Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Jump to content

Helix with real AC30 and PA


Recommended Posts

HI there,


I got my Helix few days ago and until yesterday I was in exploration mode using headphones. It was very cool to hear some of those amps behave and feel like real tube amps. Thumbs up.


It was a pretty good sounding with some patches, and I expected to get somewhat similar results with my real tube amp. Yesterday I decided to give it a try with my AC30 amp, and PA–both tried separately. So, this is where my story begins, or any other newbie story.


A little background.


I use to use my pedals and mic the amp when playing live (when necessary). It aways felt too cumbersome to have multi fx pedals. They are cool and should be easy, but I used to spend hours (with GT 10) trying to edit sounds on it instead of just playing my guitar.


This was true until I saw Helix. I really fell in love with simplicity of editing, and all the options of using it together with both amp and PA at the same time or take it to studio.


1. So, last night I tried hooking up Helix directly to Normal channel of my AC30, and sound was pretty harsh. I was watching some Glenn DeLaunne videos and in one of them he said that it was fine just to plug it in front of the amp and use it that way.


The result wasn't really pleasing. The sound came out as harsh digital, with some ice pick highs. Some patches were more usable than others, but that was the overall feeling. 


I was playing Gibson LP Traditional + (all stock).


2. When I plugged it in the PA result was pretty different. 


Everything sounded too low, and bassy. I used the same channel on my board where I used to mic my amp. I know that I will have to work on the EQ a bit on this channel but it wasn't even close to what I expected.


I tired turning off subwoofer completely but that still didn't get me a good clean sound.


Today I bought Glenn's Custom Patch Set for Helix, and I will give that a try and see how does that play with my setup.


Anyway, I'd really like to get some help with direction on what to do to set it up properly for both practicing and gigging.


My goal is:

  1. To be able to get nice sounds out of Helix using my AC30.
  2. To be able to get nice sounds out of Helix using my PA.
  3. To use Helix to record into Logic X.
  4. To be able to take Helix to studio without a need to lag my super heavy AC30.

How do I get there?

Do I need to decide between using AC30 and PA and just take that route?

If I use it PA, do I need to have a good monitor (in ear or floor–I have Behringer's Powered 250W monitor)?


BTW My PA is Presonus Studio Live 16.0.2, set of EV ELX112P, and EV Powered subwoofer. Guitars are '59 Tele Hot Rod reissue, Gibson LP Traditional +, and Gibson LP Traditional with Floyd Rose.


Sorry for a long post, and I appreciate you reading this far, let alone helping me out. :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Helix will work really fine with tube amps, but if you don't use amps and/or cabs on Helix!


In other words, you can use your Helix as a pedal board for your AC30 (and that work great), but use only FXs, not amps. If you tried factory presets, they are all with amps so they won't play fine with your AC30.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Helix should work great with your setup.  You have several options:

  1. Straight into the front of the amp (basically using Helix like a pedal board as stephane_dupont describes above)
  2. Straight into the fx return on the AC30 (using Helix for fx and the preamp and your AC30 poweramp and cabinet)
  3. 4-cable method (this is my favorite as it gives you the ability to do both 1 and 2)

I like to run a couple of my amps in 4-cable method and send the XLR outputs from Helix to my PA.  It sounds amazing.


One thing I recommend is looking in the Global Settings and making sure you're 1/4" out is set to instrument if you're just going into the front of the amp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My best results currently are running a Helix amp only (no cab) path to the 1/4" out into the effects return of my tube amps. Then splitting the signal at the end of that path, putting a cab on that 2nd path, and sending it to XLR out to PA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See this blog post for using Helix into the front of a guitar amp: Using Helix as an Effects Pedal Board. If you use 4CM then your guitar amp is providing some of the preamp and Helix is providing effects. In this case your guitar amp is also providing the power amp and speaker, so you don't generally want to include those models in your patch. If you want Helix to go into the PA too, then you have two options. One is to continue micing your guitar amp as before since its providing your overall tone. The other is to create a parallel path in Helix with a cab model or IR, or even a whole amp and cab model that is in parallel with your 4CM path and has the output set to the PA. 


Frankly I think this is overkill and too complicated. You have to assess your guitar amp with Helix in terms of tones and convenience. To me the big advantage of Helix is that I can get more than one amp sound out of the PA or a stage FRFR that isn't possible when going into a guitar amp. This is especially true if you play multiple instruments, some of them acoustic. A guitar amp just can't do this. 


So although would could create a parallel hybrid patch that has amp models going into the PA and 4CM going into your guitar amp, that may be more trouble than its worth. Try it and see what works for you. The key is to get the tone you want, and not have the setup become a distraction that takes your attention away from the music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would leave the AC30 at home, and go direct to FOH with the Essex30 of the Helix. Use a monitor, or some kind of FRFR for your own mix. That's the beauty of the new generation modelers, you don't need to take an amp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you guys so much. All the suggestions sound good.


I will have some experimenting to do this evening and try to have something working for tomorrow for a band practice. 


I will post what I find in the next few days, and please keep posting if you have more suggestions or any visual representations (screen shots of the Helix screen path setups.


Thank you all very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey guys.


Last night I was able to get a good sound out of my AC30 and Helix. I ended up going from Helix to 1/4 out to Return on my AC30. 


Anyway, I started with a blank template, and added a preamp. I listened to all of them and played a bit with each using my Tele Hot Rod. Some great ones were there, both for clean and dirty.


When I found a one I wanted to start with–it was a WhoWatt 100–I added LA Studio comp at the beginning of my chain. Set it up a bit, and I got great clean sounds that I could have played with alone for some time.


After that I added, Valve Driver, Triangle Fuzz and Noise Gate.

What I put after preamp was Chorus, Simple Delay, and Plate Reverb. 


Played with settings a bit, and I got something that I will use at practice tonight.


Now my next step will be to try to recreate the same thing and output it to the PA, and make it sound (at least pretty close to) to what I'm getting out of my amp right now. 


Any suggestions how to do this? 

Should I create everything the same on the 2nd path, but just add an amp or speaker, and send it to XLR.


I'd like to get to the point that @Bikedude mentioned where I wouldn't need my amp to carry round, but still have an option of going to the amp as well.


You suggestions are, and have been, greatly appreciates.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Sikter - Glad you've got a sound you like from your amp :)


Assuming all that you have at the moment is on Path 1A, all you need to do is add a cab block (or an IR) near the end of your chain just before the 1/4in output - hit action select it and then drag it to the lower path.  Then go to the merge block which will appear just before the 1/4in output, select that hit action and drag it to the lower path to create a second output.  Then set that to XLR.


You can also add an EQ block on the lower path if you feel you need more that just the IR or Cab to get a similar sound to what you've dialled in for your AC30 to come from the PA.


This exact patch would work with no amp as well - just plug into the pa with XLRs and get the soundman to send your feed to your monitor.


This is basically how I use my Helix - except I use my amp in 4cm as well, so that I can use my real preamp in a Send/Return loop if I want to,  I have a Footswitch set up on each preset to choose between real tube preamp and Helix preamp - so I can use the same preset whether I bring my amp or not.


I use one preset per song - as I want to be able to use spillovers for delays and reverbs.  It works well enough for me (but it would work better if/when they add a scene mode to Helix)

Link to comment
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.

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...