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MarkJarvis

WHY does the harmonizer sound sooo bad?

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WHY does the harmonizer sound sooo bad?

 

Hi Guys, so really want to know how you are making the harmonizer sound good. If you insert it 'post amp' like effects like delay ..you get stereo and two harmony and cool stuff like panning ..but damm it sounds awful... The only way I have gotten Harmony working decently is to put it in front of one of two amps (dual setup) and set the mix to 100%. I cant use the dual harmony that way unless i just only use one part harmony.  Harmonizing an amp sounds really bad in my opinion and while sure i can find use for it..its not solution.

 

How are you making it sound great?

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, MarkJarvis said:

How are you making it sound great?

 

I'm not, I haven't been able to get it to sound good at all.

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I think feeding it clean, single notes is the key. It just isn't capable of tracking all of complex content of distorted notes or full chords.

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I make extensive use of the Twin Harmony in a lot of different songs.  I always place it after the amp and cab (IR) and have never had a problem even with higher gain signals.  In fact in one of our songs I use it with a HiWatt that has a Teemah in front of the amp throughout the song.  Then when I do the lead I kick in an additional 808 screamer and it sounds great.  The link below goes to the band's facebook page where we have a video from a rehearsal with this song.  I'm using the mono version of the harmonizer on and off constantly throughout the song including the lead.

 

Assuming you have the key and scale set correctly and that's not the problem, here's the settings I use for this particular song on the Twin Harmony.  Voice 1 scale:  3rd, voice 1 level: 8.8, Mix: 41%, Level: -1.0 db, voice 2 shift: 0, voice 2 level: 5.3

https://www.facebook.com/SalvationSaloonPosseBand/videos/1817996698523974/

 

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@DunedinDragon, ok cool may we 'hear' a sample of you using it post amp and have it sounding good?

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2 minutes ago, MarkJarvis said:

@DunedinDragon, ok cool may we 'hear' a sample of you using it post amp and have it sounding good?

 

I have a link to a rehearsal video in my post above.

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Thanks for the example...well its about what I expect and you have it blended real low... that said...still not what i would expect..and certainly not an eventide!

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I never use the harmonizer, or pitch blocks, for any harmonizing, so I can't comment on how well it works or doesn't. Generally speaking, the pitch algorithm does seem to occasionally have tracking problems.

But Helix may be improving on this front sometime in the future. DI was recently talking about polyphonic tracking, which would likely have the side effect of better single note tracking.

 

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Thanks Duncann...as you might hear in the clip I posted, i use it 'pre' amp and for single notes which to my ears sounds the most like an overdub..its disappointing not to 

find good use for the twin harmony (as it sounds bad to me post amp) sounds fake like a Digitech processor)

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I've put it between amp and cab with pretty good results.   After the cab it sounds too harsh and before the amp it seems to get jumpy.     The cab smooths it out quite a bit. 

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Thank telemudcat...well so far it doesnt sound ok for me in between the amp and cab either. In fact on the clip I shared its the legacy smart harmony in front of the amp #2 sounds the most real in my opinion.

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You can put it after an amp, I'm surprised how well even the firehawk version tracks...Just don't dare put it after the cabinet! That's poison

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10 hours ago, MarkJarvis said:

Thanks for the example...well its about what I expect and you have it blended real low... that said...still not what i would expect..and certainly not an eventide!          In fact on the clip I shared its the legacy smart harmony

The helix harmonizers sound so bad i never even gone thru the effects to realize that there was a legacy menu for the harmonizers lol.  Sure ive used them for light pitch shifting, chorusing effects, or to add ambience, and they sound ok for those purposes, but never harmonizing. They are simply unusable for this purpose, unless you are looking that "effect".

 

When you have people posting here saying "it sounds great" it completely removes any of their credibility, and makes you wonder if there is a deeper agenda in mind. The harmonizers clearly do not sound good. Are they incapable of hearing this or are they making an attempt to protect the helix brand?

 

There are plenty of things that make helix a great piece of gear but no one serious about a harmonizer effect would ever purchase helix for that purpose. I really hope they DO improve upon this area as duncann pointed out.

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1 hour ago, willjrock said:

[...] makes you wonder if there is a deeper agenda in mind. [...]

 

oh boy, better get my trusty old tinfoil hat out again! 

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Well, there goes my credibility I guess...I better go take all my RIAA plaques off my walls

 

Honestly, the tracking speed on the Firehawk (nevermind the Helix, which if anything is probably better) puts the H3000 and DSP4000 speeds to shame, painfully slow. I can't get that crazy, rich, glass peeling high out of Helix Native that I can out of a h3000, but I haven't tried too terribly long. Hearing the note and the harmony as I play it rather than the noticeable delay on the 3000/4000 more than makes up for it. Also, pitch detection seems to be a lot better to me. Nearly perfect if I do the harmony before the amp, and certainly acceptable if used after the amp but before the cabinet. If I get a chance, I'll try and make a video comparing the harmonizer on all four units

 

Its not like I'm silent about bozo mistakes Line 6 makes, in any way shape or form

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1 hour ago, Rloewenherz said:

 

 

oh boy, better get my trusty old tinfoil hat out again! 

lol..Im just saying man. Saying it sounds good when pretty much everybody knows it differently, really doesnt make a lot of sense to me. I mean does it? Does it make sense to you?

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1 hour ago, pipelineaudio1 said:

Well, there goes my credibility I guess...I better go take all my RIAA plaques off my walls

 

Honestly, the tracking speed on the Firehawk (nevermind the Helix, which if anything is probably better) puts the H3000 and DSP4000 speeds to shame, painfully slow. I can't get that crazy, rich, glass peeling high out of Helix Native that I can out of a h3000, but I haven't tried too terribly long. Hearing the note and the harmony as I play it rather than the noticeable delay on the 3000/4000 more than makes up for it. Also, pitch detection seems to be a lot better to me. Nearly perfect if I do the harmony before the amp, and certainly acceptable if used after the amp but before the cabinet. If I get a chance, I'll try and make a video comparing the harmonizer on all four units

 

Its not like I'm silent about bozo mistakes Line 6 makes, in any way shape or form

 Brother ive worked in the music industry most of my like as a recording engineer, so your "plaques" mean a lot more to you than they do to me. Im not sure if thats supposed to be a validation for your opinions or what, but it doesnt require a degree in radiologic science to determine that the harmonizers are adequate at best. Is every effect on the Helix going to be of the highest quality? No, of course not, but maybe adding fx simply for the sake of having more fx isnt the best recipe.  As a subtle effect,  i find the harmonizing tolerable. As a lead effect it doesnt work well. In fact i have software programs that do a better job.

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I use the harmonizer a bit in one of my songs - after the amp block, before the output to a cab. I have a second path with a small delay block of 20ms to humanize it a bit and then 100% harmonized signal on that path, before merging both paths back together prior to my reverb block and the output. I don't find it very good, the same way I don't find the shimmery reverbs in the Helix to sound good - there's an artificial quality that I find hard to put into words. But, it is usable in small doses.

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Quote

As a lead effect it doesnt work well

 

Actually as a lead tone is the ONLY way it sounds good  (before the amp)  if you check this out https://hearthis.at/joejeffries/sumo-2018-5-11/#t=2019

sounds like a over dubbed lead harmony to me in fact i bet you cant tell which is the harmony (left or right channel)

 

Anyway lots of opinions on this and I think we all agree that pitch and harmony is not Helix strongest feature ;)

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5 hours ago, willjrock said:

lol..Im just saying man. Saying it sounds good when pretty much everybody knows it differently, really doesnt make a lot of sense to me. I mean does it? Does it make sense to you?

 

If "pretty much everybody knows" it sounds bad, then why are there people saying it sounds good? Pipeline audio literally wrote the book on using Reaper, IIRC, so I don't think your engineer skills mean much to him, either. Different people have different tastes, just because YOU don't like it doesn't mean it is bad or that "everyone" thinks the same way you do. Believe it or not, you are not the be all end all of what is and isn't good in music.

 

Personally, I love the smart harmonizer. Does it sound a little fake? Maybe. But it nails the 80s vibe I want it for - you know, back when harmonizers sounded super fake. I use it specifically for leads, as I don't think it would work terribly well for rhythm where I am more likely to be playing chords (which is definitely not a strong suit of the harmonizer). Think Yes's Owner of a Lonely Heart. If that lead tone is what you want, you'll get there with the harmonizer. And for me, I love that.

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42 minutes ago, MarkJarvis said:

uh......80's vibe ..yeah I guess, if thats the kinda thing your into...

 

 

This begs the question, what harmonizing effect are you trying to emulate? Can you post an example?

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I posted it like three times...you just have to listen to it..

 

So I am not trying to emulate anything, just trying to get a harmony lead I like thats usable..which I have managed to do using the smart harmonizer (legacy) in front of amp # 2 of dual amp setup

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7 hours ago, willjrock said:

  As a subtle effect,  i find the harmonizing tolerable. As a lead effect it doesnt work well. In fact i have software programs that do a better job.

 

Like what? Eventide still doesn't really have their own Harmony algos in VST last time I checked. The free Pitchproof is cool, but doesn't track any better than Helix, and eats a fair bit of CPU and takes a lot lot lot of RT CPU time, the really latent ones are out of the question. Antares Harmony engine is just asking to crash your computer. Amplitube has an ok one, but again, latency. I'm always on the hunt for a good harmonizer on the PC, its kind of a holy grail, I'd love to know one that works better than the Helix harmonizer

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8 hours ago, willjrock said:

lol..Im just saying man. Saying it sounds good when pretty much everybody knows it differently, really doesnt make a lot of sense to me. I mean does it? Does it make sense to you?

 

giphy.gif

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The over all response seems to be the same..its not great and the best way is in front of the amp for single notes. That said i am sure everyone can get creative and make some use of the twin harmony. BTW The twin harmony in front of an amp also sounds bad..using more than just one harmony..kinda the same as two guitarist plugging in the same input on an amp...

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That's exactly what any harmonizer is supposed to do. Play two different notes at once into an amplifier, its a totally different effect than two guitarists playing two different notes thru two different chains. If you want single notes and single note harmonies, each has to have its own distortion block in parallel, or you get the same as playing a chord into a single distortion block

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It sounds about as "real" as any single-function harmonizer pedal I've ever tried. If you want the sound of two guitarists playing in harmony run a dual-mono chain after the harmonizer with different amps, ODs, etc. with a short delay right before it hits all that stuff, otherwise there's no reason to expect it to sound like two different guitars, just one guitar with a pitch effect on it.

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7 hours ago, njglover said:

 

If "pretty much everybody knows" it sounds bad, then why are there people saying it sounds good? Pipeline audio literally wrote the book on using Reaper, IIRC, so I don't think your engineer skills mean much to him, either. Different people have different tastes, just because YOU don't like it doesn't mean it is bad or that "everyone" thinks the same way you do. Believe it or not, you are not the be all end all of what is and isn't good in music.

 

Why dont you get his number if he means that much to you that you think you need to speak for him?

 

Quote


 

Actually as a lead tone is the ONLY way it sounds good

 

I actually meant as being the focal point. Not A lead tone... THE lead tone. The main point of focus. Agree that single note lines is one of the few ways to get descent results.

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As opposed to what? Harmonizing chords? Good luck doing that on the h3000....Only tech that I know of that even would think about something like that, in theory and not in the real world would be Melodyne's DNA 

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51 minutes ago, pipelineaudio1 said:

As opposed to what? Harmonizing chords? Good luck doing that on the h3000....Only tech that I know of that even would think about something like that, in theory and not in the real world would be Melodyne's DNA 

 

I think people are thinking of polyphonic pitch shifting like the Digitech Drop... And along the lines of what you said, that's shifting everything by the same interval, not really harmonizing anything. True polyphonic smart harmonization, yeah, that would be quite the feat.

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Ahh, wouldn't you use a different chromatic pitch shifter for that though? Its not something you'd want or need a harmonizer for I would think. Is there a pitch model on the Helix with formant shifting?

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I just tried the effect called  "simple pitch" and though it didnt have any exposed formant controls, it didn't really do darth vader or munchinkinization, seems like it would be ok for the things digitech drop does...I need to play with this more, seems handy! especially for singers who you need to retune for

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2 hours ago, pipelineaudio1 said:

As opposed to what? Harmonizing chords? Good luck doing that on the h3000....Only tech that I know of that even would think about something like that, in theory and not in the real world would be Melodyne's DNA 

Thats a fair point, but there are plenty of other scenarios. Arpeggiated passages are the first that springs to mind.  Even with melodyne you would have to add the effect pre-distortion to get the best result, but it does do a great job.

 

Try even just a pitch block by itself on a clean preset with the mix at 100, pitched down a full octave. Not a difficult task, but helix will still only sound 50 to 70% of the notes the way they are intended to sound.

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Even the chromatic one goes goofy? Or the harmonizer one does too? I think I've only tried going up, like a third and a fifth, after the amp but before the cab, those seemed fine, but I think I've had a lifetime of paranoia with the 3000 making me scared to every play anything fast if it has a harmonizer on it...,Worse since I play scalloped guitars

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I find the dual harmony ok in Helix Native, but I play the electric violin. Anyway, If twin harmony is legacy, is the harmony effect in M series the same algoritm? I need a single pedal effect for that and just can't afford the Eventide H9 at the moment.

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This is a quick demo I just put together. My band plays "Burnin' for You"... Blue Oyster Cult. This is the harmonizer preset I use for the song when we play gigs. Would I record with it? Of course not, but for my purpose it's fine.

 

It is a Twin Harmony Block placed between the amp and cab.

 

Helix Harmonizer Quick Demo

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1 hour ago, Rocco_Crocco said:

This is a quick demo I just put together. My band plays "Burnin' for You"... Blue Oyster Cult This is the harmonizer preset I use for the song when we play gigs. Would I record with it? Of course not, but for my purpose it's fine.

 

It is a Twin Harmony Block placed between the amp and cab.

 

Helix Harmonizer Quick Demo

 

I honestly don't think anyone would bat an eye if you recorded with that... It sounds fine to me.

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