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Guitar Impedance Setting


FacemanJoe
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Hi all,

You've all been so great with your feedback I thought I'd push my luck with another question - this one concerns how you all are setting the "Guitar In Impedance" setting.  I did a search but didn't find anything on this topic.

 

I play Les Pauls and Strats.  Not particularly hot pickups in either.  Should I set to "auto"?

 

 

Thanks all!

 

Joe

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I think its up to your preference, tone you are going for and your guitar. 

I normally set mine to 1M for my main PRS with humbuckers (which is what I play 95% of the time).. 

I played around with the lower settings (120K I think - or something like that) one night with my single coil strat and it helped tame the "ice-pick" highs I normally get with that guitar (combined with some tone knob adjustment). 

 

Here's a little info on Auto also:

" If the distortion pedal is the first block on Path 1, Helix can automatically set its Guitar Input impedance circuit to match. Just set Global Settings > Ins/Outs > Guitar In Impedance to "Auto.""

From:  http://line6.com/support/topic/17865-overdrivedistortion-tones-not-sounding-good-at-all/?do=findComment&comment=153365

 

Hope that helps.

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I usually just leave it on auto. I think that most of the time that leaves it at 1M anyway, but in the event that some dirt or fuzz pedal might better work with a different setting it will automatically adjust for you when you kick the pedal on.

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With this setting on auto, does the first enabled block determine the value, or just the first block?

 

Also, is there a list anywhere of what the impedance values are for effects are?

 

On auto, the first block determines the impedance regardless of whether it's on or bypassed.

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On auto, the first block determines the impedance regardless of whether it's on or bypassed.

 

This is an important detail! My first block(s) are usually pitch, wah, or, autowah blocks which tend to be off/bypassed most of the time. Most prevailing wisdom on where to place these kinds of effects says to put them at the beginning of your effects chain. I doubt a bypassed block impacts the sound as determined by the impedance setting; if it doesn't, this means that ideally, the impedance setting when set to auto, should always set itself to the first active block in the preset, not the first block.

 

Line6 should really think about implementing this feature, otherwise, if you are using the "Auto" impedance setting you should always have an active block first in the chain.  This would dictate a signal chain with truly poor placement of effects in many scenarios.

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This is an important detail! My first block(s) are usually pitch, wah, or, autowah blocks which tend to be off/bypassed most of the time. Most prevailing wisdom on where to place these kinds of effects says to put them at the beginning of your effects chain. I doubt a bypassed block impacts the sound as determined by the impedance setting; if it doesn't, this means that ideally, the impedance setting when set to auto, should always set itself to the first active block in the preset, not the first block.

 

Line6 should really think about implementing this feature, otherwise, if you are using the "Auto" impedance setting you should always have an active block first in the chain.  This would dictate a signal chain with truly poor placement of effects in many scenarios.

 

Well, this is how a real pedalboard would work. If you have one of these notoriously tone sucking pedals, the bypassed tone will suck as well. I suppose if you want to keep the same impedance, you just set it. I'd be surprised isn't changed to something that is saved on a preset per preset basis. That's how it worked on the HD series.

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Well, this is how a real pedalboard would work. If you have one of these notoriously tone sucking pedals, the bypassed tone will suck as well. I suppose if you want to keep the same impedance, you just set it. I'd be surprised isn't changed to something that is saved on a preset per preset basis. That's how it worked on the HD series.

 

If I understand your comment correctly you are addressing two separate issues. I am not commenting on having the impedance/"Auto" setting on a per preset basis versus a global setting although I suppose being able to set it per preset would be a nice feature.

 

I think there could be a difference between the operation of a physical ("real") pedalboard and the Helix.  I am assuming on a physical pedalboard, the first pedal in the chain will interact with the impedance at the input, regardless of whether or not it is bypassed. On the Helix, a bypassed block may well just be completely out of the virtual chain implying that it should be the first active block that interacts with the guitar's/Helix's impedance setting, not the bypassed block. This is potentially a stark difference from the way a conventional analog pedalboard operates. If this is the case with the Helix as I was alluding to in my post, then the Auto setting should interact with the first active block, not the first block. If however, a bypassed block on the Helix is still "in the chain" and that bypassed block's impedance characteristics are still interacting with the guitar's impedance setting, and the sound being passed to the active blocks, just like a physical pedalboard, then this is a non-issue and the "Auto" setting should work as intended.

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I am assuming on a physical pedalboard, the first pedal in the chain will interact with the impedance at the input, regardless of whether or not it is bypassed. On the Helix, a bypassed block may well just be completely out of the virtual chain implying that it is the first active block that interacts with the guitar's/Helix's impedance setting, not the bypassed block. This is potentially a stark difference from the way a conventional analog pedalboard operates.

 

Depends on the pedal. If you only use pedals with true analog bypass and no buffer, then the loading of your guitar can move to the first active pedal. Otherwise, it typically stays with the first pedal, regardless of its bypass state.

 

It's actually quite a bit more complicated than that, but I'm not sure we'd want to climb down the rabbit hole and have impedance jumping all over the place depending on various blocks' bypass states, especially considering Helix's routing and multiple input blocks. A ton of modelers (even some expensive ones) don't have variable impedance circuits at all.

 

When the Guitar In Impedance parameter is set to "Auto", Helix simply looks at the first block on Path 1A and applies the value from a look-up table to the impedance circuit. I'm afraid anything more complicated than that may not have much ROI.

 

Regardless, we think we have a better solution. Stay tuned.

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Depends on the pedal. If you only use pedals with true analog bypass and no buffer, then the loading of your guitar can move to the first active pedal. Otherwise, it typically stays with the first pedal, regardless of its bypass state.

 

It's actually quite a bit more complicated than that, but I'm not sure we'd want to climb down the rabbit hole and have impedance jumping all over the place depending on various blocks' bypass states, especially considering Helix's routing and multiple input blocks. A ton of modelers (even some expensive ones) don't have variable impedance circuits at all.

 

When the Guitar In Impedance parameter is set to "Auto", Helix simply looks at the first block on Path 1A and applies the value from a look-up table to the impedance circuit. I'm afraid anything more complicated than that may not have much ROI.

 

Regardless, we think we have a better solution. Stay tuned.

Thanks for the response. I am not surprised to hear that the interaction of the guitar input's impedance and the operation on a physical pedalboard might well be a "rabbit hole" that depends on the type of pedals being used. This post was total speculation on my part but it just occurred to me that impedance matching with the first active block might work better than the first sequential block depending on how bypassed blocks are implemented in the Helix signal chain. I will leave this in Line6's capable hands as I don't have all the details on the operation of bypassed Helix blocks, or any other ideas on how to better implement this.

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Impedance switching isn't always perfectly transparent either, so anything that might cause sonic surprises should be avoided. It's much easier to implement (and explain!) to just pay attention to the block, not the block's bypass state—and certainly not up to 32 blocks' bypass states!  :blink:

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This discussion has verified my preference to always use 1M. I want to get the most out of my guitar, not necessarily match the compromises of a pedal design that that may no longer be necessary. I'm looking for tone, not necessarily exact reproductions of existing devices. Guitars were designed for a 1M input impedence. They sound and respond best with that setting. There's lots of other things in Helix that can be used to control the tone.

 

I don't know if Helix models both the input and output impedence of every device so that the impact of connecting blocks reflects potential mismatches. If it did, the Auto setting would be realistic, but not necessarily desirable. Otherwise it doesn't seem particularly useful.

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The primary use of a lower impedance is to emulate the tone coming out of some old school fuzz and wah pedals. Those pedals have a relatively low input impedance that cause the magnetic guitar pickups to smooth out their frequency response and roll off some of the highs. This can help quite a bit with getting a nice fuzz tone, or a particular distortion tone that relies on the wah/fuzz at the top of the chain to load down the guitar.

 

However, IMO, that also makes the pickups sound a bit lifeless when used in other situations with other effects, especially clean tones.

 

This is why there are true bypass mods for the old pedals, and many newer pedals have true bypass (or a high impedance buffer) as standard. People also put the fuzz/wah pedal into a hardware loop so it gets fully bypassed when not in use. This gives the best of both worlds by allowing the effect to load down the guitar (smoothing it out) while in use, and not affecting the guitar tone when bypassed.

 

It'll be interesting to see what Helix has coming in this area to make the impedance setting a bit more versatile. It'd be particularly useful if some type of 'scene' mode could include an impedance change/block as part of the scene selection within a patch. Then auto could just use what the patch/scene had defined, or be expanding as "Auto, Scene, 1M, etc"

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This discussion has verified my preference to always use 1M.

 

A pretty decent majority of Helix's models would set the impedance circuit to 1M Ohm anyway. I keep mine set to 1M Ohm as well, and will only change it if I'm looking for a specific sound.

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I agree that this is the purpose of the Auto option, but I think the tone control on your guitar gives a lot more control a lot easier. That's my point, there's other ways to tame the highs into and out of a distortion block. I'd rather use those and keep the life in my guitar tone.

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I agree that this is the purpose of the Auto option, but I think the tone control on your guitar gives a lot more control a lot easier. That's my point, there's other ways to tame the highs into and out of a distortion block. I'd rather use those and keep the life in my guitar tone.

 

Just rolling back the tone doesn't accomplish quite the same thing as changing the input impedance, though. It's not simply that it changes the tone as much as it also changes the response of the pickups, which is very critical for a lot of fuzz tones.

 

I think that when DI says it would be going down a rabbit hole what they are actually meaning is that even true bypass pedals will still technically add a small bit of resistance/capacitance, so trying to figure out the exact (and largely negligible) impact each would have on your tone is just... unnecessary.

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Just rolling back the tone doesn't accomplish quite the same thing as changing the input impedance, though. It's not simply that it changes the tone as much as it also changes the response of the pickups, which is very critical for a lot of fuzz tones.

 

I think that when DI says it would be going down a rabbit hole what they are actually meaning is that even true bypass pedals will still technically add a small bit of resistance/capacitance, so trying to figure out the exact (and largely negligible) impact each would have on your tone is just... unnecessary.

 

Point taken regarding pickup dynamics/response as well as tone. Even if a small, perhaps negligible bit of resistance/capacitance is present on true bypass pedals, I think that the rabbit hole on a conventional pedalboard could include not only whether the initial pedal and even subsequent pedals are true bypass or buffered (which could be a significant rather than negligible difference) but the rabbit hole may turn into a rabbit chasm when the actual circuitry kicks in when the pedal is engaged which I imagine could also interact with the impedance setting. These kinds of behaviors might have analogous implications on how "Auto" is implemented on the Helix. Until there is a more sophisticated or elegant implementation of the "Auto" impedance setting perhaps amsdenj is correct in that a good rule of thumb might be setting the impedance to "1M" rather than "Auto" and seasoning to taste where necessary depending on the guitar and preset being used. 

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Until there is a more sophisticated or elegant implementation of the "Auto" impedance setting perhaps amsdenj is correct in that a good rule of thumb might be setting the impedance to "1M" rather than "Auto" and seasoning to taste where necessary depending on the guitar and preset being used. 

 

The problem with Helix as it stands is that the impedance option is global. So setting it to Auto is the only way to get it to follow the current patch. So if you want 1M, you just make sure the first pedal isn't a fuzz or wah. And if you want that perfect fuzz tone, then use a different patch where the fuzz is first. That way the Auto setting makes sure the input impedance is correct for the patch in question.

 

Unfortunately, the patch switching delay/gap in Helix makes it less than ideal to seamlessly go between two patches where one is a sparkly clean and the other a smooth fuzz tone.

 

The way I do that now is to stay within the patch, and just use an EQ ahead of the fuzz to emulate the impedance effect on the pickup, instead of relying on the input impedance option to directly alter the pickup's tone. Then I can just stomp on/off the EQ+fuzz when I want the fuzz tone. Doing it that way also allows the use of the expression pedal to smoothly transition from a clean to an effected fuzz tone, which is something I like to do to build song dynamic.

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I use a telecaster and I set a low impedance as global eq because it has many high and I think the majority of patches are made for humbucker.

It should be very useful to have a pickup simulator block like in GT001 to adapt sound of a patch made for humbuckers guitar to a single coils guitar and viceversa.

Don't say "buy a variax guitar!" I'm left-handed.

Anyway I've found my ideal guitar...telecaster I don't want to change.

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I use a telecaster and I set a low impedance as global eq because it has many high and I think the majority of patches are made for humbucker.

It should be very useful to have a pickup simulator block like in GT001 to adapt sound of a patch made for humbuckers guitar to a single coils guitar and viceversa.

Don't say "buy a variax guitar!" I'm left-handed.

Anyway I've found my ideal guitar...telecaster I don't want to change.

 

They're not, they are made to sound like the original amp. Theoretically, the "auto" setting would set the input impedance to match what the actual amp uses. Having said that, if you find that you like the sound of it with a lower setting, go for it! That's what it's all about, figuring out what works for you.

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We're probably going to end up changing the default to "Auto." That seems to be most people's preference anyway.

There's a request for what I'm about to mention on IdeaScale but just to reiterate, it would be handy as a tone shaping tool to have the input impedance be programmable per preset.

Thanks.

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  • 5 months later...

Maybe it is just slight pauses in sound as I scroll through the Helix input z parameters. I'll check again too, but I thought I heard differences between the extreme z settings on high gain amps with Variax Lester models over VDI. Maybe I'm imagining it.

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I just saw this topic, after I created one for being able to add a value for an effects loop, but only when it is on... I get that it is a lookup table and it is easier just to say that it is always that value when that pedal is first in the chain. 

 

When I am just playing and trying to come up with new ideas, I like to be able to configure the helix just as a pedal board using the effects loops for some of my analog pedals, especially fuzzes. 

 

If i stick a fuzz in a loop and set the impedance to say 22K to work correctly with the fuzz, then when I bypass the loop the signal is too dark. 

 

I think it would be nice to be able to set a value in the look up table for each effects loop and if that loop is first in the chain use the existing logic to adjust the auto impedance. 

 

Of course I would still love for that change to happen only when the loop is switched on, but it sounds like that probably will not happen. 

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  • 1 year later...
8 minutes ago, EricRenner said:

Bump. Has this been resolved in some way? Or a workaround maybe?

 

The workaround is using snapshots... set up one with the fuzz on and low Z impedance,  another with the fuzz off and the high Z setting of your choice.

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21 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

The workaround is using snapshots... set up one with the fuzz on and low Z impedance,  another with the fuzz off and the high Z setting of your choice.

 

Just a thought. Im not at my helix at the moment, but in stomp mode, couldn't you map an impedance change to the fuzz switch as well?

 

I've always used auto impedance. Do you have any recommendations for starting points on fuzz vs no fuzz impedance? I like the fuzz face. 

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29 minutes ago, EricRenner said:

 

Just a thought. Im not at my helix at the moment, but in stomp mode, couldn't you map an impedance change to the fuzz switch as well?

 

I've always used auto impedance. Do you have any recommendations for starting points on fuzz vs no fuzz impedance? I like the fuzz face. 

 

The impedance setting is in the input block...I won't say it's impossible, but if there's a way to control it with a footswitch assigned to toggle a fuzz box, I don't know what it is. Snapshots will definitely work though. 

 

As for individual settings, I won't be of much help...I'm not really a fuzz fan. 

 

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The impedance can be controlled by footswitch. I'm doing it.
If you want different impedances for different pedals, you have to use snapshots, but if there's just one "special" impedance you want to set up for, footswitch will do

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2 minutes ago, Inerzia said:

The impedance can be controlled by footswitch. I'm doing it.
If you want different impedances for different pedals, you have to use snapshots, but if there's just one "special" impedance you want to set up for, footswitch will do

 

That's.... Really annoying and depressing to be quite honest with you :( but if I have to do it that way I'll do it that way. I play a lot of SRV and Hendrix tribute shows so it's kind of on a *need* basis for me sadly. 

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