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I have always used round picking when playing.  I use a 1.14mm pick.

 

So I A/B'd my Mesa versus the Helix in my headphones.  Not sure why but in the headphones when using the Helix I hear my pick which I assume must be heard in the front of the house and or monitor.  While this may be due to how the electronics work (which I know little about) I am wondering if anyone has tips or solutions to this in the way of microphone placement to the speakers as much as tone settings on the amp models themselves.

 

I am not a sound engineer, just a guitarist, however, I am doing my best to learn about the engineering aspect as it appears everyone in this forum who is well versed with the Helix has a foundational knowledge of sound engineering.  So I thought I'd ask the following;

 

1) Which choice of microphone best works for live sound

2) Which choice of microphone best works for recorded sound (or is it the same mic for both live and recording)

3) How far from the speaker should the distance in the Helix be for the various modeled microphones (1", 2", 3", or beyond)

 

Any other help would be greatly appreciated

 

Thanks for any direction

 

Dennis

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I have always used round picking when playing.  I use a 1.14mm pick.

 

So I A/B'd my Mesa versus the Helix in my headphones.  Not sure why but in the headphones when using the Helix I hear my pick which I assume must be heard in the front of the house and or monitor.

[...]

 

Go ahead and make a A/B recording so that you (and maybe we) can hear what's going on...

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There's really no way to answer any of those questions. A number of things will contribute to it to some extent, but pick attack is mostly player-dependent. If it's really popping out at you, you just have to poke at settings until you find what dials it back best for you. There won't be a magic bullet as far as settings are concerned. Just because something works for me, doesn't mean it will for you.

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One thing that would eliminate pick noise completely is an auto volume with a really quick swell-in. Unfortunately, Helix doesn't have this effect yet.

 

Other than that, the different amps seem to reproduce pick noise differently. It's part of the character of the amp. Maybe the mic helps contribute to it's presence, but my guess is not very much. It's more part of the amp in combination with technique. You'll probably never get rid of it without resorting to a drastic measure like I mentioned above. I personally like pick noises. You can change the way notes sound, a lot, by simply changing the way the pick hits the string.

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I have always used round picking when playing. I use a 1.14mm pick.

 

So I A/B'd my Mesa versus the Helix in my headphones. Not sure why but in the headphones when using the Helix I hear my pick which I assume must be heard in the front of the house and or monitor. While this may be due to how the electronics work (which I know little about) I am wondering if anyone has tips or solutions to this in the way of microphone placement to the speakers as much as tone settings on the amp models themselves.

 

I am not a sound engineer, just a guitarist, however, I am doing my best to learn about the engineering aspect as it appears everyone in this forum who is well versed with the Helix has a foundational knowledge of sound engineering. So I thought I'd ask the following;

 

1) Which choice of microphone best works for live sound

2) Which choice of microphone best works for recorded sound (or is it the same mic for both live and recording)

3) How far from the speaker should the distance in the Helix be for the various modeled microphones (1", 2", 3", or beyond)

 

Any other help would be greatly appreciated

 

Thanks for any direction

 

Dennis

One strategy I have used for finding the frequencies where the pick noise is most egregious, particularly with my acoustic guitar, is to use the old trick with a parametric equalizer -- set the Q on the parametric fairly narrow and the db boost high and then sweep the frequency range until you find the spot(s) where the noise is worst. You can also use it in the opposite fashion by a substantial cut to the db level and sweeping until the noise diminishes. You can then dial some of those frequencies down with the PEQ or a GEQ. 

 

One more tip, you can sometimes get a good idea of where the offending frequencies lie by first using a low pass filter (high cut) and sweeping the entire frequency range until the sound disappears. Then drill down to specifics with the parametric EQ.

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Hey Dennis,

 

I am certainly not a sound engineer either, just a guitar player thats sort of figured out what works for me.  And I'm still picking up new bits and pieces of info as I go.

 

As far as the pick noises, you're probably going to notice it a lot more in headphones than through monitors or a mic'd up amp.  If you can, try recording your playing with either set up, and see if you still notice it.  Pick shape, size, and material have a lot to do with that too.  If you notice a lot of scratching noises, finding a pick with rounder edges might help, especially if your picking technic has you coming in at an angle. (Try a Jazz III Ultex, or if you like standard size picks - John Petrucci Jazz III, or Jazz III XL versions)

 

I think the mic choices are matter of preference - everyone says an SM57 right on the speaker is the way to go, but I've never been able to get a sound I like by doing that.  In real life and on Helix I love the Royer 121 (I usually have to use a low cut around 80-100hz) and the Shure SM7B.  I've been lucky enough to play around with other peoples mics and haven't had to invest to find out what I do and do not like.

 

On Helix specifically, I've come to really like using the "30 Dynamic" model for high gain sounds.  Someone else on this forum (can't remember who) recommended trying the 112 mic model on Helix for high gain stuff and its been really good for me so far.  

 

In Helix, I usually set the distance very close (4" probably is the furthest I go), but in real life I sometimes like having up to 6" between the mic and amp.  If you like the sound of a mic/model, but it has too much bottom end (usually the ribbon models or even the SM57) increase the distance.  They did a good job of modeling the proximity effect in the Helix cabs.

 

If you add in some preferences for sounds/styles/guitarists I'm sure others will chime in with their own preferences too.

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So I A/B'd my Mesa versus the Helix in my headphones.  Not sure why but in the headphones when using the Helix I hear my pick which I assume must be heard in the front of the house and or monitor.  

 

 

Can you explain how did you A/B the Mesa versus the Helix?

 

Was the Mesa in 4cm?  What are you comparing in headphones? A Mesa preamp to a Helix preamp?

If this is the case I find the Helix amps accentuate a pick attack frequency that I believe is what some folks describe as "crossover distortion"

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I have pick noise like nuts. I hate it. This has been a problem for me on every real tube amp or modeler that I have ever used. I've always considered it a deficiency in my playing. This past weekend at practice the keyboard player says, "I really like that sharp click sound you get at the beginning of each note!" 

 

Ear of the beholder I guess. Embrace it.

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Can you explain how did you A/B the Mesa versus the Helix?

 

Was the Mesa in 4cm?  What are you comparing in headphones? A Mesa preamp to a Helix preamp?

If this is the case I find the Helix amps accentuate a pick attack frequency that I believe is what some folks describe as "crossover distortion"

 

I just sat in my two car size garage with carpet on the whole floor and fairly well insulated (no echo in the box so to speak).  I used my no mark early Mark III with just the lead/rhythm foot switch.  The I used the Helix set clean and then crunchy. 

 

One strategy I have used for finding the frequencies where the pick noise is most egregious, particularly with my acoustic guitar, is to use the old trick with a parametric equalizer -- set the Q on the parametric fairly narrow and the db boost high and then sweep the frequency range until you find the spot(s) where the noise is worst. You can also use it in the opposite fashion by a substantial cut to the db level and sweeping until the noise diminishes. You can then dial some of those frequencies down with the PEQ or a GEQ. 

 

One more tip, you can sometimes get a good idea of where the offending frequencies lie by first using a low pass filter (high cut) and sweeping the entire frequency range until the sound disappears. Then drill down to specifics with the parametric EQ.

 

I think I have a youtube video bookmarked using a similar technique.  Thanks.  I'll keep looking and adjusting.  I find that if I play too long with the headphones I get ear fatigue so I stop and rest my ears from about 30 minutes before going back.

 

All,

 

So far great feedback and suggestions.  I have been putting all the mics at 1" but now think usually on stage my Mesa was mic'd using a Sennheiser e906 flat on the grill and 1 1/2" off center of the cone.  Would that make it 0" or 2" from the speaker".  I'll see if I can determine the mic in the Helix closest to the e906

 

Dennis

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I just sat in my two car size garage with carpet on the whole floor and fairly well insulated (no echo in the box so to speak).  I used my no mark early Mark III with just the lead/rhythm foot switch.  The I used the Helix set clean and then crunchy. 

 

 

I think I have a youtube video bookmarked using a similar technique.  Thanks.  I'll keep looking and adjusting.  I find that if I play too long with the headphones I get ear fatigue so I stop and rest my ears from about 30 minutes before going back.

 

All,

 

So far great feedback and suggestions.  I have been putting all the mics at 1" but now think usually on stage my Mesa was mic'd using a Sennheiser e906 flat on the grill and 1 1/2" off center of the cone.  Would that make it 0" or 2" from the speaker".  I'll see if I can determine the mic in the Helix closest to the e906

 

Dennis

 

One more thing occurred to me. You have been comparing the sound of your Mesa amp and your headphones. Your Mesa amp will probably have a Black Shadow or some other Celestion speaker. These speakers like many other guitar amp speakers have a steep drop-off starting at around 5khz. Your headphones may have a frequency range all the way up to 20khz. If you are not using a high cut on your presets you are probably hearing higher frequencies on the headphones that don't naturally occur for instance through a guitar amp or guitar amp & cab. This may be contributing to the additional pick noise. Experiment with the high cut filter either on your Helix cab blocks or one of the EQ blocks. I find you can be as aggressive as cutting at or about 5khz depending on the preset and sound you are going for. This should give you a more guitar amp-like sound through both your headphones and the FOH speakers and may well cut down on the pick noise substantially.

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One more thing occurred to me. You have been comparing the sound in your Mesa amp and your headphones. Your Mesa amp will probably have a Black Shadow or some other Celestion speaker. These speakers like many other guitar amp speakers have a steep drop-off starting at around 5khz. Your headphones may have a frequency range all the way up to 20khz. If you are not using a high cut on your presets you are probably hearing higher frequencies on the headphones that don't naturally occur for instance through a guitar amp or guitar amp & cab. Experiment with the high cut filter either on your Helix cabs or one of the EQ blocks. I find you can be as aggressive as cutting at or about 5khz depending on the preset and sound you are going for. This should give you a more amp-like guitar sound through both your headphones and the FOH speakers and may well cut down on the pick noise substantially.

The Mesa has the old EVM12 100W speaker.  Your thoughts on the high cut just hit me like a train.  Except for my Mesa Heartbreaker all my other 12" cab tube amps use the EVM12 old speaker.  Don't know if that was just the luck of the draw when I would buy my amps or some subtle Freudian impulse in the depths of my mind.  Hmm, time for some googling!

 

Dennis

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After some google searches I found that my Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 ohm Headphones have a frequency range of 5Hz to 35,000Hz.  My old EVM12L speakers circa 1975-1980 have a frequency range of 80Hz to 5,000Hz.  And I do have one of the new EVM12L Classic speakers I used to replace a broken one in my Mesa .50 Cal (older EL84 tube model) which show a range of 80Hz to 7,000Hz.  Short tale ... if I set the high cut to 9,000Hz or even 12,000Hz I get what I ask for. 

 

Moral of the story is the Helix will give me what I ask for, the Beyerdynamic DT990 will let me hear what I ask for.  Hmmm, kind of like I got what I asked for but it wasn't what I wanted. 

 

OK, so I foresee an all day Friday workout with resetting my presets.  Cool thing is that I save all my presets individually AND with different versioning so I can revert back to any version of a particular preset if necessary.

 

From what you ALL have mentioned;

 

1) Check frequency range of speakers I like in the real world with hi/lo cut frequency of model cabs

2) Use EQ models for fine tuning out sharpness

3) Determine best mic for me

4) Set mic between 2 to 4 inches and hear what sounds best

5) Read much more about speaker freq range as well as amp types in Helix

6) Ask more questions in this forum

 

And I am sure I'll have more questions soon

 

Thanks again,

 

Dennis

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After some google searches I found that my Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 ohm Headphones have a frequency range of 5Hz to 35,000Hz.  My old EVM12L speakers circa 1975-1980 have a frequency range of 80Hz to 5,000Hz.  And I do have one of the new EVM12L Classic speakers I used to replace a broken one in my Mesa .50 Cal (older EL84 tube model) which show a range of 80Hz to 7,000Hz.  Short tale ... if I set the high cut to 9,000Hz or even 12,000Hz I get what I ask for. 

 

Moral of the story is the Helix will give me what I ask for, the Beyerdynamic DT990 will let me hear what I ask for.  Hmmm, kind of like I got what I asked for but it wasn't what I wanted. 

 

OK, so I foresee an all day Friday workout with resetting my presets.  Cool thing is that I save all my presets individually AND with different versioning so I can revert back to any version of a particular preset if necessary.

 

From what you ALL have mentioned;

 

1) Check frequency range of speakers I like in the real world with hi/lo cut frequency of model cabs

2) Use EQ models for fine tuning out sharpness

3) Determine best mic for me

4) Set mic between 2 to 4 inches and hear what sounds best

5) Read much more about speaker freq range as well as amp types in Helix

6) Ask more questions in this forum

 

And I am sure I'll have more questions soon

 

Thanks again,

 

Dennis

 

Looks like you are getting it sorted, you may want to also consider a high-pass (low cut) filter to cut boominess and tighten up the sound, set anywhere from 65-100hz according to your preset, the sound you are going for, and what your ears tell you. 

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Pick noise has as much to do with with your pick material, how you hold the pick, where in the string you pick, etc... Some amps tend to make it more audible (the Engl and Peavey models in Helix have a sharper pick attack), but you can actually dial it out using some of the EQ methods above. I prefer to have it as an option and try to control it with my dynamics. You can also use a compressor with a fast attack to push it down into the same level as the rest of your playing, as well.

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Hmmm, for me, it depends on the type of pick noise.  Really hard picks make a noise just when they touch the string - it's really just a high pitched note as the pick surface is acting like a fret.  The other noise is the scraping noise as the pick moves across the string. I kind of like this noise and use it as part of my playing. 

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To the OP:

 

You mentioned using a 1.14mm pick. That's about as thin as it gets. If it's also real pointy, like a Jazz III, this is likely giving you a sharper attack. You might try something a bit thicker, and with a more rounded bevel, or a softer material. At this point, there are picks made from every conceivable substance...search the interwebs long enough, and you'll find one made from unicorn hide and dodo feathers. Never know what you'll end up liking. I can't get enough of these things:

 

https://stoneworkspicks.com/

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When nothing is plugged in and it's just you and your guitar, what does your ear hear?

The sweet sound of my guitars.  In fact that is how I determine what I want to buy ... play the thing unplugged and feel the wood.  I have learned from installing pickups and various types of capacitors that the electronics should only be used to bring the true sound of the guitar tone to the forefront for the rhythmic sonic presence.  For solos I like to use the effects to get that spitting sax sound.

 

To the OP:

 

You mentioned using a 1.14mm pick. That's about as thin as it gets. If it's also real pointy, like a Jazz III, this is likely giving you a sharper attack. You might try something a bit thicker, and with a more rounded bevel, or a softer material. At this point, there are picks made from every conceivable substance...search the interwebs long enough, and you'll find one made from unicorn hide and dodo feathers. Never know what you'll end up liking. I can't get enough of these things:

 

https://stoneworkspicks.com/

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_pickhas some comparative charts on this very thought about thickness.

 

However, the pick noise I was hearing has been next to eliminated unless i chose to have it there.  Maybe that was my real problem.  I couldn't NOT have it there when I wanted.

 

Turns out the frequency of my personal favorite speaker and changing the mics I use have been the answer all along.  I rehearsed with the group tonight going direct though our PA and it was the best tone I (and they said they) have heard since leaving the Mesas at home.  While I still like my Mesas due to my loyalty to the Mesa company and the tube mojo they can achieve, my back likes the Helix and using my Mesas and the EVM12L specs as my yardstick has been amazing.  And don't get me wrong, this Helix by Line 6 has been amazing in how close if not exact I am getting in achieving a modeled tube mojo ... REALLY!! 

 

I am still learning so the amp settings like Sag, Bias, Xbias, Hum, etc, may be my next big learning curve.

 

Thank you all again,  And thank you Line 6

 

Dennis

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Final Update:

 

Last night was great!  The other guitarist finally said, "Wow ... now we have complimentary tones.  Nice!"  And many musicians in the audience commented on how well my playing sounded.

 

Dennis

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