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Phil_GMC

Patch output matching

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Hello folks,

 

Is there a quick way to match the output of patches? As with all of these devices, when scrolling through the patches some blow your windows out and others are quiet. 

 

How do you set yours up so that you can go to anything and it won't be too loud?

 

Thanks

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So what is the preferred method?

Adjusting an amp channel or master volume or the output block level?

 

Thanks

Craig

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So what is the preferred method?

Adjusting an amp channel or master volume or the output block level?

 

Thanks

Craig

 

Yes - I too would like to know the best method to adjust output levels without coloring the tone or reducing / increasing gain, etc.

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There's several ways to do this.

 

Personally, for setting volumes equally, I use a small 4 channel mixer and plug my L/Mono XLR output into one of the channels.  I leave my Helix master volume set at 11 o'clock, and I adjust the output of my patches so they register on the meters of the mixer at about the same level.  The level on the meters depends on the gain setting used on the channel I'm plugged into, so I leave that at the 12 o'clock position.  If you have a DAW you could pretty much do it the same way.

 

There are three ways you can adjust the volume on your patches and not affect the tone.  Typically you can adjust the channel volume on the amp, but that might affect the tone in some cases although I haven't run into it.  Other than that I prefer to either adjust the level on the cab/IR or the final output block level.

 

At home I just leave my Helix plugged into the mixer.  The mixer has no speakers attached to it.  It's simply used as an output meter.  If/when I need to equalize volumes I just turn it on and adjust accordingly.  That gets everything reasonably close.  However there's a difference between perceived volume and actual volume, so you may need to make minor adjustments once you get to rehearsal with the band.

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Thanks for the tips.  I have a mixer and daw and can certainly use the meter for visual leveling.  I just didn't know if people recommended using the cab level or output block level. Or trying to use one before the other.  Etc.

 

Thanks for the input.

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There's several ways to do this.

 

Personally, for setting volumes equally, I use a small 4 channel mixer and plug my L/Mono XLR output into one of the channels.  I leave my Helix master volume set at 11 o'clock, and I adjust the output of my patches so they register on the meters of the mixer at about the same level.  The level on the meters depends on the gain setting used on the channel I'm plugged into, so I leave that at the 12 o'clock position.  If you have a DAW you could pretty much do it the same way.

 

This will get you part of the way there. However... there is a difference between two sounds being the same level on a meter and their "perceived" volume level when playing. This is especially true for live playing. Dirty patches will always sound louder than their clean counterparts.

 

There was a thread on this (that I can't find) where one of the suggestions was to play a song off an iPhone/Android/MP3 player thru the Helix, and then use that as a baseline to match your patches to the same perceived volume. I think that would go a long way to getting your patches closer to same level.. especially if you can do it at something more that "bedroom" volume.

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This will get you part of the way there. However... there is a difference between two sounds being the same level on a meter and their "perceived" volume level when playing. This is especially true for live playing. Dirty patches will always sound louder than their clean counterparts.

 

There was a thread on this (that I can't find) where one of the suggestions was to play a song off an iPhone/Android/MP3 player thru the Helix, and then use that as a baseline to match your patches to the same perceived volume. I think that would go a long way to getting your patches closer to same level.. especially if you can do it at something more that "bedroom" volume.

 

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the perceived and and actual volumes can vary, so there's likely to be some minor tweaking at rehearsal.  Generally I can catch those perceived differences by ear as I step through the patches at home, but it's inevitable that some minor fine tuning will be needed typically at rehearsal with the full band.  In my experience I may have minor volume tweaks in maybe 2 out of every 10 once I get to rehearsal, and they tend to be pretty minor 5 or 6 db changes.  Overall, between a meter and your ears you can tend to get pretty close.  I do know at sound check when we gain stage one patch the gain level works for all of them, and the mix from the audience perspective is pretty stable regardless of the genre and style.

 

I'm not sure a recorded song would be a good way to match volumes for several reasons.  SPL is accumulative so a full band recording will naturally be louder than the guitar part alone.  Not to mention the fact that mastered recordings are pretty deeply volume maximized and compressed nowdays (too much so in my opinion), so I'm not sure you'll get the right level for the dynamics involved in a live performance.

 

I know I've been following this regimen generally now for about three years starting with the HD500X.  I've had to modify it some as I was using a SPL meter originally, but a signal meter seems to get me a LOT more consistent between patches.  We play at least once or twice a week each week and since going to the signal meter approach we've had MUCH better stage mixes, which translates into better house mixes.

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This topic is more over-thought and over- analyzed than anything else that gets discussed around here, and for the life of me I will never understand why. Through 25+ years of playing through rack-mount preamps, multi-fx units, and modelers...all I ever needed was ears.

 

Leveling volumes is not mysterious, and dB meters are just shy of useless. Why? Because the mid-boosted lead patch that registers 85 dB will always SEEM louder than the heavily scooped rhythm patch that also measures 85 dB. And both of them will blow the doors off the crystal clean tone at 85 dB, because distorted sounds are always perceived as being louder than cleans. The numbers don't matter...perception does. If Tone A "sounds" louder than Tone B, then it is... no matter number some meter vomits at you. Blame Fletcher and Munson.

 

1. Listen.

2. Turn up or down accordingly.

3. Hit "save".

4. Play the damn thing.

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I thought it would be the manual method.

 

Guru, the reason is, in my case anyway, I don't want to switch to a patch and WHAM you're bending the vu needles :) I like them all reasonable.

 

What I normally do is have the cleanest least compressed patch, create one of you don't have one, strum it really hard and adjust the patch output level with my interface input knobs central and the master output volume central. Then I save the patch and use that as a reference. When I create a new patch I put the knobs back central, play the reference patch, note the db, pay the new patch and match the output.

 

I know all that about perceived volume but this is just to stop you jumping out of your skin ;)

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I use the mixer in Reaper to get me "normalized", then just tweak with the ears as necessary at rehearsal. Using the meter in Reaper is much faster and gives me a master reference so that the person running FOH will see a "normal" looking level across all of my preset changes.

 

Yes you can use your ear to make all volumes close relative to each other, but you may still be off with your signal to FOH if you play that way. If you are just going to a speaker or amp, then it's probably no big deal. People sending their signals to FOH is a different story.  

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