andy

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make sure the PA is not providing phantom power to the Helix XLR outputs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your PA input should have a gain control to set the input gain. This is not the fader, that comes after the gain control. It's likely too hot. To gain stage Helix into the PA, turn the Helix output volume up almost all the way. Then go back to the PA and adjust the input gain so that there's no clipping. Use the input meters on the PA to check, a good level is -6 to -3 dbFS. 

 

Now go back to Helix and turn its output down until the PA input meter reads closer to -18 to -12 dBFS. This is the typical range you should be shooting for. It gives plenty of headroom so if you have a louder patch or have to turn up your Helix a bit to get your level up over what the sound guy give you, you can do so without worrying about clipping.

 

If you're using a digital PA, you want to really be sure to avoid clipping. Same goes for computer DAWs. Digital clipping is never a good thing. This simple approach to gain staging should get you close.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make sure the PA is not providing phantom power to the Helix XLR outputs.

That will not have anything to do with the mixer input clipping. But it's a good reminder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make sure the PA is not providing phantom power to the Helix XLR outputs.

Found this yesterday at church I got there plugged in and got ready to play and all the sudden my volume was way low I had to crank the multi knob all the way wide open I tried messing with the global eq, tried switching the input from from guitar to aux, turned the padding on and off, change the battery in my guitar even checked all the cords with my Cord tester then someone came up and said oh we were here yesterday and was trying to get set up for someone to sing and we were connecting to the sound system and then I said to myself now I understand when I thought nothing has changed from the week before, long story short I adjusted some settings and after we played it went up into the sound booth for the rest of the service and noticed the phantom power was on, why did they turn the phantom power on? i'm assuming because the power switch is right next to it on or Behringer 32 channel board but we use a power strip to turn everything on and off but they would've not known that because they don't go to our church regularly in any case I switched that off well my volume came back I was worried that maybe it it might damage the unit but it does not it just was very frustrating to try to get my helix running properly not knowing what had been done and I noticed when I would hit a certain frequency say like an E chord striking the strings open and hard it would make a very loud distorted noise and almost like a cord was bad

 

Your PA input should have a gain control to set the input gain. This is not the fader, that comes after the gain control. It's likely too hot. To gain stage Helix into the PA, turn the Helix output volume up almost all the way. Then go back to the PA and adjust the input gain so that there's no clipping. Use the input meters on the PA to check, a good level is -6 to -3 dbFS.

 

Now go back to Helix and turn its output down until the PA input meter reads closer to -18 to -12 dBFS. This is the typical range you should be shooting for. It gives plenty of headroom so if you have a louder patch or have to turn up your Helix a bit to get your level up over what the sound guy give you, you can do so without worrying about clipping.

 

If you're using a digital PA, you want to really be sure to avoid clipping. Same goes for computer DAWs. Digital clipping is never a good thing. This simple approach to gain staging should get you close.

 

First thing I did was have my rhythm guitar player to adjust the input sensitivity on the board but the result was a lot of hiss in the monitors so I had him back it down where there was no hiss and I was just able to get enough volume to make it through the beginning of the service.

 

I had thought about starting a thread about this before with the issue of adjusting for levels on the PA I noticed that with the PA at the church I have to have the input level control turned all the way down as low as it would go and I could not use the regular line level output for the XLR's because it was still way too hot for the input of the PA so I had to make it where the multi knob controls the volume level and I would turn it to about 1 o'clock and that would give me an acceptable input level without any hitches good Clear Sound but the input knobs on the mixer still had to be adjusted to the lowest setting I have read in another thread about someone saying that they had read that you were supposed to use the auxiliary input if you have powered pick ups I have an EMG 81 and an 85 in my Charvel and I haven't had the chance to try and see if that would make the difference and usually have the padding for the input off

 

 

That will not have anything to do with the mixer input clipping. But it's a good reminder.

In this case it did but only if you hit an open E cord pretty hard, whether it was actual clipping of the single because of the input or because of the phantom power I'm not sure
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this case it did but only if you hit an open E cord pretty hard, whether it was actual clipping of the single because of the input or because of the phantom power I'm not sure

 

 Phantom power cannot cause clipping.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phantom power cannot cause clipping.

It can if the output stage of the device isn't AC coupled, or the coupling capacitors aren't designed with phantom power in mind. Not sure if this applies to the Helix, but the fact that turning on phantom power makes the Helix sound noisy is pointing in that direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Helix XLR outputs and 48v Phantom Power
Oct 30 2015 07:28 PM | line6will in HELIX

 

When the Helix XLR outputs are subjected to phantom power, the output level is decreased. Do not try and connect your Helix to a mixer, interface, or PA system that supplies phantom power (48v) to the Helix XLR outputs. The workaround is to use the 1/4" outputs instead.

 

and that is exactly what happend,,,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all

 

I've been using my Helix successfully with the Friedman ASM12(1/4 output set to Line out), but recently I decided to setup the XLR output for plugging into the PA(XLR output set to MIC). The PA really doesn't like it at all, it breaks up quite badly, i have to really back off the volume to keep it from doing it. I tried using the 'line' output setting but that was worse. It's like the signal is just too hot for the PA, yet my Friedman sounds great. If I have to mess with Global EQ then isn't it going to mess with how the Friedman sounds!! What am I missing ?

 

Andy

I have found also that the output level of factory presets are too high even with xlr output as mic level. This is a problem when you assign the volume knob to other than xlr output, as this output automatically is configured at maximum level

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found also that the output level of factory presets are too high even with xlr output as mic level. This is a problem when you assign the volume knob to other than xlr output, as this output automatically is configured at maximum level

 

Can't you just turn down the input gain on your mixer/PA? Also, it's best to use an XLR to 1/4" balanced cable and go into the 1/4" line input on the mixer if the XLR inputs are all into mic preamps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The input gain was completly down. I recorded a video for the Facebook group (great group ;-) ) to show the output level metered in my audio interface. Guitar input, without attenuation pad in Helix, 1MOhm impedance, mic level at XLR, with factory preset US Double, and with the input gain in audio interface as low as possible:

https://www.facebook.com/rilopcar/videos/1196831980328234/

The same occurs in two diferent mixers. With the help of the facebook group, I enabled in Helix the input guitar pad, and signal level drop down about 9db. My guitar has a seymour duncan Jazz/JB, which it isn't active high gain pickups (by the way, with a stratocaster occurs more or less the same)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The input gain was completly down. I recorded a video for the Facebook group (great group ;-) ) to show the output level metered in my audio interface. Guitar input, without attenuation pad in Helix, 1MOhm impedance, mic level at XLR, with factory preset US Double, and with the input gain in audio interface as low as possible:

 

https://www.facebook.com/rilopcar/videos/1196831980328234/

 

The same occurs in two diferent mixers. With the help of the facebook group, I enabled in Helix the input guitar pad, and signal level drop down about 9db. My guitar has a seymour duncan Jazz/JB, which it isn't active high gain pickups (by the way, with a stratocaster occurs more or less the same)

same problem here with the church mixer so I changed the global setting to control the XLR output with the Multi Knob and turn it to about 1 o'clock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the same problem.  I was able to demo an AX8 plugged XLR straight into the same powered PA speakers I have and it sounded amazing. I got the Helix hoping for the same but its muddy horrible sounding.  I tried lowering the Helix input, turning the Pad on, made sure I was on line level eg no phantom power coming from the PA, made sure my PA gain wasn't clipping but nothing but distorted mud.  So i switched to coming out of the 1/4 into 1/4 same.  I told Helix and they sent me another one and same issues now I just found this post and it doesn't seem that anyone has solved this problem.  The reason the AX8 was so incredible was you could get amazing amp sounds direct to the PA so no more lugging amps around.  Sounds like everyone is using the 4 cable method with success but no success going direct and Helix didn't have an answer for me.   This is a major bummer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the same problem.  I was able to demo an AX8 plugged XLR straight into the same powered PA speakers I have and it sounded amazing. I got the Helix hoping for the same but its muddy horrible sounding.  I tried lowering the Helix input, turning the Pad on, made sure I was on line level eg no phantom power coming from the PA, made sure my PA gain wasn't clipping but nothing but distorted mud.  So i switched to coming out of the 1/4 into 1/4 same.  I told Helix and they sent me another one and same issues now I just found this post and it doesn't seem that anyone has solved this problem.  The reason the AX8 was so incredible was you could get amazing amp sounds direct to the PA so no more lugging amps around.  Sounds like everyone is using the 4 cable method with success but no success going direct and Helix didn't have an answer for me.   This is a major bummer. 

 

Plenty of people using Helix direct - probably the majority, if I had to guess. Sounds to me like you just need to make or find patches you like on the Helix. It's certainly possible to have it sound bad, but it can certainly sound amazing, too. I connect my Helix to my mixer with the XLR out connection all the time - have never had any issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

....  Sounds like everyone is using the 4 cable method with success but no success going direct and Helix didn't have an answer for me.   ... 

I've never used an amp with Helix - direct from XLRs into mixer. Sounds amazing. Don't know what's wrong with your setup but must be something. Not likely that two Helix devices have the same fault.

 

If you are connecting your XLRs into mic preamps in the mixer you could try setting Helix to Mic output level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had the same problem.  I was able to demo an AX8 plugged XLR straight into the same powered PA speakers I have and it sounded amazing. I got the Helix hoping for the same but its muddy horrible sounding.  I tried lowering the Helix input, turning the Pad on, made sure I was on line level eg no phantom power coming from the PA, made sure my PA gain wasn't clipping but nothing but distorted mud.  So i switched to coming out of the 1/4 into 1/4 same.  I told Helix and they sent me another one and same issues now I just found this post and it doesn't seem that anyone has solved this problem.  The reason the AX8 was so incredible was you could get amazing amp sounds direct to the PA so no more lugging amps around.  Sounds like everyone is using the 4 cable method with success but no success going direct and Helix didn't have an answer for me.   This is a major bummer. 

 

I have used my Helix direct XLR into the into my powered speakers or my mixing board from the day I first got it and it works perfectly every time...and I've never used 4CM.  There's one catch however, you have to know how to turn the gain knob on the mixer and PFL the channel to gain stage it.  But then, that would be the same with every input on the board...even an Ax8.  I've even run it into the board with phantom power on, and it didn't affect my signal.  This was before I'd learned about the phantom power issue.

 

There's no trick at all to running XLR to any board I've ever encountered unless the person running the board has no clue about managing input signals...but then they'd be having the same problems with any and all inputs on the board.

 

This is like saying your car is broken because you don't know how to put gas into it....

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all

 

I've been using my Helix successfully with the Friedman ASM12(1/4 output set to Line out), but recently I decided to setup the XLR output for plugging into the PA(XLR output set to MIC). The PA really doesn't like it at all, it breaks up quite badly, i have to really back off the volume to keep it from doing it. I tried using the 'line' output setting but that was worse. It's like the signal is just too hot for the PA, yet my Friedman sounds great. If I have to mess with Global EQ then isn't it going to mess with how the Friedman sounds!! What am I missing ?

 

Andy

 

What signal level does your meter show when you PFL the channel on your PA?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention it's muddy via the headphones as well.  Im not using a mixer just two new powered 12" PA speakers going L/R via XLR that both have line or mic input switches that I set as line they both have gain and master and a low and high mixing.  They also have a clip meter which never lights up.   If I back my guitars volume off it'll drop off most of the fuzz and of course that's more of an issue with high output pups but of course doing that i lose the full tone signal from my guitar .  The AX8 had a very effective way to adjust the input levels that solved those issues of which I never heard anyways it was more of a way to perfect the levels. With the Helix pretty much any attempt to add gain or use distortion effects sends it into static muddy fuzz.  Some presets its subtle others it major either way its always present.  Having the same issue with both units tells me it must be on my end but after adjusting every level in global and elsewhere no luck so I must be missing something, but for it to be as bad as it is right out of the box even after adding all the updates seems strange.

 

The first sound i tried was 02a US small tweed without adjusting anything and its sounded muddy and is breaking up.  Anyone else have that issue?  I've gone through the first ten 10 banks and most sound bad.  Ive been using a PRS 513, Music Man Luke with active EMGs and a USA Fender strat all diff levels of output pups the Fender being lowest.  Im lost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention it's muddy via the headphones as well.  Im not using a mixer just two new powered 12" PA speakers going L/R via XLR that both have line or mic input switches that I set as line they both have gain and master and a low and high mixing.  They also have a clip meter which never lights up.   If I back my guitars volume off it'll drop off most of the fuzz and of course that's more of an issue with high output pups but of course doing that i lose the full tone signal from my guitar .  The AX8 had a very effective way to adjust the input levels that solved those issues of which I never heard anyways it was more of a way to perfect the levels. With the Helix pretty much any attempt to add gain or use distortion effects sends it into static muddy fuzz.  Some presets its subtle others it major either way its always present.  Having the same issue with both units tells me it must be on my end but after adjusting every level in global and elsewhere no luck so I must be missing something, but for it to be as bad as it is right out of the box even after adding all the updates seems strange.

 

The first sound i tried was 02a US small tweed without adjusting anything and its sounded muddy and is breaking up.  Anyone else have that issue?  I've gone through the first ten 10 banks and most sound bad.  Ive been using a PRS 513, Music Man Luke with active EMGs and a USA Fender strat all diff levels of output pups the Fender being lowest.  Im lost.

 

Just want to confirm, you have the Guitar In Pad in the Global Settings turned on?  Also, what is your setting in the Global Settings for Guitar In Impedence?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you mentioned, it did not occur to the strat sound.... maybe it's depending on the impedance of the used guitar (guitar in-z value) ? Be aware that the update changed from global impedance to preset impedance and set ALL patches to "auto" which seems to me 1M ohm in most cases, which can be to much. As I had global impedance on 10k before, after the update all my presets sounded awful, much to loud and distorted before I changed them all. (In my case helix does not save this new value correctly, but that's another issue)

 

Ralph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just checking to confirm a cab or IR blcok exists in each of your presets... without those it is a distorted mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ralph that sounds VERY plausible as i updated mine first thing before even using it.  Not home now but ill respond back here if that fixes my issues!!.

 

Rocco I'll check all my presets for the IR blocks or cabs in the signal line.

 

THX for the help!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Line 6 posted their specifications for their outputs including max output level and impedance that would probably clear up a lot of things regarding levels and clipping and running direct. Without output meters this leaves a bit of guess work for guitarist.

 

If you know where something clips at then you know how much headroom you have to work with and it also gives you a good idea of where your settings are going to be on your mixing board. My recommendation is to set your patch levels with the master volume control all the way up . That way you have the full usable range on the master output knob. Otherwise you risk running into a situation were you can over drive the output circuitry by increasing Maximum output level at a gig etc. The Master output gain is in the digital domain so you are not going to have issues with noise.  I would also run into a TRS on the mixing board if is available not instead of an XLR. That way you avoid phantom power and also possible impedance issues with mic preamps etc.  I run my setup with the helix peaking -10dBu on average with solos peaking around -5dBu and I have not had any trouble with clipping. Trims on the board are unity.  Most mixing boards clip around +18dBu unless there is a pad available which knocks the level down.  If you have a decent board you can PFL to the level of the helix into the board to see where your gain structure is actually at. This will make it a lot easier the next time you plug into a new sound system to know where you want your board levels etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...