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Marshall 4x12 cab vs pa speaker for Helix


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So I have been trying to figure this out I am running four cable method with my tube amp head to the helix and a Marshall 4x12 1960b and it sounds pretty good I am wondering about how it’s suppose to sound with a pa type powered speaker


I have been hearing all about these full range flat response speakers .. the overwhelming names is the Yamaha dxr 12†, Atomic clr, Friedman ams 12


Then others are saying we’ll get a good tube amp with a good clean channel run that lol - seems there is a big confusion going on ..


I’d like some straight facts on why choose a pa speaker vs guitar cabinet or tube amp with clean channel



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I used to play on tubes with POD500/X with four cable mothod, but I have to sell my Diezel due a back injury.


You have a lot of options:

1) You are using the heads pre and power amp, effects are running from Helix iva 4CM. Your Cabinet is MICed up.

2) You are using your head and helix 50/50. Distortions are going trough the tube amp and cabinet (MICed up) and the clean sounds are running from helix (to FOH). (J. Browne from Monuments is using this setup).

3) Every guitar sound is processed by Helix, the FOH gets the wet signal from your output, you may still use your tube amps power amp block and your cabinet to have stage volume. (Misha is running a setup like this at the moment).

4) Everything is running from Helix to FOH and to a FRFR. For me, this solution works the best. No need for heavy cabinets, I just take my RCF full range speaker and I'm done :D


There are a lot of ways to connect your helix to FOH and to amps, you have lots of I/O and find which works the best for you :) Good luck!

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There really is no confusion, just preferences.  The Helix is flexible enough that it can accommodate several different ways of being used.  It really all comes down to personal preferences about how you prefer to use it, and for what purpose.  In dealing with live performances there are a couple of main choices.


FRFR setups, of which there are a couple of different variations.  The idea here is to be able to hear your sound in the same way as your audience hears the sound, and it's also the simplest and most straightforward way of using the Helix.  My preferred setup which is a popular way to do it, is to have my own personal stage monitor run directly from the Helix off of the 1/4" out, while sending a separate signal direct to the sound board via the XLR out.  This allows me to have my own stage source of sound that, in my case, I place behind me in the backline so it's very similar to a traditional backline amp.  Some people place them in front of themselves like normal monitors or even use a stereo pair of speakers.  A variation on this is to simply go direct to the FOH and use in ear monitors or the traditional monitor system to hear yourself.  The difference between using a traditional style powered monitor such as a DXR12, or QSC K12.2 and a cabinet based FRFR setup such as an Atomic CLR or a Friedman is these will give you more of a cabinet feel than a traditional powered monitor.


As mentioned before, the advantage to these types of setups is you can take full advantage of all the facilities in the Helix and be confident that what you're hearing on stage is what the audience is hearing, which is NEVER the case with a traditional amp setup once you mic the cabinet.  The disadvantage of this setup is it takes a bit more effort to EQ the sound into what you want because the speakers are much more efficient and precise than are traditional cabinets and can sound harsh or boomy without some EQ work to tame the frequencies.  The biggest disadvantage to some people is that it will never sound like an "amp in the room" feel you get from a traditional setup.  Instead it has more of a polished studio sound that you would hear in a produced recording.  Some people can adapt to that, others can't.  If you can't then some people turn to using a different type of setup using a traditional amp.


There are more or less three different flavors of using a traditional amp setup.  The most common is probably simply using the effects return on the amp to bypass the pre-amp and simply use the power amp stage of the amp.  A variation on this is to use a dedicated power amp to drive a traditional speaker cabinet.  Another style of setup would be to use the 4CM or 4 cable method which allows you to still take advantage of the full capabilities of the traditional amp as well as use the facilities of the Helix.  This can be a rather complex setup but there are a number of YouTube videos on the subject that can explain it much better than I can.


The advantage to these setups is that you'll get the same feel and sound on stage as you would from a traditional guitar amp setup.  In other words, you get the "amp in the room" feel.  The disadvantage is there are a number of tradeoffs when it comes to how you design and use your patches.  Because you are using a traditional cabinet on stage there's no reason to use the cabinet and mic models in the Helix as that would simply be redundant and would flavor the sound inappropriately.  But the problem comes in feeding the signal to the sound board because that signal WILL need to have cabinet and mic models in the patch.  In that case you have to ensure all your patches are built with a customization of the signal chain in which the output that goes to the 1/4" has no cabinet or mic models, and the output that goes to the board on the XLR output has those elements, adding a fair amount of complexity to your signal chain of each patch as well as complexity to your physical setup.


It's not that either of these type of setups are right or wrong.  They are simply based on a person's preferences and each have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

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ok, so I get that about the personal stage monitors and signal off to FOH - I am mostly concerned right now with home and jam / recording sound clarity and good feel. Would you recommend finding some wedges that are super FRFR and use them? or choose say a Yamaha dxr etc


I've been doing dual XLR to interface to record now, I do have a license for helix native .. copied over a patch from helix to native.  seem to go ok

but well right now I have to replace my interface its going .... it was focusrite pro 40 firewire 800


would you think there is any difference between having a power amp and using a powered speaker

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For home and jamming I would think you should be looking more toward studio monitors, unless you intend to be jamming pretty loud.  As far as the difference between FRFR wedges or a powered speaker like a DXR series, that's a personal preference.  Although I use DXR12's I'll be the first to admit that they can be a bit daunting to get used to for someone that hasn't dealt too much with PA equipment.  You may be better off with something along the lines of a Friedman or CLR as that might feel more familiar to you.


As far as recording, I think most of us simply use the Helix as our audio interface.  In your case it's perfect timing if your focusrite is about to give out.  I actually have two Helix floor units.  One is set up in my practice space and connected to my DXR12.  The other is connected via USB to my desktop computer which serves as my DAW.  I have two Yamaha HS7 studio monitors directly connected to that Helix so I can do my recording as well as any other audio stuff on that computer.  It works out super well because I can keep my guitar/bass, keyboard, and studio mic constantly connected and switching between them for recording is as easy as selecting the correct preset.  The HS7's pretty beefy at 100 watts, but I don't know how they'd be for jamming as I tend to do that more with my practice setup, but they might be okay unless you really want to wail.

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so I spent the day at the music store trying out the Yorkville PS12P - Powered

12-inch / 1-inch - 1400 watts also tried the 15" found the 12 to be better more
sounded pretty cool actually after I turned on the mid boost of the helix lol
before it was pretty thin like
I am AB ing the specs with the Yamaha DXR
very comparable and DXR are a bit cheaper too...
I was going to scrap the whole Idea after figuring out how to get that mid tone so good..
and just use the Marshall cab, but I am starting to see power spikes through the cab from the amp
with the helix connected .. made me a bit worried.could be un related .. all the same
so I am back thinking about the powered speaker... 
I used to have a Yamaha dxr12 pair in past for voice .. but never thought about it for guitar ...
I have a set of JBL studio monitors .. but they are connected to my focusrite interface .. and into the iMac
so I can use Logic Pro X I could try it with helix where you have them connected in on the Helix?
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