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BRISTOL86

Helix as Mac Output

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Hi All

 

Brand new HeliX (LT) owner here and just had a question with regards using it as the sound output device for my Mac so that I can have anything I play on the Mac (ie backing tracks) coming out of the same speakers as the guitar.

 

I’ve got the Helix hooked up to the Mac and set as the output from the system preferences so that the Mac sound comes out of the monitor speakers.

 

However, this seems to disable the output volume control on the Mac - ie the volume level out from the Mac is not adjustable using the Mac’s own volume controls - so I am forced to use individual program volume controls (ie on YouTube or in iTunes or Transcribe etc)

 

Is there a way around this? I often play along over stuff on the internet or whatever and often it’s at quite widely differing levels - I’m finding I’ll often have an imbalance in volume from the Mac source and the guitar. I would normally counter this by using the volume controls on the Mac to adjust up or down.

 

I guess I could use a pair of normal PC speakers and not bother having the Mac sound coming out of the monitors but then that has its own headaches whenever I want to use headphones.

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I have my Helix floor set up this way too, and yes, it disables the Mac's own volume control. You can set the overall level on the Helix itself; on the Floor version, you can set speaker and headphone volume independently, which was one of my reasons for choosing that over the LT. For YouTube, iTunes, etc, you can set the volume on the app or website as needed.

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I have my Helix floor set up this way too, and yes, it disables the Mac's own volume control. You can set the overall level on the Helix itself; on the Floor version, you can set speaker and headphone volume independently, which was one of my reasons for choosing that over the LT. For YouTube, iTunes, etc, you can set the volume on the app or website as needed.

Thanks. I guess I’ll juat have to get used to using application specific volume controls to control the Mac output rather than ‘global’ volume keys.

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You can also adjust the levels from your Mac coming in to USB 1/2 IN on the Helix. Go to global settings>INs OUTs>USB 1/2 trim. 

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You can also adjust the levels from your Mac coming in to USB 1/2 IN on the Helix. Go to global settings>INs OUTs>USB 1/2 trim.

Sorry I’m new to this...does that mean what it sounds like - it would reduce the volume by half for anything coming from the Mac?

 

Wouldn’t that juat lead to a different imbalance? Ie if the sound from the Mac is quieter than the guitar even with the application volume at 100%, you’d need to use the guitar’s volume control to balance it out?

 

I’m probably just making a bigger deal out of it than it actually is to be honest, I’m just used to using the Mac’s volume control to balance what I send to my computer speakers vs what’s coming out of my modelling amp (in the pre Helix world) and now I just have to use the application specific volume control rather than the global one on the Mac.

 

Not really any different just a different mechanism....

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Sorry I’m new to this...does that mean what it sounds like - it would reduce the volume by half for anything coming from the Mac?

 

No, it would reduce the level on USB-In1 & USB-In 2 by whatever you set as trim level...

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No, it would reduce the level on USB-In1 & USB-In 2 by whatever you set as trim level...

Ah my mistake, thanks! I’ll play around :)

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Sorry I’m new to this...does that mean what it sounds like - it would reduce the volume by half for anything coming from the Mac?

Nope, you misunderstand. it’s not a half, but a reference to Helix USB channels 1 & 2, which can be cut or boosted by several db. It means, to quote page 52 of the Helix LT owners manual, “Sets the level of incoming audio from USB 1/2, which bypasses all Helix processing. Normally, this should be left at 0.0dBâ€.

 

Incidentally, I cannot see that there is an issue with whether you have to control the audio output from your Mac by using the specific program eg: iTunes, uChoob or whatever, or the OS volume control. You have to set it somewhere I don’t think you will be hitting your output device with constant level, somethings will be bound to be louder than others. Just trim your levels to suit.

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Nope, you misunderstand. it’s not a half, but a reference to Helix USB channels 1 & 2, which can be cut or boosted by several db. It means, to quote page 52 of the Helix LT owners manual, “Sets the level of incoming audio from USB 1/2, which bypasses all Helix processing. Normally, this should be left at 0.0dBâ€.

 

Incidentally, I cannot see that there is an issue with whether you have to control the audio output from your Mac by using the specific program eg: iTunes, uChoob or whatever, or the OS volume control. You have to set it somewhere I don’t think you will be hitting your output device with constant level, somethings will be bound to be louder than others. Just trim your levels to suit.

 

 

Thanks for that, I'm with you now! 

 

Yes you're right - it's just that I'm used to leaving it at 100% or default level in individual applications and then using the 'master' mac volume to adjust accordingly - so it's now just a case of using application specific controls instead of the control on the Mac itself. No big deal :)

 

Thanks for your help

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My reference monitors have RCA, XLR, and TRS inputs.  On my Mac, I use a stereo mini to RCA cable to connect to my speakers so that I can still maintain volume control on the keyboard.  In this scenario I can use the XLR outputs from the Helix so I can here both my Mac and Helix connections simultaneously while maintaining typical volume control.

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Thanks for that, I'm with you now! 

 

Yes you're right - it's just that I'm used to leaving it at 100% or default level in individual applications and then using the 'master' mac volume to adjust accordingly - so it's now just a case of using application specific controls instead of the control on the Mac itself. No big deal :)

 

Thanks for your help

No problem, have fun jamming along!

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Is there a way around this? 

 

 

It is kind of a drag on Mac, but this seems to be the way all external audio interfaces work with macOS - this is the same for my UAD Apollo Twin and my RME UFX.  

 

When using the Helix as an audio interface, I always have Exp 1 as a volume for guitar level, and thankfully the Helix volume knob is big enough and tough enough that I can adjust the overall level my foot.  

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