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Hum issue with Helix


shawnt113
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I’ve had my Helix for a couple of months now and while I am enjoying a lot about it there is a big, BIG problem. The thing hums. It sounds like a ground loop problem, usually if I plug it into the same outlet my amp is plugged into it goes away. Problem is that is not always an option.

 

Tonight I went to rehearse at a very large church in our area that I am filling in at and was nothing short of embarrassed by the hum. They use Kempers there and whoever plays just brings a pedalboard so I was using the Helix for fx only. The only time he hum stopped was when I unplugged the cord from the 1/4†out. No hum from the Kemper, just the Helix, I was plugged into the same Furman the Kemper was, which should’ve fixed the issue.

 

Anyone know anything about his kind of problem and a possible fix?

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Doesn’t that only apply to the XLR out?

No. It applys any of the outputs on the Helix. Also, using an XLR out(if that's an  option) itself may eliminate hum.

 

What kind of amp are you using? It may also have a ground lift. I had a nasty hum at my last gig and used the ground lift on my FRFR speaker to fix it.

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You did not mention...

 

Did you change guitar cables?

Change/try another guitar?

 

You mentioned plugging into the same outlet that your amp is plugged into, do you have a humm buster between the send of Helix and the input of your amp (assuming you are running 4 cable method)?

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Hi

 

Get one of these -http://lehle.com/EN/Little-Lehle-II. Got my hands on the LTHZ-transformer incl in this and have used it for years. Today I use it between my little pedal board in front of the Helix. Used it to my POD HD before. Goes from very disturbing/envying hum, to focus on playing :-). If you can't get your hands on the transformer it self (got it from a company in Sweden and made a box with phase shift and two out, one isolated and one pass through, not stereo though) and build a unit, there in different models here - http://lehle.com/EN/AB-Switcher, well made and many applications. Image/icon is a sine wave and a X over it.

 

//Per

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I’m sorry I wasn’t clear in this case. The church I was at uses Kempers exclusively. My chain was Guitar-> Helix instrument in->Helix 1/4†out ->Kemper input.

 

To the question about changing cables; the hum was consistent whether the cable was plugged into the guitar and even if you unplug the cable between the guitar and Helix from the Helix, it was a consistent volume also, regardless of the volume of the patch or master volume of the Helix. The only time it stopped was when I unplugged the cable that was run from the Helix out to the Kemper in. When I ran into the Kemper only, no hum. The issue is with the Helix, this isn’t the first time either, but I can usually get around it.

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I’m sorry I wasn’t clear in this case. The church I was at uses Kempers exclusively. My chain was Guitar-> Helix instrument in->Helix 1/4†out ->Kemper input.

 

To the question about changing cables; the hum was consistent whether the cable was plugged into the guitar and even if you unplug the cable between the guitar and Helix from the Helix, it was a consistent volume also, regardless of the volume of the patch or master volume of the Helix. The only time it stopped was when I unplugged the cable that was run from the Helix out to the Kemper in. When I ran into the Kemper only, no hum. The issue is with the Helix, this isn’t the first time either, but I can usually get around it.

Did you have Helix and Kemper plugged into the same power source/circuit? Is your 1/4" out to Kemper set to instrument level?

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Yes, it was plugged into the same Furman unit. Not sure what the level on the Helix out is set to, I left it there for the sound engineer to mess with (I’m good friends with the worship pastor so I can trust them with my unit), but a my normal P/W gig I run it the same way into a Quilter Labs Toneblock.

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Is your 1/4" out to Kemper set to instrument level?

 

I just noticed that was the question posed and edited my post but I’m not sure. I’d assume it’s set what ever the factory default is since I don’t recall ever changing it.

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I just noticed that was the question posed and edited my post but I’m not sure. I’d assume it’s set what ever the factory default is since I don’t recall ever changing it.

I am not sure what default is either but you can find it in Global Settings>Ins/Outs on the second page under 1/4" Outs. Make sure it is set to instrument if you are going from 1/4" out to the Kemper in. 

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Yes, it was plugged into the same Furman unit. Not sure what the level on the Helix out is set to, I left it there for the sound engineer to mess with (I’m good friends with the worship pastor so I can trust them with my unit), but a my normal P/W gig I run it the same way into a Quilter Labs Toneblock.

 

In both cases you'll want the output set to Instrument Level.

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Do you think this will eliminate the hum?

 

I still have a hum issue even when I run it 4 cable method with my 5150iii.

I would expect yes. If it is set to line level, you are sending a line level signal into the front end of the Kemper/Tone Block which is expecting a much lower level instrument level signal. 

 

4cm may be a little different. Generally your signals are instrument level on the Helix out and Helix loops, but some amps can take line level inputs in their effects loop. I don't have a 5150 so I cannot say for sure. 

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Tonight I went to rehearse at a very large church in our area that I am filling in at and was nothing short of embarrassed by the hum. They use Kempers there and whoever plays just brings a pedalboard so I was using the Helix for fx only. The only time he hum stopped was when I unplugged the cord from the 1/4†out. No hum from the Kemper, just the Helix, I was plugged into the same Furman the Kemper was, which should’ve fixed the issue.

 

I would also ask if going direct from Helix to the board is an option, and take the Kemper out of the equation. If the church has a dedicated sound guy, that shouldn't be an issue. Just take the outputs from the Kemper and plug them into your Helix. Ask the sound guy if he is expecting a line level or mic level signal. If he doesn't know, then give him a mic level output signal from Helix and he can turn up your channel if necessary. 

 

My P/W rig is Helix direct to the board. Sometimes a guy fills in for me that plays with a mic'ed amp in an isolation enclosure, but we share the same XLR. I have my output on Helix set to mic level so I can swap out between Helix and cabinet mic seamlessly when needed. 

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I actually did remember to turn off amp & cab modeling, so that wasn’t the issue, though forgetting at first would be something I’d be inclined to do on occasion. I don’t think they will run me direct with the Helix, their guitar racks are all back stage, seems like it would be an ordeal to make that happen. The sound guy is going to do some experimenting and let me know what he finds out. Worst case scenario I’ll just take my Axe FX and run it for the fx only.

 

My concern is that I bought the Helix as an alternative to my AF2 and want to leave my AF2 hooked up in the studio, and every time I’ve set it up I have had some sort of noise problem. I have reached out to tech support. Hopefully I’ll get a usable answer.

 

I can’t tell you guys how much I appreciate the help, if you have any more suggestions please keep them coming.

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Spoke to tech support last night. Here is the info I took away from the conversation is the following: The ground switch only applies to the XLR outs, sometimes these things happen, they’ve heard of issues but not enough of them to warrant further investigation, I may need to look into a hum-buster of some type.

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I would also ask if going direct from Helix to the board is an option, and take the Kemper out of the equation.

 

 

Yea I was gonna ask, why in the world would you (but of course you can) run the output of Helix into a Profiler?

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The reason for running from Helix to Kemper is because this church uses Kempers for consistency. I’m using the Helix in this instance for fx only, in place of a standard pedal board. This isn’t the church I usually lead Worship at, this weekend I’m a paid fill in so I gotta run how they want.

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I understand. Well, I wouldn't run Helix into a Kemper but I might run just the Kemper. It sounds great (as good as Helix in some cases and even better on some patches). Nothing wrong with using a Kemper. The reason I have Helix and sold my Kemper is because of no editor (BIG deal for me), and the fact that Helix has the ability to be the "center" of the guitar studio because of all its aux sends and returns.

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They don’t have the Kempers set up for FX and I wont have an opportunity to program it, in PW boost, reverb and dotted 1/8 delay is essential. If I start doing this gig regularly I may ask about going in there and setting up patches to use my ground control pro for switching.

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Another person recently had a similar issue.  It turned out he liked to run a cleanish amp and stack a whole bunch of drive pedals in front of the amp.  It turned out all that gain staging and compression at each stage raised the noise floor quite a bit.  He realized after talking with folks that if he instead relied more on the amp for distortion and used only 1 or two drive pedals instead, his noise floor went wayyy down.

 

You said that you are plugged into the same circuit as the Kemper you are running through?  Seems like you addressed the ground loop issue.

Unless the Kemper shuts off signal out when a cable is not plugged into it.  Did you connect your guitar directly into the Kemper and get no noise?

Is the Kemper connected to something that's not plugged into the same circuit as the Kemper?

 

Are you in the US?

You stated your problem was "hum" which usually, in the US, is I think a 60Hz hum from the electrical supply.  Is it possibly gain staging noise?  Are your cables picking up electrical noise from the venue (as opposed to a ground loop issue).  XLR outs would address this, but you are using the unbalanced 1/4 out it appears.  I always use XLR if I can to avoid electrical interference.

 

Is the Kemper input balanced?  Can you use an XLR to TRS 1/4 cable to go into the Kemper?

 

Turns out it looks like the Kemper input is balanced.  You may want to consider the above.  In fact I think you can even connect to the Kemper with an XLR cable.  I found this thread regarding connecting unbalanced to balanced inputs

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/30627-plugging-unbalanced-jacks-into-balanced-jack-inputs.html

 

Anyway, a couple ideas to consider.

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  • 5 months later...

So I have a similar issue..threw a spectrum analyzer on it and there are spikes every 60hz, with the higher db spikes occurring around the 2k-3khz area. No CRT screens, turned all the lights off and everything else I could, with no effect. I found I could switch to using the aux in and the noise was pretty much gone, albiet the tone was a bit diminished. Switched back to the guitar input, and took a closer look at the noise gate settings. The hi-z setting was on auto, but I found for my guitar 'auto' meant 1MOhm....which didn't help. Dialed it back to the 22k(or the 32k, depending on how hot the patch is) and while the spectrum analyzer still shows it, the noise is no longer audible, sitting at around -100db. I hope someone can use this info to help them along!

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  • 3 years later...

I was getting 60 cycle hum from the Helix LT 1/4 " outputs using a blank patch . I tried all sorts of ground lifting options (including the switch ) but had no success . I was able to solve the problem using a passive transformer isolator . I used an ART DTI . This is not an uncommon problem when connecting gear but a bit of a shame to have to deal with . If you plan to never use the unbalanced outs then there is no issue . Ive had no hum issues using the balanced outs .

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