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Help me keep my helix


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I want to love the helix, but I'm having a hard time getting it to sound good in the room. I have recorded some with it and have got some good sounds (https://soundcloud.com/ryantolson/i-surrender?in=ryantolson/sets/helix). But in the room, I can't seem to jive with it. I've tried headphones (ATH M40X) and powered monitors (JBL LSR 305). I know these aren't high end monitors and headphones. But do I need high end to sound good. Any advice? Thanks

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Just got some alto ts210's. I had been running into real amps and cabs. When I first added cabs and IRs I was kinda horrified. After tweaking cab high and lows to 5-13 and 120, and learning the sag/hum settings, I am getting fantastic results. I need better headphones, still sounds rough there. Trying it live this weekend, fingers crossed, but very optimistic!!

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The better the equipment the better you will sound. Just like the better the guitar the longer you will play it versus a cheap guitar that hurts your fingers when you try to play it. That said, there are some good alternatives out there that may not be "the best", but still sound very good. Remember, you only have to please you... Search the forums to get an idea on what is used with Helix, and go from there. I can tell you that Helix sounds great to most of us here, so the odds are aginst this issue being a Helix problem. Hope this helps you decide.

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I'm suspecting you don't have sensible EQ on your output.

You don't need top end gear to get a good sound - it might help, but it is diminishing returns as you go up the dollar scale!

The Helix will output full range signal.

Guitar amps don't. Neither do mics - and normally the mic'd signal needs EQing anyhow.

Either in Global EQ or in the IR or cab - (up to you where) start with a solid roll off at 100hz cutting everything below 100Hz dramatically.

Then at say 5.5K cut everything above dramatically.

If a nice new patch is now sounding much better..........that's normal!

Some insist on doing that sort of thing per patch (tweaked to taste) - you could argue that it should be different on every amp/cab combo.

I actually do that in globals and still find I can get all the fine adjustment per patch I want - glassy highs and solid lows - per patch but am always "in the ball park" from the get go.

I also add a little upper mid to assist cut through - but you'll only notice that in a band.

At low volume you might want a little less cut.......our ears are volume dependant.

 

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Given your two methods of listening live (headphones and studio monitors) I'm not sure you're getting an accurate reflection of what your patches will sound like in a live environment.

 

The reason many of us use stage monitors like the TS210's or DXR10's is it's easier and more accurate to set up our patches for a live performance because those speakers will perform in a much more similar fashion to a PA than will a studio monitor or headphone.  In effect, what we dial into our patches at home will be the sound we get at the performance.

 

You have to realize studio monitors and headphones are designed with a different purpose in mind, which is really music reproduction typically in a room.  In the case of your LSR305's those depend upon a bass port in the rear of the cabinet being positioned appropriately near a reflecting surface in order to reproduce adequate bass.  A powered stage monitor, on the other hand, has no such dependencies.  Unlike studio monitors stage monitors project sound solely to the front in a very confined pattern.  This can make them sound somewhat harsh if you're standing too close to them, but are much better for achieving an accurate sound for developing your patch because the sound you dial in at home will be the sound you get in the live performance...no guesswork involved.

 

That being said It's also important to note that working with live sound equipment requires a bit more knowledge than studio monitors or headphones, especially the newer generation of stage monitors.  You have to account for things like bass coupling if they'll be used as floor monitors, and various ways of using low cut filters or contour settings to manage the frequency response curve.  To some degree if you want to use the full range of capabilities of the Helix you have to accept a certain amount of responsibility for understanding live sound reinforcement techniques in order to get good results and to understand how to get good results.  The alternative is to plug into a traditional amp and get a good sound for yourself, but take your chances on what it will sound like to the audience or how it will blend with the rest of the band on stage.

 

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that as simple as the Helix makes things for crafting a sound, the concepts of the Helix run very deep and require a certain amount of knowledge and skill to get what you want out of it.  Blindly adjusting EQ, low cuts, or high cuts based on someone else's recommendations isn't a terribly prudent way of doing things.  They may be using different guitars with different pickups or be playing a different style of music or are using IR's rather than stock cabinets, different mic models with different placements, and so forth.  All of these things play into the way you dial in a patch.  The approaches and techniques I use for a Chet Atkins patch where I'm finger picking my Gretsch hollow body is quite different from what I'll do for a Rolling Stones patch using a Telecaster.  The low cuts and high cuts (if any) will be different, amps will be different, cabinets, mics, and mic placements will be different, EQ (if any) will be different, bias or sag adjustments may be necessary....and all of it will be based on what I'm hearing not what I've been told as far as best settings from someone else.  That's the best way to get the tone YOU want given YOUR situation.  And all of that takes some decent equipment, knowledge and some time to master.

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I want to love the helix, but I'm having a hard time getting it to sound good in the room. I have recorded some with it and have got some good sounds (https://soundcloud.com/ryantolson/i-surrender?in=ryantolson/sets/helix). But in the room, I can't seem to jive with it. I've tried headphones (ATH M40X) and powered monitors (JBL LSR 305). I know these aren't high end monitors and headphones. But do I need high end to sound good. Any advice? Thanks

The biggest initial hurdle with modelers, especially when you're running through any FRFR speaker solution, is to realize that you're not playing an amp. The old rules don't apply. Settings that you'd use on a typical guitar amp likely won't get you the sound you're looking for with any modeler. EQing a pair of small studio monitors or headphones can be a challenge in the beginning. I have that very same pair of monitors, and I'm quite happy with the tone I get. But if it's late at night and I switch to headphones, I have to EQ things differently. Some of it is environmental... my little "studio" isn't exactly ideal. It's a fully carpeted room with a big fluffy couch in the corner. It's the room where treble goes to die. So what works with the monitors sounds like an ice pick through headphones. I keep a different EQ block at the end of the chain that I can toggle on/off depending on how I'm listening.

 

Bottom line is, there are growing pains with this kind of gear, and it typically takes a great deal of experimentation until you hit on what works for you. And whatever settings you end up with don't have to "make sense". The end result is all that matters... just keep turning knobs until it sounds good.

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It's been about 6 months for me, and I am just now getting very close to "my" sound. It still sounds different when I listen to that same group of presets through headphones, and it will sound different still in a different set of headphones. 

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It's been about 6 months for me, and I am just now getting very close to "my" sound. It still sounds different when I listen to that same group of presets through headphones, and it will sound different still in a different set of headphones.

And if you save a few duplicate patches of the ones you're using most today, and go back and listen to them 6 months from now, you'll probably wonder what the hell you were thinking ;)... that's happened to me more than once.

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^^^ this, constantly.

 

Yesterday we had a Boston Helix users "meetup", and all my patches were seriously dull, had to whack the global EQ a lot. At home, I feel like many of them are on the edge of obnoxiously bright. Same Alesis FRFR.

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^^^ this, constantly.

 

Yesterday we had a Boston Helix users "meetup", and all my patches were seriously dull, had to whack the global EQ a lot. At home, I feel like many of them are on the edge of obnoxiously bright. Same Alesis FRFR.

Could be the room...if you're used to playing in a reflective environment with lots of natural reverb, the highs are gonna bounce around and be irritating, especially at volume. Take the same patch to a dead room, and it'll sound like there's a blanket over the speaker.

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A lot of it is what you're use to hearing. Going from guitar amp and cab to Helix in a FRFR (PA style cabinet) to IEMs are three very different experiences, even if the tone is similar in each case. The feel will be different, as will the interaction between the guitar and your playback system. A FRFR is going to distribute a lot more highs more evenly. If you have it on the floor pointed at you, its going to sound pretty bright/harsh. IEMs, especially if run mono and with a whole band mix will loose the spatial effect of an amp in the room. These are all compromises. No question a real amp in the room is going to sound and feel good. Helix with a good FRFR, maybe stereo, will sound very different, but good in another way. And its a lot more flexible. Helix into IEMs will help you hear your contribution to the overall mix, is very flexible and will protect your hearing. Frankly this is the bottom line, and its unarguably worth giving up a bit of tone and feel to know how you're fitting into the total mix, and not loose your hearing.

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