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lokimoto

Poweramp / Amplifiers / Acoustic Amps Suggestions

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Hey guys.

 

I recently sold a great part of my big old rack system, including my Velocity 120 PowerAmp.

 

Now I have the 2x12 sitting there, doing nothing, just annoying more and more my wife.

 

Anyway, I would like to ask you all, for some suggestion on what amp to use with Helix.

 

I don't intend to keep the 2x12. So, I will need something with speaker(s).

 

I do use the amp simulation from helix, which is a big part of my sound. So, I would need the "cleanest sound amp" as possible.

 

I don't care if it is SS or tube, since it gives me a very clean and flat sound  (FRFR would be great, but it is not essential).

 

I play only at home, so don't need much more than 20 - 30 watts.

 

I was thinking about the ZT Lunchbox. Really small it has some good reviews.

 

*I saw somewhere, I think in FB page, that someone was using with Acpustic amps. is it good to use it with? Will it be damaged using to much distortion and heavy sounds? (stupid question, I know).

 

Anyway, any suggestion is very appreciated!

 

Cheers,
Leo

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I think some at home players are having good luck with nice studio monitors.  I think one member recently got a good online deal on these JBL 8" monitors.  Helix sounded great to me through KRK Rokit 8" monitors.   Not much bass in my old M-Audio BX-5's but they still sound great with Helix at low-mid volume.

 

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LSR308?adpos=1t1&creative=105744827761&device=c&matchtype=b&network=g&gclid=Cj0KEQjw1cS6BRDvhtKL89em1oIBEiQAtZO5x398CjEdNkXM9IHiGD7DiYFvVONnYj5ptYzRsDKTbCMaArmE8P8HAQ

 

I, and others, do love Helix amp models (no cabs or IR's) live through a tube power amp and Mesa Recto 212 with V30's.  If I could pick a flatter/cleaner tube power amp for my 2x12, I would probably get the Fryette Power Station.  Fits in the Helix backpack too ;)

 

http://www.fryette.com/power-station-integrated-reactance-amplifier/

 

Anyway, you have few good options.  One totally home use studio monitors, and another getting a flat/clean power amp with your 212.

 

I haven't seen many good posts on acoustic or keyboard combo amps.  Helix users seem to really like the $999 Line 6 Firehawk 1500.  Line 6 also makes the 30/75/150W Amplifi series with 1/8" Aux inputs at $299/$399/$499 respectively.  I would think that Amplifi could be a good at home solution with a 1/4" L/R Y cable to 1/8" stereo adapter, but I havent seen any posts about using Helix into Amplifi.  I think I'll ask the question on this thread.  I may also take Helix up to GC to test it.

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Great suggestions above.  I recommend something stereo, or even a home stereo works too.  I say get something that looks good in the living room...keep the wife happy!

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"I was thinking about the ZT Lunchbox. Really small it has some good reviews."

 

 

I gotta warn you, the Lunchbox will sound like nothing BUT the Lunchbox.  It would be my last choice to plug the Helix into.

 

If you are thinking combo, look at Modeling combos that have an effects loop, so you can bypass their preamps.  Modeling combos generally have neutral speakers.  I've plugged the Helix into a Fender Mustang like this.  The Mustang III is about $300 and is compact, light, and can hang with any drummer.  Plus it has some very useable tones on it's own as a grab n' go.  Or the Mustang IV is stereo and closer to $500.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys, but the fryette couldn't find any product here in Brazil.
The amplifi series, as well the firehawk are too expensive, more than twice the price compared to the prices in US.

I checked and liked the specs of the Roland GA 212. 2 send/returns, would be nice. And the price is not that high...but still is.
 

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I have a Carvin AG100D Acoustic Amp that I pull out for use with the 500X on rare occasions that I need an onstage guitar only monitor.  
When I do, I connect the 500X's line out to the return of the Carvin, essentially bypassing all of the eq and preamp stages, going direct to the power amp section.  

 

There's an attenuation control for the tweeter, which I rarely have to touch.

 

Most of the rest of the time, I only use the amp for coffee shop type acoustic performances where it's just my acoustic guitar and my vocal.

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I'm using a single Line StageSource L2M powered monitor. Just a Line 6 LINK connection to Helix. Done. Can chain for stereo. Sounds great IMHO and can get very loud if needed.

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The Mustang III is about $300 and is compact, light, and can hang with any drummer.  Plus it has some very useable tones on it's own as a grab n' go.

Way OT, but I looked at the Mustang III before I ended up w a Helix. One huge drawback seemed to be that it's got tons of presets, but no practical way to recall them on stage, since it doesn't have MIDI in for a footswitch. Am I right about that? How do people gig w it then? Stick to the four patches you can recall w its own footswitch? Or they just don't, it's built for bedroom use?

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Way OT, but I looked at the Mustang III before I ended up w a Helix. One huge drawback seemed to be that it's got tons of presets, but no practical way to recall them on stage, since it doesn't have MIDI in for a footswitch. Am I right about that? How do people gig w it then? Stick to the four patches you can recall w its own footswitch? Or they just don't, it's built for bedroom use?

 

 

I gigged with mine a bunch.  I used both the 4 button and 2 button footswitches together which gave me instant access to a tuner and 3 channels - clean/dirty/lead - and the 2 button controlled a distortion pedal and effects, so I had 6 levels of gain easily accessible.   Plus using the guitar's volume knob, that covers pretty much everything I needed.     There were a handful of specialty patches for certain tunes, which you could access with the foot controller, but easier just to turn the knob on the amp.  The ten or so specialty presets I might use were all grouped together.  Easy.  But 95% of the time just using the footswitches.

 

A couple guys I gig with use single channel amps....no channel switching at all...just a drive pedal and the guitar's volume knob.  They make it thru a night of cover tunes just fine.  My fav tube amp has two channels, which I gig with plugged straight in, or sometimes I spice it up and add a drive pedal to make 4 levels of gain.   All in the hands and volume knob.  

 

The Mustang is tough to beat price-wise.  You can buy a used one for practically the price of a boutique drive pedal.  And the footswitches connect to the amp with regular guitar or speaker cables.  Fast and easy.  I can setup my rig in literally less than a minute and half that time to break down.   Best thing is the Mustang sounds the same at home levels or cranked up bashing with a drummer.  My tube amps sound very different in those two scenarios, almost like two different amps.  

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Thanks for the real world answer :)

 

Of course many of us have gigged with 1 or 2 channels, plus stomps, or not, that's what there was. 4 channels? No such thing existed, much less hundreds.

 

It's just odd that an amp with so many presets (what is it, 128?) can only access 4 of them without going back to the amp and turning a knob manually. It's like they specifically didn't want it playing in the "pro" (meaning gigging) market.

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The 4 button footswitch has 3 different modes, which you can switch thru or disable and only use one mode if that's your thing.    So you can go from say patch 12 to 96 pretty easily with your feet, moving groups of ten and single patches, switch modes and turn effects on/off, switch modes and direct patch recall...but it's just easier for me to group everything together and stay in one mode (direct recall).  Focus on the music and less on the mechanics.

 

The Helix has something like 1,096 patches?  At the gig I ended up using two of them!  lol  Granted I have maxed out what I can fit in a patch.  My main patch has two switchable amps at different gain levels, two drive pedals at different drive levels, which can be combined/stacked with the amps to about 7 or 8 drive levels, an acoustic sim sound, a mock keyboard sound, reverb, delay (the mix level changes with which drive pedal is on...love the Helix!) a vibe, looper, and volume/wha...all in one preset!  

 

When I try other people's Helix patches, it's interesting how differently the Helix can be setup and used.  I really love the freedom of the routing and ease of use (for this kind of equipment at least...my single channel friends would be overwhelmed).

 

Sorry for the Off Topic.  Back on track, I guess it's hard to recommend with not knowing what's available in Brazil and at what prices.  

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Well, it sounds like the Line 6 stuff is regionally higher there. He mentioned Roland and Acoustic amps.

 

For playing at home, he might be best off with some good studio monitors.

 

Acoustic amps are generally low power and not terribly full range. I might think a Roland or Behringer keyboard or bass amp with a 12" speaker could be a good option, but haven't played Helix through one.

 

I inly mention those as I have played Helix into the effects return of my Mesa Walkabout Scout 300W amp/1×12 cab which sounds surprisingly good. A little boomy though without some global eq tweaks. It's probably that bass radiator on the bottom of the cab. A standard low to mid level keyboard amp or bass amp with horn would only have a port.

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I use a Roland AC-90 with Helix at rehearsal. It works very well.

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Acoustic A1000 stereo acoustic amp/pa. Has a true stereo fx loop, Bluetooth, 4 trs/xlr inputs, auto feedback destroyer on the l inputs(not on the fx loop[great for using it as a monitor with a Mic in the input and helix through the loop]).

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Way OT, but I looked at the Mustang III before I ended up w a Helix. One huge drawback seemed to be that it's got tons of presets, but no practical way to recall them on stage, since it doesn't have MIDI in for a footswitch. Am I right about that? How do people gig w it then? Stick to the four patches you can recall w its own footswitch? Or they just don't, it's built for bedroom use?

The Mustangs are a bit of a conundrum. They sound really excellent for the price but are so hamstrung by their feature set and functionality that you really have to have very basic needs as a player. As you say it has lots of tonal options but very poor controllability. I gigged with a Mustang floor which sounds great by itself. It's $200 price tag though, keeps it from being "all that it could be". Its fixed effects loop (pre) is infuriating when you're trying to use a looper. I can't seem to bring myself to get rid of it though because, while it's no Helix, I still prefer its sound to all the other modelers I've owned. And I've owned quite a few.

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Well, sold my 2x12's... so now I'm looking for a combo.

I found a L2M for sale, but lollipop, costs a bit more than a Vox AC30 CC2....and between them, I would go for a Vox amp.

Anyway, now, any tip on a combo, prefer for the 2x12's, but others will be great too.
I don't gig, just play at home so, no need for huge power.

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I've used the EHX .44 Magnum that fed into a 2x12 or a 4x12, depending on the gig.  Great bit of kit and fits snug on your board next to the Helix.

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I've used the EHX .44 Magnum that fed into a 2x12 or a 4x12, depending on the gig.  Great bit of kit and fits snug on your board next to the Helix.

But the 44 magum gets really distorted at high level, doesn't it?

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Bose L1 Compact, powerfull and good! I have two of them

(one in each rehearsal room). In nearly 3 years I was never forced

to use both of them on stage.

 

I also use the Bose T1 Mixer.

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Well, sold my 2x12's... so now I'm looking for a combo.

I found a L2M for sale, but lollipop, costs a bit more than a Vox AC30 CC2....and between them, I would go for a Vox amp.

Anyway, now, any tip on a combo, prefer for the 2x12's, but others will be great too.

I don't gig, just play at home so, no need for huge power.

On the FRFR front...

 

Sort of huge power, but the Line 6 Firehawk 1500 ($999 new, $799 open box) seems to be a favorite here. It's a 1x12 with 2x6 coax and a horn. You get stereo out of it with L & R Helix XLR in.

 

Line 6 Amplifi 150 is sort of a Firehawk 1500 Jr, but you would need to use the 1/8" aux in and adapters to get stereo from Helix. Not a robust connection, but probably fine for jamming at home.  Users here say it works and sounds good. $499 new and about $300 used...$250 ones are out there occasionally.

 

On the tube amp front...

 

Line 6 DT50 2x12 combo is a winner with L6 Link compatibility, with likely upcoming enhanced Helix integration with its topology and voicings. Not stereo though and no longer in production. Used around $700 - $1000. I've seen a couple of smokin deals with cracked cab damage.

 

A cheaper tube alternative would be the 50W mono Line 6 Spider Valve 212. No L6 Link or special voicing or topology features, just Helix 1/4" out to SV effects return. However the Bogner 6l6 tube power section was designed to be used with Line 6 modelers and is very clean and tuned well to its Celestion V30s. It really lets the amp models shine through. $250-$500 used.

 

I currently use an SV MKII HD100 head with a Mesa Recto 212. Helix sounds better through its power section than any of my Mesa tube amp power sections (Recto, Mark V, Stiletto, 2:90, 20/20).

 

Of course there are plenty of other options too, but these are 4 good L6 options designed to be used with their amp modelers.

 

EDIT:  Sorry, I just realized (again) from your earlier post that the Line 6 stuff was marked up in your region.  I'll throw these out as I have tried Helix through them as well and thought they sounded good.

 

Helix 1/4" out into the "power amp in" of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 1x12 sounds really good.  It could be the clean 6L6 power section and relatively neutral speakers (for a guitar speaker). The Hot Rod Deville would be the 2x12 version.

 

I have also tried Helix through into the power amp in of my Peavey Transtube Transformer 1x12 with the Blue Marvel speaker and thought it sounded surprisingly good.  This amp is Peavey's analog-based amp modeler from the early 2000's.  There is a 2x12 stereo version of this amp.  Other Peavey Transtube amps, such as the Bandit 1x12 and Special 2x12 may give similar results.

 

I didn't have Helix at the time, but I had a L6 POD HD500x that I ran into the effects return of my old Johnson Millennium 250 head into a Celestion V30 cab.  This sounded really good and is a pretty cool amp in its own right.  There is a Johnson Millenium 150 stereo 2x12 combo.

 

Since you were looking at the L6 L2m, you should consider one or two of the Alto TS series 10" or 12" speakers.  People here seem to REALLY like them with Helix.  I'm actually surprised no one here on this thread has brought them up yet.  

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Hey Roscoe5,

 

I checked the amplifi series, and seeme to be really fair.
Couldn't find any firehawk available...and neither the DT50 combo. 

There is a DT25 available, for a high price, but, there it is.

Also I found a Vetta II. Don't know if it could be a good choice. 

There is a Spider Vavlve 212 availablefor a good price.

 

With these options available, would the spider still be the best? Or maybe the DT25?

 

Thanks a lot dor the help!

 

EDIT: Well, there are many options out there. The Fenders are the same price as the Vox's...would still prefer the Vox....:D

 

Anyway, I'm between Tech 21 Trademark 120 and the Line 6 Spyder Valve 212. Both sound to me really good. And the price difference is minimum. I wil check the L6 spyder, since tubes are more interesting to me personally. 

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I didn't think about Vetta II.  That would probably sound okay, I have never played one though.  I just checked the manual and there is a stereo effects return you could plug Helix into.  It seems that the back of the speaker cab is really open on those combos, which I generally don't like.

 

I have owned a DT50 head, a DT25 combo w. 1x12 ext cab, and an L2m with a POD HD500x, but not with Helix.  They were great amps, but I just didn't care for the POD HD so I sold it all.   

 

The Spider Valve combos cab design and V30 speakers sound thick and huge with the tuned back panels (my other guitarist had one for a while).  A 6L6 50W SV 212 may sound bigger and fuller than the EL84 25W DT25 1x12.

 

So with all that considered, I would personally rate them...

 

  1. DT25 1x12 combo - L6 Link compatibility for audio signal (currently) topology & voicing switching (currently midi, future L6 Link), lots of forum users and info/support.  Personal experience with DT25 and POD HD, but no personal experience with DT25 & Helix.  I don't think I would pay 2-3x the cost of the SV212 for it though.
  2. SV 2x12 combo - nothing fancy, just Helix 1/4" into it's effects return power amp.  I personally know it sounds good with Helix and currently use this setup (head version).
  3. Vetta II 2x12 combo - should theoretically work, will probably sound good as it was designed for modelers, I've never seen a post or video of it used with Helix

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Anyway, I'm between Tech 21 Trademark 120 and the Line 6 Spyder Valve 212. Both sound to me really good. And the price difference is minimum. I wil check the L6 spyder, since tubes are more interesting to me personally. 

 

Couple of tips when you are checking at the Line 6 Spider Valve

 

  • 1/4" Left Output of Helix to the 1/4" Power Amp on the back of the SV
  • I run the the Presence knob between 25-50% up and disable the cabinet or IR blocks, but this is personal preference.
  • If you choose to run cab or IR blocks, they actually sound okay with the Presence knob turned up a bit more
  • The L6 SV is LOUD!!! Watch the Master volume, it's sensitive

 

Oh, and I believe some users on this forum use and like the Tech 21 Power Engine 60W, which is likely the same power section design and speaker as the TM 120.  Those combos also have very open back speaker cabinets and may lack some bass of the SV.  However, the Tech 21 analog approach to "modelling" is very good.  I used to own a PSA-1 and loved it.  You may find yourself going 4CM on that one and using some of the TM120 sounds too.

 

I think you'll have less of a culture shock coming from your previous VHT tube power amp and 2x12 system to Helix and Spider Valve 212.  I transitioned from a 4 space rack of Mesa Triaxis, Marshall JMP-1, and Mesa Simul 2:90 power amp and Recto 2x12 to Helix and L6SV+Recto 2x12.   It was nothing but a big improvement in sound to me.

 

From what I understand from other users, there is a bit of ear and feel recalibration required to get used to FRFR (Firehawk, L2M, Matrix, Atomic, PA speakers).  Not that it's worse, just different. Basically like your mic'd guitar sound coming through a PA or monitor.  I never did like POD HD500x into the L2m.  I preferred it into the DT series.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys, but the fryette couldn't find any product here in Brazil.

The amplifi series, as well the firehawk are too expensive, more than twice the price compared to the prices in US.

I checked and liked the specs of the Roland GA 212. 2 send/returns, would be nice. And the price is not that high...but still is.

 

Can i just say,i tried a GA212,with a HD500X & luckily for me,i couldn't get it working through the S/R(probably because i had the 500X S/R set wrong,lickily i had bought the GA on S.O.R.,because as an amplifier(with or without the 500X),it was the worst sounding Amp i have EVER plugged into,but i also have to say,that that was with the Pre-Amp in the circuit,but be carefull,yhere is a reason they had such a short lifespan & where offered at crazy blowout prices.

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FWIW, I just hooked a pair of ZT Lunchboxes I had lying around up to the HELIX, into the 1/8" AUX jacks in stereo, and it sounds pretty dang good. A GLOBAL EQ with a lower mids and high end drop and it's giggable. I am comparing it to a pair of Tannoy 8" Reveals powered by an Ashly SR-120 Power Amp.

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I've used the EHX .44 Magnum that fed into a 2x12 or a 4x12, depending on the gig.  Great bit of kit and fits snug on your board next to the Helix.

 

 

But the 44 magum gets really distorted at high level, doesn't it?

 

Anyone else using a 44? I'm thinking of getting one to fill out the sound in small venues where the PA isn't enough.

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Koch ATR-4502 tube hybrid power amp into the 2x12 cab.

45W stereo/90W mono.

 

Yamaha DXR10 or DXR12 for FRFR at home and on the road.

or any good quality PA speaker with good DSP processing should do the trick.

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