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jameskapherr

So pleased with the Helix - but clean tone! And Wah question

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I was really hesitant to buy the Helix. I ALMOST bought the Headrush unit instead - as I didn't like the Helix Native trial (I guess I wasn't using it right!).
I was also a bit unsure if to get the LT or the Floor - but decided the £285 saving was what swung me for the LT.
Since then, I honestly can say it is one of the best purchases I have made so far... same with the Variax Standard, which sounds awesome!

 

Anyway - one of the things I am struggling with is...

What's the best way to get a clean patch with decent volume?
Whenever I try to create a patch for a clean / overdrive setup, the clean always seems to have to have gain on the amp block otherwise it goes silent. 
I basically want to balance a patch for a clean channel and overdrive / distortion. I have several IRs and patches from Glenn and co but they don't seem to have just clean stuff (or maybe i've not bought it!)

Next... wah. How to add the block properly? I add it but the pedal doesn't work unless I fiddle with the Assign Controller button... and then I can't seem to get it to either be on/off or activate on press etc. Seems really awkward. Also, it always seems to be on EXT2 - never EXT1 if it makes a difference.
So what is the best way to create a wah block to use with the expression pedal?

 

 

PS - love being able to use the same foot switch to control several blocks at once - ie created a patch which has a (quiet) clean channel but when I press the switch for overdrive, it changes the amp/speaker, enables reverb and delay and turns on the tubescreamer - all from 1 switch :)

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Cleanest amp in there is the JC 120. Some others get very clean, too, if you take the master to 5, channel to max, and gain very low. Like the Twin especially. Archon clean channel, Soldano Clean channel, and Matchless 1 are faves of mine.

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I had similar issues, what I ended up doing was using two different amps, one for Distortion and one for clean.  Then using the master volume on the clean amp to get what I could.  At one point I even added a EQ at the end of the chain to boost my signal.  Only turning it on when it was using the clean mode.  I'm sure this isn't the right way to go about it but it worked for me.

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Most of my patches are heavy on the clean. Most of my amp models when set up for clean have the channel volume set on 10, then the drive/master set for the clean tones, borderline breaking up. I then assign a stomp that will turn up the drive of the amp and decrease the channel volume simultaneously. This gives me the ability to toggle between clean and amp driven distortion. I then add OD pedals before the amp to use on the clean amp setting, or to push the amp more while the amp is being driven. 

 

Morale of the story is, use the "channel volume" of the amp model to adjust the overall volume without changing the tone. Drive and master volume will change the tone. Channel volume will allow you to balance the volume between clean and driven amp tones. 

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A couple other thoughts.

 

I ALWAYS use a patch that allows me to go from clean to edge to dirt to big. Every time. Its simple. 

 

Right now my choice of amps for this are the Plexi Trem Bright channel, Cartographer, and Matchless Channel 1 mainly, but I have a bunch of amps I love that work for this.

 

Keep the Amp Master volume at 5 (or thereabouts) or below on those of these which have a lot of power amp distortion.

 

Turn Sag all the way down. (personal preference)

 

Always have the Input Pad ON.

 

Set up your tone so that at clean, it's clean when your guitar is on 7 or 8, edge of breakup above that. Learn to use that guitar volume. It will change your life. I also set my guitar tone at about 8, because I like it better there. YMMV.

 

Set a foot switch to go from the base clean tone to a dirty amp tone. You may be able to do this with just the gain and the Channel Volume, but I often add midshipmen's and take away bass and presence.

 

Set another foot switch to add a good gain pedal. I use Teemah or Minotaur mostly, occasionally Valve Driver. Now, you can add that to your clean tone, or to your dirty tone, and with the volume control on your guitar, if you do this right, you can get just about any sound in the known universe with one patch.

 

That's how I do it.

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Thanks guys!

 

Another question... how do you use a foot switch to adjust the gain in the amp? 

I think I really need to start reading the manual ;)

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Thanks guys!

 

Another question... how do you use a foot switch to adjust the gain in the amp? 

 

I think I really need to start reading the manual ;)

 

You can assign any parameter in a block to a controller. Which can be an EXP, a Variax Knob, or a footswitch even.

 

Hit Controller assign on the unit and explore the options.

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Another way to assign the amp's drive (or any Helix parameter) to a footswitch is to press and hold the encoder knob for a second or two (it will be knob 1 when you highlight the amp).  Then press knob 6 for "learn control" and press which ever foot switch you want to use for that.  It's probably a good idea to also have the same footswitch control the amp's channel volume.  But for volume, have the minimum value set higher than the max value.  Now as your amp drive goes up, your channel volume will decrease to balance.  It takes a little bit of tweaking to balance, but its a useful way to gain boost an amp.

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Thanks guys!

 

Another question... how do you use a foot switch to adjust the gain in the amp? 

 

I think I really need to start reading the manual ;)

Open the amp settings, hold down the knob for the parameter you want to control with a foot switch, then choose the foot switch. You then set your min and max values. To control another parameter with the same foot switch, do exactly the same thing. I think you can control up to 8 different parameters with a single foot switch. 

 

For example:

Clean/Drive amp foot switch settings:

       amp drive min 4, max 9

       amp master min 10, max 6

 

The minimum settings are for clean, max settings are for driven. Clean, drive on 4 master on 10. Driven, drive on 9 master on 6

 

Remember you can assign multiple parameter min/max to a single foot switch. The above are just arbitrary numbers, your personal preference will vary. 

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Some amps are quieter than others, some more so when set really clean. Don't be afraid to add a gain block or EQ after the amp for more volume if needed. You can also turn up the output volume by patch, snapshot, or footswitch

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Can I jump in and ask a newb question as well?  

 

I recently got an LT as well and am loving it.  Coming from my HD500X though, the looper is a little strange.  I figured out how every patch needs a looper "physically" in it, instead of the universal one in the HD.  That is all well and good.  But, if I switch patches, it effects the volume of the loop.  On the 500 it would be unaffected by patch switches.  Is there any way around these volume changes?  I kind of assume I am just missing something, but clicking around, I can't seem to find any setting that adjusts this.

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Petere, I'd be VERY interested to try out this patch of yours. I'm pretty new to the Helix and getting a nice variation on gain stages is one of my biggest hurdles so far.
Any chance you'd be kind enough to share the .hlx file?
 

 

A couple other thoughts.

 

I ALWAYS use a patch that allows me to go from clean to edge to dirt to big. Every time. Its simple. 

 

Right now my choice of amps for this are the Plexi Trem Bright channel, Cartographer, and Matchless Channel 1 mainly, but I have a bunch of amps I love that work for this.

 

Keep the Amp Master volume at 5 (or thereabouts) or below on those of these which have a lot of power amp distortion.

 

Turn Sag all the way down. (personal preference)

 

Always have the Input Pad ON.

 

Set up your tone so that at clean, it's clean when your guitar is on 7 or 8, edge of breakup above that. Learn to use that guitar volume. It will change your life. I also set my guitar tone at about 8, because I like it better there. YMMV.

 

Set a foot switch to go from the base clean tone to a dirty amp tone. You may be able to do this with just the gain and the Channel Volume, but I often add midshipmen's and take away bass and presence.

 

Set another foot switch to add a good gain pedal. I use Teemah or Minotaur mostly, occasionally Valve Driver. Now, you can add that to your clean tone, or to your dirty tone, and with the volume control on your guitar, if you do this right, you can get just about any sound in the known universe with one patch.

 

That's how I do it.

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Petere, I'd be VERY interested to try out this patch of yours. I'm pretty new to the Helix and getting a nice variation on gain stages is one of my biggest hurdles so far.

Any chance you'd be kind enough to share the .hlx file?

 

 

The article in my signature has a few video examples, and for each of them, there is a patch you can download, if not on the article page, at the youtube link. Normally at both I think.

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The article in my signature has a few video examples, and for each of them, there is a patch you can download, if not on the article page, at the youtube link. Normally at both I think.

Thanks very much!

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