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Helix with Direct Box

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I have a Radial Firefly tube direct box that really warms up my bass and it's become an important part of my tone. If I wanted to use my direct box with the Helix Rack, how would I go about this? Thanks for the help!

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If you are just using it to get some tubeish quality on your tone, I'd say up front or you can put it in a loop block and place it anywhere in the chain that sounds the best.

Since you do not need it for sending a signal with the Helix. I turned many on to a little trick of using the MIC Tube Preamp model set for line and low gain to add a little tube like quality to the amp models. It does well up front or after the amp model, depends on the overall tone, sometimes I use both. Just put it in a loop block and move it around till you get the desired tube enhancement. That's alI can offer on it, maybe others have ideas. 

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Actually, the simplest way would be to use it as a direct box taking your 1/4" out from the Helix into the A channel and using the thru (or Aux out) to your stage amp and the XLR as a direct out to the PA board.  That's how it's designed to be used anyway.

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What makes the answer to how to use the Radial Firefly potentially a little more complicated is that it has the "Drag Controlâ„¢ load correction that lets you adjust the load on a magnetic pickup so that it 'feels' as if connected to a tube amplifier.". If you need to continue using this feature you will probably have to place the DI at the beginning of your signal chain directly connected to your bass and use the Firefly's "Aux Out" to the Helix's  input. If you do that you may have to play with the impedance setting on the Helix's "Input" block or the pad setting in the Global Settings --> In/Out depending on what the output signal from the Firefly is set to. However, you will probably find you don't need the "Drag Control" on the DI with all of the available amp features on the Helix including things like the "sag" parameter which can substantially change the 'feel' of the bass, similar to the intention of the "Drag Control" on the Firefly. 

 

If you are not concerned about using the "Drag Control" feature on the Firefly then as others have said the best way to use it may be as a standard DI after the Helix and before the PA and your amp.  Use the Helix's 1/4 output connected  to the Firefly's "Input A", and then use the Firefly's "Aux Out" to your bass amp and the Firefly's XLR "Output" connection to the PA. As WickedFinger points out though you are always free to experiment and see where it sounds best in your signal chain.

 

Note: You may also want to take a look at this topic or others like it with tips on getting a good bass tone from the Helix.

http://line6.com/support/topic/22839-help-with-bass-tone/

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If you are just using it to get some tubeish quality on your tone, I'd say up front or you can put it in a loop block and place it anywhere in the chain that sounds the best.

Since you do not need it for sending a signal with the Helix. I turned many on to a little trick of using the MIC Tube Preamp model set for line and low gain to add a little tube like quality to the amp models. It does well up front or after the amp model, depends on the overall tone, sometimes I use both. Just put it in a loop block and move it around till you get the desired tube enhancement. That's alI can offer on it, maybe others have ideas. 

 

Thanks for the tip! I considered setting it up this way. I also have a Neve preamp I'd like to put in the signal this way, but I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do that. I'll try this with the DI. The only thing that confuses me is how to manage the levels. The DI receives an instrument level input and outputs at line level. The sends and returns on the Helix seem to be paired, either line in/out or instrument in/out. I can experiment, though, as I doubt I'm going to break anything if the levels are off.

 

 

Actually, the simplest way would be to use it as a direct box taking your 1/4" out from the Helix into the A channel and using the thru (or Aux out) to your stage amp and the XLR as a direct out to the PA board.  That's how it's designed to be used anyway.

 

I didn't mention (and I should have) that this is how I have it set up for live playing, but I wanted to try recording with the DI, using the Helix as an interface, and still get the smooth warmth I'm used to from the Firefly on my recorded tracks. But I appreciate you walking me through a good live signal chain!

 

 

What makes the answer to how to use the Radial Firefly potentially a little more complicated is that it has the "Drag Controlâ„¢ load correction that lets you adjust the load on a magnetic pickup so that it 'feels' as if connected to a tube amplifier.". If you need to continue using this feature you will probably have to place the DI at the beginning of your signal chain directly connected to your bass and use the Firefly's "Aux Out" to the Helix's  input. If you do that you may have to play with the impedance setting on the Helix's "Input" block or the pad setting in the Global Settings --> In/Out depending on what the output signal from the Firefly is set to. However, you will probably find you don't need the "Drag Control" on the DI with all of the available amp features on the Helix including things like the "sag" parameter which can substantially change the 'feel' of the bass, similar to the intention of the "Drag Control" on the Firefly. 

 

If you are not concerned about using the "Drag Control" feature on the Firefly then as others have said the best way to use it may be as a standard DI after the Helix and before the PA and your amp.  Use the Helix's 1/4 output connected  to the Firefly's "Input A", and then use the Firefly's "Aux Out" to your bass amp and the Firefly's XLR "Output" connection to the PA. As WickedFinger points out though you are always free to experiment and see where it sounds best in your signal chain.

 

Note: You may also want to take a look at this topic or others like it with tips on getting a good bass tone from the Helix.

http://line6.com/support/topic/22839-help-with-bass-tone/

 

I've never found the Drag Control to do a whole lot for me in particular, so I'll take your advice and just leave it off, and adjust the amp settings as you said!

 

Thanks for the help everyone! I have a quick, related follow-up question. The preamp I mentioned earlier, and my DI, have balanced XLR outs. If I wanted to utilize the Send/Return Input/Outputs on the Helix, would I be able to simply use an XLR-to-TRS (or TS) cable? Thanks again!

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Thanks for the tip! I considered setting it up this way. I also have a Neve preamp I'd like to put in the signal this way, but I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do that. I'll try this with the DI. The only thing that confuses me is how to manage the levels. The DI receives an instrument level input and outputs at line level. The sends and returns on the Helix seem to be paired, either line in/out or instrument in/out. I can experiment, though, as I doubt I'm going to break anything if the levels are off.

 

 

 

I didn't mention (and I should have) that this is how I have it set up for live playing, but I wanted to try recording with the DI, using the Helix as an interface, and still get the smooth warmth I'm used to from the Firefly on my recorded tracks. But I appreciate you walking me through a good live signal chain!

 

 

 

I've never found the Drag Control to do a whole lot for me in particular, so I'll take your advice and just leave it off, and adjust the amp settings as you said!

 

Thanks for the help everyone! I have a quick, related follow-up question. The preamp I mentioned earlier, and my DI, have balanced XLR outs. If I wanted to utilize the Send/Return Input/Outputs on the Helix, would I be able to simply use an XLR-to-TRS (or TS) cable? Thanks again!

 

The Send/Return inputs/outputs on the Helix are TS (unbalanced) so it would be an XLR to TS connection from the XLR "Output" connection of the Firefly back to the Helix. However, if you are going to use the Firefly in a send/return loop with the Helix "Send" going to Firefly "Input A",  one choice might be to use the Firefly's "Aux Out" output back to the Helix's "Return" input which would only require a standard TS cable eliminating the need for an XLR to TS connection.  I believe the Firefly's "Aux Out" output can be used pre or post tube section so you would still get the benefit of the tube if you want it.  Remember you have the "Aux Thru" button on the side of the Firefly if you have any ground hum issues via the Firefly's "Aux Out" output. Or... it might ultimately be simpler and take better advantage of the Firefly's capabilities to just use the Firefly after the Helix.  Nothing but choices here, lot 'o flexibility on tap between these two devices (Helix, Firefly).

 

Note: In the event that you decide to use a Send/Return loop on the Helix, The "Aux Out" output on the Firefly is a high-Z output so I am not sure how or if this would impact the signal being passed back into the Helix's "Return" input. It probably won't matter as it will be the Helix's "Send" output that would be delivering the signal to the Firefly's "Input A".

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Awesome! Thanks for all this information HonestOpinion. I didn't even think of the Aux Out from the firefly! I'm going to mull this over and experiment!

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Awesome! Thanks for all this information HonestOpinion. I didn't even think of the Aux Out from the firefly! I'm going to mull this over and experiment!

 

Happy to be of assistance, good luck in the "lab"  :)

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