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FIZZ

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14 minutes ago, phil_m said:

I've also met plenty of people working at stores who have strong opinions against modeling and are simply closed-minded about things. So that doesn't help either.

 

Oh yes :-)

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Agreed, there are more than a few from my age group that feel that way. I on the other hand, making my living from automation and controls, want to take advantage of this capability in a live setting and produce a pleasant and corresponding tone fitting the music I am trying to replicate.

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5 minutes ago, ddmilne said:

Agreed, there are more than a few from my age group that feel that way. I on the other hand, making my living from automation and controls, want to take advantage of this capability in a live setting and produce a pleasant and corresponding tone fitting the music I am trying to replicate.

 

Patience is the key :-) That and flat frequency monitoring...

 

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2 hours ago, phil_m said:

 

It really can be very hard to demonstrate things to people... I worked in music retail for a little while, and I know it sounds bad, but people either get things or they don't. I mean, I remember spending a lot of time trying to explain things to some potential customers just to have them throw their hands up and be like, "I'll never get this!" and decide to go with something else or not buy anything. It's like some people have conceptual blocks that they simply can't get over. I've also met plenty of people working at stores who have strong opinions against modeling and are simply closed-minded about things. So that doesn't help either.

 

I have to imagine that when it comes to Helix sales, that the number sold at brick and mortar stores is relatively small compared to those bought online. Most GCs don't even carry the Helix.

 

Ahh, memories...lol

 

Did my time in music retail too, albeit at a small mom & pop store, back when those still existed. Years ago you at least had half a chance of finding someone in the building with knowledge about what they were selling, but now music stores are to musicians what McDonald's is to food... you might go home with something palatable, but don't be surprised if it gives you the trots. ;).

 

I rarely venture into music stores anymore, as they're mostly staffed with kids who know little, and care even less. I bowed out a number of years ago upon being told by some indignant teenager that the MIDI foot controller I was looking for,  "didn't exist"... never mind that there was one in a display case about 8 feet away, but I digress...

 

Long live Sweetwater! ;)

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5 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Ahh, memories...lol

 

Did my time in music retail too, albeit at a small mom & pop store, back when those still existed. Years ago you at least had half a chance of finding someone in the building with knowledge about what they were selling, but now music stores are to musicians, what McDonald's is to food... you might find what you need, but don't be surprised when you get the trots. ;). I rarely venture into music stores anymore, as they're mostly staffed with kids who know little, and care even less. I bowed out a number of years ago  upon being told by some indignant teenager that the MIDI foot controller I was looking for,  "didn't exist"... never mind that there was one in a display case about 8 feet away, but I digress...

 

Long live Sweetwater! ;)

Yep, even some of the local music stores are that way.

 

I have to say Sweetwater is great. Your sales engineers knows what they are talking about, and stay up to date on their products. They have great service. Cause if they don't know something they will find out.

 

I can call up, or email, my sales engineer with questions regarding equipment I didn't even buy from them.

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Using the Helix or any modeler with an FRFR is profoundly different than using it with a guitar amp. As has been stated many times and is a well known fact an FRFR does not have the built-in extreme limitations on both frequency response and frequency range that a guitar speaker possesses. The Helix does not know what you are going to plug into. If for example it only outputted the correct signal adjusted for an FRFR it would probably sound dull and lifeless through a guitar amp. In essence you would have a Helix signal that already had high and low cuts going into a guitar amp combo or cab that applied those cuts again. This would result in low and high end cuts that were too drastic. All this talk about fizz makes me want to reiterate a few points.

  1. The Helix would be well served by including some initial global settings such as "FRFR", "Combo Amp", "Stack", "Keyboard Amp", etc. that matched the monitor(FRFR, guitar cab) that will be used. Adding gradations of these settings such as "FRFR Flat",  "FRFR Dark", "Combo Amp Bright", etc. would add additional value to these settings. These would essentially be global EQ's with low/high and even parametric cuts/boosts, and maybe even include output levels that get new users in the general ballpark of a good sound for the specific monitoring equipment they are using or trying out a new Helix with. Settings like these can also make switching between different types of monitors much easier without having to adjust presets individually. These kinds of settings have existed for years on other modelers.
  2. For new users of the Helix who are using an FRFR I think the easiest way to get started is to set your Global EQ up with a low cut of 70-120hz and a high cut of 5-5.5khz and then adjusting to taste. If you are feeding in to a mixer you can set those cuts up there instead of or even in addition to using the global settings on the Helix. Using the global settings is just a starting point for new users. As you grow more familiar with the Helix you may want to turn off the global EQ and migrate your EQ cuts into your presets allowing you to vary them depending on the preset or even the snapshot being used. This will free up your Global EQ that you used initially as a novice Helix user for adjusting to different PA's, rooms, and guitar monitors.  It will also give you finer control over your EQ cuts. Some will find that it is simpler and that they prefer to just continue to use the Global EQ going forward and that is fine. Of course some presets, depending on the amp/cab and effects used, sound ok without modification, but many need these cuts. If you are primarily a bedroom or studio user of the Helix or you just happen to have the right magic combination of monitoring equipment you may find that high/low cuts are largely unnecessary. This probably accounts for at least one contingent of forum users who cannot see why there is so much hullabaloo about fizz.
  3. Design your presets as closely to gig volumes as you can. It cannot be stressed enough how much difference this makes in having your presets sound as good at rehearsal and gigs as they do when you are designing them. Make sure to protect your ears!  Many of the tones that sound just fantastic at practice volumes instantly become boomy, muddy, and/or ear-piercing at gig volumes. That becomes immediately apparent when I take tones that sounded perfect to me at practice volume and use them at rehearsal. The characteristics of sound and tone change profoundly dependent on volume (Fletcher-Munson, etc.). Also, be prepared to have to restore a bit of brightness for cutting through the band in the mix. How the preset will sit in the mix with several other instruments can be difficult to determine exactly when you are practicing alone.

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8 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

The Helix would be well served by including some initial global settings such as "FRFR", "Combo Amp", "Stack", "Keyboard Amp", etc. that matched the monitor(FRFR, guitar cab) that will be used. Adding gradations of these settings such as "FRFR Bright" and "FRFR Dark" would add additional value to these settings. These would essentially be global EQ's with low/high and even parametric cuts/boosts, and maybe even include output levels that get new users in the general ballpark of a good sound for the specific monitoring equipment they are using or trying out a new Helix with. Settings like these can also make switching between different types of monitors much easier without having to adjust presets individually. These kinds of settings have existed for years on other modelers.

 

Older Line 6 modelers had these in the past, but they were just as much as source of confusion as they were helpful, probably even more so. Part of the problem was that it wasn't always apparent to people when to use what mode. For example, one thing I saw all the time with with the HD series was people setting the output mode to "Combo Front" or "Stack Front" when they were using the board for effects only. They would then write posts asking why all their effects sounded so muffled... It happened all the time. As far as using the amp and cab modeling in front an amp, that's always going to be a compromise, anyway. I think Line 6 is really trying to educate people to the fact that FRFR solutions are really what they should be using if they want to use amp and cab modeling.

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4 hours ago, phil_m said:

 

Older Line 6 modelers had these in the past, but they were just as much as source of confusion as they were helpful, probably even more so. Part of the problem was that it wasn't always apparent to people when to use what mode. For example, one thing I saw all the time with with the HD series was people setting the output mode to "Combo Front" or "Stack Front" when they were using the board for effects only. They would then write posts asking why all their effects sounded so muffled... It happened all the time. As far as using the amp and cab modeling in front an amp, that's always going to be a compromise, anyway. I think Line 6 is really trying to educate people to the fact that FRFR solutions are really what they should be using if they want to use amp and cab modeling.

 

Thanks for providing a bit of historical perspective here Phil. I have no doubt there may have been some users who were confused by those settings. There will always be those who get confused by any given setting or option especially something as vague as "Combo Front". I understand its meaning but that is a somewhat obtuse setting name that bears explanation. Ultimately I doubt the  number of posts from people confused regarding setting names even begins to approach the number of posts regarding fizz, and how to optimize EQ and other settings to get a good initial sound.

 

I still think adding different monitor equipment settings would make life easier for both new Helix owners as well as those who frequently play through different rigs. Also, people have a tendency to spin through those kinds of global equipment settings when they exist and find one that works for them, even if they don't understand the naming convention.  If we start using potential confusion as the sole yardstick for whether or not to include a feature we might well find ourselves having to provide a Helix with only a single optimized preset. Absolutely no tweaking, amp or effect choices allowed!  :-)  (Btw, if the emoticons still worked this would have been followed by a big grinning smiley face with teeth)

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21 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

I agree that "cablab" is a great tool... but I doubt it solves the problem here. The OP wants to plug the Helix in, turn it on and get great tones. Cablab adds more complexity and deep editing into the hands of the user. Wonderful for the power users, way over the head of the casual user or new user.  

So dont add something that makes the helix a way better tool just because its over the head of some users? Im not sure i agree with that logic.

 

To your point about the OP wanting  to plug the Helix in, turn it on and get great tones - thats what EVERYBODY wants.  Nobody wants to spend all their time tweaking (OK maybe a couple of us down here in the rabbit hole  :)  ) Maximum results with minimum effort. But thats not what the OP is asking for at all.  He is saying that there is a digital fizz that is hard to dial out.....or maybe impossible to some. I happen to agree with him, but mostly in the case of using the helix cabs. Without IRs the helix would be unusable for my tastes. The cabinets are too bright, lack any warmth, sound dull and lifeless, and just about every other negative adjective you can imagine.

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Fizz can be reduced simply by using impulse responses of specific microphones and specific location on the speaker.  Try impulses of R121 and avoid SM57 unless it's mixed in with  another mic or the impulse is based on the cone and not the cap.   It's honestly that easy.

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Yep, try the “hi-gn all” Redback 4x12 mix IR from Celestion. Its a mix of three different mics (R121, MD421, SM57) with professional placement and some EQ baked in. I use this IR with a 63 Hz low cut EQ block up front (before the amp block) and a parametric EQ block at the end of the chain. High band is centered at 7 KHz, Q=0.7-1.5 and cut is 1.5-3.0 dB. High cut in this block is set at 12.5-15.0 KHz. Ranges account for the different amp models. No more fizz!

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8 hours ago, ric1966 said:

Yep, try the “hi-gn all” Redback 4x12 mix IR from Celestion. Its a mix of three different mics (R121, MD421, SM57) with professional placement and some EQ baked in. I use this IR with a 63 Hz low cut EQ block up front (before the amp block) and a parametric EQ block at the end of the chain. High band is centered at 7 KHz, Q=0.7-1.5 and cut is 1.5-3.0 dB. High cut in this block is set at 12.5-15.0 KHz. Ranges account for the different amp models. No more fizz!

well - if it is necessary to do all this rocket science to get rif of the fizz, something seems to be wrong, is'nt it?

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Phew! For a minute there, I actually thought that nobody was gonna stir the pot again...that was close!

  • Haha 2

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13 hours ago, mikisb said:

well - if it is necessary to do all this rocket science to get rif of the fizz, something seems to be wrong, is'nt it?

Actually, no.  This has been happening to you on every traditional amp you've ever played.  The difference is, you dial in the amp and it sounds great to you.  You stick a SM-57 on it near the center of the speaker and this is what your audience has been hearing.  Why do you think recording studios go to such complex measures in mic'ing guitar cabinets for recording?

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@DunbedinDragon: You're right for shure. Thats why i cry all the time to make the mics more variable by adding different angles/positions relative to the cone center (ideascale). Running since two years - just 114 votes. Seems that still more amps are more important than this.´ for the majority.

I suspect line6 is modelling its cabs with mic in center position what would explain a lot of problems people have. Why they do so? I don't know.

But just adding a low- and highpass is'nt the same as the steepness of the filter is'nt equal to the losses of high frequencies at different mic positions.  Eliminating Hiss leads often to a loss of transparency. Nice job for the parametric EQ like rick1966 said, but i suppose much to complicated for a lot of people.

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1 hour ago, mikisb said:

@DunbedinDragon: You're right for shure. Thats why i cry all the time to make the mics more variable by adding different angles/positions relative to the cone center (ideascale). Running since two years - just 114 votes. Seems that still more amps are more important than this.´ for the majority.

I suspect line6 is modelling its cabs with mic in center position what would explain a lot of problems people have. Why they do so? I don't know.

But just adding a highpass is'nt the same as the steepness of the filter is'nt equal to the losses of high frequencies at different mic positions.  Eliminating Hiss leads often to a loss of transparency. Nice job for the parametric EQ like rick1966 said, but i suppose much to complicated for a lot of people.

 

Right.  The recent trend by many people has been to use stock cabinets saying you can get the same tones as you can from IRs.  I think you can get useable tones with stock cabinets but it takes some work.  But it's not going to compare with some of the more complex mic mixes you can get in IRs simply due to the fact you'll quickly run out of DSP trying to combine cabinets and mics.  If you understand the differences in microphones, and understand the effects of on/off axis and various placement/mixing strategies, and are willing to read the directions that come with most IR bundles, it's not really a black hole as some suggest.

 

For example I recently purchased the 4x12 Basketweave cabinet collection from Ownhammer which incorporates what they refer to as the MMMC or Massively Multi-Microphone Collection in which some of the mixes use up to 5 microphones in different positions to get a very realistic and useable tone.  Out of that collection I was able to quickly (within about 4 or 5 hours) identify the 7 or 8 IRs that would suit my purposes without auditioning the entire collection because the descriptions were enough to get me close and find the ones I wanted.  Given how quickly I can drop in an IR as compared to tinkering with a stock cabinet it's no contest as far as which will be more efficient and practical for my use.

 

I would love to see Line 6 do some retooling on how their stock cabinets work, but I suspect it would be a significant undertaking to do it in such a way that you could accomplish the level of sophistication offered by IR vendors in a DSP efficient manner using just a single cabinet with multiple mics, so I'll continue to go the route of least resistance and the route of less tinkering until they do.

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I do find it interesting, particularly for Line 6, that POD HD owners were screaming for the ability to load IRs. Now that Line 6 has answered with Helix, it is considered by some to be too complex! This is always a design trade-off, and I for one would rather have the higher capability, even if it means I have to work a little harder to get it tweaked out the way I want it. The main thing to remember is that you are replicating an entire studio signal path. With so many musical styles and recording techniques out there, the platform has to be flexible. Flexibility works against simplicity. I will concede that some of these advanced tone shaping techniques could be baked into a “no fizz” block. I consider a “good” well mixed IR to be essentially that, but each user has to determine what sounds “good” to them.

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9 minutes ago, ric1966 said:

I do find it interesting, particularly for Line 6, that POD HD owners were screaming for the ability to load IRs. Now that Line 6 has answered with Helix, it is considered by some to be too complex! This is always a design trade-off, and I for one would rather have the higher capability, even if it means I have to work a little harder to get it tweaked out the way I want it. The main thing to remember is that you are replicating an entire studio signal path. With so many musical styles and recording techniques out there, the platform has to be flexible. Flexibility works against simplicity. I will concede that some of these advanced tone shaping techniques could be baked into a “no fizz” block. I consider a “good” well mixed IR to be essentially that, but each user has to determine what sounds “good” to them.

 

I'm not sure anyone was complaining about the IR's being too complex.  I think people complained about it being time consuming to find the IR's that will best serve your purposes, and the simplistic approach to IR management.  I certainly never thought of them as more complex.  In fact to me it's just the opposite.  Once I have them in my IR list it's MUCH more simple to dial through and find the best fit for the sound I'm after.  Certainly much less complex than it would be to monkey around with stock cabs and settings.

 

To be honest in all my time building presets on the HD500X and the Helix I've never had a problem with "fizz", in spite of having built quite a few heavy rock style presets.  As is the case with most things in the modeling world I think this is one of those things that is more of a user lack of understanding problem than a problem with the modeling itself.  The reason being that the frame of reference a lot of new modeling users have is plugging into an actual amp and stomps and dialing things in.  What you hear in the room while doing that is very different from what you hear when recording it in a studio or in a live setting through a PA.  If you have those type of experiences as a frame of reference it becomes much easier to avoid the doing the things that create "fizz" as well as any number of other unpleasant artifacts.

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2 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

To be honest in all my time building presets on the HD500X and the Helix I've never had a problem with "fizz", in spite of having built quite a few heavy rock style presets.  As is the case with most things in the modeling world I think this is one of those things that is more of a user lack of understanding problem than a problem with the modeling itself. 

 

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ THIS.

 

 

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I guess I haven't had a problem with it either, because I don't even know what it is. What is "fizz." How will I know when I hear "fizz". Can you measure "fizz" with a frequency analyzer or EQ plug-in? What if I get some of it on me? I'm really worried about it because everyone seems to be afraid of it.

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23 minutes ago, soundog said:

I guess I haven't had a problem with it either, because I don't even know what it is. What is "fizz." How will I know when I hear "fizz". Can you measure "fizz" with a frequency analyzer or EQ plug-in? What if I get some of it on me? I'm really worried about it because everyone seems to be afraid of it.

 

I'm gonna start prescribing a Marshall combo and a tube screamer for any and all documented cases of "fizzophobia"...;)

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This happened two weeks ago in church.

ME: Hey sound guy! Am I clipping on the board?  I'm getting some fizz in my monitor.

SG: No, you're good.

ME: You don't hear that fizz?

SG: Yeah, I though that was just part of your distortion.  It sounds good out here.

ME: *sigh* (I was going for overdrive)

 

My problem has been that I notice negligible amounts of fizz on my headphones and powered monitor at home but when I get to church the fizz rears it's ugly head.  The monitors are worse than the PA speakers.

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9 minutes ago, jonandtice said:

This happened two weeks ago in church.

ME: Hey sound guy! Am I clipping on the board?  I'm getting some fizz in my monitor.

SG: No, you're good.

ME: You don't hear that fizz?

SG: Yeah, I though that was just part of your distortion.  It sounds good out here.

ME: *sigh* (I was going for overdrive)

 

My problem has been that I notice negligible amounts of fizz on my headphones and powered monitor at home but when I get to church the fizz rears it's ugly head.  The monitors are worse than the PA speakers.

 

That's likely due to volume differences... unless you're really cranking it at home when setting up your patches, stage volume will always make highs and lows more prominent, as compared to the same patch played at comfy bedroom levels.

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43 minutes ago, jonandtice said:

This happened two weeks ago in church.

ME: Hey sound guy! Am I clipping on the board?  I'm getting some fizz in my monitor.

SG: No, you're good.

ME: You don't hear that fizz?

SG: Yeah, I though that was just part of your distortion.  It sounds good out here.

ME: *sigh* (I was going for overdrive)

 

My problem has been that I notice negligible amounts of fizz on my headphones and powered monitor at home but when I get to church the fizz rears it's ugly head.  The monitors are worse than the PA speakers.

Now THAT is what global EQ is for. If the room/system is accentuating certain frequencies then you can tone them down with the global. It will affect all of your presets. 

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Personally I attribute what many folks are identifying as "fizz" is really an artifact related to an over abundance of gain/distortion.  I can replicate what I think they're hearing by combining too much drive on both the amp and a distortion style pedal.  Turning down one or the other seems to fix it.  I don't run into it because I'm fairly conservative with such things.  Just enough drive to give it some beef and no more.  But I've heard what I think they are describing as well at clubs with bands using traditional amps and pedals with lots of drive/distortion.  I've always assumed it has something to do with the way the limiter is set up on the speaker responding to an overdriven highly chopped signal.  This would be consistent with what jonandtice was describing.  In his case the monitor speakers were hitting the internal limiter while the FOH speakers weren't.  In the case where I've heard it in clubs was the opposite, where the FOH speakers were engaging the internal limiter while the band was only hearing their amps.  All just guesswork on my part I admit.

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I think some confusion in this topic is caused by the fact that a lot of players use the word "fizz" synonymously with shrillness or harshness; it seems to be a catchall phrase for undesirable things happening on the high or high-mid end of the spectrum. I agree that a surplus of gain in various blocks can contribute to fizz or harshness in your tone and should probably be one of the first things you attend to in your preset. Finding the right mic type for your Helix cab or judicious IR selection is also a good place to start.

 

My experience using an FRFR in combination with the Helix at performance volume levels is that despite what you do to minimize issues on the low and high end by proper preset setup, you often will still require high and low cuts and/or parametric cuts. Without them, depending on the preset, things can get boomy, flubby, or shrill. I understand why perspectives on low/high cuts vary depending on the user though given the huge number of variables regarding how people design their presets, what volume they play at, and what they are using to monitor, not to mention their personal tone preferences.

 

I do not think fizz can be solely attributed to gain levels or mic/IR selection however. If that were the case I would definitely have to take cruisinon2 up on his prescription for switching away from the Helix to a Marshall and a Tubescreamer. Even when I am careful with gain levels or mic selection I usually still have to employ low/high cuts. Fortunately low/high cuts really do help to dial in and tame the tone at stage volumes going through an FRFR/PA. Ultimately though, there are those who just happen to have the right combination of equipment, preset design style, and their own highly subjective guitar tone preferences, such that cuts are not required. All these factors contribute to why there will never be total consensus on these issues. I think that is why it is really helpful when people post non-universal suggestions regarding how to sculpt tone that they include which equipment they are playing through and other relevant details about their personal setup or the tone they are going after. That way you can weight more heavily the tips that may be most pertinent to your particular setup and preferences.

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5 hours ago, jonandtice said:

[...]

ME: Hey sound guy! Am I clipping on the board?  I'm getting some fizz in my monitor.

SG: No, you're good.

ME: You don't hear that fizz?

SG: Yeah, I though that was just part of your distortion.  It sounds good out here.

ME: *sigh* (I was going for overdrive)

[...]

Phantom power must be turned OFF at your mixer channels (when using Helix XLR out)...

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14 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

Personally I attribute what many folks are identifying as "fizz" is really an artifact related to an over abundance of gain/distortion.  I can replicate what I think they're hearing by combining too much drive on both the amp and a distortion style pedal.  Turning down one or the other seems to fix it.  I don't run into it because I'm fairly conservative with such things. 

 

And what HonestOpinion said:

 

13 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

I think some confusion in this topic is caused by the fact that a lot of players use the word "fizz" synonymously with shrillness or harshness; it seems to be a catchall phrase for undesirable things happening on the high or high-mid end of the spectrum.

 

To me, 'fizz' is nasty, digital-sounding artifacts arising from too much gain/distortion, but often as not exacerbated by too much treble and presence in the amp tone stack. Sorting out which is whatziz requires full and detailed disclosure of the troubled setup, from pickup through patch to monitors, as HO emphasises. Which is why I was a bit impatient with a recent commenter who basically refused to provide this absolutely necessary information.

 

 

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You can also get "fizz" or an overabundance of sizzle on real amps too. Boogie rectifiers can get pretty sizzly. Listen to some isolated guitar tracks of some of your favorite medium/high gain tunes.

 

In the end, it's still in the eye (ear) of the beholder and personal preference. 

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Not sure if this thread is still on a serious track or not - but if you haven't already, why not post up some sample clips of what you think is the bad sound, along with your patches. Surely would help eliminate subjective guesswork.

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Exactly. If its something you can objectively hear, lets define it using audio samples. Everyone seems to have a differing perspective on what is "fizz" is. There is no consensus.

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Hi all I've been reading this post with great interest and I have come to one conclusion and that  is a valve amp, go buy one that you like get some pedals and move on.

when I started playing guitar I had a cheap guitar a cheap amp and I was pretty much talentless now 30 years later and after great persistence I'm a better player but through this journey I have improved my equipment and found that the better the amp the better the sound, fast forward to the year that helix was being talked about and I pre ordered one and I became the first one to get a helix in the state that I live in , when I got it home I eagerly switched it on and connected it to my audio interface and read some of the instructions that it came with and played a chord and I remember thinking what have I done? this is terrible! but I persevered and I found a few you tube posts and followed a few of those who had had theirs for a little longer than I but still not great, fast forward a little further down the line and whalla it has turned out to be my go to for all my guitar playing amp sounds and with every upgrade it just keeps getting better and better,  BUT, I still love my 64 deluxe and my mesa lonestar  the helix Is just a tool as is your guitar as is the amp that you use, all have learning curves all can be frustrating all can sound bad but slagging of about a product that doesn't do it for you only shows that persistence is not one of your strong points so as stated earlier go buy the amp you like get the pedals you like and be sure to let us all know where you are playing your next gig and we might show up to listen to your chosen sound and applaud you for your chose and for moving on!     NOW BE GONE

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The line 6 Helix is an amazing tool, I bought one from Long and Mcquade and will not be returning it God willing.

Thanks Line 6 for developing the Helix.

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