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IR's versus Helix cab sims

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Hello.

 

What is the difference between an IR from Ownhammer or 3Sigma and the "built-in" cab sims on the Helix?

 

Were the Helix cab sims captured using a technique other than impulse response?

 

If so, why?  People seem to prefer external IR's to the built-in cabs.

 

Thanks.

 

 

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I don't know how Line 6 made their cabs, but I've tried a number or IRs - mostly Ownhammer - and they sound better - which is interesting considering you don't have much control.  The idea that's going around that IRs can do much more - like make a good acoustic simulation - makes IRs an interesting topic.

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Internal cabs are IRs. With tweaking some of them can sound just as good as external IRs. It is all a preference in sound as to which are better. I like Redwirez but I bought those initially. Here is a comment that will ruffle feathers but it is the truth. Often stern all is off the Placebo effect for people. The average person, with the exception of the best engineers, producers, and some musicians will not here the difference between IRs. And if they do, it is often a surprise when they see which are which. I think line 6 did a pretty good job with their stock irs. I like Redwirez because of all he different mic positions and types of Mics they offer. But OwnHammer makes Nic ones too. Here is the bottom line. It all comes down to the individuals ear and listening preferences.

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I don't know how Line 6 made their cabs, but I've tried a number or IRs - mostly Ownhammer - and they sound better - which is interesting considering you don't have much control.  The idea that's going around that IRs can do much more - like make a good acoustic simulation - makes IRs an interesting topic.

I agree in some aspects but not in others. Here is my opinion on the Helix in general. It is an amazing sounding tool but out of he box it requires a lot of tweaking to get there. On 6 has improved this with updates but iT still needs a lot of tweaking. The same goes for the oaths made with IRs. Some of the stock cabs done pretty darned good but you need to dig into the amp you at using and tweak it. So I guess in some aspects that does mean third party IRs are better because they are more plug and play, but I think the stock cabs get ignored unfairly because the buzz word for Helix and AX8 is IRS. Another thing to consider is that there may only be a few people making irs for Line 6 at the company level. Once these devices hit the street hundreds start capturing their favorite configuration, instruments, etc. So the market offers tons of options that Line 6 just can't spend time to develop or we would neve see fixes and updates.

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I personally think the gap closed with the new firmware - in my previous patches I always seemed to end up with 3Sigma or Redwirez as my cab. Since rebuilding some patches with snapshots, it seems to be a complete mix up - I just pick whatever sounds best. The new 2204 amp I've not felt the need at all to look at external IRs, the stock cab model just make me smile every time I hit a chord.

 

I sort of see where you're coming from with the placebo thing as well. It's sometimes difficult to listen with your ears, and not be swayed before you've even started by what some bloke on the internet says... And with that in mind, ignore everything I've just typed, download some free examples, play around, and listen for yourself ;-)

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3rd party IR's seem to be a very pure capture of an exact cab, speaker, mic, and mic position / distance that is also influenced by the amp and preamp used.  There are often, tens or hundreds of captures required to get the combination for a complete pack too.

 

Line 6 has stated in their Helix blog that their cabs start out as IR's.  They somehow processed the IR's to make them "hybrid" and take up less processing, which sounds like a type of compression to me. Maybe their is also some EQ or other effects applied to gain back the "resolution of a 2048 sample IR".

 

I also sometimes wonder if Line 6 is possibly cascading IR's of the cab into IR's of the mics, using distance and early reflection algorithms,  or did they actually capture individual IR's traditionally of every cab with each mic and distance.

 

I believe Amplitube does this to some extent in their Cab Room.  You can actually swap each speaker in a 412 cab, and they have way more mics, which they also use in their Mic Room to apply to things like vocals and instrument tracks, etc.  This would result in thousands of captures required, and I sort of doubt they did this.  FWIW, I think there is something a little off about the Amplitube cabs as well when compared to IR's.

 

I will say this though.  I usually start with Helix Cabs when developing a patch. This at least gives me an efficient workflow to narrow down the cab, mic, and distance. Then I will put in an equivalent IR (3 Sigma, Redwirez, Ownhammer, or mine) in an IR block to AB.  The IR doesn't always sound better.  It is nice to have both options.

 

Keep in mind that there is also the possibility that Line 6 has most neutral cabs and capture process, and we may be preferring some coloration of the various 3rd party IR's.

 

This is all speculation in fun though.  I feel so lucky to have this many realistic tools and options available.  This is the first time I have ever felt I could gig and record with a single device and not be bound by the technology.  The Helix is what we (or Glenn Delaune ;) ) make of it.

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I will say this though.  I usually start with Helix Cabs when developing a patch. This at least gives me an efficient workflow to narrow down the cab, mic, and distance. Then I will put in an equivalent IR (3 Sigma, Redwirez, Ownhammer, or mine) in an IR block to AB.  The IR doesn't always sound better.  It is nice to have both options.

Yep, that's how I do it too, and it is a fairly even split about which cab makes it into the final patch.

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It's not that third-party cabs are inherently or empirically better; there's just a much wider variety to choose from. It's like buying an Akai MPC and preferring ten or twelve out of a million third-party samples to the included library... or preferring Netflix to the tiny DVD rental section at the small town general store.

 

And like third-party MPC libraries and Netflix, there are a ton of awful third-party IRs as well.

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It's not that third-party cabs are inherently or empirically better; there's just a much wider variety to choose from. It's like buying an Akai MPC and preferring ten or twelve out of a million third-party samples to the included library... or preferring Netflix to the tiny DVD rental section at the small town general store.

 

And like third-party MPC libraries and Netflix, there are a ton of awful third-party IRs as well.

Sorry but Glen Delaune is starting to include his custom IRs in is patches.

 

Helix channel's guy uses only 3sigma IRs.

 

Chris Beaver uses his custom IRs.

 

I made my A/B tests with 3sigma IRs I bought.

3 sigma is better.

Until now I bought 14 packs.

 

With IRs Helix can kick a.ss of Axe fx and kpa.

It's better to increase room to stock IRs.

128.

Have you listened to the new Angus Young patch made by Glen Delaune?

Great sound but with his custom IR

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I tried a few, but liked the cabs I like better in Helix, after I change the mic, sometimes do some lo and hi cut, and change distance and early reflection.

What works for you works for you, no problem. For me, a dual cab in Helix blows away any external IR I've tried.

 

I do use IRs for my acoustic signal path, too. Don't forget about that.

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Sorry but Glen Delaune is starting to include his custom IRs in is patches.

 

Helix channel's guy uses only 3sigma IRs.

 

Chris Beaver uses his custom IRs.

 

I made my A/B tests with 3sigma IRs I bought.

3 sigma is better.

 

Yeah, and I use IRs as well, because there's a huge library of great-sounding IRs out there, many of which are free. Way wider variety than the 30 cabs that come stock in Helix. Who has better movies—Netflix or a small-town DVD rental place?

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Yeah, and I use IRs as well, because there's a huge library of great-sounding IRs out there, many of which are free. Way wider variety than the 30 cabs that come stock in Helix. Who has better movies—Netflix or a small-town DVD rental place?

 

If you're talking about Netflix's streaming library, I definitely know who has a larger collection of crappy ones... Lol!

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If you're talking about Netflix's streaming library, I definitely know who has a larger collection of crappy ones... Lol!

 

Exactly.  :D

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I tried a few, but liked the cabs I like better in Helix, after I change the mic, sometimes do some lo and hi cut, and change distance and early reflection.

What works for you works for you, no problem. For me, a dual cab in Helix blows away any external IR I've tried.

 

I do use IRs for my acoustic signal path, too. Don't forget about that.

I agree. I've never had a problem with the built in cabs.

 

I also don't have the time to go through a huge number of third party IRs to find a few that work for me. The tones that I've got out of the Helix on it's own have made me very happy.

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Yeah, and I use IRs as well, because there's a huge library of great-sounding IRs out there, many of which are free. Way wider variety than the 30 cabs that come stock in Helix. Who has better movies—Netflix or a small-town DVD rental place?

If it's possible increase the IRs stocking slots now mine are already full.

I like 3sigma IR because I don't care what kind of mic they used or how many mics for one cab they give 10 files each cab pack and they are all usable.

Too much options it's like no options.

 

It's like Ax8 how many amps does it has?222 and 130 cabs it's too much.

you can risk amp Bulimia.

And I read that a lot of them sound the same.

 

Ax8 has 512 IR cab slots if you can do the same

I own 14 3sigma cabs x 10files each=140 wav files.

4 1×12"

4 2x12"

1 4x10"

5 4x12"

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Yeah, at some point it becomes overkill with that many to choose from...

 

You don't wanna know how many Kemper commercial profiles I have. LoL!

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I think the it also matters your goal too.   That's really the beauty of the Helix.  If you are looking for YOUR sound, than maybe you find an IR you like, make you find several, etc etc... it's YOUR sound.  If you are trying to match someone else's tone.... then you might need a specific mic with specific cab at a specific position.

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I don't know how Line 6 made their cabs, but I've tried a number or IRs - mostly Ownhammer - and they sound better - 

 

I am also trying some OwnHammer cab IR's that sound pretty good.

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Hello.

 

What is the difference between an IR from Ownhammer or 3Sigma and the "built-in" cab sims on the Helix?

 

Were the Helix cab sims captured using a technique other than impulse response?

 

If so, why?  People seem to prefer external IR's to the built-in cabs.

 

Thanks.

I personall find Redwirez feel better than ownhammer. Ownhammer seem to be "softer" - I don't know how to describe better ;-)

But it really depends on the patch and the sound I'm after. I use build in cabs a lot too.

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Watch this video about IRs opnion, I agree with him

 

 

 

Very informative.  Scott's a great resource for all of us.

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I have been using some Ownhammer IRs, I got the VOX 2 X 12 cab, A Fender Deluxe, and a Marshall 4 X 12 checkerboard cab. I like to use two IRs in parallel. One with a SM-57 and another with one of the ribbon type mics. I think it sounds huge when you mix two cabs with different mics like that. I have to admit I didn't even use the built in cabs much, I was excited to try some IRs using some of my favorite speakers.

 

-Max

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Excuse me posting a question on an old thread.

 

I have owned a Helix for just over a week, and am wondering, what's the formula, using a Helix cab, OR a third party IR, OR both at the same time?

Is it supposed to be one or the other, but not both?

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Internal cabs are IRs. With tweaking some of them can sound just as good as external IRs. It is all a preference in sound as to which are better. 

Thats not necessarily true. Just as you cannot make a dual rec sound like a jcm 800 or a Tele sound like a les paul, certain IRs deliver sonics that are simply not obtainable with Helix IRs. Id be happy to post audio. I dont believe one  would get with helix cabs if you want to give it a go.

 

Is it supposed to be one or the other, but not both?

 

Try it and see. There arent rules.

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I use Ownhammer IRs these days, but I really recommend “cutting your teeth†on the stock cabs as they can be made to sound good and going through the learning curve with them will help you establish what you are looking to hear in an IR. Which will save you time and money when (if) you jump down the IR rabbit hole.

 

Check out this video, it kind of changed the whole world for me as far as the stock cabs go:

 

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Check out the Cab Settings parameters (within the stock cabs, manual, p. 28).

Maybe some folks will be surprised ;)

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I use both. Sometimes only onboard cabs, sometime just 3 Sigma IRs, sometimes both at the same time. 

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I don't use IR's.  

 

Extra EQ into PA system when going direct.  EQ/effects when going into DAW.  With dozens of amps to choose from (each with multiple/different controls), various EQ blocks to choose from, a power amp and real - vs. virtual reality - speaker boxes to choose from (literally I've got 1x10's to 4x12s), I can't justify using provided or thousands of commercial IR's (more EQ variations) with their own sets of controls.  As an added layer of complexity, each amp changes the interaction with any given IR and it's number of adjustments.  While I'm dealing with dry amp tones, I've got legacy analog amps and pedals - which were carefully discovered over years - to either integrate or try to closely replicate digitally.  None of that touches the vast choices of effects, with their adjustments, and their particular interaction with the choices of amps and cabs.  And for me (maybe I'm the exception) this is all at the time expense of actually playing the guitar - about which I forgot the variety of guitars, and their various personalities and the use of volume/tone control on them.  None of the above ends the need to recalibrate at higher volumes or inside a group of other musicians or a different venue or a different backline or no backline or...  Endless choices are great to have. And the Helix gives lots of them in a useable way.   If that's the end-all of a user's desired activity, then I'm not criticizing, just choosing other goals based on my interests, needs, situation.  Maybe I'm just not smart enough to sift through all of this, and make a decision. I find myself constantly comparing, changing, chasing the next tweak.  Cool, 21st century problem to have. But I've got enough problems. I've got to choose which foot switch makes sense to control which effect, and how, and on which page and/or snapshot and which extra (or not) MIDI pedal, and BTW maybe my trusty old wah...  Andy Timmons (along with hundreds of other artists) licks won't learn themselves to add to my playing vocabulary.  

 

That's my IR preference - none.  

 

Unless, you know, someone posts a video using IR"s that sound great...and I try it, then I return to the cosmic virtual reality tailspin of endless choices and combinations, using the same old tired licks to audition the interaction of...

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I can't justify using provided or thousands of commercial IR's (more EQ variations) with their own sets of controls.

Theres nothing wrong with using the stock cabs...I use a number of them myself. But I'm not sure where you got the idea that IR's have "their own sets of controls". An IR is a fixed entity...a cab model, with mic model and placement baked in, while the Helix cabs require fussing with choosing a mic, mic distance, early reflections parameters, etc. The IR block itself has just high and low cuts, and a level adjustment. If anything, IRs are less work to use...which I suspect is part of their appeal. There's really nothing to tweak...you either like it, or you don't. If not, drop in another until you find one you do like. And if you're using an EQ block for your high/low cuts, there's even less to do.

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I used the Helix cabs for the first year and a half. 
I just assumed that all the talk about IR's was nonsense.

Then I tried a real IR.  

Now it's all I use. Got the Ownhammer Marshall "Checkerboard" cab 4X12 IR package. 

Messed around with a lot of the files...all of them sounded great. Finally settled on the one "Summary" IR file they have. 
Now my Bose FRFR and Helix sound like a freakin' chest thumpin', mid-range growling, articulate Marshall cab blaring at full volume at me. And of course since it's The Helix...it does that at any volume. :)

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Excuse me posting a question on an old thread.

 

I have owned a Helix for just over a week, and am wondering, what's the formula, using a Helix cab, OR a third party IR, OR both at the same time?

Is it supposed to be one or the other, but not both?

About 98% of the time, it's one or the other.

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Bottom line, both 3rd party IR's and Line6 Cabs (IR's) sound fantastic.   However, if you are trying to get the sound of an AC30 with a sm57 off access about half way up the cone and a km84 in the room...  well, that's just not going to happen with the Helix cabs.. generally speaking.    But you could get that exact IR from a 3rd party.  

 

I'm not sure why there always has to be a "better"... there isn't.  It's which is the one you need/what are you trying to accomplish.  

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I tried a few of the free IRs out there from "premium" IR dealers, like Ownhammer.  Meh they didn't do much for me, I felt as though I could dial in the stock cabs just as well.   Then I tried the Red Wire IR's, and those spoke to me.  Almost literally.  So far the one's I've tried are better than the stock cabs.   Especially the Marshall cabs. Closest I've come to an "amp in the room" sound and feel.  Your mileage may vary.

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On 18/02/2018 at 10:25 AM, mileskb said:

Bottom line, both 3rd party IR's and Line6 Cabs (IR's) sound fantastic.   However, if you are trying to get the sound of an AC30 with a sm57 off access about half way up the cone and a km84 in the room...  well, that's just not going to happen with the Helix cabs.. generally speaking.    But you could get that exact IR from a 3rd party.  

 

I'm not sure why there always has to be a "better"... there isn't.  It's which is the one you need/what are you trying to accomplish.  

I have to agree with you. To me the IRs sound incredible, as do the stock cabs. 

 

The flexibility of the stock cabs make it my go-to at this stage. You can't really make an IR on demand. 

 

That's said, the possibilities with IRs are close to endless. You can bake-in pretty much anything into an IR (mic, cab, eq, reverb). That's pretty cool, but rigid. 

 

In conclusion (my conclusion) both are 100% good sounding and usable. I just tend to prefer the stock cabs. 

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I can get good sounds with both, but I use IRs because they use less processing power.  

I have an AC30TB and a Plexi head in my default setup, followed by an IR block - I switch the IR with a snapshot between an open back 2x12 and a closed back 4x12 and mute the head I'm not using.  This means I can approach a helix preset as a virtual rig for a band and duplicate it for every patch, simply tweaking levels, delay and reverb times to get the sounds I need for each bit of every song.

 

I might swap a Plexi for a JCM800 if I need something tighter, or the AC30 for a Matchless for the occasional song, but I get consistency in my base sound which I like.  

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