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ZSchneidi

First steps with the Helix seem a bit disappointing

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Hi guys since yesterday i am an owner of the Helix after at least a year of studiying the system and its potential.

 

I've seen alot of videos and listen to its sound so many times.

I know that the Helix is not the best sounding system out there but got me with its overall package.

 

Yesterday I unboxed the system and pluged it right into my home cinema sound system and

into my PC using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface.

But at the moment im a bit disapointed with the sound i get. It seem to sound extremly thin.

Not full range or anything just pretty thin although the base and all seem to be outputed.

I had the hope that the Helix might get me a valve amp like sound to more full and mid heavy sounding.

The Helix out of the box seem to sound pretty high freq. heavy and pretty digital sounding.

 

That is what i heard in a lot of reviews too. But i heard so many guys playing on the Helix and it sounded pretty good and all.

 

Did you guys had to do alot of tweaking and stuff to get this thing to sound actually good ?

I know i have to go with IRs to get the most out of the system and hope i get my hands on IRs in the next few days.

 

But maybe you have some usefull tips on setting this bad boy up to sound not too digital.

The point that bugs me the most is that almost every Amp und distortion Pedal seem to sound the same with this

high gain characteristic.

 

Any advise on tuning the system ?

 

I know from my start with my last multi-effects system that i need some time to get used to the Helix.

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I have gone through 3 stages of learning on my helix. I find rolling the high cut on the cabs way back helps gid rid of the digi sound. I also am now using the guitar pad. Dont be fooled, this thing will sound like you want, after about 2 weeks I was wondering myself, but now I am lost in helix glory! It is a tweakers machine, but once you get a feel for it, it is so fast and easy to do.

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I have the same hope.

One big selling point was the fact that i can use IRs on the system. With them i definitly should get rid of the digital sound.

And all in all i guess i have to get into the process of defining my own sound via EQ and specific AMP settings ect.

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Another thing to note is that Helix is designed for use with two optional output situations: a guitar amp or a PA system. Your home theatre audio system is neither. To get the best results from that system you should find the settings that are as neutral as possible in terms of EQ.

 

I don't know about your home theatre system but mine is surround sound and has many built-in presets. None of the presets are designed to be flat in terms of EQ. I expect it would take some tweaking of the theatre system to get something resembling a PA/FRFR sound from Helix.

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Another thing to note is that Helix is designed for use with two optional output situations: a guitar amp or a PA system. Your home theatre audio system is neither. To get the best results from that system you should find the settings that are as neutral as possible in terms of EQ.

 

I don't know about your home theatre system but mine is surround sound and has many built-in presets. None of the presets are designed to be flat in terms of EQ. I expect it would take some tweaking of the theatre system to get something resembling a PA/FRFR sound from Helix.

^this^

 

You've dropped $1500 on the Helix, spend another $250-350 on a single 10" powered PA speaker (Alto TS210 or JBL Eon 610) and it will be a world of difference. Also, don't judge the capabilities of the Helix based off of the factory presets. Just drop in an amp, cabinet, and a reverb in between without any tweaks and it will be lots better than most of the factory presets. 

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You are right. My theatre isn't neutral at all. That was just a try to get the most wide tone with the first few hours of trying.

The normal use case für me is to use the Helix on my PC interface to my studio monitors. That is pretty neutral.

 

What i experienced too was that i had to crank the output volume to at least 70-80% on the Helix in order to get any tone

to my monitors. Is that normal below 60% i couldn't hear almost nothing.

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Get a pair of FRFR or Studio powered monitors. Helix (or any other guitar processor) only sounds as good as what you plug it into.

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I get plenty of volume through my studio monitors even with my Helix master output level at 25% or so. Do you have a level setting on your monitors? Try raising that. Ideally it has a 'notched' position - start there.

 

Also try setting the Helix output level to Line for the outputs you are sending to your monitors (XLR or 1/4").

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@jbuhajla

 

That was the biggest shocker as i was going throu the factory presets. I still rember the factory presets from my old system those suck pretty bad.

I thought that the Helix would come with some realy good presets as some review said that they were good.

 

That was the most disappointing thing i noticed right out of the box.

 

But i emidiatly started to sculpt my own preset and could get a way better sound that way.

It is a subjective topic anyways so im now i have to spend time on getting my sound that i want.

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I typed a big long answer to this then just deleted it all as it wasn't pleasant although it was informative. Here is a much shorter, more polite, less informative version:

 

Take what you think you know about Helix and scrap it all.

 

Concentrate on gain staging and you should try IRs if you want that instantly usable baked in sound. Remember it won't have that amp in the room sound as it is not an amp in the room. Have a listen to isolated guitar tracks from well known artists/bands and look for tracks you know. You will be surprised at how 'bad/fizzy' they sound - although they don't actually sound bad at all.

 

Using a microphone/s to record a guitar cab is EXACTLY what Helix simulates and it does it well (including the HX cabs); There is work to be done to any sound that has been recorded and anything with as much energy as guitar tracks (especially high gain tracks) will sound harsh/fizzy in isolation. low and high pass cuts need to be made to tame sound somewhat with EQ where required (if at all).

 

I feel somewhat you didn't research this a lot as you stated in your post or you would have seen this same stale topic covered many times by new comers who fail to get the sound in their head fed back to their ears. It's a learning and experience thing.

 

If you are a genuine Helix user then welcome to the forum and feel free to ask questions (try not to be quite as negative eh?) however if you are one of the other brands fan boys trolling us then I hope your PC melts.

 

Cheers

 

Steevo

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@Steevo

 

You have a bad day or anything ? I dont know why the pointless hate comment at the end but ok i will take that one if you feel better now.

 

First of all i see you point here and i have to admit that i didn't take that into consideration and it sound pausible to me.

So that is in fact a point for you and im sure that is nothing i can't get used to.

 

Second im not a fan boy that tries to troll someone. I don't even know where you get an idea like that.

If I were a troll why the heck would i spend that amount of money only to come here and tell you the system is lollipop.

I didn't even said anything like that.

 

Only thing i said is that im disappointed in the lack of realism and diversity in the effect section.

But that may be because i'm not even used to get the full potential out of the system yet.

 

So yeah i guess i have to do alot of sound sculpting with this system to get the sound im searching for.

And im willing to learn how to get to that point.

 

Believe me im serious about the Helix why would i waste Money and Time if i wasn't.

 

So yeah cheers and i dont wish you anything bad like u did ;)

I'm pretty curious what you wrote at the first attempt ^^

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I feel fairly certain by your comments that your main problem is the integration of the Helix with your sound system. The fact that you have to turn the Helix up to 80% to even hear it says a lot. With my FRFR, I normally run the Helix at about 10 o'clock. I never have it past 12 o'clock.

I've only used the Helix one time with cheap headphones, because it sounded like total doo doo. That wasn't a fault with the Helix.

IMO, the Helix is a pro piece of gear meant to be used on stage with a flat system, pushing some air. It works great in that situation, and if you work backwards from there it can work fine in the bedroom with a flat system that doesn't move as much air. My experience is that with a smaller playback system or into a guitar cab, the results aren't as favorable. Again, just my opinion.

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Well i guess in my living room i can't move to much air because this would lead to other problems ^^

And this may be one issue that the system might lose some authenticity in such environmet.

 

I'm currently viewing some tone sculpting tutorials and it is indeed alot of work to get the tone i

seek. So i will just need some patience and i guess i will learn to love the system.

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You don't have to move air for Helix to sound good, you just need some fairly good quality powered monitors to listen thru and you are set.

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But i emidiatly started to sculpt my own preset and could get a way better sound that way.

It is a subjective topic anyways so im now i have to spend time on getting my sound that i want.

If you are just  playing at home for more recording purposes, maybe a good set of open backed headphones would serve you well. I have found that the open backed versions are more representative to the bass response of PA speakers, yet crystal clear in the mids and highs. Then, you can crank it up and not worry about the neighbors. Closed type headphones really accentuate the bass frequencies, so you land up turning the bass down in your presets. If you then use that preset through PA or studio monitors, it will land up sounding thin. 

 

I started out building my presets with a good set of AudioTechnica in ear monitors, but when I played through our QSC PA system, my presets were a bit "boomy" in the low end. It's easy enough to adjust with the global EQ. I now build my presets on a couple of powered PA speakers, and my presets transition very well over to the QSC system with no eq required. 

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Well i guess in my living room i can't move to much air because this would lead to other problems ^^

And this may be one issue that the system might lose some authenticity in such environmet.

 

I'm currently viewing some tone sculpting tutorials and it is indeed alot of work to get the tone i

seek. So i will just need some patience and i guess i will learn to love the system.

 

One thing I think happens when using a home theater sound system is the system is looking for a 5.1 or 7.1 dolby signal but is only getting a stereo signal. And depending on your sound system, it can do different things. I had a system that would send no sound to the sub woofer when it was in dolby mode when I had a guitar gizmo hooked up so I lost much of my lows. But I've heard of other people having good luck with theater systems. So it seems like you're playing russian roulette when hooking up to a home theater/cinema system. It just depends on how it automatically processes whatever signal it gets. Hey!!! What about adding a dolby capability to the Helix!!!! (that is a joke)

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Well, I guess first things first.  Let's just concentrate on what and how you're hooked up because that appears to be the big disconnect.

 

Let's dismiss the home stereo system because that's really consumer gear.  After all you wouldn't expect to use your home stereo as a PA system.  So let's concentrate on the PC side for now.

 

You mentioned you were going through your FocusRite Scarlett 2i4 into your studio monitors.  First, what kind of monitors are we talking about?  I'm assuming they're pro audio powered studio monitors of some sort such as JBL LSR305, Yamaha HS5/HS7/HS8, PreSonus R65, or other comparable studio monitors?  If so I'd suggest to eliminate some possibilities you hook those powered studio monitors directly up to the Helix either 1/4" out or XLR out and see if that makes a difference.  To start with, set the powered monitor volume/gain setting to halfway between 0 and maximum.

 

There are WAY too many of us here that have had great experiences right out of the box with Helix as long as we were using some form of pro gear output like powered studio monitors, powered stage monitors, or into the loop return on a stage amp to bypass the preamp stage of the amp, or even a good pair of pro quality headsests.  So it's clear to me that this issue isn't so much with the Helix as it is getting you on board with the right kind of gear to ensure you're hearing things correctly.

 

Also, given you have a pro audio set of studio monitors, make sure the settings on the monitors are set to the flattest settings possible.  You don't want any additional coloration to the tone to be added to the Helix output.

 

All that being said, it is also possible that your ears are wanting to hear something closer to an amp rather than a polished studio sound which is what the Helix with a normally configured preset is going to output.  It shouldn't sound "thin" but you could very well be hearing additional highs and lows that you normally wouldn't hear using just a standard guitar amp cabinet.  Although guitar amp cabinets cover the full range of frequencies, they don't cover them all equally and tend to be far more oriented to frequencies in the 800 to maybe 2,500 hz, and most dominant in the 1000 to 1500 hz.

 

That's not a problem because within each cabinet block you can modify the hi-cut parameter which will focus the output more closely to that of a typical guitar cabinet.  Most of us find that setting a hi-cut in the 3.8khz range gets pretty close, but you can play with that a bit depending on the guitar and pickups being used, the Helix cabinet model being used, the mic model being used, and the position of the mic model.

 

I would say that if you are using a decent pro audio set of powered studio monitors plugged directly into the Helix, you should get a pretty decent sound with plenty of volume from any of the presets that may or may not need some adjustment.  If not, there may be something wrong elsewhere, but I'd start there for sure.

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What i experienced too was that i had to crank the output volume to at least 70-80% on the Helix in order to get any tone

to my monitors. Is that normal below 60% i couldn't hear almost nothing.

 

In global settings, set your outputs to line level, that is if you have line inputs on whatever you're using as an amplifier. They're louder than mic inputs. Also (and I don't exactly know why, but) quarter inch cables are louder than XLR cables in the Helix. You should be able to get plenty of output without turning your Helix up much past 12 o'clock.

 

@jbuhajla

 

That was the biggest shocker as i was going throu the factory presets. I still rember the factory presets from my old system those suck pretty bad.

I thought that the Helix would come with some realy good presets as some review said that they were good.

 

That was the most disappointing thing i noticed right out of the box.

 

But i emidiatly started to sculpt my own preset and could get a way better sound that way.

It is a subjective topic anyways so im now i have to spend time on getting my sound that i want.

 

Most digital sound products have crappy presets and Line 6 is no exception. I knew this going in, having used several Line 6 products before Helix. When I first got mine, I checked out the presets out of curiosity and there were a couple I kind of liked, but not enough to use as a starting point for building my own patches. After that, I started building my own patches, starting with just an amp and cab block. Within an hour, things were starting to sound much better. It's actually much easier and faster to tweak the Helix than it is with any previous Line 6 preamp/processors. 

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I had a similar learning curve. For me I had a honeymoon period where everything was great, then I started getting more critical and discerning and I found I was getting frustrated with Helix, things just sounded bad! There were a couple of big lessons I learned that really turned my frown upside down, as it were. The first was to do away with the notion that all of my favorite guitar tones were going pour forth from Helix like a magical fountain. That just isn't the case. It's different from plugging into a tube amp, you have to put some time into it. Second, don't limit yourself to the cabinets that are associated with the amp you're using, and absolutely DO consider using two cabs in parallel (two blocks on parallel paths, not a dual cab block). I credit this video right here with changing everything for me:

 

Others will tell you to load some IRs, but my advice would be to spend time learning to get what you want out of the stock cabs first. The stuff you learn through that process will make moving into IRs much easier and you'll get a lot more out of them.

 

Don't be afraid to use the Hi/Low cuts in the cab blocks. The high cuts can tame fizzy top end and the low cuts can rein in a boomy low end. I generally have them assigned to snapshots so that I can run them differently for different tones: what makes a crunchy tone sound good may make a clean tone a bit dull and what lets a clean tone sparkle may well be unpleasant when you crank the gain.

 

Lastly, while it's been said a few times in this thread, I don't think your home theater system is doing you any favors as a monitor. Consider investing in a monitor that is appropriate to the application and you'll have a better experience. An FRFR monitor or PA speakers or some studio monitors or even a good pair of reference headphones are all very good options. As for the volume issue, there should be more than plenty on tap. I run Helix through an Atomic CLR cab and at about 10:00 on the Helix volume it'll rattle the rafters.

 

Good luck. I can tell you from my own experience that once you get over the big hump in the middle of the learning curve Helix becomes a beast and you'll be able to get tones from your head to your speakers in no time. It's worth it!

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@Steevo

 

You have a bad day or anything ? I dont know why the pointless hate comment at the end but ok i will take that one if you feel better now.

 

First of all i see you point here and i have to admit that i didn't take that into consideration and it sound pausible to me.

So that is in fact a point for you and im sure that is nothing i can't get used to.

 

Second im not a fan boy that tries to troll someone. I don't even know where you get an idea like that.

If I were a troll why the heck would i spend that amount of money only to come here and tell you the system is lollipop.

I didn't even said anything like that.

 

Only thing i said is that im disappointed in the lack of realism and diversity in the effect section.

But that may be because i'm not even used to get the full potential out of the system yet.

 

So yeah i guess i have to do alot of sound sculpting with this system to get the sound im searching for.

And im willing to learn how to get to that point.

 

Believe me im serious about the Helix why would i waste Money and Time if i wasn't.

 

So yeah cheers and i dont wish you anything bad like u did ;)

I'm pretty curious what you wrote at the first attempt ^^

 

OK..Pointless hate comment? Did you actually read what I wrote? If you read correctly then as a genuine Helix user you will see I bare you no ill will whatsoever but as usual the focus was on the part of my post which is of no use to you. The computer melting part was only if you are a dirty troll. Trolls on this forum start their threads very much like you did this one. I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking this.

 

Anyways I see I got -1 reputation from 'ChubbyJerk' and 'Fazer1k143' for trying to help. Good job ChubbyJerk and Fazer1k143. Did either of you manage to add any advice for our new member ZSchneidi? No you didn't...feel free to down vote this post too.

 

My original post was a rant about trolls then a rant about peoples approach to Helix based on poor YouTube demonstrations where they didn't bother to learn much about it before putting it alongside their usual brand of device. Then some actual advice was thrown in along the same lines as what I wrote but more about IRs and EQ.

 

You can take what I posted or leave it but if you are going to take anything at least take the important bits. There are lots of threads of discussion on here covering a wide range of Helix related topics (some of them actually delve into more technical areas which is good) and a lot of generous content from helpful people.

 

edit: changed 'then' to 'them' in last paragraph

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I know that the Helix is not the best sounding system out there but got me with its overall package.

Hi ZSchneidi,

Welcome to the forum!

Everything is subjective of course, but there are many, many people who believe Helix is indeed the best-sounding system out there. As your playback system is easily 50% of your tone, a Kemper or Fractal product (or whatever you've heard rumored to sound the best) is also going to also sound thin through those same hi-fi speakers. The sonic difference between top-tier modelers is never glaringly obvious, even to golden-ear engineers and first-call session guitarists, so if something sounds radically off, don't always assume it's Helix:

  • Modelers (including Kemper, Fractal, Amplifire, POD, and Helix) represent the mic'ed, recorded sound of an amp, not the experience of actually standing in front of a real amp, pointed at the back of your knees. This is not a limitation of modeling; it's a limitation of the laws of physics—you can't emulate the sound of a speaker without recording the speaker with a mic (which affects the sound), a cable (which affects the sound), a mic pre (which affects the sound), an A/D converter (which affects the sound), the acoustics of the room (which affect the sound), and some sort of speaker system to hear it all (which is at least FIFTY PERCENT of the sound!). Studio musicians and professionals used to in-ears or stage monitors gravitate to modelers with ease; musicians accustomed to a real amp generally have a harder time—and this is totally fine. In the meantime, there's nothing wrong with connecting Helix to your real amp, either as a pedalboard or in 4-Cable Method. Later you can try out a decent, flat-ish PA speaker (like those mentioned by others above) to see if a fullish-range system is enough to scratch that amp-in-the-room itch
  • The notion that modelers sound "digital" is a misnomer. Here's the Helix listening challenge; a few people can reliably call out which is Helix and which is the amp, but zero indicators are based on any sort of digital artifact. If a Helix, Kemper, or Fractal model or profile sounds digital, the "digitalness" would have been present in the original tube amp or effect that was modeled (like how harsh and cold a real Plexi can sound on record, especially when cranked)
  • Modelers almost always require some setup and knowledge of gain staging. An amp is easy—you just plug in and go. Modelers are at the mercy of whatever you plug it into. Nine times out of ten, your speaker system is the weak link. Barring that, setting input and output levels is key. DunedinDragon's post above is a good starting point
  • If you have a decent pair of high-impedance headphones connected directly to the back of Helix, they'll be a much better gauge of how recorded tracks sound through Helix
  • Helix has a high-quality 8-in/8-out audio interface built in; depending on your needs, you may not need to connect it to your Focusrite at all
  • All presets suck. They'll always sound sub-par unless your guitar, playback system, hearing, playing style, and musical tastes are all similar to the person who made the preset

I know i have to go with IRs to get the most out of the system and hope i get my hands on IRs in the next few days.

There are many, many people who don't require IRs to get the most out of the system. However, the real practical advantages of IRs are two-fold:

  • Many IRs are made up of multiple mics through tube mic pres and other outboard that impart a bit of juju—that is, they purposely color the sound of the actual cabinet. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's different from Helix's cabs, which were designed to be extremely transparent and accurate
  • The sheer number of IRs almost guarantees you'll find exactly what you're looking for. It's the difference between dating in a small town and dating in LA. (But much like dating in LA, finding the right IR can be a huge, time-consuming effort!)

It's also important to note that Helix's own cabs are IRs.

 

Don't give up, and there are tons of people both here and on Chad Boston's Helix Users Group Facebook page that can help you along the way. Good luck!

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  • Many IRs are made up of multiple mics through tube mic pres and other outboard that impart a bit of juju—that is, they purposely color the sound of the actual cabinet. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's
  • The sheer number of IRs almost guarantees you'll find exactly what you're looking for. It's the difference between dating in a small town and dating in LA. (But much like dating in LA, finding the right IR can be a huge, time-consuming effort!)
And just like dating in LA, a good number of the IRs you find are infected with a nasty virus...

 

I kid... I kid...

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And just like dating in LA, a good number of the IRs you find are infected with a nasty virus...

That's why I found my IR in Austin.  :wub:

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   While it's a valid point about powered studio monitors or FRFR's, let's not forget that most people enjoy listening to their favourite music on on one or another type of Home Cinema/HIFi systems and they do sound good! Yes, not like studio monitors, but good enough to fall in love with you guitar hero's tone, right?

   Any half decent system does have "stereo" preset and most of them have "source direct" mode where internal EQ is bypassed. I've had my helix connected to my Yamaha Home Theatre system and yes, id did sound a bit off at first. But then I've connected it to monitors and it still sounded off! Different flavour off, but still off. Then I've gained some knowledge on proper gain staging and such as DI mentioned above, studied some great patches from CBTL, Glenn DaLaune, Marco Fanton and Freman and you know what - my Helix now sounds awesome regardless whether it's connected to monitors or my living room's Home Cinema. In fact, it sounds more like the tunes you hear on the radio when it's connected to Home Cinema.

   There's no magic here - it just requires a bit of learning. There's no single Golden IR, or "best patch available from..." it's all matter of finding best combination that work for your gear and your playing style. I do believe you can make it sound good on your current system, but it takes quite a bit of tweaking. Putting Looper block first in your patch will allow you to record raw guitar and then tweak it to taste (with both hands free!), but it will not show the difference that Guitar In-Pad makes or different Impedance settings. For that you just need to keep playing/recording separately. Personally, I've found that unlike other modelers, Helix really does react fantastically to my guitar's tone knobs and I find myself using those far more now.

   And just like DI said - you don't need an audio interface. Your Helix already is a fantastic one, that allows you to listen to sounds from your guitar, from your computer, any external sources that you can connect in FX loops AND re-amp at the same time. Just make sure you monitor from the Helix and not from your computer, or else the Evil Latency Demon will cause you age too early...  :-)

 

   Stick around this group as there's ton of collective wisdom, visit helixhelp.com and go through helix tips documents, analyse some good patches (there are awesome ones from CBTL for which he also provides YT videos, watch the one Glenn did about David Gilmour's Sound-on-Sound, or buy some if you have money and wish to do so). Try how it sounds through headphones, and you can have good Sony or Sennheiser ones for relatively small money (just pay attention to how is the headphones output configured in Global Settings - it can sound harsh and clipping, there's whole thread about it). Try building your own patches from scratch with good gain staging (watch Scott on his YT Helix Channel - ton of good practices to be learned). Be patient and results will come!

 

Cheers,

 

-Tom-

 

...and don't mind Steevo - he's almost as old as me and just a bit tired of defending our favourite toy. He means no harm to good people. But yes, Helix IS one of best sounding once mastered...   :-)

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Hello guys thanks for your productive comments on this.

 

I guess my biggest problem so far was that i didn't quite understand the philosophy behind helix.

Helix is more the perfect representation of a clinical environment. While i was expecting a real life

representation. Helix is more the studio approach while i want more the backyard sound style ;)

 

I'm now at the point where i understand that i have to put a lot more afford into this then i was expecting.

 

Its not my sound setup that leads to my frustration.

I'm using Prodipe Pro 8 aktive studio monitors. Which may not be the best but they do their job.

And i also tried my Beyerdynamic dt 990 pro headphones direct into the system.

 

 

Both sound thin but thats not necessarily a bad thing because thats whats needed for recording.

 

I was expecting this as you said "amp in the room feel" and there the frustration began.

I started building my own presets and got good results but i understand that i have no idea what I'm doing.

 

First I need to learn how the signal chain works and where i need to put each component to get a decent result.

Then I have to put a lot of work into tweaking the sound characteristic.

And I need to get creative to get this realistic life environment sound scenario.

 

What I want is this dirty, grungy and absolutely not clinical sound and that will require some work to achieve.

 

In the next few day i will sit on my lollipop and try to understand the signal chain and work hard to get some sounds I am

looking for and I'm excited of what i can achieve with the system.

 

So thank you guys for not bashing me for talking bad about your favorite toy ^^

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Somewhat of a different approach but do you have an amp available to you? Maybe trying plugging into the FX return on it and start from there. I was in a similar boat when I first switched to the Helix and I found working with something I was familiar with (amp in room sound) helped get me over the hump to better understand the process. Once I was comfortable with constructing my patches that way then I proceeded to work them into more of an "in the box sound" and running FRFR. Sometimes baby steps isn't a bad thing and can keep you from getting to overwhelmed because there are a huge amount of options and variations that you can put together. It's a deep rabbit hole.

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Somewhat of a different approach but do you have an amp available to you? Maybe trying plugging into the FX return on it and start from there. I was in a similar boat when I first switched to the Helix and I found working with something I was familiar with (amp in room sound) helped get me over the hump to better understand the process. Once I was comfortable with constructing my patches that way then I proceeded to work them into more of an "in the box sound" and running FRFR. Sometimes baby steps isn't a bad thing and can keep you from getting to overwhelmed because there are a huge amount of options and variations that you can put together. It's a deep rabbit hole.

 

I don't think anyone could say it better.

 

For many of us, this wasn't a huge leap because we came at it after several years of dealing with different modeling technologies from modeling amps, to lower end modeling boards like the Line 6 HD500X, or others.  And to be honest it took all of us a period of time to really grasp the real concept of modeling and how to make it work for us effectively.  So in our cases, particularly mine, I knew from day one of buying the Helix how I intended to configure it into my rig, and what equipment I would use and need (studio monitors, stage monitors, headphones, etc.)

 

For example, when I bought my Helix I already owned a Yamaha DXR12 stage monitor which I was using with my HD500X.  So there was no guesswork at all about how I would hook it up and what needed to be done with tailoring it to my needs.  So just be patient.  It's a lot to take in, but once you get the grasp of looking at your Helix as if it's a traveling recording studio in a box that can also be used for live performances, things will start to make sense.

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If you're going to play out live, it helps to assemble/tweak your sounds thru FRFR monitor/s or PA speaker/s.

This way, you can listen at gig level... and have a pretty good indication of your live sound.

A nice powered wedge will allow you to get volume loud enough where it feels more (not exactly like) an amp.

 

FWIW, I've got a Dual Rectifier with Friedman 4x12 sitting right next to my Helix FRFR rig.

I've got my sound dialed in on Helix>FRFR... and now prefer playing thru it vs. the Dual Rectifier>4x12.

I created my own Cab IRs and hardware Neve EQ IRs.  Cabs I like, mic'd the way I like, and a prime-time EQ to fine tune the tones

With Helix, you have a flexible environment where you can create *your* sound.  

 

It takes some time to get comfortable using any of the higher end modelers.

But the more time/experience you have, the better sound you can assemble.

The more time you spend, the more the final result will sound like you.

One small example:  I was initially struggling with keeping the bottom end tight.

Solution for me was to use a high-pass filter prior to the Amp Block.  Problem solved.

That's the type of thing only experience will teach.

 

I'd recommend starting with Helix connected to a decent FRFR monitor.

Bring up an Amp Block and a Cab Block.

Tweak the Amp and Cab until the sound is in the ballpark.

Don't forget you can use pre/post EQ to further shape the sound.

Focus on this first.

 

Regarding presets:

Keep in mind that the person creating them most likely was using a different guitar.

If a patch was created using a Tele, it's going to sound different when you're playing a Les Paul.

The context of that patch has changed... and just may not work.

Check out presets as examples of what's possible.

Then, spend the time to create your own sounds.

As you learn and create better results, you can then use those patches as templates for new creations (greatly speeding up the process).

 

Regarding speakers:

Even with high-end studio monitors, it's important to realize that (while they're accurate) there's no way 8" woofers are going to recreate the SPL of a 4x12 cab pushed by a 100w tube head.

If that's what you're hearing in your head (and missing), the answer is to get a monitoring environment that can create similar SPL.

A pair of 1000w FRFR powered monitors is much more in line with this high SPL scenario.

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Hi guys since yesterday i am an owner of the Helix after at least a year of studiying the system and its potential.

 

I've seen alot of videos and listen to its sound so many times.

I know that the Helix is not the best sounding system out there but got me with its overall package.

 

Yesterday I unboxed the system and pluged it right into my home cinema sound system and

into my PC using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface.

But at the moment im a bit disapointed with the sound i get. It seem to sound extremly thin.

Not full range or anything just pretty thin although the base and all seem to be outputed.

I had the hope that the Helix might get me a valve amp like sound to more full and mid heavy sounding.

The Helix out of the box seem to sound pretty high freq. heavy and pretty digital sounding.

 

That is what i heard in a lot of reviews too. But i heard so many guys playing on the Helix and it sounded pretty good and all.

 

Did you guys had to do alot of tweaking and stuff to get this thing to sound actually good ?

I know i have to go with IRs to get the most out of the system and hope i get my hands on IRs in the next few days.

 

But maybe you have some usefull tips on setting this bad boy up to sound not too digital.

The point that bugs me the most is that almost every Amp und distortion Pedal seem to sound the same with this

high gain characteristic.

 

Any advise on tuning the system ?

 

I know from my start with my last multi-effects system that i need some time to get used to the Helix.

 

Why are you putting Scarlett between Helix and PC since Helix is audio interface by itself?

 

I also got very much volume out of Helix when volume is only about 25-50% and my active monitors volume is about 25%. I also used my last multieffect with surround system and it was ok. I am planning to connect Helix to them also later but I am not expecting to get the sound I get from KRK Rokit 6" active monitors.

 

I was also disappointed to the sound at first but I had studied that the presets sucks so dont be afraid what you hear from Helix at the beginning. I have had mine now about 1.5 weeks and I have much betters sounds not as good as I want but I have not bought yet any IRs and I havent done much tweaking. I know it is going to sound much better with bought IRs and when I learn to use it right.

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Further note about the Kemper, Axe-FX (AX8), and Helix:

 

I've owned and used all of them.

All can create good sounds... or crap sounds.

There are relative strengths/weaknesses with each.

Right now, I have Helix and Axe-FX II XL+ (side-by-side).

While the Axe-FX is a more mature platform (been around much longer), it doesn't blanketly sound better than Helix.

IOW, If the OP had an Axe-FX or Kemper (instead of Helix), he'd be in exactly the same situation.

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Why are you putting Scarlett between Helix and PC since Helix is audio interface by itself?

 

Dedicated audio interfaces (depending on the model) can achieve lower round-trip latency than Helix.  If you're monitoring thru any software processing, this is important.

ie:  I use a Fireface UFX as audio interface... with Helix going in via AES (digital).  Total round-trip latency is 4.3ms at a 48-sample ASIO buffer size 44.1k

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I was expecting this as you said "amp in the room feel" and there the frustration began.

 

Yep, this is extremely common, and all modelers behave this way if you plan on using their full signal path (Amp and Cab blocks). It's the difference between your wife whispering in your ear, and a recording of your wife whispering through your speakers. The latter will never convince you it's actually your wife in the room.

 

The cool thing about modelers, and Helix in particular, is that you can use them in many different ways. If you want that amp-in-the-room sound, bypass any Amp and Cab blocks and run Helix straight into your amp! Once you're happy with the results, try running both pre and post effects with your amp in 4-Cable-Method. Once you're happy with those results, try swapping out your real preamp with one of Helix's modeled preamps, but still through your power amp and cab. And once you're happy with those results, maybe add a fullish-range speaker along with the amp for wet-dry (or two speakers for wet-dry-wet). Transitioning to FRFR can be a long process for some people and there's no reason you EVER have to go there completely. If you're happy with Helix as a pedalboard, or 4CM, or whatever, stay there and make music.  :)

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Regarding speakers:

Even with high-end studio monitors, it's important to realize that (while they're accurate) there's no way 8" woofers are going to recreate the SPL of a 4x12 cab pushed by a 100w tube head.

If that's what you're hearing in your head (and missing), the answer is to get a monitoring environment that can create similar SPL.

A pair of 1000w FRFR powered monitors is much more in line with this high SPL scenario.

Absolutely! And, can also do an exceptional job at lower SPLs. 

{Emphasis Added to quote above}

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I can play for hours at a time using just a pair of 8" Mackie 824's hooked to the main outs of Helix. 

 

Moving air? Pfffft that's overrated... TONE is where it's at my Brothers and Sisters...

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This is far too commonly misunderstood, unknown or overlooked.

It cannot be emphasized enough. {Emphasis Added}

...Helix's own cabs are IRs.

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I can play for hours at a time using just a pair of 8" Mackie 824's hooked to the main outs of Helix.

 

Moving air? Pfffft that's overrated... TONE is where it's at my Brothers and Sisters...

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I respectfully disagree that it's over rated. There's nothing like bouncing some harmonics around the room at band volume and playing off of them. A very satisfying experience. But, not totally necessary.

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This cannot be emphasized enough!

DI's point is far too often overlooked, unknown, or misunderstood:

{Emphasis Added}

 

It's that Eskimo accent he uses...   ;)

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I respectfully disagree that it's over rated. There's nothing like bouncing some harmonics around the room at band volume and playing off of them. A very satisfying experience. But, not totally necessary.

Well as always YMMV and that's ok. I just did it for a few decades and enjoy the "just me" in the band now. And I'm now never late to a gig and can always say turn it down without making anyone butthurt. ;)  

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