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xmacvicar

Getting clinical with patch volumes - DAW levels

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So I am further down the rabbit hole with the Firehawk FX. Truth be told, I have been following alot of the Pod HD500x and Helix training videos on youtube due to the massive lack of presence the Firehawk seems to have out there in the wild. There is really nothing available on it compared to these other device.

 

One helix video I came across was normalizing patch volumes using your computer DAW/interface. I found it very valuable. You can see that video here: 

 

Reading up around the Helix forums as well lead me to realize alot of people use their computer DAW to set patch volumes. The general consensus is, because this is a DIGITAL device (I still have a hard time realizing I have to treat this thing differently than a standard amp, because of digital clipping) is that your patch volumes should hit about -12DB on your input meter with your most authoritative strum - when you whack at your strings the hardest it should peak about -12 db.

 

I run my Firehawk into my Yorkville YX10P with the following consistencies:

 

Output volume (main red rings) = 50%

Guitar volume (white red rings) = 54% (or the exact middle of the dial)

 

This seems to be a common practise to keep things consistent across the board. With my guitar input volume right in the middle at 54%, I noticed that basically all my patches as they are currently set were clipping HARD. Amps' that I had set for Channel volume slider at 70% or sometimes 50% had to be brought down generally into the 20-25% channel volume range for the signal to hit that -12DB marker on my DAW.

 

Theoretically then...with alot of the amp volumes down much lower, I can push my Firehawk master output volume (red ring) higher, which from what I am reading online would give me a better signal to noise ratio overall.

 

So that leads me to the following questions regarding 'digital guitar' rigs. Is this normal? For whatever reason it seems like the channel volumes are SO low in this configuration. However there is an interplay here between the guitar input volume (white ring) and the channel volume. If I decrease the guitar input volume, then naturally there is less signal to the Firehawk and therefore the channel volumes would like come up higher to compensate. Would both of these situations sound the same ultimately? Is one better than the other?

 

I assume that having the volumes lower like this WILL reduce digital clipping and probably make my guitar sound better overall. Also, with a much more higher powered FRFR like the Stagesource L2M or something, I would be able to push a louder cleaner signal into it by having the ability to run the overall master volume (red ring) higher. 

 

Anybody have any feedback on this? I am new to digital guitar rigs so please bare with me as I try to sort this out with a little help from my friends! Thanks crew :D

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I think most firehawk guys would struggle to answer this, might be worth posting a version of this question in the helix thread asking for opinions, I'm following this one with interest

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I think most firehawk guys would struggle to answer this, might be worth posting a version of this question in the helix thread asking for opinions, I'm following this one with interest

I am going to do a video of this whole process, procedure later today. I think the real disconnect is because I am trying to use this device like a Helix or PODHD500x as a live gigging thing, and the overal product design concept is "just use the levels to jam with backing tracks dude!" lol so I'm gonna do a video and post it here and in helix to see if I am on the right track

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Give this a try. Put the volume slider at 100 on your "go to" lead patch. Start with 50 on your "go to" rhythm patch. Set the red volume at about 75% and use the white volume to adjust overall level to your approximate gig/rehearsal volume. Adjust channel volume on all your other lead and rhythm patches to give you equal levels (judging by ear) to the other two. Tweak channel volume as needed while rehearsing with the band. After a few rehearsals you will converge on the right relative levels. Certain "mid-rangey" patches will cut through a mix better and require lower levels than others. My workhorse bank has a Twin Clean patch with channel volume at 44, a straight Plexi rhythm patch at 50, an overdriven Plexi rhythm patch at 50 (HD screamer output at 53) and an overdriven Plexi lead patch at 100. This is not exactly clinical but it works great for me!

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Give this a try. Put the volume slider at 100 on your "go to" lead patch. Start with 50 on your "go to" rhythm patch. Set the red volume at about 75% and use the white volume to adjust overall level to your approximate gig/rehearsal volume. Adjust channel volume on all your other lead and rhythm patches to give you equal levels (judging by ear) to the other two. Tweak channel volume as needed while rehearsing with the band. After a few rehearsals you will converge on the right relative levels. Certain "mid-rangey" patches will cut through a mix better and require lower levels than others. My workhorse bank has a Twin Clean patch with channel volume at 44, a straight Plexi rhythm patch at 50, an overdriven Plexi rhythm patch at 50 (HD screamer output at 53) and an overdriven Plexi lead patch at 100. This is not exactly clinical but it works great for me!

Thanks for the tips. The problem with this is that any patch with the volume slider on 100 (lead patch) and the white volume knob anywhere past 30 percent would cause digital clipping no matter what kind of drive you have setup on the amp. I am trying to avoid this.

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What is your technical basis for this? I routinely play in rehearsal with the white volume at 50% and the red at 75% into a JBL EON 612 via XLR with the master volume and signal gain maxed (switch on line level). My lead patch with channel volume at 100 sounds every bit as good as my Mesa tube rig... no clipping artifacts as far as I can tell. Maybe this setup would overdrive a DAW input, but it does not appear to overdrive my powered speaker.

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By putting those values into the firehawk:

 

1. 50% white ring volume

2. Any amp with the volume on 100 (regardless of the drive settings for the most part)

 

Would cause the daw to digitally clip way beyond 0db and would be red hot into the plus/+ values. If the daw is receiving such a clipped signal, would your JBL's not receive the same?

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What is your technical basis for this? I routinely play in rehearsal with the white volume at 50% and the red at 75% into a JBL EON 612 via XLR with the master volume and signal gain maxed (switch on line level). My lead patch with channel volume at 100 sounds every bit as good as my Mesa tube rig... no clipping artifacts as far as I can tell. Maybe this setup would overdrive a DAW input, but it does not appear to overdrive my powered speaker.

So yeah I was wrong. I went and rented a Yorkville nx55 and using my existing patches I was able to raise the channel volumes substantially and the unit still didn't clip (no input clip light flashing). There is obviously way more headroom here than the YX10P little 10' powered speaker I have. What i'm confused about tho is why this would clip so hard in the DAW but not clip at all on the powered speaker? I guess I obviously don't know enough about this to understand the why!

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What interface are you using for your DAW? Are you plugging the Firehawk directly into USB, or using something else? Does your DAW have an adjustable channel strip level for the input? If so, maybe you could trim it back. If you are are using a separate interface, maybe it's looking for a microphone level signal and you are sending it a line level signal. I have this issue with mixing boards when we play live through someone else's PA. When I get a chance, I'll run mine directly into Studio One and see what I get.

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What interface are you using for your DAW? Are you plugging the Firehawk directly into USB, or using something else? Does your DAW have an adjustable channel strip level for the input? If so, maybe you could trim it back. If you are are using a separate interface, maybe it's looking for a microphone level signal and you are sending it a line level signal. I have this issue with mixing boards when we play live through someone else's PA. When I get a chance, I'll run mine directly into Studio One and see what I get.

Using Reaper and Garageband. By default I leave the channel strip at 0 and use the white volume slider to adjust the input gain into the DAW. I connect my FHFX direct via USB and the DAW uses the FHFX as the full sound interface in/out. But yes, you are right - when I got the much larger speaker, I had WAY more headroom and my patch volumes were at sometimes 70-80 before the speaker would input clip.

 

I am really confused about the whole patch creation/volume thing because it really is situationally dependant - to me it seems to make sense to make your patches in the situation you use the FHFX with the MOST (like a gigging band FRFR situation) then when you are using it for other applications like recording or headphones for example you would use the volume options accordingly.

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