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kaleidoskope

Most usable Helix setup

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Hi there!

I have my Helix for about a year now, used to be a proud AxeFx2 (v1) owner, traded it for a Suhr guitar and I am quite happy. I think that the AxeFx2 has better sounds and possibilities, but the usability is a nightmare for a guy like my that kinda dislike to RTFM. And the fact that I had to carry the extra pedalboard kinda annoyed me too. What I lost in programming options and sound quality, I gained in portability and usability. There are som things that I did with the AxeFx2 that I feel I won't be able to do with the Helix. That said, the Helix usability is second to none IMO. And the sound quality is not that far off, so...

 

Here's the deal. I've been struggling to find the best setup for that thing, mainly fro live use.

 

First the foot-switch configuration

  • Presets:
    • Plus: can use a lollipopload of amps and effects in several configuration, up to ten different "sounds" immediately available...
    • Minus: no spillover delays, sound gap when changing presets, less imediate control over single effects...
  • Snapshots
    • Plus: No sound gap when switching between snapshots, more "logical/natural use/sounding" (we dont carry 20 amps and 54 pedals to a gig  :)...
    • Minus: less "gear" availability (only 2 amps, less simultaneous pedals, etc)...

Then the sound design bit. At home and on the gigs I use a QSC K12 as my "amp". When the house needs me to go through the mix, I use the QSC as my stage amp. What I have been noticing is that when I'm happy with the sound I design @ home, most of the times, if I go direct throught the mixing board to the PA, I sound very diferent. Does that happen to you too? How can I minimise that difference in order to be "mostly" sure of my sound?

 

And finally the guitars. Do you guys program sets of sound for different guitars? I have a telecaster and a Les Paul that sound (obviously) completely diferent through the same setup. My guess is that the only way to solve that is to tweak a bank for each guitar, Is that it?

 

Thanx for reading so far and don't hesitate to chime in an give your 2 cents!

 

Peace!

 

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I'm very keen to hear input on this.  New Helix user here and have just done 3 gigs this past weekend with it and went over pretty good.  

 

I was running through a Yorkville E10 and my Alto TS210 just arrived today.  I can already tell how I will need to adjust probably every patch to run through a true FRFR.  It's a very different sound coming out and thinking it will change my line to the mixer next weekend (similar to your question).

 

Do you run different setlists at home versus gig to compensate for the change in sound at the two different levels?  I'm just searching for more info about that currently.

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Hi there!

I have my Helix for about a year now, used to be a proud AxeFx2 (v1) owner, traded it for a Suhr guitar and I am quite happy. I think that the AxeFx2 has better sounds and possibilities, but the usability is a nightmare for a guy like my that kinda dislike to RTFM. And the fact that I had to carry the extra pedalboard kinda annoyed me too. What I lost in programming options and sound quality, I gained in portability and usability. There are som things that I did with the AxeFx2 that I feel I won't be able to do with the Helix. That said, the Helix usability is second to none IMO. And the sound quality is not that far off, so...

 

Here's the deal. I've been struggling to find the best setup for that thing, mainly fro live use.

 

First the foot-switch configuration

  • Presets:
    • Plus: can use a lollipopload of amps and effects in several configuration, up to ten different "sounds" immediately available...
    • Minus: no spillover delays, sound gap when changing presets, less imediate control over single effects...
  • Snapshots
    • Plus: No sound gap when switching between snapshots, more "logical/natural use/sounding" (we dont carry 20 amps and 54 pedals to a gig :)...
    • Minus: less "gear" availability (only 2 amps, less simultaneous pedals, etc)...
Then the sound design bit. At home and on the gigs I use a QSC K12 as my "amp". When the house needs me to go through the mix, I use the QSC as my stage amp. What I have been noticing is that when I'm happy with the sound I design @ home, most of the times, if I go direct throught the mixing board to the PA, I sound very diferent. Does that happen to you too? How can I minimise that difference in order to be "mostly" sure of my sound?

 

And finally the guitars. Do you guys program sets of sound for different guitars? I have a telecaster and a Les Paul that sound (obviously) completely diferent through the same setup. My guess is that the only way to solve that is to tweak a bank for each guitar, Is that it?

 

Thanx for reading so far and don't hesitate to chime in an give your 2 cents!

 

Peace!

 

This question has been a minor obsession of mine for more than a year now. First, keep in mind, your best workflow will probably depend a lot on your personal style, the range of sound you need to get, and the style of gigging you do. I can only speak for myself, so consider this what I think is the best setup for someone with a spotty memory and a weekly gig in which the setlist is usually about four songs that are different every week, and subject to change on short notice (i.e., a church), and a less regular gig that is just acoustic guitar Tom Jones covers.

My main need for electric guitar is an easy to memorize setup with a decent range of sounds, and a couple easy to access gain boosts. Until recently I've been exclusively using the 4 snapshots/4 stompbox layout (with snapshots on the top row). I would use a preset with an amp with good cleans, like a Fender Twin, and one with good crunch, like the L6 Litigator, set up in parallel. I would set up 3 of the top-row snapshots to give me different blends of the two amps, generally with more delay and reverb on the cleaner tones. The fourth top-row snapshot would be dedicated to long, ambient volume pedal swells. The four bottom-row stompbox buttons would control effects I might want to hit on the fly regardless of the snapshot in use. Usually, this would be an overdrive or clean boost before the amp, a lead boost after the amp with a bass roll-off, an extra delay, and either a tremolo or an extra reverb. I always tended to have the main expression pedal work like a +/- 4 dB global volume control. I almost always have an external expression pedal set to trigger a wah by movement. The advantage is that you get the best of both worlds, a range of sounds via snapshot with a set of stompboxes that will always be available and do the same thing, and you can do it all from just one preset.

I have started working more from the 8 snapshot layout in the last few weeks, though. I found that I can use the Expression Pedal 1 to trigger a post-amp lead boost and an external overdrive pedal in a send/return loop for pre-amp boost. I have always used an Ernie Ball volume pedal, so that is an additional means of controlling gain without using the stompbox mode. I also started setting the level higher in the wah pedal, so it gives a natural boost as well. Also, having 8 snapshots available means I can set one or two of them as boosted tones anyway, although I end up hesitating to use them because I can never remember how much boost they have or if they have any obnoxious delay or flanger or something else I'm not expecting.The advantage here is a wider range of tonal possibilities, and the disadvantage, for me, is that it is harder to remember what I have each snapshot set up for. This last part I try to mitigate with some type of pattern, something like a progression from clean-dry, to clean with delay, to more crunch, to crunch with delay... and so on.

That said, if I played the same setlist of 9 songs a night, I might find it better to spread that across a bank of 4 presets, or even one preset per song.

I use a JVC EON610 as my main output at home and stage monitor at gigs. It is difficult to get the gig sound to match the at home sound, and nobody on this forum that I have read will tell you they've got it perfectly matched up. But the difference for me is minimal, but I do have to tell the sound guy from time to time not to futz with the EQ too much. The best practical advice most guys seem to give is to use the PA to practice at home, practice at home with as loud of volume as your family and neighbors will tolerate, and don't use headphones to adjust tone.

For my electric guitars, I usually play an Ibanez RG, but sometimes I use a Telecaster. For the style I play, I find it easiest to take the preset I use for the Ibanez, make a copy of it and add "tele" to the end of the name, and tweak it to suit the Telecaster's output and tone. Again, now that I've memorized the preset I use mot often, I like to keep it similar between both guitars.

I hope that gives you a little food for thought.

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First, I'm not sure the features of any kind of unit should dictate how you use it.  The way you use the features should be determined by the requirements of the music and the performance.  And I think that's what's causing your confusion.  Here's the questions you should ask yourself.

 

How complex are the songs you play?  Are there a variety of movements in the song (changes in the basic flow of the song) or are they fairly standard verse, chorus, instrumental break?

 

Within your set of songs does one song flow into the next or does each song have a definite begginning and end?  Do yo interact with the audience between songs?

 

Do you generally play just one style of song or does your songlist consist of a variety of genres and styles?

 

If you generally play in one genre and style of music with a lot of complexity of different sounds or movements in each song, or the songs tend to flow together then snapshots is the obvious answer.  The more distinctive and standard each song is the more likely presets would suffice.

 

In my case each song is fairly distinctive and standard, and we cover a lot of genres such as rock, blues, jazz, country, rockabilly, ballads etc.  Since each song stands on it's own I use a preset per song.  However, I have my setup so that my upper row of buttons are reserved for snapshots in case I need them and my lower row is setup per preset.  In practice I rarely need to use more than 2 or 3 buttons and very often combine mulitiple effects on a singe button using assignments.  I've yet to encounter a situation where I need to use snapshots so this arrangement works well for me, especially since each song has its own beginning and end with a pause between songs.  This also works well because I use certain guitars for different songs so each preset (which equates to a song) is designed to be used with a certain guitar (Les Paul, Strat, Tele, or Gretsch hollow body).

 

One key advantage to presets is that you don't need every effect in a preset assigned to a button.  Often many of my presets are similar as far as amps with only slight changes in things like amount of gain or EQ or cabinets/IRs, reverbs, delays or compressors.  That makes it very simple to apply those things differently for each song and the only buttons I need to have active are the ones that need to be modified during the course of the song.  In most cases I end up with only one button active in a preset which is the one I engage during a lead break.  Sometimes I may need two if there's something special that needs to happen in a chorus or bridge.

 

I'm not sure why there would be a difference between what you hear from the K12 and the FOH PA system.  I use a Yamaha DXR12 as my personal stage monitor or amp and almost always go through the PA as well.  One of the main reasons I prefer this setup is because I know that what I'm hearing on stage will match what the audience hears.  The same should be true for you with tke K12.  The only reason this might not appear to be the case could depend on your positioning of the K12.  If you're too close to the K12 it might appear harsher than the PA.  I tend to leave about 5 feet of distance between me and my DXR12 and I have it positioned behind me as a floor monitor pretty much in the same way as I would a traditional amp.  This makes it much easier fore everyone to gauge the stage mix with the other instruments and vocals.  The only reason I can see for the PA to sound different would be if the sound man is monkeying around with your EQ at his end.  I make sure the sound man knows to keep my EQ flat and the sound matches quite well.

 

The other factor that could come into play is how you use that monitor to setup your presets.  I always use my DXR12 at home when I'm dialing in presets.  I keep it at close to stage volume and I have it positioned vertically about 5 or 6 feet from me.  This gives me an accurate representation of what I will sound like through the PA.  At home I also route my output through a small mixer so I can normalize the volumes between presets using the mixer's signal meter.  In rehearsal I may make some slight adjustments to the preset, but generally I don't have to touch it.

 

I think it's also important to bear in mind, especially if you're coming from a traditional amp setup, that dialing in your sound is going to be different.  I find it easier and more effective to have the mindset I'm dialing in my sound as if I'm getting ready to record it in a studio rather than dialing it in for a live performance.  That's because in this setup that's the sound you're targeting, a polished studio sound in a live environment.  That gets me much closer to what I want the audience to hear rather than what I want to hear.

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For me, I usually set up a preset per song, and use snap/stomp mode on those. You don't need instantaneous transition between presets since you are switching them between songs. I would venture to say that you can capture the tones of any one song in a single preset. I also set them up for the guitar that I would be playing on that song. 

 

I am now starting to transition over to some generic presets (not per song) that are more interactive. I am building presets with one or two amps, and a variety of effects using 10 stomp mode. I am running two external expression pedals for interactive parameter changes of amp drive, delay feedback, etc... I will probably have just 4-6 generic presets with different amp models, but the same work flow so I can just change presets for the type of amp it is build around. My new generic presets are called "Mesa IV, Plexi, AC30, Twin, etc...). So if I hear a particular song's guitar part is being played on an AC30 type amp, I just load that one up and it is close enough for me. This is going to save me time every week from having to build song specific presets, and I can just play more. I am not a tone chaser spending endless hours trying to "nail" a tone on particular recordings. 

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...Then the sound design bit. At home and on the gigs I use a QSC K12 as my "amp". When the house needs me to go through the mix, I use the QSC as my stage amp. What I have been noticing is that when I'm happy with the sound I design @ home, most of the times, if I go direct throught the mixing board to the PA, I sound very diferent. Does that happen to you too? How can I minimise that difference in order to be "mostly" sure of my sound?

 

And finally the guitars. Do you guys program sets of sound for different guitars? I have a telecaster and a Les Paul that sound (obviously) completely diferent through the same setup. My guess is that the only way to solve that is to tweak a bank for each guitar, Is that it?...

 

 

First... tweak at gig volume, through the PA you'll be playing through if possible, and through a good FRFR (like what you have) and you'll be fine. Again... at GIG volume. Otherwise the sound is very different. 

 

Second... I have two electrics and a hybrid (Crowdster Plus 2). I find that my guitars sound their best if I create patches JUST for that guitar, and the first character in the name of the patch is always the guitar that it's for, "A" for my Atom, "T" for my Tele, "C" for my Crowdster and "W" for my Wechter acoustic, which I use through Helix as well sometimes.

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Then the sound design bit. At home and on the gigs I use a QSC K12 as my "amp". When the house needs me to go through the mix, I use the QSC as my stage amp. What I have been noticing is that when I'm happy with the sound I design @ home, most of the times, if I go direct throught the mixing board to the PA, I sound very diferent. Does that happen to you too? How can I minimise that difference in order to be "mostly" sure of my sound?

 

And finally the guitars. Do you guys program sets of sound for different guitars? I have a telecaster and a Les Paul that sound (obviously) completely diferent through the same setup. My guess is that the only way to solve that is to tweak a bank for each guitar, Is that it?

 

Thanx for reading so far and don't hesitate to chime in an give your 2 cents!

 

Peace!

 

For your first point I agree with the other posters that your QSC shouldn't sound that much different than what the PA would produce unless the sound guy is modifying your signal.  I have been running my Helix direct to every PA I have played through including the band's live PA rig (when venues do not have one).  I currently rely on an Amplifi 75 and headphones for designing sounds and recently purchased a pair of JBL 710 and have run them side by side and found no discernable difference in sound.

 

To your second point I use a Variax so I am constantly changing guitars with patches and I have found the Helix is much more responsive to guitar and playing style the the HD series.  MY current band is an original prog band so each patch is customised for guitar and song.  In some songs I will switch between up to 3 different guitars.  I would say that you have probably already found that the Tele and Les Paul will sound different in the same patch.

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I like Snapshots for Live use for the spillover and gapless switching. I use a lot of different sounds in a set some times, but I rarely need to have 5 different delays available in each song, so I can just copy my "Master Patch" with my clean and mean amps and change out the drives/mods/ambiance FX and then change patches between songs. As far as consistency from the FOH to your QSC, the best bet is to make sure you're building your patches at a relatively high volume to compensate for the frequency anomalies that occur with volume, and no matter how "FRFR" most speakers claim to be, the all have different crossover points and impart some sonic character. I find that though my FOH sound may differ from my on-stage monitoring, its rarely a HUGE difference and mostly comes down to how the sound guy handles my signal and the gear it's being reproduced on. I definitely have different versions of my patches based on whether I'm using an active or passive-equipped guitar, with minor EQ and gate tweaks to make them as similar as possible. 

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Wow! Thank you all for the kind and clear answers/advices! Thanx a lot!

 

A few notes...

 

I live in an appartement with not too much room in my tiny home studio. So when I'm sound-designing, my QSC is on the floor, facing me. I can't really go stage volume, that small room would tremble all over :D. Anyway. I'll try to book studio time just for that, it might be the best way.

 

On the per-song-preset/snap: bear in mind that I'm as lazy as they come :D. That's one of the reasons I like the Helix's usability so much. But I wouldn't venture in making a per-song programming :D

 

I have 2 main gigs. A cover band that plays live once or twice a month and an "original" project (kaleidoskope, check my signature) that is yet to be fully operational. The cover band plays blues, rock, poo, soul classics from the 50s to the 70s, so it requires a variety of sounds. But as the set-list tends to change from gig to gig, and there is no extreme distortion/overdrive king of sound, I think I can do with the snaps/pedals setup (even though I would love to have more amps to play with :D). I think I have to find the 2 most versatile amps and just build on that.

 

The kaleidoskope thing is another beast altogether. I have songs from quite different styles and languages: pop, rock, blues, reggae, afro stuff, salsa, punk, soul... sometimes mixing "styles" within the same song. It's part of a wider artistic concept I'm trying to make happen. So in this context, I need to have a wider sonic landscape, I think. Not that the Helix doesn't have that, on the contrary. I'm guessing that in this context, I'd better start sound-designing on a per-song basis...

 

At this point, for both gigs, I'm using the same setup, with snapshots on the bottom row and single effects on the top row, the controller being used to bring in the OD/boost + delay for the solo in each snapshot. The 2 amps I've been using are the Divided Two (clean to light crunch) and the Brit 2204 or the German Mahadeva (from crunch to rock and solo; still hesitating between those 2).

 

I try to make a wet/dry on each amp, splitting after the cab for post amp effects and joining the signal at the end, just before a lo/hi eq cut (cut below 90Hz and above 8Kz)

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... I can't really go stage volume, that small room would tremble all over :D. ...

 

Tempted to say that doing patches at a low volume will never work...

 

...but...

 

...I personally discovered a workaround...

 

Headphones don't cut it, but I've discovered that my Shure 215 IEMs DO. If I make a patch using them, it typically works great live.

 

If you have decent IEMs, you might want to try that.

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Thank you so very much for all your input. Been so helpful, you can't imagine.

 

I ended up going with the snapshots (bottom row)/switches (upper row) setup. I don't have the patience it takes to have a per-song preset (and I'm fine with that :D). Basically, I use 4 basic sounds, from clean to heavy + few effects (mostly flange/phase/trem) + a boost with light drive and delay to solo over each sound. Seem to work so far.

 

I just updated to 2.30 and have one quick question: which 2 amps would be your best choices to cover most sonic ground? I know it's a very personal taste thing, but I'm interested in your experiencies and opinions. Bear in mind that I don't play anything too heavy (trash/metal, for example). But in my cover band, we play stuff from "be my baby - the ronettes" to "cult of personality - living colour" (and this own stuff sounds like this https://open.spotify.com/album/1v75s8lyxj0KmIn6NepiTp).

 

Peace! 

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I just updated to 2.30 and have one quick question: which 2 amps would be your best choices to cover most sonic ground? I know it's a very personal taste thing, but I'm interested in your experiencies and opinions. Bear in mind that I don't play anything too heavy (trash/metal, for example). But in my cover band, we play stuff from "be my baby - the ronettes" to "cult of personality - living colour" (and this own stuff sounds like this https://open.spotify.com/album/1v75s8lyxj0KmIn6NepiTp).

 

Peace! 

Check out Cartographer. Drive 2 on zero and vary drive 1 to get you everything from clean to a little stank. Start cranking up drive 2 and things get really heavy. A LOT of sonic territory here. 

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Then the sound design bit. At home and on the gigs I use a QSC K12 as my "amp". When the house needs me to go through the mix, I use the QSC as my stage amp. What I have been noticing is that when I'm happy with the sound I design @ home, most of the times, if I go direct throught the mixing board to the PA, I sound very diferent. Does that happen to you too? How can I minimise that difference in order to be "mostly" sure of my sound?

 

And finally the guitars. Do you guys program sets of sound for different guitars? I have a telecaster and a Les Paul that sound (obviously) completely diferent through the same setup. My guess is that the only way to solve that is to tweak a bank for each guitar, Is that it?

 

Thanx for reading so far and don't hesitate to chime in an give your 2 cents!

 

Peace!

 

 

For your first point I agree with the other posters that your QSC shouldn't sound that much different than what the PA would produce unless the sound guy is modifying your signal.  I have been running my Helix direct to every PA I have played through including the band's live PA rig (when venues do not have one).  I currently rely on an Amplifi 75 and headphones for designing sounds and recently purchased a pair of JBL 710 and have run them side by side and found no discernable difference in sound.

 

To your second point I use a Variax so I am constantly changing guitars with patches and I have found the Helix is much more responsive to guitar and playing style the the HD series.  MY current band is an original prog band so each patch is customised for guitar and song.  In some songs I will switch between up to 3 different guitars.  I would say that you have probably already found that the Tele and Les Paul will sound different in the same patch.

 

Regarding your K12 sounding differen than the PA, this could be caused by different listening positions. PA horns are pretty directional, especially vertically. If you have your K12 stage amp behind you and down low, it will sound a lot different than as a floor wedge pointed at your face in front of you, or the PA speakers up high and in your face.

 

Regarding different guitars in the same patch: why would you want them to sound the same? Isn’t that the point of using different guitars? I also use a Variax, and occasionally bring my Les Paul to gigs along with may backup Strat. I typically play the whole gig on one patch, and love the different sounds and feel of different guitars in that patch.

 

I sometimes end up with the “wrong†guitar in my hands as we move from song to song pretty fast to keep the dancers on the floor. By that I mean I might end up with my Les Paul on a song where I would typically use a Strat middle pickup. In those cases, I try to use the different sound to alter how I play the song a little to keep things interesting.

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Semi-noob here too, but with about 12 gigs with the Helix behind me now, I will chime in and relate my experiences.  I also use a K-series for my "on-stage amp"... and i found pretty quickly that having it standing upright on a pole or on a "Gramma" isolation matt is a better way to monitor things from behind me.  The K series have a very wide horizontal dispersion (when upright - "vertical" when in a wedge position) and if you had it in a wedge position behind you on the floor, you're getting a TON of floor reflections from that that you likely won't get from the PA speakers on a pole.  That's one way it may sound different.   

 

If you mean that what is coming out of your vocal monitor in front of you sounds much different than what's coming from behind you, remember that if you are using the same type (FRFR) cab behind you that you are on the floor in front of you, you MIGHT be hearing some phasing of the signals that is happening around your head/ears.  You're likely standing in that zone where the two are meeting (picture the wedge in front pointed at your face and the wedge behind you pointed at the back of your head)...  if you move out front or turn your "on stage FRFR" (the one behind you ) off you'll get a better idea what is coming out of the PA. I've actually had this happen even with a traditional guitar cab behind me... what comes out of the monitor for my guitar sounds makes everything where i'm standing sound thin.  Step out in front and it's Normal.   

 

Regarding the preferred approach to presets... this is a matter of your needs and what is best for the audience... but my experience is that I like to have just a few sounds but enough variety that a cover song that was originally done with amp X can sound as close to amp X as I can get WITHOUT needing a patch for every song.    I tried that the first few gigs and it's WAAAAYYY too much to manage for me.  55 songs a night, meant that I had close to 45 patches... getting those to all sound right, with the volumes properly balanced would take me weeks or months to get right.  And our set list changes enough from gig-to-gig, that's just not practical.  

 

I prefer snapshots and one thing I've started doing over the past couple of gigs seems to be my new go-to... I call it a "4-Channel Amp Collection" set up.   I build a "stomp/snap" set up with different Amp models.  So I have a "Vox Snap" a "Marshall Snap" a "Boogie Snap, a "Tweed Snap", a "Blackface Snap" and now I have a "Trainwreck Snap".   hope to have them also soon for Hiwatt, Small Tweed, Bogner, etc....     I build them with enough stomps that I can access a Tremolo, a Chorus, a Wah (on ALL of them) and on some a Phaser, and/or a clean boost via the 4 stomps... while the 4 Snapshots are "Clean", "Crunch", "Drive" and a 4th channel that is "solo", or "more drive" or something like that.  I also set up the Channel Volume on the amp to the footswitch with the heel position being a very reasonable "low volume" gig volume, and the toe position giving me what I want for a lead boosted volume.    So I can choose the 'Vox Snap' for example, and it should give me a authentic sounding "Clean Vox tone" for beatles, queen, some country stuff, etc... a "Crunchy Vox" for those types of tunes, and heavier overdriven Vox, etc... all with adjustable volume (via the footswitch) and some basic but crucial stomps.       I also use the exact same footswitch positions on each preset..  so no matter which variety of "amp" I'm on, the clean is always the left-most, and it goes left - to-right to get to the highest gain.  If my volumes are slightly out of balance, the expression footpedal is all I need to get it to whatever is the "right" volume for that song (this can vary depending on the drummer, the bassist, the keys, etc... so having the set exactly right before the song starts is kinda hard, and with this set up, I don't have to be exactly right.    I also use the same color codes for the footswitch LEDs, so I don't get confused if I can't see perfectly or don't have time for more than a quick glance while singing and changing snapshots. 

 

I still have a few songs that absolutely need (okay strong word, but it's better if...) their own presets... something that needs a million different effects that need to be turned on/off at various parts of the songs, etc... VERY few, but still a few.  These get their own presets and I simply change modes prior to the song for those and the back to my "4-channel amp collection" snapshots for everything else. 

 

So this is my approach... it's evolving but this is where I am today...  Next step is to try to have something tweaked for different guitars and see if that helps, but I'm with Amsdenj in that if you want the patch to sound the same with different guitars, then why change guitars? The different pickup configs will make those "simple" patches have more sounds, thus being just like gigging with a real amp and different guitars... except in this case you can gig with EVERY amp known to man.  

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 So I can choose the 'Vox Snap' for example, and it should give me a authentic sounding "Clean Vox tone" for beatles, queen, some country stuff, etc... a "Crunchy Vox" for those types of tunes, and heavier overdriven Vox, etc... all with adjustable volume (via the footswitch) and some basic but crucial stomps. 

 

Hi Geno, Can you share your Vox Preset? I'm looking for a good 60's sounding Beatles, Searchers, Shadows etc tone.
I found your Tweed Cln invaluable for use in my band..
Cheers
John 

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Then the sound design bit. At home and on the gigs I use a QSC K12 as my "amp". When the house needs me to go through the mix, I use the QSC as my stage amp. What I have been noticing is that when I'm happy with the sound I design @ home, most of the times, if I go direct throught the mixing board to the PA, I sound very diferent. Does that happen to you too? How can I minimise that difference in order to be "mostly" sure of my sound?

 

And finally the guitars. Do you guys program sets of sound for different guitars? I have a telecaster and a Les Paul that sound (obviously) completely diferent through the same setup. My guess is that the only way to solve that is to tweak a bank for each guitar, Is that it?

 

Thanx for reading so far and don't hesitate to chime in an give your 2 cents!

 

Peace!

 

For your first point I agree with the other posters that your QSC shouldn't sound that much different than what the PA would produce unless the sound guy is modifying your signal.  I have been running my Helix direct to every PA I have played through including the band's live PA rig (when venues do not have one).  I currently rely on an Amplifi 75 and headphones for designing sounds and recently purchased a pair of JBL 710 and have run them side by side and found no discernable difference in sound.

 

To your second point I use a Variax so I am constantly changing guitars with patches and I have found the Helix is much more responsive to guitar and playing style the the HD series.  MY current band is an original prog band so each patch is customised for guitar and song.  In some songs I will switch between up to 3 different guitars.  I would say that you have probably already found that the Tele and Les Paul will sound different in the same patch.

 

 

 

Sound systems of any quality are vastly more complex that any FRFR speaker. A sound tech worth their salt will "ring out a room" so that they can get maximum gain before feedback. That means they employ 31 band EQs to cut resonant frequencies in various ranges so that they can get the loudest possible volume without having resonant frequencies start ringing. Plus there are crossover networks in triple-amped and quad-amped systems, separate EQs on the monitor feeds, channel EQs, etc.

 

So no, your tone is never going to sound anything like how it sounds without all of that signal processing.

 

What you CAN do is say to your sound tech - "Please listen to the tone coming out of my speaker. I would really appreciate if you could, as your starting point, replicate that as best you can." Then channel EQ can be employed to get you back in the ball park.

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On 12/1/2017 at 9:07 AM, GenoBluzGtr said:

 

On 12/1/2017 at 9:07 AM, GenoBluzGtr said:

Semi-noob here too, but with about 12 gigs with the Helix behind me now, I will chime in and relate my experiences.  I also use a K-series for my "on-stage amp"... and i found pretty quickly that having it standing upright on a pole or on a "Gramma" isolation matt is a better way to monitor things from behind me.  The K series have a very wide horizontal dispersion (when upright - "vertical" when in a wedge position) and if you had it in a wedge position behind you on the floor, you're getting a TON of floor reflections from that that you likely won't get from the PA speakers on a pole.  That's one way it may sound different.   

 

If you mean that what is coming out of your vocal monitor in front of you sounds much different than what's coming from behind you, remember that if you are using the same type (FRFR) cab behind you that you are on the floor in front of you, you MIGHT be hearing some phasing of the signals that is happening around your head/ears.  You're likely standing in that zone where the two are meeting (picture the wedge in front pointed at your face and the wedge behind you pointed at the back of your head)...  if you move out front or turn your "on stage FRFR" (the one behind you ) off you'll get a better idea what is coming out of the PA. I've actually had this happen even with a traditional guitar cab behind me... what comes out of the monitor for my guitar sounds makes everything where i'm standing sound thin.  Step out in front and it's Normal.   

 

Regarding the preferred approach to presets... this is a matter of your needs and what is best for the audience... but my experience is that I like to have just a few sounds but enough variety that a cover song that was originally done with amp X can sound as close to amp X as I can get WITHOUT needing a patch for every song.    I tried that the first few gigs and it's WAAAAYYY too much to manage for me.  55 songs a night, meant that I had close to 45 patches... getting those to all sound right, with the volumes properly balanced would take me weeks or months to get right.  And our set list changes enough from gig-to-gig, that's just not practical.  

 

I prefer snapshots and one thing I've started doing over the past couple of gigs seems to be my new go-to... I call it a "4-Channel Amp Collection" set up.   I build a "stomp/snap" set up with different Amp models.  So I have a "Vox Snap" a "Marshall Snap" a "Boogie Snap, a "Tweed Snap", a "Blackface Snap" and now I have a "Trainwreck Snap".   hope to have them also soon for Hiwatt, Small Tweed, Bogner, etc....     I build them with enough stomps that I can access a Tremolo, a Chorus, a Wah (on ALL of them) and on some a Phaser, and/or a clean boost via the 4 stomps... while the 4 Snapshots are "Clean", "Crunch", "Drive" and a 4th channel that is "solo", or "more drive" or something like that.  I also set up the Channel Volume on the amp to the footswitch with the heel position being a very reasonable "low volume" gig volume, and the toe position giving me what I want for a lead boosted volume.    So I can choose the 'Vox Snap' for example, and it should give me a authentic sounding "Clean Vox tone" for beatles, queen, some country stuff, etc... a "Crunchy Vox" for those types of tunes, and heavier overdriven Vox, etc... all with adjustable volume (via the footswitch) and some basic but crucial stomps.       I also use the exact same footswitch positions on each preset..  so no matter which variety of "amp" I'm on, the clean is always the left-most, and it goes left - to-right to get to the highest gain.  If my volumes are slightly out of balance, the expression footpedal is all I need to get it to whatever is the "right" volume for that song (this can vary depending on the drummer, the bassist, the keys, etc... so having the set exactly right before the song starts is kinda hard, and with this set up, I don't have to be exactly right.    I also use the same color codes for the footswitch LEDs, so I don't get confused if I can't see perfectly or don't have time for more than a quick glance while singing and changing snapshots. 

 

I still have a few songs that absolutely need (okay strong word, but it's better if...) their own presets... something that needs a million different effects that need to be turned on/off at various parts of the songs, etc... VERY few, but still a few.  These get their own presets and I simply change modes prior to the song for those and the back to my "4-channel amp collection" snapshots for everything else. 

 

So this is my approach... it's evolving but this is where I am today...  Next step is to try to have something tweaked for different guitars and see if that helps, but I'm with Amsdenj in that if you want the patch to sound the same with different guitars, then why change guitars? The different pickup configs will make those "simple" patches have more sounds, thus being just like gigging with a real amp and different guitars... except in this case you can gig with EVERY amp known to man.  

 

Hi Geno, I am a complete noob to the Helix LT having just moved on from my HD500. Your set up is exactly the sort of thing I would be looking for for my gigs. Given my LT is currently "vanilla" and steeling myself for the learning curve ahead, I'd love to have a strong starting point along the lines you have gone for.

SO, this is a thinly veiled plea for some of your stuff!

And all, if I have crossed the "hey, that's not a reasonable request" line just say! Perhaps its a rite of passage to have to get there by your own means!?

Cheers,

AL

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