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Helix into Front of Amp

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Hello all,

Lets say you don't have 4CM as an option into your amp.   What are some suggestions of constructing a signal chain to go in the front of an amp?

 

For example -  volume pedal --> distortion --> delay --> Reverb?

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I can't recommend it. You'd have your power amp AND preamp coloring the sound. I take it your amp doesn't have an effects loop?

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An amp i have does not have fx return, i have read others getting good sound going directly in front.  So was wondering how folks were setting up those patches. 

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Just don't use any amp/cab blocks.  You would be using helix as a multifx unit, emulating a string of pedals going into your amp.

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Just use Helix for the effects just as if you were putting a pedal board in front of your amp. Many people have (and still do) put all their effects in front of their amp. 

 

http://line6.com/data/6/0a020a3d89ab58b4cb30605e3/application/pdf

 

http://line6.com/data/6/0a06439c1814857b658e41b50a/application/pdf

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if you just have an amp, going straight in, then helix is maybe overkill in a way (well an expensive option anyway) but i think if you got your hands on a frfr speaker (find a 2nd hand powered pa speaker maybe if funds are short) then you'll open up a whole range of nice tone options - running your amp with fx and another amp from helix into the frfr speaker using the dual chain option in helix you'll really get a great sounding stereo rig. 😉

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It's totally doable!! You just have to have an amp that has a very clean channel and have plenty of clean headroom. Meaning you have to be able to turn that amp up really loud on the clean channel and have a totally clean signal!! no breakup. If your amp has an effects loop it's probably better to go through the FX Return of the amp. Here is an example of going into the FX return of my Marshall JCM900. The audio here is from the back camera so it's not really studio refined. You can get an idea of what the Helix sounds like with a real amp.

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It may not be everyone's favorite setup (I prefer going through an FRFR) but you can go straight to the front of your amp using effects only(commonly recommended when not using 4CM method). Contrary to conventional wisdom though you can also use amp and/or cab blocks. If you are using amp and/or cab blocks they often sound best through a very clean channel with headroom as gangsterusa described above but there may be times when your amp's crunch or lead channels sound just fine combined with a Helix amp/cab block. Just realize that your amp will color any amp/cab blocks you select on the Helix and not necessarily reflect their true character as accurately. Additionally if you use a cab block you are adding a mic'ed cab to your guitar amp's already existing cab. But hey, some people like every emulated amp/cab block from Fender Twin to Bogner and everything in between to be filtered through the sound of their favorite actual tube amp. Nothing wrong with that IMHO, even if it is not the way I have chosen to use the Helix. If you like the way it sounds, do it. Rules are made to be broken, particularly in the digital realm, even when it is interfacing with the analog world.

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I have used some of the Helix preamp models in front of a Blackstar HT20 before and got some tones I really liked. Just play around with that configuration and see what you like. Definitely save up and get an FRFR speaker or two at some point. You will be VERY happy with that. 

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if you just have an amp, going straight in, then helix is maybe overkill in a way (well an expensive option anyway)...

 

Well, that's one thing I was thinking when I said I didn't recommend it. Of course Helix is doable as a multi effects unit in front of an amp, but if that's what you want to use it for, there are much less expensive options that would do the job, like the Line 6 M13. It has 12 footswitches at the ready for toggling effects off and on where with Helix you'd only have 8. Each unit has a few different effects models than the other, but for the most part they're of the same quality. And the M13 is 1/3rd the price of the Helix. I use one with a (rented) Mesa Triple Rectifier amp with the band I tour with. I use the 4 cable method with it, but you could easily use it just in front of an amp with 2 cables too.

 

I love my Helix, but to me the best things about it (and the main reason for getting it) are the amp and cab models. I don't mean to be a naysayer; just thinking about what you want to do in practical terms.

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As long as your amp is able to get clean tones it isn't a big deal.  I use preamp models in front of my amp.  I dime every control on the amp except the preamp volumes and keep the preamp well below breakup.  I also use an  EV ZLX15 for a second "amp" and run all the sauce of the Helix through it.

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I think the Helix is great as a pedalboard replacement in front of a clean tube amp. I've used it like that quite a lot. There's really not much else in the market that can really compete with it right now. With snapshots and the four effects loop, it's kind of like having a 4-loop switching system in addition to having all the on-board Helix effects.

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This is a great extension option for amps with no effects loop. Paul Glover has a great video utilizing these extension cabinets in a wet dry wet scenario too. 

 

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Interesting video, do any of you guys know who Brian Pern is? 😀

 

Craig

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I think the Helix is great as a pedalboard replacement in front of a clean tube amp. I've used it like that quite a lot. There's really not much else in the market that can really compete with it right now. With snapshots and the four effects loop, it's kind of like having a 4-loop switching system in addition to having all the on-board Helix effects.

Yup!

 

I alternate between 4CM, FRFR and pedalboard configs with the Helix and 5 different rigs. What's really amazing is that while they all sound different, they all sound awesome AND I have the same basic controls over each rig, so it's MUCH easier to switch between rigs than its ever been before.

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Hello all,

Lets say you don't have 4CM as an option into your amp.   What are some suggestions of constructing a signal chain to go in the front of an amp?

 

For example -  volume pedal --> distortion --> delay --> Reverb?

 

I haven't logged in around here in months (actually might not have even posted before), hence very late reply.  I use Helix into the front of my Vox AC10 for practice and in front of my Vox AC30 for gigs.  Not the best amps to do this with as they break up at high volumes, but keep the vox preamp gain down and the vox volume at a level that it doesn't break up and it works well.  Obviously a totally clean amp would be better, but I still get some very usable tones in the following manner.

 

  1. use helix amp sim with NO speaker sim.
  2. assortment of effects before and after the helix amp sim.
  3. Last point of the helix chain goes out via send1 (instrument level) to a hardware guitar graphic EQ pedal.
  4. The graphic EQ pedal is key to this. Just adjust this by ear to dial out the colour of the real amp's preamp. You will need to change the graphic EQ settings at different volume levels.
  5. I mostly use the Matchless amp simps with the gain cranked and they sound mighty impressive to me.

The physical graphic EQ pedal is a "must" for me. Tweaking virtual eq's in the Helix is a bit tedious, so much easier to just move some sliders up and down to taste !  Although of course once you have a good physical graphic EQ setting you could replicate that in a Helix patch and then dispense with the real EQ pedal.

 

Just try it, there's no rules and you might be pleasantly surprised as you maintain all of that real amp in the room thump etc and the sound projects well, plus you get the sound you want not the sound that the real guitar amp on its own says you are going to have.

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It‘s not a problem so far. I use the HD100 amp with the power amp connector to leave the modeling on the amp as it is and not use it.

For the Helix i created effects as you would normal use.

For example: Helix input, distortion, amp simulation (no cab or IR) and out to the amp. Currently I use it this way but

with the upcoming 2.50 version it‘s possibke that the legacy section gives a good sound as well to quit using the amp sim. Or maybe amp sim and legacy... I don‘t know yet.

Single cable method is prefered as well and the sound is good.

For sure the guitar is a big part of the sound as well ;-)

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I'm using my helix lt to the front of amp with absolutely fantastic results. The OD models sounds very true to me. 

Chain: Compressor---Volume Pedal---od1---od2---chorus---tremoblo---delay---reverb

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I just got back from my first rehearsal with the Helix and my usual Fender amp. It was horrible, constant feedback.

I spent the past day's working on the sound. I thought I had it. I was using some nice  amps (no cabs), compressor, fuzz, chorus... going to the Fender. Eveytihing was sounding great until I turned up the volume to "rehearsal level", the feedback nightmare started.

I had to turn off the amp sims on every preset. I believe there wasn't a problem with the Fender running low, as soon as I cranked it up the double amp/preamp was just too much. Distorsion was a no-no in that scenario.

The second "mistake" I believe I made was having the volume knob Hal way through. Which seemed like a reasonable thing to do. Now I read that unity is full-on volume, so I had to turn the Fender volume way up to stupid levels..

I need to get it right!.

1) volume knob all the way up if plugin into a real amp?.

2) Helix amps a no-go when going into a real amp?. I need fuzz, distorsion, quite loud stuff.

3) silly me... are preamps and amps different?. I purposely avoided cabs as I was going to use an amp. I wish I could use the amp sims as I love how they color the sound and I can get different tones from song to song... is there an amp with no preamp... just for coloring I guess. Excuse me if this question is straight stupid...

 

thanks!

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On 8/8/2017 at 2:18 AM, GlennDeLaune said:

It's totally doable!! You just have to have an amp that has a very clean channel and have plenty of clean headroom. Meaning you have to be able to turn that amp up really loud on the clean channel and have a totally clean signal!! no breakup. If your amp has an effects loop it's probably better to go through the FX Return of the amp. Here is an example of going into the FX return of my Marshall JCM900. The audio here is from the back camera so it's not really studio refined. You can get an idea of what the Helix sounds like with a real amp.

 

Agree 100% on this , and sorry to derail the ot a bit Glenn, but heard some really nice sounding harmonies there without any of the other two band members moving their lips :-)

Are you using some sort of vocal harmoniser?

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On 6/11/2019 at 7:05 PM, antonio1961 said:

 

Agree 100% on this , and sorry to derail the ot a bit Glenn, but heard some really nice sounding harmonies there without any of the other two band members moving their lips :-)

Are you using some sort of vocal harmoniser?

Hi Antonio. Yes, Thank you I am using a harmonizer. I use this: 

tch-voicelive-3-persp.jpg

I've created my own custom patches (big surprise there right???) using the reverb & delays in this unit. That "Step" Button gets me into a long repeated delay that I use for big screams and long vocal lead lines. It's a very cool device. I don't know if they are still available though. Now they have the same one but it's black in color and they're charging $300 more. TC has some good products but they also have some very bad products (for vocalists). For example, stay away from the "HARMONY SINGER" pedals. This one though was a good one and it's on my main A board now and has been for about 18 months.

 

Regards,

 

Glenn DeLaune 
Website  |  Youtube Channel  |  Facebook  |  Line 6 Marketplace

 

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6 hours ago, GlennDeLaune said:

Hi Antonio. Yes, Thank you I am using a harmonizer. I use this: 

tch-voicelive-3-persp.jpg

I've created my own custom patches (big surprise there right???) using the reverb & delays in this unit. That "Step" Button gets me into a long repeated delay that I use for big screams and long vocal lead lines. It's a very cool device. I don't know if they are still available though. Now they have the same one but it's black in color and they're charging $300 more. TC has some good products but they also have some very bad products (for vocalists). For example, stay away from the "HARMONY SINGER" pedals. This one though was a good one and it's on my main A board now and has been for about 18 months.

 

Regards,

 

Glenn DeLaune 
Website  |  Youtube Channel  |  Facebook  |  Line 6 Marketplace

 

I love the Voicelive on vocals. I'm actually just switching to Helix, as I was using Voicelive (VL3 for ref) for guitars too. 

I have to say I think my voice sounds more defined with the helix. Just better. Like the mic pre is superior. 

I didn't want to ditch the VL3, so I setup command center to control it with the helix. Change presets, trigger harmony, etc... But I've changed my mind. 

- having midi to keep things synced is great but I'm just afraid of adding points of failure. I wanted the Helix to simplify my setup. 

- having both at my feet is just overwhelming. It's bad enough to not see my analog pedals, to have two bulky flashing units is a vibe killer to me. HOW BIG IS YOUR PEDALBOARD?. 

I'm in the process of finding the right setup, with a gig in 2 weeks and replacing everything. So I ended up borrowing my mate's harmony singer (yes, I know :) and put in in the vocal fx loop. Happy so far. I just do the harmonies with that. I loose control over different harmony settings, the doubler, etc... But I have everything on the helix and feel more "controlled".

I'm wondering if you've tried the mic on the Helix and how you think it compares to the VL3. 

The VL3 has been a great part of what I do now. But I believe I reached a point where I maxed it out and needed a bit more flexibility. But I love that thing! 

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Quote

I think the Helix is great as a pedalboard replacement in front of a clean tube amp. I've used it like that quite a lot.

 

Agreed. It may be a bit over-kill but It's all doable if you set it up right in Helix.

 

 

Quote

I love the Voicelive on vocals.

 

Me too- I have an Extreme and needed it badly LOL. The harmonies even for my vocals are awesome!

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30 minutes ago, spikey said:

Me too- I have an Extreme and needed it badly LOL. The harmonies even for my vocals are awesome!

So you do vocals exclusively through the Voicelive or fxloop from helix mic?. 

You guys must have huge rehearsal spaces!.

For what I'm doing now I don't need perfect beautifully placed harmonies. Rather more of a psicodelic mush... So the harmony singer is sort of enough for that, I place it early in the chain, fx loop, with the "gimme all them voices" setting and mix it back with the main vocal. Then compress, delay, maybe chorus or vibe... Depending on the song I might just use a tiny bit (say 15%) of the harmony fx loop for a subtle "pad" or a a whole lot more, preferably distorted and processed for a "WTF is that?" effect. 

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On 8/9/2017 at 11:17 AM, phil_m said:

I think the Helix is great as a pedalboard replacement in front of a clean tube amp. I've used it like that quite a lot. There's really not much else in the market that can really compete with it right now. With snapshots and the four effects loop, it's kind of like having a 4-loop switching system in addition to having all the on-board Helix effects.

 

 

Hey there, I know this is probably a dead topic, but I'm having trouble trying to use my helix this way. And I know it can and I should be able to make it work this way.

 

Can you provide some insight on how I should achieve this and still hve the helix overdrive and distortion pedal models work properly? 

 

I changed my global setting for 1/4 out to instrument level, but it seems that unity gain using the master volume knob on the helix unit is all the way maxed out. Then I'm trying to add the klon (minotaur) or the tubescreamer and then boost my amp (Vox Ac30HW2x), but with the level controls on the pedals in the helix maxed (10) I'm barely hitting unity gain. and sometimes my clean volume is louder. Am I doing something wrong?

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7 hours ago, msingh95 said:

 

 

Hey there, I know this is probably a dead topic, but I'm having trouble trying to use my helix this way. And I know it can and I should be able to make it work this way.

 

Can you provide some insight on how I should achieve this and still hve the helix overdrive and distortion pedal models work properly? 

 

I changed my global setting for 1/4 out to instrument level, but it seems that unity gain using the master volume knob on the helix unit is all the way maxed out. Then I'm trying to add the klon (minotaur) or the tubescreamer and then boost my amp (Vox Ac30HW2x), but with the level controls on the pedals in the helix maxed (10) I'm barely hitting unity gain. and sometimes my clean volume is louder. Am I doing something wrong?


Having the Helix’s master volume knob all the way and the input pad off will give you unity gain through the Helix, so that part’s correct. I really don’t know why the Minotaur model wouldn’t be working like you want. I use that model as a clean boost all the time, and even with the Gain really low, like at 0.2, I only have to have the Level at 6 or so for it to be above unity gain. You really shouldn’t be having any trouble getting a boost, especially if you say your bypassed tone is at the right level. What else do you have in your chain?

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15 hours ago, phil_m said:


Having the Helix’s master volume knob all the way and the input pad off will give you unity gain through the Helix, so that part’s correct. I really don’t know why the Minotaur model wouldn’t be working like you want. I use that model as a clean boost all the time, and even with the Gain really low, like at 0.2, I only have to have the Level at 6 or so for it to be above unity gain. You really shouldn’t be having any trouble getting a boost, especially if you say your bypassed tone is at the right level. What else do you have in your chain?

 @phil_m  Thanks for your help and getting back to me so quickly! I had to spend more time with the unit, since I did just get about a night or two ago. I also did more research and scouring for tips. What I ended up doing was setting up the helix so that the master knob only controls the XLR, and setting the 1/4th input to instrument (just as I had before as well), and that took the master volume knob out of the equation for my guitar signal. I think the way I usually run my amp was throwing me off and I was having a hard time after being in my studio space for like 4 hours trying to learn the helix and evaluate my setup all at once.

 

To answer your earlier question, I only had the guitar and helix in my chain, using the 1/4 inputs and outputs : Guitar > Helix > Ac30 top boost channel

 

Typically I use my Ac30 on the 30w or 15w setting (depending on if I'm jamming with a drummer or just practicing), but I switched over to my AC15 to sort this out.

 

I used the built in attenuator to Set my AC15 at 7.5w so that I can really hear what's going on. I always used the master volume bypassed on the amps, and I set my gain to right before or close to "edge of breakup". So I dropped the wattage and was able to get a baseline of how my guitar sounds dry, running through an empty patch in the helix that I set up with no pedals in the chain. Then I added pedals one by one and setting them to what I thought was unity, and you're right - it was somewhere around 6 or so.  Then I cranked it to about 10 I was able to clearly hear my amp being properly pushed, and since it was NOT at a super loud volume, I could actually hear it start to compress and distort instead of get louder to validate that the amp was indeed being pushed. And I was starting to catch how the helix works now. The only thing was it didn't sound right at level "10" on the minotaur and I'm not sure if I was clipping the Analog/digital converters in the helix. But I wouldn't think that would be possible with just one pedal, so it could just be how the minotaur sounds pushing my amp with 0.2 gain and about 6.5 treble. What I notice is when I add a distortion/overdrive pedal in helix, I think it may default the volume to be almost "unity" or close to it...I'm running firmware 2.92 on my helix.

 

Then I added the vintage digital delay at stock settings, and changed the tempo to dotted eighth notes and tried out my delay riffs that I use to get a feel of the sound of my pedals. Right off the bat, it sounded great! The tone was there, just what I expected. But then I started to notice some sort of clipping noise happening every so often when I was playing rhythmic delays that were dynamic where I was digging in to my strings with my pick at times. I started to feel lost again, but then noticed the bit depth was set at 12bit by default. I was going to just increase the headroom, but I thought this could be simulating the converters on whatever unit was modeled, and that unit may not have had the bit depth, so I changed it to 24 and didn't notice any of it again.

 

This is all new to me, since I'm used to pedals like the echosystem and the DD-500, and I'm not used to having some of these settings I wouldn't think to change by default. 

 

So, that was the long-winded version of my experience. I'm left with some observations I wanted to confirm, and a few questions for how to achieve what I want.

 

Observations:

1) do the stock settings when I add the distortion/overdrive blocks try to default to unity gain? I know it wouldn't be typical of every effects model in there, but it seems like that's what was happening with the minotaur, scream 808, and the rat and muff models.

 

2) Was the clipping noise I was experiencing a result of the minotaur (0.2 gain, 6ish treble, 9.5 level) clipping the vintage delay? (delay set to stock default settings for the vintage delay - 12-bit for bit depth) I couldn't replicate the clipping noise using the "simple delay" or the vintage delay with 24 bit-depth. I guess I'm hoping that everything is working the way it should and I just have to learn my way around the unit.

 

3) I still can't get my real life pedalboard "bypass" tone to match my helix "bypass" tone.  (when I've got it all on, but everything is bypassed)

 

My pedalboard signal path is: Guitar > Fuzz Pedals > Empress "Buffer+" in > Boss Es-8 > back to Empress "Buffer+" Out > AC30/15

 

What I notice is a difference in the very low end, and the very high end. The Helix bypass tone seems to have too much top end, or it's just too "forward"...and it may be lacking some body in the low end. I'll have to do another A/B tomorrow since I'm tired from today. I'm not sure I should use a hi/low shelf or cut type eq, because I typically don't apply an EQ in my signal chain when I'm using my pedalboard. Do you have any tips with for how to remedy this? Maybe some EQ ranges to adjust? I wouldn't want to take off too much top end or low end and be left with an anemic and dull clean/bypass tone. If I adjust my ac30/15 settings too much, it just makes the tone boxy or shrill, and I try to leave my amp at the sweet spot settings I've found to like for the best voicing (to my ears).

 

Thank you again for your help, I really appreciate it. wrapping my head around all this is confusing, after having felt like I finally know my way around my pedals and my amp. I'm just hoping to emulate similar results to use my helix as my all in one pedalboard for live playing usage. Eventually when I've got my guitar tone process sorted out, I want to add an xlr input path for a mic, set up vocal effects, and then use the helix for all my guitar sounds and vocal effects. And have all that controlled by midi from the computer running the backing tracks. The dream would be only having to think about playing guitar and singing, and I know it possible. It's really just a matter of time before figuring out.

 

 

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The Buffer+ has a screw to adjust input loading aka input impedance.

The Helix also is technically a buffer with adjustable input impedance.

Higher input impedance results in less loss of top end frequencies.

 

Helix has Global EQ, you can fine tune with that to match your analog rigs bypassed frequency response.

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6 hours ago, Schmalle said:

The Buffer+ has a screw to adjust input loading aka input impedance.

The Helix also is technically a buffer with adjustable input impedance.

Higher input impedance results in less loss of top end frequencies.

 

Helix has Global EQ, you can fine tune with that to match your analog rigs bypassed frequency response.

 

I always have the buffer + at the max input impedance, i.e. not changing the input loading from what it would regularly be.

 

How should I go about trying to match the EQ? I bought a LS-2 that's on the way to try and help, but should I just try sending both signals DI into my recording DAW and go from there?

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I've just measured the frequency response of my HX Stomp with long term white noise spectrum analysis. The response is perfectly flat up to 16kHz.

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28 minutes ago, Schmalle said:

I've just measured the frequency response of my HX Stomp with long term white noise spectrum analysis. The response is perfectly flat up to 16kHz.

 

So does that mean I should taper off the EQ above 16kHz in global settings? Or do I just have to do nothing? (and that's just how the guitar sounds going through a 10ft cable to helix, and then form helix to amp with a 10ft cable?)

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That means that the Helix is flat in the audible spectrum. So if your ears didn't trick you (did you check for equal volume?) and there is more top end in the bypassed Helix chain, it is because your original analog chain is rolling off some top end.

To replicate that the high cut in the global eq is the prime candidate for this job.

Second candidate is the high band: Set its Q value high and boost GAIN a alot. Then find the most annoying frequency by sweeping with FREQ. Then tame that frequency a little until you are satisfied.

Only the length of the first cable to the Helix will damp some high frequencies which is fine. The second cable after the Helix transports a low impedance (buffered) signal, so that's fine, too.

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4 minutes ago, Schmalle said:

That means that the Helix is flat in the audible spectrum. So if your ears didn't trick you (did you check for equal volume?) and there is more top end in the bypassed Helix chain, it is because your original analog chain is rolling off some top end.

To replicate that the high cut in the global eq is the prime candidate for this job.

Second candidate is the high band: Set its Q value high and boost GAIN a alot. Then find the most annoying frequency by sweeping with FREQ. Then tame that frequency a little until you are satisfied.

Only the length of the first cable to the Helix will damp some high frequencies which is fine. The second cable after the Helix transports a low impedance (buffered) signal, so that's fine, too.

 

Gotcha...so it sounds like everything really is working as it should be. I'm just going to haver to play around with it come more I guess. Do you know if the global EQ is first in the helix chain or last in the helix chain?

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16 minutes ago, msingh95 said:

Do you know if the global EQ is first in the helix chain or last in the helix chain?

The last.

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I am using the Helix LT for a year now in different ways with amp modeling, great for recording my songs! But also I got it working very well into a tube amp's clean channel. I did 4cable also even with switching between real amp and modeling amp, but I like the simplicity of getting straight in.

Setting the amp at a lovable tone with a clean sound I've got the basics there ( Amp is a VHT Pittbull 45 btw, a 'modern' Voxy amp)

From there I add my fav. distortions without too much gain, so I can gainstage them, turn the knobs a little to make a nice tone.  I add my fav. delays and modulations verbs etc..

Add a volume booster(EQ/Compressor) for leads áfter your drives. keep all the FX volumes in control on rehearsal volume! (Fletcher Munson)

Don't try to get an impressive sound at bedroom levels, unless you need it to sound at that volume.

Hope it helps a bit.

 

 

 

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On 9/18/2020 at 9:04 PM, maxdb67 said:

I am using the Helix LT for a year now in different ways with amp modeling, great for recording my songs! But also I got it working very well into a tube amp's clean channel. I did 4cable also even with switching between real amp and modeling amp, but I like the simplicity of getting straight in.

Setting the amp at a lovable tone with a clean sound I've got the basics there ( Amp is a VHT Pittbull 45 btw, a 'modern' Voxy amp)

From there I add my fav. distortions without too much gain, so I can gainstage them, turn the knobs a little to make a nice tone.  I add my fav. delays and modulations verbs etc..

Add a volume booster(EQ/Compressor) for leads áfter your drives. keep all the FX volumes in control on rehearsal volume! (Fletcher Munson)

Don't try to get an impressive sound at bedroom levels, unless you need it to sound at that volume.

Hope it helps a bit.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your insight! It forced me to put together my practice rig in my studio setup to actually practice at band volumes and it did make a difference in sorting out how everything is interacting with one another. I bought an LS-2 to put both my helix rig and my pedalboard rig against one another and that should help me fine tune the way I'd like to in order to finally be happy with my presets on helix.

 

 

 

On 9/18/2020 at 12:51 PM, Schmalle said:

The last.

 

 

Thanks, I went ahead and set up my guitar rigs for comparison, and I think I'm going to maybe take out some sub frequencies and maybe just a little bit of the highs.

 

So far, I think I've resolved my issues with getting the helix to work the way I'd want it. It just took some "re-learning" the effects and realizing that the helix was modeling specific vintage versions of some pedals I have, so it won't be the exact same of settings.

 

Thanks everyone!

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FWIW - running a preamp into another (and another...) is perfectly valid and can lead to great results.  This applies to normal tube preamps as well as modelers.

 

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