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Best speaker solution for Helix


Paulzx
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So there are actually quite a few flat response speaker solutions. I'm going to count out the stagesource speakers due to cost although I believe they may be the best sound quality option. I'm looking at the JBL'S or Alto's as a reasonable cost good quality solution.

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Dang, that Vetta II combo is still a sexy looking amp.  I looked at the back and it has stereo inputs that should work well for Helix.

 

It looks like the Vetta is using a version of Celestion Classic Lead 80's, which will have some guitar speaker/cab character of their own. If/when you go to test them together, try the Helix full amps with no cabs/IR's.   Try them with the cabs too.

 

With Helix, a solid state amp and traditional guitar cab with Mesa Black Shadow C90's (custom Celestion Classic Lead 80's), I was finding Helix amp models with cab/IR blocks too dark and without cab/IR blocks too bright. But...

 

...I tried a cool trick by putting in a cab/IR block, but splitting the path to have a side-chain parallel path with a cab around in/out of the thru path.  This passes a bit of the amp-only signal too.  You can adjust the cab/no-cab path mix on the split.  This will give a bit of both worlds and really sweeten things up.

 

But as stated above and many times in other threads, the Alto's and L6 Stagesource speakers are great, straightforward FRFR solutions.  I'm just throwing this out if you are feeling experimental and cheap  ;)

 

P.S.  I own a DT50 too and actually prefer Helix full amp models>solid state amp>guitar cab over Helix preamps>DT50>guitar cab.

 

VettaII-large.jpg

 

 

 

xl_40168-_image3_VETTA2COMBO_super.jpg

 

Vetta_II_Rear_R.jpg

I have this one and like the tones feeding Helix into it. Dummy plug the guitar input and use the mono 1/4 out of Helix into the Vetta's Ruturn. 

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So there are actually quite a few flat response speaker solutions. I'm going to count out the stagesource speakers due to cost although I believe they may be the best sound quality option. I'm looking at the JBL'S or Alto's as a reasonable cost good quality solution.

 

FRFR is probably the best overall way to go and the Altos are fine for the money.  However, your Vetta and the DT50 are both good options that deserve a good run through before you decide.  The Vetta can be run in stereo and you should try a dry/wet setup.  Run your dry full amp tone to one side and the same tone with delay/reverb/etc to the other side.  Sounds amazing.  You may also be able to use the SPDIF for a direct digital link.  The DT will need work to use L6 link successfully, plenty of other threads about that.  Try your Helix mono 1/4 out into the DT FX return first.  The DT will be full blast like that so adjust with Helix volume.  I much prefer full amp models over the preamp models and no cab or IR block.  You could even set up both the DT and Vetta together for some really creative setups! 

 

- I have a DT25, a Flextone IIHD and a pair of Alesis Alpha 112s that are almost identical to the Altos.  I get great tones out of all of them and am keeping the lot...

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FRFR is probably the best overall way to go and the Altos are fine for the money.  However, your Vetta and the DT50 are both good options that deserve a good run through before you decide.  The Vetta can be run in stereo and you should try a dry/wet setup.  Run your dry full amp tone to one side and the same tone with delay/reverb/etc to the other side.  Sounds amazing.  You may also be able to use the SPDIF for a direct digital link.  The DT will need work to use L6 link successfully, plenty of other threads about that.  Try your Helix mono 1/4 out into the DT FX return first.  The DT will be full blast like that so adjust with Helix volume.  I much prefer full amp models over the preamp models and no cab or IR block.  You could even set up both the DT and Vetta together for some really creative setups! 

 

- I have a DT25, a Flextone IIHD and a pair of Alesis Alpha 112s that are almost identical to the Altos.  I get great tones out of all of them and am keeping the lot...

 

I'll investigate the Vetta 2 combo option a bit further, when I did try it once, I got no sound at all, but just seen the post above which says to dummy the guitar input on the vetta, so I'll try that again if you think it will sound really good.

 

The DT50 is a lost cause for me I think. It doesn't work well with Helix when you plug into the front of the amp, so I'll try what you suggest just out of curiosity. I know some people are re-programming it via midi but I don't really understand it very well so don't want to delve into that.

 

The JBL's have got good reviews but I have my doubts how well it will handle the bass output of the Helix, so Alto's seem a better FR solution at this point. It is difficult to say for sure until you've had the unit of choice working in your room with your gear, but you have to start somewhere.

 

I'm going to try the Vetta 2 & DT50 again tonight. I'm willing to be surprised!

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Hmm..well I didn't get any sound at all from the Vetta with that 1/4 inch cable method so maybe I did something wrong.

 

I did get sound from the DT50 with that cable, when the toggle switch on the amp is moved into position 4, it sounds better but still nowhere near any of the demos I've seen of the helix. It kind of sounds a bit muffled really.

 

I suppose it's on to the FR speakers now. I'm a bit underwhelmed so far, but I haven't tried any stand alone FR stuff yet, and the helix does sound good through head phones so I'm hopeful of getting a nice big guitar tone yet.

 

Worth pointing out that I'm only using the stock presets to test the sound at the moment. I know some might say you can improve on those but they should still be a good enough guide.

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Hmm..well I didn't get any sound at all from the Vetta with that 1/4 inch cable method so maybe I did something wrong.

 

I did get sound from the DT50 with that cable, when the toggle switch on the amp is moved into position 4, it sounds better but still nowhere near any of the demos I've seen of the helix. It kind of sounds a bit muffled really.

 

I suppose it's on to the FR speakers now. I'm a bit underwhelmed so far, but I haven't tried any stand alone FR stuff yet, and the helix does sound good through head phones so I'm hopeful of getting a nice big guitar tone yet.

 

Worth pointing out that I'm only using the stock presets to test the sound at the moment. I know some might say you can improve on those but they should still be a good enough guide.

 

The effects return is a stereo jack, so you might need a Y-cable.  But...

 

You might give the AES/EBU connection out of Helix and into Vetta II with an XLR cable a shot.  It would be slick if it works.

 

From the Vetta II manual...

 

34. AES/EBU digital I/O: This allows for digital connection to other digital devices with AES/EBU interfaces such as effect processors, digital mixing consoles, digital recorders or computer interface cards.

 

Input Select Page 2 of the System setup allows you to control your Vetta inputs. Each of the inputs can be independantly turned on or off, allowing for the mixing of multiple inputs. The VARIAX control turns the rear panel Variax In on or off. The DIGITAL parameter allows you to pick the left, right or stereo input of the S/PDIF or AES/EBU signal as an input. The ANALOG parameter refers to the standard guitar input. You can leave both the VARIAX and the ANALOG inputs turned on. If you’re performing on stage you can have a regular electric guitar plugged in to the analog input and your Variax plugged in digitally. Simply leave the volume knob turned down on the instrument you’re not using at the time. Spin the Page knob, and feast your eyes on System Setup page three:

 

line-6-vetta-ii-425897.jpg

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The effects return is a stereo jack, so you might need a Y-cable.  But...

 

You might give the AES/EBU connection out of Helix and into Vetta II with an XLR cable a shot.  It would be slick if it works.

 

From the Vetta II manual...

 

34. AES/EBU digital I/O: This allows for digital connection to other digital devices with AES/EBU interfaces such as effect processors, digital mixing consoles, digital recorders or computer interface cards.

 

Input Select Page 2 of the System setup allows you to control your Vetta inputs. Each of the inputs can be independantly turned on or off, allowing for the mixing of multiple inputs. The VARIAX control turns the rear panel Variax In on or off. The DIGITAL parameter allows you to pick the left, right or stereo input of the S/PDIF or AES/EBU signal as an input. The ANALOG parameter refers to the standard guitar input. You can leave both the VARIAX and the ANALOG inputs turned on. If you’re performing on stage you can have a regular electric guitar plugged in to the analog input and your Variax plugged in digitally. Simply leave the volume knob turned down on the instrument you’re not using at the time. Spin the Page knob, and feast your eyes on System Setup page three:

 

line-6-vetta-ii-425897.jpg

 

Great, my L6 link cable should serve as the XLR cable to try that. Will give it a go

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AES/EBU looks interesting, hope it works.  For the FX Loop hookup I use a stereo insert cable, 2 mono 1/4 jacks to a single stereo TRS 1/4 jack.  You also need a dummy plug in the Vetta Guitar In and I think you have to press the Loop button to turn it on.

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At significantly different sizes and prices and for different uses, I'm trying JBL LSR305 studio monitors, Yamaha HS8 studio monitors, and Yamaha DXR10 FRFR powered cabs, each in comparison to my amps (Yamaha THR10C, Fender Mustang IV v.2, and Fender Mustang III v.2) as powered cabs.

 

The JBL LSR305 studio monitors sound really good when used near field (on stands, console meter bridge, mixing desk, etc.), at low to moderate SPLs. Surprisingly, I discovered that several of Helix's Amp models required the Helix's Main Vol knob to be at max, regardless of the spkr's sensitivity switch setting, and with the spkrs' vol at max. I prefer having more headroom and gain staging (i.e. setting the spkr's amp vol at 50~75%). Most of the time I felt a pair of LSR305s were lacking SPL. They also do best with plenty of clearance from walls behind them or to their sides due to the spkrs being rear bass ported. As glorified computer screen adjacent monitors they'd be terrific! Although, I'm not using my Helix with a computer, I may keep these, as they are so reasonably priced.

 

In direct A/B comparison to my Yamaha THR10C amp's dual 3" FRFR stereo speakers (with the THR10C's stereo AuxIn fed from the Helix's FX Sends at Line Level), the Yamaha and JBL each accuratey present the Helix's tonal characteristics. At low to moderate near field SPLs each sounds very good with the JBL's having a superior bottom end, yet the THR10C proved to be astoundingly capable.

 

Yamaha's HS8 studio monitors sound really good as near field monitors. For their price and size they should. They're much bigger, have more power, and can get substantially louder than the JBL LSR305s. A more comparable comparison was against the less costly JBL LSR308s, which I preferred when demoing at the store, but those were temporarily out of stock. As nice as the HS8s sound as near field monitors, I'm leaning towards forgoing the HS8 for their larger Yamaha DXR10 FRFR PA Monitor cousins. These are due in a few days and I'll know then.

 

In the meanwhile, my 2x12 stereo Fender Mustang IV v.2 connected via its L&R FX Returns (routed after the Mustang's preamp, FX and cab sims) from the Helix sounds amazing! Far better than I expected from the pair of Celestion 70 Eighty speakers which are certainly not FRFR (they roll off considerably after 4kHz). Nonetheless, for electric guitar through the Helix, the Mustang IV v.2 freaking rocks! It also sounds good at conversation level.

 

More after the Yamaha DXR10s arrive....

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Because of this thread, I just spent a couple of hours jamming Helix (no cab/IR models) into may SS Crate Power Block and Mark V Combo speaker (same type Celestion as the Vetta) and daaang it sounds good...every single amp model...even just leaving default settings...all day every day (quoting Sean Halley from a Line 6 video I think).

 

I love playing Helix through my studio monitors and headphones.  And heck, we may all go FRFR one day.  But I really don't think you will be disappointed at all with Helix into that Vetta combo if you can get it hooked up and going.  If you were happy with Vetta before, you should be floored with Helix + Vetta.

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I couldn't get anything to work with my vetta, it's actually quite a while since I used it and I'm a bit lost fiddling with the input options and connections.

 

So I got a good deal on two Alto 210's including stands, at least this way I know I'm going for the best or least fussy option in getting the sound to work nicely.

 

Main connection to the speakers seems to be XLR so am I right in saying I should get two leads, both coming out of the XLR connectors on Helix, and run one cable to one speaker and the other to the second speaker...I don't think there is really another way to do it is there? I just need x2 female to female leads?

 

Thanks

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According to the (really broken) product info page on their site, they have an "Integrated 2-channel mixer with dual XLR 1/4-inch combo mic/line inputs and independent level controls".

 

So they may look like XLRs, but they'll also accept 1/4" plugs.

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Yep, they'll take 1/4" no problem.

 

That must be the input 1 & 2 connectors then, you're right Zooey, they do look like XLR type fittings but the middles are different. There's only the one main XLR connection on the speaker. I'll try a quarter inch lead into those two inputs.

 

I would imagine the Helix probably sounds better going out to two speakers in a stereo type setup, so how is it intended to link up to the two Alto's then...one quarter inch lead from Helix to first speaker, then XLR cable from first speaker to second speaker?

 

Are there any real sound quality advantages if you try and stick to just using XLR over quarter inch leads?

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That must be the input 1 & 2 connectors then, you're right Zooey, they do look like XLR type fittings but the middles are different. There's only the one main XLR connection on the speaker. I'll try a quarter inch lead into those two inputs.

 

Alto calls them Mic/Line combo inputs.

 

I would imagine the Helix probably sounds better going out to two speakers in a stereo type setup, so how is it intended to link up to the two Alto's then...one quarter inch lead from Helix to first speaker, then XLR cable from first speaker to second speaker?

 

I run separate XLR cables from the Helix to each speaker for stereo.  It looks like your method would work fine if you just want to send a mono signal to each speaker.

 

Are there any real sound quality advantages if you try and stick to just using XLR over quarter inch leads?

 

Although I'm not sure how much difference it makes, the XLRs are balanced and the 1/4" are unbalanced. 

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If your patches are stereo, then going out of 2 inputs and into your 2 speakers separately will preserve that. That's what if recommend, since it gives you the option of stereo if you want it.

 

If your patches are mono and you're sure you'll always want them that way, it may be simpler wiring to go to one speaker, then come out of its parallel out to go to the other one.

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According to the (really broken) product info page on their site, they have an "Integrated 2-channel mixer with dual XLR 1/4-inch combo mic/line inputs and independent level controls".

 

So they may look like XLRs, but they'll also accept 1/4" plugs.

 

Yeah, they're kind of like the audio version of a spork.  :)

 

Well, I bought a pole for my Alto TS212 and redid the global EQ because it was indeed much less boomy and bright than it was sitting on the floor. The only problem is that the shortest I can make the pole has the speaker right at the level of my head (I'm 5' 5). I have a gig coming up that I do annually with 5 other guitar players, bass and drums. I'm going to feel a little funny having my speaker towering over everybody else's amps, like I'm trying to be the loudest or something. Oh well, guess they'll just have to deal with it. I'm bracing myself for the jokes when I show up to the pre-gig rehearsal.

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My Alto's came with Stagg stands and they seem to be very adjustable in the height and how far you open the feet up. I've lowered mine so that the top of the speaker is level to my head and it will still go lower than that.

 

I would think optimum height would probably be about head head or just above anyway wouldn't it?

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I would think optimum height would probably be about head head or just above anyway wouldn't it?

 

I suppose. I was initially worried I'd get unwanted feedback from my high gain patches, but that wasn't the case as it turned out, probably because I use some input gate on those patches. I did that reluctantly, since I always hated noise gates, but with the right threshold setting it's not that bad. And those high gain amp models can be as noisy as their tube amp counterparts! 

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Quarter inch outputs will be louder

I discovered this with a set of JBL LSR305. Fed by Helix's Line Outs (set to Line Level) they would not reach the SPL as when fed by Helix's 1/4" Amp outs.

 

Has Line 6 published Helix's Output specs? If so, where are they available? I have not seen them.

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My Alesis Alpha 112s, 1000 Watts supposedly, seem deafening in my small basement, but in a huge barn not so much. In my case, it wasn't a matter of input gain, the limiter light was coming on. Didn't sound awful or anything, just more compressed than usual, and duh, turning Helix output up didn't make it that much louder. If the Altos have a limiter light, check if it's going on. That'll tell you if you're actually out of headroom.

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Honest guys, if there's an input GAIN difference between 1/4" and XLT, it's only that, a difference in gain, meaning how hot the input signal has to be for a given output level. Max power and max SPL simply do not change depending on which jack you're using. If the limit light is on on the speaker, that's as loud as it goes, more or less. If not, you've got some more room, turn up the output level on the Helix and have at it.

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Good old instrument cable works

 Cool! 

 

Honest guys, if there's an input GAIN difference between 1/4" and XLT, it's only that, a difference in gain, meaning how hot the input signal has to be for a given output level. Max power and max SPL simply do not change depending on which jack you're using. If the limit light is on on the speaker, that's as loud as it goes, more or less. If not, you've got some more room, turn up the output level on the Helix and have at it.

 

The limit light wasn't on in the speaker and there was no clipping. I had both the speaker and the Helix master all the way up and it just didn't seem that loud. My Vetta combo is louder than that at just past 9 o'clock. I'm going to see what happens using the quarter inch jack. If it's still not that loud, there's a bunch of ways to increase the output, like on the global EQ. We'll see how it goes. And I'll keep my eye on the limit light.  ;)

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The Yamaha DXR10 are truly outstanding! Not too heavy. Not too big. Not too small. They sound phenomenal at any volume, horizontal and vertical, and they can get plenty loud! Fed 1/4" stereo from Helix's Amp outs, the DXR10s' 1/4" (Input 2) Level controls were set at 12 o'clock (0 db) for Line level. With Helix's Main Volume at 12 o'clock they sounded absolutely thunderous! I'm loving these FRFR PA speakers. :) They're really well constructed and covered by a reassuring 7 year warranty. I've yet to try them with XLRs. More fun with DXRs tomorrow....

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The Yamaha DXR10 are truly outstanding! Not too heavy. Not too big. Not too small. They sound phenomenal at any volume, horizontal and vertical, and they can get plenty loud! Fed 1/4" stereo from Helix's Amp outs, the DXR10s' 1/4" (Input 2) Level controls were set at 12 o'clock (0 db) for Line level. With Helix's Main Volume at 12 o'clock they sounded absolutely thunderous! I'm loving these FRFR PA speakers. :) They're really well constructed and covered by a reassuring 7 year warranty. I've yet to try them with XLRs. More fun with DXRs tomorrow....

Sounds ideal, I should have looked into those. I'm happy with my Alto's 210's although to be perfectly honest, for just home use in a relatively small room they are a bit overkill probably. I could have gotten away with something smaller and lighter, but...they do sound great

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  • 9 months later...

I am using the DXR10 as well. DXR10 are great. 

I did have a L3T at some point - sounded great - but had issues with mine. Volume just dropped and then came back after a few minutes.

Could not get repaired - so I exchanged to a DXR10. 

I do however have a buddy that uses L3T and they do sound great.

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I was (and still am) very surprised and happy with my TS210. Best $ I ever spent. The DXR would be more robust probably, specialy at Hi power/volume. 

 

I had to rescrew everything on my TS210 after 6 months because of small buzz, cured almost everything but a resonant frequency was very present everytime I would play C. Nasty rattle. It came from a corner of the grill. I took it of and squeezed a bit of grey foam, very little of it (the packing stuff). All is good now. I was considering a DXR10 but no more,really. If it does'nt last than I will jump to Yamaha but nothing is less sure.

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  • 7 months later...

I've been using a pair of Marshall MX112's with the Celestion 70 Eighty speakers and they sound great with the Helix. Looks great too! Side by side behind me, tilted up a bit. Powered by a Crate Powerblock. These two act as monitors for me and cover a bit of the front stage area where folks are inbetween the PA mains. 

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Im running my Helix though a single Alto TS 210 (quite popular speaker on here) at home. It sounds great and for the money it hard to find a better FRFR solution (maybe now the Headrush FRFR or the TS312?). 

At practice straigh through the PA, maybe use the Alto as monitor. Always happy with my sound that way. The ony thing to note was that the Alto coupled to my wooden floor a lot, so i put some acoustic foam under it which helped a lot.

 

have not tried the helix over any guitar amp yet. The FRFR setup just sounds so good i can't even be bothered : )

 

 

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