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DecayingWings

Helix LT sucks. Badly.

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Hello!

 

I recently bought Helix LT. I've been extremely disappointed in it. I can't get a decent metal tone out of it. Like EVH type of stuff. Or Metallica, Megadeth etc. I even bought some IR:s from OwnHammer. Bought EVH cab, some Engl cabs etc. Doesn't make much of a different. Sounds like absolute garbage. Been trying out Engl model with EVH IR and different high gain heads/amps like 5150 and Soldano. They all suck pretty badly. Also tried to put Tubescreamer in front of the amp.

 

In "real life" I play Engl amps. Have Savage head and Screamer combo. I put the guitar cable in and that's it, the sound is perfect, no tweaking needed whatsoever. 

 

Been playing guitar nearly 30 years and I teach guitar for living, so I'm no beginner with this stuff.

 

Any suggestions ...?

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What are you playing the LT though?

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I play it through the headphones (and into the DAW) and also tried through Engl Screamer Amp (with clean channel selected just to test how to get sounds from Helix).

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I bought it 12.12.2017. I guess I can't return it. I sold my Boss GT-100 to my student and bought this. This should be better, right? I mean the GT is 300€ or something equipment....But it was WAY better than this, I could actually use it.

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If your Engl has a loop, then put the Helix into the return of the loop and bypass the pre amp of the Engl. Then start experimenting. I think you'll find something there.

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If your Engl has a loop, then put the Helix into the return of the loop and bypass the pre amp of the Engl. Then start experimenting. I think you'll find something there.

Have already tried 4 cable method, it works if I use the Engl distortion channel. But the amp models of Helix are just terrible. How I would like to use it is record straight into the DAW.

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From where did you purchase it? Surely they have some kind of return policy. 12/12 is less than a month ago.

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Are you running a patch that has a cab sim or IR into your guitar amp? That would sound bad.

Sorry, but Helix doesn't sound "terrible" to very many people. Something sounds wrong in your chain.

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I bought it 12.12.2017. I guess I can't return it. I sold my Boss GT-100 to my student and bought this. This should be better, right? I mean the GT is 300€ or something equipment....But it was WAY better than this, I could actually use it.

 

Might help if you had specific sonic criticism. Saying "it sucks...tried this and that sucks....tried that and it sucks too" is not at all helpful. 

 

What is not working for you? Be specific. There are a kazillion great metal Helix patches and major artists using it. I wouldn't necessarily say it's user error, but merely user unfamiliarity. Help us to help YOU to get familiar.

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What type of headphones? The sound quality from the headphone output will vary greatly depending on the type of cans you're using... As far as connecting it to the ENGL, if you're using amp modeling in the Helix, you wouldn't want to go into the front input on the amp. I'd suggest going into effects return (make sure to turn the balance knob for the ENGL's loop to 100% effect). That way you'd be bypassing the ENGL's preamp completely and just using it as a power amp. You might want to disable the cab modeling/IR when you do this as you're using a real guitar cab.

 

Other than that, I'd say the Helix works best with a FRFR speaker setup.

 

There are all sorts of people using Helix for metal tones and many Youtube videos out there. One guy you might want to check out is Luke Harwood (although, his style is probably more modern metal than what you're talking about). https://www.youtube.com/user/h4rw00d

 

Jason Sadites is another guy who's posted a lot of demos, and he has things more in the classic metal genre. He has some nice tutorial videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEshByA_Gqn7O0biVoepS0m9HLznPTPM5

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From where did you purchase it? Surely they have some kind of return policy. 12/12 is less than a month ago.

I bought it from F-Musiikki here in Helsinki.

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Are you running a patch that has a cab sim or IR into your guitar amp? That would sound bad.

 

Sorry, but Helix doesn't sound "terrible" to very many people. Something sounds wrong in your chain.

I've tried all kinds of stuff. Of course I'm not running cab sims (or IR) if I use amp, my point is to get it working recording straight into the DAW. Yeah probably something is wrong in my chain...but what...how complex can it be? Put an amp model, then cab after it (or IR), maybe some delay at the end of the chain. 

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Using one of the more advanced modeling devices (Helix, Axe-FX, AX8, etc) is a large paradigm shift from simply plugging into a 100w tube-head w/4x12 cab.

 

Do you have access to a FRFR PA speaker?

That would provide SPL levels similar to an amp/cab... and would provide a much better perspective from which to gauge the Helix.

 

Also, it takes a while to get up-to-speed with Helix/Axe-FX/etc.

When I first got the Helix, I didn't like the bottom end (same is true for the Axe-FX II XL+ and AX8).

For me, placing a high-pass filter prior to the Amp Block (on all of them)... instantly made the bottom end sound much better (tighter).

Little things like that go a long way toward achieving the desired result.

 

What I like about Helix:

Once you're up-to-speed, if you can imagine the sound, you can quickly/easily create it.

If you like your particular cab/s, create your own IRs with the cab/s mic'd the way you prefer.

This help take you even farther toward achieving your sound.

 

Proper monitoring setup is paramount to achieving good results (similar to studio monitors being necessary to achieve a good mix).

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I bought it 12.12.2017. I guess I can't return it. I sold my Boss GT-100 to my student and bought this. This should be better, right? I mean the GT is 300€ or something equipment....But it was WAY better than this, I could actually use it.

 

Assuming your Helix is properly functional, it's *far* better than the GT-100.

Not even in the same ballpark...

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Might help if you had specific sonic criticism. Saying "it sucks...tried this and that sucks....tried that and it sucks too" is not at all helpful. 

 

What is not working for you? Be specific. There are a kazillion great metal Helix patches and major artists using it. I wouldn't necessarily say it's user error, but merely user unfamiliarity. Help us to help YOU to get familiar.

The sound is terrible for EVH, Metallica that kind of stuff. Been using EVH model, Engl and Soldano...also Line6 epic. And I've put cab sim (or IR) after that. Also tried to add distortion (tubescreamer) in front of the amp. Can't get a decent sound no matter how I tweak it.

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Assuming your Helix is properly functional, it's *far* better than the GT-100.

Not even in the same ballpark...

Yes, that's why I bought it. Right now, it's not working good at all. I mean it's sounding pretty bad.

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What type of headphones? The sound quality from the headphone output will vary greatly depending on the type of cans you're using... As far as connecting it to the ENGL, if you're using amp modeling in the Helix, you wouldn't want to go into the front input on the amp. I'd suggest going into effects return (make sure to turn the balance knob for the ENGL's loop to 100% effect). That way you'd be bypassing the ENGL's preamp completely and just using it as a power amp. You might want to disable the cab modeling/IR when you do this as you're using a real guitar cab.

 

Other than that, I'd say the Helix works best with a FRFR speaker setup.

 

There are all sorts of people using Helix for metal tones and many Youtube videos out there. One guy you might want to check out is Luke Harwood (although, his style is probably more modern metal than what you're talking about). https://www.youtube.com/user/h4rw00d

 

Jason Sadites is another guy who's posted a lot of demos, and he has things more in the classic metal genre. He has some nice tutorial videos here:

Just basic Philips headphones. I know I should probably get 1000€ audio headphones,...but the headphones can't be the issue. Everything sounds fine when for example if I record my Engl amp to GarageBand and mix some stuff with the headphones on. When recording the Helix...it's just terrible...the recorded file and the patches I've created. And there's zero good preset patches for kind of stuff I'm playing. The clean and crunch sounds are ok.

 

Yeah I've just messed around with the Engl...just to make sure if I can get any good tones that way. But my point is getting good sound for recording straight into GarageBand. When I use it with amp in a real situation I would use the amp's distortion channel anyway.

 

Have to watch those YouTube videos too, though I've watched quite a few of them already.

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Using one of the more advanced modeling devices (Helix, Axe-FX, AX8, etc) is a large paradigm shift from simply plugging into a 100w tube-head w/4x12 cab.

 

Do you have access to a FRFR PA speaker?

That would provide SPL levels similar to an amp/cab... and would provide a much better perspective from which to gauge the Helix.

 

Also, it takes a while to get up-to-speed with Helix/Axe-FX/etc.

When I first got the Helix, I didn't like the bottom end (same is true for the Axe-FX II XL+ and AX8).

For me, placing a high-pass filter prior to the Amp Block (on all of them)... instantly made the bottom end sound much better (tighter).

Little things like that go a long way toward achieving the desired result.

 

What I like about Helix:

Once you're up-to-speed, if you can imagine the sound, you can quickly/easily create it.

If you like your particular cab/s, create your own IRs with the cab/s mic'd the way you prefer.

This help take you even farther toward achieving your sound.

 

Proper monitoring setup is paramount to achieving good results (similar to studio monitors being necessary to achieve a good mix).

Thanks for tips! I have a PA system at my work place. Have not yet tried through that. I would mainly use this at home anyway, recording into GarageBand. Just give me an EVH 5150 III or Engl Savage type of sound and I'll be happy :)  Right now, those simulations don't sound anything like those amps. 

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Again, just saying it sounds terrible or sounds like caca isn't helpful. You gotta use your words. If you're as experienced, you should be able to identify if a tone has too much/too little mid-range, high-end, low-end, chunk, clarity, definition, etc.

 

Also, Metallica doesn't use ENGL or EVH amps. Their tone is in a completely different ballpark - that's true of the AJFA era, Load era, and modern Metallica.

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I bought it 12.12.2017. I guess I can't return it. I sold my Boss GT-100 to my student and bought this. This should be better, right? I mean the GT is 300€ or something equipment....But it was WAY better than this, I could actually use it.

 

I think this is an example of expectation versus reality.  You may be one of those people that wants to just plug and play and there's nothing wrong with that.  The problem is that in these type of advanced modelers you have the option to make them into anything you want them to be, thus all the flexibility you see in inputs/outputs and designing the signal stream and so forth.  In essence the general complexity you would find in a full professional studio is all packed into that unit, but you have to be willing to invest the time in learning how to use it.

 

That's not for everyone.  Those of us that have a passion for developing sound and are willing to spend the time understanding the signal chain environment with all the various amps, cabs, mics, mic placement, EQ, compression, and other effects as well as the pro level equipment necessary to exploit it tend to get the most out of it.  But that may not be you, if you're more of just a plug and play kind of guy.  You can go a long way with some of the patches provided with the Helix or with downloaded patches, but you first have to get your general rig setup correctly either with an FRFR style setup or with a traditional amp using 4CM.  Even then you'll likely have to make some adaptations to the patches provided to match your equipment.

 

If you're the type of guy that just wants to plug it in and play it, then this may not be for you.

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Been playing guitar nearly 30 years and I teach guitar for living, so I'm no beginner with this stuff.

 

 

You have experience with other modelers?

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Again, just saying it sounds terrible or sounds like caca isn't helpful. You gotta use your words. If you're as experienced, you should be able to identify if a tone has too much/too little mid-range, high-end, low-end, chunk, clarity, definition, etc.

 

Also, Metallica doesn't use ENGL or EVH amps. Their tone is in a completely different ballpark - that's true of the AJFA era, Load era, and modern Metallica.

Yes I know they don't use Engl amps. Just trying to give a picture what kind of tone I'm looking for. Clarity is very important to me, the sound must be very focused and not muddy. I also use quite a bit of mids. So for example "Ain't Talking Bout Love" intro riff should not go into a blurry mess. Also the Helix sounds are very thin and not focused and on leads they completely lack the tube kind of warmth and sustain.

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Yes I know they don't use Engl amps. Just trying to give a picture what kind of tone I'm looking for. Clarity is very important to me, the sound must be very focused and not muddy. I also use quite a bit of mids. So for example "Ain't Talking Bout Love" intro riff should not go into a blurry mess. Also the Helix sounds are very thin and not focused and on leads they completely lack the tube kind of warmth and sustain.

 

If you wanna do classic Van Halen, this guy gives the whole game away here: 

 

That has the demo and download link for the patch.

 

Similarly, if you want Metallica, check this out: 

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Yes I know they don't use Engl amps. Just trying to give a picture what kind of tone I'm looking for. Clarity is very important to me, the sound must be very focused and not muddy. I also use quite a bit of mids. So for example "Ain't Talking Bout Love" intro riff should not go into a blurry mess. Also the Helix sounds are very thin and not focused and on leads they completely lack the tube kind of warmth and sustain.

I am guessing this is your first experience with a modeler. Just because you have 30 years experience does not mean you will plug into a modeler and just start playing the tones that are in your head. It doesn't work that way. The guy in this video doesn't have an issue with EVH tones. It takes experience and time in the digital realm. If it is too frustrating to you, you may just want to get yourself a reactive load and send your "real" amp signal to your DAW. 

 

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Hello!

 

<snip>

 

Any suggestions ...?

 

What version of the firmware does your unit have?

--jack

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You have experience with other modelers?

I've used mainly Boss multi Fx and then the "real" individual pedals. I get a good sound out of Boss pretty quickly....thought the Helix was a breeze to use 'cause all the reviews said it's very simple to get good sounds...

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I've used mainly Boss multi Fx and then the "real" individual pedals. I get a good sound out of Boss pretty quickly....thought the Helix was a breeze to use 'cause all the reviews said it's very simple to get good sounds...

 

It is. But nothing is "good" for everybody. Not everybody loves or even likes or even bothers to see the Best Picture winner every year. Don't think everyone or even most here are Taylor Swift fans. But what you call "good" MIGHT take a bit more work than what a lot of other people do. 

 

But I can tell you there is no inherent lack of "sustain" or "tube like warmth" on Helix. I know it. It's demonstrable across a kazillion YouTube videos and Soundcloud clips. It's something in the way you have it set up. 

 

One thing I see with guys used to other units doing on Helix for high gain stuff is using an aggressive noise gate block, which can kill sustain and degrade tone. Just use the Gate on the Input block all the way to the left of the signal chain. 

 

I also suggest you keep things simple to start with and go from there. For Metallica, the Mark IV/Cali IV Lead channel gets the job done nicely, but if you've never played a real Mesa Mark amp, you gotta learn how to dial it. The B/M/T controls are all pre gain staging that really shape the tone not unlike a TubeScreamer does. The best thing to do is to follow the name of each: Keep the lows low (bass), mids in the middle (around 5) and keep the highs high. Finally, set the 5-band EQ to a slight smile curve. I know you like mids, but the Mesa has a good amount inherent in its voicing already. It's ok.

 

Then you can crank the two drives on the amp to around 7 or 8 and go at it. Pair it with a good Mesa/Cali IR. Try the one in the free Line 6 Allure IR pack. 

 

We already gave you a great Van Halen pack. The above should help you get to Metallica.

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I've used mainly Boss multi Fx and then the "real" individual pedals. I get a good sound out of Boss pretty quickly....thought the Helix was a breeze to use 'cause all the reviews said it's very simple to get good sounds...

Modelers are a different beast. "Good" is also subjective. I can drop down a Plexi model, cab model, plug in my strat and have a great sound immediately without changing a thing. I am not trying to duplicate any particular sound on a recording. 

 

Duplicating someone else's high gain tone (or any gain tone for that matter) is an entirely different game. I don't play in that playground. 

 

Also, the headphones you use DO ABSOLUTELY MATTER when it comes to professional equipment. That is why we do not use iPhone ear buds for in ear monitors on stage or in the recording studio. 

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I am guessing this is your first experience with a modeler. Just because you have 30 years experience does not mean you will plug into a modeler and just start playing the tones that are in your head. It doesn't work that way. The guy in this video doesn't have an issue with EVH tones. It takes experience and time in the digital realm. If it is too frustrating to you, you may just want to get yourself a reactive load and send your "real" amp signal to your DAW. 

 

Thanks for the video link! I downloaded the patch. The reverb and flangers are good but this completely lacks the gain and sustain! Sounds good on that video though....

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It is. But nothing is "good" for everybody. Not everybody loves or even likes or even bothers to see the Best Picture winner every year. Don't think everyone or even most here are Taylor Swift fans. But what you call "good" MIGHT take a bit more work than what a lot of other people do. 

 

But I can tell you there is no inherent lack of "sustain" or "tube like warmth" on Helix. I know it. It's demonstrable across a kazillion YouTube videos and Soundcloud clips. It's something in the way you have it set up. 

 

One thing I see with guys used to other units doing on Helix for high gain stuff is using an aggressive noise gate block, which can kill sustain and degrade tone. Just use the Gate on the Input block all the way to the left of the signal chain. 

 

I also suggest you keep things simple to start with and go from there. For Metallica, the Mark IV/Cali IV Lead channel gets the job done nicely, but if you've never played a real Mesa Mark amp, you gotta learn how to dial it. The B/M/T controls are all pre gain staging that really shape the tone not unlike a TubeScreamer does. The best thing to do is to follow the name of each: Keep the lows low (bass), mids in the middle (around 5) and keep the highs high. Finally, set the 5-band EQ to a slight smile curve. I know you like mids, but the Mesa has a good amount inherent in its voicing already. It's ok.

 

Then you can crank the two drives on the amp to around 7 or 8 and go at it. Pair it with a good Mesa/Cali IR. Try the one in the free Line 6 Allure IR pack. 

 

We already gave you a great Van Halen pack. The above should help you get to Metallica.

Thanks for the tips! I try out this next. The EVH patch completely lacked the gain and sustain.

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Modelers are a different beast. "Good" is also subjective. I can drop down a Plexi model, cab model, plug in my strat and have a great sound immediately without changing a thing. I am not trying to duplicate any particular sound on a recording. 

 

Duplicating someone else's high gain tone (or any gain tone for that matter) is an entirely different game. I don't play in that playground. 

 

Also, the headphones you use DO ABSOLUTELY MATTER when it comes to professional equipment. That is why we do not use iPhone ear buds for in ear monitors on stage or in the recording studio. 

I'm not trying to imitate anyone, just trying to get good EVH 5150 III / Engl Savage type of sound. Just gave a few song / band examples. Yeah they probably will matter, but I mean the recorded sound is bad also. 

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Thanks for the tips! I try out this next. The EVH patch completely lacked the gain and sustain.

 

EVH used a lot LESS gain than people think he did on those classic recordings. Yes, he had a Plexi cranked to oblivion and sometimes Variac'd, but that's not a "high gain" head. I've used the EVH patch in that video, and it sounds spot on when I play it.

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EVH used a lot LESS gain than people think he did on those classic recordings. Yes, he had a Plexi cranked to oblivion and sometimes Variac'd, but that's not a "high gain" head. I've used the EVH patch in that video, and it sounds spot on when I play it.

At least with headphones / into the DAW it doesn't sound good. With good PA system, maybe. Just trying to get a good sound for recording.

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At least with headphones / into the DAW it doesn't sound good. With good PA system, maybe. Just trying to get a good sound for recording.

 

I don't mean this as an insult, but I think you're wasting your time if you're recording only with headphones. You need to invest in a decent pair of reference monitors. They don't have to be top of the line, by any means, but using headphones as your reference point can lead very far down the wrong sonic path...

 

It would be a bit like doing photo editing on a cheap monitor. You may think you're seeing and adjusting the colors in a certain way, but then when you print your photos, everything looks wrong. Reference monitors are the same thing. They are way to ensure that you're hearing the true sound of whatever you're recording and not just adjusting things based on the inherent sonic properties of your skewed playback system.

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I don't mean this as an insult, but I think you're wasting your time if you're recording only with headphones. You need to invest in a decent pair of reference monitors. They don't have to be top of the line, by any means, but using headphones as your reference point can lead very far down the wrong sonic path...

 

It would be a bit like doing photo editing on a cheap monitor. You may think you're seeing and adjusting the colors in a certain way, but then when you print your photos, everything looks wrong. Reference monitors are the same thing. They are way to ensure that you're hearing the true sound of whatever you're recording and not just adjusting things based on the inherent sonic properties of your skewed playback system.

Check this out:

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ul94m37tnvd0rpk/AintLove.mp3?dl=0

 

You tell me how this sounds like. I recorded this with the EVH patch from the video. If it sounds good to you then it IS the damned headphones :)

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