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Hide the physical amps characteristics when using Helix?


in2bluz
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I just got the Helix LT. I'm running this through a Marshall 2061x "Handwired" and matching 2x12 cab. this is a simple plexi amp with no bells or whistles just great tone. The problem is I want to hide the amp's characteristics so that I can use Helix's amp models and have them sound like they're intended to. Fender, Vox, etc. What do I need to do to hide the natural Marshall tone so the effects tone can shine through?

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I just got the Helix LT. I'm running this through a Marshall 2061x "Handwired" and matching 2x12 cab. this is a simple plexi amp with no bells or whistles just great tone. The problem is I want to hide the amp's characteristics so that I can use Helix's amp models and have them sound like they're intended to. Fender, Vox, etc. What do I need to do to hide the natural Marshall tone so the effects tone can shine through?

 

I'm not familiar with that amp - does it have an effects loop?

 

Your best bet is to bypass the physical amps pre-amp section (if possible) and run direct into the power-amp (the FX return, if your amp has one).

 

On your helix, you'd likely want to disable the cab block and use only an Amp model (and some even prefer only the pre-amp model, you'll have to try for yourself).

 

All that said.... it's being amplified by your 2x12 cab and will always take on some flavor of that 2x12... You'll be able to pull off a "cab in the room" type sound, but won't have quite as much flexibility as an FRFR monitor solution (which can't really nail the "cab in the room" feeling, there is always a trade-off...)

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Thanks for the advice. I probably should have noted that there isn't an effects loop, nor can I choose between power amp and preamp. I'm ok with the speaker nuances but since the Helix has so many amp choices I want to mute the Marshall sound. I guess the only real thing I've thought of is turning it down to about 2-3 so the Marshall distortion doesn't kick in.

Link to the amp head:https://marshallamps.com/products/amplifiers/handwired-series/2061x/

I still don't know how it could sound like a VOX or Fender amp when it's going through a Marshall. going through a PA I get.

 

Who else is going through a tube amp without an effects loop? what do you do??

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And here's where you probably should have done a little bit more research before diving in......

 

You're going to hear a lot of talk about FRFR powered speakers as an output method.  That's really the only way to achieve what you're describing when you say you want to hear the Fender, Vox, etc.  There are ways you can go through a regular guitar amp and cabinet, but it's always going to color the sound from the Helix.  The only way you can get the full effect of the amps and cabs is to have an output mechanism that is a powered Full Range Flat Response (FRFR) because it won't color or change the tone in any way.

 

There are different types of these types of devices ranging from studio monitors to PA type monitors and speakers.  But what you can't do is make a Marshall style 2x12 cabinet sound like a Vox or Fender cabinet.

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I can still benefit from the other features of the Helix, just not get the full effect of the Amps that it has. most of these FRFR speakers seem to be overkill for what I'm looking for. (home use)

The line 6 are expensive and others seem 200-1000 Watts. It would be nice to have a 50w Stereo 2x10's or 2x12's, for about $200.

 

Thanks for your feedback.  I Just did some searching. I think something like a pair of these Behringer CE500A speakers would work.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Behringer/CE500A-Compact-Powered-Speaker-Black-1274115050126.gc?gclid=Cj0KEQjw2-bHBRDEh6qk5b6yqKIBEiQAFUz29gMLUMjffgjAvYeO2CiOvS2bH_UOOX2-B3q_1jjirtkaAuLC8P8HAQ&kwid=146697560682x23028493722x327660762

 

Any add'l feedback on still using my Marshall is appreciated

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I can still benefit from the other features of the Helix, just not get the full effect of the Amps that it has. most of these FRFR speakers seem to be overkill for what I'm looking for. (home use)

The line 6 are expensive and others seem 200-1000 Watts. It would be nice to have a 50w Stereo 2x10's or 2x12's, for about $200.

 

Thanks for your feedback.  I Just did some searching. I think something like a pair of these Behringer CE500A speakers would work.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Behringer/CE500A-Compact-Powered-Speaker-Black-1274115050126.gc?gclid=Cj0KEQjw2-bHBRDEh6qk5b6yqKIBEiQAFUz29gMLUMjffgjAvYeO2CiOvS2bH_UOOX2-B3q_1jjirtkaAuLC8P8HAQ&kwid=146697560682x23028493722x327660762

 

Any add'l feedback on still using my Marshall is appreciated

 

There's a huge difference between the volume and usable range of a 50 watt amp and a 200 - 1000 watt FRFR speaker.  They work very well at bedroom volumes because of their solid state amp characteristics. 

 

I picked up my L2t and L2m "used" (they might as well be new) for $500 and $400 respectively from Guitar Center, one as part of a 3 year 0% deal (when I bought my Helix) and the other on 6 months 0%.  And I've seen them go for less than that.  People are very happy with the Alto TS210's as well, and I've heard them and am impressed by them.  Again, even though the L2t and L2m are 800 watt speakers, they work fine at quieter volumes.  They are more like a PA speaker than a tube amp in that regard.

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I can see myself going back and forth between using the Helix through a FRFR PA speaker(s) and playing through the Marshall. when I want to get the sounds of other amps, the PA speakers, if I just want some effects I can run it through the Marshall. I can't part with this Plexi, when matched with my Les Paul it's got the Gary Moore sound that I love.Thanks for the tip, maybe a used one from GC is the way to go.

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The problem you're going to face is that you're used to hearing the cabinet in the room with you. When you use an FRFR, monitors, or headphones, you're taking the signal that would come from a mic on a cab, and making it louder. Not the same sound or feel as a cab sitting behind you blowing on your legs. 

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The problem you're going to face is that you're used to hearing the cabinet in the room with you. When you use an FRFR, monitors, or headphones, you're taking the signal that would come from a mic on a cab, and making it louder. Not the same sound or feel as a cab sitting behind you blowing on your legs. 

 

Not sure why that's a problem.... He obviously wants to at least try to experience a system that can emulate multiple amps, but if he wants that "amp in the room" feeling that some people say they need, if he keeps the Marshall he can still have that, too.  No problem....

 

Nobody is saying you should get rid of the Marshall.  We just want to make sure your expectations are properly set.  The Marshall is not and will never be FRFR.  But that's not saying you can't get sounds you like out of it.  Any of these instruments, whether it's tube amps or modelers, are all just tools for creating "music".  Nobody says it has to be perfectly this or that (which is in fact impossible).

 

Personally, I'd hang on to the Marshall and pick up either an Alto TS210 or a used Stagesource speaker.  Then you get the best of all possibilities.

 

I like the L2t because it has a built in mixer so, not only does it act as an FRFR monitor or PA for me, but I can also plug in a mic and acoustic guitar (it's got built in acoustic IR for the piezo pickup in the guitar), and it's got built in reverb as well for the mixer channels.  But that's for me because I play out.

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Iknowathingortwo, you nailed it. I can never part with my Marshall, I just want to experience the amp modeling when I want it. The Marshall will still benefit from many of the effects in my Helix. I would love the Stagesource speaker, but don't need the power and don't want the bulk. Ideally I would like 2 smaller XLR connecting FRFR speakers in stereo. Looking at the Behringer CE500A. Seem like a decent home studio set up to allow me to enjoy the Helix and my Marshall. I will be selling my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and Boss ME-80, TS808 and some other stomp boxes to simplify my system. Thanks guys!!

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Haha, still have my Marshall, but have been running helix through power blocks and cabs. I always run stereo as well. I decided to run helix through my studio setup for recording and starting using cabs etc for that purpose. I immediately bought an Alto ts210 and decided to give it a go. I was kinda bummed at first as I expected some monster sounds. Didnt happen so I bought another one, I was missing the stereo spread it seems. After some heavy research and tweaking, I have redone most of my original patches to go direct. Once your ear adjusts, the helix is a hundred times more versatile, and I swear some of my patches achive an 'amp in the room' sound. I still have my 'old' rig, but its catchin dust at the moment! If this unit wasnt so fun and easy to edit, I'd be pretty pissed at all the rebuilding I had to do.. but the new sounds cut through very well so far and some are things I never could have done before. The harmonizer sounded better through the real amp though, only real bummer so far..

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Haha, still have my Marshall, but have been running helix through power blocks and cabs. I always run stereo as well. I decided to run helix through my studio setup for recording and starting using cabs etc for that purpose. I immediately bought an Alto ts210 and decided to give it a go. I was kinda bummed at first as I expected some monster sounds. Didnt happen so I bought another one, I was missing the stereo spread it seems. After some heavy research and tweaking, I have redone most of my original patches to go direct. Once your ear adjusts, the helix is a hundred times more versatile, and I swear some of my patches achive an 'amp in the room' sound. I still have my 'old' rig, but its catchin dust at the moment! If this unit wasnt so fun and easy to edit, I'd be pretty pissed at all the rebuilding I had to do.. but the new sounds cut through very well so far and some are things I never could have done before. The harmonizer sounded better through the real amp though, only real bummer so far..

 

I think this is the key point of all of this.

 

Adjusting to a full FRFR rig is a considerable change for someone coming from the traditional amp setup, no doubt.  But I get an absolutely GREAT Gary Moore sound using my Helix and a Marshall amp model into a Yamaha DXR12.  However, I've been using modelers for a while now having come from a POD HD500X, so I understand the drill and know what it takes to create the sound.

 

The biggest difference is in my ears, however.  Modeling is all about using your ears and you are clearly using your ears to listen for something different when you model a patch than when you simply plug into an amp.  And it takes a while to re-train your ears from listening for the right "amp" sound to listening for the right "studio" sound.  The reality is that when you're trying to copy a sound such as Gary Moore, what you are listening to is a "studio" sound from his recordings, not an "amp" sound, and the "studio" sound is far more detailed and precise involving compression, close attention to the amount and type of gain being used, EQ tweaks to mellow out certain frequencies, and some bias adjustment to better capture the clean articulation on his leads.  You can get a reasonably close sound just using an amp, but unless your sporting a ton of gear getting his studio sound is going to be a challenge on a traditional rig, but actually pretty simple on a modeling device like a Helix.

 

The Helix and other modelers in this class actually require developing some of the same type of skills as a recording and mastering engineer has to get effective at emulating tone.  If you truly want to emulate tone, that's the price you pay.  But the longer you do it, the better you get at it and the results, in my opinion, far supercede anything I ever got with just a simple amp setup.  And the audience loves it because it's actually the tone they've been used to hearing on Gary Moore's recordings.

 

By the way, I get great 2 and 3 part guitar harmonies on the Helix, but it is one of the more challenging things to figure out because it's not very intuitive.  But once you break the formula it tends to work well on almost any music genre from classic rock to country.

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Any add'l feedback on still using my Marshall is appreciated

 

Ok, you asked for it....

 

I don't know anyone else that runs a rig quite like mine but it works.

 

I have two helix units, one for gigs and one stays home.

 

on the home front I use two marshall stacks, one for left side, one for right.   - I do not play loudly, but the two stacks on opposite sides of the room fill the room nicely with rich sound.

 

I buy the very cheap, used solid state marshall heads and try to amplify the sound to drive the cabinets without any added overdrive.

 

the system sounds awesome - and I use the helix for the cleanest cleans to the 5150 amp heads - all the sound charasterics are derived from the helix not the marshall.

 

I have had quite a few guitarists over and they all rave about the sound

 

no reason a helix can not be set up this way and work fine with some tweaking

 

and I do not use effects loops, i go directly from helix to the guitar inputs on the two heads using 1/4" cables

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I think this is the key point of all of this.

 

Adjusting to a full FRFR rig is a considerable change for someone coming from the traditional amp setup, no doubt.  But I get an absolutely GREAT Gary Moore sound using my Helix and a Marshall amp model into a Yamaha DXR12.  However, I've been using modelers for a while now having come from a POD HD500X, so I understand the drill and know what it takes to create the sound.

 

The biggest difference is in my ears, however.  Modeling is all about using your ears and you are clearly using your ears to listen for something different when you model a patch than when you simply plug into an amp.  And it takes a while to re-train your ears from listening for the right "amp" sound to listening for the right "studio" sound.  The reality is that when you're trying to copy a sound such as Gary Moore, what you are listening to is a "studio" sound from his recordings, not an "amp" sound, and the "studio" sound is far more detailed and precise involving compression, close attention to the amount and type of gain being used, EQ tweaks to mellow out certain frequencies, and some bias adjustment to better capture the clean articulation on his leads.  You can get a reasonably close sound just using an amp, but unless your sporting a ton of gear getting his studio sound is going to be a challenge on a traditional rig, but actually pretty simple on a modeling device like a Helix.

 

The Helix and other modelers in this class actually require developing some of the same type of skills as a recording and mastering engineer has to get effective at emulating tone.  If you truly want to emulate tone, that's the price you pay.  But the longer you do it, the better you get at it and the results, in my opinion, far supercede anything I ever got with just a simple amp setup.  And the audience loves it because it's actually the tone they've been used to hearing on Gary Moore's recordings.

 

By the way, I get great 2 and 3 part guitar harmonies on the Helix, but it is one of the more challenging things to figure out because it's not very intuitive.  But once you break the formula it tends to work well on almost any music genre from classic rock to country.

would like to expand on the harmonizer statement? Help the rest of us out? tia.

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would like to expand on the harmonizer statement? Help the rest of us out? tia.

 

My assumption is people using the dual harmonizer understand the theory and application of harmonies and major/minor/pentatonic variations, so I won't get into that.  What seems to work for me is placing the harmonizer late in the chain, but before reverb and delays.  The key to getting them to sound natural is blending them correctly.  There's probably a couple of ways to do it, but I individually set the volume on the V1 and V2 keys then use the mix to lower them so they're slightly less prominent than the primary lead line.

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Can I take the Helix and go out of the Marshall Plexi AND the FRFR speakers at the same time? Or is it an either or scenario? I'm planning to pick up the Alto TS210's. 

You can to out to the Plexi with a 1/4" out of the helix AND to the two Altos at the same time, and you can blend if you want. You can run one Helix path with no amp models, just effects, to the Plexi, then a separate path with amp and cab models and effects to the Altos. The attached video is not exactly your scenario because he is using 4cm on his real amps, but it is the same concept. Dry to the real amps, and wet to the two FRFR cabinets left and right of the real amps. 

 

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You can't do that with your 2061X. I know where you're coming from; I have one myself and it will never leave. At first, I also just bought the Helix and ran it into my 2061X. In order to use the amp and cab models from the Helix, I got myself a TS210. Have to admit my 2061X hasn't had much playtime lately, since the Helix is sooo good. And with the TS210 a convenient rig to take to rehearsal.

 

Although the 2061X is amazing, the flexibility (but also sound quality) of the Helix for now has the edge for me

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I'm with you, the 2061X is amazing. I'll just go back and forth. when I want fairly simple effects like reverb, add'l distortion and compression go through the Marshall, but when I want different amp and cabs and all the bells and whistles go through the TS210. I think life will be good living in both worlds. Thanks guys!

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