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CraigGT

Strymons and FX Loops,

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I've been having trouble with the repeats on my Strymon Timeline sounding crunchy, at first I thought it was to do with the Helix summing the repeats back to mono because the dry signal was fine but that turned out not to be the case.

 

With help from Matt at Strymon I used a signal level meter hidden inside the pedals to find the problem.

 

I had my FX loops set to "Line" (+4dB), Strymon quote a max input of +8dB so there should be no problem but the Timeline indicated clipping as soon as I touched the guitar. I then changed the FX loop to "Instrument" (-10dB) and it was still clipping.

 

The bottom line is that if your FX loop is before the amp model (as it would probably be for a Mobius) then it will be fine but if the loop is after the amp (as it would typically be for delays) then the Helix signal is too hot.

 

The solution is to adjust the "Send" level of your FX loop down to -6dB and boost the "Return" level up to +6dB, this still gives a unity gain FX loop but gives the pedals plenty of headroom to do their stuff properly.

 

I'm guessing that the dry path in the pedals has more headroom so that's why only the repeats were sounding crunchy.

 

I would have thought that this might affect other external pedals too.

 

 

Craig

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That's very interesting Craig. I find the loops inject noise... is this the reason / cause.. that they are too hot?

When you say the level meter is hidden... can you elaborate on that a bit... where is it hidden ... physically inside or in software and how do you access it...

Thanks for sharing this post Craig it's a good insight

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That's very interesting Craig. I find the loops inject noise... is this the reason / cause.. that they are too hot?

When you say the level meter is hidden... can you elaborate on that a bit... where is it hidden ... physically inside or in software and how do you access it...

Thanks for sharing this post Craig it's a good insight

 

Well it depends on the noise, this won't cure hum problems and increasing the return level like I said could theoretically increase noise but it does solve overloading and distortion issues.

 

The Strymon level meter is in the 'test' menu which is accessed  by powering on with the 'Tap' button held until 'Test' is displayed, turn the 'Type' knob until it says 'Level' and press the 'Type' knob, the signal is displayed as a bargraph on the display and will change to 'Clip' if it is too high,

 

I think this may depend on firmware level so it may not be available on older Strymon firmwares.

 

The only way I have found to exit 'Test' mode is to depower the unit.

 

Let me know how you get on.

 

Craig

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That is interesting.  I run a Mobius on my board, and have never liked the sound of it when it's after the amp.  Up front it sounds great.  Maybe this explains why.

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Give it a go and see what you think.

I'll try and post some sound samples tonight.

 

Craig

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I've also found that with some amps the loop send level needs to be -9dB, if this is the case then you need a gain block after the loop because the receive level can only go up to +6dB.

 

Craig

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I know this is an old thread, but I came across it when I was researching for adding a Big Sky to my Helix and wanted to contribute. Firstly thanks for the guidance on finding the "secret" input meter, very helpful! (Note: on Big Sky, replace "Tap" button with button "C" to access the Test menu) To combat the input clipping issue, I reduced the Channel Volume of the amplifier, placed the Big Sky immediately before the IR blocks in my chain, then increased the IR block level to compensate. The IR blocks have a ton of gain available, I only needed to increase mine from -18 to -12 but there is plenty more on tap. Now when I'm building a patch I set the IR level to -12 right from the get-go and build the patch around that. Just another option!

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