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marmatkat

External tuner recommendation and setup?

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Hi Folks,

 

I'm an LT owner for a number of months, and I really like my Helix, but at a gig last night I finally reached the breaking point where I plan to stop using the tuner completely - I find it too poorly coded to be usable in performance. I would appreciate your advice before buying:

  1. Is there a particular tuner you like that has rock solid performance (stability, speed, and accuracy), is durable, and works well with the Helix (i.e., doesn't degrade the guitar signal)?
  2. How do you wire in the tuner? I imagine either in-line ( Guitar -> tuner -> Helix LT ) or running to the tuner from the Send (if that's possible).
  3. Anything else I should consider?

Thanks in advance!

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Get any tuner that you can read well on stage. You would only need to wire it into the input, so it doesn't even need to be a pedal, you could use something like this: http://www.korg.com/us/products/tuners/ga_2/ if that's good enough for you.

 

Use any of the sends, the headphone output would work...

 

What is it about the tuner that you can't use? I generally tune at the beginning of the show and unless something happens that's enough. The tuner seems to work fine enough for me (I only use the tuner on it when playing bass, which isn't my primary instrument, I don't use a guitar with the Helix).

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Hi

 

I use the TC Elecronic Polytune tuner pedal. It's fantastic, I really recommend it. It connected like:

 

Guitar >> tuner >> Helix

 

Good luck!

 

/Duf

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ST-300 strobe tuner. Best tuner I’ve ever used. https://www.turbo-tuner.com

 

I run send 3 to the tuner input. In my Helix tuner settings I route the output to Send 3/4. When not tuning, none of my guitar audio is routed through the tuner.

 

See my posts here: http://line6.com/support/topic/31049-best-way-to-use-external-tuner/?do=findComment&comment=238569

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Thanks for the comments! The Turbo Tuner looks awesome.

 

So when using the tuner send feature, it means the external tuner has to be on all the time, right? Unless I want to tap dance: 1) Hold the helix tuner button to activate the inbuilt tuner, and then 2) step on the external tuner switch to turn it on.

 

?

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Thanks for the comments! The Turbo Tuner looks awesome.

 

So when using the tuner send feature, it means the external tuner has to be on all the time, right? Unless I want to tap dance: 1) Hold the helix tuner button to activate the inbuilt tuner, and then 2) step on the external tuner switch to turn it on.

 

?

 

That's correct, but the TU3 has a single red light when the helix tuner isn't activated. So, yes, it's on but It's not active.

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Oh I see - your tuner blanks the display if there's no input, but it's still powered on, so it's drawing from the battery all the time (how much depends on its design). Unless you have an AC adapter.

 

That's correct, but the TU3 has a single red light when the helix tuner isn't activated. So, yes, it's on but It's not active.

 

 

bmk5140: Do you leave the tuner on all the time? Do you use a battery? Does the ST-300 blank the display when there's no input? Am I asking too many questions? :-)

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Oh I see - your tuner blanks the display if there's no input, but it's still powered on, so it's drawing from the battery all the time (how much depends on its design). Unless you have an AC adapter.

 

 

 

bmk5140: Do you leave the tuner on all the time? Do you use a battery? Does the ST-300 blank the display when there's no input? Am I asking too many questions? :-)

I leave it on. It’s externally powered in my setup. The display stays on but doesn’t flicker or do anything distracting since its input is dead when not tuning.

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I use the old school Boss TU-2 and have it in the FX loop.  But that headphone out sounds like a good idea.  Would a standard patch or guitar cable work or would I need a balanced output?

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I bought the Turbo Tuner - it works great! I don't have an AC adapter, so I think I'll just run Guitar -> TT -> Helix, punching the TT button when I need to tune.

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I agree the large, beautiful Helix tuner, while a great idea, jumps around too much for me.

However, IMO using the headphone output is a bad idea.  You want your clean, unaltered guitar signal going to the tuner before any effects.  If you plug the headphone output to the tuner's input and you kick in any effects, especially choruses or other pitch altering effects, the tuner will have trouble.

Also if you place your tuner in one of the Helix the effects loops that means you're including the tuner's circuitry in your signal path.  If the tuner is true bypass or has a good buffer that may be okay but it is not ideal and not necessary.  I would either:

1) Place the tuner before the Helix - between your guitar and the Helix's guitar input.  If tuner is true bypass that's good with a short cable between the tuner and Helix input.  If the tuner is not true bypass but has a good buffer that works too.

OR

2)  Do exactly what SAKS said above: "I use a TU3 plugged into send 1 and set the helix tuner to 'Send 1/2', when I activate the helix tuner it outputs to the tu3."

Just my opinion.  Hope it is helpful.

Good luck.

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Thanks! I'll try #1 - the Turbo Tuner claims a true bypass. My reasoning is that I don't have to have the tuner on all the time (like #2 would require). Or, I would have to hold the helix tuner button and then step on the Turbo Tuner button.

 

I agree the large, beautiful Helix tuner, while a great idea, jumps around too much for me.

However, IMO using the headphone output is a bad idea.  You want your clean, unaltered guitar signal going to the tuner before any effects.  If you plug the headphone output to the tuner's input and you kick in any effects, especially choruses or other pitch altering effects, the tuner will have trouble.

Also if you place your tuner in one of the Helix the effects loops that means you're including the tuner's circuitry in your signal path.  If the tuner is true bypass or has a good buffer that may be okay but it is not ideal and not necessary.  I would either:

1) Place the tuner before the Helix - between your guitar and the Helix's guitar input.  If tuner is true bypass that's good with a short cable between the tuner and Helix input.  If the tuner is not true bypass but has a good buffer that works too.

OR

2)  Do exactly what SAKS said above: "I use a TU3 plugged into send 1 and set the helix tuner to 'Send 1/2', when I activate the helix tuner it outputs to the tu3."

Just my opinion.  Hope it is helpful.

Good luck.

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I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "I don't have to have the tuner on all the time". Do you mean you don't want the tuner engaged (tuning mode) all the time, or do you mean you don't want the tuner "on" (powered on) all the time ?

It sounds like you want to do option #1 which is just the traditional old school way as if you were going guitar to tuner to amp (or other effects pedals etc.).  Makes sense, especially with your true bypass Turbo Tuner.  When tuning, your guitar signal goes to the tuner and sound is muted.  When not tuning your guitar signal goes straight through the true bypass tuner into the Helix guitar input.  As with ANY true bypass setup keep your cables short like a 10 - 15 foot from guitar to tuner then short like a 1 or 2 foot into the Helix.  Bottom line is keep total cable length under 20 feet.

There are reasons why someone might like option #2.  For example if your tuner is NOT true bypass and has a bad buffer circuit that sucks tone you might not want to put that before the Helix.  In that case you can employ the Helix external tuner feature (see Tuner section in the manual) to send your signal out one of the sends to the tuner that is always in tuning mode.  That way your signal doesn't pass through the crappy tuner circuit while you're playing.  It only goes there when you're tuning.

Another reason might be you want to bring the tuner closer to your face for visibility. I thought of doing that with a Boss TU-3S mini tuner (no footswitch).  You could mount it to a mic stand to see it better but kick it in/out using the Helix tuner footswitch.  Of course you could do that with any tuner - the TU3S is just small.

I was going to use option #2 with my regular Boss TU3 pedal tuner because even though it has a pretty good buffer I just thought it might be better not to have it before the Helix at all.  I wanted to have my guitar going straight into the Helix guitar input.  However I wound up going wireless with a Shure GLXD16 that has a tuner in it which is of course an active circuit before the Helix after all, but it sounds perfect and I prefer the tuner in the Shure over the Helix tuner.  So I'm back to option #1 - just no guitar cable.

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Easiest thing for me is the TC electronics Polytune Clip Tuner: Small, light weight, accurate, quick, no wires, no power supply, you can use ist backstage...

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Easiest thing for me is the TC electronics Polytune Clip Tuner: Small, light weight, accurate, quick, no wires, no power supply, you can use ist backstage...

Yup! Have several. Always dead accurate and stable, regardless if used in Polyphonic mode or not. I prefer the Strobe mode for higher accuracy. The unit is so compact, durable and reliable. I use them on Acoustic Electrics, Solid body Electrics, Semi and Partially Hollow Body Electrics. All with great quick and accurate results. It will be nice when Helix's Tuner delivers as stable reliable results. Helix's existing Tune is okay, but it is very jumpy. Just needs to be better stabilized. Hopefully by firmware 3.0

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It will be nice when Helix's Tuner delivers as stable reliable results. 

 

Id love for Line-6 to go to a strobe-tuner like Kemper did a while back. 

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Easiest thing for me is the TC electronics Polytune Clip Tuner: Small, light weight, accurate, quick, no wires, no power supply, you can use ist backstage...

This is my preference. 

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> I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "I don't have to have the tuner on all the time". Do you mean you don't want the tuner engaged (tuning mode) all the time, or do you mean you don't want the tuner "on" (powered on) all the time ?

(@fredsiegle - thanks for the comments.) The latter. I worry about battery life, and having a wall wart on the floor worries me.

> Easiest thing for me is the TC electronics Polytune Clip Tuner

Good idea. I explored that and bought one a month or two ago, excited to try it, but I didn't like it and sent it back. The poly and single note modes didn't agree, plus some other issues I can't recall now.

> Id love for Line-6 to go to a strobe-tuner like Kemper did a while back.

Same here, though I've read that common 'strobe' modes in most tuners are actually just a different display of the same underlying 'needle' function, i.e., are not truly stroboscopic.

 

 

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Got to say, the nailed the HX Effects tuner, utilized the scribble strip very well. 

 

To your question though, I've used so many different tuners over the years and I have to say I always go back to the Korg Pitchblack. Big clear display, not much unnecessary distractions and locks in a tuning better than anything I've used. Probably why you see it so often on boards.  

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Interesting re: HX Effects - I wonder if they tweaked the tuner program. I'd be curious to see its operation side-by-side with Helix...

 

Thanks for the tip re: the Korg tuner. It's ~$60 less than the Turbo Tuner, but it's not a strobe, which I might be attached to now :-)

 

 

Got to say, the nailed the HX Effects tuner, utilized the scribble strip very well. 

 

To your question though, I've used so many different tuners over the years and I have to say I always go back to the Korg Pitchblack. Big clear display, not much unnecessary distractions and locks in a tuning better than anything I've used. Probably why you see it so often on boards.  

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On a related note: What length and brand patch cable would you recommend to go to the Helix (either Guitar -> tuner -> Helix, or Guitar -> Helix -> tuner)? Sweetwater sold me a Mogami 18' TS-TS Ang/Str instrument cable, which was pricey. I saw this mentioned elsewhere: https://lavacable.com/ . Thanks!

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It comes down to nothing more than layout for me, where do you want the tuner comfortably sitting (would go Guitar->Tuner->Helix, always first in the chain so that there's the cleanest tone possible for the thing to pitch to ). If you want it relatively flush against the side of the Helix then you don't need 18', if you want it a distance from the Helix then...well you get it. Nice thing is, most tuners have that signal mute so a really good kill switch if you need it or for like when guitar is on stage before show and and you want no feedback etc while you are off setting up the pyrotechnics :) 

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On a related note: What length and brand patch cable would you recommend to go to the Helix (either Guitar -> tuner -> Helix, or Guitar -> Helix -> tuner)? Sweetwater sold me a Mogami 18' TS-TS Ang/Str instrument cable, which was pricey. I saw this mentioned elsewhere: https://lavacable.com/ . Thanks!

Just buy a name brand like Fender or Whirlwind. Those high end cables seem like snake oil to me.

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