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Hail the Helix!


pb-272
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Last night my band had the privilege of playing at Bondi Beach in Sydney at the Icebergs for a function. The stage literally perched over the open ocean, brilliant. The brilliance of the setting was overshadowed by a much more brilliant phenomenon however. The Helix. The sounds I was getting out of my 35 patches (one per song) were by far and away the best sounds I've ever got out of any amp or modeller I've owned. 

 

I bought Glenn D's boutique amp set about 3 weeks ago and have been tweaking them to taste. The main tweaks were hi and low cuts on the IR blocks, some additional volume on a couple of amps and increasing the lead boost. Thats about all I did to them. I then added FX  and snapshots to suit each song. I also use a couple of Fremen and Scott patches as well. The result was amazing. I'm not a full time pro so I don't have the same level of know-how on setting up my rig that many others on this forum possess, however I'm learning. While I continue to build my own patches, in the meantime I will continue to use these boutiques from GD et al for live performances.

 

The key things I noticed about the set up were the clarity of notes and chords, particularly with distortion. The lead tones seemed to poke out of the mix in a 3D kinda way, and the way these patches respond to playing dynamics seemed tube-like. The band's a five-piece rock band with a big sound. The Helix was able to deliver a range of tones maintaining integrity without pushing the volume envelope...hail the Helix! 

 

I'll record the next live session and provide some samples....

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Sounds like a great night.  There's not a lot of love around here for using a patch per song, but I'm one of the few that prefers that approach.  It's especially convenient in cases where you play a variety of styles in your sets.  What I like most about it is I can design my pedals so the only ones that are available are the ones that apply to that specific song.  But I also think you benefit by being able to craft the sound specific to the song, and that does really make a difference in the overall feel of the song.  The songs don't all sound the same all night long.

 

Congrats!!!

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Thanks! Yeah totally agree, I like the challenge of coming up with a sound that is similar to the original and incorporating a touch of our bands vibe.  I also use the Helix as my setlist manager. In our set last night we had quite a bit of variety in our songs. Each time you hit a chord for the first time in a song the audience hears something different from the last song, but totally familiar....She Sells Sanctuary one minute, Kings of Leon the next etc etc...

 

On a side note the band is still developing a core suite of sounds for its "own sound" for originals. I imagine in this case I'll only need a handful of patches...

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Im usually a 1 patch per song guy too, altho I might add boost or a wah or kick in some delay.  As far as the IR's being more responsible for Helix's tone improvements than Helix itself, hummmm. sure good IR's and proper tweaks help the tone. My point is that It might be the driver that wins the car race, but he didn't do it without a fast car to begin with.  ;)   :D

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The IRs are far more responsible for any good tone you may have been getting than anything the Helix was doing. Thats where the biggest portion of the credit goes. 

 

SERIOUSLY ???  

 

If thats truly the case - just try playing your guitar through any IR   WITHOUT  any other block in the preset, amp or effect - and see how things sound and react to your playing. 

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SERIOUSLY ???  

 

If thats truly the case - just try playing your guitar through any IR   WITHOUT  any other block in the preset, amp or effect - and see how things sound and react to your playing. 

Agreed, with that logic, its like saying you can get just as great tones out of a Digiteh RP250, or a Pod 2.0 with some IRs that you can with the Helix, Axe FX, or Kemper.

 

IRs make a difference, but some people just can't help the hyperbole.  

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Overall chemistry I'd say, it's the sum of the whole thing which gets the magic going. I am a live sound guy and I work my rig to that end, not doing the recording thing so massive great sounding live tones are my forte. Jim Roseberry is offering a beta test trial of his IRs on this forum some of us are trying out. I have tried hundreds pf various free IR's and was not really happy with any. His are so good it's hard to find a bad one. Anyway having the best IR to be found means nothing if you have no idea how to EQ or tone tweak an amp. One sort of has to just go by the tone and stop worrying, oh I want to use this Marshall or whatnot. The Helix allows you think outside of traditional gear line do's and don't's, by letting you do things that would be impossible with traditional gear. 

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Well said, I agree with you. I mix the sound myself for our gigs and over time am just getting better at getting the mix worked out. I think we had a whole lot of variables just right. That said the isolated guitar tone was magic. It'll be interesting to see if I can replicate at our next gig which is in a massive brewery/ factory.....will be micing the drums for that one!

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That is what I love about the guitar, those special times when everything is just perfect and the tones are just to die for. Ever since I switched to Les Pauls I get that experience more often. I was using the Mesa Cali Ch 1 the other night with my array of loop routing and god it just killed. I'm a Pagey nut and I had some of the best tones I ever got using that Mesa CLN. Of course I have an array of external pedals for my drives and gains but that model in particular loves pedals. I use my trick of having a MIC Tube Preamp before and after my amp model which imparts more of real tube tone plus integrating the new Neve tone mod IRs I got form Roseberry on my post Tube preamp which also works for boost. I finally got the Helix narrowed down to just a few models I like without a million options when you first start. Maybe its a lot of bucks for just a few great sound amp models, but all things considered one good high end tube head cost more. 

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