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Probably really stupid question about simple setup with Helix in front of Tube Amp.


Lkdog
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I apologize, but a seemingly simple setup is not working out so good and I am sure it is some oversight on my part.

 

Using Guitar cable to Guitar IN on HELIX.

 

Using 1/4" OUT from HELIX to front input of tube AMP.

It is set to instrument level.

 

Pulled up the 03A Template.

The Volume block was only thing that seemed to be active.

Added nothing else.

 

Getting a lot of noise. Way more than if I went straight into the tube amp alone without the HELIX.

The INPUT GATE has no effect whatsoever.

Adding a Noise Gate block has no effect at all.

 

 

Not sure what I am doing wrong here.

 

I am able to get a 4CM setup working at a basic level OK, but wanted to have a simpler HELIX as pedal board setup in front of amp preset to use also.  

 

Any help welcome.

 

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You may have already considered these trouble shooting steps. The first culprits I would investigate would be all of my cables (maybe swap them out, plug 'em all back in, double-check input/output connections). It could also be unshielded pickups; often a Strat or single coil type guitar. Try a different guitar. From there I might try plugging the Helix into a different electrical outlet than my amp. Also, if you are running into a PA as well as your amp make sure the phantom power is not on that channel. Also check to make sure other electronic/electrical devices like your computer, fluorescent lights, cell phone, etc. are not causing the noise. Ensure the Helix level going out to your amp is not too hot. If the levels in the presets or on the Helix's main volume control are too high or the EQ is emphasizing certain frequencies, you may be hearing noise that has actually always been present but now accentuated. That could also help explain why you don't hear the noise when plugging directly into your amp without the Helix.

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You may have already considered these trouble shooting steps. The first culprits I would investigate would be all of my cables (maybe swap them out, plug 'em all back in, double-check input/output connections). It could also be unshielded pickups; often a Strat or single coil type guitar. Try a different guitar. From there I might try plugging the Helix into a different electrical outlet than my amp. Also, if you are running into a PA as well as your amp make sure the phantom power is not on that channel. Also check to make sure other electronic/electrical devices like your computer, fluorescent lights, cell phone, etc. are not causing the noise. Ensure the Helix level going out to your amp is not too hot. If the levels in the presets or on the Helix's main volume control are too high or the EQ is emphasizing certain frequencies, you may be hearing noise that has actually always been present but now accentuated. That could also help explain why you don't hear the noise when plugging directly into your amp without the Helix.

 

 

 

Thanks for the reply. Cables are all known good.

Pickups are all humbucker unless I split them. Happens on all guitars.

Global EQ is off.

 

Have tried Volume knob on Helix at different places. Is there a suggested place people put it as a Unity Gain in front of amp? Or does it vary based upon your amp?

 

You could be right about some interaction with the Helix and the amp accentuating some frequencies.

 

I did try putting an entire preset (US DELUXE NORMAL) in front of the tube amp and stripping out the amp and cab and got better results.

The Input Gate seemed to work better in that scenario, but still really not very good.

 

I get better results overall with the 4CM method for sure.

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... Is there a suggested place people put it as a Unity Gain in front of amp? Or does it vary based upon your amp?

...

 

Great question and one I have never fully answered to my own satisfaction. I do remember posts from Line6 personnel a while back that indicated that the best place to keep the volume knob for unity gain was all the way up. I have always run it somewhere between 12 and 3 o'clock to leave myself a little room for adjustment. However that only applies to my stage monitor now as I changed the global assignment setting on the main volume knob to only control my stage monitor (1/4 inch output only). My FOH level in the PA is controlled from the mixing board. This means my FOH mix to the PA is essentially the same as having the main output on the Helix all the way up. The volume settings in the preset's various blocks and my expression pedal also determine the overall FOH level. The FOH level is unaffected by the main volume knob. This has made it easier for me to control my FOH and stage monitor levels separately.

 

Describing my setup has also reminded me that you could potentially also end up with more noise if you run your main volume knob too low or too high depending on your amp settings. If you have it down low around 9o'clock you might want to try boosting the Helix's level and turning down your amp. 

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I'd start with a blank user preset with the helix volume on full. This should be the same as running your guitar straight in the front of your amp.

If you have the helix volume any lower than full it will have a similar effect to turning down the volume knob on your guitar.

Then just add in the drives, effects etc into the preset.

Works great for me.

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I tried putting an FX loop block in front of the ANGL amp block, and yes, even with nothing in the loop, if the loop is on, it is quite noisy. I think it just that there is a little amount of noise added inherently, but when you put that in front of a high gain amp, that noise is multiplied (that's what high gain means, essentially), so it makes it really noticeable. With the drive at 8, that's almost making the amp as noisy as it can be. Oddly enough, putting the FX loop block after the amp model actually lowers the noise floor by quite a bit. In of a clean of mid-gain amp model, the noise isn't nearly as noticeable.

 

You could try putting a noise gate block after the FX loop block. I tried that, and all the noise dropped right away. You'd have to mess with it to see what threshold and decay settings work with your signal, but that might be the way to go.

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Sorry I didn't get back to you guys. I did open a ticket and here's how it went:

 

 

Hi, I'm sorry about the trouble with your gear. The send and returns on the Helix don't have a as low of a noise floor as the guitar input. When those ins and outs are used before a high gain amp, it will raise the noise floor. Totally normal behavior. Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks, Will - Line 6 Support

 

 

Then they pasted the message linked by MusicLaw just above. :)

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I'd start with a blank user preset with the helix volume on full. This should be the same as running your guitar straight in the front of your amp.

If you have the helix volume any lower than full it will have a similar effect to turning down the volume knob on your guitar.

Then just add in the drives, effects etc into the preset.

Works great for me.

I recommend doing this. Don't mess around with the factory presets. Blank user preset that will just send your dry guitar signal to your amp through the left 1/4" output set on instrument level. Should not be any different sounding then guitar straight into your amp. Also try the ground lift switch on the Helix. 

 

You didn't mention what amp you are connecting to. 

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Thanks for all of the input.

Will try some of these when I get home.

 

It is a CA Triptik amp. My room does have some EMI/Hum issues and the guitar pickups and cable pick it up and the EMI/Hum is not part of the amp or any one guitar but is due to dimmers, and the neutral ground of everything in the house overall.

 

But the amplification of that noise and even adding to it when going straight into the front of the CA Triptik with the HELIX is really pretty significant for some reason and is not able to be handled by the Input Noise Gate.

I think my presets need work for sure.

 

As I said when I use 4CM with the HELIX I am having pretty good results with noise management. I use a little bit of a Noise Gate after the EFX loop and a little bit of the Input Gate before the EFX Loop (but I only use that if I throw a drive pedal in front of the EFX Loop).

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I have found that the digital dimmers I have on some of my dimmable LED lighting at home creates the most EMI of everything in my home. Even my "noiseless" single coils pick it up a LOT. Some of the worst spots in my house, I can stand there where it is worse, face my body(and my guitar) 90 degrees to the left or right, and the noise goes almost to zero. If you experience that, then you have an EMI issue. You may also try rotating the guitar from where you normally hold it, to having the pickups face the ceiling (90 degrees from vertical). If your noise goes away or diminishes a lot, then you have EMI. 

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I have found that the digital dimmers I have on some of my dimmable LED lighting at home creates the most EMI of everything in my home. Even my "noiseless" single coils pick it up a LOT. Some of the worst spots in my house, I can stand there where it is worse, face my body(and my guitar) 90 degrees to the left or right, and the noise goes almost to zero. If you experience that, then you have an EMI issue. You may also try rotating the guitar from where you normally hold it, to having the pickups face the ceiling (90 degrees from vertical). If your noise goes away or diminishes a lot, then you have EMI. 

 

Yeah- I have that issue.

It is minor normally with the HELIX or the AXE FX II being used only.

 

Might be something in the hardware that acts as a common mode rejection of the hum to some degree..

 

When I am plugged into the CA Triptik I get it more. It goes away when I am middle position of the the three way switch on dual humbucker guitars.

Definitely in the pickup middle position it is common mode rejection

 

The noise level I am getting when going straight into the CA Triptik with the HELIX, however, is accentuated and much worse for some reason.

 

Will keep plugging away. A lot of good ideas here.

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Hope you get it sorted as I use Helix with my CA TripR and its great.

i use it 4cm and change channels via midi. Works really well.

 

 

Well, I have it working pretty well in 4CM with no noise issues that are not handled by a Noise Gate after the SND/RET Effects Loop.

 

 

As far as in front of amp, I started from an empty preset as suggested into the CLEAN Channel of the CA Triptik and to test just added a Minotaur, then a Scream 808, then a Grey Flanger.

When I cranked the Scream 808 gain I then turned on the Input Gate and it worked well. So far so good.

 

Trouble started when I went to a GAIN channel on the CA Triptik.

Very noisy (Much noisier than when not running through the HELIX) with no virtual pedals above added.

The INPUT Gate did nothing for the noise.

I put a Noise Gate in the chain. Did nothing.

 

Anyway- the Helix works fine in front of amp as a pedalboard in the CLEAN Channel of the CA Triptik.

At this point- it cannot be used in front of the CA Triptik on a Gain channel.

 

 

The 4CM method works fine so I guess I will stick with that. Was hoping to be able to do both.

The HELIX turns the CA into a noise magnet on the GAIN Channels in front of the amp.

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The 4CM method works fine so I guess I will stick with that. Was hoping to be able to do both.

The HELIX turns the CA into a noise magnet on the GAIN Channels in front of the amp.

I am confused. If you are using 4CM, why would you want to just run Helix in front of the amp? With 4CM you have Helix in front and in the loop of your amp. If you don't want anything in the loop, bypass the models you have sitting in the loop, then you have just items in front.

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I know it's not what you want to hear but I just tried a blank user preset into the front my TripR.......

and it sounded exactly the same as going direct with my guitar with no added noise on any of the 3 amp channels.

I did manage to get noise if I turned up the 1/4 out gain setting to +20db but it was fine with the default 0db setting.

When you plug direct into the amp on the clean channel is the volume the same as when you go through a blank preset on the helix?

Sounds like the helix may be driving the input of the amp harder than going direct.

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I am confused. If you are using 4CM, why would you want to just run Helix in front of the amp? With 4CM you have Helix in front and in the loop of your amp. If you don't want anything in the loop, bypass the models you have sitting in the loop, then you have just items in front.

 

A few reasons. Convenience and flexibility is one of them.

I use the HELIX in different ways and do not leave it setup in 4CM with the CA Trip all of the time.

Sometimes just would like to just use one cable a simple preset to throw a pedal and Noisegate in front of the CA Tr rather than setup the 4CM.

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I know it's not what you want to hear but I just tried a blank user preset into the front my TripR.......

and it sounded exactly the same as going direct with my guitar with no added noise on any of the 3 amp channels.

I did manage to get noise if I turned up the 1/4 out gain setting to +20db but it was fine with the default 0db setting.

When you plug direct into the amp on the clean channel is the volume the same as when you go through a blank preset on the helix?

Sounds like the helix may be driving the input of the amp harder than going direct.

 

 

:D  I think my house is the culprit on most of this with picking up RF/EMI- and it really increases in this setup when I am in gain channels.

 

Yes, on the Clean Channel it basically can be a passthrough of the signal volume and tone. No added noise of note.

 

I have the 1/4 OUT as Instrument level and 0 db.

 

What I do not understand is if I setup a simple preset such as:

 

Compressor>808> and then add a Noisegate > to Output why:

 

1) There is extreme added noise when using the GAIN channels of CA Trip

2) The Noise Gate which I added has little effect.

 

 

I have the B Gain Channel set to Classic which is lower gain than the C Gain Channel which I have set to Modern.

It gets worse as you add gain. Helicopter sound in background and increased hiss, etc.

 

As I said- it works fine in 4CM with one Noisegate at modest settings after the EFX Loop block in the 4CM preset.

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I didn't see it mentioned, but make sure that the amp and Helix and anything else in the electrical connection loop (i.e. a computer connected by USB, effects in loops, etc) are all plugged into the same (properly grounded) outlet.  Otherwise you'll likely get a ground loop and lots of noise.

 

How old is your home?

 

You may want to have a knowledgeable electrician come in and check the grounding in your home.

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:D  I think my house is the culprit on most of this with picking up RF/EMI- and it really increases in this setup when I am in gain channels.

 

Yes, on the Clean Channel it basically can be a passthrough of the signal volume and tone. No added noise of note.

 

I have the 1/4 OUT as Instrument level and 0 db.

 

What I do not understand is if I setup a simple preset such as:

 

Compressor>808> and then add a Noisegate > to Output why:

 

1) There is extreme added noise when using the GAIN channels of CA Trip

2) The Noise Gate which I added has little effect.

 

 

I have the B Gain Channel set to Classic which is lower gain than the C Gain Channel which I have set to Modern.

It gets worse as you add gain. Helicopter sound in background and increased hiss, etc.

 

As I said- it works fine in 4CM with one Noisegate at modest settings after the EFX Loop block in the 4CM preset.

 

Because gain adds compression... both from the top and bottom; peaks are squished, and quiet stuff is raised in volume.  IOW, that really quiet noise you hear on a clean channel is raised in volume (significantly).  Apparently this is a hi gain amp?

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Well, here is an update of interest.

 

I tried the exact same process with my racked AXE FX II XL.

 

Blank preset.

 

INPUT >808> Noise Gate>OUTPUT

 

With nothing on it was a straight pass through of levels and tone in all three channels of the CA TRiptik (just like pphillips is gettign with the HELIX).

No added noise that I would not get normally.

 

NoiseGate worked perfectly in all three channels.

Dead silent.

 

 

I do not have a complete valid scientific explanation, but the AXE FX does have some alleged proprietary output jack circuitry to reduce noise and I am using a humbuster cable from AXE FX OUTPUT to the Guitar Amp Input which is nothing more than a cheap cable with TRS on one end and TS on the other.

 

 

For the reasons likely noted above by folks in this thread - at least in my older house with various wiring circuits added on over the past 60 years- the interaction of the HELIX and my CA Trip doesn't work so well. :unsure:  It is a RF/EMI magnet. 

The circuit it is on is newer and properly grounded- but I am guessing all of the house circuits go to a common ground.

 

Anyway- guess I will just use the AXE FX when I want to throw a virtual pedal and Noisegate in front.

I have to run a cable twenty feet acorss the room but not that big of a deal.

 

I had picked up the HELIX for a lot of reasons and one was to use on the floor sometimes near my amp and I liked the all in one package, but it is not going to work as a traditional in front of amp pedal board. 4CM works fine and can still certainly use that.

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