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ddmilne

OPTIMIZATION MANUAL HELIX HELIX LT

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It is really time for Line6 to put out an optimization manual  that helps anyone using any rig to avoid getting anything but the best sounds out of the Helix. I have been trying to use Combo amp front end and effects returns and havent been able to reproduce any soudn shown on demos. This is keeping me and others from buying a helix because we want proof that the sounds are achievable. 1399 to 2000 dollars is a lot to spend to haev pay restocking fees because you cant  stand how it sound. Many buyers claim they are the bext thing since slice bread. Help us get there and save some customers. Other competitors like headrush are as bad, Boss Gt1000 stilll hasnt resolved the process sound issue and isnt as flexible as the helix. So help us out. All I get on the blogs are vague answers.

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55 minutes ago, ddmilne said:

It is really time for Line6 to put out an optimization manual  that helps anyone using any rig to avoid getting anything but the best sounds out of the Helix. I have been trying to use Combo amp front end and effects returns and havent been able to reproduce any soudn shown on demos. This is keeping me and others from buying a helix because we want proof that the sounds are achievable. 1399 to 2000 dollars is a lot to spend to haev pay restocking fees because you cant  stand how it sound. Many buyers claim they are the bext thing since slice bread. Help us get there and save some customers. Other competitors like headrush are as bad, Boss Gt1000 stilll hasnt resolved the process sound issue and isnt as flexible as the helix. So help us out. All I get on the blogs are vague answers.

 

If you want to run the Helix in front of a combo, that in and of itself is a limiting factor. You would probably want to start with using the Helix for effects only in that case, and using it as a pedalboard replacement. It will actually work very well in that scenario, and I have had much success using it like that. You could try using some of the preamp models in the Helix to add some different distortion flavors in the mix, and depending on how you have your amp set, they may or may not work out. But that's what I would try.

 

What won't work well in this scenario is the full amp and cab modeling. The reason is that the preamp, power amp and speaker in your combo is going to be really coloring the tone coming from your amp. That's really what guitar amps are designed to do. In order to get the best response from an amp modeler, though, you really want to plug it into something that is full range, flat response (FRFR). This is why people often use PA-type speakers with modelers. Those speaker are designed to be relatively flat, and, ideally, they should give you an accurate reproduction of the signal coming from the modeler.

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In order for the Helix (or any other modeler) to sound its "best" the user has to understand how effects work in conjunction with amps in all types of configurations. If an end user is attempting to build a preset in a manner that he/she does not understand, then the "best" sounds may not be achieved. 

 

Writing a manual to be able to do that would be impossible. It would be like a manual for "how to get the best stratocaster sound." 

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In principle I agree in one aspect of what you're saying.  For the novice it's not completely obvious what the implications are for building out a system using the Helix.  The Helix is very versatile and can be effectively used in a number of ways.  Those of us that have been in the modeling world for a while understand many of those implications, and if you hang around forums such as this you can begin to get a feel for what those implications are.

 

For example, it's a perfectly viable choice to run the Helix through the effects return of a combo amp, but there are implications in that you will be limited to the sound of that cabinet and those speakers.  Many users are perfectly happy with that type of setup, but it means sacrificing a considerable amount of functionality built into the Helix for using different cabinets and mics because they won't sound correct or authentic as the end sound will be colored by the limitations of the physical speakers and cabinets you're playing through.  It further means that if you do play live you will need a separate signal chain that contains cabs and mics that will go to the mixing board, or else simply use the cabinet you have and mic it...again limiting the full features available to you.

 

Many of these type of things are obvious to those of us that have been using modelers like the Helix for a while, but aren't necessarily common knowledge for people just getting into this type of stuff.  Some form of white paper or talking paper would probably be useful for folks like that so they can make appropriate decisions about how they want to use the Helix, the limitiations of those decisions, and to understand up front how much beyond the price of the Helix will be necessary to get it.

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23 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

.....  For the novice it's not completely obvious what the implications are for building out a system using the Helix. ...

 

Many of these type of things are obvious to those of us that have been using modelers like the Helix for a while, but aren't necessarily common knowledge for people just getting into this type of stuff.  Some form of white paper or talking paper would probably be useful for folks like that so they can make appropriate decisions about how they want to use the Helix, the limitiations of those decisions, and to understand up front how much beyond the price of the Helix will be necessary to get it.

 

I agree but I think this is also true, for instance, for an acoustic guitarist beginning to use an electric guitar and associated analog amp and a host of analog FX pedals. Making appropriate substitutions in the above quote for the words 'modeler' and 'Helix', I don't think it's anyone's job (nor is it possible) to write a 'make it always and only sound great' manual for the novice analog equipment user.

 

Similarly I don't think it's Line 6's job to take on th futile task of trying to write the impossible manual the OP desires.

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I do wish there was something that would at least answer questions regarding going direct which is one of the Helix's main selling points. For example, supposedly, if I'm just going out of the XLR's at line level; if the Master volume knob is turned all the way up, it is supposed to be unity. This is mostly how I run things, yet for some simple patches, I have to have the amp speaker FX turned all the way up and I will still also have to turn the output way past 0dB to get a 0dB line out signal. Others, not a problem. I can already hear some of the answers like gain staging, etc. but that doesn't seem to account for what's going on and I am not ignorant to the ways of audio. Just a musing. I know I need to go through those patches and turn things on one at a time to see their influence. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

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38 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

I do wish there was something that would at least answer questions regarding going direct which is one of the Helix's main selling points. For example, supposedly, if I'm just going out of the XLR's at line level; if the Master volume knob is turned all the way up, it is supposed to be unity. This is mostly how I run things, yet for some simple patches, I have to have the amp speaker FX turned all the way up and I will still also have to turn the output way past 0dB to get a 0dB line out signal. Others, not a problem. I can already hear some of the answers like gain staging, etc. but that doesn't seem to account for what's going on and I am not ignorant to the ways of audio. Just a musing. I know I need to go through those patches and turn things on one at a time to see their influence. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

 

Well, that's not correct... Unity gain doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense when talking about the XLR outs. Where that comes into play is the 1/4" outs. If you have the 1/4" out set to instrument level, the input pad off, and have the master volume knob all the way up, that will give you unity gain. That's important for plugging into the front of amp. People generally want the signal coming from a pedalboard to be the same as going straight into the amp with a guitar. In pretty all other contexts, unity gain isn't really something you should worry about. You really just need to make sure you're not clipping whatever input you're plugging into.

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11 hours ago, brue58ski said:

I do wish there was something that would at least answer questions regarding going direct which is one of the Helix's main selling points. For example, supposedly, if I'm just going out of the XLR's at line level; if the Master volume knob is turned all the way up, it is supposed to be unity. This is mostly how I run things, yet for some simple patches, I have to have the amp speaker FX turned all the way up and I will still also have to turn the output way past 0dB to get a 0dB line out signal. Others, not a problem. I can already hear some of the answers like gain staging, etc. but that doesn't seem to account for what's going on and I am not ignorant to the ways of audio. Just a musing. I know I need to go through those patches and turn things on one at a time to see their influence. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

 

This is one of those bizarre discussion areas that really makes no sense in light of going direct into a mixing board and what unity is technically about.  Unity doesn't really have anything to do with 0db at the mixing board.  It really only relates to the signal going into the preamp and whether the preamp is adding or subtracting from that signal.  And the only reason for adding or subtracting from the signal is to achieve the DESIRED signal level that's consistent with all the other inputs into the mixing board.  Which, in the vast majority of cases is NEVER going to be 0 db because that doesn't allow for enough headroom for boosting the signal if necessary via the faders.  That's why the discussion of unity is more or less inconsequential.

 

Even given the same high SPL level going into a microphone is not very likely to produce a 0db at unity level gain across all mics, even those from the same manufacturer and model.  So why is it even a discussion as far as the Helix is concerned?  I can see where it's important in terms of a line into the front of an amp as phil_m points out, but in terms of a mixing board it just simply makes no sense.  What DOES make sense is to have a consistent signal level going into a mixing board so the person working the mixing board can set it at whatever appropriate signal level he wants it to be at relative to the other signals and be able to count on it being that level regardless of whether the gain knob is on unity or not.

 

So in terms of going direct into a mixing board what matters is that the Helix provide a SUFFICIENT and CONSISTENT signal that can be tailored to meet the needs of the soundman.  That's the reason I choose to only send MIC level signals to the board, because that's the signal level being received by most of the inputs into the board.  And I do that with the Helix master volume disconnected from the XLR outputs so they send at full volume level regardless of my master volume setting.  Given my typical patch setup this results in a preamp gain setting on the board slightly above unity in order to achieve the target signal level we want of around -6db with the fader set at unity.  Roughly about the same as most of the microphones give or take a few clicks up or down on the preamp gain knob. 

 

So bottom line the concept of UNITY output from the Helix is meaningless as it relates to going direct to the mixing board.  The concept of CONSISTENT signal output is far more relevant.

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I agree that a little more directed documentation would be great. Maybe a flow chart that asks what your output destination is (amp front, amp return, audio interface, headphones) and then suggests which block types to use (e.g. Pre/Amp/Cab) along with certain warnings (e.g. if your output is going into the front of an amp, you're not going to get pristine-sounding reverbs from the Helix).

 

I also think - and have said this several times before - that metering and gain staging in the Helix is a problem that needs to be addressed. In the real world different units can act very differently at instrument or line level (never mind mic level) and this is potentially very important for effects like overdrive/distortion/saturation that respond dynamically to the input level - but we don't have any guidance on how to get the best out of these.

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49 minutes ago, kylotan said:

I agree that a little more directed documentation would be great. Maybe a flow chart that asks what your output destination is (amp front, amp return, audio interface, headphones) and then suggests which block types to use (e.g. Pre/Amp/Cab) along with certain warnings (e.g. if your output is going into the front of an amp, you're not going to get pristine-sounding reverbs from the Helix).

 

I also think - and have said this several times before - that metering and gain staging in the Helix is a problem that needs to be addressed. In the real world different units can act very differently at instrument or line level (never mind mic level) and this is potentially very important for effects like overdrive/distortion/saturation that respond dynamically to the input level - but we don't have any guidance on how to get the best out of these.

 

Okay, I'll apologize ahead of time if I tick someone off, but understand I'm not directing this at you personally.  But I am directing it at an attitude I've seen from a number of people on this and other forums as it relates to the way they're approaching the Helix.

 

First, the person ultimately responsible for understanding the tools they are using, is the person using the tool.  No one is going to spoon feed you knowledge any more than anyone spoon fed me.  When I bought the Helix, or any other professional tool I've used throughout my music career, it was up to me to learn what it did, how it did it, and ultimately how to use it effectively.  And that's been the case for the last 50 plus years in this business.  And surprisingly enough I did most of that without the benefit of Google or YouTube videos or even forums like this.  I read the manuals and what I didn't understand I researched it (in a place we called a "Library") in order to become knowledgeable enough to make good, reasonable decisions about how to use it.

 

The fact is, if you want to be a carpenter you have to learn how to use a square, work with angles,  understand how to use a level, and so forth.  If you want to be a musician you have to do the same thing.  If you understand how an amp works and what the stages of an amp are, no one has to explain to you the differences between going into an effects return and plugging into the front of an amp and the effect that can have on anything you have in your signal chain.  The same applies to guitars and pickups, effects, what they do and how they interact with the other components within a signal chain, and even to the intricacies of recording and live sound because they are ALL a part of being a musician...and no one is going to spoon feed you that information.

 

I'm literally baffled by people asking questions that are covered adequately not only in the Helix manual but on numerous YouTube instructional videos.  I'm even more baffled by people that have spent the money on the Helix and can't even differentiate the USB port on the Helix from a typical USB port on a PC or a Mac or Tablet, or don't even comprehend the relationship between HX Edit and the Helix unit, or think of the Helix as just another type of laptop.  But I'm most baffled by the people that would invest the money in something like the Helix without any idea of what kind of output method they intend to use with it, or have even bothered to understand the technical differences and trade-offs between the different options.  This is called "due diligence" and is a critical part of homework one does before they invest their hard-earned money in something.

 

I don't have any problems providing knowledge about questions people might have, but I expect a certain amount of diligence and curiosity on their part enough that they will do some research and not have to be hand-held through the entire process of effectively building their setup and dialing in some basic tones.  But I think Line 6 has provided more than enough information about the Helix for the average musician to understand it and get it working effectively for them.  Why should anyone try to document a flow chart covering all of the possible configurations and considerations when users don't even tend to bother reading the manual that comes with the Helix???

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3 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

First, the person ultimately responsible for understanding the tools they are using, is the person using the tool.

 

If I pay over £1000 for a proprietary tool of this level of complexity I expect there to be VERY good documentation for it.

 

 

3 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

When I bought the Helix, or any other professional tool I've used throughout my music career, it was up to me to learn what it did, how it did it, and ultimately how to use it effectively.  And that's been the case for the last 50 plus years in this business. 

 

What you seem to be missing is that the Helix is especially poor in terms of documentation, compared to the other tools that are and have been available, even from the same company.

 

For example, the POD XT has a 153 page manual. It has several pages on the difference between 'Studio Direct', 'Combo Front', 'Combo PowerAmp', 'Stack Front', 'Stack Poweramp', and gives suggestions on how to use the unit effectively with those settings. Each bundled effect has a write-up explaining what it is modelling.

 

At around the same time I had a Boss GT-10. 156 page manual. Again, it attempted to go into some detail regarding the type of output you might be using. Amp details were sparse but every parameter on every effect was explained. When you highlighted a block it has a meter above it so you can verify the levels are somewhere in the expected range.

 

Fastforward about 10 years, to the Helix 2.0 Owner's Manual. It has 59 pages in it. There is hardly any discussion of different output cases. Each amp and effect is described purely by its name. And unlike the POD XT, the blocks can be moved and rearranged, which mean there are potentially more factors that should be documented, such as what the optimal gain level into each block is - not that we can even see those levels easily, because there is no metering along the chain.

 

Nobody's expecting a Helix to make them into an experienced musician. But it's not unreasonable for the Helix to give a better explanation of its own operation. The promo materials talk about "ease of use", "incredibly easy interaction", and "enabling you to take tones from studio to stage—and back again". Why shouldn't people expect it to work reasonably well without putting in tons of study first? Is a tiny bit of hand-holding for new users too much to ask for?

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

If you understand how an amp works and what the stages of an amp are, no one has to explain to you the differences between going into an effects return and plugging into the front of an amp and the effect that can have on anything you have in your signal chain. 

 

Everyone has to learn somewhere, and not everyone is going to do a tour of analogue gear before they settle on a Helix. So why not have the basics of this in the manual? i.e. Just like the POD XT did. You may have decades of experience behind you, but not everyone else will, or should be expected to.

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5 minutes ago, kylotan said:

What you seem to be missing is that the Helix is especially poor in terms of documentation, compared to the other tools that are and have been available, even from the same company.

 

For example, the POD XT has a 153 page manual. It has several pages on the difference between 'Studio Direct', 'Combo Front', 'Combo PowerAmp', 'Stack Front', 'Stack Poweramp', and gives suggestions on how to use the unit effectively with those settings. Each bundled effect has a write-up explaining what it is modelling.

 

At around the same time I had a Boss GT-10. 156 page manual. Again, it attempted to go into some detail regarding the type of output you might be using. Amp details were sparse but every parameter on every effect was explained. When you highlighted a block it has a meter above it so you can verify the levels are somewhere in the expected range.

 

The vast majority of people are not going to read a 150+ page manual. Boss manuals are inscrutable... Absolutely horrible and confusing. It's the same with every Roland product I've ever owned (btw, Eric, the guy who actually wrote the Helix manual used to work for Boss). Ideally, products shouldn't require a manual for someone to figure out to use them, and I think that's the underlying design philosophy behind the Helix - that the majority of the user experience is self-discoverable. If someone messes around with things enough, they will learn how things work on their own. For the first few days I had my beta unit, I had no manual, but I was able to figure out probably 90% of the major functions by just pushing buttons, going into menus and such.

 

The days of huge user manuals are not coming back... People don't have the patience for it. Did your smartphone or laptop come with a manual?

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The fact is, manuals including the one for Helix are pretty much basic functionality any more because the details are generally covered in instructional videos and many other sources.  Line 6 is no different in this regard.  I'm no rocket scientist but the manual was enough to get me up and running and gigging effectively with the Helix within two weeks of getting it.  It was more than sufficient for letting me learn the lay of the land and the rest came from experimentation, dissection of provided presets with the Helix, several videos and additional technical info published by Line 6.  I still continue to learn and improve in my use of the Helix, but that's because I have the desire to learn and am willing to look.  And I haven't felt I lacked access to any information if I pursued it.

 

I've actually owned software that was three times more expensive than the Helix with less documentation and far greater complexity.  And yes, it took some digging but I mastered the elements I needed to master to get what I wanted out of it.  But, I've always said there are two types of people in the world:  Those that make excuses and those that make a difference.  If you don't have some initiative or the desire then it may take you a while to get the full benefit of your investment in the Helix or any other thing of great value and complexity.  Just a fact of life.

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1 hour ago, phil_m said:

The vast majority of people are not going to read a 150+ page manual

 

So we have some people in the thread saying, "you can work it all out if you read the manual", and other people saying "there's no point putting things in the manual because nobody will read it". What's it to be?

 

The fact is, there are a LOT of parameters here which deserve better explanation than "just tinker until you're happy". Things like:

As for instructional videos; they aren't searchable. I've wasted a lot of time watching videos to try and get answers to things, only to find they don't actually cover it. And even if I did get an answer, if I forgot it later, how would I remember which video it was? Most of this should be in the manual.

 

54 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

the manual was enough to get me up and running and gigging effectively with the Helix within two weeks of getting it.  It was more than sufficient for letting me learn the lay of the land

 

For me, personally, I agree. It got me up and running quite quickly. But I had already had a lot of experience with the XT Live, and a Boss GT-10, and gigging with a 4 cable method for years. A lot of what I learned, I learned from the various manuals, and from asking on forums like this one. Even so, I still had to come on here recently and ask to find out why the volume knob was weird (because it's apparently attenuation-only) and I'm still waiting for decent answers on what the reverbs are supposed to sound like (and whether the bad stereo image is a bug or a feature), or why Helix Native sounds weirdly fuzzy when I try to put a distortion in front of an amp.

 

Now imagine if I were 10 years younger, and instead of starting with the previous units back then, I started with the Helix today. It doesn't explain anything nearly as well as the previous manuals did, and there are a lot more things to potentially go wrong. And the people on the forums seem less inclined to help, if some of the previous replies are anything to go by. I guess that with the increased cost of the Helix relative to previous L6 effects the demographic of the forum has switched from "enthusiasts exploring new tones via digital modelling" to "experts who got tired of carrying their vintage gear around but expect you to be familiar with it all already". Bit of a shame.

 

All I would want, is pretty much exactly what you already said above (before the talk about people being 'responsible' for understanding their tool), so I'll quote you: "For the novice it's not completely obvious what the implications are for building out a system using the Helix. [...] Many of these type of things are [...] aren't necessarily common knowledge for people just getting into this type of stuff.  Some form of white paper or talking paper would probably be useful for folks like that so they can make appropriate decisions about how they want to use the Helix". All I am adding to that is that Line 6, as the company supplying the tool and the company best placed to fully understand it, should take on some of that burden and improve their documentation. Give newbies a simple checklist for typical use (FRFR vs. direct to PC/etc vs. front of amp vs. amp return). Explain some of these parameters, especially the esoteric ones.

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12 minutes ago, kylotan said:

So we have some people in the thread saying, "you can work it all out if you read the manual", and other people saying "there's no point putting things in the manual because nobody will read it". What's it to be?

 

Well, the vast majority of questions I see asked are about things that are actually addressed in the manual. I usually put screenshots of the relevant parts up when answering a lot of the time. But the point is if people can't be bothered to read a 50-page manual, they certainly aren't going to read through a 150-page one. Manuals simply aren't a great format for getting this information out there. As far as the more complex things, I think that what all the different user groups online are for. Line 6 and other companies have limited time and resources to devote to any given issue, so they have to make choices. Do you write up a white paper that less than 1% of your user base will read, or do you decide, well, we'll deal those sorts of things on a case by case basis? It's pretty obvious what their choice is...

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22 hours ago, phil_m said:

 

Well, that's not correct... Unity gain doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense when talking about the XLR outs. Where that comes into play is the 1/4" outs. If you have the 1/4" out set to instrument level, the input pad off, and have the master volume knob all the way up, that will give you unity gain. That's important for plugging into the front of amp. People generally want the signal coming from a pedalboard to be the same as going straight into the amp with a guitar. In pretty all other contexts, unity gain isn't really something you should worry about. You really just need to make sure you're not clipping whatever input you're plugging into.

 

My point is that if it is unity gain, which all the outputs are with the Master Volume knob turned all the way up, I don't think I should have to add a compressor to get a decent volume out of it. This is with EVERTHING turned up as high as it will go. This is the case for a patch I just created yesterday. Simple amp, cab, delay, reverb patch. All volumes are all the way up and I still don't get a good signal without a compressor. With nothing in the path, I got a good level.

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12 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

So in terms of going direct into a mixing board what matters is that the Helix provide a SUFFICIENT and CONSISTENT signal that can be tailored to meet the needs of the soundman.  That's the reason I choose to only send MIC level signals to the board, because that's the signal level being received by most of the inputs into the board.  And I do that with the Helix master volume disconnected from the XLR outputs so they send at full volume level regardless of my master volume setting.  Given my typical patch setup this results in a preamp gain setting on the board slightly above unity in order to achieve the target signal level we want of around -6db with the fader set at unity.  Roughly about the same as most of the microphones give or take a few clicks up or down on the preamp gain knob. 

 

So bottom line the concept of UNITY output from the Helix is meaningless as it relates to going direct to the mixing board.  The concept of CONSISTENT signal output is far more relevant.

 

I understand what you are saying and in fact, as far as how I send my level to the board I do it exactly the way you do. Mic level output, master volume disconnected so it's at full volume. I didn't mention that but since I talked about the master volume being all the way up, I didn't think I had to.

Yes I can manipulate the signal, by using a compressor, to get the signal up but it seems odd to me that if EVERYTHING in the path is turned up as high as they will go, amp, cab, delay, reverb, I still have to add a compressor to get the signal back up to a workable level. I have some theories on this and I'm not looking for a solution really. Just would be nice that's all. I don't want them spending less time on those updates to fulfill my wish.

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17 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

 

My point is that if it is unity gain, which all the outputs are with the Master Volume knob turned all the way up, I don't think I should have to add a compressor to get a decent volume out of it. This is with EVERTHING turned up as high as it will go. This is the case for a patch I just created yesterday. Simple amp, cab, delay, reverb patch. All volumes are all the way up and I still don't get a good signal without a compressor. With nothing in the path, I got a good level.

 

Are you sure you don’t have phantom power on the XLR input you’re plugging into? That will attenuate the signal quite a bit. I have done that before and was puzzled why everything was so quiet... Once I turned it off, I had plenty of signal.

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12 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

This is one of those bizarre discussion areas that really makes no sense in light of going direct into a mixing board and what unity is technically about.  Unity doesn't really have anything to do with 0db at the mixing board.  It really only relates to the signal going into the preamp and whether the preamp is adding or subtracting from that signal.  And the only reason for adding or subtracting from the signal is to achieve the DESIRED signal level that's consistent with all the other inputs into the mixing board.  Which, in the vast majority of cases is NEVER going to be 0 db because that doesn't allow for enough headroom for boosting the signal if necessary via the faders.  That's why the discussion of unity is more or less inconsequential.

 

Even given the same high SPL level going into a microphone is not very likely to produce a 0db at unity level gain across all mics, even those from the same manufacturer and model.  So why is it even a discussion as far as the Helix is concerned?  I can see where it's important in terms of a line into the front of an amp as phil_m points out, but in terms of a mixing board it just simply makes no sense.  What DOES make sense is to have a consistent signal level going into a mixing board so the person working the mixing board can set it at whatever appropriate signal level he wants it to be at relative to the other signals and be able to count on it being that level regardless of whether the gain knob is on unity or not.

 

 

Yes, unity gain has nothing to do with 0dB at the mixing board, I know that and that's not what I was talking about. I mentioned 0dB only in reference to the setting on the actual output level. And, in anticipation of a certain statement you may make, I know 0dB has nothing to do with the actual output level. It is only a reference point. If it's at 0dB but I have my amps channel volume at an extreme low level, I won't get a level at 0db at my output. Of course. But that's not the case I was referring to. My point was (maybe I wasn't clear on this) that some patches, many of them simple amp cab delay reverb, have a lower output than the input with EVERTHING turned UP as HIGH as it's volume/channel volume will go. Just seems strange. This is with the master volume at full volume.

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5 hours ago, phil_m said:

 Ideally, products shouldn't require a manual for someone to figure out to use them, and I think that's the underlying design philosophy behind the Helix - that the majority of the user experience is self-discoverable. If someone messes around with things enough, they will learn how things work on their own. For the first few days I had my beta unit, I had no manual, but I was able to figure out probably 90% of the major functions by just pushing buttons, going into menus and such.

 

The days of huge user manuals are not coming back... People don't have the patience for it. Did your smartphone or laptop come with a manual?

 

I have to disagree with you on this one. Ideally, if a product is complicated, it should have a manual to help people use it. Yes the Helix is easy to use and so far, I haven't really had to reference the manual. A couple of times. But I wouldn't expect a novice to know how to use it intuitively. I wouldn't expect a novice to know how to use the FX sends and returns on an amp. Yeah, I guess he could just start plugging stuff in and out but I think that's a bit ridiculous. especially since many FX sends/returns are TRS stereo type things. That's a basic thing and I wouldn't expect anyone to just figure that out.

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The OP has left the room, after leaving his thread bearing the stinky tags "Awful OD/Dist" and "Bad Sound".

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4 hours ago, brue58ski said:

 

Yes, unity gain has nothing to do with 0dB at the mixing board, I know that and that's not what I was talking about. I mentioned 0dB only in reference to the setting on the actual output level. And, in anticipation of a certain statement you may make, I know 0dB has nothing to do with the actual output level. It is only a reference point. If it's at 0dB but I have my amps channel volume at an extreme low level, I won't get a level at 0db at my output. Of course. But that's not the case I was referring to. My point was (maybe I wasn't clear on this) that some patches, many of them simple amp cab delay reverb, have a lower output than the input with EVERTHING turned UP as HIGH as it's volume/channel volume will go. Just seems strange. This is with the master volume at full volume.

 

This is totally bizarre behavior that I've never encountered with the Helix.  There are certainly some amps that require a higher volume setting than others, but I can always get them to even out volume wise by adjusting the volume and without any tricks from a compressor or a gain block, and it's never lower than the signal I get were I to bypass the amp and cabs.  I'd be very curious what you find out about this and what causes it.  I've built well over 100 patches using a very wide range of amp models and cabinets and I've yet to encounter such a thing.

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On 4/20/2018 at 4:07 PM, brue58ski said:

 

I have to disagree with you on this one. Ideally, if a product is complicated, it should have a manual to help people use it. Yes the Helix is easy to use and so far, I haven't really had to reference the manual. A couple of times. But I wouldn't expect a novice to know how to use it intuitively. I wouldn't expect a novice to know how to use the FX sends and returns on an amp. Yeah, I guess he could just start plugging stuff in and out but I think that's a bit ridiculous. especially since many FX sends/returns are TRS stereo type things. That's a basic thing and I wouldn't expect anyone to just figure that out.

 

Just to clarify my original statement, I'm not saying that manuals shouldn't exist, but rather that is something is designed well, the manual should be more of last resort sort of thing instead something you have to look at in order to understand how to even begin. Think of a modern car... They're highly engineered things, and have all sorts of stuff you can do, but I've never driven a car where I have to consult the owner's manual just to know how to start it and start driving. That's because those sorts of functions are widely understood, and carmakers know how to make them intuitive. I would venture that most people who own cars haven't read the manual all the way through, and if they do look at it, it's to look up some specific piece of information. That's really how most people use manuals now.

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On 4/19/2018 at 8:25 AM, ddmilne said:

It is really time for Line6 to put out an optimization manual  that helps anyone using any rig to avoid getting anything but the best sounds out of the Helix. I have been trying to use Combo amp front end and effects returns and havent been able to reproduce any soudn shown on demos. This is keeping me and others from buying a helix because we want proof that the sounds are achievable. 1399 to 2000 dollars is a lot to spend to haev pay restocking fees because you cant  stand how it sound. Many buyers claim they are the bext thing since slice bread. Help us get there and save some customers. Other competitors like headrush are as bad, Boss Gt1000 stilll hasnt resolved the process sound issue and isnt as flexible as the helix. So help us out. All I get on the blogs are vague answers.

 First, if it takes a rocket scientist to run a multi effects pedal than it has failed its objective. For those of you who think that spoon feeding or codling is the only help you can give, than you really are not helping anyone. IF you have to spend half your life to get a good tone for one song-- what is the point. You dont pay 50,000 for a car or truck to take a college coarse on how to start it up and drive it. 2000.00 is a proce of a near top end amp that you can turn on and tweek with no effort. Line6 , in offering this product needs to do much better to get people to first base based on the scenario of the rig they might be using, or at least be right up front that the only way to use this properly is by buying yet another pieced of equipment in the form of another 1000.0o FRFR. Muscians, not computer and sound engineering geniuses, want to play. They want to easily use a multi effects unit to get to a storable, usable, and recallable preset in a reasonable amount of setup time.  If it is impossible to get to that point than the solution offered by line6 is not practical and way too complicated . My occupation is one of engineering in a controls environment, so I am not without having to learn software and such based systems. Nothing is working, not even through an FRFR at the local music store. In fact the number f product returns is mounting. Now, the fact that some are able to get this thing to a tamed position means that the knowledge is there. So , unless line6 wants to wait for its competition to bury them in this sens, I want to suggest that they start to listen to the hundreds of users complaining all over the internet about the same issue- harshness and unusable amp models. And please, no more helpful suggestions that the hundreds of us need to grow up and expect to pay to learn how use a solution on what otherwise is being ushered as the next best thing to sliced bread

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8 hours ago, ddmilne said:

 First, if it takes a rocket scientist to run a multi effects pedal than it has failed its objective. For those of you who think that spoon feeding or codling is the only help you can give, than you really are not helping anyone. IF you have to spend half your life to get a good tone for one song-- what is the point. You dont pay 50,000 for a car or truck to take a college coarse on how to start it up and drive it. 2000.00 is a proce of a near top end amp that you can turn on and tweek with no effort. Line6 , in offering this product needs to do much better to get people to first base based on the scenario of the rig they might be using, or at least be right up front that the only way to use this properly is by buying yet another pieced of equipment in the form of another 1000.0o FRFR. Muscians, not computer and sound engineering geniuses, want to play. They want to easily use a multi effects unit to get to a storable, usable, and recallable preset in a reasonable amount of setup time.  If it is impossible to get to that point than the solution offered by line6 is not practical and way too complicated . My occupation is one of engineering in a controls environment, so I am not without having to learn software and such based systems. Nothing is working, not even through an FRFR at the local music store. In fact the number f product returns is mounting. Now, the fact that some are able to get this thing to a tamed position means that the knowledge is there. So , unless line6 wants to wait for its competition to bury them in this sens, I want to suggest that they start to listen to the hundreds of users complaining all over the internet about the same issue- harshness and unusable amp models. And please, no more helpful suggestions that the hundreds of us need to grow up and expect to pay to learn how use a solution on what otherwise is being ushered as the next best thing to sliced bread

 

Well, what I do know is there are over 14,000 happy and productive users in the Helix Users Facebook group alone that seem have no problems getting the tones they want..and new ones coming into that group every day and becoming successful at it.  Are there people that are unhappy with the Helix.  Absolutely.  There are some that never can seem to grasp the concepts or figure out how to get what they want out of it.  Some of that could very well be that they don't recognize the Helix (and it's general competitors) are not simple turnkey systems.  They are designed to be flexible and be able to integrate into a number of different setups be they in studio recording, live performance, or just tinkering for one's enjoyment.  If you want something very straightforward but with more limited flexibility your best bet may be a modeling amp rather than a modeling board.  At least there are less variables involved because you're working with a set modeler, amp, and speaker setup that's designed to work together as more of a turnkey system.  The fact is I work with a person like that who is the rhythm guitar player in the group.  There's absolutely no chance he could ever grasp the concepts involved with the Helix without considerable effort, and knowing him I would never recommend it.  However, he does use a Spider V amp very effectively gigging with it weekly. 

 

The fact is that most people on here at least appear to have graduated to the Helix from a long line of various modeling devices be they modeling amps, pedalboards, or recording plugins.  If you're brand spankin' new to this you will probably need to familiarize yourself with those types of things so you're not flying blind.  Most of us, including myself, had already determined what additional equipment we would need to have to build our Helix based system before we bought it, so we weren't surprised at all.

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"The hundreds of us need to grow up and expect to pay to learn how use a solution on what otherwise is being ushered as the next best thing to sliced bread."

 

Or you could just sell it and get a Spider V amp. Find your own joy.

 

(BTW, sliced bread is not all that its cracked up to be.)

 

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