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paco777david

Best Practices: Top volume level

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I'm experiencing a hiss running XLR to mixer at church that I don't experience through headphones, DAW or ¼ out to FRFR speaker. When using the Helix XLR direct to FOH/mixing console is it best to:

 

a) run the top volume all the way up and keep channel volume on the amp down?  

 

or

 

b ) run the top volume lower (9 o'clock) and run the channel volume wide open?

 

Thanks for your help!

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Also, what's the electrical system like at your church?  Is a ground loop possible?  Are you plugged into the same ground line as the mixer?

 

Is it a hiss or 60 Hz buzz?

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for my peace of mind and consistency I use an Art DTI from my 1/4 outs. It converts the unbalanced to TRS or XLR and isolates phantom power and ground loops. $60 insurance

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i think you need to run the top volume at a healthy level- more than 9 oclock in my experience. i run out at 12 at least. scott from helix channel recommends 2 or 3 from memory

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Make sure the phantom power is off on your channel.

 

It is probably this.

 

Honestly, to be safe and sound, I just run my 1/4" out to a DI box. Works great, sounds the same in the system as the XLR does.

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a) run the top volume all the way up and keep channel volume on the amp down?  

 

or

 

b ) run the top volume lower (9 o'clock) and run the channel volume wide open?

 

one thing I can say for certain is you should never run your channel volume or any other block level wide open.  That is an open invitation to introduce digital clipping down the line in your signal path.  It is easy to overdrive the input of many effects and once the clipping is there it is hard to find and there is nothing you can do to get rid of it in post processing or at the amp/board. Ben Adrian recommended on another thread to adjust your channel volume down to match your no-amp guitar signal but I don't always do that either.

 

I do remember DI stating that the max SNR is achieved with the Helix master wide open.  I have run it anywhere from 12 to WOT (wide open throttle) adjusting final volume with my amp or monitor level.  Currently I run it WOT and I am able to get more control of my tone using the guitar volume.  I hear more detail this way than at lower levels.  Just another form of gain staging, getting all the physical signal levels and amps in your system to play nicely together just like you would with the digital gain stages.

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one thing I can say for certain is you should never run your channel volume or any other block level wide open. 

 

My channel volume is almost always at max for my clean sounds, and I never get any clipping. But I don't use high-gain amps, maybe that's it.

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I like to run the master volume pretty hot and my channel volume around 5-7 depending on the amp's gain level which also affects volume. That way I have some wiggle room for making all my presets have a consistent level. 

 

Is the noise a hiss or more like a low pitched hum? Most smaller churches I've played in, especially those that meet in older buildings, have bad power. 

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Thanks for all the really great input.

 

Phantom power wasn't on but I was running the volume so low on the Helix that I'm sure it introduced a good amount of noise floor to my signal. As suggested I ran ¼ line out to DI and was able to run the Helix volume around 3 o clock. Absolutely no high end hiss, all problems resolved.

 

Helix is really amazing sounding, I couldn't be more happy especially with the subtle tube like feel you get from digging in or pulling back. Running this with a Music Man Axis super sport w/ piezo split stereo out of the guitar to Guitar In and Aux running separate signal paths. Able to switch back and forth or mix between the two on the fly and it's really superb sound quality! Thanks again.

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Personally I shoot for keeping my Helix master volume at about 50%.  I know DI has mentioned the S/N ration issue, but that's less of an issue live especially when faced with setting the stage volume in different venues.  It's a whole lot easier to adjust the Helix master than get to the volume on the back of the FRFR speaker.  This does tend to result in certain amps needing a pretty high volume level on the amp master volume.  So far I haven't really experienced a problem in keeping levels set evenly across all the patches.  But I tend to do almost all of my fine tuning using the volume adjustment on the output block if needed.

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