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Planning on Helix - Recommendation on Speakers Requested

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Sorry if this has been covered before.  I did a search and see that there is plenty of love for the Alto TS210 and TS212, but I have not seen this particular question.  For background, my current setup is: Guitar --> Focusrite 2i2 ---> Macbook (Bias FX and S-Gear) ---> Focusrite 2i2 ---> JBL LSR305 studio monitors.

 

The sound quality, particularly from S-Gear, is very good at low volume.  I would place it just above TV viewing level and just below "honey, can you turn down the TV it is too loud" level before I get a bunch of distortion/buzzing.

 

I really enjoy my setup as I often use the laptop for background music, YouTube videos, or other learning services while I am playing, and everything outputs to the JBL monitors.  And I am sure I will love eventually moving to the Helix LT as a substitute for the 2i2 and laptop.

 

I see many posts here indicating that 5" (and even 8") studio monitors will have their limits.  So would a good intermediate step, until I get the Helix, be to get either a TS210 or TS212?  Starting with 1, but maybe adding a 2nd in the future?  I am assuming they would be a heck of a lot more tolerant and not get overdriven as easily as the JBLs.

 

Will the Alto sound good streaming background music?  Even a single one, losing out on stereo imaging?

 

I should add that I am purely a basement player with no plans to perform anytime soon.

 

Thanks in advance, John

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Will the Alto sound good streaming background music? Even a single one, losing out on stereo imaging?

 

You'll likely get more than one opinion on this, but imho, it's s big "NO" if you only get one...mono is fine for a guitar rig, and most are...but trying to listen to a stereo recording through only one speaker just sucks, lol. Without physical separation, or ain't stereo...that's all there is to it. Two should work nicely though for music playback, as the Alto's are essentially PA speakers.

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I really like the Ts210. You plug the L and R at the same time and you get both channel from the Helix for audio and guiter. And, it can get muvh louder than th TV.

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Thanks to both of you...confirmed my expectation...the TS210/212 WILL work...WILL give me greater volume and less chance of clipping/distortion...but I would lose stereo playback of streaming music unless I get 2 of them.  Totally what I expected.

 

Because my end-game is to get the Helix, it may be the best option for me as opposed to dealing with studio monitors or a traditional amp.

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You are talking about such different uses.

 

Alto is the cheapest FRFR you can buy. Expecting it to be on the level of Helix in terms of quality,,,? Nope. Good enough? Maybe.

 

But ANY FRFR stage monitor style speaker is going to suck at home listening levels compared to studio monitors and studio monitors are useless on the gig.

 

And FRFR and PA speakers suck for listening to music at home.

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For background, my current setup is: Guitar --> Focusrite 2i2 ---> Macbook (Bias FX and S-Gear) ---> Focusrite 2i2 ---> JBL LSR305 studio monitors.

 

I should add that I am purely a basement player with no plans to perform anytime soon.

 

 

Plug your JBL monitors directly into Helix and see what you think. If you are not playing live, you will most likely be happy with that setup, and will give you plenty of volume. I wouldn't buy anything new until you try what you have. You'll be able to ditch the interface as well. Guitar >Helix> LSR305. Connect Helix to Macbook with USB. Good to go...

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Thanks to both of you...confirmed my expectation...the TS210/212 WILL work...WILL give me greater volume and less chance of clipping/distortion...but I would lose stereo playback of streaming music unless I get 2 of them. Totally what I expected.

 

Because my end-game is to get the Helix, it may be the best option for me as opposed to dealing with studio monitors or a traditional amp.

It will work, yes...but I was really only responding to the 1 vs 2 speaker question with regard to music playback. But what you already have is ideal for a home set-up, and I tend to agree with the other assessments above. If you want to rattle the windows at home, go ahead...but the Alto's are probably overkill in the volume department of you're never gonna leave the house with them.

 

And fwiw, I have that same pair of JBL's, never pushed them so hard that they clipped, and I can still get plenty loud. If yours are clipping, perhaps something isn't gain-staged properly, or one or both may be damaged.

 

Helix should sound great through what you've already got... get that first before you decide you need new speakers.

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I've been experimenting on this for hours upon hours.  I actually just used an SPL meter, and admittedly very unscientifically, measured that I can only get to 80-82db before the distortion when playing guitar. Playing music via iTunes, Youtube, etc. sounds great and LOUD. I just measured from the same seating position at 98db and they sounded crystal clear.  It was WAY louder than I'd ever need.

 
I was thinking it could be residual vibration from the guitar/fret buzz. But when using headphones, everything sound greats.
 
I guess the only thing I haven't tried is the cables from the 2i2 to the speakers. I am using 1/4" balanced TRS cable. I did try different power outlets which I know to be on different circuits.
 
Could it be cabling??????

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I've been experimenting on this for hours upon hours. I actually just used an SPL meter, and admittedly very unscientifically, measured that I can only get to 80-82db before the distortion when playing guitar. Playing music via iTunes, Youtube, etc. sounds great and LOUD. I just measured from the same seating position at 98db and they sounded crystal clear. It was WAY louder than I'd ever need.

 

I was thinking it could be residual vibration from the guitar/fret buzz. But when using headphones, everything sound greats.

 

I guess the only thing I haven't tried is the cables from the 2i2 to the speakers. I am using 1/4" balanced TRS cable. I did try different power outlets which I know to be on different circuits.

 

Could it be cabling??????

Doubt it's the cables... everything would sound $hitty if that were the case.

 

You're tone is never gonna remain static switching from headphones to speakers... any speakers. The cans are a closed environment. That same patch through different speakers, rattling around the room will likely have to be tweaked a bit. Those speakers also have +/-2 dB high and low boost/cut switches on the back. Make sure those aren't set funny... if you're cutting the lows and boosting the highs at the same time, they might sound a little tinny...

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I use the LSR305s with mine and I like them fine for my small room with plenty of volume to spare and it sounds good when listening to mixes or even just regular audio when I use it as an interface/sound card.

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I've been experimenting on this for hours upon hours.  I actually just used an SPL meter, and admittedly very unscientifically, measured that I can only get to 80-82db before the distortion when playing guitar. Playing music via iTunes, Youtube, etc. sounds great and LOUD. I just measured from the same seating position at 98db and they sounded crystal clear.  It was WAY louder than I'd ever need.

 
I was thinking it could be residual vibration from the guitar/fret buzz. But when using headphones, everything sound greats.
 
I guess the only thing I haven't tried is the cables from the 2i2 to the speakers. I am using 1/4" balanced TRS cable. I did try different power outlets which I know to be on different circuits.
 
Could it be cabling??????

 

If you are getting clipping from guitar>focusrite>macbook>software>focusrite>speakers, but you are NOT getting clipping from Macbook>Youtubes>focusrite> speakers, then I would venture to guess that whatever you are using for guitar processing is too hot. 

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I guess the only thing I haven't tried is the cables from the 2i2 to the speakers. I am using 1/4" balanced TRS cable. I did try different power outlets which I know to be on different circuits.

 
Could it be cabling??????

 

 

It could be. There are NO TRS jacks for audio on Helix. None. so using TRS cables is possibly funking up your signal.

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It could be. There are NO TRS jacks for audio on Helix. None. so using TRS cables is possibly funking up your signal.

 

It is possible you misread my posts.  I do not currently have a Helix.  I have a Focusrite 2i2 now, so the 1/4" cabling is from the 2i2 to my JBL 305 speakers.  If I eventually get a Helix, I'd have to change the cables.

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It is possible you misread my posts. I do not currently have a Helix. I have a Focusrite 2i2 now, so the 1/4" cabling is from the 2i2 to my JBL 305 speakers. If I eventually get a Helix, I'd have to change the cables.

Or just continue using the interface...I do, with plain old TS 1/4" cables from Helix to my 2i4. Did the same thing with the POD for years on end...never been an issue.

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Or just continue using the interface...I do, with plain old TS 1/4" cables from Helix to my 2i4. Did the same thing with the POD for years on end...never been an issue.

 

Thanks for the input.

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I was looking at the manuals for both the Focusrite 2i2 and JBL 305's.  COuple of questions

 

  • On the front of the 2i2, on the channel you plug your guitar 1/4" instrument cable into, is the Line/Instrument switch set to Instrument?
  • I'm assuming you are using two separate 1/4" TRS cables to go from the 2i2 Left & Right outs on the back to each of the 305's, not going from the headphone out with a Y-cable.  I have had TRS cables go bad and cause distortion before.  Per the manuals, both the 2i2 L/R outs and 305 1/4" inputs can take balanced (TRS) or unbalanced (mono) instrument cables.  You might try different 1/4" cables from 2i2 to one or both of the 305 and see if you still have problems.
  • There are also some input sensitivity switches on the back of the 305's,  You might try switching them to -10db instead of +4db. Playback music is leveled out and compressed with less transients than live guitar.  This and/or whatever guitar software you are using could be compounding the overdriving on the 305 inputs.

Here are the manuals I was referencing:

 

https://www.jblpro.com/ProductAttachments/LSR_3Series_OwnersManual_Mar10_2014.pdf

 

https://d2zjg0qo565n2.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/focusrite/downloads/31526/scarlett2i22ndgenugenv1.pdf

 

 

For fun and to whet your appetite for Helix before you buy one, you might want to sign up for the Helix Native Software 15 day trial.  It should work well with your 2i2 and might give you a good preview of what Helix will sound like through the 305's.

 

I dont have the Alto's, but I havent seen anything but positive feedback from Helix users here.  You probably cant go wrong with them at their price point.

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On 3/9/2018 at 7:40 PM, roscoe5 said:

I was looking at the manuals for both the Focusrite 2i2 and JBL 305's.  COuple of questions

 

  • On the front of the 2i2, on the channel you plug your guitar 1/4" instrument cable into, is the Line/Instrument switch set to Instrument?
  • I'm assuming you are using two separate 1/4" TRS cables to go from the 2i2 Left & Right outs on the back to each of the 305's, not going from the headphone out with a Y-cable.  I have had TRS cables go bad and cause distortion before.  Per the manuals, both the 2i2 L/R outs and 305 1/4" inputs can take balanced (TRS) or unbalanced (mono) instrument cables.  You might try different 1/4" cables from 2i2 to one or both of the 305 and see if you still have problems.
  • There are also some input sensitivity switches on the back of the 305's,  You might try switching them to -10db instead of +4db. Playback music is leveled out and compressed with less transients than live guitar.  This and/or whatever guitar software you are using could be compounding the overdriving on the 305 inputs.

Here are the manuals I was referencing:

 

https://www.jblpro.com/ProductAttachments/LSR_3Series_OwnersManual_Mar10_2014.pdf

 

https://d2zjg0qo565n2.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/focusrite/downloads/31526/scarlett2i22ndgenugenv1.pdf

 

 

For fun and to whet your appetite for Helix before you buy one, you might want to sign up for the Helix Native Software 15 day trial.  It should work well with your 2i2 and might give you a good preview of what Helix will sound like through the 305's.

 

I dont have the Alto's, but I havent seen anything but positive feedback from Helix users here.  You probably cant go wrong with them at their price point.

Thanks for the additional feedback.  I did review/confirm all of the things you had suggested in the past, to no avail.  I do have an Alto TS210 on the way, it should be here on Monday.  And I also tried out the Helix Native software, which is incredibly impressive.  I would prefer it as a stand-alone app, which I understand may be coming.  But using Helix Native really has me thinking about a Helix LT sooner-than-later.

Side note - I get the same "distortion" via Helix Native.

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