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boynigel

FRFR fail!!! read before you buy one!

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shortly after purchasing my helix i purchased a QSC K12 as it's always been my understanding that modelers sound best through these kinds of speakers.  one day for sh!ts and grins i decided to see how my Helix sounded through the front of my Rivera Venus Deux, which is Rivera's "pedal" platform amplifier.  i called up some of my favorite patches, turned off any IR's and/or cab sims and plugged it in to the Rivera.  wow.  just, wow.  sounded absolutely incredible.  even through the Rivera's single 12, there was more "oomph" and resonance than what i'd experienced w/the cab simulations through the QSC.  to be fair, the Rivera is a hell of an amp and its enclosure is a bit larger than the average 1X12 combo, but still...  after about 15 minutes i plugged back in to the QSC which left me even more floored as to how much better the Helix sounded through the Rivera.  who knew?  i suppose YMMV as they say, but for me it's a no-brainer.  the QSC is now on CL.  i would encourage any one who has a good tube amp with a nice sounding clean channel to try what i did before plopping down a good chunk of change on a FRFR.  you may be very pleasantly surprised...or not, but it's worth a try before you buy.

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Awesome that you found your sound! You say "through the front" of the Rivera which to me means into the pre-amp input (where you'd plug a guitar in), are you also running a Helix amp model?

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Awesome that you found your sound! You say "through the front" of the Rivera which to me means into the pre-amp input (where you'd plug a guitar in), are you also running a Helix amp model?

exactly, and i've always been reluctant to try it that way (helix into an amp preamp) because to me it would be somewhat of a "caricature" in that i'd be putting an amp through an amp...but it works.  doing it this way has an immediacy and added realism that simply doesn't exist going FRFR which is strange given how well it works going through my near field monitors when i record.  maybe it's a lucky, happy marriage so to speak between the Rivera and the Helix...maybe they somehow like each other?  i'm curious if others have had similar results with their amps?  FWIW i'm not new to this.  been playing and chasing tone for well over 30 years.  i've owned virtually every mesa ever made, fender custom shop amps, a friedman ss, various carr amps, orange...you name it, so i'd like to think i know good tone when i hear it.  this just works.

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I'm with you, it wouldn't have occurred to me to try it that way. A little Rivera magic could very well be part of that recipe, they are spectacular amps! Good reminder that rules are made to be broken. I'll be interested to see if anyone else chimes in with similar experience?

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Running a modeler into a tube amp, either at the front end or into an FX return, is far from a new concept. I did it for years before going FRFR. That's exactly what the original "dream rig" was...the POD + a DT series amp. You like what you like...the only thing that kind of rig doesn't allow for, is convincing acoustic tones with a Variax...that requires FRFR. But if that's not your thing, then who cares? Use whatever sounds good to you.

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For me, its the way amps color the models. You don't ever really get to hear the intended sound of the model without it being masked by whatever amp you're playing through.

Amps are intentionally created to have "a sound" - to sound a specific way. They're stylized. An FRFR system, even though none will ever truly have perfectly flat response, will always be a lot more neutral sounding and allow you to hear each model's subtleties and let you hear their character better.

A modeler through an amp will never be for me.

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Strange, had the exact oppsite happen yesterday. I got helix right before Christmas, made about 40 patches running no cabs into dual powerblocks and real cabs. Started recording the other day, redid some of my patches with cabs through studio monitors, I may never go back!! I may run it both ways at next gig and see what really sounds best where it matters..

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It's always good to read peoples ideas.. after reading this i just went and dragged my fender deluxe 900 from out of the spare room where it was gathering dust.. it's a 90w solid state amp that i remembered had a pretty loud clean channel as well as a power amp return. I've been using a pair of mackie 10" frfr speakers that sound pretty good with the helix since i got it.. Well i found that running one of the mackies and the fender side by side sounds pretty darn good. The fender has more bite and the mackie supplies a bit more of the bass. Nice! Of course i had to make a preset with 2 paths.. one with a cab for the mackie and one without for the fender amp.

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None of this is surprising at all to me.  This is simply the old "amp in the room" observation that's been talked about ad nauseum.

 

If you want the "amp in the room" sound, there is certainly a way to get it with the Helix or any other modeler...even the HD500X.  You turn of cab and mic simulation and plug it into an amp.  But at the same time you have to recognize you will never be able to capture that sound on a recording or through a PA.  What you've always heard on any recording or in any live performance is an amp being mic'd through a cabinet and reproduced using a FRFR speaker.  There's nothing wrong with wanting to hear the "amp in the room" sound if that's what you personally want to hear when you play, but the fact is it will only be heard by you on stage or in the room with the amp.  Once it's mic'd it will be a different sound.  In fact, once you move to a position off axis from the cabinet it will sound different.  That's simply the nature of the beast.

 

The choice of going FRFR is for the sake of consistency.  What I hear on stage or in a room with my FRFR setup is exactly what my audience will hear out front and what I'll hear when I record it. If that doesn't bother you, then by all means go through an amp.

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Well said, Dunedin! I would also add another advantage of modeler/FRFR, the ability to simulate a wide open tube power stage at low volume. I can get an amazing "amp in the room" tone with a simple tube preamp block into my Mesa rack 2:50 with two Mesa 1x12's. However, my band members and the small club soundmen never appreciate the high volume it requires to get the tones I like with that rig. With FRFR, I can get that unique "cranked up" sound at any volume, all day, any day! And it is distinctly different from a high gain patch at low volume. Preamp gain and distortion pedals can't quite replicate it the same way a modeler into FRFR can. My two cents, FWIW.

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Well said, Dunedin! I would also add another advantage of modeler/FRFR, the ability to simulate a wide open tube power stage at low volume. I can get an amazing "amp in the room" tone with a simple tube preamp block into my Mesa rack 2:50 with two Mesa 1x12's. However, my band members and the small club soundmen never appreciate the high volume it requires to get the tones I like with that rig. With FRFR, I can get that unique "cranked up" sound at any volume, all day, any day! And it is distinctly different from a high gain patch at low volume. Preamp gain and distortion pedals can't quite replicate it the same way a modeler into FRFR can. My two cents, FWIW.

^^This!^^

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Popcorn popped, soda in hand. Waiting for the show..... ;)

LOL

 

I say just get and use what you like and are happy with, and appreciate that there ARE many options instead of being stuck in only one method of sound reproduction.

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I too LOVE the "amp in the room" sound, or i like to say feel.

Adds another dimension to the tone.

 

I found with 2ts110's side by side in the floor wedge position gets really really really close, but all my tones ended up thin and a little shrill when going to the PA.

If the setup inspires, good music is created and we can worry about the details later. :):):)

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My Helix sounds AWESOME straight to the P.A. system and coming back at me through my floor wedge monitor.

Having said that...the OP is correct. As great as it sounds, when I use the L6 Link into my DT 50 tube amp...it becomes a beast. 

I sold my Bogner Ecstasy head because I just didn't need it anymore. That's how good it sounds.  Just something about adding in real tubes that warms it up so nicely.

I made two identical presets with 8 snapshots each...one with IR's and one without (for the DT 50)

So when I'm playing a small gig I'll just use the Helix without the amp. 

And when I A/B the two presets at home...they sound ALMOST identical. The only difference being a bit more natural harmonics in the distortion and sustain with the DT50 being used. And just an indescribable "warmth" that is slightly more pleasing to the ear.

At first I was turning off all the cabs inside the DT50 with DTEdit. But then I thought about it and turned on the 1X12 celestion cab in the DT 50 because that's what mine is: the DT50 112.
I did that so that the xlr output on the DT50 would have a cab sim on it and I wanted it to sound as close o what I'm hearing come out of the speaker on the amp as possible. 
And man, it sounds tremendous.

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Popcorn popped, soda in hand. Waiting for the show..... ;)

 

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends,

We're so glad you could attend,

Come inside! Come inside!

 

I couldn't resist :)

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Don't see how the thread title relates to the body of the post at all. How did the FR speaker fail exactly?

 

It's stupid easy to get awesome tone using actual guitar speakers. A little tweaking can get a modeler to sound good through anything. Ive been strictly a FR player for a few years now but I used to love a modeler into my old Peavey Bandit. I've gotten good tones through a portable ihome speaker, all ranges of PC speakers, headphones, PA systems good, bad, and ugly. It just takes knowledge of your device and time. It just so happens that the Helix makes it simpler than any Pod, Korg or RP modeler I've owned.

 

These poor cats are getting skinned in all manners.

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Don't see how the thread title relates to the body of the post at all. How did the FR speaker fail exactly?

 

It's stupid easy to get awesome tone using actual guitar speakers. A little tweaking can get a modeler to sound good through anything. Ive been strictly a FR player for a few years now but I used to love a modeler into my old Peavey Bandit. I've gotten good tones through a portable ihome speaker, all ranges of PC speakers, headphones, PA systems good, bad, and ugly. It just takes knowledge of your device and time. It just so happens that the Helix makes it simpler than any Pod, Korg or RP modeler I've owned.

 

These poor cats are getting skinned in all manners.

 

I think this is really the key to the whole issue.

 

This isn't about FRFR Fail, nor is it about a Helix Fail.  This is ultimately about USER Fail.

 

Ultimately the only thing an FRFR offers you is a wide palette to paint on.  That offers you the opportunity with the Helix to craft the tone you want VERY precisely.  That requires you to know how to craft the tones you want.  The more you know about the resources available to you in the Helix and how to apply them, the better your ultimate sound will be.  You can craft that sound on many different output devices, but none will be as flexible and responsive as an FRFR in accurately portraying the sound you've crafted.

 

It's just like a guitar.  No guitar will make you a better guitar player.  Only practice and knowledge will do that.  Same with the Helix.

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hmmm i think a better guitar might get the juices flowing and wanting you to play more, same with helix.. thereby making you possibly a better player :p

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I think it's an issue of people jumping into FRFR without a clear understanding of why they're doing so.  The more capable the tool, the more you need to put into learning how to use it to get the best results.  FRFR and PA cabs certainly aren't for everyone, those that just want to have a simple plug and play sound are probably better off to playing through a traditional amp anyway.  On the other hand, if one wants to take full advantage of cabinet simulation and all the different sounds it offers, it may be worth taking the time to learn how to craft their sound down to the finest detail.

 

For me, I play through a powered PA cab because I run multiple different instruments (electric and acoustic electric guitar, bass, soft synths) and didn't want to deal with dedicated cabinets for each type of sound.  I certainly had my share of WTF moments when I first plugged straight into it, but I'm an explorer by nature and the time I put into learning even the basics of EQ and filtering paid off in the long run.  While I'm certainly no expert, I have a grasp of how to shape my tone that has only made me a better musician in the long run, and has pushed me to learn more about the interactions of different instruments within the sound spectrum, making me a better producer when it comes to recording my own music. 

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On the subject of EQ and filtering....

 

I'm using a cut at the end of my chain on my distorted amp sounds to tame the highs. I do it to get rid of the "fizz". 
Works fine.

But I have that EQ "off" with my clean sound because it takes away the chime.

I can't help but think that using that cut is taking away sustain and harmonics on the crunch and lead sounds of the amps. And if I don't use the cut...it doesn't seem to matter how much EQ'ing I do on the amp model itself...it will still have that "fizz" unless I make it sound like it's covered in a blanket.

I certainly wish that modeled amps could do as advertised and sound like the amp they are modeled after (the high gain ones that is).  I love the sound I'm getting. But it just seems to me that the modeling of the high gain amps isn't "good" enough if you have to put high cuts on it to get it to sound good.
I never used anything like that at all on any "real" amp I ever owned. They had the sound...or I never would have bought any of those amps. 

Not complaining (or maybe I am a bit)...But doesn't using a high cut take away some from the natural harmonics and sustain of the final sound produced?

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The QSC K12 is a great-sounding PA speaker, but it's not an FRFR speaker. Everyone please stop bastardizing that term.

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The QSC K12 is a great-sounding PA speaker, but it's not an FRFR speaker. Everyone please stop bastardizing that term.

Interesting take on it DI. What are some examples of what you consider actual FRFR speakers?
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Interesting take on it DI. What are some examples of what you consider actual FRFR speakers?

Strap in lads! I'd love to say that things are about to get scientific...but they won't. They're gonna get emotional and anecdotal. ;)

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Strap in lads! I'd love to say that things are about to get scientific...but they won't. They're gonna get emotional and anecdotal. ;)

OP here.  yep.  i see a Comic Book Guy (or two) has already arrived.  apparently i forgot that on these forums one needs to choose their words very carefully otherwise some condescending virgin...i mean, expert, is going to call you out on it.  "FRFR fail" was merely a way to possibly get someone's attention who might be shopping for one and to let them possibly take from my experience and learn that maybe they don't need one.  in no way was i universally implying that FRFR wasn't the way to go and i clearly stated that what worked for me might not work for others.  i just thought it was worth bringing it up because a lot of people (like myself previously) wouldn't have considered putting an amp simulation through a real amp.  so like i said before- YMMV, but give it a shot before dropping 800 bucks (possibly) unnecessarily.  so there.  hope it wasn't too emotional. ;)

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I never used anything like that at all on any "real" amp I ever owned. They had the sound...or I never would have bought any of those amps. 

Not complaining (or maybe I am a bit)...But doesn't using a high cut take away some from the natural harmonics and sustain of the final sound produced?

I bet if you were listening to your "real" amp through a mic and a PA speaker pretty dead on, you'd be applying a bit of high cut to get what that real amp sounds like to you.

 

That's the difference. A real amp in the room is not the same as mic'd amp through a PA speaker. Some careful mic positioning and EQ might be expected/required. That's not really a problem with modeling or IRs, its the nature of mic'ing a guitar cabinet.

 

You can think of (subtractive) EQ as "taking things away". But you can also think of it as removing the things you don't want so you can hear the things you do want better. Glass half full view of EQ I guess.

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I bet if you were listening to your "real" amp through a mic and a PA speaker pretty dead on, you'd be applying a bit of high cut to get what that real amp sounds like to you.

 

That's the difference. A real amp in the room is not the same as mic'd amp through a PA speaker. Some careful mic positioning and EQ might be expected/required. That's not really a problem with modeling or IRs, its the nature of mic'ing a guitar cabinet.

 

You can think of (subtractive) EQ as "taking things away". But you can also think of it as removing the things you don't want so you can hear the things you do want better. Glass half full view of EQ I guess.

I pretty much always either had a great soundman (when I was touring) or did sound myself on my own P.A. (later years as a weekend warrior).

I also use a PA Drive Rack to EQ my P.A. "flat".

Having said all of that...about the only thing I ever did was BOOST the high-mid very slightly on my channel. 

 

Used a SM 57 about midway between the center and outer part of the cone. 

 

I've always had a pretty good guitar sound no matter what rig I used. And I always worked hard to make sure my sound out front was the same as what was coming out of my amp speaker too. 

I also kept my 4x12 cab on a stand that pointed it "up" and kept as low a stage volume as I could. And then I have always CRANKED my guitar up through my wedge monitor so I could clearly hear every note. Didn't matter if it was my Marshall Double Stack, my Boogie stack, or even my Bogner Ecstasy and Bogner Greenback 4x12...I STILL always came back in the monitor mix to hear what was going on and make sure that what I was putting out there sounded identical to what was coming out of my amp.

 

And as I understand what you are saying...the Helix is supposed to replicate the sound of a "real" amp being mic'ed up and coming through the P.A. or studio mixer.

Then why does it need to have high cut put on it to do that????

 

See what I'm saying? If sounding like it's an amp that is mic'ed up and processed is what is being told to us that the Helix is doing...then shouldn't THAT be what it already sounds like without having to put a high cut just to get rid of nasty fizz?

 

As I said earlier...my worry is that I'm losing harmonics and frequencies that add to the sustain of the instrument when I am forced to artificially EQ my signal. 

It's VERY obvious when you use a clean sound. You put that high cut on it and it just takes away all the sparkle and liveliness of the sound. 

I can only assume that it's taking away from the high gain sound too.

 

I'm getting a great sound...don't get me wrong. Very happy. 

Just questioning WHY we have to apply a high cut to a model of a very nice tube amp. Just seems like something isn't right in the first place if you have to put a high cut on it to get it to sound good.   :)

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Just questioning WHY we have to apply a high cut to a model of a very nice tube amp. Just seems like something isn't right in the first place if you have to put a high cut on it to get it to sound good. :)

Why? It's very simple.

 

Fire up your favorite tube amp, then stick your ear directly in front of the speaker cone, hit a few chords and tell me what you hear. It will be shrill and unpleasant, with way too much treble...which is NOT what you hear from the same amp and settings under normal playing conditions, sitting or standing up 6-8 feet away, and WAY off-axis. But that "head in front of the speaker" sound is exactly what a mic hears, and in turn is exactly what's being modeled. Hence the need for a high cut filter with FRFR speakers.

 

Is it a perfect, indistinguishable replacement for your favorite amp? Is it as plug-and-play "simple" to set up as that amp? No on both counts. But the end result is damn close when handled properly. It's consistent, convenient, never has to be re-tubed, won't rupture aging discs, and is infinitely more versatile than any one tube amp on earth. And it's as far as the tech had progressed thus far. It is what it is.

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Why? It's very simple.

 

Fire up your favorite tube amp, then stick your ear directly in front of the speaker cone, hit a few chords and tell me what you hear. It will be shrill and unpleasant, with way too much treble...which is NOT what you hear from the same amp and settings under normal playing conditions, sitting or standing up 6-8 feet away, and WAY off-axis. But that "head in front of the speaker" sound is exactly what a mic hears, and in turn is exactly what's being modeled. Hence the need for a high cut filter with FRFR speakers.

 

And this may well be the issue with for players who are missing the harmonics and musical feedback they normally get with real amps without them sounding harsh. Because of where an amp's speakers are pointing, your knees, you're not going to hear the harshness and fizziness that the amp is actually producing. So it's a double edged sword because that same harshness is also what allows the harmonics and feedback to come through.

 

Someone in one of the threads here had asked why we can't have a fizz control parameter or something to that efffect. I remember that DI had in fact responded to that post and said that there was some discussion about it but I can't remember what or if he said something about why they decided against it. I think it would be a very useful feature for those of us who want the feedback and harmonics - without the fizz.

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But I never pointed my amp at my knees. I always played in pro bands doing rock music and usually had a road manager who would raise hell if you were blowing offstage like that. 

 

And to cruisinon2, I get what you are saying. But you wouldn't be correct. 

Once I dialed in an amp through a 4x12 speaker...it never sounded harsh up close. That's how I dialed it in...right on top of it. And I always used a stand to angle my cabs back to hit my ears as well as having it pumped back to me through the monitor mix.

Oh well...I just wish that the "fizz" wasn't there at all. I really love the Helix and like all of you I'm able to hi-cut that out. I just wonder why on Earth they would make it that way on purpose (which I don't believe they did...I think it's just the limits of the technology) so that we wouldn't have to pull back those harsh fizzy frequencies. 

Did they model an amp and say: "Yep, that sounds fizzy right about....THERE.  Now the users can struggle to figure out a way to get the amp to sound good!  Our job is done!"
I don't think they would do that. 

My only question was...aren't we LOSING some of the tone and harmonic distortion that is pleasing to the ear by having to artificially cut frequencies to get rid of the ones that are unpleasing? And IF the whole idea is to get a sound that is the same one you would get AFTER mic'ing up an amp and putting it through a mixer and processors, etc.    Then why would we need to FURTHER eq it after that? See what I'm saying?

If it isn't an "amp in the room" then we shouldn't have to fight off fizz with hi-cuts to begin with. If it's an amp that is already processed and mic'ed up...then that shouldn't be necessary I would think. And it has to be taking away from the tone we COULD achieve if the hi-cut fizz removal wasn't needed. 

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But I never pointed my amp at my knees. I always played in pro bands doing rock music and usually had a road manager who would raise hell if you were blowing offstage like that.

 

 

And IF the whole idea is to get a sound that is the same one you would get AFTER mic'ing up an amp and putting it through a mixer and processors, etc. Then why would we need to FURTHER eq it after that? See what I'm saying?

 

If it isn't an "amp in the room" then we shouldn't have to fight off fizz with hi-cuts to begin with. If it's an amp that is already processed and mic'ed up...then that shouldn't be necessary I would think. And it has to be taking away from the tone we COULD achieve if the hi-cut fizz removal wasn't needed.

Regardless of where you choose to position your head whilst tweaking your sound, the tone changes as you move around relative to the speaker. I've never climbed inside the grill of a cabinet to tweak the sound, and never met anyone else who did either. Seems to me that if you tweak all the harshness out up close, it's gonna sound dead and muffled a few feet away, but that's really neither here nor there...you like what you like, and it really has nothing to do with the question at hand anyway.

 

The question is "why is there fizz?" There's fizz because they're modeling a close-mic'ed cabinet. Any additional EQ or post-processing is up to you...it's not "included". They're modeling a raw mic signal. Baking in additional EQ would be counterproductive. Not only would it make the 57 or the 421 (or whatever mic) not sound authentic, but they'd be trying to guess at what someone else will find pleasing to the ear. It's a losing battle. They've given us as blank a slate as there is...like it or not, that blank slate has the same high end sizzle that every guitar speaker in the world possesses up close.

 

It's work to get rid of, and I wish I didn't have to do it too. Point is, I'm not sure there's any other way for them to do it. The "amp in the room"thing that so many lust after would require modeling a dizzying number of mic positions and distances in an 180 degree arc from the cabinet. In front, above, left, right...it would be a logistical nightmare, take forever to create each one, and Helix would end up costing Fractal money....

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I don't know how to say "I always had my amp angled back AND coming at me blasting loud through my floor monitor" any other way to convince you that my amp sound never was harsh and never needed any high-cut. 
It doesn't matter anyway. It is what it is. 
Again, I can't help but think I'm losing something by having to hi-cut the whole processed guitar sound at the end of the chain. I'm pretty sure that on a long sustained note as it goes into harmonic feedback there is something being lost there. 
Can't say for sure...because when I get the note sustaining like that and bypass the EQ the difference in sound fools my ears anyway at that point.

Anyway, it was just a thought. :)  Thanks for the discussion.

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I think this is really the key to the whole issue.

.....

It's just like a guitar.  No guitar will make you a better guitar player.  Only practice and knowledge will do that.  Same with the Helix.

 

sigh

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The question is "why is there fizz?" There's fizz because they're modeling a close-mic'ed cabinet. Any additional EQ or post-processing is up to you...it's not "included". They're modeling a raw mic signal. Baking in additional EQ would be counterproductive. Not only would it make the 57 or the 421 (or whatever mic) not sound authentic, but they'd be trying to guess at what someone else will find pleasing to the ear. It's a losing battle. They've given us as blank a slate as there is...like it or not, that blank slate has the same high end sizzle that every guitar speaker in the world possesses up close.

It's work to get rid of, and I wish I didn't have to do it too. Point is, I'm not sure there's any other way for them to do it. The "amp in the room"thing that so many lust after would require modeling a dizzying number of mic positions and distances in an 180 degree arc from the cabinet. In front, above, left, right...it would be a logistical nightmare, take forever to create each one, and Helix would end up costing Fractal money....

I think this is exactly right and well said. The reason we have to do the high cut is because we didn't pick the right mic or mic position, or what the mic sees is a bit too bright for what we're looking for. That's not a defect in the technology, its what the technology does right.

 

I see no problem adjusting the EQ of a mic'd cabinet, just like one might do in the studio. And I can see that having that mic'd cabinet distributed through a FRFR monitor or FOH will not be the same as hearing the amp in the room because the positioning and dispersion are so different.

 

Having all the frequencies from the mic'd cabinet to work with provides flexibility to talior the EQ to just what you want, including producing a brighter output then a typical guitar speaker might produce over a wide range.

 

Getting the right mic position is critical. Cap and Cap edge sound very different than cone and cone edge. Helix Cab models don't yet have this capability, but IRs do. That's what gives them additional flexibility.

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<Snip>Getting the right mic position is critical. Cap and Cap edge sound very different than cone and cone edge. Helix Cab models don't yet have this capability, but IRs do. That's what gives them additional flexibility.

It will be a Great Day, were Helix get this parameter! Mic Aim (directional orientation) would also be very useful.
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It will be a Great Day, were Helix get this parameter! Mic Aim (directional orientation) would also be very useful.

Complete agreement here!

I really like the HX cabs. I almost always run them in parallel though.  I am sure I will need to use IRs at some point, but if this parameter was introduced that would eliminate one advantage that IRs clearly have over the HX cabs.

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I think being able to change the mic angle and position in relation to the speaker cone, as well as the distance from the cone will make a difference here.

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I think being able to change the mic angle and position in relation to the speaker cone, as well as the distance from the cone will make a difference here.

 

 

Wall of Sound plugin does this. Be nice if Line 6 would do something similar I think... 

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