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Speakers, Aux, PA?)Need Advice on what to play my Helix Through

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Hey all,

 

I have had my Helix for about two months and have just been playing it through an aux chord hooked up to my old guitar amplifier. 

 

I would like to get a much better sound because I feel like the aux chord + cheap guitar amp isnt doing it.

 

I talked to one guy that played his Helix directly through a PA.

 

What do you all think?

 

 

What can I play my helix through that will give me a good sound? Any specific suggestions? Thanks!

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Helix has so many output options there are many possibilities depending on how much you want to spend and/or your needs, i.e., live sound w/band volume, or home/practice volume.  For the latter, it's hard to go wrong with a pair of decent powered studio monitors, something along the lines of Yamaha HS7 or HS8's, though cheaper options that are likely just a good would be fine depending on how much you want to spend.  For the former, I'd probably look at powered PA speakers, there's lots of suggestions for specific models that folks have experience with on here, I can't recall all of them off the top of my head.

 

Whatever route you go, you will likely need to adjust your patches assuming you've created them to sound as good as you can through the front of your current guitar amp.  That will likely color the sound quite a bit assuming you are using amp and cab modeling in the Helix and not just the effects.  Direct to PA or studio monitors will sound somewhat different/more true to the amp/cab that is being modeled and not colored by the real amp that is also adding its own character to your signal.

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I play directly through the PA or powerd speakers all the time and it sounds great, including awesome feedback on higher gain sounds. As bsd512 said though whether you use a guitar amp, PA. FRFR, or powered speakers you are going to want to set the EQ properly and that may well include low and high cuts. I prefer using full range speakers myself rather than a guitar amp to truly bring out the character of the different amp models on the Helix.

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Helix has so many output options there are many possibilities depending on how much you want to spend and/or your needs, i.e., live sound w/band volume, or home/practice volume. For the latter, it's hard to go wrong with a pair of decent powered studio monitors, something along the lines of Yamaha HS7 or HS8's, though cheaper options that are likely just a good would be fine depending on how much you want to spend. For the former, I'd probably look at powered PA speakers, there's lots of suggestions for specific models that folks have experience with on here, I can't recall all of them off the top of my head.

 

Whatever route you go, you will likely need to adjust your patches assuming you've created them to sound as good as you can through the front of your current guitar amp. That will likely color the sound quite a bit assuming you are using amp and cab modeling in the Helix and not just the effects. Direct to PA or studio monitors will sound somewhat different/more true to the amp/cab that is being modeled and not colored by the real amp that is also adding its own character to your signal.

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Thanks for the info and suggestions. I am planning on going DI with a PA for both home and live settings.

 

That's a great idea to adjust any patches I've made, because the eq of the system will sound totally different playing through something new. I never thought about that before.

 

Thank you!

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I play directly through the PA or powerd speakers all the time and it sounds great, including awesome feedback on higher gain sounds. As bsd512 said though whether you use a guitar amp, PA. FRFR, or powered speakers you are going to want to set the EQ properly and that may well include low and high cuts. I prefer using full range speakers myself rather than a guitar amp to truly bring out the character of the different amp models on the Helix.

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Thank you HonestOpinion! I'm playing on getting a PA and playing it through that for both home and live settings. What would you say is a general price range for a decent/quality PA for playing through?

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Thank you HonestOpinion! I'm playing on getting a PA and playing it through that for both home and live settings. What would you say is a general price range for a decent/quality PA for playing through?

What is your budget? I have a $300 USD Alto powered 12" speaker that I think sounds great... other companies have offerings to $1500 and beyond.

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Thank you HonestOpinion! I'm playing on getting a PA and playing it through that for both home and live settings. What would you say is a general price range for a decent/quality PA for playing through?

 

These days there seems to be great quality equipment even at relatively low prices. Sometimes the longevity of the equipment may be better on the higher quality stuff but not always. On the inexpensive end of the spectrum I think the Behringer XAir mixers are excellent, if you want to spend more you can look at Allen & Heath, Midas, or the like, and everything in between. There are a lot of nice digital boards out there now. The Soundcraft SI boards are doing a good job of trying to compete in the space and price point the Behringer X32 boards occupy and include Lexicon effects. Then it just becomes a matter of which powered speakers and mics you want to go with. I highly recommend going with digital mixers with built in effects these days, otherwise you will have to think about the additional expense and hassle of outboard effects as well if you are a strictly analog guy. Digital also provides the advantage of scenes which means once you get the board dialed up for a particular venue you can use it the next time you play there with minimal setup time. I think the best way to decide what is going to work for you is to go to your local music store and listen to different speakers and play with different mixers and mics.

 

People here have reported perfectly good results with Alto speakers at the bottom end of the spectrum on up to the more expensive Line6 speakers and higher-end offerings from other companies like QSC and JBL, or even Bose. With low cost speakers and monitors like the Altos I  think you can get away with spending about $700 - $900 (especially with a 15% sale discount) on the low end for a small PA, including mixer, speakers, and just a couple of monitors and still get a decent sound; the upper end of the price range is open-ended. This is a system that will sound just ok but not stellar and get you through a night at your local bar or the backyard party but not much more. Of course you still need to buy mics, cables, stands, etc.. If you went with say a couple of basic mics like SM58s, with cables and stands it is probably going to run you another $300-$400. If you want to go really cheap you can get one of the very inexpensive compact all-in-one systems like the Fender compact PAs but I doubt that will satisfy you with a Helix. It really depends on your budget, band's requirements, number of bandmembers, inputs/outputs and busses required, planned usage, how long before you upgrade, what level of quality your ears demand, subs required, level of reliability required, style of music, the size and types of venues you plan on playing, and a host of other variables.

 

If you want to get more of a mid-quality system (low-quality to some people, it is somewhat subjective) and a PA more commensurate with the quality of the Helix I would plan on spending at least $3,000-$4,000 (I think this is the sweet spot for a good, flexible PA that won't break the bank) and potentially quite a bit more depending on what you want/require, especially if you plan on adding subs. 

 

Of course there is always the used market like Craigslist and Ebay where you may be able to find an entire system or its constituent parts for cheaper but as always, caveat emptor.

 

What are you intending to use your PA for live, small bar gigs or larger gigs with crowds over 100-200 people? Better paying larger venues and gigs will probably require and be expecting at least a mid-quality sound system unless they provide their own.

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