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coachz

Replacing a JCM800?

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Can you guys educate me about helix please?  In a blind test with a JCM800 In your face and a Helix with an FRFR 4x12 monitor in your face (playing a les paul on both), can you tell the difference ?  If so, what differences are there please?  Latency, feel, sound quality or noise floor.  Thanks for any replies.  I have not seen any YouTube videos do such a blind comparison.  Classic rock is my main interest fwiw. Both cabinets can get plenty loud.

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There will be a difference because Helix models the sound of an amp as captured by a microphone which you are then listening to through FRFR as if in a mixing control room or through a PA system. Listening to the JCM800 'in your face' involves no mic and no PA/FRFR. Remember that Helix is designed to deliver the sound of a recording or what the audience hears - not what the guitar player hears from the 'amp in the room' or on stage.

 

Also you can get dramatically different sounds through the FRFR monitors by changing the mic/cab selections (or IRs) in the Helix preset. There is no 'one sound' from Helix using the JCM800 amp model so no real basis for apples-to-apples comparison.

 

A true comparison would be to mic your JCM800 and record a clip. Then set up a Helix preset using the closest cab model that mimics your physical JCM800 cab and select the same mic model and placement as you used in your recording. Record a similar clip using this Helix preset and compare the two recordings.

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 interesting. Yes I don't have a jcm800 but I was hoping somebody out there would have done such a comparison already since the Helix is so popular. So do they say how the Helix models were mic'd up? In the design of the models would it have made sense to create them in an anechoic chamber with a dummy head? I'm really wondering how different they sound and if that visceral response from a tube amp is close with a modeler. A couple of questions please

 

 does helix have noticeable latency compared to plugging Direct in an amp?

 

 how is the feeling and response different one a helix model compared to a tube amp?    I know the way feedback performs differently.

 

 how close do you think the actual sound is to your amps if you try to dial in a popular sound on one of your amps? 80% there, 99% there

 

Thanks again!

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What you will experience will not be like plugging into a Marshall and playing it in the same room. It will be like putting a Marshall amp in a studio, micing it, running a 1/4 cable from the amp to the control room plugging that into your guitar and listening to the miced amp in the control room through the studio monitors. The Helix provides many different mic's and mic distances so I'm not sure how the initial amp was mic'ed. Was it a flat mic? Or did they use every mic in their arsenal and make a seperate "thing" for each of them. Don't know.

 

There is no noticable latency. I say that only because I'm assuming there has to be some. But it is definitely not noticeable at all.

 

Again, the feeling and response will not be the same as being in the same room with the amp. Of course whatever speakers you use can be turned up loud enough to feedback but if you're asking what I think you're asking you will not be able to control the feedback in the same way as being in the same room with the amp. Even if you're in the same room with the speakers you are monitoring it with.

 

Since popular sounds are usually from a recording, it is amazing how close you can get to a recording's sound. Often just researching and using the same things the original artist used (amp, effects, guitar mic, etc). But as usual, there are competing opinions about this. I personally am very happy with how close I can get to the songs I like.

 

There are other ways to set the Helix up so you can use it through a traditional guitar amp but that's a whole 'nother story and there's a lot of info to cover if you go there.

 

In regards to comparisons. The one that really impressed me was there was a Youtube of a Fender amp, miced with a Shure SM57. Nothing else. Just guitar and amp. programmed the same thing with the Helix and listened through the same speaker monitors I heard the clip through. The difference, if any, was indistinguishable to me and the few people I demonstrated this to. I'm sure there are other people that disagree but I'm not trying to impress them, just me.

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 it sounds like while the Helix may be the Ultimate Weapon for recording in a studio that the live experience for the guitar player is quite different. I saw Steve Vai recently with his tube amps on stage and I was in the fourth row. if he was running a modeler instead would my experience from the fourth row have been more like listening in the control booth at a recording studio as opposed to a live concert?

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I would say yes. I don't know what the truth is but I believe what you heard in the audience through the PA was a modeler called the Fractal Axe Effects II which I know he uses and the amps are really there for him to hear himself and maybe a little show. The Fractal is often compared to the Helix and I believe the consensus generally is they are both equally good but do things in a different way. It seems the Helix is more user friendly and the Fractal more in depth. It is so in depth that I've heard of people moving to the Helix because there are just too many parameters to adjust.

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 I talked to Steve Vai after the concert and it's just a few pedals and into his amps. there's a YouTube video that has his exact setup as he played in January here.

 What I was hearing from Steve was definitely no modeling and just his legacy amps 20 feet away direct.    he gets a great stereo sound from the two amps driven by the stereo chorus

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, coachz said:

 it sounds like while the Helix may be the Ultimate Weapon for recording in a studio that the live experience for the guitar player is quite different. I saw Steve Vai recently with his tube amps on stage and I was in the fourth row. if he was running a modeler instead would my experience from the fourth row have been more like listening in the control booth at a recording studio as opposed to a live concert?

 

I agree with most of what's already been said... but this is really an unanswerable question. And there's honestly no way to tell what you were actually hearing at the show, without a behind the scenes walkthrough with his sound guy. Half the time what you see on stage are dummy amps doing absolutely nothing, while out of sight a modeler or some other mic-ed amp  is fed to the PA. Guys with endorsements coming out of their ears have to be seen "using" certain gear, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what you're hearing...

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  I don't think so as it wasn't connected and he said he wasn't using it. He may have used it in the past but with his current rig he is not doing any midi control of effects at all. he's just running his guitar to a few pedals on the floor going out to stereo chorus to the Legacy amps. So no modelers are involved which is the topic I'm most interested in.  That endorsement was 2010

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21 minutes ago, coachz said:

  I don't think so as it wasn't connected and he said he wasn't using it. He may have used it in the past but with his current rig he is not doing any midi control of effects at all. he's just running his guitar to a few Petals on the floor going out to stereo chorus to the Legacy amps. So no modelers are involved which is the topic I'm most interested in

 

My point is that people say lots of things. Some it's true, and some of it isn't...and show business, is show business. 

 

But even knowing the truth whatever it is, won't help you decide if modeling will appeal to you or not. Nor would it help you determine if your concert experience would have been different, had he used something else. It either sounds good out front, or it doesn't. To an audience, and in experienced hands, today's modelers are nearly indistinguishable from the "real thing". And increasingly they're fooling even the most "golden eared" engineers and producers in the business.

 

But none of that means that you'll like playing through one.... some guys just don't warm up to them.  As previously stated, it's not an amp, and can't be treated like one. But once you become familiar with how they work, and figure out how to coax the sound(s) your looking for from it, the versatility, consistency, and portability are priceless. But if you only want one or two sounds, and it's never gonna leave the house...then buy whatever amp and pedals give you that sound, and call it a day. Everybody's needs are different. 

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 I hear what you're saying. I was hoping someone with stage experience with tube amps could chime in. I'm really curious if we went to a live stage where a guitar player has and FRFR monitor right behind him just like a 4 by 12 cab does he hear the sound of being in a control room at a recording studio or more the sound of a live cranked tube amp?   I mean it would be easy enough to put both on a stage behind a guitar player and compare the two and see how close the modeler can get to a real tube amp. I'm sure somebody knows this already and that's what I'm really trying to learn. How close is it do the real deal? So you take a jcm 800 and create a classic rock sound on a live stage. How close can the modeler get to that through an FRFR monitor also directly behind guitar player or will the guitar player be hearing it as if he was in a control room at a recording studio and it sound completely different?

 

 anyone up for making a video?

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Most of the posts I recall from here say no. An FRFR right behind them is not the same as what the same amp would sound like if it was there. One big thing is how directional the sound from a guitar amp is. It would be like have the amp, for example, under the stage miced and you listening to it through the FRFR. I can see how that would be true. Having said that, there are FRFR's coming out that try to do the amp in a room thing. Line 6 has a new one.

 

See here.

 

https://line6.com/powercab/

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 what do you mean by amp thing in a room thing? I wonder if they sound different because of the reflections that are recorded in the mic, early Reflections being the most important? I wonder if recording in a anechoic chamber with a dummy head would get us even closer to the real experience? if I'm listening on axis down the dead center of the speaker then dispersion is no longer a consideration in this comparison also.

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7 minutes ago, coachz said:

... if we went to a live stage where a guitar player has and FRFR monitor right behind him just like a 4 by 12 cab does he hear the sound of being in a control room at a recording studio or more the sound of a live cranked tube amp?  ..... How close is it do the real deal? So you take a jcm 800 and create a classic rock sound on a live stage. How close can the modeler get to that through an FRFR monitor also directly behind guitar player or will the guitar player be hearing it as if he was in a control room at a recording studio and it sound completely different?

....

 

You/he would hear the sound of being in a control room, not the sound of the live cranked tube amp. But understand that in any situation where the venue is large enough to have to mic the amp,  nobody other than the guitar player him/herself actually hears the sound of the live cranked tube amp. Everybody else - the audience and even the other band members listening through their stage monitors - is hearing the sound of the mic'd amp through the PA system and FRFR speakers, which is what Helix delivers.

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 see for me the experience has always been being in front of the guitar player and his amp. Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Mark Knopfler and 50 others. these are the guys I grew up on and hearing their amps from the front rows. I've learned to hate my local Coliseum because I get up close to the Bands and there are no stage monitors and the nearest speaker is 40 ft away on my left so the sound sounds stupid. I just saw Styx a couple of weeks ago with the same setup and I hated every minute of it. I much prefer to go to one of our smaller venues that seat about 900 people where I can get up front and have actual guitar amps. I always wear musician's earplugs and get them adjusted just right where the volume is just perfect. so for me as an audience member what I'm listening for is definitely not a PA sound but a real guitar player. it appears that using a modeler cannot create that sound that I'm looking for from what I'm reading here. it saddens me to see the technology change where the guitar and the sound are becoming unconnected in my mind

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10 minutes ago, coachz said:

 what do you mean by amp thing in a room thing? I wonder if they sound different because of the reflections that are recorded in the mic, early Reflections being the most important? I wonder if recording in a anechoic chamber with a dummy head would get us even closer to the real experience? if I'm listening on axis down the dead center of the speaker then dispersion is no longer a consideration in this comparison also.

 

Amp in a room is how the difference between the two methods is described. Amp in a room. You are in the studio with the guitar amp. Modeler. You are listening to the amp that's in the studio, in the control room. You seem to basically be asking if you got a Helix and an FRFR and programmed the Marshall sim in the Helix, would it sound/feel the same as if there was a Marshall in the same spot, using the same levels. Right now the answer is no, but currently, people (like Line 6) are trying to recreate that. You might check out the Kemper profiler. I think that would be more what you are looking for currently.

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Consider this information/perspective: Last night, I set up and ran sound for two bands (one of them was my band) for a large outdoor gig (around 1000) people. My band uses all modeling amps direct to the mixer; I use the Helix, specifically. I was able to set levels quickly, keep the stage volume at a rocking, but not painful volume, and provide a clear, clean listening experience to the crowd. I have received so much positive feedback on this setup in the last 6 months that I wish that we had switched over earlier.

 

As my band wrapped it up, I started getting the second band set up. They used 4 tube amps, each of which had to be mic'd. This was unbelievably time consuming, but I got it done. Then, it was time for a sound check. Surprise! They had an unbelievably loud drummer, so, of course, the guitarists wanted to turn up. Then, of course, the singers couldn't hear themselves. As I brought up the vocals in the stage monitors, feedback became an issue. The stage volume was ridiculously loud, and that sound bleeds into the front of the house mix.The gig went well, and they sounded good (after much tweaking), but I am a believer in the power of the Helix (or modeling in general) for excellent, easy to dial in live tones on guitar and bass.

 

My Helix setup uses the JCM 800 model, and it replaced my Marshall tube amp (DSL 40) that I have used for quite a while. It takes time to get used to the sound of a modeled amp; as these comments suggest, it sounds like a mic'd cab, but I have come to love that particular tone. As long as you have high quality powered monitors onstage, or a nice in ear system, the Helix will sound awesome in the mix onstage. As for front of the house (which is really more important in my eyes), I think my modeled tone sounds better than my mic'd tube amp. Seriously. I have many friends and co-workers who play guitar, and none have said anything but positive things about my guitar tones onstage. Hopefully, this gives you a bit more info as you make your choice.       

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7 minutes ago, coachz said:

 see for me the experience has always been being in front of the guitar player and his amp. Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Mark Knopfler and 50 others. these are the guys I grew up on and hearing their amps from the front rows. I've learned to hate my local Coliseum because I get up close to the Bands and there are no stage monitors and the nearest speaker is 40 ft away on my left so the sound sounds stupid. I just saw Styx a couple of weeks ago with the same setup and I hated every minute of it. I much prefer to go to one of our smaller venues that seat about 900 people where I can get up front and have actual guitar amps. I always wear musician's earplugs and get them adjusted just right where the volume is just perfect. so for me as an audience member what I'm listening for is definitely not a PA sound but a real guitar player. it appears that using a modeler cannot create that sound that I'm looking for from what I'm reading here. it saddens me to see the technology change where the guitar and the sound are becoming unconnected in my mind

 

I just saw Randy Hansen (look him up if you don't know who he is). Two Marshalls, a fuzz face, a wah, a Univibe an Echoplex,  and a strat. Then bass and drums. Front row in a club. I don't think you are currently going to get what I experienced with a modeler. By the way, if you ever get a chance, you will want to see him. He's over 60 so I don't know how much longer he'll be doing this. It's basically experiencing trio rock the way it used to be done. He does Hendrix flawlessly.

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 Great information. So do you use In-ear monitors? Or would you have had the same situation with the really loud drummer and needed to crank up to compete? Do you have any monitors to give the direct guitar sound to the audience member who standing right in front of you or do they only get it from the PA on the side?

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Just now, coachz said:

Thanks.  I love bands like that as you can tell.

 

You will LOVE Randy if you ever get a chance.

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24 minutes ago, silverhead said:

 

You/he would hear the sound of being in a control room, not the sound of the live cranked tube amp. But understand that in any situation where the venue is large enough to have to mic the amp,  nobody other than the guitar player him/herself actually hears the sound of the live cranked tube amp. Everybody else - the audience and even the other band members listening through their stage monitors - is hearing the sound of the mic'd amp through the PA system and FRFR speakers, which is what Helix delivers.

Ok I understand.

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8 minutes ago, coachz said:

 Great information. So do you use In-ear monitors? Or would you have had the same situation with the really loud drummer and needed to crank up to compete? Do you have any monitors to give the direct guitar sound to the audience member who standing right in front of you or do they only get it from the PA on the side?

I do use in ears, but I always run two monitors just in case. Both methods work for me. And I am finding that feedback issues tend to be more prevalent with loud stages (loud amps/drummers), so it easier to raise a modeled amp level or vocals without feedback, in my experience. The audience members only hear my modeled sound from the main speakers (again, in my opinion, the less that the stage volume bleeds into the front of house mix, the better).

 

One thing that I have to admit is that I have switched to modeling because I am more focused on the listening experience of the average bar/club/outside party goer. I'm not going to say that a modeled JCM 800 sounds BETTER than a cranked tube amp. But I'm not really terribly focused on the listening pleasure of guitar/tube amp experts because, let's be honest, most people don't know or care what the difference is between a tube amp and a modeler. Professional musicians make up a very small portion of crowds that I play for. So, my opinion on this matter is biased because I have found modeling as a great way to quickly and effectively provide a great guitar sound to people who are mainly wanting to drink and dance (sad but true). 

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 it does make a lot of sense. but I still think you need a couple of Marshall amp stack facades to look cool.  Hehe

 also having a real full 4x12 is no picnic. those suckers weigh 80 pounds each

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55 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

 

Amp in a room is how the difference between the two methods is described. Amp in a room. You are in the studio with the guitar amp. Modeler. You are listening to the amp that's in the studio, in the control room. You seem to basically be asking if you got a Helix and an FRFR and programmed the Marshall sim in the Helix, would it sound/feel the same as if there was a Marshall in the same spot, using the same levels. Right now the answer is no, but currently, people (like Line 6) are trying to recreate that. You might check out the Kemper profiler. I think that would be more what you are looking for currently.

 how is the Kemper different and why would it be able to get closer to a live to Tube amp?

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Can't say anything about a JCM800 because i never had one. But after some years of modelling devices, i got my first good tube amp back last week, an 1982 Acoustic G100T - kind of a Boogie MK I/II "clone".

I just wanted to have a "true reference" to calibrate my ears.

 

Well - it's fun to play this monster, but i can easily get the same sound and feeling out of the Helix with a good 1x12" FRFR monitor wich was a big surprise to me. I doubt that it is'nt possible to get an authentic "amp in the room sound" with the Helix. It all depends on the Mic Type and position and if this does'nt work for you, you can use a parametric EQ instead of cab sims or IRs - completly without modelled influences of mics and rooms. It works, cause it transfers the tonal characteristics of a guitar speaker on a FRFR-Speaker without all this recording environment.

What's a cabsim (on Helix with mic) or a impulse response? Just a frquency response of the speaker + a frequency response of the mic + room influences recorded. Subtract the last two positions and you have just en EQ curve.

All you loose is the sharp beam of a guitar speaker, as the upper frequencies are spread wider by a tweeter usually used in a FRFR system. I tkae it as a bonus cause different sound in different angles to the speaker were allways annoying to me.

 

The main difference: I can get the "true tube sound" at bedroom level with the Helix while the Acoustic with it's 12" EV12L blasts away the neighbourhood.  And while the Acoustic delivers a few good sounds and no effects but reverb and a 5band EQ, the Helix delivers everything. What brings me to the biggest "but":

 

The huge amount of possibilities makes it more difficult (for me)  to dial in a desired tone cause i loose myself in myriads of switches and pots and possible combinations. Not so easy to get an instant great tone.

More choice - more pain ;)

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So with your g100t  you indicated you can get the same sound and feeling with an FR FR monitor. But then you were talking about mic'd up sounds so I'm confused I get that the guitar speaker is much more directional but if you are standing dead center face-to-face with each of those are you able to get the sound you want that convinces you that you have your g100 T directly in front of you?

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Helix is the definition of flexible, it can make a convincing Les Paul through a Marshall combo or quad, which I find perfectly acceptable on stage. The feedback dynamics are what I expect. As gutsy as I want for 70s and 80s rock. It can make a classic sound like on Heart's "Magic Man" if you want that through an FRFR speaker--you will like it. I keep carving out a sound with the knobs until I get what I want replicated. Whatever sound I want it makes. I used JPMs and JCMs before I finally retired the amp, loved it, but love Helix more.

 

 

 

I used to obsess about Marshall sound but now I just take it for granted, it's there on tap. I also tend to set for mic free type cab sound. Often I find the biggest infuence to sound is compression or EQ, not so much the cab mic model intruding. The mic is basically just an 'effect' on the cab, and its effect can be minimised to incidental. It's a bit like listening to different celestion speaker models in the same cab, the mic just dials in the speaker character you want. The mic irked me too at first, but that was really just my old-school dim view, now I don't see a downside to it, it's just another tool.

 

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10 hours ago, coachz said:

So with your g100t  you indicated you can get the same sound and feeling with an FR FR monitor. But then you were talking about mic'd up sounds so I'm confused I get that the guitar speaker is much more directional but if you are standing dead center face-to-face with each of those are you able to get the sound you want that convinces you that you have your g100 T directly in front of you?

Sorry if i expressed a bit confusing - it's hard for me to hit the point in english.

 

What i wanted to say: Each cabsim in the Helix and each IR i know are influenced by the mic and the room with/in wich they are created.

So the result is'nt comparable to a amp in a room like your JCM. - it's more processed by these parameters.

 

You can minimize these influences by the choice of the mic,, the distance and the early reflections, but you can also skip these influences by replacing the cab model or IR by a parametric EQ wich just stamps the response curve (frequency wise) of a certain guitar speaker on a linear FRFR cab.

It's not my idea, i think it's from a guy "Chad Boston". I just tried it and modified it for my needs and it works fine for me if i want to get a "unprocessed" sound like an "amp in the room sound" and come close to a "real amp" standing just besides my FRFR monitor.

 

The frequency response of a guitar speaker differs in everey angle you listen to it. Unfortunally, Helix does'nt offer a choice here and we're nailed to the angle the engeneers at Line6 have choosen. Perhaps that's the reason, why so much people talk 'bout using high cuts?

 

I guess that the sound of the G100T with EV12L directly in front of me pointing at my ears ever was way too harsh to my ears, so i always turned it a bit away from me or placed in on the floor. I even glued some foam in front of the speaker to get rid of that harshness as in these times, i din't know anything 'bout acoustics. But that's the point: in this way, some people in the audioence had a good sound 8my taste), others not. That's the nature of big cones reproducing higher frequencies. Big advantage for tweeter loaded FRFR speakers. Here i can dial in a EQ curve wich corresponds the "sweet spot" of the guitar speaker - thats a matter of taste too. But now i have this sweet spot not only on one point in the room but in a bigger space.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Vanilla_Icecream said:

 

 I used to obsess about Marshall sound but now I just take it for granted, it's there on tap. I also tend to set for mic free type cab sound

Great information.  Is this where you just dont select a mic for a cab?

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I have skimmed this thread ... and although there are some great comments and suggestions there seems to be an omission. 

 

The Helix (like any modeler) does not "have to be" connected to an FRFR cabinet. For optimal flexibility I believe those are the best choices, but you are not limited to those. To get the "Amp in the Room" feel there is nothing stopping you from setting up a power amp and regular cabinet then mic it up for the crowd when needed. When you do that you simply need to turn off the "cabinet / mic" block in the Helix. They can sound (and feel) remarkably similar to having an amp on stage as opposed to the finished product through an FRFR cab.

 

4 hours ago, Vanilla_Icecream said:

Often I find the biggest infuence to sound is compression or EQ, not so much the cab mic model intruding. The mic is basically just an 'effect' on the cab,

 

I tend to feel the opposite about this. Cabinet, speaker choice, mic choice and mic placement can be very dramatic. Before I reach for any corrective EQ I always try to optimize those selections. IMO - they are not always best chosen with the amp presets :) 

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15 hours ago, coachz said:

 it does make a lot of sense. but I still think you need a couple of Marshall amp stack facades to look cool.

Here ya go. (Although I don't think the top ones are Marshalls)

1271018658_Black-Veil-Brides-MarshallFakeCabs.jpg.453445c6d99d877d330acb3a34d7c6bc.jpg1308529129_FakeMarshalls.jpg.12e45322464582bdf222ab5e988c63c9.jpg

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25 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I have skimmed this thread ... and although there are some great comments and suggestions there seems to be an omission. 

 

The Helix (like any modeler) does not "have to be" connected to an FRFR cabinet. For optimal flexibility I believe those are the best choices, but you are not limited to those. To get the "Amp in the Room" feel there is nothing stopping you from setting up a power amp and regular cabinet then mic it up for the crowd when needed. When you do that you simply need to turn off the "cabinet / mic" block in the Helix. They can sound (and feel) remarkably similar to having an amp on stage as opposed to the finished product through an FRFR cab.

 

 

I tend to feel the opposite about this. Cabinet, speaker choice, mic choice and mic placement can be very dramatic. Before I reach for any corrective EQ I always try to optimize those selections. IMO - they are not always best chosen with the amp presets :) 

 

 by Power Amp you are referring to a clean amp I would guess, otherwise you're getting two amp models one from Helix and one from the power amp

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22 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I have skimmed this thread ... and although there are some great comments and suggestions there seems to be an omission. 

 

The Helix (like any modeler) does not "have to be" connected to an FRFR cabinet. For optimal flexibility I believe those are the best choices, but you are not limited to those. To get the "Amp in the Room" feel there is nothing stopping you from setting up a power amp and regular cabinet then mic it up for the crowd when needed. When you do that you simply need to turn off the "cabinet / mic" block in the Helix. They can sound (and feel) remarkably similar to having an amp on stage as opposed to the finished product through an FRFR cab.

 

 

I touched on that but thought that was a whole 'nother subject and I thought he was more wondering about what the full on modeling experience was like i.e. FRFR or studio monitors with all of the amp/cab/mic bells and whistles.

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 so if the modeler is doing its job then running that directly out without a cabinet Sim into a clean amplifier and then into a marshall 4 by 12 cabinet should sound and play just like a jcm 800 No? Would this be the way to get the closest experience  with a nice heavy 83 lb cabinet?

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44 minutes ago, coachz said:

 so if the modeler is doing its job then running that directly out without a cabinet Sim into a clean amplifier and then into a marshall 4 by 12 cabinet should sound and play just like a jcm 800 No? Would this be the way to get the closest experience  with a nice heavy 83 lb cabinet?

 

So, to take your theory on step further. Generally a guitar amplifier's effects send and return bypasses the preamp. I'm not sure but I don't believe the JCM800 normally has an effects loop but if it did, you could plug your guitar into the Helix, plug the Helix mono output into the effects loop return only, call up only the JCM800 preamp the Helix, and plug the JCM800 amp into a Marshall 4X12 cab. Theoretically, it should be the same as if it weren't in the effects loop and you were plugged straight into the amp. If you found a super transparent power amp of some kind you could then call up only the amp (no cab/mic) in the Helix and plug that super transparent power amp into a Marshall 4X12. Theoretically that also should be the same as plugging straight into a JCM800. I have tried neither so I could not speak to how well  the Helix does this. I don't know where you live but if you can, I would find a store with a 30 day money back, no questions asked policy and try it at home. It sounds like you have all the stuff so give it a shot. The opinions around here run the gamut, but one thing I think everyone agrees on is running it through an FRFR using all of the modelling (amp/cab/mic) is not the same as listening to the same amp with you in the same room. The only way you can really tell if it's for you is to listen to it yourself. I don't think there is that much more to tell you. Pretty much every opinion that I've seen on the forum has been expressed here. I'm not trying to blow you off or anything. I just think that's where we are now. I do think if you're looking for something to give you a bunch of simulated amps that will sound and feel like you're in the same room you're going to be disappointed. Like if you get the Marshall amp sim to sound and feel exactly like your in the same room as a real Marshall with an FRFR system and then call up, let's say, a Fender amp through the same system. It wouldn't give you that same experience. It would be off since it would have to be optimized for the JCM 800 sim. Good luck.

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 Really good information and I really appreciate it. My title about replacing the jcm800 was theoretical. I only have a tone lab le and a marshall DSL 15 so I was curious as to my next step and whether it would take me down the road of heavy tube amps or lightweight modelers. Since my focus is live sound that's why I keep coming back to ideas that can bring the modeler closer to the live sound and if using a physical marshall cabinet can do that then I'm golden.

 

My goals are mostly marshall sounds so a marshall cabinet would be fine for all of those models but I just don't know how the theory of modelers crosses over into the reality of stage amplifiers and whether a marshall cabinet with a helix jcm 800 model through  a clean amp would sound the same as a jcm 800 head and if not ..... doesnt that mean the model needs work.   Thanks again for all the constructive conversation. My background is electrical engineering and software programming with a good knowledge of acoustics so this is very interesting to me plus I have retired so it gives me more time to think about this stuff.   

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I’ve owned a Helix LT for about a year. The other guitarist in my cover band has a Helix Floor. We both use JBL FRFR powered floor monitors for rehearsals. Most of my snapshots use Marshall amp models for the cranked-up mid to high gain gain tones and Fender models for the cleans. I favor a Plexi for the 70s to early 80s covers and a JCM-800 for the late 80s to modern covers. Our drummer and bass player really dig the way we can get that cranked up Marshall tube tone at low volume. The tones are very convincing in terms of matching what you hear on the original recordings. I don’t miss my ‘82 JCM-800 2204 head and 4x12 cab one bit! Or my Mesa mini-stack, it is collecting dust... When we play live, we simply send mono XLR (fixed volume) to the house and monitor with our JBL wedges by feeding them the 1/4” mono signal. This setup makes controlling stage volume very easy and it sounds just like our rehearsals to us on stage. We get lots of compliments on the guitar sounds out front!

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2 minutes ago, ric1966 said:

I’ve owned a Helix LT for about a year. The other guitarist in my cover band has a Helix Floor. We both use JBL FRFR powered floor monitors for rehearsals. Most of my snapshots use Marshall amp models for the cranked-up mid to high gain gain tones and Fender models for the cleans. I favor a Plexi for the 70s to early 80s covers and a JCM-800 for the late 80s to modern covers. Our drummer and bass player really dig the way we can get that cranked up Marshall tube tone at low volume. The tones are very convincing in terms of matching what you hear on the original recordings. I don’t miss my ‘82 JCM-800 2204 head and 4x12 cab one bit! Or my Mesa mini-stack, it is collecting dust... When we play live, we simply send mono XLR (fixed volume) to the house and monitor with our JBL wedges by feeding them the 1/4” mono signal. This setup makes controlling stage volume very easy and it sounds just like our rehearsals to us on stage. We get lots of compliments on the guitar sounds out front!

 

Thanks for the great info.  Can you tell me a bit more about how different the sound is compared to your jcm800 live?  How would you describe the 

1.  Feel, response, latency

 

2.  The sound quality?  Do you actually like the helix better or the jcm800?

 

 

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