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sheehanje

Alternatives to standard 4CM

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I know in the standard 4CM method that the Helix is assumed that it may serve as the Amps pre-amp - but what about people who don't want that.   I know I could just run the guitar to the input - the 1/4" to the amp, then use a send return in the effects loop.   Is anyone doing this?

 

I'm really happy with my amp (Mesa Mark V) - and so far I haven't found anything on the Helix that I like better than my Mark V can do as far as amp/preamp modelling (although I do use the Helix a lot without my amp for that).   While it's not hard to do the standard suggested 4CM I'm wondering if I would be better served using it like I described above.   I could run the two paths - one utilizing the effects loop with delay/chorus/reverb then the other with my noise gate, wah, clean boost.

 

Any disadvantages to doing this way (other than it not being able to use as a preamp)?   For some reason I think it would make my life easier tweaking/troubleshooting, etc.

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I know in the standard 4CM method that the Helix is assumed that it may serve as the Amps pre-amp - but what about people who don't want that.   I know I could just run the guitar to the input - the 1/4" to the amp, then use a send return in the effects loop.   Is anyone doing this?

 

I'm really happy with my amp (Mesa Mark V) - and so far I haven't found anything on the Helix that I like better than my Mark V can do as far as amp/preamp modelling (although I do use the Helix a lot without my amp for that).   While it's not hard to do the standard suggested 4CM I'm wondering if I would be better served using it like I described above.   I could run the two paths - one utilizing the effects loop with delay/chorus/reverb then the other with my noise gate, wah, clean boost.

 

Any disadvantages to doing this way (other than it not being able to use as a preamp)?   For some reason I think it would make my life easier tweaking/troubleshooting, etc.

 

I think you might be a little confused about what 4cm is? - I think you do want to use standard 4cm by what you are saying.

 

The whole point of using 4cm is that you would use you real guitar amp's preamp (in a send / return loop) and not the Helix modelling amps.

 

You cable it like this:

GUITAR -> HELIX Guitar IN -> (pre FX) -> Helix Send to Amp input -> Amp FX Send to Helix Return -> (post FX) -> Helix 1/4 to Amp FX Return

 

If you want to use a Helix amp for a change you just don't add a SEND/RETURN block to your path, so the signal goes

GUITAR -> HELIX Guitar IN -> (Helix fx and preamp) -> Helix 1/4 to Amp FX Return.

 

Does that make sense?

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If you really like your guitar amp, its distortion, tone, power amp and speakers, then why not keep it simple and just use Helix as a front of the amp pedal board?

 

 

That link asks me to log into your account - but I think I've read your article before about gain staging and effects in front of the amp.

 

I guess I'm stuck on the wisdom that digital delays/chorus/reverb should go in the loop, but I may start experimenting more with the setup you described.   While my band does to covers, I want to focus on my original sound more than anything and with me - simplicity is key.   I moved from the M13 to the Helix because the effects are higher quality but I don't think there was a more plug and play floorboard then the M13.  

 

I'll look at your article again.  I've never used a lot of effects - in fact tonight I've been playing plugged straight into my amp and just love the tone of it.   Everytime I plug in the Helix to my amp it goes too far away from the original tone - so I'm looking to add character but not go too far off the tone of my amp as it is.

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I think you might be a little confused about what 4cm is? - I think you do want to use standard 4cm by what you are saying.

 

The whole point of using 4cm is that you would use you real guitar amp's preamp (in a send / return loop) and not the Helix modelling amps.

 

You cable it like this:

GUITAR -> HELIX Guitar IN -> (pre FX) -> Helix Send to Amp input -> Amp FX Send to Helix Return -> (post FX) -> Helix 1/4 to Amp FX Return

 

If you want to use a Helix amp for a change you just don't add a SEND/RETURN block to your path, so the signal goes

GUITAR -> HELIX Guitar IN -> (Helix fx and preamp) -> Helix 1/4 to Amp FX Return.

 

Does that make sense?

 

I guess I am confused, because in the supplied template it seems when I turn off the send/return block via a footswitch is when the Helix acts as my preamp.  

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I guess I am confused, because in the supplied template it seems when I turn off the send/return block via a footswitch is when the Helix acts as my preamp.  

 

Yes that's right.. that's the idea.  Have you got all cabled up properly?

 

When you turn off the Send/Return block it should just be feeding into the FX return.

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Yes that's right.. that's the idea.  Have you got all cabled up properly?

 

When you turn off the Send/Return block it should just be feeding into the FX return.

 

Yes - that's the method I used with my M13 and now with the Helix - but I don't want the Helix acting as my preamp - and with that in mind - I think I'd be better off doing something like this:

 

Guitar -->  Helix Guitar In 

1/4" Output -->  Amp Input

 

Send 1 -->  Amp Return

Amp Send --> Return 1

 

Then I can do this on the interface:

 

(guitar in) --------Wah-------OD------anthing else------------(1/4")

 

 

(return 1)--------Delay-----Chorus-----Reverb----------------(send 1/2)

 

 

Nothing too fancy and I think would be easier to control/manage.

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OP - you are deffinitely thinking of this backwards.

 

4CM is what allows you to use the Pre-amp in your real amp.  That is the FX send signal in the Helix, so if you turn off the FX send (loop) then you are bypassing the pre-amp on the amp and going directly to the FX loop.   

 

I will try to simplify:

Guitar -> input to the Helix - allows you to use FX before the amp like wah, phaser, distortion/boost, etc.

Helix - Having a Send/Return FX Loop allows the signal to go to the front end of your amp.  Send 1 out goes to the amp input and then the FX send on the amp goes back to the Helix Return.  The loop must be on or you are bypassing the amp.... which you can do and use a pre-amp in the Helix.  I do this with a clean pre-amp and don't use the clean channel in my amp.  I also set a footswitch in every patch so that I can turn off the loop and turn on the clean pre-amp.  Much easier to change channels and go from clean to dirty or vice versa.

After the Send/Return FX Loop in Helix you place your delays and reverbs and whatever else you want there, then the main output of the Helix goes back to the FX return of the amp.  

 

That is signal complete.

 

Hope this helps.

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OP - you are deffinitely thinking of this backwards.

 

4CM is what allows you to use the Pre-amp in your real amp.  That is the FX send signal in the Helix, so if you turn off the FX send (loop) then you are bypassing the pre-amp on the amp and going directly to the FX loop.   

 

I will try to simplify:

Guitar -> input to the Helix - allows you to use FX before the amp like wah, phaser, distortion/boost, etc.

Helix - Having a Send/Return FX Loop allows the signal to go to the front end of your amp.  Send 1 out goes to the amp input and then the FX send on the amp goes back to the Helix Return.  The loop must be on or you are bypassing the amp.... which you can do and use a pre-amp in the Helix.  I do this with a clean pre-amp and don't use the clean channel in my amp.  I also set a footswitch in every patch so that I can turn off the loop and turn on the clean pre-amp.  Much easier to change channels and go from clean to dirty or vice versa.

After the Send/Return FX Loop in Helix you place your delays and reverbs and whatever else you want there, then the main output of the Helix goes back to the FX return of the amp.  

 

That is signal complete.

 

Hope this helps.

I'm not confused - this is actually how I am using it now - and it's the same way I used the M13.  

 

 

However I'm looking for a more traditional use of the effects loop without ever needing the option of using my Helix as a preamp - I don't need to because I consider the preamp in my Mark V to be superior to anything I've found in the Helix thus far.

 

 

Let's say I didn't have a helix - my setup would look like this:

 

effects%20loop_zpsgrldmrdd.png

 

 

In that example the pedals aren't acting as a preamp, we are simply adding certain effects before the preamp (front of the amp), and certain ones after the preamp (effects loop).

 

I get that this can be accomplished with the 4CM that most people use nowadays.   But I don't need to do this seeing I don't need/want to use my Helix as a preamp.

 

There are a couple reasons I want to do this - first off it's easier to isolate problems by simply switching off the loop from my amp.

 

Second, I save a block.  Not a big advantage - but it's one.  

 

Finally - I use a lot of my footswiches to control functions on my amp via a mini-amp gizmo.  So I'd rather have one less footswitch (for the send/return block) to assign for helix functions and control my amp with.

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Yes - that's the method I used with my M13 and now with the Helix - but I don't want the Helix acting as my preamp - and with that in mind - I think I'd be better off doing something like this:

 

Guitar -->  Helix Guitar In 

1/4" Output -->  Amp Input

 

Send 1 -->  Amp Return

Amp Send --> Return 1

 

Then I can do this on the interface:

 

(guitar in) --------Wah-------OD------anthing else------------(1/4")

 

 

(return 1)--------Delay-----Chorus-----Reverb----------------(send 1/2)

 

 

Nothing too fancy and I think would be easier to control/manage.

 

I quite like the way you've set this up!  There is a certain elegance to having Path1 as Pre amp FX and Path 2 as post amp FX.

 

As you say.. if you want you can just bypass the amps fx loop to trouble shoot that part of the chain.. useful for getting levels right through the Helix's send & return sockets - I actually did a similar thing when I was first setting up 4cm on Helix with my amps.  Just make sure the 1/4 in outs are set to Instrument and not to Line Level or you'll be pumping too much signal in to the front of your amp.

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I quite like the way you've set this up!  There is a certain elegance to having Path1 as Pre amp FX and Path 2 as post amp FX.

 

As you say.. if you want you can just bypass the amps fx loop to trouble shoot that part of the chain.. useful for getting levels right through the Helix's send & return sockets - I actually did a similar thing when I was first setting up 4cm on Helix with my amps.  Just make sure the 1/4 in outs are set to Instrument and not to Line Level or you'll be pumping too much signal in to the front of your amp.

 

 

I actually got to fool with it tonight - I think this is going to be my preferred method for now on.   I really like simplicity when gigging and this will give me all my tone and a simple way to troubleshoot when issues arise - especially 5 minutes going on.  

So far I've only put a few effects in each path but it's working like a charm.  Had a little trouble getting it working at first and remembered I had to lower the mix on some effects because I'm running a series loop.

 

I'm working on my gain channel sounds now and it sounds really good - the helix effects (except reverb) sounds better than the M13.   

 

I have some ideas to split the paths and assign a button to change the channel on my amp while selecting the split path to let me go seamless between clean and gain channels.   I'm still a newbie with the Helix - but I'm so glad I can make it work for me and the way I think rather then have to conform to a set way of doing things.   There is a lot of power in that!

 

One last thing - I am getting a lot of noise in the front of the amp when I'm connecting the Helix USB to use the editor.   Tried the ground loops and didn't help.  Definitely not a show stopper - but something I will look into more.

Thanks for the input so far!

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Sorry, OP, you may not be thinking of it backwards, but what I described is exactly what you want to do.  The 4 cable method does exactly what you want.

 

Pedal are not "pre-amps".  It doesn't work that way.  Either you are using a pre-amp in the Helix or you are using the pre-amp in you Mark V. 

 

So lets go over your thoughts:  

 

I get that this can be accomplished with the 4CM that most people use nowadays.   But I don't need to do this seeing I don't need/want to use my Helix as a preamp. - The 4CM allows you to use the FX in the Helix before and after the pre-amp in your amp.  You cannot do that any other way. You must have a loop in the Helix that goes to the amp to pick up the signal of the pre-amp.

 

There are a couple reasons I want to do this - first off it's easier to isolate problems by simply switching off the loop from my amp. - If you have it set up correctly there won't be any problems.  You still need to use the loop in your amp or you can't have post FX.  That's just a fact.

 

Second, I save a block.  Not a big advantage - but it's one.  - There are plenty of block in the Helix, more than enough.  

 

Finally - I use a lot of my footswiches to control functions on my amp via a mini-amp gizmo.  So I'd rather have one less footswitch (for the send/return block) to assign for helix functions and control my amp with - You don't need a switch to control the FX loop in the Helix.  Just leave it on all the time.

 

I suggest that you look at some artist patches I have created and you can see that there are ways of doing things you may not have considered.  These are both set up for 4CM.  On the Green Mama tone it will be a clean pre-amp in the Helix.  If you hit FS8 (bottom left) it will switch to the FX loop and you will hear the pre-amp in your Mark V.  

 

http://line6.com/customtone/tone/2140071/

http://line6.com/customtone/tone/2140072/

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Sheehanje, I created a tone just for you with all the FX you mentioned above.  It is using the 4CM.  Hope this helps get you started.

 

http://line6.com/customtone/tone/2140122/

 

 

I totally understand this and appreciate the input and will check out your patch -  but I don't think you understand what I'm trying to accomplish.

 

I'm still using 4CM - but I'm using 2 paths to accomplish it with 1 path going before the preamp, and 1 path going after the preamp and not using a Send/Return block for it - instead I'm using 2 paths.

 

Once I've finished my patches I'll put it up on CustomTone - but it won't be of much use to anyone not using a Mark V and Mini Amp Gizmo as I will be coding CC messages to have the mini amp gizmo control my Mark V relays.  

 

I actually have it working the way I described - and it sounds great so far - I'd go as far to say it sounds better than anything I've accomplished with the standard 4CM.  The biggest drawback I face is I can't really use a looper in this setup (and that's one of the big advantages of the standard 4CM) - but I'm not concerned with a looper during a live gig with the band - I don't use it.

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Hello Gents, 

 

Please find another pic showing the Standard 4CM connection with internal Pre-amp and external Pre-amp selection per patch. (depending on the Helix FX Loop being ON or OFF).

 

 

4CM.jpg

 

I hope this helps

 

seeya

 

Joe

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Just to illustrate further:

 

Here is the standard 4CM that most people use:

 

helix%20standard%204cm_zpspyvhzawz.png

 

 

 

In this setup, the send/return gets assigned to a block which can be turned on or off.

This is a great method and works for people well - especially when they want to use helix as a preamp or use the looper.

 

 

I don't and I want to do a more tradition setup - so I am doing this:

 

helix%20alternate%204cm_zpszrwptmdq.jpg

 

 

In this setup, there is no send/return block - I am assigning Send1 to the path2 output, and return 1 to the path 2 input.  

 

Guitar in is assign to path 1 input, and Send 3 to path 1 output (I do this to bypass the helix volume control, I hate it in front of an amp)..

 

If you look at the picture I posted earlier, this in essence turns the Helix into a more traditional pedalboard.

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Guys pay attention!

Sheeanje is showing you something you've probably not seen before.

 

It works.. it IS 4cm... but it is wired differently so you can't really ever use Helix amps.

 

it may not be the way you're wanting to set up 4cm.. but it is not wrong!!

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I understand the confusion now.  It may not be "traditional" but it is still 4 Cable Method.  In my opinion, there is no difference in tone or functionality and no advantage to doing it the way he is doing it.  But if he wants to do it that way, GREAT!!!  It works for him.

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I understand the confusion now.  It may not be "traditional" but it is still 4 Cable Method.  In my opinion, there is no difference in tone or functionality and no advantage to doing it the way he is doing it.  But if he wants to do it that way, GREAT!!!  It works for him.

 

 

There is one big advantage (and a few disadvantages) to the way I'm doing it.   I can easily isolate either path when troubleshooting.   Whether it be a bad cable, or I've added effects at lower volumes, but now something is off at higher volumes, I have an easy way of quickly isolating whether my issue is before or after the preamp.   I can simply skip either path and test.   I know there are ways of doing this in standard 4CM - but in a live situation this is quicker - I can either plug my guitar straight into the amp to isolate the effects loop, or turn off the effects loop on my head to isolate the effects before the preamp.

 

I will still use the standard 4CM when I'm home - because I use my Helix different.  In a live situation I prefer the method I've shown, and it works for me because I won't use either the looper or Helix as my preamp live.   If my amp was a solid state I would probably just stick to the tried and true method because I would definitely be using the Helix as my preamp.

 

When I got the M13, Line6 had a bunch of illustrations on how it could be used.  The suggested method was the 4CM you are using, but they also showed the method I am setting up.   They then had a line of encouragement to test different things and that there is no wrong way to hook it up if it sounds good to you.

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I have presets using both of the above methods. My question is about inputs and loops. Since it seems the input from the helix (loop 1 send) going to the amp input should be at instrument level, and the return from the amp (effects out) coming back to the amp for delay and reverb should be at line level, since it is after the preamp portion of the Tube amp, I have it going into return loop 2. Since these are configurable as individual inputs/outputs and not loop blocks. That way Loop 1 is set at instrument level and Loop 2 is at line level

 

With the standard 4CM method using a send/return block the loop must be either instrument or line level and will be incorrect in one direction.

 

Is this of any importance?

 

Noledoc

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I have presets using both of the above methods. My question is about inputs and loops. Since it seems the input from the helix (loop 1 send) going to the amp input should be at instrument level, and the return from the amp (effects out) coming back to the amp for delay and reverb should be at line level, since it is after the preamp portion of the Tube amp, I have it going into return loop 2. Since these are configurable as individual inputs/outputs and not loop blocks. That way Loop 1 is set at instrument level and Loop 2 is at line level

 

With the standard 4CM method using a send/return block the loop must be either instrument or line level and will be incorrect in one direction.

 

Is this of any importance?

 

Noledoc

 

I address this with my 4CM (also with a Mark V) setup using send 1 at instrument and then have the AMP send --> return 2 at line level.  There's a large volume difference but not too much of a tonal difference.  

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In this setup, there is no send/return block - I am assigning Send1 to the path2 output, and return 1 to the path 2 input.  

 

Guitar in is assign to path 1 input, and Send 3 to path 1 output (I do this to bypass the helix volume control, I hate it in front of an amp)..

 

 

 Other posters are correct, what you're doing is still 4CM, just with a twist.   

 

I hear you about the extra volume control being a nuisance.  

 

When I do 4CM with my Triaxis and 20/20, I have a twist on it too -  It's kind of like your setup, but inverted.   The Helix sends from Send 1 and I wire up the Triaxis' send back to the Helix return, and the Helix output direct into the 20/20 poweramp, thereby eliminating the Triaxis master volume.  I prefer the Helix's master volume, as it's digital and ensure's that there'll be less chance of impedance/coloration, etc.  

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So let me get this straight - the amp still functions normally if there is a cable plugged into the amp return but no signal going through it? I guess I always though that if a cable were plugged in, then it would defeat the signal from the amp going into the power amp section... Maybe by plugging a cable into the amp's "send" jack, THAT cuts the signal to the power amp and routes it to the "send" - this makes sense and that's actually a brilliant way to do the 4CM. I get my Helix on Monday and can't wait to try this new way out. I'll try it on my Mark IV. I don't need the looper since I like my Trio+ and I don't plan on using many/any of the onboard amps. but we'll see. I think I'll use your method but then have a snapshot where I can internally re-route the amp input send signal to the Helix pre-amp, then use the delays and go into my amp's power amp in.

 

This is a fascinating idea. Thanks, OP! 

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Ok, I like the best of both worlds using my amp with the Helix. Ok what ever method I choose I cannot decide just to select just a preamp block and save DSP for snapshots. The problem is that I lose a lot of tone especially with the high gain amps. I have to rely on the EQ to try to get that tone back. I used to run right in the front of the amp in a clean Channel mode that way I would not have to do some adjustment just to get the hard metal sound. But that's the general rule with preamp on top of the preamp is not good and creates a little bit of noise I know it's just noise only in a clean Channel but not in the other two channels. I have a marshall jcm 2000 TSL 100 amp. I guess my question is how many of you use the 4 cable method or return the back of the amp and what amp model do you choose. Just a preamp or an amp? I know not to run an amp and cab because the cab inhibits performance especially on some of the patches that I have a separate cab or when I have to turn it off because it just impedance the sound and sounds better playing through my slanted Marshall 4 X 12 cab. Your thoughts one that's because I really love the metal tone like getting Metallica and Judas Priest and so on and so on. So your thoughts on this and what have you experienced.

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Just come accross this post and can see where the op is coming from. I too do not get a good sound from my live amp using the Helix in the sugested and most used 4cm method and will try his idea which is exactly how I use my pedal board live and how I have always used pedal boards which in my case is guitar into wah followed by klon clone tube screamer OCD into front of amp (Victory RD1) amp send into TC flashback mini then Trelicoptor and TC HOF into return of amp which works perfectly and hope to get good results with this method with helix.

 

I have also been playing about with the helix getting a dumble tone using the ligator amp pre amp with the following path guitar in to helix 1/4 inch out to return with 1/4 inch set to line level I have 3 OD pedals before the amp block and delays reverb after sounds great at home but have yet to try it in a band context I know this is nothing to do with 4CM but thought I would mention this incase someone wants to try it

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I tried this and overall like it - though I ended up not using the main 1/4" on Helix at all. I did a serial path to fx loop 1/2 out to amp, and back from amp, then send 3/4 to go to amp fx loop return.

 

Primarily, because then I also sent the XLR direct out from my amp back to Helix through the looper and out to the mains (l6link, XLR, 1/4" mains).

 

My question; is there any quality level compromise not using the 1/4" out for any of the sends? Any kind of summing (or not) to mono that is or isn't happening one way or the other?

 

I sort of modded the super serial and 4 cable method templates as a starting point; got to the point where I was able to use the looper out to a pair of L3m, and record the looper playback to one track with the 'noodling' overdub, etc on it's own track (USB 8, dry mic input from amp)

 

I'm definitely getting all sorts of noise, using an Ebtech to kill some ground issues, bit with the USB in, it seems to add more noise. Noise gate kills most of it, but it's fairly obvious that it's gating all this crackly noise. I know I need to check the power supplies make sure they are all on the same Furman, and maybe try lifting different sends with the Ebtech, or using the Helix ground lift..

 

All in all, it's awesome! Helix as a pedalboard with a tube amp totally rocks, and goes so far beyond it's insane. So easy to reconfigure, make copies of your board.

It's really friggin stellar.

 

Here's what I have so far for a patch:

http://line6.com/customtone/tone/3305747/

 

need to set it up for ten footswitches, four snapshots on top row, instrument level for the send and returns, etc. Remember, master volume doesn't do anythign for the amp, just the looper / main outs. would work with any amp that has XLR cab sim out, and a TS channel changing switch. Might need some edit, depending on amp and needs a lot of work with dialing it at proper volumes. I stopped working this at 3am, so there ya go; it's glitchy I'm guessing..

 

cheers!

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On 6/14/2016 at 5:37 PM, a2dconverterguy said:

Hello Gents, 

 

Please find another pic showing the Standard 4CM connection with internal Pre-amp and external Pre-amp selection per patch. (depending on the Helix FX Loop being ON or OFF).

 

 

4CM.jpg

 

I hope this helps

 

seeya

 

Joe

Can you please tell us what values you set  on your 1)helix master volume,

2)signal chain out (multi,xlr etc),

3)out/send/return(instrument or line level)?for both senarios?(internal or external preamp)

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I've been using the same setup as the op (top path to front of amp and second path in the loop) with great results but my amp is a engl fireball....however I'm finding the tone is affected. When i plug guitar straight into amp (but leave helix in loop)  i get my full guitar tone and stunning effects in the loop...awesome...but when i plug back into helix the tone loses a bit of everything if that makes sense?....although i prefer the sound when guitar is plugged into the amp direct it means i lose mah and any other front end effects....anybody else experienced this and found a fix?.....

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1 hour ago, jud1433 said:

I've been using the same setup as the op (top path to front of amp and second path in the loop) with great results but my amp is a engl fireball....however I'm finding the tone is affected. When i plug guitar straight into amp (but leave helix in loop)  i get my full guitar tone and stunning effects in the loop...awesome...but when i plug back into helix the tone loses a bit of everything if that makes sense?....although i prefer the sound when guitar is plugged into the amp direct it means i lose mah and any other front end effects....anybody else experienced this and found a fix?.....

 

It's probably due to the level you're feeding from the Helix to the Engl. Do some careful experimentation to test this with effects disabled and the amp set to low gain so that it's not masking low signal levels and so you can tell if it's overdriving it. Raise the send level from the Helix if it sounds like it's not putting out enough juice, or vice versa. Make sure the loop is set to full 'EFFECT' so the two signals aren't phasing or anything. If all else fails, post your patch details here so people can see if there's anything awry.

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Thanks kylotan...yeah i thought the same but its like its compressing the sound aswell like the notes aren't as sharp or defined...I'm using return 1 on helix for fx loop input and send 1 on helix going back to amp fx loop return...all levels are unity and in global settings line level for loop and instrument for guitar....i will tweak a bit more see if I can get it totally transparent.....thnx again and any more ideas appreciated. 

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