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mguit

How to organize core tones?

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I'm strongly considering purchasing a Helix and have one concern at this point, the same concern I have with my Kemper Profiler and every other multi-effect/modeling product I've ever owned. I was wondering if Helix addresses this need. 

 

The strength of the Helix is the ability to create numerous song specific presets, even more so because of the ability to create snapshots. Similarly, my Kemper allows me to create banks of presets and the ability to morph between different settings within presets. And of course, to have an endless number of amp/cab/overdrive pedals for studio use.

 

The concern I have is for live use. Regardless of how many song-specific presets I create with programed BPM's delays, reverbs and so forth, I'm only going to use four basic sounds: Clean, slightly dirty, overdriven, and lead. What modulation, filter, delay, and reverb effects I use and also programed BPM will vary from song to song, hence the need for numerous presets and the ability to swap their order based on the set list of the week. However, each of these presets will be based on one of those four core sounds: Each of those core sounds will be based on a particular amp+cab and perhaps overdrive effect or even an external overdrive pedal. In fact I'd considered just finding one cab+amp combo run clean (or perhaps two in parallel for stereo) and getting all my gain from external overdrive pedals in the Helix effect loops. Even if I go with this simplicity, is there a way that I can edit the amp and cab settings in the Helix? 

 

For example, suppose I want to adjust the gain on my slightly dirty presets, or just the mids? Do I need to go to all 27 presets that have this sound and individual do the same edit? Or copy, paste and save the same edit 27 times? And what if I take advantage of the snapshot feature, do I now have to go in and edit all the snapshots, simply to make a subtle change to the slightly overdriven sound I'm using in many of my presets? 

 

In other words, the more song-specific presets and subsequent snapshots I create, all based on one of four basic amp+cab+overdrive combinations use for different gain stages, is there a way to edit one of those four sounds all at once or have them linked so that I don't have to dozens of locations just to make the same edits over and over again? I've had this issue with every multi effect product I've ever owned. From a Fender Cyber-twin, vox tone lab, Line 6 HD500, and Kemper Profiler; has Helix addressed this issue? I can't be the only person on this planet that works this way.

 

 

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Or for that matter, what if the slightly overdriven sound I use in 1/3 of my presets is for whatever reason that night not cutting well and I want to boost the volume just a tad? Do I need to go to all 27 presets times 4-8 snapshots and bump the volume up a few ticks and then hit save 27 times during soundcheck? 

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I never change my sound that much at a gig, but it seems to me you could use a couple of expression pedals; the one on the Helix, and an external one to make the linear parameter changes you need.

But I am not an expert on what you can assign the pedal to, and what you can't. I just use it for wah or volume. However, others on this forum are masters of this.

This really brings up a good point about why players go the "multi-effects pedal" route vs stomp boxes. The first is "I want to find *my* sound(s)." The second is "I want to sound just like [fill in the blank]."

Seems to me that the Helix is great for both. You just have to experiment. I'm really only interested in the first.

My sound (one of them) is a Fender GC-1 Strat connected to a Boss GP-10 set to ES-355 (divided pickup, with a small amount of Fender Classic Tweed amp as "preamp") mixed with stock ceramic pickups, line-returned to the Helix with Deluxe compressor and an IR I got from Greg Delaune in series with the Vox AC-15 amp, and lots of effects combinations loaded as snapshots, EQ at the end. When I want to sound "Stratty," I turn up the mag pickups, and when I want to sound "dotty," up comes the divided pickup. 

Took me a year of gigs and basement time to zone in on all that. It was definitely worth it.  :)

Now I'm working on a Les Paul sound...

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I create a core tone with amp, cab/IR, overdrives, distortions and save the preset as a template. I then create different "workflow" templates based off of that (wet/dry, super serial, etc...). Then from there I can sprinkle in the necessary effects for what I am trying to achieve. 

 

I reserve one of my setlists for "template" presets, then just copy them to a different setlist to create presets per song. Within those song specific presets, I use snapshots primarily to change the sound within the song. 

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I completely agree with mguit: this would be something very interesting

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I read back more carefully on what you are trying to achieve. You would like a "master clean", "master crunch" , etc... that you can change the Master values and it will effect all presets that the Masters are used in. 

 

There is not a way to do that in Helix. 

 

That is why I do a preset per song. If something is not cutting through on that particular song, I adjust on the fly and save it so that it will be right the next time I call it up. If I was adjusting a master that is used in multiple presets, I may have undesirable results in other presets. 

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If all your sounds are going to have the same base amp tone, you may find yourself, as I do, able to use only one patch for a guitar. I do have different patches for different guitars (Tele vs. Les Paul type sound), but can easily get virtually everything I need with one patch.

You can create snapshots with different levels of gain, etc., too.

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If I'm understanding what you're saying I'm not sure this would even be possible.

 

Let's say you have several song specific patches that are based on a given template.  You want to make a few changes to the template and cascade that through the song specific patches that are based on it.  But how, exactly, is the cascading logic going to know which elements are song specific and which are template based?

 

For example your template may be based on a Vox amp.  But in the song templates you make certain modifications to the EQ in some of them, maybe bias parameters in others, presence in yet others.  How is the cascading logic going to know what to change and what not to change in the song specific patches?  Plus with a major change in something like an amp type, there are bound to be a number of other impacts in the parameters for song specific patches.

 

I guess with enough horsepower and additional flags for locking or not locking each and every parameter in each and every element in a patch it could be done,  but you may have to wait until the 3rd or 4th generation of Helix for something like that.

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[quote name="mguit" post="202600" timestamp="1489758735"

 

In other words, the more song-specific presets and subsequent snapshots I create, all based on one of four basic amp+cab+overdrive combinations use for different gain stages, is there a way to edit one of those four sounds all at once or have them linked so that I don't have to dozens of locations just to make the same edits over and over again? I've had this issue with every multi effect product I've ever owned. From a Fender Cyber-twin, vox tone lab, Line 6 HD500, and Kemper Profiler; has Helix addressed this issue? I can't be the only person on this planet that works this way.

 

I've yet to meet the device that functions this way, so I think you're out of luck, no matter what gear you're buying.

 

But honestly, have every change you make propagate to every other patch in a given "category" almost defeats the purpose of having individual presets in the first place. Personally, I'd find that maddening. If I've saved a patch, it's because I want it to stay that way...having it subsequently altered because I decided to make changes to another patch would infuriate me.

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I create a core tone with amp, cab/IR, overdrives, distortions and save the preset as a template. I then create different "workflow" templates based off of that (wet/dry, super serial, etc...). Then from there I can sprinkle in the necessary effects for what I am trying to achieve. 

 

I reserve one of my setlists for "template" presets, then just copy them to a different setlist to create presets per song. Within those song specific presets, I use snapshots primarily to change the sound within the song. 

 

That's what I do. The issue i have now is this: on my Kemper (and to my understanding it would be the same scenario with the Helix) I have template presets. I've created about 60 presets that are song specific, including a particular BPM and whatever effects I need. Suppose tomorrow, I want to tweak the gain and mids of my slightly overdriven sound? Certainly I can tweak the template preset of this. The problem is that this only changes the template. It doesn't change the 25 or so presets that were created using the template preset. I then have to go to all of the presets that were created from the original template and make the same tweaks and/or copy and paste over the amp blocks and hit save. We'll during a gig, I'd only need to do that on the presets I'd be using that day, but this creates a second problem. Now I have several slightly altered versions of the same amp block floating around in different presets. In order for their to be consistency for the next gig, I'll need to go back and make sure all 25 match the template, or remember which ones I switch and which ones I haven't. That's why I'm hoping that the Helix has some sort of Lock feature or a feature in which you can have an alias of a block from a preset that you are using as the template.

it could work like this: Create a preset. Click on the block you want to be the template. Assign it something like "global amp 1" or 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.  Then in all your regular presets, that you want to use the same tweaked amp, select the matching global amp. Then when you alter or even switch amps on the original, all the presets in which you selected the matching global amp change with it. However, if you have no use for this feature, keep selecting amps as regular.  

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It would be cool if you could have something like the ability to  save templates and that somehow, if you used one of your templates, all of the parameters of that template, could be or would be linked in some way so that any change you made in one patch with that template would be reflected in all of the other patches you used that template in. But for right now Helix can't do what you want it to as has been pointed out.

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mguit's points are well suggested. I get it and would love to see them implemented on the Helix, but it may be a long time coming....

 

These sorts of features have been around for decades in word processing and other programs implemented by Macros, master linked (referenced or relative) macros, and a variety of Text formatting, Header formatting. It certainly is not brain surgery nor rocket sceince. The concept lends itself well to code encapuslated text file formats such as the Presets.

 

The predominant obstacle may be issues regarding reallocating programming resources, away from developments, improvements and additions to Helix's core Amp, Cab, FX, Reverbs, Delays, and UI, as well as the the overhaul of Helix Editor and the new Helix Native.

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I've yet to meet the device that functions this way, so I think you're out of luck, no matter what gear you're buying.

 

But honestly, have every change you make propagate to every other patch in a given "category" almost defeats the purpose of having individual presets in the first place. Personally, I'd find that maddening. If I've saved a patch, it's because I want it to stay that way...having it subsequently altered because I decided to make changes to another patch would infuriate me.

Good point, but you'd still have that ability. The purpose of having individual presets in the first place is to be able to have more variety than fixed analog pedals and amps provide. However, there are times, when it's convenient to have certain things fixed, even if you like and use the flexibility that multi effects devices provide. Hence the reason that the Helix has four effect loops, as some people prefer to tweak whatever overdrive pedal they have once and be done with it and know that it will sound the same in any preset it's used, even if it sounds no better than the digital model of it already built into the Helix. From my experience, I love the ability to create song specific presets and it gives me a lot more flexibility live. Nevertheless, certain things in my tone don't change much. I'm going to use four basic tones for just about every song I play, well some songs don't need all four, but you get the idea. 

Right now you can simply copy and paste whatever blocks you want from different presets. You can also simply select the same effect and tweak it by memory to match the way you had it in the other preset. And for many things that is the best way, and like you said the whole point of having individual presets. 

My point was that there are some PARTS of presets that individual user might prefer to edit globally. For me, it's the core Overdrive/amp/cab combinations that I use for my main sounds. For others, they may have a go-to reverb they use 75% of the time and like to tweak it for the room that they are in. So what I'd like is the ability to have the benefits of both per-preset customization AND the ability  to create some presets with certain blocks tied to blocks from other presets. For you, if you see no use to this, you simply ignore this feature and never use it, just like one of the effects built in to the Helix that you'd never have a use for. 

Here's a hypothetical. I create 75 presets for specific songs. In each one I set the correct BPM and combination of effects I'd like to use. It turns out that quite a number of them have almost identical settings. In any case, the 75 presets only have 4 varieties of amp settings. Let's say that about 17 of those presets use a clean setting of the twin reverb model. Initially I copied and pasted it to 17 of those 75 presets. But later I find I want to tweak the amp. I want to leave all my presets largely alone, since the reverbs, delay, and whatever else, perhaps even midi messages and external pedals dialed up are just the way I want them. However, I really have no way of going and tweaking the amp block of my clean presets at once. 

What I'd like is the OPTION to have created all 17 clean presets with just the amp block in each given the designation "global amp 1" instead of simply selecting Twin Reverb from the list of amps. Then everything else in those presets would be independent of other presets EXCEPT the amp blocks that were given a global assignment. Any presets that weren't given the designation global amp 1, but just a specific amp model would be 100% unaffected. Plus an option could be there to "Make Local" if I change my mind about the amp block in a particular preset that I no longer want to be linked to global amp 1 any more. 

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mguit's points are well suggested. I get it and would love to see them implemented on the Helix, but it may be a long time coming....

 

These sorts of features have been around for decades in word processing and other programs implemented by Macros, master linked (referenced or relative) macros, and a variety of Text formatting, Header formatting. It certainly is not brain surgery nor rocket sceince. The concept lends itself well to code encapuslated text file formats such as the Presets.

 

The predominant obstacle may be issues regarding reallocating programming resources, away from developments, improvements and additions to Helix's core Amp, Cab, FX, Reverbs, Delays, and UI, as well as the the overhaul of Helix Editor and the new Helix Native.

 

I think that's the reason that there's still some holdouts to digital guitar rigs. The latest generation of modelers Kemper/AxeFX?Helix/Amplifire/torpedo Cab, have really taken the realism to the point of splitting hairs. However, the way digital gear organizes sounds is still not some people's cup of tea. Consider that so many touring guitarists these days often have one of those multi loop switchers like the boss es-8 or the RJM mastermind stuff. They often use preset based delay reverb and mod pedals like Strymon and Eventide make, but still rely mostly on analog stomps for their overdrives. Nevertheless, they like the flexibility of having song-specific presets, with these switching devices handling their on off status of their overdrive pedals and/or the channel switching of their amps. Nothing all-in-one matches this type of set up. It's all presets all the time. Nothing that simply stays the same. 

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What you can do is EASILY copy the amp block from one patch to another, but snapshot info and stuff doesn't go with it I don't think.

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If you are computer literate and mean this in the way that you understand JSON and batch editing of files, then you can globally make changes across a set of Helix patch files and import them using the editor

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If you are computer literate and mean this in the way that you understand JSON and batch editing of files, then you can globally make changes across a set of Helix patch files and import them using the editor

 

I am mildly computer literate. Perhaps the editor software would give me the ability to quickly tweak and copy and paste across a ton of presets at once? If so then it might do the trick. Anything but slowly going through hardware and tweaking copy pasting hitting save over and over. Kemper (currently) only has manager of rigs which really just lets you move entire presets (or as Kemper calls them) rigs. But they're supposedly rolling one out soon enough. 

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Could someone please eloquently put this on ideascale. I'd vote it up and don't want to do it on my phone on my lunch break!

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Could someone please eloquently put this on ideascale. I'd vote it up and don't want to do it on my phone on my lunch break!

 

I'm not computer literate enough to do that.  :) I couldn't find where the idea scale link was. 

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