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Hey Helix fans,

 

I am trying to get a descent sound from my Helix LT direct to PA through XLR.

 

Problem is: it always sounds to edgy/fizzy when using any kind of distortion

And instead of adjusting each effect with a super low "treble" setting, I'd prefer to use them just as I would real pedals into an amp, so I stay familiar with them.

 

I've added a global high-pass filter to 8k... but still, I find it kinda just gives a "pillow over speaker" effect

 

Any Amp/Cabinet combo settings you would suggest that might be ideal? 

Any suggestions for global settings? EQ settings?

 

Thanks everyone

 

 

 

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Starting with the obvious;
Do you have the XLR output set at mic or line?   Is your signal too hot?  I've tested with my own mixer, and with the mixer channel gain at lowest setting, on a factory Helix patch with XLR output at 'mic', it still overloads.    I have my own patches volumes lowered quite a bit when compared to factory patches.

Beyond that, do you put a hi cut on your cabs?  First thing I do is always slap a 9-10k hi cut on whatever cabs I'm using.  This seems to tame the fizziness on my end.  

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I've added a global high-pass filter to 8k... but still, I find it kinda just gives a "pillow over speaker" effect

 

High pass at 8k should not get you the "pillow over speaker" effect. Look at the frequency response of some "real" guitar cab speakers. Take the Celestion v30 for example. It starts to drop dramatically at 5kHz. Take a look at the link below. 

 

I generally run my high cuts on cab block or IR at about 5.5-7kHz depending on the cab/IR. If that doesn't work for me, I'll tweak an eq block to try to mimic the speaker frequency response. I never really have to do that with IRs, but sometimes with on board cabs. 

 

https://celestion.com/product/1/vintage_30/

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Pardon the potential naivety of my question, but if we are using models or profiles of these real life speakers, why do we have to put on high cuts at all?  Shouldn't these hi cuts be baked in to the speaker/cab model?  If we are getting frequencies above the speakers real-life range, aren't those frequencies, for lack of a better term, "made up"?  

 

 

 

High pass at 8k should not get you the "pillow over speaker" effect. Look at the frequency response of some "real" guitar cab speakers. Take the Celestion v30 for example. It starts to drop dramatically at 5kHz. Take a look at the link below. 

 

I generally run my high cuts on cab block or IR at about 5.5-7kHz depending on the cab/IR. If that doesn't work for me, I'll tweak an eq block to try to mimic the speaker frequency response. I never really have to do that with IRs, but sometimes with on board cabs. 

 

 

https://celestion.com/product/1/vintage_30/

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Pardon the potential naivety of my question, but if we are using models or profiles of these real life speakers, why do we have to put on high cuts at all?  Shouldn't these hi cuts be baked in to the speaker/cab model?  If we are getting frequencies above the speakers real-life range, aren't those frequencies, for lack of a better term, "made up"?  

Yes, that is why I think 3rd party IRs seem to do this better with the frequency response being more "baked in". The on board cabs don't seem to react that way and tend to need the cuts. I am not an expert in the subject though, but it is just something I have noticed and compensate for sometimes as necessary to my ears. 

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Pardon the potential naivety of my question, but if we are using models or profiles of these real life speakers, why do we have to put on high cuts at all? Shouldn't these hi cuts be baked in to the speaker/cab model? If we are getting frequencies above the speakers real-life range, aren't those frequencies, for lack of a better term, "made up"?

Well no... those frequencies are not "made up", per se. Close mic-ed "real life" cabs have some unpleasant high end fizz too, but the speakers are VERY directional. Stick your head right next to the grill and you'll hear it, but standing a few feet away and WAY off-axis from the speakers, much of that fizz never reaches your ears....for better or worse though, the modeling process captures it all. And since FRFR PA speakers are designed to give much wider high end dispersal, you're gonna hear that fizz, and that's why high cuts are basically a necessity. As nice as it would be to dial in a modeler as if it were a "real" amp, they're really a different animal. Takes some getting used to at the beginning.

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To take this a bit further, in addition to the points made by cruisinon2, if you've been using traditional amps and cabs you probably aren't going to hear it as much simply due to the fact the speakers aren't flat response.  Flat response generally means the speakers will respond at the same relative level at 12Khz as they do at 3Khz or 1Khz.  If you look at the frequency profile of most major speaker in most cabinets their frequency profiles aren't anything like that.  Therefore what you hear is actually a muffled response compared to the full range of frequencies being produced, which is what you're used to.  When you apply the hi-cut you're reducing the impact of those frequencies in the mix, but at the same time retaining more of the level response of the rest of the frequencies which give you better clarity and articulation than will a traditional speaker in a cabinet.

 

There are several ways to address these differences only one of which is a hi-cut.  Other ways are speaker selection, mic selection, mic placement, and mic and/or speaker combinations all of which you can employ with either stock cabs or IRs.  This is the way it's addressed in professional studios.  I generally do this first to get the baseline then, if needed, apply an appropriate hi-cut at the end ot the signal chain with a parametric EQ.

 

The thing is with the Helix, it's less like working with a traditional guitar and amp rig and more like working in a studio environment.  The more you adopt this paradigm the more successful you will likely be at getting the tones you want with greater clarity, dynamics and articulation than you ever could with a traditional rig.  This isn't limited to the Helix.  It's an attribute of any high end modeler.

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Starting with the obvious;

Do you have the XLR output set at mic or line?   Is your signal too hot?  I've tested with my own mixer, and with the mixer channel gain at lowest setting, on a factory Helix patch with XLR output at 'mic', it still overloads.    I have my own patches volumes lowered quite a bit when compared to factory patches.

 

Beyond that, do you put a hi cut on your cabs?  First thing I do is always slap a 9-10k hi cut on whatever cabs I'm using.  This seems to tame the fizziness on my end.  

 

I'm not sure why you would be getting an overload if you've reduced the gain unless you have your Helix master volume very high and haven't disabled it from affecting the XLR out.  I've never had this problem across tons of different mixers. Are you actually PFL'ing the signal when you take the channel reading?

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The thing is with the Helix, it's less like working with a traditional guitar and amp rig and more like working in a studio environment.  The more you adopt this paradigm the more successful you will likely be at getting the tones you want with greater clarity, dynamics and articulation than you ever could with a traditional rig.  This isn't limited to the Helix.  It's an attribute of any high end modeler.

 

This cannot be overstated in my opinion. I've been playing this way for decades. Starting with my Rockman through my stereo at home for practicing. So I'm used to it. But I can see why people don't get that. The nomenclature used in the amp sim industry makes it sound like it's supposed to sound like an amp in a room. And, of course, listening to all those youtube examples kind of gives you that impression as well. It should be one of the first things people are told/taught when they get into this. The next thing they should be told/taught is if you're going to use a regular guitar amp with an amp simulator, use the guitar amps FX loop, use only the preamp in the amp sim and turn the cab/mic sims off at first. Throw in the cabs later just to see what they might do but start there. Just those two things, I think, would save a lot of people a lot of grief.

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Agreed...

 

Page one of the manual should say: "This Is Not A Guitar Amp, And It Won't Behave Like One" in big red letters.

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I have it set so the volume knob does not affect the XLR out.   Volume knob only affects 1/4" output.   XLR outs are set to "mic" level in options.   I am going straight into a Spirit M12 board, phantom power off of course.  PFL'ing the channel, with that channels gain set to minimum, I get -6db to -3db on the board using my patches.   Factory patches and frankly a lot of downloaded patches are unusable as they are without some volume modifications.  

 

 

 

I'm not sure why you would be getting an overload if you've reduced the gain unless you have your Helix master volume very high and haven't disabled it from affecting the XLR out.  I've never had this problem across tons of different mixers. Are you actually PFL'ing the signal when you take the channel reading?

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Factory patches and frankly a lot of downloaded patches are unusable as they are without some volume modifications.

Don't waste your time with factory patches or Customtone...volume issues are the least of it. You're more likely to win lotto on the same day you get struck by lightning, than you are to find a useful patch created by someone else...the list of variables is of Biblical length, and not even worth discussing.

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You're correct.   I've downloaded many out of curiosities, to see how people route their blocks, etc.  Zero have been useful to me outside of "oh, that's a curious way to do things....now I'll set up my own patch using this knowledge..."

Don't waste your time with factory patches or Customtone...volume issues are the least of it. You're more likely to win lotto on the same day you get struck by lightning, than you are to find a useful patch created by someone else...the list of variables is of Biblical length, and not even worth discussing.

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You're correct.   I've downloaded many out of curiosities, to see how people route their blocks, etc.  Zero have been useful to me outside of "oh, that's a curious way to do things....now I'll set up my own patch using this knowledge..."

 

That may be why I've never had any problems with my signal being too hot on any mixer I've used because I've never used any pre-made presets, just one's I've built myself.  Still that's quite odd that your signal would be that hot on your board even at the lowest gain settings.  It makes me wonder if there's not something going on in your unit with your XLR out signal.  I'm assuming all the microphones gain stage normally.  Have you tried it on any other mixing board?

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It's already been said, but almost certainly high-cuts. Stop thinking like a guitar player with a head... think like a recording engineer. 

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I've searched around on this issue, I've found others that say the XLR out is too hot as well.   Haven't tried it on another mixer yet, I will next weekend.   It could be how my mixer itself works, and maybe it's fine on other mixers.  

 

 

That may be why I've never had any problems with my signal being too hot on any mixer I've used because I've never used any pre-made presets, just one's I've built myself.  Still that's quite odd that your signal would be that hot on your board even at the lowest gain settings.  It makes me wonder if there's not something going on in your unit with your XLR out signal.  I'm assuming all the microphones gain stage normally.  Have you tried it on any other mixing board?

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I did find this on another thread here.  From Line6 Support:

This is normal behavior. When the Volume knob is disconnected from controlling the XLR outputs,
they begin to act as if the volume knob is turned up all the way, which results in about +12db mic level.

 

Sounds about right.   I suppose it's not too big of a deal to put all the output blocks on my patches at a -12db level.  
 

That may be why I've never had any problems with my signal being too hot on any mixer I've used because I've never used any pre-made presets, just one's I've built myself.  Still that's quite odd that your signal would be that hot on your board even at the lowest gain settings.  It makes me wonder if there's not something going on in your unit with your XLR out signal.  I'm assuming all the microphones gain stage normally.  Have you tried it on any other mixing board?

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I did find this on another thread here.  From Line6 Support:

 

This is normal behavior. When the Volume knob is disconnected from controlling the XLR outputs,

they begin to act as if the volume knob is turned up all the way, which results in about +12db mic level.

 

Sounds about right.   I suppose it's not too big of a deal to put all the output blocks on my patches at a -12db level.  

 

I connect XLR mic level to a Behringer X32 board, with Helix volume knob controlling volume set about 2:00. No clipping issues at the board, not sure what the gain is set at though. I'll take a look this weekend. 

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We normally use our own mixing board which is a Mackie ProFX22.  I normally PFL my channel to about -3db with the gain set at roughly 1 o'clock.  I dial in my tones at home using an 

Alesys with the gain around 2 o'clock which comes in at about -4db.  I know I've used Soundcraft gear at some events in the past, but older models than what you have, but haven't seen any real difference in levels.  But I'm pretty conservative with my channel volumes as I perform live using the 1/4" out to a DXR12 with my Helix master volume at about 11 o'clock which puts me at about 100-110db SPL on a sound meter.

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Thanks for all the responses... and let me put you a bit more into perspective.

 

About the fact of the XLR being too HOT or not, or setting the XLR output to LINE or MIC... I've tried them all... the end result will pretty much be the same for the "fizzyness" (now obviously if I set the output to LINE and set my Master volume at MAX, it'll overload... but that is not the point)

 

The thing is, if the AMP/CABs simulators are so great on the Helix as people say, why can't I reach any good sounds with any of them plugged with quality studio monitors (I use a pair of Adam A5Xs)

 

If I remove the amp or cab simulators and use solely effects, I can achieve better sounds on ANY of my guitar amps... and I am talking MILES ahead!

And I am talking guitar amps that range between 200$ to 500$ in value... nothing special.

 

I don't expect it to be superior, but I've seen YouTube A/B shootouts between the real thing and using direct to PC, and it seems some people were able to achieve pretty good sound by doing so.

 

I just don't get how... 

 

Any insight?

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Well, that is slightly different information. You started with

Hey Helix fans,

 

I am trying to get a descent sound from my Helix LT direct to PA through XLR.

 

[...]

So try to use the USB connection to your PC!

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Thanks for all the responses... and let me put you a bit more into perspective.

 

About the fact of the XLR being too HOT or not, or setting the XLR output to LINE or MIC... I've tried them all... the end result will pretty much be the same for the "fizzyness" (now obviously if I set the output to LINE and set my Master volume at MAX, it'll overload... but that is not the point)

 

The thing is, if the AMP/CABs simulators are so great on the Helix as people say, why can't I reach any good sounds with any of them plugged with quality studio monitors (I use a pair of Adam A5Xs)

 

If I remove the amp or cab simulators and use solely effects, I can achieve better sounds on ANY of my guitar amps... and I am talking MILES ahead!

And I am talking guitar amps that range between 200$ to 500$ in value... nothing special.

 

I don't expect it to be superior, but I've seen YouTube A/B shootouts between the real thing and using direct to PC, and it seems some people were able to achieve pretty good sound by doing so.

 

I just don't get how... 

 

Any insight?

Did you try any of the advice in this thread?

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Thanks for all the responses... and let me put you a bit more into perspective.

 

About the fact of the XLR being too HOT or not, or setting the XLR output to LINE or MIC... I've tried them all... the end result will pretty much be the same for the "fizzyness" (now obviously if I set the output to LINE and set my Master volume at MAX, it'll overload... but that is not the point)

 

The thing is, if the AMP/CABs simulators are so great on the Helix as people say, why can't I reach any good sounds with any of them plugged with quality studio monitors (I use a pair of Adam A5Xs)

 

If I remove the amp or cab simulators and use solely effects, I can achieve better sounds on ANY of my guitar amps... and I am talking MILES ahead!

And I am talking guitar amps that range between 200$ to 500$ in value... nothing special.

 

I don't expect it to be superior, but I've seen YouTube A/B shootouts between the real thing and using direct to PC, and it seems some people were able to achieve pretty good sound by doing so.

 

I just don't get how... 

 

Any insight?

 

As has been suggested this is a different question than what was talked about at first which was how to get a good sound on the PA, now it's getting a good sound on the studio monitors.  And they're somewhat related but there's a different animal involved here which are your studio monitors.

 

As far as MIC or LINE levels, typically on an output device LINE level signals are what is traditional whereas on mixing boards MIC level signals are traditional.  That's one of the differences between the question you first posed and what you're posing now.  The term "fizziness" means different things to different people so you need to be a bit more precise in what you mean.  If what you're referring too is simply too brittle a sound due to too much in the high frequencies, I'd start with how you have your settings on your A5X speakers.  Ideally everything should be flat meaning high shelf, low shelf, and tweeter level at 0 or 12 o'clock.  To make sure you're getting an accurate reflection of what the Helix is producing they should be plugged directly into the Helix so there are no intermediate PC drivers in the way.

 

As far as you being able to get decent sounds out of the amps and cabs, most of what's been said on this thread applies as it regards using a FRFR output device compared to traditional amp speakers.  With FRFR speakers there is far greater response on the high end and low end of the frequency spectrum than what you would hear from a normal guitar amp speaker.  You're going to find on full range speakers that high gain tones will sound much more brittle because you're hearing the high end of the distortion which won't be as prevalent on a guitar amp speaker.  There are many ways to fix this but the easiest way is to reduce the amount of gain and distortion because with full range speakers a little bit goes a long way.  I would say in general even on tradtional amps, overuse of distortion, gain, or overdrive is a VERY common problem, but on full range speakers it's overuse becomes much more obvious.

 

Beyond that this high end shrillness can be tamed a number of ways, but the first place to start is with the speakers, mic and mic placements.  Two key things are important here which are the mic's and the placement.  Certain mic's like ribbon mics such as a Royer 121 will give a more rounded sound with better low end, whereas an SM57 is more of a mid range mic which has more high end in it, so you need to get familiar with the attributes of the different mics and how they affect the sound so you can choose the right mic for the sound you want.  The second part is placement.  The closer to the cap of the speaker, the more high end frequencies are accentuated.  Usually in the real world this gets dealt with by moving the mic further away from the cap of the speaker out into the cone area.  Stock speakers on the Helix don't allow this, but you can get somewhat of the same effect by moving the mic further away from the speaker through the distance parameter.  You can also attenuate much of this shrillness by combining cabinets using a dual cabinet block with different speakers using different mics and distances and using a split block to mix how much you want them blended together.

 

Once you've got your cabs, mics, and mic placements settled you can use EQ to fine tune them.  You mentioned in your original post you used global EQ with a high pass filter.  I'm assuming you meant a high cut as a high pass would effectively be a low cut and accentuate highs.  As mentioned previously global EQ is NOT the place to be doing these things especially given you want to use different amps and ideally different cabinets all of which would require different EQ treatments, so you want to do this in the patch itself.  The cabinets allow for high cuts, but those high cuts have a fairly gradual slope which means you have to start that slope much lower in order to eliminate high frequencies.  Most people have learned it's better to use the Parametric EQ as one of the final blocks in you signal chain to take care of tweaking the overall frequencies.  The high cut and low cut parameters in the Parametric EQ have a much steeper slope which allows you to set them higher.  On most of my patches, if I need a high cut (which isn't always the case) it can range anywhere from 7Khz to 12Khz with the parametric EQ versus 4 or 5Khz on cabinet high cut.

 

You asked the question why you can't get any good sounds when everyone else seems to be able to.  The answer is simple...it's knowledge.  You're not driving a Ford Fiesta anymore, you're driving a Porsche so you need to develop some additional skills and knowledge in order to get what you want out of it.  The best investment you can make at this point is your time and attention to understanding as much as you can about the different type of blocks and how to best use them.  I'd suggest you spend some time watching Jason Saddites excellent Helix series to gain some insight in this regard.

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jason+sadites+helix

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I'm going take a different approach here because I think I may be reading the original question a bit differently.

 

You said you're going direct to PA?   Then the problem is most likely not what you're doing with Helix, the problem is in the PA.  ALL PA systems. (If you're talking about using a PA speaker as an FRFR system, then ignore this and listen to the other guys).

 

The high frequency horn  of a PA system is no place for the distorted high frequency harmonics of an electric guitar.  That's what causes the high frequency harsh fizziness in the PA.  SO go the PA channel you're plugged into, grab the treble knob and turn it all the way off.  Problem solved.  If the mixer has a low cut button, you may want to engage that also.

 

You should be able to set up your sounds in the Helix any way you like, just make sure to turn down the highs on the mixer channel.   Of course, you do want to listen to these guys and pay some attention to your output gain and mic vs. line, etc.

 

The problem now is if you have an acoustic patch.  With the highs turned down on the mixer, you've now lost the "airiness" of the acoustic sound.  So you'll either need your soundman to turn the highs back up on that channel, or run a different line out of the Helix and take up another channel on the mixer for acoustic sounds.   I think you can do that with Helix, right?  I don't get that fancy with mine.

 

Anyway, hope this helps.

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As has been suggested this is a different question than what was talked about at first which was how to get a good sound on the PA, now it's getting a good sound on the studio monitors.  And they're somewhat related but there's a different animal involved here which are your studio monitors.

 

As far as MIC or LINE levels, typically on an output device LINE level signals are what is traditional whereas on mixing boards MIC level signals are traditional.  That's one of the differences between the question you first posed and what you're posing now.  The term "fizziness" means different things to different people so you need to be a bit more precise in what you mean.  If what you're referring too is simply too brittle a sound due to too much in the high frequencies, I'd start with how you have your settings on your A5X speakers.  Ideally everything should be flat meaning high shelf, low shelf, and tweeter level at 0 or 12 o'clock.  To make sure you're getting an accurate reflection of what the Helix is producing they should be plugged directly into the Helix so there are no intermediate PC drivers in the way.

 

As far as you being able to get decent sounds out of the amps and cabs, most of what's been said on this thread applies as it regards using a FRFR output device compared to traditional amp speakers.  With FRFR speakers there is far greater response on the high end and low end of the frequency spectrum than what you would hear from a normal guitar amp speaker.  You're going to find on full range speakers that high gain tones will sound much more brittle because you're hearing the high end of the distortion which won't be as prevalent on a guitar amp speaker.  There are many ways to fix this but the easiest way is to reduce the amount of gain and distortion because with full range speakers a little bit goes a long way.  I would say in general even on tradtional amps, overuse of distortion, gain, or overdrive is a VERY common problem, but on full range speakers it's overuse becomes much more obvious.

 

Beyond that this high end shrillness can be tamed a number of ways, but the first place to start is with the speakers, mic and mic placements.  Two key things are important here which are the mic's and the placement.  Certain mic's like ribbon mics such as a Royer 121 will give a more rounded sound with better low end, whereas an SM57 is more of a mid range mic which has more high end in it, so you need to get familiar with the attributes of the different mics and how they affect the sound so you can choose the right mic for the sound you want.  The second part is placement.  The closer to the cap of the speaker, the more high end frequencies are accentuated.  Usually in the real world this gets dealt with by moving the mic further away from the cap of the speaker out into the cone area.  Stock speakers on the Helix don't allow this, but you can get somewhat of the same effect by moving the mic further away from the speaker through the distance parameter.  You can also attenuate much of this shrillness by combining cabinets using a dual cabinet block with different speakers using different mics and distances and using a split block to mix how much you want them blended together.

 

Once you've got your cabs, mics, and mic placements settled you can use EQ to fine tune them.  You mentioned in your original post you used global EQ with a high pass filter.  I'm assuming you meant a high cut as a high pass would effectively be a low cut and accentuate highs.  As mentioned previously global EQ is NOT the place to be doing these things especially given you want to use different amps and ideally different cabinets all of which would require different EQ treatments, so you want to do this in the patch itself.  The cabinets allow for high cuts, but those high cuts have a fairly gradual slope which means you have to start that slope much lower in order to eliminate high frequencies.  Most people have learned it's better to use the Parametric EQ as one of the final blocks in you signal chain to take care of tweaking the overall frequencies.  The high cut and low cut parameters in the Parametric EQ have a much steeper slope which allows you to set them higher.  On most of my patches, if I need a high cut (which isn't always the case) it can range anywhere from 7Khz to 12Khz with the parametric EQ versus 4 or 5Khz on cabinet high cut.

 

You asked the question why you can't get any good sounds when everyone else seems to be able to.  The answer is simple...it's knowledge.  You're not driving a Ford Fiesta anymore, you're driving a Porsche so you need to develop some additional skills and knowledge in order to get what you want out of it.  The best investment you can make at this point is your time and attention to understanding as much as you can about the different type of blocks and how to best use them.  I'd suggest you spend some time watching Jason Saddites excellent Helix series to gain some insight in this regard.

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jason+sadites+helix

Arguably the best reply so far. Plus one on the distortion observation... and I'm speaking as a player whose first love is heavy metal. Most modern guitarists use twice as much gain as they need for whatever they're doing, and most modern metal guitarists have gone full retard with it. Speaking from my background as a live sound engineer, this just makes it harder to seat you in the mix, and when you have two guitarists with basically identical mids-heavy over-the-top humbucker crunch tones forget it... any such mix is always a compromise in which one guitar is constantly being sacrificed for the other. A good rule of thumb is to use the bare minimum gain you can get away with. To put this in perspective, I'm on the road with the POD this weekend; didn't have time to get the Helix dialed for these shows. I'm using the SLO100 model for almost everything, and the shows cover a great deal of territory some of which is pretty heavy. The highest my gain is set on any patch is just under 2.

 

Also plus 1 on the Sadites recommendation. I found his stuff just yesterday, and he not only has great insights into the deep programming of the unit but also goes in depth on stuff like proper use of compression and EQ that every guitarist ought to know anyway. I'm sitting on my lollipop in a hotel room today and am going to watch thed whole series.

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I'm going take a different approach here because I think I may be reading the original question a bit differently.

 

You said you're going direct to PA?   Then the problem is most likely not what you're doing with Helix, the problem is in the PA.  ALL PA systems. (If you're talking about using a PA speaker as an FRFR system, then ignore this and listen to the other guys).

 

The high frequency horn  of a PA system is no place for the distorted high frequency harmonics of an electric guitar.  That's what causes the high frequency harsh fizziness in the PA.  SO go the PA channel you're plugged into, grab the treble knob and turn it all the way off.  Problem solved.  If the mixer has a low cut button, you may want to engage that also.

 

You should be able to set up your sounds in the Helix any way you like, just make sure to turn down the highs on the mixer channel.   Of course, you do want to listen to these guys and pay some attention to your output gain and mic vs. line, etc.

 

The problem now is if you have an acoustic patch.  With the highs turned down on the mixer, you've now lost the "airiness" of the acoustic sound.  So you'll either need your soundman to turn the highs back up on that channel, or run a different line out of the Helix and take up another channel on the mixer for acoustic sounds.   I think you can do that with Helix, right?  I don't get that fancy with mine.

 

Anyway, hope this helps.

 

Depending on a typical club soundman to babysit your EQ at the board is a pretty dangerous way of approaching this problem.  In most cases you're probably lucky if the poor schmuck running the board can do a passable job of gain staging your signal, much less EQ it.  If your stage sound is that much different than the sound you're sending the mixing board my response (as a person who's run live sound for three decades) would be to tell you to forget about sending me a direct line, I'll just mic your on stage cabinet.  It's also why most people in the Helix world use a very different approach.

 

Ideally, you're right that if someone is using a powered FRFR system as a monitor on stage that sound should be a fully formed, finished sound..the same one they're sending to the mixing board.  However there are many people that prefer to use a standard guitar cabinet and power amp on stage.  The normal approach being used by these folks is they have two separate signal paths.  In the main on stage path they don't use a cabinet or IR and send the signal direct to their on stage power amp and cabinet.  This makes sense because they already have a cabinet so why would you add a modeled cabinet for that signal?  They normally split off to a separate signal path that incorporates a cab/IR and mic arrangement along with possible other EQ that gets sent direct to the PA.

 

That's a far more efficient way to handle it than depend on a sound man who, in most clubs works as the sound man, door man, and the guy that fills the ice at the bar.

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...

 

That's a far more efficient way to handle it than depend on a sound man who, in most clubs works as the sound man, door man, and the guy that fills the ice at the bar.

 

So true. Even the most competent soundman will often do little more than to level up the trim on the channel for the guitar and if you are lucky dial out or add EQ where it is glaringly obvious it is required. As digital boards increasingly replace analog we will probably see some/most of the more diligent sound engineers showing up to gigs with more complex and comprehensive custom stored channel preset optimized for a guitar input. No matter what level of ear, taste, experience, and technology, different soundmen bring though, your best bet for most gigs will always be to provide the best sound possible to the board before you set your soundman loose on it. If you find one that is so good you can provide a neutral tone and they will do the rest, please send them my way.

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Hey Guys,

 

So to give you new insight on this thread, after doing many tests, I finally came up with a conclusion.

I was able to "attenuate" the fizz sound, not with the high cut but more with the global setting's HighQ at around 9k lowered by 10db.

That with a lot of playing around with the global EQ and a few extra things like adding a pre-Amp + Amp/Cab setting, etc...

 

That being said... the overall result still sucks...  :unsure:  Maybe I haven't found the right settings yet, I don't know, but overall it ain't great.

 

Basically my biggest disappointment is that I get much better results using my Amp Emulator output direct to PA from my Blackstar HT-20 (almost sounds/feels the same as the actual amp plugged to a cab)  then I do with ANY settings I try on the Helix.

 

So maybe that's my issue, something we could ask Line 6 to add, an Amp Emulator output!

 

Just imagine how effective it would be if we could use the XLR or 1/4 jack output to act like an Amp Emulator instead of simulating LINE output.

 

What do you guys think?

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Emulator/modeler...tomato/tomato. 

 

Keep playing around with your preset. You may find something that works for you. Keep in mind though that real amps have "fizz" and the "sizzle" seems to be accentuated in the full range realm of the Helix. 

 

You may find that some cut in key frequency ranges below 9k can help as well, but only your ear will tell. If you are trying to cut the fizz in high gain tones, there are lots of guys on here that can help you through that. It seems the high gain tones are where most players are hearing things they are not used to with "real" amps. 

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This may have been mentioned before but you might try changing the level of the XLR and 1/4 outputs from line to mic/instrument. You could possibly be clipping something in your chain and this would help spot that. Good luck!

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Hey Guys,

 

So to give you new insight on this thread, after doing many tests, I finally came up with a conclusion.

I was able to "attenuate" the fizz sound, not with the high cut but more with the global setting's HighQ at around 9k lowered by 10db.

That with a lot of playing around with the global EQ and a few extra things like adding a pre-Amp + Amp/Cab setting, etc...

 

That being said... the overall result still sucks...  :unsure:  Maybe I haven't found the right settings yet, I don't know, but overall it ain't great.

 

Basically my biggest disappointment is that I get much better results using my Amp Emulator output direct to PA from my Blackstar HT-20 (almost sounds/feels the same as the actual amp plugged to a cab)  then I do with ANY settings I try on the Helix.

 

So maybe that's my issue, something we could ask Line 6 to add, an Amp Emulator output!

 

Just imagine how effective it would be if we could use the XLR or 1/4 jack output to act like an Amp Emulator instead of simulating LINE output.

 

What do you guys think?

 

I don't know if an amp emulator output is necessary but I do think the Helix would benefit from a choice of global profiles for each exsiting output targeted to the specific type of monitoring equipment the Helix would be outputting to. You see this option on some other modelers. These might include profiles such as "Combo Amp, "Stack", "FRFR", "PA Speaker", etc.. One could argue that "FRFR" and "PA Speaker" would be redundant but you get the idea. The intention of these settings would not be to replace or negate the need for proper EQ'ing but just to get you in the general ballpark hopefully minimizing the need for excessive or arcane EQ adjustments.

 

It would be especially useful for new users although I think all users could benefit from it. It would also potentially make the Helix sound much better in the guitar store showroom and help sales and prevent returns (assuming the user or salesman had the setting dialed in properly).

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I don't know if an amp emulator output is necessary but I do think the Helix would benefit from a choice of global profiles for each exsiting output targeted to the specific type of monitoring equipment the Helix would be outputting to. You see this option on some other modelers. These might include profiles such as "Combo Amp, "Stack", "FRFR", "PA Speaker", etc.. One could argue that "FRFR" and "PA Speaker" would be redundant but you get the idea. The intention of these settings would not be to replace or negate the need for proper EQ'ing but just to get you in the general ballpark hopefully minimizing the need for excessive or arcane EQ adjustments.

 

It would be especially useful for new users although I think all users could benefit from it. It would also potentially make the Helix sound much better in the guitar store showroom and help sales and prevent returns (assuming the user or salesman had the setting dialed in properly).

 

In fact, you just reminded me that that option exists on the POD HD, in its own limited way... hopefully we will see the light 

 

This may have been mentioned before but you might try changing the level of the XLR and 1/4 outputs from line to mic/instrument. You could possibly be clipping something in your chain and this would help spot that. Good luck!

 

Tried all of those... it's not that simple actually... I fear the 1/4 output is not done properly for the LINE setting, it does not work as it should, same goes for the XLR output (Mic/instrument) all it really does is lower by a few decibels, which is fine if you lack input volume on a unit or vice versa, but that's it.

 

Helix LT rocks when plugged into a real Guitar Amp, but is kinda sterile on a PA

Maybe Helix NATIVE works better through a PA? Don't know.

I do know I've achieved better results with Amplitube through a PA then I have with a Helix

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Tried all of those... it's not that simple actually... I fear the 1/4 output is not done properly for the LINE setting, it does not work as it should, same goes for the XLR output (Mic/instrument) all it really does is lower by a few decibels, which is fine if you lack input volume on a unit or vice versa, but that's it.

 

Helix LT rocks when plugged into a real Guitar Amp, but is kinda sterile on a PA

Maybe Helix NATIVE works better through a PA? Don't know.

I do know I've achieved better results with Amplitube through a PA then I have with a Helix

 

Well you seem to be one of the very few having this problem.  I constantly run through a myriad of different PAs as do many others here and it all sounds great.  So it's not a problem with the Helix, it's a problem with the application of the features.

 

But your first statement there really begs the question of whether you're actually gain staging the signal at the board.  Your choices on XLR to the board are LINE and MIC if that's how you're going to the board and would best be set to MIC as that will match most of the other channels on the mixing board.  If going 1/4" to the board you should be on LINE, not Instrument typically.  Yes there will be a difference between the strength of the signal which is why it gets gain staged using the Trim or Gain knob on the mixing board.  You should adjust this to ensure you have an adequate, but not too strong signal level being processed through that channel.  Generally this gets done at sound check time.

 

The sound you get going through a real guitar amp will be different because it's not a flat response type speaker like a PA speaker.  But what comes out of the PA once you mic that guitar amp will be the same as you're hearing now given the same mic and mic placement on the cabinet.  So what really matters here is the cabinet/IRs you use along with the mic or mic mixes and their placement.  This is the same on a modeler as it is in the real world of mic'ing a cabinet.  If it's too fizzy then use a warmer mic like an R121 and back it away from the speaker a few inches or choose an IR with mic placement that's further away from the cap out toward the cone.  Choice of cabinet and/or speakers can make a pretty big difference as well as some are based on Celestion speakers, some are based on Jensen speakers, some are based on Alnico Blues and so forth all of which have different sonic profiles.  All of this is a standard part of taking the sound from on stage into a PA system whether it's from a real cabinet, or a modeled cabinet and mic setup.  If I were you, that's where I'd start.  Once you get that sorted out you can massage the small things that need to be adjusted with EQ, but let the cabs and mics do their work first.

 

My strongest recommendation is that you watch Jason Sadites videos on building a good tone as that will probably get you further than anything we could offer here.

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Helix LT rocks when plugged into a real Guitar Amp, but is kinda sterile on a PA

Maybe Helix NATIVE works better through a PA? Don't know.

I do know I've achieved better results with Amplitube through a PA then I have with a Helix

Don't use the global EQ. Use an EQ (high cut set at 8K, adjust from there by ear) block after the cab block. If that doesn't work something is wrong with your hardware, or wrong with your patch.

 

Post one of your patches that you have set for PA/FRFR in this thread. Maybe one or two of use can check it out and offer more specific advice.

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I would like to clarify some things, at least give it a try.

 

@LineFever:

 

What do you mean when you talk about "PA"?

Are we talking about a live setup / public adress system with a (hardware) channel mixer -

or about your setup with your computer (audio interface) and pair of Adam A5Xs monitors?

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So maybe that's my issue, something we could ask Line 6 to add, an Amp Emulator output!

 

Just imagine how effective it would be if we could use the XLR or 1/4 jack output to act like an Amp Emulator instead of simulating LINE output.

 

What do you guys think?

Maybe ive missed it but I don’t think so. The one thing that’s conspicuously absent in your responses is whether or not you’ve played with the high cut on the cab sim. You’ve talked about high cuts on the global EQ and the parametric EQ but not the cab sim. Nor have you mentioned trying different mic types and positioning in the cab sims. This is crucial. If you’ve ignored this portion of the Helix it’s no wonder that you’re having trouble. No amount of fiddling with the EQ, global or parametric, is going to help. Changing mic types can affect your overall sound in ways that no EQ can. There are phase relationships and sonic characteristics in microphones that are simply not attainable via EQ.

 

Also, the amp model in combination with the cab sims IS an amp emulator. So I’m going to ask point blank. Have you adjusted the high cut or tried different mics and positions on the cab sims? If not, I’d say there’s your trouble.

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One more question;

Could you describe your signal chain?

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What do you mean when you talk about "PA"?

Are we talking about a live setup / public adress system with a (hardware) channel mixer -

or about your setup with your computer (audio interface) and pair of Adam A5Xs monitors?

 

I've tried 3 different "PA" scenarios:

1- In a practice session with a fully fledged Presonus mixer plugged with a pair of 350w powered speakers using XLR output / MIC setting (@studio)

2- XLR direct using LINE to Adam A5X speakers (@home)

3- USB to computer using Logic Pro for recording output to Adam A5X direct from Macbook Pro (@home)

 

In all 3 scenarios, I tried to filter with equalizers, use Amps/Cabs, using High cuts in global setting, in an added Equalizer effect, in the Cab, in the Amp...

Tried using IRs

Basically, after all that work playing around with the sound, I am never able to get a "satisfying" sound...

 

Plugging the Helix directly to my Blackstar HT-20 or Blackstar ID:60 is miles better then it is with any of the scenarios above (and I don't even use a 4 cable method)

 

I'll give you an example:

The Blackstar ID:60 also has a Tube simulator (6V6, 6L6, EL84, etc...), if I use that combined with Helix effects (no Amp/Cab) I will achieve a result 10 times superior then I will using those same effects + EQ + equivalent Amp/Cab from the Helix.

 

Now, I do not think the difference should be so obvious right?

 

I mean, I've played with Helix's effect enough to be able to achieve a bass sound while using a guitar, and trust me, it really does sound good. I know my way around it when plugged to a real guitar amp

But for achieving good sound on a PA or recording/USB, I can't do it.... I mean I can, but it just sounds bad to my ears.

 

So if anyone could share the AMP/CAB combination/settings they use that for them works well, I'd be really happy to hear it.

I play Muse, QOTSA, Royal Blood, and a lot of classic Rock (Led Zep/AcDc, etc...), let's say I use a lot of Fuzz and harsh Overdrives/Distortions (which is why maybe I have a hard time setting them right on a PA)

 

By the way thanks for helping guys, I really appreciate it. You all ROCK! 

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