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Odd distortion on Cali Rhythm 1


scheater5
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So I've been using the Cali Rhythm 1 as my clean sound, and it sounds great, but there's some funny distortion in the background.  The clean sound comes through, but then there's a digital-sounding fuzz that becomes most audible as I let a chord sustain and fade.  It may be intentional, but it really sounds like something odd is going on.  

 

I thought maybe it was the guitar or any number of things (I actually first thought it was headphone distortion that the manual warns about, but it also comes through both a super-clean solid state amp, a hot rod deluxe, and pa speakers with cab modeling on), so I eliminated anything outside of helix as a possible cause - then I started flipping through amp models, and I wish I had taken notes because I feel like I heard it on a couple other models, but then I settled on the deluxe reverb normal channel for my clean sounds as it doesn't seem to have this strange sound.  

 

I know in a couple cases the gain-y channel of an amp was modeled that some forum-goers expected to be clean (the Shiva, for one), but this is explicitly the clean channel of the amp - which high-profile users such as John Petrucci get piano-like cleans out of, so I'm not sure why the model is distorting.  I still happens with the gain nearly off (<1).  

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Do you have any recordings of this noise? I have been fighting what I think is the same thing, only in other amp models. It is faint when clean, but quite present with any level of gain. It sounds to me like "static", some kind of clipping maybe? I go to great lengths to prevent gain from stacking up in a patch, but without any internal metering it's tough to know. I can roll off the guitar volume significantly without eliminating it, so I'm thinkig it's not just that. Are you getting it in other models, and are you getting it with driven tones? I'm getting it with my Strat into the Bassman, with my Les Paul into the JCM800, and with anything into the Stone Age/EH-185. Possibly/probably in others, but those are the ones I've been in lately. I'd been intending to start a thread regarding this when I've got time to capture some audio, but if we're looking at the same thing I'll just add my data to yours.

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Several amps have some kind of low-level distortion or unnatural overtones even with very little drive. Sounds almost like quantization noise or something, not clipping. It's a shame.

 

Shame yes, but if it is a problem with the amp model itself. Then a Firmware update can fix it once L6 gets around to it. 

Meaning they could improve those if there is a problem, technically speaking.   

 

So we may see a fix for it one day.  I cannot confirm the issue myself, I am breaking down my studio for some alterations, and improvements, and I don't have any of my stuff hooked up to see.

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I have also noticed it, but I also own a Roadster, whose fat channel is basically the same, and I feel like I remember that doing a similar thing and it irritating me there, too. So it could be that they are just accurately modeling the real thing, but I could also be misremembering. I've been meaning to play with the input pad to see how that changes the fuzzes anyway, wonder if it will help.

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FWIW, I always have the pad on for my main guitar, so even if doing that is helpful for some people, I'm already there, hearing it.

 

It really doesn't sound or behave like overload or clipping anyway IMO, more like crossover distortion or something. It's just there, at any level, no matter what you play, its unnaturalness is part of why it's objectionable.

 

There is some chance it's an accurate model of the real thing, which I guess you can check if you have one. But if like to believe that Mesa, of all amp makers, wouldn't let something like that pass.

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FWIW, I always have the pad on for my main guitar, so even if doing that is helpful for some people, I'm already there, hearing it.

 

It really doesn't sound or behave like overload or clipping anyway IMO, more like crossover distortion or something. It's just there, at any level, no matter what you play, its unnaturalness is part of why it's objectionable.

 

There is some chance it's an accurate model of the real thing, which I guess you can check if you have one. But if like to believe that Mesa, of all amp makers, wouldn't let something like that pass.

 

I love me some Mesa Boogie, but they aren't without their share of problems. I have blown many a phase inverter tube before discovering that that's just what happens if you run the channel masters at more than half. Design flaw is an understatement there.

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Hmmm, interesting. Haven't had a Mesa in years, but I never had any problems with the one I had. (15" JBL combo, serial # B0015, so old it had label maker labels on the back panel. I'm a complete idiot for ever having sold it, whether I still wanted to use it or not...)

 

Anyway, I'm not a fan of the model-the-defects-too school of thought. If there's an opportunity to genuinely improve the world, those are rare enough, take it. (Sort of similarly, it helps nothing to make models of tiny amps way quieter than models of bigger ones, reality it not, just means you have to compensate elsewhere.)

 

OTOH, is not only Mesas that do this, so unless it's a characteristic of certain amp topologies, not brands or models, which is possible, it's probably a modeling defect, not overzealous emulation.

 

In any case, if L6 is considering a v2 version of the amps with this behavior, I hope they get rid of it.

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Oh I'm not disagreeing on that point. Even if it is accurate, get rid of it. But that may be more complicated- if they are truly modeling on a component basis, they would likely have to change something about the component models to get rid of it, which would theoretically also change the tone. I don't know enough about the programming of it all to really speak to that, though.

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Agreed. All we can do I think is tell L6 that some people notice and are bothered by it. Ideally we'd file an actual bug report, but that should include a list of models that have the problem, since it isn't only this one.

 

I honestly don't remember where else I heard it though, and I'm too busy to check them all.

 

Another useful experiment would be to swap out preamps and power amps, make sure we know where there problem really is. That might also provide a partial workaround for some use cases.

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  • 1 year later...

Hey everyone,

 

I raised a support ticket for this and the Line 6 guy was super quick to reply and really helpful! The noise is actually a feature and is controlled with the ‘bias’ control. The noise goes away completely when turned to 10.

 

Go forth and enjoy 😉

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Hey everyone,

 

I raised a support ticket for this and the Line 6 guy was super quick to reply and really helpful! The noise is actually a feature and is controlled with the ‘bias’ control. The noise goes away completely when turned to 10.

 

Go forth and enjoy

 

Thank you for resurrecting this dead thread to share the answer! That is actually very useful since most of my rhythm patches are still based around that model. Awesome!

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I have also run into these distortion artifacts the OP mentions on other models here and there. I am not referring to drive channel distortion or the good kind you might get from a pedal effect but the kind that sounds like a bad speaker or failing amp. The Soldano amp channel model "Solo Lead Crunch" seems to have really weird distortion artifacts that I can't get rid of and persist quite loudly after the rest of the sound has decayed. Pretty much exactly as the OP described on the "Cali Rhythm 1" model. The artifacts become even more glaring when you replace the Helix cab with a "bright" IR like the free Cenzo IR from Celestion. I cannot get rid of it with any of the amp's tube settings such as sag, bias or biasX, even with the hum and ripple all the way down. I did a sanity check with just the amp and its corresponding Helix cab in a preset and it is still there. Can anyone else confirm this?

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I have also run into these distortion artifacts the OP mentions on other models here and there. I am not referring to drive channel distortion or the good kind you might get from a pedal effect but the kind that sounds like a bad speaker or failing amp. The Soldano amp channel model "Solo Lead Crunch" seems to have really weird distortion artifacts that I can't get rid of and persist quite loudly after the rest of the sound has decayed. Pretty much exactly as the OP described on the "Cali Rhythm 1" model. The artifacts become even more glaring when you replace the Helix cab with a "bright" IR like the free Cenzo IR from Celestion. I cannot get rid of it with any of the amp's tube settings such as sag, bias or biasX, even with the hum and ripple all the way down. I did a sanity check with just the amp and its corresponding Helix cab in a preset and it is still there. Can anyone else confirm this?

Hi, i can confirm this. Most overdriven Ampmodels sound "like a bad speaker or failing amp". This happens to nearly all Marshall Amps. I checked it with the stock patches and also with the Glenn Delaune striped Amp Patches. the loudest artifacts happen in the midrange. if i play a power chord like E (7th fret A String) it starts after a few milliseconds. 

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Hi, i can confirm this. Most overdriven Ampmodels sound "like a bad speaker or failing amp". This happens to nearly all Marshall Amps. I checked it with the stock patches and also with the Glenn Delaune striped Amp Patches. the loudest artifacts happen in the midrange. if i play a power chord like E (7th fret A String) it starts after a few milliseconds. 

 

Thank you for testing this.

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please try to set your Outputlevel to -18 DB . If that fixes the problem you can play with the Outputlevel to fit your needs. 

 

 

Greats 

 

Are you talking about the level on the IRs? They are typically set to -18db. The artifacts I am referring to do not disappear with an adjustment of the IR's 'Level' parameter and occur whether you use one of Helix's cabs or an IR.

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Are you talking about the level on the IRs? They are typically set to -18db. The artifacts I am referring to do not disappear with an adjustment of the IR's 'Level' parameter and occur whether you use one of Helix's cabs or an IR.

yes, i can confirm this too. I read in a thread about lowering the Output on the Output block in the effectchain. On the first view it helped to reduce the noise, but now i tried a little bit more. It does not help to solve my issues. 

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i found a solution for my "problem". I had to change the setting of my stagesource l2m to "Floor Monitor". That fixed the tonal issues. Maybe that has something to do with the room i am playing in. 
Because of lack of time i didn`t try it in another room. 

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