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bossgx700

Can't get a useful high gain sound

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Hi all,

 

Let me start by saying I've trawled the forums and tried numerous things before deciding to post.

 

I got my Helix LT yesterday (along with a very nice Fender Jim Root Telecaster) and updated it to 2.20 before doing anything else. I reset the globals and presets and had a flick through the factory presets. We all know factory presets are never really very good so I didn't think to much about the fact that all the higher gain presets sounded a lot quieter and almost 'mushy'.

 

I'm plugging straight into the unit with my guitar and monitoring through a pair of sennheiser hd280 pro headphones. The unit is connected via USB to my pc as I plan on using the 8 in and out in Reaper. I've also tried using the xlr out to my steinberg UR242 interface and had the same issue.

 

I've spent many years using software modelling (guitar rig, s-gear, bias, revolver, amplitube) and have managed to get some great tones out of them. However I feel like I'm either missing something very obvious or I have a dodgy unit.

 

Using the factory presets ad an example, patch 1 doesn't sound too bad. When switching to patch 2 or 3 (the cali drive one. I can't fully remember as I'm at work) which is the first high gain tone I notice a fairly big drop in level. I've tried boosting the output volume and increasing the level of the cab but it just sounds 'mushy' and increasing the volume just exaggerates the issue.

 

I've created a few presets from scratch and just simply can't get anything close to what I would call good. I'm hoping there's something simple I've missed which will solve it.

 

I purchased the heavy hitters IR pack from ownhammer but using the IR still has the same issue. I'll post some sound clips later but wanted to get the ball rolling as it's driving me a little crazy at work trying to figure out what's going on.

 

As that guitar has active pickups I tried a different one with passives. Same issue. Altering the input impedance had little to no effect.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice. Apologies for any typo's. I had to type this all up on my phone.

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Everyone must be working or sleeping – I expect this question will generate a lot of responses from the experts and they will ask you a lot of detailed questions since what your asking depends on every aspect of what your using.  I’m still new but I went from total disappointment to loving the Helix and I use dist a lot (I’m a rock guy), so I think you’ll end up like me (happy).

Here’s my quick, high-level experience.  I use EQ before the amp and again at the end of my signal chain.  This shapes my tone and is essential for me.  Amp selection and settings also make a big diff, of course.  Some amps have a nice crunch tone that works well with the dist pedals and others are better starting with a clean tone.  I can tell you what I use, but every person here has another opinion and results may vary!

I don’t think you’ll find the “simple†thing you’re missing.  It’s everything together.  This forum talks a lot about the needed high (3-5 kHz) and low cuts (100 Hz).  The high cut in particular is essential for me.  I use the cuts in my IR settings (I don’t use many cabs but cab vs IR doesn’t change my dist sound too much) and with my EQ before and after the amp.

For me, there isn’t a single factory preset I use as is, and early on I bought some and don’t use those either.  Others have a diff experience with presets, but this is mine based on my equipment and ears.  None sound like what I want.  My main guitars are a PRS and Ultra Strat and I listen with Bose headphones so I plug my guitar into the Helix, into a Steinberg UR44, to my Windows laptop, which sounds similar to you.

For me, there are a few dist pedals that I use and I use some at the same time – this works pretty well.  The other thing I do is I have an inexpensive preamp in my send/rtn.  This is the only thing I have outside the Helix for sound shaping.  This gives me a really nice crunch without a dist pedal and when used with a dist pedal, I can get a lot of variations up to super overdriven.  I don’t think this is essential to have, but I like it.  

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Thanks a lot for the response Doug. I'll give all of those a try later. I'm sure I will end up loving it. I've seen enough videos and read enough reviews to know the sounds are hiding in there somewhere!

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Oh, you'll get a lot more info!  I sent you message directly too.  Please check that out at your convenience.

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I throw a 3-band compressor in between amp & cab (or after amp if using a single amp/cab block).  Most effective trick I've found for managing high gain tones.

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If you have experience with a real amp that Helix models, start with that since you are already familiar with how that one is supposed to sound and react. Drop in that model and adjust it to how you typically would with the real thing. Drop in an appropriate cabinet model and appropriate settings on how you may have experience mic'ing the real cab. Also, try a guitar that you have already been using with that same rig. With all of that, you now have a reference to compare to the real thing that you are already used to playing. Also check out posts about "My Helix sounds really bad through headphones". There are a LOT of factors that influence the sound through various headphones. 

 

If you don't have any experience with the real amps that Helix is modeling, then the only reference you have is trying to achieve a tone/sound that so-in-so is using on a particular recording. It also seems that most posts about not being able to get a "good" sound is from heavy gain players. There seems to be a lot more variables that play into a "good" high gain sound. I am not a high gain player so I don't have anything to offer in that respect. I can drop in a Fender Bassman or Dr Z Route 66 amp model/cab, plug in my Tele, and it sounds great without moving a single knob. 

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My suggestion is that you start from scratch. A New Preset. Leave Guitar Z on "Auto". Change Global Settings > I/O > Guitar Pad to "On".

 

Place a Looper Block at the start of your Signal Path.

Place an Amp+Cab Block in the middle of the Signal Path.

Play something in the Looper, then allow it to Playback repeatedly.

Step through the Amp+Cab Model offerings, one at a time, to explore what each sounds like at default parameters, and when you vary the Model's parameters.

When done, you'll have a good idea which Models get you closest to what you like.

Repeat with varying the Cab Parameters, if you did not do so while exploring the Amp+Cab Models.

Add FX to taste.

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I put the loop in the first block of the signal chain last week and did just the same as you and it's pretty useful cos' you can really dig into your tones just listening to them.

 

Other thing I do is to REAMP via USB into my DAW, and I loop the dry guitar recorded in my daw and tweak my tone until I find it's good.

 

Checkout this video from Line 6: 

 

bossgx700:

Hope you find this useful.

 

My suggestion is that you start from scratch. A New Preset. Leave Guitar Z on "Auto". Change Global Settings > I/O > Guitar Pad to "On".

Place a Looper Block at the start of your Signal Path.
Place an Amp+Cab Block in the middle of the Signal Path.
Play something in the Looper, then allow it to Playback repeatedly.
Step through the Amp+Cab Model offerings, one at a time, to explore what each sounds like at default parameters, and when you vary the Model's parameters.
When done, you'll have a good idea which Models get you closest to what you like.
Repeat with varying the Cab Parameters, if you did not do so while exploring the Amp+Cab Models.
Add FX to taste.

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Here is my advice as a fellow high-gainer:

 

- Make sure both your amp channel AND master volumes are cranked to get power amp distortion, the master volume is on the 2nd page of the amp settings.  Usually when my tone sucks, I forgot to crank the master volume and it's set on 2.

- Always change the mic and mic distance for any cab you select, as a high-gain guy I always go with the 57 and 1" distance.

- Put an overdrive pedal before the amp and try different blends of the two distortions.  Crank the volume of the overdrive pedal to hit the input of the amp harder, but leave the OD gain at lower levels (at least at first).  I start with a 3-4 gain on the overdrive and 7-8 gain on the amp.

- To level out your volumes, adjust the output block at the end of the path.

- As already mentioned, you can tweak your sound by putting an EQ block before any of the distortions.  Boosting mids beforehand sometimes helps.

 

 

Try putting a tube screamer (Scream 808) in front of the Line 6 Fatality amp with a 4×12 Cali V30 (or XXL) cab, using the settings I mentioned above.  This is one of my favorite combos of high-gain tones.

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I can also highly recommend Chad Boston's "Line 6 Premium Support and Presets" on Facebook. He has one video, "Episode 8: Fizz" that alone is worth the price of the membership.  That one is currently on YouTube--don't know for how long.

Bottom line: high gain on one guitar needs to be a little "fizzy" to cut through the mix with a full band. Don't know if that is an issue with the pursuit of good high gain tone for you, but it was for me.

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Try putting a tube screamer (Scream 808) in front of the Line 6 Fatality amp with a 4×12 Cali V30 (or XXL) cab, using the settings I mentioned above.  This is one of my favorite combos of high-gain tones.und by putting an EQ block before any of the distortions.  Boosting mids beforehand sometimes helps.

 

You just saved my life Monkeysqueak!! This is exactly the sort of sound I was looking for as a starter. 

 

Thanks everyone for the advice

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Buy Glenn Delaunes high gain patches. Fixed. Period.

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Haha I figured you'd like that combo!  You can't go wrong with an overdrive in front of a high-gain amp, that's a reliable setup.

 

Also try setting the input pad for the guitar in global settings.  Depending on your pickups, you might get better sound with the pad turned on, to lower the input level a bit.

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Try taking the hum and ripple all the way down too. I use either dual amls or dual cabs to get more thickness and some depth of tone. Cab cuts are key as well. I bought Glenn's patches and some good stuff there, but you will get it! It took me a little while, but I can get what I need fairly quickly now once you have a work flow that's familiar to you..enjoy!

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I have been enabling the pad on input as the pickups are active. I'll definitely look at Glenn Delaunes patches, thanks for that. I feel like I'm at a decent starting point now. Thanks to everyone who helped, it's makes a very nice change to ask for help on a forum and not get blasted by trolls :)

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Hello my friend,

 

let me say that i posted something really similar to this topic when i got my Helix.

After 1-2 Days i was pretty disappointed. But at this point i am absolutely sold to this unit man its just awesome.

 

As far as I had to learn the Helix is not good right out of the box. You have to put alot of afford and work into it

especially when searching for that one sound you have in your head.

 

You can just put some amps and Cabs into a patch and it sound really good but may disappoint if you have other

ideas of what you want and need.

 

I haven't done many patches up to this date I rather tweak my main patch to perfection first.

In my case i was searching for that special Mesa Mark series mid Gain Crunch/Lead sound.

 

The Mark IV model is pretty tough to dial in and need a lot of tweaking.

So far I'm using the Mark IV model which is absolutely gorgeous in pair with 2 specific Ownhammer cabs

perfectly balanced to my needs. But that alone would do nothing. I have 2 EQs, 1 Compressor also to boost the input

and 1 noise gate and dialed in the global EQ. After countless hours of dialing everything in I'm getting closer to my sound.

And let me tell ya its a hell lot of fun to play with that one patch alone.

 

So sit back think about your sound you want and dial in you patch as long as it needs to make you happy.

This will take some time and even depends on you Sound system. Presets in download from others don't

sound good on my system so this differs in every environment.

 

The Helix is BOSS man but it needs time to get used to it.

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Thanks for that ZSchneidi. I think I've been surprised at how varied the amp options are. I'm fairly used to finding an amp sound I like and fine tuning it but I'm finding the choice of cab, mic and mic placement are all having a massive effect. I have a fairly decent starting point thanks to you guys, I was just worried there was something wrong with it! 

 

This would be the sort of thing I'm aiming towards: 

 

While not identical it's close to the sort of sound I'm looking for. I've not had much luck with the Archon model yet but it's only been two days. I'll keep on tinkering and get there eventually.

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No prob mate ;)

 

Be patient I guess it took us all a lil while to get used to the system. The Helix is a bit more professional then other systems i used before.

So it might need a bit more work.

 

You will definitly get that kind of tone out of you system but remember just putting the amp and cab won't do the job.

Work your way through. Use a compressor and i would even recommend a distortion pedal in front maybe even an EQ before and after.

 

I'm still at the point where i need to try things out to see what works the best. And even with the same patch is in the video it wouldn't sound

like that on your home PA or headphones or whatever.

 

Man you will be really happy onces you get what you searching for i guarantee you that ^^ have fun.

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Apparently my guitar is missing at least one string. No wonder I'm not a metal guy.

 

 

 

;)

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lol. I do use a 7 string from time to time but I mostly play 6. I also like a lot of classic rock and blues but I do love a chunky riff :D

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So now I think I'm going crazy again :D

 

I downloaded Glenn Delaune's High Gain set and to my ears they sound terrible. Has anyone else downloaded this set?

 

Here's a clip of his Diezel VH4 patch. I understand it won't sound exactly the same as his video but it's absolutely nowhere near. 

 

https://soundcloud.com/user-541692962/gd-diezel-vh4-helix

 

I'm using a PRS SE custom with stock pickups. Guitar pad is off and impedance is set to auto. Is it just my ears or does that sound terrible? 

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Here is my advice as a fellow high-gainer:

 

- Make sure both your amp channel AND master volumes are cranked to get power amp distortion,  

Not necessarily. Sometimes the master volume just adds volume, sometimes it adds distortion, sometimes a combo of both, sometimes it will change the shape of the distortion entirely....and the amp channel doesnt do anything at all in that regard

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So now I think I'm going crazy again :D

 

I downloaded Glenn Delaune's High Gain set and to my ears they sound terrible. Has anyone else downloaded this set?

 

Here's a clip of his Diezel VH4 patch. I understand it won't sound exactly the same as his video but it's absolutely nowhere near. 

 

https://soundcloud.com/user-541692962/gd-diezel-vh4-helix

 

I'm using a PRS SE custom with stock pickups. Guitar pad is off and impedance is set to auto. Is it just my ears or does that sound terrible? 

 

It sounded pretty good to me...

 

I think one of the issues with some of the videos (not just for the Helix, but for IRs and other "guitar-related" stuff) is they have a song in which the rhythm guitar parts have been double (or even triple) tracked. This makes them sound MASSIVE.. but not necessarily what you hear at home when you fire up your own rig. It can be buzz kill.

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I downloaded Glenn Delaune's High Gain set and to my ears they sound terrible. Has anyone else downloaded this set?

 

One thing that was a little tricky when I downloaded one of his artist sets was getting the presets pointing to the right IRs.  I had IRs loaded into the slots that his presets were expecting so I had to rejigger things a bit.

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Not a high gain guy myself, but happened to run into this guy you might want to check out. You can download his patches too.

 

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Not necessarily. Sometimes the master volume just adds volume, sometimes it adds distortion, sometimes a combo of both, sometimes it will change the shape of the distortion entirely....and the amp channel doesnt do anything at all in that regard

Will is right about channel volume only controlling how loud the final output is, it doesn't affect drive.

 

Turning up master hits the (virtual) power amp harder. Turning up Drive hits the preamp harder. Channel volume is just volume, no change of tone.

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Thanks for the links. I've tinkered around today and managed to get a lot closer to the sound I'm looking for. Still not perfect but I think I'm getting the idea. I've found using both a cab and an IR with some amps gets me closer to the sound I'm after, rather than just using one or the other.

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I got Glenn's high gain. I learned alot from his routing options, still had to adjust the cab cuts, and Irs.. They sound good, but not great, hard to tell what speakers/guitars he used. But a little tweaking and I am there. Hum and ripple gotta go, usually two amp paths and multiple cabs, I still don't have many IRs, part of the reason I bought his stuff.. I've used a few in my own patches. I got some of my heaviest patches sounding so good last night and woke up and they still sounded good, thats the test! Lol

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