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Advice Needed on Helix ...


Alchemist500
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New Member Here ... Hello to all on the forum!   Been reading posts on and off for years, though.

 

Purchased a Helix a few weeks ago.  Have a variety of tube amps ... Fenders, Vox, THD, /13, etc.  Have used and liked digital gear.  Was using a GT-10 in 4 cable mode with amps for last several years, just for delays and modulation and it worked great.  Heard the Helix and had to get it ... Started as a 4cm setup with my Bookie Mark V 35 and it sounds absolutely fantastic.  Am even using some amp sims which I didn't think I'd use as I really like the preamp of the Boogie.  For my home studio, I use a couple of Keyboard Amps (Traynors) for loops, drums, etc. when I jam with friends and for song writing.  They've been great and dependable. 

 

I plugged the Helix direct into the keyboard amps with full patches (not the ones I use in 4cm) and it sounded great ... much better than the GT-10 did ... Got me thinking...  Do I want to spring for a full blown FRFR setup and how much better would it sound than my current setup? 

 

So here's the question ... What FRFR setup between ... let's say ... the Line6 stagesource, Firehawk 1500, Atomic CLR and the Friedman FRFR cabinet would give me the best results in your opinion?   I would sell my Traynor's and use them for jamming, loops, drum tracks in addition to, at times, as my amplifier from the Helix when I don't want to use a 4cm with a tube amp.  

 

Any suggestions?

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Over on TGP Modeling forum, the Atomic CLR is one of the most highly regarded FRFR monitors.  Pricey, but if you're looking for the best, that's probably your ticket.

 

Regarding how much better it will sound compared to your current setup... that's hard to say.

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So here's the question ... What FRFR setup between ... let's say ... the Line6 stagesource, Firehawk 1500, Atomic CLR and the Friedman FRFR cabinet would give me the best results in your opinion? I would sell my Traynor's and use them for jamming, loops, drum tracks in addition to, at times, as my amplifier from the Helix when I don't want to use a 4cm with a tube amp.

 

Any suggestions?

It's a question that gets asked all lot around here... trouble is there's no real answer. It's like arguing that your "Red Delicious" is better than my "Honeycrisp"...at the end of the day, were just two guys with apples.

 

The local forum-dwellers use all sorts of FRFR speaker solutions, from the inexpensive to the insanely priced, and get good results either way. Figuring out HOW to get a particular speaker(s) to sound good is the tricky part... doesn't much matter how much it cost, or what claims are made on the spec sheet. Not all "FRFR" stuff is created equal... they'll all have slightly different response cures, and if you lined up three different ones and played the same patch through each one, you can still expect to hear differences. But most importantly, NONE OF THEM are gonna sound ANYTHING like your amp does. There tends to be an adjustment period moving to an FRFR rig. Any patches created through your amp will have to be re-worked. A lot. They are very different animals.

 

Bottom line is, you should be able to get good results with anything you choose, provided that you put the time in and figure out what you'll need to tweak. For most of us "regular" folks, it'll come down to how much you're willing to spend.

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It's a question that gets asked all lot around here... trouble is there's no real answer. It's like arguing that your "Red Delicious" is better than my "Honeycrisp"...at the end of the day, were just two guys with apples.

 

The local forum-dwellers use all sorts of FRFR speaker solutions, from the inexpensive to the insanely priced, and get good results either way. Not all "FRFR" stuff is created equal... they'll all have slightly different response cures, and if you lined up three different ones and played the same patch through each one, you can still expect to hear differences. But most importantly, NONE OF THEM are gonna sound ANYTHING like your amp does. There tends to be an adjustment period moving to an FRFR rig. Any patches created through your amp will have to be re-worked. A lot. They are very different animals.

 

Bottom line is, you should be able to get good results with anything you choose, provided that you put the time in and figure out what you'll need to tweak. For most of us "regular" folks, it'll come down to how much you're willing to spend.

 

Thanks for the posts above.  To my ears, tube amps kinda soften the harshness of digital amps somewhat ... Not sure if that's the right word, but maybe it's just the digital signal going through the tubes helps to round it out  in a good way?  I don't know.  Although the Amp sims in the Helix sound great, much better than most of what I've heard and right up there with Kemper there is something about a guitar amp + a guitar cab ... maybe it's just like "comfort sound" because we grew up listening to it ... I don't know.  I also find that most digital units sound better with a clean amp sim + distortion pedal for whatever reason moreso than a distorted amp.  

 

At any rate thanks for the ideas ... That Firehawk 1500 is intriguing because of the bluetooth streaming and wet/dry/wet capability.  Also puts a second amp in the room if someone shows up to play without an amp.   The stereo wet/dry/wet setup with a single cab that looks like a guitar cab is pretty cool.  Seems like the reviews are that it sounds good too ... 

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Thanks for the posts above.  To my ears, tube amps kinda soften the harshness of digital amps somewhat ... Not sure if that's the right word, but maybe it's just the digital signal going through the tubes helps to round it out  in a good way?  I don't know.  Although the Amp sims in the Helix sound great, much better than most of what I've heard and right up there with Kemper there is something about a guitar amp + a guitar cab ... maybe it's just like "comfort sound" because we grew up listening to it ... I don't know.  I also find that most digital units sound better with a clean amp sim + distortion pedal for whatever reason moreso than a distorted amp.  

 

At any rate thanks for the ideas ... That Firehawk 1500 is intriguing because of the bluetooth streaming and wet/dry/wet capability.  Also puts a second amp in the room if someone shows up to play without an amp.   The stereo wet/dry/wet setup with a single cab that looks like a guitar cab is pretty cool.  Seems like the reviews are that it sounds good too ... 

 

It really has little to nothing to do with digital or tube amps when talking about this subject.  It's really about speaker design and response profiles.  All of the FRFR designs whether a cabinet, studio monitor, or a true live sound reinforcement speaker such as an Alto TS210 or DXR series from Yamaha have a much flatter response profile across the frequency response range than any typical traditional guitar cabinet due to the addition of the compression driver and often some form of DSP processing of the signal.  The "harshness" is simply an artifact of that design factor.

 

Generally the decisions fall into one of three categories, a traditional cabinet based FRFR solution such as a Firehawk, Atomic CLR or Friedman, a live sound FRFR speakers such as a Line 6 Stagesource, Alto TS210, or Yamaha DXR series; and then there are studio monitors such a Yamaha HS5/7/8, JBL LSR305 or other similar designs.  Each of these are designed and perform differently based on the job they're intended to do.  Most important is how they project the sound energy.

 

Traditional cabinet based solutions and studio monitors are designed to fill a room or space with sound.  Both they disperse sound in a generally equal pattern in all directions, but most of the traditional FRFR cabinet designs like a Friedman tend to have more powerful amps in order to fill a bigger space.  But in all cases this sound dissipates fairly quickly across distance.  The big difference is in the live sound speaker designs based on the fact that they are meant to fill a large space efficiently with less drop in sound energy across distance.  Therefore they don't project in all directions equally.  Instead they focus the sound energy in a very wide horizontal manner, but a rather limited vertical pattern.  This is so that sound energy doesn't get wasted going into ceilings and floors, but directed specifically toward the performance area and crowd.

 

Because of these things the "harshness" is really a factor of two things:  the fact that you are now more equally sending sound across the entire listening range (unlike traditional guitar cabinets which have a much more pronounced low and mid response), and in the case moreso of live sound designs being in too close of proximity to the speaker so that the sound between highs and lows don't have the space to combine and blend appropriately.

 

Obviously both of these things can be compensated for either by EQ or by speaker configuration and placement.  So really the decision comes down to how you intend to use it and what's important to you.  Clearly studio monitors aren't going to work in a live scenario, but provide the FRFR benefits in a home or recording scenario.  Cabinet and live sound designs are really meant for live performance.  Cabinets will give more of a traditional guitar cabinet feel, but will also color the sound slightly in the same way as all guitar cabinets do (this is what IR's try and model for you in the signal chain).  Therefore the stage sound you're hearing may not be a very accurate representation of what your audience is hearing out of the FOH.  If your desire is to have an accurate idea on stage of what your audience is hearing, then a live sound FRFR speaker would be best for doing that job.

 

In all cases what you end up with in FRFR setups once you get them dialed in is a much more polished studio sound with greater articulation and clarity.  That's more important in some forms of music than in others.

 

I didn't really mean to drone on so long, but I think it might be useful in getting your bearings and making the right kind of decision for yourself and your situation.

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Before you get rid of your Traynors, I'd perhaps take your Helix and keyboard and test out at least one of your FRFR solutions.  Since you're going to also use the system for your keyboards, I'd want to make sure they work with your keyboards as well as the Helix.  IOW, if you like the Traynors with your keyboards, and you like them with the Helix, why are you looking elsewhere?

 

While not by definition FRFR, keyboard amps still are pretty Full Range, and relatively Flat response, especially compared to guitar amps.  So they by definition should work well with Helix.

 

A lot of guys go are looking for "amp in the room" sound, which isn't necessarily compatible with keyboard amplification.  So make sure to put people's responses in the context they are using their solution for and compare that to your context.  Given you're looking to use it for your Helix AND keyboards, "amp in the room" might not be right for you....

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It really has little to nothing to do with digital or tube amps when talking about this subject.  It's really about speaker design and response profiles.  All of the FRFR designs whether a cabinet, studio monitor, or a true live sound reinforcement speaker such as an Alto TS210 or DXR series from Yamaha have a much flatter response profile across the frequency response range than any typical traditional guitar cabinet due to the addition of the compression driver and often some form of DSP processing of the signal.  The "harshness" is simply an artifact of that design factor.

 

Generally the decisions fall into one of three categories, a traditional cabinet based FRFR solution such as a Firehawk, Atomic CLR or Friedman, a live sound FRFR speakers such as a Line 6 Stagesource, Alto TS210, or Yamaha DXR series; and then there are studio monitors such a Yamaha HS5/7/8, JBL LSR305 or other similar designs.  Each of these are designed and perform differently based on the job they're intended to do.  Most important is how they project the sound energy.

 

Traditional cabinet based solutions and studio monitors are designed to fill a room or space with sound.  Both they disperse sound in a generally equal pattern in all directions, but most of the traditional FRFR cabinet designs like a Friedman tend to have more powerful amps in order to fill a bigger space.  But in all cases this sound dissipates fairly quickly across distance.  The big difference is in the live sound speaker designs based on the fact that they are meant to fill a large space efficiently with less drop in sound energy across distance.  Therefore they don't project in all directions equally.  Instead they focus the sound energy in a very wide horizontal manner, but a rather limited vertical pattern.  This is so that sound energy doesn't get wasted going into ceilings and floors, but directed specifically toward the performance area and crowd.

 

Because of these things the "harshness" is really a factor of two things:  the fact that you are now more equally sending sound across the entire listening range (unlike traditional guitar cabinets which have a much more pronounced low and mid response), and in the case moreso of live sound designs being in too close of proximity to the speaker so that the sound between highs and lows don't have the space to combine and blend appropriately.

 

Obviously both of these things can be compensated for either by EQ or by speaker configuration and placement.  So really the decision comes down to how you intend to use it and what's important to you.  Clearly studio monitors aren't going to work in a live scenario, but provide the FRFR benefits in a home or recording scenario.  Cabinet and live sound designs are really meant for live performance.  Cabinets will give more of a traditional guitar cabinet feel, but will also color the sound slightly in the same way as all guitar cabinets do (this is what IR's try and model for you in the signal chain).  Therefore the stage sound you're hearing may not be a very accurate representation of what your audience is hearing out of the FOH.  If your desire is to have an accurate idea on stage of what your audience is hearing, then a live sound FRFR speaker would be best for doing that job.

 

In all cases what you end up with in FRFR setups once you get them dialed in is a much more polished studio sound with greater articulation and clarity.  That's more important in some forms of music than in others.

 

I didn't really mean to drone on so long, but I think it might be useful in getting your bearings and making the right kind of decision for yourself and your situation.

 

thanks for taking the time for this really well thought out response ... very informative ...

 

To me, there is something distinctly different about going straight into a PA with an effects box vs. mic'ing guitar cab for instance.  It has to do with the attack of the notes as I play them.  With a Guitar cab that is mic'd and then sent through the PA, I don't here what I describe as a "whoooof" coming off of the initial attack that I personally find kinda annoying.  It's a whoooofy sound combined with some brittle frequencies that are projecting picking noise you don't generally hear from a good amp + guitar cab.  Interestingly, those nuances are very characteristic of acoustic guitar performances and sound "right" to me in that context but when that extra sound information is projected from a PA with an Electric (I can nearly always pick it up when a guitarist is going direct from a MFX box into the PA, even with a Fractal or Kemper unit) it doesn't sound right to me.  

 

It's certainly gotten a lot better over the last 10 years though and maybe that's what the advanced IR's are helping to address.  

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Before you get rid of your Traynors, I'd perhaps take your Helix and keyboard and test out at least one of your FRFR solutions.  Since you're going to also use the system for your keyboards, I'd want to make sure they work with your keyboards as well as the Helix.  IOW, if you like the Traynors with your keyboards, and you like them with the Helix, why are you looking elsewhere?

 

While not by definition FRFR, keyboard amps still are pretty Full Range, and relatively Flat response, especially compared to guitar amps.  So they by definition should work well with Helix.

 

A lot of guys go are looking for "amp in the room" sound, which isn't necessarily compatible with keyboard amplification.  So make sure to put people's responses in the context they are using their solution for and compare that to your context.  Given you're looking to use it for your Helix AND keyboards, "amp in the room" might not be right for you....

 

The Traynors actually sound pretty good with the Helix.  They have a preamp tube you can route through if you want to warm up the signal that colors the sound somewhat, but generally in a pleasing way.  The Traynors project a great stereo field and that's their strength.  They also mix other signals really well.  Having tried other monitors, I've found the Traynors hold their own pretty well but given that more companies are making products specifically for Electric guitars like the Firehawk 1500 and the Friedmans, I'm really tempted to give them a try.  Even the Stagesource, apparently has an EQ DSP setting specifically for Electric Guitars which may be a game changer.

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thanks for taking the time for this really well thought out response ... very informative ...

 

To me, there is something distinctly different about going straight into a PA with an effects box vs. mic'ing guitar cab for instance.  It has to do with the attack of the notes as I play them.  With a Guitar cab that is mic'd and then sent through the PA, I don't here what I describe as a "whoooof" coming off of the initial attack that I personally find kinda annoying.  It's a whoooofy sound combined with some brittle frequencies that are projecting picking noise you don't generally hear from a good amp + guitar cab.  Interestingly, those nuances are very characteristic of acoustic guitar performances and sound "right" to me in that context but when that extra sound information is projected from a PA with an Electric (I can nearly always pick it up when a guitarist is going direct from a MFX box into the PA, even with a Fractal or Kemper unit) it doesn't sound right to me.  

 

It's certainly gotten a lot better over the last 10 years though and maybe that's what the advanced IR's are helping to address.  

 

I would agree that the picking sound tends to be more prominent through almost any FRFR setup whether PA, cab, or direct studio monitor.  In a sense I suspect it tends to be related to the greater clarity and articulation of the speakers which actually respond much faster and with less interference because of the division of labor between the speaker and compression driver.  In some cases it bothers me, in others not so much.  A lot depends on the style of song and often on the guitar being used.  It's very useful in finger picking on a Gretsch hollow body but very often annoying on single coil guitars.  Fortunately it can be pretty well managed by some of the deeper amp parameters such as bias and sag, but I don't see many people going to that level of detail on their patches very often.

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When you guys use the 4 cable method, do you set your Helix Amps (if you use them) to the amp or the preamp?  Thus far, I've turned off the cab sims because they sound kinda muddy, but am curious about preferences (full amp or just preamp?) going into the effects return of a tube power amp?  

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What a great thread. I have been Line 6 into an amp for 15 plus years. I went that way when I first bought Helix but just recently bought a pair of Alto ts 210s. The first couple days took a lot of adjusting, and I learned a lot from this thread mostly in the frequency cutting on the cabinets. I just finished my first rehearsal running this way comma and we all came away incredibly impressed. There was a lot more clarity comma and I had done a good job setting my levels through my recording system. To be honest, it was very close to an amp in the room sound and by the end of the night there was a lot less year fatigue. I enjoyed all the extra DSP that I was able to use running into my amps, that has been the main problem I have faced recreating my patches. But we all know that usually less is more anyway. Where I was using a lot of dual amps, now I am using dual cabinets and getting similar results. But my patches translated very well to the practice PA, and I am going to try to run this way for the first time ever live this Saturday. Got to say I'm really looking forward to it! I never tried the 4 cable method, but I can honestly say I am pleased that I have made this jump and now that I have a handle on my new patch creation techniques comma I will probably never look back

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My rig: Fender Strat Elite to Helix to Stagescape (M20d) to L3T (2, stereo) + L2T (monitor). All L6 links, except from Helix to M20d (why is that?). The 3-band EQ on the Stagescape is excellent for finishing off a tube amp-like sound. My personal tube amp of choice is my Vox AC15, and I can get really close to it's sound with that rig.

Close but not dead on. Actually I think it's a little better. And I don't personally use the 4 cable method--I like the sound I get just going serial.

Anyway, cruisinon2 said it best--whatever you go with will only sound good after you have spent time tweaking it. I struggle with that, you know, time I could be playing instead of tweaking the electronics.

And then I have to remind myself that part of being an ELECTRIC guitarist is the "electric" part--that the sound after the guitar is also important. 

Otherwise, play an acoustic and be happy.

So make your choice, go to work, and be happy with it.  :)

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My rig: Fender Strat Elite to Helix to Stagescape (M20d) to L3T (2, stereo) + L2T (monitor). All L6 links, except from Helix to M20d (why is that?). The 3-band EQ on the Stagescape is excellent for finishing off a tube amp-like sound. My personal tube amp of choice is my Vox AC15, and I can get really close to it's sound with that rig.

Close but not dead on. Actually I think it's a little better. And I don't personally use the 4 cable method--I like the sound I get just going serial.

Anyway, cruisinon2 said it best--whatever you go with will only sound good after you have spent time tweaking it. I struggle with that, you know, time I could be playing instead of tweaking the electronics.

And then I have to remind myself that part of being an ELECTRIC guitarist is the "electric" part--that the sound after the guitar is also important. 

Otherwise, play an acoustic and be happy.

So make your choice, go to work, and be happy with it.  :)

 

Maybe that's the reason I like the 4cm using my Boogie for most of my clean and overdrive tunes.   Super easy and don't have to tweak amps at all.  The overdrive pedals in the Helix have been such a pleasant surprise and tweaking them to get a good sound is as easy as real pedals.  The Helix is the easiest mfx unit to get great sounds out of I've tried.  

 

I think when you go the FRFR route with cabs and IR's and trying to get the "amp in the room" sound is when the deep, deep rabbit hole of endless tweaking opens up.  

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Maybe that's the reason I like the 4cm using my Boogie for most of my clean and overdrive tunes.   Super easy and don't have to tweak amps at all.  The overdrive pedals in the Helix have been such a pleasant surprise and tweaking them to get a good sound is as easy as real pedals.  The Helix is the easiest mfx unit to get great sounds out of I've tried.  

 

I think when you go the FRFR route with cabs and IR's and trying to get the "amp in the room" sound is when the deep, deep rabbit hole of endless tweaking opens up.  

True. But if you have access to a decent FRFR while tweaking, once it's good on one, it will be good on the other. At least good enough for the sound engineer anyway...

And typically I can get to about the 90% solution on a sound I want in about the first 5 minutes. But it's that last 10% that takes time and patience.

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....). All L6 links, except from Helix to M20d (why is that?)....

The short technical answer is that the M20d has no L6 LINK IN connection. Why? Because it's a mixer. You'd have to assign the L6 LINK IN jack to a specific channel for signal processing. Without a hardware change Line 6 would need to update the firmware to use a pair of the existing digital inputs (channels 17-20) temporarily disabling them for their current use and reallocating them, or add an L6 LINK digital processing capabillity to the combo input of each (currently analog) input channel 1-16. Neither makes much sense to me.

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True. But if you have access to a decent FRFR while tweaking, once it's good on one, it will be good on the other. At least good enough for the sound engineer anyway...

And typically I can get to about the 90% solution on a sound I want in about the first 5 minutes. But it's that last 10% that takes time and patience.

 

For me, I've gotten FRFR setups pretty dialed in and as long as I kept playing on that modeling rig I was OK ... but ... if I ventured back to to the force and plugged into a real tube amp with a good pedal setup and then back to the modeling + FRFR it was like ... whoa ... damn ... time to start tweaking to try to recapture that .... SOUND ... I really think, the more you play with and stick to a modeling + FRFR rig, the more you tune into its sound and it starts to replace your "home reference" of what your base sound is ... that, by the way, is not a bad thing ... it's when I switch back and forth between modeling and my regular amp setup that I find myself more "searching" and tweaking the modeling sound to get it "just right."

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I went digital back in 2009 and have been running FRFR pretty consistently since then, mainly through (one or two) QSC K8's and more recently through an Atomic CLR.

 

Things I like about FRFR:

  • Consistency: As was noted above, not all FRFR systems are created equal but once you get dialed in, it's not a big deal for the sound man to compensate.  That applies to both monitoring as well as FOH.  Besides, variance in FRFR from place to place probably isn't gonna be as great as night to night variations in mic placement.
  • Portability: My K8's weigh 26 lbs apiece.  The CLR is about 43 lbs.  Either one beats the hell out of schlepping a 2x12.
  • Volume scalability: Fletcher-Munson is a cruel mistress but most FRFR's are gonna sound pretty much the same from ~80dB on up.  Most guitar speakers have a volume sweet spot and don't sound as good when played louder or quieter than that.
  • Coverage: Good FRFR doesn't have the "icepick cone of death" that you find in front of a typical guitar cab. Great FRFR has a spread more like a floodlight, giving you a wide swath of consistent sound. I like being able to move around on stage without losing myself because I've moved out of the audible zone directly in front of the cab.
  • Flexibility: Using IR's instead of speakers to shape your tone lets you go from a chimey Jensen sound to a focused V30 sound.  Acoustic and synth generally sound better through a full-range rig than through a guitar speaker, too.

 

Things that aren't so great about FRFR:

  • Lack of visceral experience: Nothing like feeling your pant legs flapping in front of a raging guitar cab.
  • "In the room": Not a huge deal to me but there's something nice about the presence of a guitar cab in the room as opposed to close-miked.
  • "Karaoke stage": Sparse stages are becoming more common but it can look like something's missing when you don't have amps/cabs on stage.

 

For me, those benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.  YMMV.

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I went digital back in 2009 and have been running FRFR pretty consistently since then, mainly through (one or two) QSC K8's and more recently through an Atomic CLR.

 

Things I like about FRFR:

  • Consistency: As was noted above, not all FRFR systems are created equal but once you get dialed in, it's not a big deal for the sound man to compensate.  That applies to both monitoring as well as FOH.  Besides, variance in FRFR from place to place probably isn't gonna be as great as night to night variations in mic placement.
  • Portability: My K8's weigh 26 lbs apiece.  The CLR is about 43 lbs.  Either one beats the hell out of schlepping a 2x12.
  • Volume scalability: Fletcher-Munson is a cruel mistress but most FRFR's are gonna sound pretty much the same from ~80dB on up.  Most guitar speakers have a volume sweet spot and don't sound as good when played louder or quieter than that.
  • Coverage: Good FRFR doesn't have the "icepick cone of death" that you find in front of a typical guitar cab. Great FRFR has a spread more like a floodlight, giving you a wide swath of consistent sound. I like being able to move around on stage without losing myself because I've moved out of the audible zone directly in front of the cab.
  • Flexibility: Using IR's instead of speakers to shape your tone lets you go from a chimey Jensen sound to a focused V30 sound.  Acoustic and synth generally sound better through a full-range rig than through a guitar speaker, too.

 

Things that aren't so great about FRFR:

  • Lack of visceral experience: Nothing like feeling your pant legs flapping in front of a raging guitar cab.
  • "In the room": Not a huge deal to me but there's something nice about the presence of a guitar cab in the room as opposed to close-miked.
  • "Karaoke stage": Sparse stages are becoming more common but it can look like something's missing when you don't have amps/cabs on stage.

 

For me, those benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.  YMMV.

Lots of good points.  I find that part of the fun of a good tube amp is the dynamics involved in compressors, boosts and overdrives going into the front end of the amp.  There's something very unique about that that I have never seen really replicated with modelers.  Certainly not that modelers can get great tones, because they can, but things that happen between a few pedals and the front end of the amp is quite unique ... YMMV.

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Funny.  IMO, the magic of tube amps lives in the power section, probably in the output transformer.  I'd be more interested in a silicon front end with tubes at the back end than a tube preamp with a solid state power amp.

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I'm not sure you're getting the most out of an FRFR setup if you start chasing the sound of an amp.  I think you're better off chasing the sound of a recording.

 

For example, I really love the sound Joe Walsh gets on his records.  And for a while I'd try to chase that sound after doing research on the types of amps he would use.  However one day when just messing around with different combinations of amps, cabs, and mics I heard the sound I was looking for.  A little tweaking with compression and EQ and it was the dead accurate sound I'd been looking for.  But it wasn't on any of the amps Joe had been known to use.   But it was the Joe Walsh recorded sound, that I could reproduce in a live environment.  That taught me a valuable lesson about modelers and FRFR setups.

 

It's really not about getting the sound of the amp, it's about the getting the polished, studio sound you want using the entire signal chain.  Since that revelation I've gotten MUCH more productive and efficient at finding the sounds I want, and the sounds are much more professional and polished than I was ever getting before.  A sound I could not likely ever get using a real amp.

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DunedinDragon...I saw Walsh with the Eagles a couple of years back here in Vegas at The MGM. He had the BEST "woody" sound in concert. I mean he had THE tone. Yeah, he has a great studio sound too...but LIVE, his sound was on another level. 

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I'm not sure you're getting the most out of an FRFR setup if you start chasing the sound of an amp.  I think you're better off chasing the sound of a recording.

 

For example, I really love the sound Joe Walsh gets on his records.  And for a while I'd try to chase that sound after doing research on the types of amps he would use.  However one day when just messing around with different combinations of amps, cabs, and mics I heard the sound I was looking for.  A little tweaking with compression and EQ and it was the dead accurate sound I'd been looking for.  But it wasn't on any of the amps Joe had been known to use.   But it was the Joe Walsh recorded sound, that I could reproduce in a live environment.  That taught me a valuable lesson about modelers and FRFR setups.

 

It's really not about getting the sound of the amp, it's about the getting the polished, studio sound you want using the entire signal chain.  Since that revelation I've gotten MUCH more productive and efficient at finding the sounds I want, and the sounds are much more professional and polished than I was ever getting before.  A sound I could not likely ever get using a real amp.

 

Really good post and I agree.  I think for some, the challenge of getting the Plexi amp sim with a tube screamer and a 4 X 12 to sound exactly like so and so's tone because that the exact setup someone had on some song and it's kind of like a rubix's cube challenge to prove it can be done ... I guess there's a certain satisfaction to that.  

 

What I'm looking for from Amp Sims is a sound that is inspiring, dynamic and interacts really well with my guitar and pedals ... inspires creativity ... I find that comes more from a tube amp and a couple of good overdrive pedals and then use the Helix for all the mind blowing effects it can create so quickly.  Although I do believe I can get just about any amp sound out of the Helix to nail a particular song tone ... that's different than getting a really great and dynamic tone that doesn't frizz or frazz or hiss in some way when it really gets pushed.   For whatever reason, I find it easier to get that kind of simulated tone with a clean amp sim and a (sim) overdrive pedal or two or three than to nail it with amp overdrive (sim) ... 

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So here's the question ... What FRFR setup between ... let's say ... the Line6 stagesource, Firehawk 1500, Atomic CLR and the Friedman FRFR cabinet would give me the best results in your opinion?  

 

 

I'm using a Firehawk 1500, monitor ins from Helix's L&R Main outs and it sounds great for me. As far added pedals I only use a Bogner La Grange for my Plexi tones, and an MDV2 Univibe. I also use a Grandmeister Deluxe 40 on one of Helix's aux ports and run that thru a cab with some old V-30s I installed a decade or so ago. The FH1500 is about the same price as a CLR, but has the added backup amp and tone's inside it should you ever need it. But either one would sound great with Helix. There is another "new" FRFR you might look at that is highly praised- HERE...

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I'm using a Firehawk 1500, monitor ins from Helix's L&R Main outs and it sounds great for me. As far added pedals I only use a Bogner La Grange for my Plexi tones, and an MDV2 Univibe. I also use a Grandmeister Deluxe 40 on one of Helix's aux ports and run that thru a cab with some old V-30s I installed a decade or so ago. The FH1500 is about the same price as a CLR, but has the added backup amp and tone's inside it should you ever need it. But either one would sound great with Helix. There is another "new" FRFR you might look at that is highly praised- HERE...

 

Thanks for that recommendation.  That XiTone cab looks like just what I'm looking for.  Like how it has different adjustments to get closer to a guitar cab feel if you want it.   How does the Firehawk 1500 sound in terms of the stereo field it creates?

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Ok, DD. Care to disclose your magic JW Helix Blocks and Parameters configuration?

 

Okay..got my equipment unpacked and pulled up the patch.  I'm old so I can't remember all the details without looking at it.

 

The key for finding JW's sound was using a WhoWatt amp in conjunction with a Teemah for rhythm guitar, and a Scream808 for leads using an OwnHammer Gibson GA-30RV Super Goldtone combo cabinet IR using their OH2 mix of a Royer 121 and a Telefunken MD421-5 positioned about midway out on the cone of the V10 speaker (GibsV10 OH2-05).  No high or low cuts on the cabinet and I'm going into a Yamaha DXR12.  I'm using a Les Paul standard with burstbucker pro II pickups.

 

Here's the basic layout of the core of the signal chain:

 

---> TS808 ---> Teemah --->  WhoWatt --->  OH GibsV10 OH2-05  ----> (other effects, etc.) ---------> DXR12 or FOH

 

Scream808:  (Added to Teemah when engaged for lead)

Gain - 5.2

Tone - 6.5

Level - 4.7

 

Teemah: (Always on)

Gain - 5.4

Bass Cut - 2.5

Treble Cut - 6.0

Clipping - Up

Level - 4.6

 

WhoWatt:

Drive - 3.8

Bass - 4.9

Mid - 6.8

Treble - 5.5

Presence - 3.8

Channel Vol - 8.3

Master - 6.6

Bias - 7.0

 

That's really about it.  I add a couple of things to it such as a Twin Harmony for dual leads (ala Eagles), and echo/reverb to taste for different styles JW uses on some of his songs.

 

I'm sure there are probably a variety of ways to get a JW sound, but the HiWatt is such a generic power amp and takes on pedals so well it was pretty easy to dial in his sound this way.  It's kind of my goto amp for a lot of the crunchier styles of classic rock like The Who and Doobie Bros.  I typically play with the pickup switch in the middle position even for leads, but you can get a bit more of his James Gang sound going to the bridge pickup.  All volume and tone knobs are on full.

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Just be aware that FRFR speakers with "tone shaping" are not FRFR. The instant you are adjusting the flat response of FRFR, it is only FRFRish. It's funny that companies are now marketing FRFR speakers that have EQing in them. The term FRFR is not really well defined, so many companies are jumping on that as a marketing tool with all the modeling users out there. 

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How does the Firehawk 1500 sound in terms of the stereo field it creates?

 

 

For me, even when using my 1960a cab (it's stereo too) when all sound is coming from one box there is no stereo field or separation to speak of. Same for the Firehawk 1500. That's not to say it doesn't sound wonderful cause it does.  

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Just be aware that FRFR speakers with "tone shaping" are not FRFR. The instant you are adjusting the flat response of FRFR, it is only FRFRish. It's funny that companies are now marketing FRFR speakers that have EQing in them. The term FRFR is not really well defined, so many companies are jumping on that as a marketing tool with all the modeling users out there. 

 

Actually, the tone shaping is what makes most of these speakers more flat than if you don't use it.  In many cases these speakers have a significant bump on the low end which gets flattened out when you engage the contour shaping.  Without the shaping they tend to have some big bumps at the lower ends to support bass guitars, kick drums and the low end of keyboards.  The reality is no speaker is absolutely flat across the entire range.  They all have some areas that slightly bump or dip at certain points.  The best you can say is the term FRFR really means they have a reasonably flat profile across the entire response range.  It's not like there's a performance standard for FRFR.

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<Snip>

The key for finding JW's sound was using a WhoWatt amp in conjunction with a Teemah for rhythm guitar, and a Scream808 for leads using an OwnHammer Gibson GA-30RV Super Goldtone combo cabinet IR using their OH2 mix of a Royer 121 and a Telefunken MD421-5 positioned about midway out on the cone of the V10 speaker (GibsV10 OH2-05). No high or low cuts on the cabinet and I'm going into a Yamaha DXR12. I'm using a Les Paul standard with burstbucker pro II pickups.

 

Here's the basic layout of the core of the signal chain:

 

---> TS808 ---> Teemah ---> WhoWatt ---> OH GibsV10 OH2-05 ----> (other effects, etc.) ---------> DXR12 or FOH

 

Scream808: (Added to Teemah when engaged for lead)

Gain - 5.2

Tone - 6.5

Level - 4.7

 

Teemah: (Always on)

Gain - 5.4

Bass Cut - 2.5

Treble Cut - 6.0

Clipping - Up

Level - 4.6

 

WhoWatt:

Drive - 3.8

Bass - 4.9

Mid - 6.8

Treble - 5.5

Presence - 3.8

Channel Vol - 8.3

Master - 6.6

Bias - 7.0

 

That's really about it. I add a couple of things to it such as a Twin Harmony for dual leads (ala Eagles), and echo/reverb to taste for different styles JW uses on some of his songs.

 

I'm sure there are probably a variety of ways to get a JW sound, but the HiWatt is such a generic power amp and takes on pedals so well it was pretty easy to dial in his sound this way. It's kind of my goto amp for a lot of the crunchier styles of classic rock like The Who and Doobie Bros. I typically play with the pickup switch in the middle position even for leads, but you can get a bit more of his James Gang sound going to the bridge pickup. All volume and tone knobs are on full.

I'll give it a try, and see how it plays. Much appreciated!
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Just be aware that FRFR speakers with "tone shaping" are not FRFR. The instant you are adjusting the flat response of FRFR, it is only FRFRish. It's funny that companies are now marketing FRFR speakers that have EQing in them. The term FRFR is not really well defined, so many companies are jumping on that as a marketing tool with all the modeling users out there. 

 

Keep in mind that the 'tone shaping' is designed to compensate for the 'room' effects on the frequency response. As an obvious example, the height from the floor directly effects the final bass response of the speaker. Further to that, room reflections, resonances, and absorption can cause differential peaks and nulls in the frequency response of a speaker that may be perfectly flat in anechoic space.

 

In other words, a speaker may be a perfect FRFR in an anechoic chamber, but when set up in room the size of a typical bar have boomy bass, muddy low mids, and uneven treble. Add to that the ambient noise of people talking, and then the mid frequencies no longer sound strong and full either.

 

In concept, a FRFR should at least get you in the ball park of 'flat' and have the facility to be EQed to a final response that is appropriate to the venue. The same speaker should have a relatively even response at various angles relative to a listener seated on the speaker's frontal axis.

 

IMO, the more recent models of DSP aligned speakers that also have some very useful tone shaping ability can be set much 'flatter' than a non-adjustable speaker that may measure perfectly flat in an anechoic chamber, but need further EQ when used in a real acoustically 'live' environment. That said, a good graphic or parametric EQ is very useful to achieve proper room compensation, even if there is some basic EQ built into the powered speaker.

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The short technical answer is that the M20d has no L6 LINK IN connection. Why? Because it's a mixer. You'd have to assign the L6 LINK IN jack to a specific channel for signal processing. Without a hardware change Line 6 would need to update the firmware to use a pair of the existing digital inputs (channels 17-20) temporarily disabling them for their current use and reallocating them, or add an L6 LINK digital processing capabillity to the combo input of each (currently analog) input channel 1-16. Neither makes much sense to me.

I see your point, and agree, especially since the 1/4 in from the Helix is almost noiseless...

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I'm curious what FRFR setups have gotten closest to the amp in the room feeling?

Ah, the amp in the room question.

This is a topic that crops up quite a lot.

The thing to bear in mind is Helix is designed to sound as if you are listening to a miked up amp and cab fed into in the control room monitors of a studio.

So, rather than re-type the whole thing, I suggest that you have a read at the posts in this thread:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/26752-pointers-for-newbie-thinking-of-moving-from-traditional-combos/?do=findComment&comment=207494

 

Hope it helps with your question.

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For example, I really love the sound Joe Walsh gets on his records.  And for a while I'd try to chase that sound after doing research on the types of amps he would use.  However one day when just messing around with different combinations of amps, cabs, and mics I heard the sound I was looking for.  A little tweaking with compression and EQ and it was the dead accurate sound I'd been looking for.  But it wasn't on any of the amps Joe had been known to use.   But it was the Joe Walsh recorded sound, that I could reproduce in a live environment.  That taught me a valuable lesson about modelers and FRFR setups.

 

It's really not about getting the sound of the amp, it's about the getting the polished, studio sound you want using the entire signal chain.  Since that revelation I've gotten MUCH more productive and efficient at finding the sounds I want, and the sounds are much more professional and polished than I was ever getting before.  A sound I could not likely ever get using a real amp.

 

I've been a Line 6 boy since the Pod XT, did my share of tone chasing and I found what you say to be true. Blah used blah, I'd use that simulated equipment and it never sounded the same. And, like you stated, it was often a different amp and effects that got what I was looking for.....until Helix! I am amazed at how easy it is. Using Mr Walsh as an example, I just saw an interview where he was talking about just using a cranked tiny Fender amp for Funk 49. Pulled up a Les Paul on my Variax; Fender Champ on the Helix. Bam, almost there, did a little tweaking and I got that. Montrose was another sound I kept chasing. Then I read where they used a Bassman with a (I think, I'm not at my Helix) fuzz face. Sounds a little odd but OK. Bam, got they're sound. It doesn't always happen but it happens a lot more than with the older modeling. Pink Floyd was another one that worked. Strat, Hiwatt, Univibe, Delay. Sounds a lot like Breath to me.

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I'm curious what FRFR setups have gotten closest to the amp in the room feeling?

 

IME, that's as much a function of the preset (particularly cab sim) as it is of the FRFR system.  FRFR is, by definition, not supposed to add anything to the input signal. If a FRFR system has some secret sauce that turns an "in the control room" sound into "in the room" sound, it's not really "flat response".

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There are some FRFR guitar shaped cabs that I suspect would work best in getting you that feeling. Here's a discussion on that.

 

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/why-isnt-there-an-frfr-system-that-looks-like-a-guitar-cab.1458273/

 

Found another one. It's a shootout between four FRFR's.

 

https://www.kemper-amps.com/forum/index.php/Thread/32454-My-FRFR-shootout/?pageNo=1

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm using a Firehawk 1500, monitor ins from Helix's L&R Main outs and it sounds great for me. As far added pedals I only use a Bogner La Grange for my Plexi tones, and an MDV2 Univibe. I also use a Grandmeister Deluxe 40 on one of Helix's aux ports and run that thru a cab with some old V-30s I installed a decade or so ago. The FH1500 is about the same price as a CLR, but has the added backup amp and tone's inside it should you ever need it. But either one would sound great with Helix. There is another "new" FRFR you might look at that is highly praised- HERE...

 

Also of note with the Xitone MBritt, for the same price you can ask for a custom convertible open/closed back version of the MBritt.

It features an easily removable/replaceable panel on the lower rear instead of the open back grille look in the pics.

 

It has a couple more DSP settings for a total of 5.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE mine!!!

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