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talwilkins

Firmware 2.0(1) better sounding cabs?

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Is is just me or has the sound of the cabs been improved in 2.0(1)?
In my experience I really needed to use the High Cut on the cabs before 2.0(1) and set them to between 4Khz and 6Khz.
Now if I choose a new cab (or so with cab) it sounds just fine. It actually seems there's not much happening to the sound if I do a high cut on them.

Anyone else having the same experience?

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Maybe one of those "additional improvements and optimizations".

 

I've recently revisited the cabs after spending months with only IRs. They sounded better than I remember and/or I'm now more experienced with the mics. They're still a little boxy on the hi gain stuff but sound pretty good on everything else.

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I couldn't hear any difference eighter. Are your sure it isnt the Input Impendance that was set to "Auto" autmatically per patch with the new update. This is where I experienced most difference and I went through all my patches to change it to the value I had set globally before.

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I'm using this approach for stock cabs now:

 

This makes them sound even better than IRs.

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This makes them sound even better than IRs.

Stock cabs are great and I use them regularly beside my favorite IRs.

But you know that you can do this setting with IRs too? ;-)

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But you know that you can do this setting with IRs too? ;-)

Sure.

But IRs consume more DSP, they have to be reloaded after updates, you have to find the right one between millions of IRs available, etc.

 

PS

I use IRs though! :D

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I play mostly high gain stuff and when first trying the 4x12 Helix cabs with high gain amps, I intuitively (with my limited live mic'ing experience only) put a 57 Dynamic mic on them up close to the cab, which my ears instantly rejected.  IR's of 4x12 cabs with SM57 mics sounded MUCH better, especially with off axis and Fredman options out there.  So my inexperienced first impressions were HX Cabs = bad...IR's=good.

 

Since then, during my IR explorations, I have learned a TON about the different mics, distances, positions and my horizons have expanded.  I found that I personally prefer Sen MD421, Shure SM7B, EV RE20, AKG D112 mics on my high gain amps/cabs...both Helix and IR's.  Dual cabs with a mix of those and condensers and ribbons are nice.

 

I also had to get out of the headphones to appreciate the HX Cabs.  They sound much better through monitors or FRFR systems.  They are a little more even and consistent (probably by design) than IR's from one to another, and sound good into a live space and PA system.

 

I appreciate what ronnief83 is doing in the video, but I feel like I accomplish the same thing (minus verb on the second cab) with Helix Dual Cab blocks and a mono block after (I'm pretty up on EQ blocks after the cabs at the moment).  You can mix the cabs with just the Cab Block level controls.

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roscoe5, that's not my video, I've just posted it here. :)

Your approach with mixing dual cabs by changing cab's level sounds reasonable.

I'll give it a try.

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I couldn't hear any difference eighter. Are your sure it isnt the Input Impendance that was set to "Auto" autmatically per patch with the new update. This is where I experienced most difference and I went through all my patches to change it to the value I had set globally before.

No, it's not the impedance, I changed that back to 1M.

Also the Imepdance doesn't change the sound that dramatically to my ear.

I used to do a high cut to around 5Khz on all cabs, otherwise the tone would be kind of terrible.

Now they sound fine without the high cut. I don't really understand.

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Just wondering, are you using a Variax via the VDI? I do, and the impedance settings have no effect on that. Wish it could... With my traditional electrics into the guitar input, the impedance settings definitely do color the sound by putting a load on the pickups. It helps with my overly bright pickups to take the edge off, and helps reduce the hum as well with my strat and the P90's on another guitar. My Gretch Country Gentleman also benefits from lowering the impedance.

 

Dave

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Just wondering, are you using a Variax via the VDI? I do, and the impedance settings have no effect on that. Wish it could... With my traditional electrics into the guitar input, the impedance settings definitely do color the sound by putting a load on the pickups. It helps with my overly bright pickups to take the edge off, and helps reduce the hum as well with my strat and the P90's on another guitar. My Gretch Country Gentleman also benefits from lowering the impedance.

 

Dave

My Dean Zelinsky Tagliare (named her Ember) benefits from lowering the Impedance.  It is a my Strat style guitar.  The others I have are all super-strats.

 

I find it really cleans up the sound by reducing background noise (such as hum) and is also great for taking some of the edge off. I find that once I do this, then I can turn the Amp and the CAB  High cut back up a little. Gives it a nice little sweet spot. At least on one of my clean patches. 

 

The only other guitar I have played through it uses active pickups, so the impedance doesn't really affect those. For this reason I just leave it set to Auto for those patches.

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Just wondering, are you using a Variax via the VDI? I do, and the impedance settings have no effect on that. Wish it could... With my traditional electrics into the guitar input, the impedance settings definitely do color the sound by putting a load on the pickups. It helps with my overly bright pickups to take the edge off, and helps reduce the hum as well with my strat and the P90's on another guitar. My Gretch Country Gentleman also benefits from lowering the impedance.

 

Dave

No, I'm using a regular guitar. I do have a Variax but havn't tried it with 2.01 yet.

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Thanks for all your tips!

It hasn't really given an answer but it seems I'm the only one experiencing this issue (if you can call an improvement an issue).

I will definitely do some more experimentation with input impedance somewhere in the future!

Up to now I just set it to 1M because it seemed to sound the best and haven't looked back. Time to look back!

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Sure.

But IRs consume more DSP, they have to be reloaded after updates, you have to find the right one between millions of IRs available, etc.

 

PS

I use IRs though! :D

Can you say where is the info is on where IR's use more DSP on Helix than the included cabs do? I haven't seen this information and assumed that the "cabs" included with Helix are nothing but IR's themselves. You are right in that they have to be reloaded after updates, and hope that gets attention soon.

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Great video and great tones, Sir! I picked a couple new thinks here, like using the merge block for balance. Small nitpick - you should bump your voice up with a compressor! ;)

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Can you say where is the info is on where IR's use more DSP on Helix than the included cabs do? I haven't seen this information and assumed that the "cabs" included with Helix are nothing but IR's themselves.

I've read it there, mate:

http://line6.com/helix/blog.html/

 

Look for "Helix Hybrid Cabs" article.

 

here is a quote:

"We call the speaker emulations in Helix “hybrid cabsâ€, because they use a number of proprietary algorithms to reproduce the same frequency and dynamic accuracy typically seen in a 2048-point impulse response, but at far lower DSP usage."

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I can't say that the HX cabs have gotten any better as of 2.01, but I can say undoubtedly I've gotten MUCH more proficient at expoiting them...so that may be what you're hearing.

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I've read it there, mate:

http://line6.com/helix/blog.html/

 

Look for "Helix Hybrid Cabs" article.

 

here is a quote:

"We call the speaker emulations in Helix “hybrid cabsâ€, because they use a number of proprietary algorithms to reproduce the same frequency and dynamic accuracy typically seen in a 2048-point impulse response, but at far lower DSP usage."

Thanks...

 I wonder exactly how they managed that one without the same amount of DSP usage and yet sounds right too? Oh well lol... Figure that one out and there is no more need for IR's as we know it.

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What I wonder is if they could pre-process external IRs the same way on import, optimize them too, like the internal ones.

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What I wonder is if they could pre-process external IRs the same way on import, optimize them too, like the internal ones.

 

I would think they would need to collect the raw data directly in order to do the convolution of the effect of the mic at different distances.

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I can't say that the HX cabs have gotten any better as of 2.01, but I can say undoubtedly I've gotten MUCH more proficient at expoiting them...so that may be what you're hearing.

 

I thought about that but I haven't been doing anything different. In fact I haven't really been doing anything with the cabs except for High and Low Cut. 

It's on my to do list to check out the possibilities there but haven't done it yet.

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Thanks...

 I wonder exactly how they managed that one without the same amount of DSP usage and yet sounds right too? Oh well lol... Figure that one out and there is no more need for IR's as we know it.

I think you should look at it like FLAC and WAV, it's lossless compression.

Interestingly IR's are in WAV format so for all we know Line6 actually used FLAC compression  :P  (probably not)

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I would think they would need to collect the raw data directly in order to do the convolution of the effect of the mic at different distances.

I see what you mean, assuming a native cab effectively contains a bunch of IRs, one for every combination of mic and distance, which I think we don't know. That's a lot of IRs -- 30 cabs x 16 mics x 23 distances by my count, 11,040 total. Possible, but it's also possible that some of those dimensions are modeled separately somehow, as an IR or some other calculation process, so for instance they can apply the 3" transformation to the Royer 121 IR and run different cab IRs through that. I'm making all that up of course, but you get the idea.

 

It's not at all clear that that's the case though, or they'd be able to offer mic and/or distance variations for external IRs too, with the caveat that the mic and/or distance characteristics from the IR itself would somehow need to be factored out to accurately replace them with others. It's possible the architecture actually does allow that, and they just haven't gotten to building it out yet, we just don't know.

 

Anyway, regardless of all that, what we were told is that the native cabs somehow use less DSP than external ones, but that they actually are IRs at heart. That implies that whatever data they started with, they've done some pre-calculations to make them more efficient at runtime. I was just wondering if it was possible to do the same thing for external IRs too, not to provide mic and distance variations (though of course that'd be awesome!), but just to use less DSP.

 

Given the smarts evident in the Helix architecture and implementation, it's a pretty good guess that they would have done that if they could, but again it could be that they just haven't gotten there yet.

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I see what you mean, assuming a native cab effectively contains a bunch of IRs, one for every combination of mic and distance, which I think we don't know. That's a lot of IRs -- 30 cabs x 16 mics x 23 distances by my count, 11,040 total. Possible, but it's also possible that some of those dimensions are modeled separately somehow, as an IR or some other calculation process, so for instance they can apply the 3" transformation to the Royer 121 IR and run different cab IRs through that. I'm making all that up of course, but you get the idea.

 

...

 

An interesting theory but I find it highly unlikely that the native cabs each consist of a multitude of IRs. I agree with zooey's theory about "dimensions being modeled separately". I think it is much more probable that they have simply coded the cabs so some of the parameters can be changed. I don't think they would opt to use precious memory by eating up a huge amount of space for each native cab by making certain cab parameter changes require a different cab model. 

 

I would not presume to know how they optimized their cabs to use less DSP as well as potentially less memory but there are a couple of things that I suppose are possibilities. One is finding the equivalent of compression alogrithms or other tricks that take advantage of native Helix code and hardware and allow their cabs to be optimized and more efficient while using less DSP. Line6 has the advantage of only needing to code a cab specifically for the Helix, they don't have to worry about structures that would allow it to run on a wider range of hardware or software. Secondly, I suppose they could also save memory by having a cab essentially have hooks to redundant cab code/structures both within a single cab and common to multiple cabs such that those structures are stored once in memory but multiple cabs can access them.

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We could speculate on this endlessly, but it does appear to me that IR's seem to be more of a "brute force" way of doing a transformation because the .WAV structure seems to be maintained when it's in use.  I suspect since we're talking about using less DSP (processing) it's a matter of reducing (or precompiling) the .WAV results into a set of discreet representative points that can be used as arguments for rapid convolution transformations via the Sharc DSP..probably the same with the mic and distance.

 

It's fun to speculate, but it's clear they're using a different and proprietary way of handling it in order to provide greater functionality with reduced DSP usage which suggests they have a proprietary way of capturing the raw data both for the cabinet and the mic.

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