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New to Helix...Very impressed so far


DustyF92
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Hey all,

 

I picked up a Helix just over a week ago and played my first gig with it this past weekend. I am pretty new to modeling and this is definitely the highest-end amp/effects modeler I have owned (the last one I had was a Digitech GNX4 which I couldn't ever get to sound right). I spent the last week fiddling around with creating patches as well as implementing the four-cable method into my rig. The show went well I and I was overall pretty darn happy with my tone.

I use a modified Fender Hot Rod Deluxe currently but have interest in getting a FRFR setup going (much to the dismay of my wallet).

I am thinking of getting a Line 6 StageSource L2T so I can fully utilize all the amp/cab models in the Helix, however is it worth spending $1200 just to get the L6 Link capability in hopes of it improving with future updates? I also have (free) access to a Mackie SRM450 but am not sure if it would be a FRFR like I am seeking. I was thinking I should just bite the bullet and get the whole Line 6 setup (maybe a Variax one day too) and be done with it. I am going to be sticking with this rig for a long time so it would pay for itself.

 

I am a full-time freelance musician playing contemporary country. I have learned a TON from this forum just in the week that I've been here....I will continue to scour the forums to make the Helix less-daunting...all the signal path routing capabilities and IRs and stuff still confuse me!

 

Thanks for having me here. I have attached a pic of how my Helix is currently set up (pretty simple so far)post-2452991-0-35713800-1476672571_thumb.jpeg

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Hi DustyF92, I'd give the Mackie a go.  But definitely read all the stuff about setting up global EQ and at stage type volume.   Don't get any preconceived ideas though about hi and low frequency rolloff. You will definitely need both. but as you volume goes up, you may well find you need to be a bit more drastic than you expected before it starts to sound like something you might expect to hear from a guitar amp.  I'm using a pair of Berhinger B112 which is a very similar self powered speaker, and with a bit of careful adjustment, I'm getting a stage sound that feels really good to play, and seems to work really well sent to front of house.  I'm not convinced that the Line 6 stuff is going to do a significantly better job (I know well respected sound guys who think they are over rated as sound reinforcement) - just might save you some of the need to spend quiet as much time tweaking your sound to start with - but that took me 2 hrs in a studio and I've made a few slight adjustments to a few sounds since - and I was a total valve guy till I got the Helix.  If I was going to spend a whole lot more money, I'd be more likely to look at some of the guitar oriented FRFR boxes mostly because they try to do things like use dual concentric speakers, so you have less of an issue with a crossover to a horn. (not that that is actually really causing much of an issue in practice).

Bottom line is on a noisy live stage with whatever weird bounce and room sound we all have to live with all the time, I think you'd be hard pressed to hear a real difference.  Wedge style boxes pointed at where you are standing so you can hear yourself really well and sounding good, for me, beats some loud back line that I can't hear properly and is driving the sound guy nuts!

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Glad you like you're helix, don't ever be confused about routing or IR's because they are pretty easy to figure out, just think pedal board in's and out's and inserting an IR block for the IRs and whala there you go. For you're IR's have a look at ownhammer they are very good as are sigma but at the end of the day its you're ears that will decide if they sound great. what I will tell you is that you are in for a lot of fun with this devise I have had mine since November last year and still learning and still being amazed.

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Hey all,

 

I picked up a Helix just over a week ago and played my first gig with it this past weekend. I am pretty new to modeling and this is definitely the highest-end amp/effects modeler I have owned (the last one I had was a Digitech GNX4 which I couldn't ever get to sound right). I spent the last week fiddling around with creating patches as well as implementing the four-cable method into my rig. The show went well I and I was overall pretty darn happy with my tone.

I use a modified Fender Hot Rod Deluxe currently but have interest in getting a FRFR setup going (much to the dismay of my wallet).

I am thinking of getting a Line 6 StageSource L2T so I can fully utilize all the amp/cab models in the Helix, however is it worth spending $1200 just to get the L6 Link capability in hopes of it improving with future updates? I also have (free) access to a Mackie SRM450 but am not sure if it would be a FRFR like I am seeking. I was thinking I should just bite the bullet and get the whole Line 6 setup (maybe a Variax one day too) and be done with it. I am going to be sticking with this rig for a long time so it would pay for itself.

 

I am a full-time freelance musician playing contemporary country. I have learned a TON from this forum just in the week that I've been here....I will continue to scour the forums to make the Helix less-daunting...all the signal path routing capabilities and IRs and stuff still confuse me!

 

Thanks for having me here. I have attached a pic of how my Helix is currently set up (pretty simple so far)attachicon.gifunspecified.jpeg

 

I use L2M(s) to monitor and build the patches on my Helix and really like them but in my opinion any decent PA speaker/monitor or FRFR or even guitar amp rig will do. I personally prefer the PA speaker (including the L2M/T) or FRFR approach as it does less coloring of the amp models and makes it easier to predict what my presets will sound like through the PA. For some though, nothing but the punch and tone of their favorite guitar amp/cab will do. Despite being a fantastic feature I would not let the digital connection to the L2m be your sole deciding factor. It is a great feature to be able to keep a digital signal all the way to your monitor but without a digital connection to your mixing board it does not completely accurately reflect what the sound will be out to the PA (FOH), although it is close. Additionally, as of right now the global EQ can not be applied to the L6 Link output so that is something to keep in mind. Lot's o' choices out there. I recommend you buy from a place with a liberal return policy and find what works best for you at a price you are comfortable with.

 

And btw, the Variax is awesome with the Helix! Should be even more convenient when they hopefully integrate Workbench with it.

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I think you're heading down the right track moving to some form of FRFR setup as that will allow you to get the most out of your Helix setup.  I've been a long time user of modeling technology and the Helix is where I'm going to be hanging my hat for quite some time, so I'll try to capture a few of the lessons I've learned that may be helpful to you.

 

You're right in saying that your wallet will take an initial hit in order to get a decent rig setup.  It's not just the expense of the Helix, but a decent FRFR speaker can be a significant expense on top of that.  I personally use a Yamaha DXR12 as my speaker choice  My primary reason was that it seemed to match up best to the frequency response profile found on most decent PA systems.  In my opinion the point of this kind of rig is to have a high degree of confidence that what you're hearing on stage is what the audience will hear through the PA.  That can be a problem for some people because they've never experienced it.  Even with a traditional amp rig, once you mic the sound in the cabinet the sound the audience will hear something very different than what you're hearing.  So it can sometimes take a little experimentation to find a sound you want in an FRFR setup due to the increased frequency response profile of these speakers.

 

For quite some time I followed the philosophy of using the Global EQ settings to hi cut the highs and low cut the lows to confine the response to be more like what you'd get from a traditional cabinet.  This works okay, but I still found myself doing a lot of final adjustments in my patches using the 10 band equalizer to get the sound presentable to my ears.  I recently discovered I can get past almost all of this tweaking using the right kind of IR's.  I tried several but the only ones that seemed to really do a good job of this were the Ownhammer IRs.  This is because each Ownhammer IR comes with a large range of individual IRs that were captured with a variety of mic setups.  One of the key things to getting a good tone on stage or in a studio out of a traditional cabinet is the placement of the mic or mics and the type of mics that are used.  For the sound most pleasing to my ear on Fender Deluxe cab and the Vox cab IR's I found the SP2-5 mix configuration which is a special mic configuration by Scott Peterson placed about midway out on the speaker cone to be the right one.  On the Marshall and Mesa cabinet IR's I preferred the OH1-5 which is the mix of an SM-57 and a Royer 121 ribbon mic placed midway out on the cone.  But this is one of those things you'd need to judge for yourself.

 

The net effect of this was that I got a much more realistic tone for my patches without having to do much modification with EQ, if at all, and cuts my time for building patches in half.  I would strongly urge you to use whatever FRFR speaker you intend to use on stage at stage volume when deciding which IR to use and for setting up your patches.  Otherwise you could get a rude awakening when you show up for a gig at gig volumes.  I still use Global EQ to hi cut signals above 8000 hz and I have my speaker setup up to cut lows at around 125hz as that is where most PA's commonly cut for guitars.  I also use the higher density IR's (2048) even though they tend to cost more DSP memory, but are MUCH more precise, realistic and effective.

 

As far as building patches, everyone is different.  Because I play a very wide range of styles as well as guitars I build patches for each song.  That may not be necessary in your case if you tend to stick to a more limited set of genres and one guitar.  If you do find you need multiple patches it's a good idea to get a sound meter so you can normalize the volumes between patches.  As I mentioned I build my patches at stage volume through my stage setup.  I target 100db on the sound meter with my Helix master volume set at mid point and the speaker volume at mid point as well.  This helps ensure I have plenty of headroom if I need to turn up my master volume for some venue, and that all of my patches will be turned up an equal amount.  I use different patches for different guitars because the output of the guitars can have a significant effect on the overall volume and sound of a patch.

 

One very important thing to understand about traditional FRFR speakers is the tone you hear can vary quite a bit depending on placement.  FRFR speakers aren't meant to be listened to in very close proximity because of the way they're engineered.  I try to stand back about 5 feet from the speaker when evaluating my patches and I ensure I place my speaker away from me about 4 or 5 feet.  FRFR speakers also don't radiate sound in the same way as a traditional cabinet.  They are designed for a tighter cone of projection with no sound projection to the rear and off to the sides, so it may be useful to angle the speaker on stage so the rest of the band can hear it better if you don't send your guitar through the monitor system.

 

That's about all I can think of right now.  But good luck and enjoy your new adventures in modeling.

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FRFR is the way to go. I started with Helix + Marshall JVM 205c via 4 cable method. I set that up to switch amp channels and combine effects etc but felt I was just scratching the surface with the Helix. Sooooo I plugged in in to my PA (QSC K12 x2, QSC K8x2 , all via my mixer) and put about 3 months of reading this forum and tweaking to get to a base sound that is to die for. Now I just build on that.  Like Dunedin dragon, I build a patch for each song. I do this for two reasons - our band plays a diverse range of gigs and styles, and its so much fun. Its great to emulate someone's sound, and then over time make it your own. The other great thing about the snapshots function is you can be sure to accomodate nuances in your fellow bandmates sounds as well. For example, in Jumpin' Jack Flash, I noticed I was cutting through nicely in the verse, but come the chorus, the other guitarists amp tone was drowning me out. I wanted those nice high e-string melodies to cut through, so I set up a snapshot for the chorus and raised my presence and treble (all at same volume), and suddenly there is that beautiful open E magic ringing through the mix with no volume war. Its subtle stuff, and completely game changing. One switch and I've performed a function no analogue switching function could possibly accomplish.

 

Ditch the AMP, and never look back.

post-2386935-0-27739800-1476696587_thumb.jpg

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Take a look at the Firehawk 1500.

Great FRFR and also usable as stand alone guitar amp (backup if Helix fails).

You can place it at an angle in front of you as a monitor on stage and use it as a traditional amp in the practice room.

It's also stereo and can do wet-dry-wet.

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Thanks for all the great responses. I should also mention that I generally run in-ear monitors on stage but the FRFR (or amp or whatever) would be still used as I have ambient mics on my IEMs that enable me to hear the stage sound.

I realize there is a lot of tweaking to be done especially if I start down the FRFR path but my eventual goal is to ditch the amp mic altogether and run my FOH line from the Helix itself. So far I am still mic-ing my guitar cab and usng the 4CM with my amp.

 

I have looked at the OwnHammer website (a lot) and wondered what the most popular package is that everyone buys? I see they have a bit of a price variance depending which one you buy. The IRs is actually the reason I am considering an FRFR setup so much.

 

I have looked at the Firehawk 1500 amp and while it looks great, it would be more expensive than one of the StageSource speakers...the stereo setup is something that would be cool though... If i went that route should I mic the Firehawk then? How are people liking the Firehawk with IRs? Anyone used them with cab sims?

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I have looked at the OwnHammer website (a lot) and wondered what the most popular package is that everyone buys? I see they have a bit of a price variance depending which one you buy. The IRs is actually the reason I am considering an FRFR setup so much.

 

 

I can only tell you how I approached it.

 

For the most part the tones I'm normally in need of tend to be somewhat Fender-ish, British, some heavier rock, and something for Gretsch finger-picking ala Chet Atkins.  I came down to using four different packages.  The Mesa package (which is free), the Fender DeLuxe single 12", the Vox Dual 12", and the Marshall 4x12.  This pretty much covers all the basics I think I'll need as each package comes with a wide variety of speaker, mic, mic placement, and mic mixes.  So far these have worked out pretty well.  From what I've uncovered so far, the Vox 2x12 may be one of my most used packages due to it's versatility with different amp configurations.

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So based on my needs, should i shell out the extra $$$ for the firehawk? I'm on the fence as it would be cool to have a backup amp...but it's also 63lbs which kinda defeats my hopes of downsizing my rig

 

I wouldn't bother. You use IEMs live so why lug a cab?

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Well i loaded the sample mesa OwnHammer IRs and like what I'm hearing so far...I'm running through the MACKIE SRM450 and think this is a much better place to start than using my amp... Anyone have any tips or trick when using a PA speaker to dial in patches? I'm currently super close quarters with it so i should probably try having it away from me a bit

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  • 3 months later...

I think you're heading down the right track moving to some form of FRFR setup as that will allow you to get the most out of your Helix setup.  I've been a long time user of modeling technology and the Helix is where I'm going to be hanging my hat for quite some time, so I'll try to capture a few of the lessons I've learned that may be helpful to you.

 

You're right in saying that your wallet will take an initial hit in order to get a decent rig setup.  It's not just the expense of the Helix, but a decent FRFR speaker can be a significant expense on top of that.  I personally use a Yamaha DXR12 as my speaker choice  My primary reason was that it seemed to match up best to the frequency response profile found on most decent PA systems.  In my opinion the point of this kind of rig is to have a high degree of confidence that what you're hearing on stage is what the audience will hear through the PA.  That can be a problem for some people because they've never experienced it.  Even with a traditional amp rig, once you mic the sound in the cabinet the sound the audience will hear something very different than what you're hearing.  So it can sometimes take a little experimentation to find a sound you want in an FRFR setup due to the increased frequency response profile of these speakers.

 

For quite some time I followed the philosophy of using the Global EQ settings to hi cut the highs and low cut the lows to confine the response to be more like what you'd get from a traditional cabinet.  This works okay, but I still found myself doing a lot of final adjustments in my patches using the 10 band equalizer to get the sound presentable to my ears.  I recently discovered I can get past almost all of this tweaking using the right kind of IR's.  I tried several but the only ones that seemed to really do a good job of this were the Ownhammer IRs.  This is because each Ownhammer IR comes with a large range of individual IRs that were captured with a variety of mic setups.  One of the key things to getting a good tone on stage or in a studio out of a traditional cabinet is the placement of the mic or mics and the type of mics that are used.  For the sound most pleasing to my ear on Fender Deluxe cab and the Vox cab IR's I found the SP2-5 mix configuration which is a special mic configuration by Scott Peterson placed about midway out on the speaker cone to be the right one.  On the Marshall and Mesa cabinet IR's I preferred the OH1-5 which is the mix of an SM-57 and a Royer 121 ribbon mic placed midway out on the cone.  But this is one of those things you'd need to judge for yourself.

 

The net effect of this was that I got a much more realistic tone for my patches without having to do much modification with EQ, if at all, and cuts my time for building patches in half.  I would strongly urge you to use whatever FRFR speaker you intend to use on stage at stage volume when deciding which IR to use and for setting up your patches.  Otherwise you could get a rude awakening when you show up for a gig at gig volumes.  I still use Global EQ to hi cut signals above 8000 hz and I have my speaker setup up to cut lows at around 125hz as that is where most PA's commonly cut for guitars.  I also use the higher density IR's (2048) even though they tend to cost more DSP memory, but are MUCH more precise, realistic and effective.

 

As far as building patches, everyone is different.  Because I play a very wide range of styles as well as guitars I build patches for each song.  That may not be necessary in your case if you tend to stick to a more limited set of genres and one guitar.  If you do find you need multiple patches it's a good idea to get a sound meter so you can normalize the volumes between patches.  As I mentioned I build my patches at stage volume through my stage setup.  I target 100db on the sound meter with my Helix master volume set at mid point and the speaker volume at mid point as well.  This helps ensure I have plenty of headroom if I need to turn up my master volume for some venue, and that all of my patches will be turned up an equal amount.  I use different patches for different guitars because the output of the guitars can have a significant effect on the overall volume and sound of a patch.

 

One very important thing to understand about traditional FRFR speakers is the tone you hear can vary quite a bit depending on placement.  FRFR speakers aren't meant to be listened to in very close proximity because of the way they're engineered.  I try to stand back about 5 feet from the speaker when evaluating my patches and I ensure I place my speaker away from me about 4 or 5 feet.  FRFR speakers also don't radiate sound in the same way as a traditional cabinet.  They are designed for a tighter cone of projection with no sound projection to the rear and off to the sides, so it may be useful to angle the speaker on stage so the rest of the band can hear it better if you don't send your guitar through the monitor system.

 

That's about all I can think of right now.  But good luck and enjoy your new adventures in modeling.

 

This has probably answered all my questions in one hit..!

i realize this post is some months old now,but to some of  us noobs is extremely informative ive come from a amp and cab efx units background, and used them for years (nearly 30) playing pubs clubs (uk)..tried axe fx xl wasnt to my liking.so went back to amp and cab.(5150s amp cab). Anyway cut long story short i bought the helix,love how easy it is to use in comparison to others(my view anyway)and easy on my 50yr old bk!!. im also using it with the YAMAHA DXR12 monitor and love it (you can get x2 for the price of x1 lt3).! so much im getting another.ive also purchased some OH MES 412 packs of which im still getting my head around (but getting there).this will be my last purchase..The 5150s sits in the living room to look at now.i play alot of classic Rock.not very metal tho..huge neal schon fan.but like all genres.i also did find the yamaha dxr a bit boomy,still working on the cleans..

 

Anyway sorry for jumping in the conversation.

oh and thanks.! 

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Thanks for your support..I went with the DxR12 purely as a friend was selling them cheap.my idear was to have them both stereo backline and send single mono FOH.I'm sure this will surfing my needs..

A Great Deal! Using them as a stereo backline sounds really good.
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