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ricksteruk

Best way to set up Master Volume pedal for gigging?

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Hi folks,

 

I've got my first proper gig with the Helix tomorrow (did a 3 song spot last weekend) and I've been busily programming in presets for all the 34 songs for our 2 sets of pop rock covers with encore material.  We've not had a proper rehearsal at gig volume - only at quiet unmiked vocals and electric drum kit volume levels which is not a good test really.

 

I think I have got all the levels pretty well matched, but from experience with my last rig - at gigs sometime the drums are louder on some songs so even though I may be wanting to use the exact same tone, one song may need to be louder than another.   So I've programmed Presets for each song so I can set the right levels per song in time....

 

SO TO THE POINT.......

 

I've been wondering if the EXP2 pedal can help me balance the volume of my presets on the fly?  I could set a new gain block at the end of my chain with say a +6dB Max and a -6dB Min and then save all my patches with the pedal set in the centre at 0dB, and use Preset mode on the EXP2 pedal so each patch starts at 0dB unless I go fiddle with the pedal.   Is that a good idea?

 

How do you guys use a volume pedal at gigs?  Anyone do it as I just described?

 

I suspect most will use it like a traditional volume pedal Set from 0% volume to 100% and leave it set global?

 

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with my old HD500 i used to have every patch with a volume pedal set at minimum 80% so when the pedal was back that was my base rhythm level, then for solos i have 20% more volume on tap when i need it , 
I've done the same with the helix. 
i don't do a lot of volume pedals swells so having it go 0-100% is never really necessary. and the tuner mutes if i need to change guitar or just silence the sound.
works for me. 
you can check it out in action in the thread i just posted a few minutes ago. 

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Nice vid - I just watched the first few minutes.  Cool set up!  I'm just using my Helix floorboard in 4cm with my Hughes & Kettner Switchblade 50 TSC combo.  It is a really good pairing - the Helix can send MIDI to the Switchblade to change it's presets.  It's good to be able to use real tube preamp when required.. though I have to say I've got some amazing tones just using the Helix's Compulsive drive in front of a clean H&K tube preset.

 

Yeah your system of 80% minimum that might work well once I have things set up properly... at the moment I worry that a certain preset might be too loud and I might need to turn it down.

 

Maybe I can rig up one stomp to be a "panic" -10dB gain cut in each preset and then use the Vol pedal to fine tune levels as needed.

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I build all my patches off 1 master patch so that all the levels remain the same , when i make a new patch i edit the master one and then save it to a new slot

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I did that too - started with one patch set up with the correct in / send / return / cab / outputs that I want to use and just add FX as needed from there - just seemed the easiest way to do it to save having to redo that stuff every time.

 

The thing about levels that worries me is I know that some songs are just louder or quieter than others even if they need basically the same tone so need that building in to the presets or need to use the exp pedal. 

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What if, when setting levels at the venue, you leave your guitar volume knobs at 7 or 8? That way, you have a little left in reserve and can adjust accordingly on the fly without having to mess with the Helix's settings...

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I always have the pedal go from unity to +7db on the output block for soloing or popping out key phrases

I've never really like solo switches I prefer to sweep the pedal until I get it right

I never have it set as a volume pedal as chances are someone will step on it and kill my signal

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What if, when setting levels at the venue, you leave your guitar volume knobs at 7 or 8? That way, you have a little left in reserve and can adjust accordingly on the fly without having to mess with the Helix's settings...

 

Yeah that would work well for semi clean / blues stuff, but some of the set has a very heavily saturated / driven sound.   It would not make the guitar any louder - just even more overdriven.  The volume control needs to be after the valve (or Helix) preamp for that situation.

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OP. Your idea is simply brilliant. Try it and let us know how it goes!

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I'd like to have a volume-tweak knob attached to my mic stand for on-the-fly adjustments. Does anyone know of a suitable single-knob MIDI controller? Or I guess a simple analog pot in some sort of stand-mountable box could plug into an expression pedal input and be used like that.

 

Anyone have such a thing? Like what? How's it working out?

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I did it the old-school way.  The output of the Helix runs into a Boss FV-500L before it hits the amp. That way it controls the volume not the tone, plus it doesn't involve tweaking all the presets to put a volume block at the end. I set the minimum volume to a sensible level so I don't inadvertently kill the guitar.

 

Mike

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Thanks guys. I know about the Launch Control, does and costs more than I was thinking about, but hey, needs always expand to fill the capabilities, right?

 

Far as a gain block at the end, couldn't you control the final output block's level instead, the one that's always there?

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OP. Your idea is simply brilliant. Try it and let us know how it goes!

 

It worked pretty well.  I set up a +5dB max and -8dB minimum as that seemed to be a good range as I was trying it out at home.

 

At the gig it turned out that I only needed to turn up certain sounds not turn any down.  On some songs I might need to use the exp pedal to turn up the choruses by 3 or 4 dB and then turn it back down to 0dB for the verses.  (as well as pressing a footswitch sometimes).  On other songs the whole thing just needed to be louder to match the drums, so I just turned up with the exp pedal and then could leave it and play.

 

It was a little fiddly finding 0dB again when I had to turn up for choruses and back down again for verses - the display was showing the value which helped a bit (probably as the gain block was selected on each patch when I'd just saved them this afternoon).

 

There was one song that needed to be more than 5dB louder - luckily I had one FS set up to give a +3dB boost on that preset so I could do it without having to reach over to my amp

 

I think in the future I might just have the minimum set at 0dB and just use the exp pedal to boost (maybe up to 10dB).   If i get any presets that are to loud i might just have a "panic" volume cut Footswitch , maybe -10dB, which I could then use in conjunction with the exp pedal to boost back up to the right level between -10dB and 0dB

 

Having said all that... IT WORRKED!  My drummer said - your levels were really good tonight :)

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that big volume knob is not too hard to reach quickly

 

Sure - but it's not too easy to get to when you are singing and playing.  It also looks a bit unprofessional constantly bending over to adjust the volume knob in my opinion.

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I'd like to have a volume-tweak knob attached to my mic stand for on-the-fly adjustments. Does anyone know of a suitable single-knob MIDI controller? Or I guess a simple analog pot in some sort of stand-mountable box could plug into an expression pedal input and be used like that.

 

Anyone have such a thing? Like what? How's it working out?

 

Wow - nice idea!

 

A simple analog pot in a tiny box could easily be wired up to exp 2 or exp 3 and velcroed onto a mic stand in arms reach.  Would cost pennies to make. :)

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I'd like to have a volume-tweak knob attached to my mic stand for on-the-fly adjustments. Does anyone know of a suitable single-knob MIDI controller? Or I guess a simple analog pot in some sort of stand-mountable box could plug into an expression pedal input and be used like that.

 

Anyone have such a thing? Like what? How's it working out?

 

Dan Burgess makes exactly what you want.

 

http://this1smyne.com/shop/me-mini-expression-pedal/

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I always have the pedal go from unity to +7db on the output block for soloing or popping out key phrases

I've never really like solo switches I prefer to sweep the pedal until I get it right

I never have it set as a volume pedal as chances are someone will step on it and kill my signal

Who are you playing with (or for)? Five year olds? I ask because I've been playing professionally for 35 years and no one has ever stepped on one of my pedals.

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Who are you playing with (or for)? Five year olds? I ask because I've been playing professionally for 35 years and no one has ever stepped on one of my pedals.

Maybe you are a bit more pedestrian ...

I've played in heavy rock tribute bands

Red hot chilli peppers tributes

Numerous stage invasions getting girls up on stage for dance contests

Singers running from one side to the other

Jumping on bands and tables etc

Doesnt take much for someone to step on a volume pedal by accident

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Luckily nobody has stepped on my pedals yet - but at one gig a dancer fell backward and landed on their backside on the floor board of other guy in the band.  The pedals and wires all survived thankfully.  It must have been an unpleasant and spiky place to land!

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Yeah that happened to us just last week

Drunk woman fell over the L2t monitor and knocked out singers mic flying

We found it underneath with the floor Tom

She also landed on the singers TC helicon pedal and managed to delete one of the presets somehow

I had a guy that fell on to the stage and snapped a micstand at the base

Then nearly pulled the whole mixing desk off when he got in cables trying to get up. I physically threw him off the stage area

I had a guy get on a table once and actually fell out of an open window

I've had a whole crowd of people fall backwards into my area of the stage causeing my sm58 to smash me in her mouth breaking one of my front teeth in half

You get the idea .. It can get rough out there :) it's not Sunday School

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Dan Burgess makes exactly what you want.

 

http://this1smyne.com/shop/me-mini-expression-pedal/

Bingo, this, exactly!

 

Any thoughts on mic stand mounting?

 

Is he right about wanting a 10k mono pot for Line 6 stuff, specifically Helix? (I assume so, just checking, if anyone's actually used one w Helix.)

 

And L6, seems like we need a model of his Pearl pedal :)

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Maybe you are a bit more pedestrian ...

I've played in heavy rock tribute bands

Red hot chilli peppers tributes

Numerous stage invasions getting girls up on stage for dance contests

Singers running from one side to the other

Jumping on bands and tables etc

Doesnt take much for someone to step on a volume pedal by accident

Ok, yeah, I take your point! Even the drunks I play for seem to avoid my zone of "don't f&$k with me" around my pedal board. Also, my pedals are mounted in the lid of a flight case, so they're protected with a sturdy 1.5" lip.

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You can't by any chance plug a Launch Control directly into the Helix USB port, can you? Requires a PC? Would be very cool if it'd work standalone.

Its my understanding you can plug it into the usb port and send midi direct to Helix without a computer.  ?  

 

It sparked my interest but i have yet to use midi with the helix.   I guess midi can be assigned to control effect and amp parameters, and turn them on and off if there is a footswitch assigned.  I do not know how to implement this. Someday i may get the time to experiment.

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now if some one out there knows a way to make a simple servo control for the helix volume knob....   I thought of rigging up an old rc radio control but a compact wired one would be better

 

look at this idea 

 

 

 

 

 

it would be better to have a knob though

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Or a way to adjust the main output (like in the global settings where you can change what the big knob controls) with MIDI or and EXP pedal globaly

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Or a way to adjust the main output (like in the global settings where you can change what the big knob controls) with MIDI or and EXP pedal globaly

 

Stereo volume pedal would do it...

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I just program a 6 db BOOST to a footswitch and also use a separate volume pedal. If my volume is too much, I can roll back the volume on my volume pedal without losing tone or sustain or overdrive. The boost is great if you have the right levels to start with and just want to step up during a solo then step back. The volume pedal allows me to keep the full sustain and overdrive just at the right level to start with. Rolling back the volume on the guitar rolls off the gain/overdrive and changes your tone in Helix just like using a tube amp. That's why I have the volume pedal taking the signal from my 1/4" outputs and then passing the level from the volume pedal to my Tech 21 Power 60 FRFR powered speaker. 

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I just program a 6 db BOOST to a footswitch and also use a separate volume pedal. If my volume is too much, I can roll back the volume on my volume pedal without losing tone or sustain or overdrive. The boost is great if you have the right levels to start with and just want to step up during a solo then step back. The volume pedal allows me to keep the full sustain and overdrive just at the right level to start with. Rolling back the volume on the guitar rolls off the gain/overdrive and changes your tone in Helix just like using a tube amp. That's why I have the volume pedal taking the signal from my 1/4" outputs and then passing the level from the volume pedal to my Tech 21 Power 60 FRFR powered speaker. 

 

Yeah! That's what I've been doing now as well... I found it's much better to just use the volume pedal to turn down rather than trying to turn up as well - the reason is that if you want a little boost you can easily do it with the footswitch and then click it off to return to normal volume.. whereas with the volume pedal it's a bit fiddly trying to get back down to exactly 0dB.

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Lot of neat ideas, but aren't things simpler then that? ; P

 

As I have been doing with the hd500 and now with the Helix. Pop an effects loop block at the end and grab a BOSS FV500L. I have every single patch aetup like this for just the reason you're talking about.

 

Its a stereo pedal, I set the minimum volume on it to about 40% or 50%, it can be used as an expression pedal, has a tuner out, and its a rock solid pedal.

 

I always have this with me! I set the minimum and then position the pedal between toe and heel when sound checking. Always have the ability to raise or drop it easily... And the best part... I dont need to stop playing my guitar to reach for a volume knob; whether its on the floor or a mic stand or sitting next to my drink : ) I dont want to try and use my hands when their job is pretty much spoken for.

 

As for solos I always pop a studio EQ towards the end and pump up the level a little, this also allows for slight EQ adjustments between rhythm and lead if wanted. First switch in every patch is my lead switch.... Consistency, simplicity and as little brain power necessary when playing out. That way when the skirt goes up on the drunk chick dancing on the chair you could some how still manage to keep it together. Go with the same attitude for your equipment as you would your playing. Keep it simple and practice at home, not on stage.

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Brilliant! Exactly what I was looking for. Prior to reading this, I used a stomp footswitch bypassing/controlling a +4.0db gain block. Copy/paste made it relatively easy to update my patches presets (I only have 8 right now). And now I've freed up one of the four precious stomp footswitches (I'm using the snap/stomp global configuration). Thanks!

 

I always have the pedal go from unity to +7db on the output block for soloing or popping out key phrases
I've never really like solo switches I prefer to sweep the pedal until I get it right
I never have it set as a volume pedal as chances are someone will step on it and kill my signal

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