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I currently have no experience with setting up fx processors for live/rehearsal use through a guitar cabinet, but I am thinking about obtaining a Helix (maybe Axe Fx if I'm patient enough) to add a digital rack setup on top of my current tube amp/cab/pedals setup. Just to have the best of both worlds.

 

I want to stick to a solid state power amp, but do I go Rocktron Velocity 300 or Matrix GT800FX/GT1000FX? I obviously want to maximize my sound in terms of quality, but also in terms of volume without blowing my speakers or being too quiet.

 

I'm not sure how wattage in a sold state amp affects this, and I'd like to go Matrix, but only if they don't destroy these cabs with one small or bad turn of a knob because of their high output capabilities -- 400w/channel or 800w bridged for example -- into a 280w Mesa 4x12 (live/rehearsal) or 120w Orange 2x12 (home). But I can't afford to have the 300w Rocktron be too quiet for a live or rehearsal situation even if it does suffice for at-home use.

 

Bottom line: Which power amp should I get and how would I avoid damage? I see people using the Matrix's all the time with cab setups but how do they not blow their cabs? Just keep the Matrix turned down low all the time? Is it an impedance thing?

 

Side note: The Orange also only has a 16 ohm option so without rewiring how would that work, if it can at all since I believe these amps do 8 ohms?

 

I know there's other options for speaker setups but I'm asking specifically about guitar cabinets... for now. I play heavy music. Much appreciated. 

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I currently use a fryette 2902 it's a stereo 90 watt tube amp though. I've been using it for bass though and it's been plenty loud in a hardish rock setting live. It can be switched to a low power mode of 60 watts per side and can run at 4, 8, or 16 ohms through any guitar cab(s) you are using. Also noted as being one of if not the most uncolored tube amps there is out there and you can dial in depth and presence from the power amp to get the right amount of oomph you want. The Fryette 2502 or the new fryette power station(50 watts with a ton of extras like an attenuator and headphone out you can use with your tube amps at home)

 

Also running a 400 watt power amp into a 280 watt guitar cab is danger zone for the speakers. You will most likely blow the speaker or fry the coils in them. If you want to go solid state power you need to get a cab that can handle them either from matrix or another frfr cab. Or an all in one solution from atomic or mission engineering.

 

A lot of people are liking reference monitors as well that are just PA's such as the line 6 l2t or whatever they are called

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+1 to Bone Toner's comment about the VHT.  I've got the VHT 2/50/2 and that destroys all 3 Matrix amps that I used to have.  Solid state cannot compare with a valve amp IMO, however others will think differently based on their experience no doubt. 

 

Also, for what it's worth, if you're going to be new to modelers, the Helix is a breeze to use and navigate thru when compared the Axe FX.  I've also owned the Axe FX and whilst it's more popular, the Helix is so far advanced when compared to the Axe FX. 

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I got really lucky recently and bought an Atomic Reactor 50/50 for about $300. It has options for 4, 8 and 16 ohms and two independent 50 watt tube power amps that can be independently biased. The only downside is that both independent power amps cannot be bridged together for 100 watts. So far, I've noticed almost no breakup from the power tubes at loud volumes and it has almost no coloration on the tone from the Helix. I would definitely recommend one if you can find it on the used market.

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I began with a Rocktron Velocity 150 from the 90's when I got my Helix into a 10/12 stereo cab with a V10 and an EVM. 

I found it to be very flat sounding & lifeless. It did not have the presence adjustment to get the Helix out there in the band mix

on stage.  I've since moved to a Koch ATR-4502 hybrid tube amp which is 45W stereo or 90W mono.

This coupled with replacing the EVM 12 with a Jensen Falcon 12 in the 10/12 cab brought it all to life and it sings and sparkles nicely

at any volume.  Check the Koch out if you get a chance.  It's single space, output protected and about $650.

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I'm currently using an ART SLA-1 in bridged mono to power my Helix into my 2x12. I like the sound quite a bit but I I'm thinking about moving to an SLA-2 for some extra headroom, especially if I make the jump to a 4x12 for live as well. Time will tell, but Helix sounds great at this point!

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I used a DT-25 at first and was very satisfied.

Now I am using the Firehawk 1500 and I can tell you it blows the DT out of the water!

The tone I'm getting now is totally awesome and cuts through the mix like nothing I have experienced before.

Volume is no issue, this thig can be LOUD! But it can be quiet as well still sounding great.

Do yourself a favour and go FRFR and if you have the funds look at Firehawk 1500

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Using a SLA 2 in bridged mode on a 2-12 cab and this works well for my Kemper. Using a Firehawk 1500 for Helix.

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Also running a 400 watt power amp into a 280 watt guitar cab is danger zone for the speakers. You will most likely blow the speaker or fry the coils in them. If you want to go solid state power you need to get a cab that can handle them either from matrix or another frfr cab. Or an all in one solution from atomic or mission engineering.

 

Thanks for responding. I'm trying to stay solid state for this particular rig.

 

But BoneToner... I've seen/heard about people running GT800FXs, 1000FXs, Crown 1000w amps, etc.... into all sorts of cabinets. And many people online recommend these amps even for the exact purpose I'm asking about (through a cab). It's obviously possible without damaging anything, so I guess I'm wondering moreso how its done. PAs/FOH is always a possibility, just wondering specifically about through cabs since I don't have any other speaker setup currently.

 

Check out Pete Thorn's comparing both of the Matrix models I'm thinking about below...these are very powerful amps, yet he doesn't seem afraid of running them into a 1x12, and I'd be running them through a Mesa 4x12/Orange 2x12. How??

 

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A 400w amp will only put out 400w if you max the volume and drive it with a big enough signal.
Just like a 1000hp car that can do 260mph can be driven to the shops at 60mph. Its about how hard you choose to push it.

 

And also remember the output drops by half every time you double the load impedance.   Into a 16 ohm cab the GT800FX puts out 120w per channel.

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A 400w amp will only put out 400w if you max the volume and drive it with a big enough signal.

Just like a 1000hp car that can do 260mph can be driven to the shops at 60mph. Its about how hard you choose to push it.

 

And also remember the output drops by half every time you double the load impedance.   Into a 16 ohm cab the GT800FX puts out 120w per channel.

 

Awesome, so hypothetically as long as I keep the output knob on the power amp to a reasonable level I shouldn't worry about ruining the cab. This is what I was assuming, but I don't have the funds to assume these things, and I'm no expert with these electronics, just looking for good tone. 

 

And that makes sense. The Orange only has 16 ohm inputs so good to know. 

 

The ART-SLA2 also sounds like a good cheaper alternative. 

 

But... Helix or Axe...

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Also, for what it's worth, if you're going to be new to modelers, the Helix is a breeze to use and navigate thru when compared the Axe FX.  I've also owned the Axe FX and whilst it's more popular, the Helix is so far advanced when compared to the Axe FX. 

 

"Advanced" should also mean better amp/cab modeling too though... I really don't want to pick up a Helix because it was less expensive and then regret my decision. Axe Fx users alwas have mean tones, and I'm always trying to dial in the grittiest, tightest sounds.

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Ive personally owned 5 axe fx's over the last 5 years for various reasons.    I bought the Helix rack because I was curious and still owned a fractal unit to A/B them.  

Long story short, I sold the Fractal and kept the Helix.    Both sound amazing, and as far as the quality of the amp sims go, the Fractal was marginally better to my ear.

But heres the thing. The interface on the Helix is just so damn good i couldnt let it go.   And we're up to firmware 2.10.  Thats about 40 revisions behind the Fractal.  Give it a year or so and the Helix will be right up there.    Thats not to say it isnt great now, the sounds Im getting with my stereo rig and Engl power amp are amazing.

If you ask here, people will say Helix.......ask on the Fracal forum and youll get a different answer.  Nature of the beast.

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Oh and just to add one further thing to your decision, iamgeorge and I have had probably a dozen different poweramps between us over the last few years and we both settled on stereo valve amps.     NOTHING sounds and feels like a valve poweramp.   Not the ART sla2, not the Matrix.   In a mix no one in the audience will know, but you will feel it.   We both tried to love SS amps but it just isnt the same.  And to further confuse you, the best SS amp I played and still own is a Behringer iNuke.  Felt so much better than the Matrix it replaced. Seriously.   Now it just sits in storage for the day the Engl breaks down as a backup.

Fun game this isnt it?   :P

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I currently have no experience with setting up fx processors for live/rehearsal use through a guitar cabinet, but I am thinking about obtaining a Helix (maybe Axe Fx if I'm patient enough) to add a digital rack setup on top of my current tube amp/cab/pedals setup. Just to have the best of both worlds.

 

I want to stick to a solid state power amp, but do I go Rocktron Velocity 300 or Matrix GT800FX/GT1000FX? I obviously want to maximize my sound in terms of quality, but also in terms of volume without blowing my speakers or being too quiet.

 

I'm not sure how wattage in a sold state amp affects this, and I'd like to go Matrix, but only if they don't destroy these cabs with one small or bad turn of a knob because of their high output capabilities -- 400w/channel or 800w bridged for example -- into a 280w Mesa 4x12 (live/rehearsal) or 120w Orange 2x12 (home). But I can't afford to have the 300w Rocktron be too quiet for a live or rehearsal situation even if it does suffice for at-home use.

 

Bottom line: Which power amp should I get and how would I avoid damage? I see people using the Matrix's all the time with cab setups but how do they not blow their cabs? Just keep the Matrix turned down low all the time? Is it an impedance thing?

 

Side note: The Orange also only has a 16 ohm option so without rewiring how would that work, if it can at all since I believe these amps do 8 ohms?

 

I know there's other options for speaker setups but I'm asking specifically about guitar cabinets... for now. I play heavy music. Much appreciated. 

I have a Helix and a Matrix GT800FX. I run it into a 120W Peavey 2-12 cabinet. I run the matrix volume at almost 90% and control the volume output from my Helix. I have had absolutely no issues with running it this way. It sounds amazing (i play metal) and had all the same questions you had. As far as the ohm options are concerned, I believe Matrix senses the ohms and adjusts to it. I have a 16 ohm 4-12 Marshall Cab and I used it the other night without any issues. 

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Oh and just to add one further thing to your decision, iamgeorge and I have had probably a dozen different poweramps between us over the last few years and we both settled on stereo valve amps.     NOTHING sounds and feels like a valve poweramp.   Not the ART sla2, not the Matrix.   In a mix no one in the audience will know, but you will feel it.   We both tried to love SS amps but it just isnt the same.  And to further confuse you, the best SS amp I played and still own is a Behringer iNuke.  Felt so much better than the Matrix it replaced. Seriously.   Now it just sits in storage for the day the Engl breaks down as a backup.

Fun game this isnt it?   :P

No offense but... I don't know if I trust a Behringer iNuke. What model and what's your reasoning? Because it doesn't seem like anybody's first choice for this kinda thing, and a lot of them seem pretty cheap(ly made?).

And nice rig. Which Furman model are you using there?

Also, it just sucks that Matrix is all the way over in the UK...

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I have a Helix and a Matrix GT800FX. I run it into a 120W Peavey 2-12 cabinet. I run the matrix volume at almost 90% and control the volume output from my Helix. I have had absolutely no issues with running it this way. It sounds amazing (i play metal) and had all the same questions you had. As far as the ohm options are concerned, I believe Matrix senses the ohms and adjusts to it. I have a 16 ohm 4-12 Marshall Cab and I used it the other night without any issues. 

 

90%? ... Damn. Are you running it through one channel or bridged? Also I guess 16 ohm impedance would also cut the power down significantly anyway, since I don't think Matrix's do 16 ohm out. Also, I've read suggestions to use the power amp output as the volume and to keep the Helix volume up. 

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I use a 150W Crate Power Block with a Mesa 212.  I run Helix at 50-60% live. It can be ear splitting at about 70%.  I too play heavy music with my band and Helix sounds great with it.  I like it because it fits in my Helix backpack and has no fan (passive cooling heat sink), super quiet.  I worry about the inexpensive-ness of it, but it has never failed me.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about the 300W Rocktron not being loud enough if you are running a cab at 8ohms.  

 

The Matrix amps are likely higher quality, reflected in the price. I'd imagine you could blow your speakers if you really tried.  But like you said, you can run at 16 ohms, turn down the gain knobs, etc.  I think they are really meant to run MUCH lower than their rated output as SS amp distortion is not pleasant, digital SS amp distortion even less so.

 

This is an interesting video from Matrix describing the differences between the Matrix GTX800 & 1000.  Stephanie Pickard describes the 1000 as more "soft and tubey" and the 800 as "tighter, more accurate".  

 

The sound quality is not that good in her videos is horrible and does the Matrix amps no justice.  I don't know why they would produce a product video with sound like that.  You can actually hear what she describes better in the Pete Thorn video you posted earlier in this thread.

 

 

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No offense but... I don't know if I trust a Behringer iNuke. What model and what's your reasoning? Because it doesn't seem like anybody's first choice for this kinda thing, and a lot of them seem pretty cheap(ly made?).

And nice rig. Which Furman model are you using there?

Also, it just sucks that Matrix is all the way over in the UK...

Behringer is NOBODIES first choice, lol.    Playing the iNuke NU3000 and the matrix gt1000fx side by side, the Behringer actually sounded far less sterile that the Matrix.  Not only that it felt better to play.  Im in Australia and the Behringer cost me $100 from a local music store that had given up its Behringer product line.  The Matrix cost me $900 landed.   

No one wants to be seen on stage with a behringer amp, but for $800 Id happily put it in the back of my rack and not tell anyone.  ;)

 

Its a Furman PL-Plus E Series 2.    Bought for no reason other than it was available and cheap second hand........and I want to turn all my gear on and off with one switch.

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90%? ... Damn. Are you running it through one channel or bridged? Also I guess 16 ohm impedance would also cut the power down significantly anyway, since I don't think Matrix's do 16 ohm out. Also, I've read suggestions to use the power amp output as the volume and to keep the Helix volume up. 

Matrixs are absolutely happy to run at 16 ohm.  

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I've been running my Helix through the power amp of my HK GrandMeister 36, then into an Orange PPC112 cab, (V30) and/or an 8x6" cab (built by a genius guitar tech friend of mine), and it sounds phenomenal

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This is an interesting video from Matrix describing the differences between the Matrix GTX800 & 1000.  Stephanie Pickard describes the 1000 as more "soft and tubey" and the 800 as "tighter, more accurate".  

 

The sound quality is not that good in her videos is horrible and does the Matrix amps no justice.  I don't know why they would produce a product video with sound like that.  You can actually hear what she describes better in the Pete Thorn video you posted earlier in this thread.

 

The faces she makes are so annoying throughout that video too lmao...

Anyway, I guess the GT1000FX would probably be the most pleasing to my ear if its more tube-like. I guess I would just like to know exactly what is meant by "tighter". Because if I can save and go with the GT800FX and detect little difference I'd rather go with that. But the words "more tube-like" draw me in, as I'm looking to stay SS but not sacrifice that juicy sound. If "tighter" is an attribute that would be ideal for metal though I would rather go with the 800, since I'm always trying to tighten up the low end.

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Matrixs are absolutely happy to run at 16 ohm.  

 

Lol, Behringer would save me loads of money but... I don't know, I want something I can really fall in love with. Does this mean they do have 16 ohm outs or they just work well with 16 ohm loads on cabs even if they're running at 8 ohms out?

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The Matrix amp makes sense.  Works for you now with guitar cab, and you can always tack on an FR12 or two later if you want to go FRFR.

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+1 to Bone Toner's comment about the VHT.  I've got the VHT 2/50/2 and that destroys all 3 Matrix amps that I used to have.  Solid state cannot compare with a valve amp IMO, however others will think differently based on their experience no doubt. 

 

Also, for what it's worth, if you're going to be new to modelers, the Helix is a breeze to use and navigate thru when compared the Axe FX.  I've also owned the Axe FX and whilst it's more popular, the Helix is so far advanced when compared to the Axe FX. 

 

I had a chance to play Helix through the VHT 2/50/2 and a Mesa 2x12 the other night.  And I am absolutely in love with the VHT 2/50/2.  We had a set of Focal monitors and a Mackie HD1221 as alternate FR/FR comparisons.  Things were sounding good in each of the set ups, but using the valve power amp completely made me forget about the convenience of FR/FR.  Not only did it sound and feel amazing, but I didn't have to set up global EQs or do much of anything to get a tone.  That being said, some of the modeling accuracy might be lost since you're committing to a power amp with its own feel and flavor.  But that wasn't much of a concern to me.  And the VHT 2/50/2 also has an option for class A and class A/B.

 

I've only played a couple SS, fat-respose type power amps before.  To me they don't add much (and I guess thats the point of them :) ).  So I'd rather just go to powered speaker or FoH, and not have to bring a cab and power amp with me. 

 

I think if you are looking to go the power amp and a cab route, valve options should be high on your list of options to explore.  Like evh0u812 was saying - even if no one else can tell the difference in the audience, you'll feel it for sure.  And I'm all for anything that makes me feel better about whatever jibberish I'm playing. 

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I had the iNuke 1000 and it wasn't enough to cut through the live mix. Then tried the 3000. It had enough power, but was a bit stale sounding to my ears. Tried the ART-SLA2 and it was the worst imo. On top of the sound quality being much less than the Behringers it also weighed a LOT more and was much larger in size. 

I ended up seeing a band played that had the Rocktron Velocity 300 amps running with their AxeFx IIs. I picked one up for about $200 used and it does the trick for my set up (Helix Rack > Velocity 300 > Mesa 4x12). The Resonance and Presence controls work great and can tailor the low and high frequency response perfectly.

Rocktron makes a new model named the Mainline. I contacted their support and they told me the only difference between it and the discontinued Velocity is the Mainline's ability to take line and instrument level signals.

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