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mikebruno

Helix cab rules!!

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When I discovered the Ownhammer IR I was in shocked... Very impressed. I wanted to come here and say " Guys!! Don't waste your time with helix cab..."

But did not. it's not my style...

 

Today, I took my fav patch and went to ear once again the 4x12 , 25w. With ribon mics.

And it jumped in my ears !!! What ? The sound was so much more deep and real!

I thought I was a fool.

I have found the sound was interactive and 3D compared to any other IR I had.

So. This is for me but for those who are debating on this, don't discriminate the helix cab too fast.

Ciaoooo

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I agree! IR's are great for expanding your tonal options and I use them myself, but sometimes people don't give the HX cabs a chance or just follow what other users do/say instead of their ears. 

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I went the opposite way. Got my Helix in Oct. 2015 when they first started shipping.

Used only the Helix cabs until a few months ago. Started trying out IR's 
Found that they sounded a lot better to me after a year + of using the Helix cabs. 
Now I'm using the Ownhammer Marshall cab IR  
Just one of them. Listened to a bunch of them that came in the bundle I bought...picked the one that sounded most like a real Marshall cab does to me and use it on all my sounds. I play live onstage in nightclubs and I tend to use just one amp and one cab with different settings on the amp for clean, crunch, and lead and different effects for different sounds.
When I try to use a bunch of different amps and cabs...it starts sounding goofy and "off" when you are playing onstage with a band.

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I also started with only Helix cabs and after 6 months or so decided to give ir a chance.

Actually they all sounded really horrible so I forgot about them, wondering what I was doing wrong. Since most people on this forum are wild about them.

Than after another couple of months tried again. At first I was blown away, the ir teally sounded much better (never found out why the were crap the first time).

But then I found that de ir was much louder than the Helix cab and knowing that louder often sounds better I adjusted the cab to match the Helix cab.

Then all the magic went away. It still sounded good but really not better than the Helix cab.

In the end I decided it wasn't worth the bother for me.

 

I agree. Being able to use ir greatly enhances the possible choices and thats absolutely great!

But in my opinion the Helix cabs are just as good or at least really good enough.

 

Try the volume matching and judge for yourself!

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I think you can get the sound you want from the internal cabs or IRs.  Most of the time I use IRs simply because they're convenient.  Rather than go through the process of selecting a cab, mic, and dialing in parameters I simply add the specific IR that has right mic and general parameters I want to the signal chain and I'm done and can move on to other elements in the signal chain.

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I started with stock cabs only and was about to return my Helix i was so dissapointed at first as i play mostly high gain amps and it sounded awful i didn't believe i payed so much more then i payed for Pod HD to get a little better feeling and more realistic feel when i lowered the volym knob on my guitar.

The core SOUND however was still digital and not much better then the Pod HD i.m.o

 

After some conversation with some members at Line6 Helix FB group i got some info on some nessecary tweaks i needed to do in globals, input pad, hp/lp filter in cabs, to get a better tone it helped alot compare to what it sounded withoiut those tweaks.

I then added some EQ blocks and it got even better than before

 

But still it sounded very digital so i was about to give up

 

After about one week of tweaking i loaded in some of my Redwirez and Ownhammers IR's and replaced the stock cab and it made a dramtic difference in the sound

So much i decided to keep my Helix and hope for improving in the amp modeling in future updates to catch up with Fractal/kemper in the high gain sounds area.

And maybe even get more IR slots and even the possability to load higher resolution IR,s than is possible today.

 

I found stock cabs to sound digital compared to IR

i havent played with the new cabs in the lates update yet but they are not really suited for high gain sound anyway.

I found IR's sounds more organic or "real" atleast for my go to sounds

On a clean sound and maybe even semidistorted the difference isn't so big but still i prefer a well captured IR over the stock cab any day.

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One of the challenges folks find is that they think they have to use a bunch. If you get to one or two that work for your tone, just stick with them. I only use 4 cabinets for the most part, often in dual cab configurations, always with ribbon mikes, and never 3rd party IR. Ymmv, but those Matchless, Dr. Z and that 4 x 10 are all I need...

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Just my opinion, but I have come to the personal conclusion that IRs typically sound better if you're using a 4CM with an amp and traditional cabinet (with an appropriate EQ block in the signal chain) while the the Helix stock cabs sound better with FRFR type setups (I'm using Line 6 Stagesource speakers). My thinking is that this is because FRFR speakers already have a broader frequency range than typical guitar speaker cabs and don't need the extra. IRs with FRFR sounds somewhat fizzy to me. While Helix is a work of genius in it's ability to cover just about every possible setup a particular musician might have, I'm sure they had to choose a starting point in the design process. I thinking that maybe said starting point was to create a new/improved version of the previous Line 6 "miracle system" (or whatever it was called) which was the HD500, Variax guitar, and a Stagesource speaker. Maybe this starting point took priority and 'then' the stock cabs were tweaked a bit, as a compromise, to also be acceptable with other type setups. Regardless, I find that with FRFR, just about every IR, stock cab, amp mod, etc., can be made to sound the same as another with a little (sometimes a lot of) extra trouble and tweaking. (P.S.) My own "personal conclusion" confuses me and seems backwards logically since IRs are created, and monitored, with a digital process and equipment (I assume). Seems to me like IRs should sound better with FRFR rather than the other way around. Perhaps it's because in their creation, they are miking actual cabs - I don't know.

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Thanks guys for your thoughts and ideas !

 

I'm like Peter said here, since I work exclusively with ribbon mics, I get less of a  "zoo" or "zee" sound. More open neutral and natural sounding.

Even, my dry center source is my DT50 mic'ed up with a 421 and 57 and at the mixing board I was challenge to get a sound as good as the Helix, unless I spend several minutes to move mics around to get a sweet spot that will say " Hey ! I'm the real tube amp here !! " 

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I still prefer quality third party IRs to anything I'm getting with the stock Helix cabs, and it's not for a lack of my trying.  YMMV.

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Just my opinion, but I have come to the personal conclusion that IRs typically sound better if you're using a 4CM with an amp and traditional cabinet (with an appropriate EQ block in the signal chain) 

 

Wait...what?  Why would you use IRs with a real amp in 4CM?

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Wait...what?  Why would you use IRs with a real amp in 4CM?

In the wonderful world of digital modeling, the only parts of the signal chain that are "real" are your guitar, the physical speaker, and your ears. Everything else is an effect or a tone control. If a modeled cab does the same thing as one or more EQs, why not? NO RULES!

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In the wonderful world of digital modeling, the only parts of the signal chain that are "real" are your guitar, the physical speaker, and your ears. Everything else is an effect or a tone control. If a modeled cab does the same thing as one or more EQs, why not? NO RULES!

 

 

That's a bit of over-simplification, but I kinda like it!

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Wait...what?  Why would you use IRs with a real amp in 4CM?

 

For the same reason you are using an amp mod in the Helix rather than just playing directly into your amp - so your speaker cab will sound like the amp/cab your are desiring to use at that time.  How else would you expect your Marshall cab to sound remotely close to a 4X10 super reverb or a 1X12 champ?  One of the IR makers even supply their customers with an EQ curve to place in the Helix chain specifically for use in 4CM.  I haven't used 4CM for a long time but I never tried it without either an IR or Helix stock cab.  I assume it would have the same undesirable result as using FRFR without one. 

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For the same reason you are using an amp mod in the Helix rather than just playing directly into your amp - so your speaker cab will sound like the amp/cab your are desiring to use at that time.  How else would you expect your Marshall cab to sound remotely close to a 4X10 super reverb or a 1X12 champ?  One of the IR makers even supply their customers with an EQ curve to place in the Helix chain specifically for use in 4CM.  I haven't used 4CM for a long time but I never tried it without either an IR or Helix stock cab.  I assume it would have the same undesirable result as using FRFR without one. 

 

 

Using an IR AND a conventional guitar speaker at the same time will yield unacceptable results by most people's judgment. That's like miking a cabinet and sending that miked signal through a guitar amp and miking it again. Maybe okay for a wacky dark special effect sound, but not for what most people are, I think, looking for in a guitar tone.

 

The purpose of an IR is NOT to make your Marshall Cab sound like a 4 x 10.

 

There may be some IRs designed to change the sound of a conventional guitar speaker to something else, but I can't imagine them working all that well.

 

By the same token, in my experience, using the amp model into the front of a guitar amp is not satisfactory either.

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Using an IR AND a conventional guitar speaker at the same time will yield unacceptable results by most people's judgment. That's like miking a cabinet and sending that miked signal through a guitar amp and miking it again. Maybe okay for a wacky dark special effect sound, but not for what most people are, I think, looking for in a guitar tone.

 

The purpose of an IR is NOT to make your Marshall Cab sound like a 4 x 10.

 

There may be some IRs designed to change the sound of a conventional guitar speaker to something else, but I can't imagine them working all that well.

 

By the same token, in my experience, using the amp model into the front of a guitar amp is not satisfactory either.

 

 

And in the same kind of idea, I have feed my tube amp's return input with an helix amp model and the sound is near 90% what I like but I started to play with Eq's to get rid of a 3K peak that I think would come from the process of a Power amp into power amp. Could it be ?

(I know it's best to use preamps for that mather but 2 or 3 reasons tells me to go with the full amp model. ) 

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Does anyone know if it is possible to render a frequency response chart with or from an IR?

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Does anyone know if it is possible to render a frequency response chart with or from an IR?

 

 

Ir is NOT just merely a snapshot EQ curve, so even if this can be done, it's probably not helpful.

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Ir is NOT just merely a snapshot EQ curve, so even if this can be done, it's probably not helpful.

 

Well I know it is colored by the mic and mic placement among other things, but I'm working on an idea. Or more accurately working on working on an idea.

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I'm currently using some third party IRs and more often, Helix cabs. It depends on the patch. Sometimes I'll try replacing a stock cab in a patch with various third party IRs and after a bunch of tweaking and A/B comparing, I end up sticking with the stock cab. I'm grateful we have the option to use both.

 

Now if someday Line 6 gives us the ability to virtually move the mics across the speaker (and at angles) as well as close to or away from it, maybe, just maybe I won't feel compelled to use third party IRs anymore. I still hope to find out at some point.

 

FWIW, I use the ribbon mics on the stock cabs a vast majority of the time.

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In the wonderful world of digital modeling, the only parts of the signal chain that are "real" are your guitar, the physical speaker, and your ears. Everything else is an effect or a tone control. If a modeled cab does the same thing as one or more EQs, why not? NO RULES!

 

But why would you use a modeled cab when you have a real cab?  Two cabs and two mics?

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But why would you use a modeled cab when you have a real cab?  Two cabs and two mics?

 

Because it doesn't weigh as much.

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After seeing one of the "using helix live" videos posted here in the forum recently, I have revisited the stock cabs. I was determined to get the 80's pop-metal sound from Poison's Look What the Cat Dragged In album (don't judge me). I did some research, and started off with the Tube screamer -> Brit 2204 -> single Cali 1x12, but ended up exploring the dual cab with a combination of Cali 1x12 and 4x12. I've been comparing that against the Ownhammer Marshall/Mesa IR and getting pretty good results with both.

 

My approach to building patches has changed quite a bit since I first got Helix. Going back to listen to the stock cabs, I don't think they suck, but there are some I like and some I don't. Same with the Ownhammer/3SA/Redwiez IRs. They are an effects block. Some of them fit the tone I want, some don't.

 

 

 

 

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But why would you use a modeled cab when you have a real cab?  Two cabs and two mics?

A modeled cab is really just another kind of tone control. Heck, a REAL cab is just another kind of tone control. A Basketweave Marshall with Celestion 25s sounds WAY different from an Oversize Mesa with V30s. As many have noted here in other threads, sometimes you can get the same results using a different cab/mic combination as you could get using one or more EQs, which would free up those blocks for other uses. So, if using a modeled cab through your REAL cab sounds good, go for it! NO RULES!

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There are IRs that aren't cab or mic models. There are IRs that simulate poweramp interaction with a speaker load that can be used in conjunction with other IRs or cab models. I've run cab models into physical cabs before to make actual guitar sounds before.

 

No rules indeed

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... I thinking that maybe said starting point was to create a new/improved version of the previous Line 6 "miracle system" (or whatever it was called) which was the HD500, Variax guitar, and a Stagesource speaker. ...

The "Dream Rig", which was: HD500, Variax, and DT50 or DT25.

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As far as mid gain tones go, I get PLENTY of tones from IRs that Helix cabs wont even come close to. Admittedly ive never tried an FRFR other than my studio monitors, and i liked what the one dude here said,and it sounds intriguing, but for all intents my monitors ARE an FRFR. You'll get about 3 different tones from Helix, and they really arent all that good, and the rest is just filler and more of the same. The mic modelling is worthless as well. None of the character of the modeled mic, and just a bunch of different EQ curves applied. The transient break-up on helix cabs is nothing short of annoying. The low end sounds like a rubber band. I think the rubber band sounds better. If you think Helix cabs sound anywhere near as good as IRs, i can only recommend getting new monitors or treat your room. My best tones on my POD 2.0 are far better than anything ive gotten on the Helix using native cabs, in over a years use. Feelings are a tiny bit different about cleaner tones. My comments here mostly pertain to mid gain tones and higher.

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I'm sure that's a frequency response of a speaker, not an IR. The response of an IR changes over a small amount of time

Absolutely.  I was using the frequency response chart from the actual speakers as a way to understand the difference in the response of the IRs.  There may be slight differences, but the IR should have similar response characteristics, especially when relatively compared to charts from other speakers.

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I'm sure that's a frequency response of a speaker, not an IR. The response of an IR changes over a small amount of time

 

Absolutely.  I was using the frequency response chart from the actual speakers as a way to understand the difference in the response of the IRs.  There may be slight differences, but the IR should have similar response characteristics, especially when relatively compared to charts from other speakers.

Sorry to misquote you. Thanks for clearing it up. 

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