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kevinbmunro

How do you guys feel about the Dirt Pedals?

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Just curious what everyones experience has been using the dirt pedals in helix.  Im sold on the helix in general and will be purchasing an LT in the new year, but from my experience using helix native (trial) i feel like the dirt pedals are a bit hit or miss.  For example to my ears the big muff doesnt sound right, the rat can have a really odd squawk in the high - mids and I almost always find myself happier boosting the gain on an amp instead of hitting it with an OD. Just curious if you guys feel the same.

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Gain/OD models I LOVE in Helix:

 

EP Boost 

Timmy

Minotaur

OCD

TS808

 

In most of my presets I use a stomp to increase amp gain, but also have one or two gain/OD pedals in front of the amp model. 

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If I do use one, it's probably the valve driver for me also. Sometimes all it takes is a gain block to push the amp a little harder.

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I think they are very serviceable. I don't get on with all of them, and of the ones that I do like they don't all work in every scenario, but that is most certainly true of "real" dirt pedals as well.  I get a lot of use from the Minotaur, the Timmy and the KWB. I also like the octave fuzz. 

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I only ever use the drives for lead and higher gain stuff to push the front end of the amp. The drive models I use are mainly the Klon, EP Boost, Big Muff and occasionally a Fuzz Face into a fairly overdriven amp. I can understand what you mean with the Big Muff, I use the EP Boost in front of it going into a clean amp, the boost really thickens up the sound and adds power. I've never been a huge fan of the TS-808 but in my experience, I've had better results using the Helix model than when I've played the actual pedal into an amp.

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I love the Minotaur.  I'd never played an original or a clone, but after trying the Helix, I bough 4 or 5 different clones and the Helix is better than any of them, if only because I can pair up an EQ in tandem and active them both automagically.   (The only real pedal that does this is the JHS Rockaway Archer, which I also wound up buying.)

 

I also love the OCD, The Timmy and the new EP model... Just for busting out on a lead. 

 

@OP,  I haven't had much time with a real Rat at all, but I can say that at between all the TS-based pedals and Klones I've had, the "bare-metal" pedals all sound slightly different from each other, and the Helix is squarely in the ballpark of the pedals that it models... 

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I have ancient and no longer really serviceable Big Muff and Rat pedals, and IMO, for me, they both s u c k it.

 

The Muff is cool for for some long vowel-y stuff, say BS&T Love You More Than You'll Ever Know (which the Helix Muff also aces), but it's nothing like an overdriven amp.

 

The real Rat's tone control ranges from super muffled to nasty but still without any real top end above that, with no stops in between at anything I care for. Wouldn't have it except somebody left it at the board in a club where I ran house sound sometimes, so after three weeks I took it home.

 

I know that's sacriledge both, but like the man said, "well that's your opinion", of which I say, "yeah, whose did you expect me to have?"

 

There are a bunch of drive pedals in Helix I dig way more than those, including most of the ones mentioned above.

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I generally find that when I hear negative things about drive pedals in general on the Helix (obviously depending on the type of sounds you like, you will like some and not others!!), it is due not to the pedals, but to the overall system EQ.  Drive is all about midrange push - even possibly more than actual gain/distortion - when I hear things like harsh or too hi fi, I'm almost sure the top end is set too high (high cut).  As a modelling tool, the Helix needs to sound like a drive into the front of an amp coming out into a speaker box in a room.  The speaker box/mic simulation always needs some care.  You would not expect to hear much above 6KHz coming out of a guitar cab.

Also, the other thing that makes certain amp and speaker combinations loved is some midrange accentuation - where that happens is different for each famous combo - so a Vox AC30 through Celestion Blues, has a certain brightness and cut that a Marshall through 4x Greenbacks doesn't.  The Marshall rig will have a much more prominent low end though. People might call that punch. So it's an organic thing.  Those who know those 2 amps for example also know that different drive pedals work better with each amp.  Again, it's about the combination - some drive pedals sound very harsh with a Vox.  I'd be looking at my total signal chain - I swear that if you do a good match to the speaker you expect to hear, the rest of the simulation is so close that you need to be in studio conditions to pick the difference - and even then it will be subtle - not good or bad, just very slightly different.  On a stage through FRFR, I've never heard myself so well and consistent night to night - sounds great every night!

So if a drive pedal you know should sound good doesn't, I'd be looking at either my speaker sim/IR and low and high cuts, or global EQ.  And when you tweak that and get a better distortion, there's every chance your clean is actually improved too.

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Beeing a classic rock fan, the pedals that I use most are:

  • Minotaur
  • Stupor OD
  • Scream 808
  • Hedgehog D9

The most important thing I noticed when I was playing around with the Native Trial, was the Input volume. I had to turn it down quite a bit to come close the the Helix Hardware.

But when it comes to feel I'm just not a fan of Software Modeling - I never could match the feel of the Helix Hardware. It was close with a good soundcard...

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For me, Valve Driver, Minotaur and Teemah are as good as or better than any of the dirt pedals I've used. So when I went to Helix, I got rid of all of the other stuff.

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As I suspect in the real world, I find certain ones react to different amp models better or worse - subjective of course to what I personally am looking for in that particular sound.

I have long been a Screamer fan through my Line 6 usage going back quite a few years... with Helix, I've also found myself using the Minotaur a LOT (owing very much to its potential to do a very clean push while being able to 'stay out of the way' as much as I seem to want, while also lending that 'tightening' effect (especially in the lower end) which can really redefine an amp sound's results for me).

The Screamer imparts its character in a more strident way - and is almost always to the betterment of the sonic result.

It all seems to come down to how the end result (pedal -> amp) reacts to playing dynamics and volume roll-offs and such for me. That seems to be what I test out to see what recipe works best together. 

 

I've experimented and used others, but those two are my go-to gain pushers - and often times they're essentially on a stomp switch and waiting in case I feel that need for the 'push over the cliff' effect.

 

But in general, I'm quite pleased with the many options for dirt - and I'm yet to really explore the latest goodies in context, like the EP boost...

Gravy on top of gravy as I see it.

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Compulsive Drive set to V4 is my favorite when using a pedal to produce gain. The kinky boost is my new best friend since firmware  2.3. And the minotaur is amazing for subtle pushing into more breakup.

 

Screamer 808 is so close to the physical pedal, which means I prefer others, but it is accurate.  The only fuzz I like is the triangle fuzz, but I don't use fuzz pedals so I have no idea what is accurate compared to the physical version.  Im guessing if I don't like them on Helix, its probably not my thing with physical fuzz pedals either.

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I love the dirt pedals for what I've always used dirt pedals for - pushing amps to overdrive or tightening up high gain sounds.  But what I haven't found is in the Helix a mid-to-high gain pedal that scratches my particular itch, so my Bogner Ecstasy Red stays on the board, and I'm eyeing a Wamper Dracarys.  I tend to use "real" pedals actually with pedals from Helix - typically a Minotaur for tightening things up, and a Teemeh for after-distortion boost, for which they do a smashing job.  

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I love the Minotaur. 

 

I do too; one of my favorite models in Helix! Great for smoothing out the midrange in front of a medium/high gain amp. For me, the only high gain amp that doesn't need a distortion/overdrive pedal in front is the Archetype Lead. The new Trainwreck might also fit the bill but I need to work with it more.

 

Before I "went digital," the only distortion pedal I ever used (once in a while) was a Rat (and the Helix model does it justice for the most part). The tube amps I used (Mesa/Boogie, Bogner) had great preamp distortion and I generally didn't need any "dirt" pedals. It's a little different with Helix. But that's worked out fine, especially with my "go to" lead sound fixer, the Minotaur!

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Gain/OD models I LOVE in Helix:

 

EP Boost

Timmy

Minotaur

OCD

TS808

 

In most of my presets I use a stomp to increase amp gain, but also have one or two gain/OD pedals in front of the amp model.

 

Exactly the same for me. I use a Drive switch to control gain and use studio tube pres to control voicing of the drive pre and post amp. I use Teemah! for overdrive and Minotaur for greater, more mid-focused/aggressive distortion. What I like about pedals vs. preamp or amp distortion is the flexibility for controlling the voicing. Amp models like Cartographer have the gain, but don’t yet have the pre and post distortion tone controls that most pedals have.

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I think I lean more towards the Valve Driver. I prefer it the most so far. Of course, that could change in 3 months.  :P

Since weve talked, i still havent been able to make this thing work consistently. Trying like hell, but i think ive got it working *OK* in one preset. :unsure:

 

Just curious what everyones experience has been using the dirt pedals in helix.

 

 

Although the OCD works pretty good for some of my presets, it is nothing like the real pedal, which i have heard conflicting information prior to digging deep in to it.

 

Cali IV rythm 1 preamp - It doesnt always work but when it does its awesome and maybe my favorite "drive pedal"

 

 

As of the more traditional, my most used in order of most to least used are -

 

Minotaur - for a nice balanced tone. this pedal just makes things sound finished to my ears

Teemah - for pre gain EQ control and tone shaping

Stupor OD - for thick cutting mids

OCD - extra distortion for amps with good tone but a little short on gain

Scream 808 - good for unwanted flabby low end

Kinky Boost - for making it phatter

 

I dont know....They all have their moments. Even Hedgehog D9, Vermin and Top secret.

 

KWB and Valve driver are the two that i struggle with most....and any of the Fuzzes. ( I guess ive just always been drawn to tighter tones) Though KWB with the lower gain Matchless works really well for me in a preset or two.

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I think everyone uses pedals differently some buy a clean amp usually known as a good pedal platform and run through this letting the pedals take care of most of the tones. Others run pedals into an amp that is just breaking up some into an amp on hooligan setting you only have to go and look at the pedal show on utube to hear how pedals sound in front of different amps and indeed what sequence the pedals are put in sounding totally diverse or compressing in a different way so it’s quite complex.

 

 

The test I have done with the helix is plug a tube screamer klon clone and an ocd one at a time through a clean amp in this case a boss Katana and switched between the helix version and the real thing using the send return on the helix and to be honest there is not much in it. Then powered up my other amp which is a Victory RD1 which is kind of in the ball park of a plexi and tried the same thing it did not like the tube screamer either in the helix or the real thing which is not surprising because you are running a mid-humped od into an amp which already has strong mid-range and what would be better here would be a treble boost which the helix does not have but the amp sounded good with the EP boost. So, I guess what I am saying here is you need to choose your pedal/amp combination carefully.

 

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I have the "benefit" of NOT owning the pedals or amps the Helix is emulating so I don't get hung up on whether is accurate or not (that is a legitimate question, of course).  I can get the sound I'm looking for, from crunch to heavy dist, and I've found that the combination of amps, pedals, etc., enable me to get pretty much anything I want and more.  I use every pedal mentioned above for at least one preset.

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New user here. Man I am loving the Timmy and TS808. A little fizzy through my PA speakers but I'm working on that. Hey anyone know how to assign a foot switch to be an OD gain boost? 

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On the Helix itself, you can assign a footswitch to bypass any block by selecting the block and touching -- not pressing -- the desired footswitch until that option appears.

 

I'm not at my computer to check how to do that in the editor, which I don't use enough to know that by heart.

 

You'll learn a bunch if you read the manual :)

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I don't use much OD for majority of my Helix work but when I do Minotaur seems to be the one used the most.  

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