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ddmilne

Fizzy Distortion/Overdrive

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I have had good success with cleaner amp models but with high gain amp models, by the time you get anything warm it is too bassy. When adding distortion to the mix cant get rid of the fizziness and eventually everything just sounds too processed.

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Seem to read something like this every second post!  The answer above is correct, but unreasonably brief!

I guess we all get sick of answering this same question.  

Also, the way you play the Helix back needs to be known.  

So you have people going FRFR or straight into a desk/monitors.  Then you have people using a power amp into a guitar speaker box, and you also have people using a guitar amp and speakers.  They all need to be handled differently.

I'm going to try to do this simply - what comes out of the Helix will need to be adjusted for these options.  

So generally, you are trying to get the experience of a guitar amp while using a modeller into something like FRFR.

FRFR is full range flat response - a guitar amp and speaker is not.  

The normal thing to do is set a low cut at around 100Hz and a high cut at 5 or 5.5kHz.  This clamps the range to a typical guitar speaker, and then all of a sudden things sound like you expect.

You can do that globally (global EQ) or per preset so you can maybe leave some clean sounds a bit more HiFi.  I just do it globally, and I've never found that the slightest limitation.

Some will argue with that.

Obviously, you would use much different numbers if you were going into a guitar speaker and power amp - you would also probably avoid using speaker simulation all together.

So the correct answer is it depends on your circumstances - but expect to need to use the high and low cut either per patch or globally.

Think about this as a studio in a box, not an effects pedal or a guitar amp.  

Also you need to be aware of the Fletcher Munsen effect.  your tone will vary with volume - it happens to everything - got nothing to do with he Helix - but becomes way more obvious because people build sounds at very low levels and then go to a gig and wonder why it sounds wrong.  Try all your patches you intend to use live at realistic volume to tweak - bass in particular.

Oh, and you will therefore need to rebuild all your presets with that low/high cut - but it is totally worth it - even the most pristine clean sounds better built with a cut something like that.

And they suddenly feel good to play - all the touchy feely thing is suddenly there.

And be very careful with downloaded presets - look to see if they have this built into the speaker or IR - you don't want to do it twice.

IRs are another place where anything might be the case - so when you get that a huge cut in the lows and highs is not only OK but needed, feel free to use your ears! Who knows how that IR was made. you might be getting some cut in the IR. you might be hearing a mic an inch from the cone and that always is harsh without some taming.

So it's not just plug and play - the 100Hx and 5.5KHz thing is a 90% fix though!

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Yeah high and low cuts really help with that. What I do is place a Simple EQ block at the start of the chain and put a low cut of around 100-150hz. I use this mainly on overdriven amps, this helps control the flabby low end muddiness going into the front end of the amp. To tame any high end ice pick fizz I use another Simple EQ block at the end of the chain, usually at around 10-15khz with my setup, but using the high cut on the Cab/IR works just as well. Also try experimenting with different mic models and the Mic Distance parameter. You can achieve some great results doing that too, I've only recently discovered that and I've been using the Helix for over a year and a half!!!

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42 minutes ago, rvroberts said:

Seem to read something like this every second post!  The answer above is correct, but unreasonably brief!

I guess we all get sick of answering this same question.  

Also, the way you play the Helix back needs to be known.  

So you have people going FRFR or straight into a desk/monitors.  Then you have people using a power amp into a guitar speaker box, and you also have people using a guitar amp and speakers.  They all need to be handled differently.

I'm going to try to do this simply - what comes out of the Helix will need to be adjusted for these options.  

So generally, you are trying to get the experience of a guitar amp while using a modeller into something like FRFR.

FRFR is full range flat response - a guitar amp and speaker is not.  

The normal thing to do is set a low cut at around 100Hz and a high cut at 5 or 5.5kHz.  This clamps the range to a typical guitar speaker, and then all of a sudden things sound like you expect.

You can do that globally (global EQ) or per preset so you can maybe leave some clean sounds a bit more HiFi.  I just do it globally, and I've never found that the slightest limitation.

Some will argue with that.

Obviously, you would use much different numbers if you were going into a guitar speaker and power amp - you would also probably avoid using speaker simulation all together.

So the correct answer is it depends on your circumstances - but expect to need to use the high and low cut either per patch or globally.

Think about this as a studio in a box, not an effects pedal or a guitar amp.  

Also you need to be aware of the Fletcher Munsen effect.  your tone will vary with volume - it happens to everything - got nothing to do with he Helix - but becomes way more obvious because people build sounds at very low levels and then go to a gig and wonder why it sounds wrong.  Try all your patches you intend to use live at realistic volume to tweak - bass in particular.

Oh, and you will therefore need to rebuild all your presets with that low/high cut - but it is totally worth it - even the most pristine clean sounds better built with a cut something like that.

And they suddenly feel good to play - all the touchy feely thing is suddenly there.

And be very careful with downloaded presets - look to see if they have this built into the speaker or IR - you don't want to do it twice.

IRs are another place where anything might be the case - so when you get that a huge cut in the lows and highs is not only OK but needed, feel free to use your ears! Who knows how that IR was made. you might be getting some cut in the IR. you might be hearing a mic an inch from the cone and that always is harsh without some taming.

So it's not just plug and play - the 100Hx and 5.5KHz thing is a 90% fix though!

thank you for explaining this even if youhave done it before this is my first time seing this andit helped me.Im using a seymore duncan power stage 170 into a 212 blackstar with speaker simulation and im happy.I might take out my mackie thumps again and try the setting with those speakers,but since i ve gotten the duncan im using that setup all the time.

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Hi dd, Don't do the Mackie thing!! They don't work good with modelers. Just use the Lo & Hi Cuts in the amp block! They will get you far!!

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3 hours ago, ddmilne said:

I have had good success with cleaner amp models but with high gain amp models, by the time you get anything warm it is too bassy. When adding distortion to the mix cant get rid of the fizziness and eventually everything just sounds too processed.

 

I use some pretty savage low and high cuts sometimes. 100Hz or lower, and as low as 4 to 5 KHz on the highs, if necessary. Don't be afraid to chop aggressively if you need to. And if the hi/low cut filters aren't doing it...and sometimes a gentle shelf won't...try an EQ block instead. Graphic if you wanna keep it simple, or parametric if you need to get more precise with the frequency and Q.

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On 4/24/2018 at 9:30 PM, gangsterusa said:

...Just use the Lo & Hi Cuts in the amp block! They will get you far!!

 

Just curious why you recommend the Lo & Hi cuts be in the amp block(assuming you meant amp+cab block?) versus say in an EQ block after the cab or IR?

 

 

This is from an old TGP post attributed to Ben Adrian, https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/23609655/:

The crossover filters are 4th order (4 pole) low pass and high pass. This is 24 dB per octave. IMO, this would be considered a pretty hard filter.

Cabs and IRs have 2nd order (2 pole), which is 12 dB per octave. I'd consider this a medium cutoff.

EQs have a 2nd order (2 pole) filter for the models which contain the Low and High Cut parameters, but there is also a little extra voicing thrown in with an additional filter to make it more musical.

 

I play through an FRFR so I have to employ cuts to tame the high and low end.  I try to roughly follow the frequency response curve of a Celestion speaker for many of my electric guitar presets, although the graphs vary to some extent depending on which exact Celestion speaker you are examining. Note - acoustic guitar and keyboard or synth presets generally don't require such drastic cuts. The three most notable drop-offs in a Celestion graph are a low-cut at  70hz, a fairly rapid decline and high-cut at 5k and an extremely dramatic drop-off at 10k.  Trying to take into account the info above from Ben Adrian my method of late has been, depending on the preset, (after setting up my low cut(s)), I put in a 10k high cut in the cab/IR block because this is traditionally where the signal in a guitar speaker absolutely drops off a cliff. Then I put anything up to around a 5k high cut in an EQ block after the cab.

 

My logic on this may be shaky but I figure that way I allow more of the full frequency spectrum from the cab/IR block through with a less severe(10k) cut in the cab/IR block. An electric guitar doesn't put out much signal that high in the frequency range anyway so I figure the cab or IR block is a good place to cut that and retain as much of the cab or IRs' original signal as possible. I then do a  more severe cut at, for example 5k, in an EQ block after the cab/IR., That way the more extreme 5k cut in the EQ block will be both "more musical" according to the info from Ben Adrian and also less drastic sounding than if a 5k cut was made in the cab/IR block. Open to new strategies though for EQ cuts, particularly thru FRFR, and interested to know why people prefer a different approach or have found that it works better for them.

 

Lastly, given the information from Ben Adrian above, the approach that  uses parallel cabs mixed together using the  crossover EQ's "hard" filter with a 24db per octave slope seems to be a great method for balancing lows and high and although I have experimented with it I am not currently playing with any presets that use it. Using the crossover method is definitely not the same as using high and low cuts but seems to address some related issues regarding balancing how much low and high end appear in the preset as well as taking advantage of the steeper db slope in the crossover EQ.  I know there are some fairly strong proponents of this method on the forum. Seems like this approach is probably best used in combination with low/high EQ cuts.

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Yet another thread from ddmilne in which he declines to post specific details about his patches and just complains.

 

 

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2 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

interested to know why people prefer a different approach or have found that it works better for them.

 

How about this approach, (sound clips and technical details helpfully provided by 'beninfin' at Gear Page) which simply uses the Hi Low Cut EQ block:

 

Quote

In short, what am I saying you should do / try ?

- Pull up your favorite Helix Preset
- go in to the Cab / IR Block
- Turn OFF the High Cut and Turn OFF the Low Cut and dont change anything else in the Cab / IR Block
- immediately after the Cab / IR Block add the EQ Low and High Cut Block ( ie: go to EQ -> Mono -> Low and High Cut )
- now re-do your High and Low Cuts in this " EQ Low and High Cut " Block using your ears .... and leave the Level at 0.0db

After doing this, I am %99.99 certain you will find that your Cuts will

(a) not only be much less drastic than the Cuts you were using in your Cab / IR block but also
(b) your overall guitar tone will have a lot more "good guitar freq's" in it and much less [bad] harshness and much less [flubbly wobbly] low end

 

As  a big fan of the less-is-more (fewer blocks = better tone) approach, it's what I do (output to KRK studio monitors / Beyerdynamic Studio Pro 80 ohm headphones)

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After 5 years of addressing harshness and boominess starting with my HD500X and continuing on the Helix using my Yamaha DXR12 I've come to some interesting discoveries and solutions that tend to work best for me.

 

First it's important to state that I'm a bit OCD when it comes to my tone as I expect it to be every bit as clear, defined and articulated as a studio recording.  Although high cuts can get rid of harshness, they can also reduce clarity and articulation if the cuts are too severe.  So before I get started applying high and low cuts I've found I get better results by making sure the cabinet and mic situation gives me the best balance I can get in my tone.  For my purposes this means using multiple mic mixes as that tends to give me the most realistic balance of tone and clarity.  Often that eliminates the need for high and low cuts in many cases, but it ensures they won't need to be as dramatic and I can retain better harmonics and overtones in the outer reaches of the frequency range.

 

I also never use global EQ for cuts or adjustments because all things change the moment I use a different amp or guitar or cabinet and mic.  Although high and low cuts on the cabinets can work, they don't work as well in my opinion as using a parametric EQ at the end of my signal chain in the same way as Jason Sadites demonstrates in his videos.  Not only does the steepness of the angle of the cut seem to work better with the parametric EQ, there are many cases in which the harshness is really related to a specific high frequency range in the 6000 to 7000Hz area which can be surgically dialed down using the parametric EQ using a -2 to -3db cut.  The same is true for bass boominess which can be surgically dialed down with a fairly wide -2 to -3db cut in the 350Hz range.

 

Of course all of these things change based on the guitar being used, the style of the music, and most importantly the output device.  Not all powered speakers are the same, and they certainly differ in response based on their physical placement and the DSP contouring options you may have engaged on them.  For myself I have my DXR12 mounted on a mini pole stand that puts it at about chest height.  I have no DSP options engaged and do not have the low cuts engaged for working with a subwoofer.  I've found this best simulates the response one gets from modern FOH systems that use subwoofers so that what I hear on stage will best reflect what the audience is hearing.  When dialing in my patches at home I have my output set to the same level as I use on stage which is roughly around 100 to 110 db SPL as measured by a sound meter at about 5 feet.

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20 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

Just curious why you recommend the Lo & Hi cuts be in the amp block(assuming you meant amp+cab block?) versus say in an EQ block after the cab or IR?

 

Sorry I meant Cab Block

 

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38 minutes ago, gangsterusa said:

Sorry I meant Cab Block

 

No problem, I knew what you meant. I was just curious why you preferred the cut in the cab block instead of perhaps in an EQ block after the cab block?

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22 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

No problem, I knew what you meant. I was just curious why you preferred the cut in the cab block instead of perhaps in an EQ block after the cab block?

Because it's less blocks!! More DSP for other things right??

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1 minute ago, gangsterusa said:

Because it's less blocks!! More DSP for other things right??

 

Yep, no denying it does make the most efficient use of DSP.  I think if you have horsepower to spare there may be other blocks that make for a more subtle or even "musical" cut. I guess as is often the case there is more than one way to get there. Whatever works and sounds best with your presets and rig.

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5 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

Yep, no denying it does make the most efficient use of DSP.  I think if you have horsepower to spare there may be other blocks that make for a more subtle or even "musical" cut. I guess as is often the case there is more than one way to get there. Whatever works and sounds best with your presets and rig.

 

Yeah, I'm with you on this one.  I'm so rarely in a situation in which I'm running out of DSP or available blocks that I much prefer to do all my EQ at one place in my patches.

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Jumping on the bandwagon with some of the previous comments in this thread, I made some mods to my workhorse Plexi patch last night. I was already very pleased with the tone, but I think I may have improved it. Ear fatigue was setting in so the jury is still out! I placed a high/low cut EQ block first in the chain and set the low cut to 63 Hz with a +0.7 dB boost to compensate for lost level into the amp block. No high cut in this block. I settled on these values by comparing the tone with the EQ blocked bypassed or not. It’s a subtle difference, but it seems to tame some of the digital flubbiness and result in a smoother sounding overdrive. I was running this same block at the end before with both high and low cuts, so I replaced that with a parametric EQ block, set the low cut to zero and bumped the high cut up from 11 KHz to 14.5. I then set the high parametric band to 7 KHz, left its default Q at 0.7 and cut just 1.5 dB. Made a subtle but very pleasing difference. More natural sounding to me, with a thicker harmonic content. Thanks guys for all the tips!

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On 4/24/2018 at 7:11 PM, ddmilne said:

I have had good success with cleaner amp models but with high gain amp models, by the time you get anything warm it is too bassy. When adding distortion to the mix cant get rid of the fizziness and eventually everything just sounds too processed.

Cut the input levels to the amp with a gain block or your guitar volume knob (gain block works better because its more easily repeatable and keeps your hands free) This will clean up that flab nicely. Use it first in your chain and start by cutting the gain block volume by about -6db. 

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