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Thurston9

Occasional lack of clarity/high end

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Looking for some tips or things to look for that might be causing mid-gain amps to sound muffled.  I'm not sure how to best describe what I'm hearing, other than it lacks clarity, maybe too bassy, or lacking in high end. 

 

I'm playing a Fender Strat with 60s custom shop single coil pickups in neck and middle, SD lil-59 mini humbucker in bridge.  Helix runs through mixer to JBL EON 515XT powered PA speakers (left and right).

 

My signal path generally looks like this:

 

Wah- Gain/Fuzz/Distortion pedals (split to Path A/B) - 

 

Path A - Jazz Rivet 120 (set clean) - Mesa IR (Merge)

 

Path B - Matchstick Ch2 (or other, set mid gain) - 4X12 Greenback Cab or IR (Merge)

 

- Reverb, delay, loop

 

Clean sounds are great.  For mid gain sounds, if I switch over to Path, I get some of the muddy/muffled tones I'm trying to fix.  If I split 50/50 so my signal is running through both amps in parallel, it sounds great, and that's what I do now.  Just wondering if there's something I should try to get more out of the mid/higher gain amps on their own.

 

 

 

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I have an Elite Strat that I use on some patches which are a mix of clean and mid-gain.  Different amps and cabs than you're using, but one thing I'm doing that may be different is I'm not using a split for the different amps within a signal chain.  Each amp, cab, mic has it's own setup in the signal chain but sequentially across the top and lower chain so they each have their own DSP,  and I just turn one off and the other on.  That way all of the parameters are individually adjustable.  Works great for me.

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I guess I could try that, but the nice thing about splitting is you can share effects on both paths without having to duplicate on each path and use double the DSP for each effect.

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Despite the convenience and versatility, I have stopped using splits before amps because they mess up my tones in ways I haven’t figured out how to compensate for. With what I read in your post I’d suspect that may be part of your issue.

 

I contacted Line 6 regarding Helix’s handling of pan law (what happens to the signal when it is split) and they reported that a hard A/B pan should not have any impact, but that has not been my experience. Using an A/B split to switch between two amps makes both of them sound different than if the split were not there. Even if a split is merged before an amp, it still sounds different. I know lots of peole are using parallel paths with great success, but I can’t get on with it. For what it’s worth, splits after the amp (such as for two cabs or parallel reverbs/delays) seems to be fine for me. It’s something about interaction with the front of the amp...

 

Hope that is of some help!

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Could it be the fuzz and auto impedance setting on the guitar input? Some users change the input impedance with the fuzz stomp on/off. 

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Despite the convenience and versatility, I have stopped using splits before amps because they mess up my tones in ways I haven’t figured out how to compensate for. With what I read in your post I’d suspect that may be part of your issue.

 

I contacted Line 6 regarding Helix’s handling of pan law (what happens to the signal when it is split) and they reported that a hard A/B pan should not have any impact, but that has not been my experience. Using an A/B split to switch between two amps makes both of them sound different than if the split were not there. Even if a split is merged before an amp, it still sounds different. I know lots of peole are using parallel paths with great success, but I can’t get on with it. For what it’s worth, splits after the amp (such as for two cabs or parallel reverbs/delays) seems to be fine for me. It’s something about interaction with the front of the amp...

 

Hope that is of some help!

Would like to hear more about this. 

 

Im sure you have been over it 100 times and know exactly what you got on your hands, have all your workarounds, ect,  but you should test this theory out, and see if it really sounds different or if its just in your brain, or if (what i feel and i'll explain below) helix has a hard time coping with different phase circumstances, and needs deeper phase editing tools on board.

 

You could

1)record a clean DI track

2)set -up your path with the PRE amplifier split, and pipe the DI through it

3)Split your output blocks to channel 1& 2 (or left and right) and record them separately

4)run your DI track through everything again, but this time record your amps one at a time

5) null these two tracks against each other and if the result is silence then they are exactly the same

 

I can give you more thorough instructions if you are unaware of what im talking about but im pretty certain thats not the case.

 

 

The reason i feel its a phasing issue to some degree is even if you were to get rid of the split, and copy/paste your blocks to path 2 OR split the 2 input blocks of path 1, the sound doesnt change compared to the split you are describing.  Technically there is still a split at the hard input.

I also hear this at times with back end splits as well.

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I guess I could try that, but the nice thing about splitting is you can share effects on both paths without having to duplicate on each path and use double the DSP for each effect.

 

Just so you know, you still don't have to duplicate effects.  The first amp is the last thing on the path 1 and the 2nd amp is the first thing on path 2.  Pre and Post effects are all there. You can even share cab and mic setups by placing them after the 2nd amp.  It's not as sexy as the split, but it works fine.

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Despite the convenience and versatility, I have stopped using splits before amps because they mess up my tones in ways I haven’t figured out how to compensate for. With what I read in your post I’d suspect that may be part of your issue.

 

I contacted Line 6 regarding Helix’s handling of pan law (what happens to the signal when it is split) and they reported that a hard A/B pan should not have any impact, but that has not been my experience. Using an A/B split to switch between two amps makes both of them sound different than if the split were not there. Even if a split is merged before an amp, it still sounds different. I know lots of peole are using parallel paths with great success, but I can’t get on with it. For what it’s worth, splits after the amp (such as for two cabs or parallel reverbs/delays) seems to be fine for me. It’s something about interaction with the front of the amp...

 

Hope that is of some help!

 

This makes sense to me, actually, since the Helix is modeling actual circuits.

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FWIW, I always run a high-pass filter before the Amp Block.

Results in tighter more controlled bottom end. 

You can always add a little "bump" at 150Hz (post Amp Block) if you want more thump.

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Despite the convenience and versatility, I have stopped using splits before amps because they mess up my tones in ways I haven’t figured out how to compensate for. With what I read in your post I’d suspect that may be part of your issue.

 

I contacted Line 6 regarding Helix’s handling of pan law (what happens to the signal when it is split) and they reported that a hard A/B pan should not have any impact, but that has not been my experience. Using an A/B split to switch between two amps makes both of them sound different than if the split were not there. Even if a split is merged before an amp, it still sounds different. I know lots of peole are using parallel paths with great success, but I can’t get on with it. For what it’s worth, splits after the amp (such as for two cabs or parallel reverbs/delays) seems to be fine for me. It’s something about interaction with the front of the amp...

 

Hope that is of some help!

 

I wasn't aware that this was an issue as I rarely to never use parallel paths to switch amps. This sounds like a bug/issue that needs to be addressed. When I want to use multiple amps within a preset generally I will use a Super Serial X2 route and just distribute up to three amps and the rest of my blocks across the connected paths as the available DSP dictates. I then use snapshots to switch between the amps. This method does not require a split for the amps although you still may need one if you want to run two amps simultaneously.

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Many thanks to those who replied to my comments regarding splits/merges. It's "on my list" to do some recording and troubleshooting and approach Line 6 with something more concrete, I will be sure to post when that happens.

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