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Careful with volume output.


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Short version of this post is to be careful with the helix volume output. You might find you get a much better sound with the volume significantly turned down (like less than half for me), and your amp up. Just my experience.


Long version below...


I play a lot with my helix into headphones. Great tool for practice. A few weeks had passed since I plugged my electric into my amp and rocked out with a band. I was struggling the other night during rehearsal. I could not get things to sound good with the helix. It seemed like every setting had way too much juice, lacked clarity. I was struggling. Thought maybe I was just having an off night or something.

I am no genius when it comes to equipment and sound, though I would love to take a class some day.. anyways..


Then I started hearing some crackling coming from my amp and as I started troubleshooting, I elected to bypass the helix and run just straight into my fender twin reverb. Wow.. what a difference. My guitar was much lower volume. No crackling either.


So I turn the volume nob way down on my helix, and turn the volume nob from about 3 to 3.5 on my twin (a big increase if you know these amps), and walla. All the nuance returned. My tone was killer for the rest of rehearsal, and was equally awesome at last night's gig.


The helix is amazing as a multi effect unit, and I knew this, but for a brief time there during rehearsal I was starting to seriously regret my purchase. It was literally night and day. And dang, is it ever sweet in the daytime.


Just thought I would share.

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I play through a 1000w FRFR, and I've never had the Helix past 10 or 11 o'clock, and we play pretty loud.

Going into the front of a tube amp like you are, you have to figure the Helix cranked is acting like an overdrive pedal, all the time.

I have the same problem as you, in that my patches sound good some nights and like crap other nights. The louder we play, the muddier my patches get. Then between rehearsals I have to go back in and roll off lows and master volume, and add mids and highs and channel volume, to cut through better. I would never create patches using head phones. The advantage of moving air through an amp is necessary for a patch to cut it in a band situation.

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I know most people recommend running Helix at very high levels to get better signal to noise ratios, but I like having room to adjust it either way if I need to.  And like you mentioned, running into a physical amp has other considerations like how much you'd like to push the signal into the amps front end.  


I've never noticed signal to noise ratio issues unless Helix was below 20% and it was on a noisy system. So I tend to keep Helix between 11-1 o'clock with no issues. That way, if I want to be a real live guitar player, I can turn up quite a bit.  It's whatever works best for you and your set up.

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