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sxross

Helix and Tube Amp

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I'm very sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseam, but I'm struggling a bit with it. I have a Peavey Delta Blues 15 guitar amp that I like very much. I don't care one bit about the preamp characteristics, but the amp itself is just peachy and I actually own it!

 

I previously had a POD500HD hooked up to it and I was dissatisfied with the tones I was getting. A lot of inconsistency of tone, especially on the higher strings at the 10th fret or above. I've found this on my Fender Strat (active pickups) and my Epi Les Paul with Gibson pickups.

 

I've been watching the Helix since the Line 6 tease emails and recently spent about an hour playing on one that a friend (former Kemper fan) bought. He's playing through an FRFR setup, but I reasoned that if I neutralized my tone on the Peavey I could live with the tone coloring the Peavey would inject.

 

I chose not to go with the 4CM because, as I said, I don't care for the Peavey preamp -- it's just another preamp and not a distinctive tone like a Bassman, Plexi, or Dual Rectifier.

 

There is a question lurking in here -- please be patient. I tried hooking the Helix up to the power amp using FX Send and there just wasn't enough volume from it. I actually like loud. So I went with Left/Mono (Helix) -> Guitar In (Peavey). The demo tones are far and away better than those on the POD HD, but nothing I would ever use even for goofing around at home. So I created some straight-line serial tones using models for guitar rigs I knew. For example, Eric Clapton favored the Tweed and not a heck of a lot else. I threw in a compressor and Fassel Wah on the front end and '63 reverb after the AMP+CAB block in case I wanted it. The results were good, and I could see that the Helix was superior in almost every way to the POD HD500. But still I was left with the stupid "but there must be more I'm not getting." feeling.

 

Then I tried a Fender clean with the Deluxe model. I tried with the Preamp model and let the Peavey handle the CAB. Not too spectacular -- I expected lots of brights with the Strat, but found it a touch dull and found the headroom not what I expected. It broke up pretty easily and I'm at a loss to figure out why.

 

Ok, last bit of describing my adventure: I followed this tutorial and created a relatively complex tone exactly as described. I understand that using an amp and IR in front of a real guitar amp has pitfalls, but what's a guy to do? Anyhow, this is a great patch once you get it right. It's downright playable! Now, I know a number of you get into the weeds (and that's a good thing) about how to craft a tone. Even after playing as long as I have, I'm still more a plug and go guy but I now want to understand how to make "that tone." I'm not just stupid happy with grabbing a great guitar and plugging it into an ok amp and wailing away.

 

So here's the question: Am I always going to feel handicapped by not going the whole way with an FRFR setup? My reading suggests that a lot of people have sold off some pretty trick amps and purchased FRFRs and are living happily ever after.

 

Obviously, there is no single right answer to this, but my goals are

 

1) Not necessarily to sound like a particular guitar player to make my cover band sound authentic; pleasing to me is more important.

 

2) To use the Helix to potential and not limit it artificially by some self-imposed constraint. Money is an object, but if I'm way off track, that's something I need to know.

 

3) Any comments regarding whether is started in the wrong direction and should rethink what I've done.

 

Note: I do have a pair of reference headphones, but I just can't spend my life with them strapped on. Things do sound different through them, but I can't exactly isolate how/where they sound different.

 

Thanks for reading and looking forward to your comments.

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I'm one of those guys that made the jump from traditional amps to FRFR and never looked back.  Since doing it I often wonder in awe at the permutations the folks who insist on holding onto their traditional amps seem to need to go through to get what they want from the Helix.

 

In my mind, there's nothing really that special about traditional amps, and there are some serious deficiencies in them as it relates to frequency response characteristics.  As standalone, stovepipe systems they work quite well.  But a lot of that has to do with controlling the whole picture of preamp, amp, and speaker setup.  You can pretty much just plug in and play.  Once you begin to dissect and separate all those elements from each other, they don't necessarily play that well together and lack consistency and efficiency.

 

The fact is, modelers like Helix or even HD500X benefit considerably by allowing you to exploit different arrangements of preamps, amps, effects, cabinets, mic and mic placements, as well as underlying electronic tweaks and all that's needed is an efficient and effective way to project those custom arrangements sonic-ally into the world.  That's exactly what FRFR systems are designed to do...be efficient and accurate at amplifying and projecting their inputs to the world.  High end headsets like the DT770 can do it as well, but for those of us that don't particularly enjoy working with headsets, FRFR systems are the most satisfying way to do it.

 

The benefit is a level of clarity and articulation that's well beyond what a traditional amp can produce.  For some that can be a big transition because their ears have grown accustomed to the inherent limitations of traditional guitar amp cabinets.  I myself went through that initially when I began using FRFR through my HD500X and had to constrain and limit some of the frequency response of my FRFR to get it to match with what my ears wanted to hear while still maintaining the benefits of clarity and articulation.  As time has gone on and I've moved to the Helix and better IR's, I find that's less and less the case.  I still apply certain limits on the high end frequencies, but it's very slight by comparison, and it's become easier and easier to gain the full benefit of the advanced modeling technology to produce sounds that are better than what I ever could through a traditional amp.

 

But it's a complete change in the paradigm of how one produces guitar tone.  I often say it's much more similar and familiar to the way things were done in recording studios in the 70's and 80's.  It's all about constructing signal chains using various amps, cabs, mics, mic placements and effects and listening to those results through studio monitors or headsets to get what you want.

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Hey sxross,

 

I've recently had to fall back on emulation through a power amp, similar to what you're describing, and have found it works really well.

 

Are you running the main out of the Helix into the FX return of the Peavey? 

 

You've got to make sure there aren't any cab IRs before your actual cab - it will wreck the emulated sound.

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Running through guitar in. FX return just doesn't crank enough volume. Am I doing something wrong?

 

Hey sxross,

 

I've recently had to fall back on emulation through a power amp, similar to what you're describing, and have found it works really well.

 

Are you running the main out of the Helix into the FX return of the Peavey? 

 

You've got to make sure there aren't any cab IRs before your actual cab - it will wreck the emulated sound.

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Cool - as I understand it, the only connection between Helix and amp should be a single instrument cable running from Helix out to FX Return. This then hits your power amp. On the amps I've used the power amp will then be running full tilt, and you have to control the volume from the Helix. 

 

Unless the Peavey has a parallel FX loop (if there's no mix control for your FX loop, then you don't have a parallel one) then this ought to be everything. If it does have a parallel loop, set this to 100% Wet.

 

If you've A/B'ed the same patch into the front and the FX Return of the amp and noticed a big jump in volume, I'm afraid I'm not sure what the problem would be. 

 

P.S - I would absolutely steer clear of running a cab IR into the amp in any way. These are both good pieces of kit, and there's no sense compromising them both just to make it "kind of" work! 

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First let me agree 100% with DunedinDragon.

Secondly, The Helix is a complex bit of kit - so you have to be willing to dig into how it works a bit.  And it is like a studio - as in effects, an amp and a speakerbox and mic treated by outboard gear (delay reverb EQ etc).  So it's not exactly the same as an amp - it's more like the amp heard in the control room of a studio or through a good PA system run by someone who knows what they are doing (well a well created patch is!!).

You seriously limit the range of the Helix if you run it through an amp.  Now if you play in a really big name band and have a road crew and a few really great amps, and you are mostly getting what you want out of that rig, and you just want to use a Helix for a little extra color and to act as a control centre, then you might well still keep those amps and use some combination/variation of the 4 cable method. (maybe with some midi doing some switching of rack gear too - who knows - money will not be much of a limiting factor if you are that guy/girl).  But if you are using one pretty average (well really for the purpose less than average) amp, you have a lot of money tied up in a Helix, and you are stopping it do what it's designed to do. Get FRFR.  (you can buy a self a powered 12in PA style box for very reasonable dollars - probably 1000w - which will sound not a lot louder than your Peavey probably).  Talk to your friend about EQing that setup - sounds like your friend has got that figured.

An IR or even a power amp stage into your Peavey is very unlikely to be the way to go - although anything could work depending on what you are after.

Regarding level, you should be able to set your output to line level - which should overdrive you Peavey when plugged into the effects return.  You probably don't need to/should not do that - there are a lot of places in the chain to add gain and level.  Sorry, but its a case of RTFM.

Seriously - just go FRFR.

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I'm surprised you dont care for the preamp in your delta blues....its probably the sweetest amp Peavey ever built, IMO.  I'd try a 4C method with an eq up front and/or the centaur, with splash of verb and delay in the loop....should sound fantastic....

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I run the helix into my 68 twin reverb and love it. For my part, I have discovered that I get best tone with the volume nob on helix set between 10 and 11 o'clock. Higher than that and the tones are biting. Set there, I still get all the warmth of my amp, and I can adjust volume on my amp to get louder as needed, but I still find that I never go higher than 4 volume on my twin, and that sound is huge. I don't use the amps in the helix, opting instead to use it for effects alone (my preference). This may change, but for now I am a happy camper. I use it as a pedal board with about 10 effects I a single patch. Several different delays, a minotaur overdrive pedal, octave, wah, tremolo, phaser, small reverb, large reverb, mutant filter, and compressor. This is working well for me with my electric rig. I may differ from you, but I really like the sound of my amp, which is the cornerstone of my tone. Anyways, my suggestion is to go easy on the volume nob on the helix. Too much and tone suffers. Would be good if we had a meter of sorts to see how hot the signal is when leaving helix, but barring that, what I described is working awesome for me for now. Good luck!

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I can report this....Playing in a band with another guitarist....I used the Helix going into the aux in of my old Roland VGA-7. That's pretty much FRFR as far as I'm concerned. 
The other guitarist used a "normal" rig of a Peavey 5150 through a Marshal 4x12. 

My rig sounded real good! That is until he played along side me. His tube amp and cab were far more "present" both in rehearsal and live onstage in the band mix out front.

Don't get me wrong...the Helix sounded REAL good like that. But he just had more "punch" and "mojo". I have no other words to describe that.

Then I dragged out my DT50 and my Bogner 4x12 and ran my Helix through that. My sound suddenly was kicking his butt. It was just a different animal, and I mean that in a good way.

Has anyone else had that experience yet of playing in a 2 guitar band opposite a guy with a tube head and 4x12? 
As I said the Helix sounded amazing already...but for me, when I added in the tube amp and 4x12 cab THAT was when all those even numbered harmonics created by the real tubes kicked in, the sound warmed up AND at the same time got punchy as hell. 

I can't explain it except to say that it took away any "cold" sound of the Helix and turned each note into pure molten butter with effortless sustain and a punch and presence that was lacking before. 

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I can report this....Playing in a band with another guitarist....I used the Helix going into the aux in of my old Roland VGA-7. That's pretty much FRFR as far as I'm concerned. 

The other guitarist used a "normal" rig of a Peavey 5150 through a Marshal 4x12. 

 

I'm not sure why you would consider a Roland VGA-7 to be FRFR, even through the aux in?  It certainly has no compression driver nor does it have the same type of frequency response profile of a true FRFR speaker.  I can't imagine you would think a commercially recorded song would sound as complete and full through your VGA-7 as it would through a pair of decent studio monitors...and that's the big difference.  There's no doubt your sound would be different going through the FOH speakers, but since you tailored your patches to the VGA-7 rather than a true FRFR I would imagine the FOH speakers might not sound very good either.

 

I've played along side any number of tradtional amps with my FRFR rig and the most common issue I've had is not overwhelming them.  It's not so much volume as it is clarity and articulation even on overdriven patches.  They very often can fill the stage better, but my signal cuts through the mix better, so it's somewhat of a wash out front.  But since I build my patches on an FRFR rig I know pretty precisely what my sound will be through the FOH.

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I'm using the Helix in a small rack system with a G55 wireless and a Koch, ATR-4502 tube power amp into a Wizard cab loaded with a Vintage 10

and a Jensen Falcon 12.  I run in stereo.  The tones are amazing and can keep up with any tube amp on stage.  I play in a two guitar band as well

and the range of tones and effects have been very fulfilling.  I use patches with IR's and w/out to get what I need.  Both can work well.

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I'm not sure why you would consider a Roland VGA-7 to be FRFR, even through the aux in?  It certainly has no compression driver nor does it have the same type of frequency response profile of a true FRFR speaker.  I can't imagine you would think a commercially recorded song would sound as complete and full through your VGA-7 as it would through a pair of decent studio monitors...and that's the big difference. 

I'm pretty sure you aren't familiar with the VGA-7. It was the most advanced piece of modeling gear back then. A complete modeling amp. I used it with my Brian Moore I-Guitar with it's Roland pinned jack which gave me total access to modeled guitars, tunings, amps, and cabs. And that was in 2002!  I kept the amp because it STILL sounds great and the different acoustic guitar models it has are the best I've ever heard, even to this day.

 

To answer your reply: Yes, the Roland VGA-7 has 2 65 watts amps (stereo) going into 2 12" speakers and 2 tweeters. 

https://www.roland.com/us/products/vga-7/specifications/

And yes, you can plug your I-Phone in it and play music and it sounds as good or better than a monitor. 

 

That amp and speaker configuration was WAY ahead of it's time. And I used it exclusively on the road for about 3 years and amazed people everywhere I went with it. 

 

But, the point I was making is that IF you get on stage with your Helix and an FRFR and you are playing with another guitar player using a Marshall stack...you'll quickly hear the difference in your Marshall model and cab through an FRFR VS the real thing. 

 

There's just that little even tone harmonics and presence that tubes bring to the table. You won't notice it at all if you are the only guitarist because the Helix is really that good. But when you are onstage in a 2 guitar band you will notice it. 

Luckily...simply putting my DT 50 and my Bogner cab into service with my Helix allowed me to kick my other guitar player's lollipop! lol

 

And then I have the added luxury of NOT having to use the DT50 and Bogner cab when we play smaller venues. In those situations, his amp and cab sound like crap because he can't turn them up loud enough for the amp to "kick in". But my Helix still sounds great all by itself straight into the board. :)

 

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I can report this....Playing in a band with another guitarist....I used the Helix going into the aux in of my old Roland VGA-7. That's pretty much FRFR as far as I'm concerned. 

The other guitarist used a "normal" rig of a Peavey 5150 through a Marshal 4x12. 

 

My rig sounded real good! That is until he played along side me. His tube amp and cab were far more "present" both in rehearsal and live onstage in the band mix out front.

 

Don't get me wrong...the Helix sounded REAL good like that. But he just had more "punch" and "mojo". I have no other words to describe that.

 

Then I dragged out my DT50 and my Bogner 4x12 and ran my Helix through that. My sound suddenly was kicking his butt. It was just a different animal, and I mean that in a good way.

 

Has anyone else had that experience yet of playing in a 2 guitar band opposite a guy with a tube head and 4x12? 

As I said the Helix sounded amazing already...but for me, when I added in the tube amp and 4x12 cab THAT was when all those even numbered harmonics created by the real tubes kicked in, the sound warmed up AND at the same time got punchy as hell. 

 

I can't explain it except to say that it took away any "cold" sound of the Helix and turned each note into pure molten butter with effortless sustain and a punch and presence that was lacking before. 

 

I run a four cable method into my PWE EH3 tube amp with the 1/4" jacks and run the XLR outs into my Gemini 2 for the FRFR side of things...Use pathway A for the FRFR and pathway B for the tube amp....have different patches for different setups including wet/dry with the tube amp normally the dry side. 65 Amps 2x12 with a G12H30 and Celestion Gold for the PWE and then the Gemini 2 with dual FRFR speakers.....Sounds HUGE.

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I run a four cable method into my PWE EH3 tube amp with the 1/4" jacks and run the XLR outs into my Gemini 2 for the FRFR side of things...Use pathway A for the FRFR and pathway B for the tube amp....have different patches for different setups including wet/dry with the tube amp normally the dry side. 65 Amps 2x12 with a G12H30 and Celestion Gold for the PWE and then the Gemini 2 with dual FRFR speakers.....Sounds HUGE.

I'll bet! I'd love to run a giant rig again onstage. Especially the Helix with a tube amp setup in stereo.

I used to run a wet/dry rig back in the '80's....but back then I had a 3 man road crew and didn't have to set that rig up (Mesa Studio Preamp, rack full of effects, Mesa Simuclass 295, and 2 Marshall cabs mic'ed up). 

Honestly the Helix sounds great all by itself. 

 

I played a recent gig here in Vegas and had several other musicians come up and tell me that they had never heard a guitar sound so good in the P.A. before. And that was just the Helix going straight into the board and me monitoring myself through the same floor wedge as my vocal. :)

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The success of running a Helix into an amp, whether straight into the front, into the power amp, or in 4cm, will depend to some extent on the specific amp.

 

I have been using the Helix in 4cm with a Fuchs ODS for a couple of months.  It took some time to dial in, but I am at this point very happy with how it all sounds and works.  

 

I specifically got the Helix to use predominantly in that setup, with the Fuchs.   I might use it into FRFR once in a while, but for me the attraction of the Helix was that it replaced a bulky, heavy, expensive pedalboard with a device that is lighter, smaller, easier to transport, less expensive, and more flexible.   

 

So my view is that if you have a great amp, the Helix can integrate well into that type of setup.   

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I'm surprised you dont care for the preamp in your delta blues....its probably the sweetest amp Peavey ever built, IMO.  I'd try a 4C method with an eq up front and/or the centaur, with splash of verb and delay in the loop....should sound fantastic....

 

 

I like the preamp in the Delta Blues for what it is but it's really not what I bought the Helix for. So to use the Delta Blues preamp would seem to color just about everything else. I'm still poking away at this, but it may be that FRFR is on one side of the A/B switch.

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I run the helix into my 68 twin reverb and love it. For my part, I have discovered that I get best tone with the volume nob on helix set between 10 and 11 o'clock. Higher than that and the tones are biting. Set there, I still get all the warmth of my amp, and I can adjust volume on my amp to get louder as needed, but I still find that I never go higher than 4 volume on my twin, and that sound is huge. I don't use the amps in the helix, opting instead to use it for effects alone (my preference). This may change, but for now I am a happy camper. I use it as a pedal board with about 10 effects I a single patch. Several different delays, a minotaur overdrive pedal, octave, wah, tremolo, phaser, small reverb, large reverb, mutant filter, and compressor. This is working well for me with my electric rig. I may differ from you, but I really like the sound of my amp, which is the cornerstone of my tone. Anyways, my suggestion is to go easy on the volume nob on the helix. Too much and tone suffers. Would be good if we had a meter of sorts to see how hot the signal is when leaving helix, but barring that, what I described is working awesome for me for now. Good luck!

It would be GREAT if we had clip warnings on each block, so as you're playing a block that's clipping would go red or something. Finding and fixing stupid mistakes is the most time consuming part of this.

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Running through guitar in. FX return just doesn't crank enough volume. Am I doing something wrong?

 

 

Make sure whichever output you're using from the Helix (send or 1/4" main) is set to line level-if it's set to instrument level it won't feed the power amp a hot enough signal.  

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I think that an FRFR cab with a hi-end tube power amp like audiophiles use in super expensive stereo systems would probably be the ultimate way to run a Helix. 
The best of all worlds. Even numbered (pleasing to the ear) harmonic distortion that only comes from tubes and a cab designed specifically for it. 
:)

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Really depends on what you are trying to accomplish,  and what tones you are going for.   I love the sound of my amp by itself.   It is a thingof beauty,  and no modeler is capable of reproducing it,  at least that I am aware of.   If tone is king,  this is still theway to go imo.   I knew though that being one of those guys with a huge pedal board was not going to be for me,  and the helix really does a fine job in this capacity.  I can get a ton of additional colors and tones and I can make big changes with the press of a switch.

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So thanks for all your information on this. I like to write a wrap up on this kind of thing since I did ask the question and all of you good people took the time to contribute.

 

I still have the Peavey, which has a custom branded 15-inch Peavey speaker and the power amp is running 4 Mesa Boogie EL-84 tubes. The preamp, which I'm bypassing completely by running the Helix into the EFX. RETURN is (just as an aside) running 3 Mesa Boogie 12AX7s.

 

I've discovered a few things about this rig.

 

I have an EPI Paul that I was going to replace with a A LP Standard 2015 but instead got 450P and 490R pickups and the thing sounds awesome. Heavy, but amazing. The Helix loves this guitar (PAD on, PAD off, no difference, same love).

 

I have a Fender Strat Clapton model with active circuit that has always been my go-to guitar. The Helix doesn't love this guitar as much. I have completely given up on the active circuit (so I will save on 9V batteries). But that's the one I need to dial in next. Then a Taylor T-5 (I have no idea what to do with this, I'm currently running it through a Marshall AS50D with Celestion Speaker).

 

One thing of note is that using the Peavey power amp, IRs are not all great. Most introduce a fair amount of hum and/or buzz that sounds unappealing to my ear. The part of the sound that is shaped by these IRs is just not surviving the "ick, the #@$@ amp is buzzing" agony.

 

On Santa's list, if she's listening: Friedman ASM12. It weighs 50 lbs, and I just weighed the Peavey which weighs 51. So, I continue to go to the gym, do my lifts and squats, and hope I don't have to carry the thing up too many flights of stairs. On the other hand, Santa might opt out and I'll be just ok :)

 

Again, many thanks!

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I can't get a good OD sound out of my Helix running FRFR. Same setup straight into a clean tube amp (with amp and cabs on Helix turned off) and it sounds great. Through FRFR and headphones with amp and cab back on, it's harsh and fizzy (low cut at 120 and high cut at 4).

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I can't get a good OD sound out of my Helix running FRFR. Same setup straight into a clean tube amp (with amp and cabs on Helix turned off) and it sounds great. Through FRFR and headphones with amp and cab back on, it's harsh and fizzy (low cut at 120 and high cut at 4).

For FRFR, try a Brit Plexi amp block with the bass and mids cranked and treble/presence rolled back to taste. Use a Celestion Redback closed 4x12 IR with 10k high cut. I use their “high gain - all mics†file. Bump the master up to 10, sag to 7.2, Bias to 6.0 and Bias X to 4.0.

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I'm very sure this topic has been discussed ad nauseam, but I'm struggling a bit with it. I have a Peavey Delta Blues 15 guitar amp that I like very much. I don't care one bit about the preamp characteristics, but the amp itself is just peachy and I actually own it!

 

I previously had a POD500HD hooked up to it and I was dissatisfied with the tones I was getting. A lot of inconsistency of tone, especially on the higher strings at the 10th fret or above. I've found this on my Fender Strat (active pickups) and my Epi Les Paul with Gibson pickups.

 

I've been watching the Helix since the Line 6 tease emails and recently spent about an hour playing on one that a friend (former Kemper fan) bought. He's playing through an FRFR setup, but I reasoned that if I neutralized my tone on the Peavey I could live with the tone coloring the Peavey would inject.

 

I chose not to go with the 4CM because, as I said, I don't care for the Peavey preamp -- it's just another preamp and not a distinctive tone like a Bassman, Plexi, or Dual Rectifier.

 

There is a question lurking in here -- please be patient. I tried hooking the Helix up to the power amp using FX Send and there just wasn't enough volume from it. I actually like loud. So I went with Left/Mono (Helix) -> Guitar In (Peavey). The demo tones are far and away better than those on the POD HD, but nothing I would ever use even for goofing around at home. So I created some straight-line serial tones using models for guitar rigs I knew. For example, Eric Clapton favored the Tweed and not a heck of a lot else. I threw in a compressor and Fassel Wah on the front end and '63 reverb after the AMP+CAB block in case I wanted it. The results were good, and I could see that the Helix was superior in almost every way to the POD HD500. But still I was left with the stupid "but there must be more I'm not getting." feeling.

 

Then I tried a Fender clean with the Deluxe model. I tried with the Preamp model and let the Peavey handle the CAB. Not too spectacular -- I expected lots of brights with the Strat, but found it a touch dull and found the headroom not what I expected. It broke up pretty easily and I'm at a loss to figure out why.

 

Ok, last bit of describing my adventure: I followed this tutorial and created a relatively complex tone exactly as described. I understand that using an amp and IR in front of a real guitar amp has pitfalls, but what's a guy to do? Anyhow, this is a great patch once you get it right. It's downright playable! Now, I know a number of you get into the weeds (and that's a good thing) about how to craft a tone. Even after playing as long as I have, I'm still more a plug and go guy but I now want to understand how to make "that tone." I'm not just stupid happy with grabbing a great guitar and plugging it into an ok amp and wailing away.

 

So here's the question: Am I always going to feel handicapped by not going the whole way with an FRFR setup? My reading suggests that a lot of people have sold off some pretty trick amps and purchased FRFRs and are living happily ever after.

 

Obviously, there is no single right answer to this, but my goals are

 

1) Not necessarily to sound like a particular guitar player to make my cover band sound authentic; pleasing to me is more important.

 

2) To use the Helix to potential and not limit it artificially by some self-imposed constraint. Money is an object, but if I'm way off track, that's something I need to know.

 

3) Any comments regarding whether is started in the wrong direction and should rethink what I've done.

 

Note: I do have a pair of reference headphones, but I just can't spend my life with them strapped on. Things do sound different through them, but I can't exactly isolate how/where they sound different.

 

Thanks for reading and looking forward to your comments.

I had the peavey and it is a great amp but I wasnt using it,and I wasnt crazy about the helix going thru it in any way.I have 2 Mackie thumps 12 and they sound good,BUT thebest thing I bought and play thru is my seymore duncan powerstage 170 and a blackstar 212 cabinet whiche I already owned.I also have a blackstar ht 60 and the helix played pretty well thru it but the SD imo is the best and probably more economical.Plenty of more affordable 212 cab that can be used with  it.

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I have both. I have tube amps that I run in 4CM (actually 7, in stereo) and I have a pair of the EV ZLX-12P.

 

They both have benefits. The FRFR setup is great and I can also run bass through it which is nice as I play both in one of my bands. Plus I don't have to lug around a 4x12 cab and 2 tube heads. :D

 

Running a stereo tube half stack still sounds like the hand of god though. You just won't get the same "punch you in the chest" feeling from an FRFR setup you will from a half stack running a high gain tone. You won't get that thickness and the harmonic content you get from a real tube amp.

 

It's close, and it sounds great, but there's a difference.

 

For recording, running direct from my Helix into protools (I now use it as my interface) makes my life easy. It sounds fantastic as well.

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Everyone is going to have their own opinion on this...

I can see the argument about FRFR.  It offers the broadest range of frequency response, and represents the Helix output tone naturally.

 

I bought an Electro-Voice ZLX-12P (FRFR), and ran my Helix through it... it sounded amazing!

That is... until I tried plugging the Helix into the return of my Marshall DSL40C...

I returned the E-V the next day, and am running with the Helix / Marshall combo now.

 

I am fully aware that even just using the power amp section of my Marshall adds some coloring to the sound, but I like it!

Reality is that, I'm probably just used to the Marshall tone, and I like that familiarity.

 

As mentioned, everyone will have their own preference... you need to go with what sounds best to you.

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On 11/14/2016 at 6:07 AM, musiclover7 said:

my tone. Anyways, my suggestion is to go easy on the volume nob on the helix. Too much and tone suffers. 

Ok, now I'm confused... I was reading about this and the volume full-on is supposed to be "unity". I need a "solid" starting point. 

I want to plug into the Helix, and with no blocks added out to my tube amp, get the same volume and sound I would get by plugin the guitar straight to the amp. By reading posts I'm assuming this would be:

- Volume at full

- No input pad

- inputs and outputs at cero...

 

Now you're saying "go easy on the knob"... argggghhh. 

I really need to get this basic stuff sorted out.

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I'm going to be mostly general and rarely specific since I find my opinion is usually qualitative based upon my ears, style, guitars, & likes in balance and sound.  And this has been a labor (long and tedious but in the end satisfying for me, the band, and my soundman) of love but to the point …

 

My take on this is based upon venue.  Inside small club and/or on small stage in large club I have a great sound with my Helix itself.  Outside (and sometimes on a large stage in a very large enclosed building venue) I use guitar in to a split path - A goes to the mono XLR out with complete Helix effects using the most talked about way of running those FX blocks going before the Amp block to FX between amp to speaker IR to after speaker to XLR mono to PA channel #x1; Path B is four cable with no amp or speaker IRs going to one of my Boogies based upon my mood and sometimes with a slant Marshall (either way SM57 on the speaker of choice).  As far as "unity" I set the path A & B gains, Send/Return (loop) FX block(s) gains, XLR & 1/4 OUT gains, and line or instrument setting(s) based upon what I am using the S/R FX block for (mostly the Amp send/return and sometimes a legacy or digital outboard FX pedal); it is here I set my Helix Vol pot to between 12 and 2.  I have to add I spend a lot of time with my sound man and level software to do what I call "normalizing" the output volumes of my patches coming from the XLR mono out.  I then use my headphones (in my case some DT 990 pros 250 ohms) to come close to similar sound(s) for the path to my 4CM to Boogie.  I have also standardized  on which Helix Amp I like for my specific guitars (several solid bodies 6s, a solid body 7, and two acoustics for those rare times) I use and my speaker IR of choice; the why could be a whole other thread though there are many threads in the Helix forum that address this.

 

My soundman likes the Helix by itself in most small to large clubs as a rule.  Outside he likes me using my Helix and the live amp since "... it does something outside that the Helix doesn't by itself outside" … his words; he does say the Helix inside small clubs does it by itself - go figure ;-).  I have used many of the tips and tricks I have read in this forum over the past several years and it has been amazingly helpful.  The people who constantly contribute are veritable fountains of knowledge.  And the new comers who are like we all have been early on can come up with some amazing insights that turn my thinking upside down and really help me immensely.

 

Oh yea, the point … for me the Helix is not a "drop water and expand to excellent stage sound" mechanism.  It is a tool just like our fingers, mind, ears, individual imagination, and the "analog" amps and FX devices as well as the other digital devices we choose to incorporate into our dreams and musicianship.  Just a vehicle to somewhere we want to take the audience/listener.  For me I have a sound I want and I do not let just one train of thought limit how I want to express myself.  On the other hand it can be painful wanting to play more while I am stuck in the "realm of finding the sound locked in my headphone sound chamber world".  But I have found the Helix is just as satisfying by itself as it is with my amp based upon venue.

 

Of course watch some newbie come and blow my mind with some thought or setting that turns what I just shared into hogwash.  Either way - read this forum to use what works for you & discard that which does not, dream big, and play well my brothers & sisters

 

Just plain (jp) Dennis

 

PS: for me I didn't pick up the guitar and instantly played Mozart.  It took me a couple years of training and practice before I played OK.  Then more until I become proficient.  Then finding the right amp took a while as well as getting the darn thing to emulate what I heard in my head.  The Helix has let me get from point A to point B in a relatively short time compared to the years I have spent getting my sound.  And it really is like a studio when I think of how the recordings I've been on are engineered.  Go have fun … you'll get it! YMMV

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Thanks for your post, appreciate it!.

im getting there, I've made progress and feel more confident with my Helix. 

One thing I want to point out it that although the "unity gain" I was after seems obvious, it's not. With knob full-on and no FX and no pad I was getting a distorted sound feeding the amp. I guess it's just not the same signal as just a guitar. So I have to dial back the volume knob to about 9 o clock.

the other issue I'm still struggling with is feedback with some FX combinations, not all. It's not a "it's loud and distorted" natural feedback. It happens with some OD models even at moderate volumes. A ver shrilly high-pitched feedback. Seems to be caused at around 2.9khz but I have to cut too deep and wide with eq (global) so it's not really an option. I didn't expect Helix to be "plug and play", but the gain stage is proving difficult and problematic. Again, this is going to a Blues Jr. tube amp. 

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On 11/14/2016 at 1:57 AM, robbieb61 said:

Then I dragged out my DT50 and my Bogner 4x12 and ran my Helix through that. My sound suddenly was kicking his butt. It was just a different animal, and I mean that in a good way.

 

Glad to see that a few kept the faith (and their DT amp) up till the 2.8 update announcements. Grats!

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Mu Blues Jr sounds somehow "choked" when I get "loud" with helix. That's when playing at high volume. It seems like the Helix pushes it harder than the classic pedals. I don't know why or if it's just a perception thing but it doesn't cut through. The BluesJr is a smallish amp so I'm driving it hard (value at around 9 and master at around 10). Helix knob at around 10 since full-on made clean sounds distorted. 

So I'm gonna try a bigger amp, a Hotrod deluxe, see if that helps. I'm guessing the extra headroom will allow for more dynamics... To have louder fuzzes that otherwise just drown... 

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On 11/14/2016 at 2:57 AM, robbieb61 said:

Then I dragged out my DT50 and my Bogner 4x12 and ran my Helix through that. My sound suddenly was kicking his butt. It was just a different animal, and I mean that in a good way.

 

+1

 

Stunningly good with a little midi know how. ...and effortless in comparison with the HD sitting in my closet. 

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