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Noise issue solved with DI box - How come and what to do?

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Hello,

 

Yesterday I had rehearsal with my band and we tried a new studio.

 

The technician of the room connected the XLR output of my mighty Helix to a XLR connected to the wall. He said that from there the signal was going directly to the room mixer. Doing like this there was a lot of ground noise!

 

The technician then placed a DI box between Helix XLR and the XLR plug wall, and so the noise went away and I played without any problem.

 

I am worried about experiencing the same problem again in different rooms and - especially - during live concerts.

 

Do you know why this happened? Should I buy a DI box and keep it always with me when using a Helix?

 

Many thanks!

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There is a ground lift on the Helix - look at the line outs - you will see a small push button.

This has always worked for me with no DI.

Next time try it before resorting to a DI.  But ground loops are common - not much you can do about it - the fact the DI had a ground lift should not make any difference to doing it on the Helix - the technician just didn't know the Helix had its own.

You should try to duplicate this and test DI verses Helix - should get the same result.

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This sounds like the phantom power issue. It sounds like the sound guy was sending phantom power to the channel you were using for the Helix, and that will cause noise. So the options are to either turn phantom power off on that channel (if you can), use some sort of phantom power blocker (the DI box in this case is doing that), or use the 1/4" outs into a DI box.

 

http://line6.com/support/page/kb/_/effects-controllers/helix/helix-xlr-outputs-and-48v-phantom-power-r771

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another common trouble-shooting measure is to ensure everything in the audio chain is plugged into the same power source - meaning that your Helix (or amps/pedals) should go into the same power source as the PA that you'll be connecting to.  This will help resolve many grounding issues that you'll run into in rehearsal/performance situations. 

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Could have been either or both. Good troubleshooting guys!

 

Thing is, if Helix doesn't have this ground noise at your home, but does elsewhere, Its probably not Helix.

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Art church, nice new digital board... Midas m32 I believe. Noisey helix with or without ground lift. Taking a radial direct box tomorrow for practice. Helix is not noisy on our systems at all. They say there is no phantom power on my channel.

 

I've got money it's their cheap xlr cables or a noisy snake channel

 

Will update... It's not terribly noisy, just mild hum.

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I ALWAYS use my simple cheap ART Dual iso box. 90% of the time its impossible to plug into the same circuit if venue has permanent install PA.

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Helix is not the first device that is more trouble-free if you just use a guitar cord to a D.I. box, so just do that.

 

It may be grounding or the phantom issue, but the bottom line is, you found a solution, so keep using it.

 

I have rigorously compared, and Helix doesn't sound any better or worse whether you use the balanced or 1/4" outs.

 

HD 500 actually sounded better out the 1/4" output to me and others, but with Helix it seems identical.

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Art church, nice new digital board... Midas m32 I believe. Noisey helix with or without ground lift. Taking a radial direct box tomorrow for practice. Helix is not noisy on our systems at all. They say there is no phantom power on my channel.

 

I've got money it's their cheap xlr cables or a noisy snake channel

 

Will update... It's not terribly noisy, just mild hum.

 

I've had the same problem and resorted to the same solution (a Radial direct box). The noise wasn't due to phantom power being applied to the channels. It wasn't due to whether or not the Helix ground lift for the XLRs was engaged. Fortunately, the Radial direct box solved the problem.  The funny thing is that another one of our guitar players also has a Helix. He's able to go into the same FOH console through the same snake channel with no noise. Furthermore, I don't encounter any noise issues when going direct from the XLR outputs of the Helix into other audio interfaces (e.g., mixers, active monitors, etc.). Odd...

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Art church, nice new digital board... Midas m32 I believe. Noisey helix with or without ground lift. Taking a radial direct box tomorrow for practice. Helix is not noisy on our systems at all. They say there is no phantom power on my channel.

 

I've got money it's their cheap xlr cables or a noisy snake channel

 

Will update... It's not terribly noisy, just mild hum.

 

FWIW, If you're using an external tuner (or other pedal/s) patched via one of the sends, this increases the odds of a ground-loop.

That's happened to me several times.  In this case, lifting the Helix ground didn't solve the issue.

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At church, I plug straight into Helix via 1/4" and straight out to PA mixer via XLR.

 

I'll see how the Radial DI does this evening.

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Art church, nice new digital board... Midas m32 I believe. Noisey helix with or without ground lift. Taking a radial direct box tomorrow for practice. Helix is not noisy on our systems at all. They say there is no phantom power on my channel.

 

I've got money it's their cheap xlr cables or a noisy snake channel

 

Will update... It's not terribly noisy, just mild hum.

 

I did a gig recently with the Helix through a M32 Midas and it had zero noise issues. The sound guy said it was one of the easiest "floor units" to get sounding even and sit in the mix correctly that he's worked with. He did have a digital snake though. I'm not sure if that would make a difference. He took a tap off our split snake into his digital snake to his mixer so YYMV.

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Maybe there will be a recall and I can get it fixed next time I take Helix in for an oil change...or free DIs for all current Helix users :)

 

Maybe Tesla wireless power will help.

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