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meshica7

Helix + Bass and /or Chapman Stick users...?

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Howdy all!

 

1st off I am a newbie..really newbie as I don't own a Helix..yet. I am a bassist and Stickist..I own a 10 string Stick and an NS Stick.

 

I am pure analog at the moment. Instrument>effects board>pre-amp>amp>speaker. I had a situation a few weeks ago on stage that lead me here..to Helix..by way of recommendation. My Carvin MB12 w/ ext cab blew up on me during our set (last song, luckily) and I have gone back to using my old rig which consists of a Behringer Bass V Amp Pro and a Crown 2000 Watt amp in a rack pushing a Behringer 4x10 cab (damn thing weighs 90lbs by itself!) and my effects board which is a HoleyBoard Wide loaded with a Bass Whammy,Tech 21 VT Bass,Tech 21 Boost Chorus,Electro-Harmonix Big Bass Muff,Donner Mini Looper, Donner vol/wah, and Donner Multi delay/chorus/dist. I sometimes use the Behringer FCB 1010 along with my HoleyBoard. That's a lot of gear to lug around...heavy gear. My Carvin is gonna cost a bit to fix since Carvin is no longer making that amp (actually I think Carvin is out of business?) and a rebuild of the power section would be necessary to get it running. I'd rather turn it into a stand alone cab.

 A friend/bassist introduced me to the Helix. He uses just the LT and IEM..that's it. He was a die hard analog guy and he knew what I was gonna say.."But dude..no amp onstage? No air being pushed up against your back reassuring you? Total reliability on the monitor system?". Not having an amp onstage to me seems a bit scary. Maybe in the future..after my back gives out from hauling around that damned 90 lb cab. After he demonstrated the Helix's routing options, ease of use (I'm MIDIphobic...so the Helix's simple UI is a huge plus for me) and modelling software, I started to rethink my rig. So I'm off to his house this week for a full on demo, Stick and bass in hand. My budget, fortunately, can accommodate either the Floor, the LT, or the Rack+Control+Expression Pedal. And I found out that my blown Carvin Micro can be converted to a stand alone cab for next to nothing and since I also have the ext cab for a little extra Umph! I won't have to lug around that 90 lb cab.

 

Anyway...what I am wanting to do is the following:

 

Scenario 1: With a bass. 1 mono signal to the Helix from my bass, then split and processed as 2 signals, one clean with efx and one dirty with efx, mixed internally, then sent out as one signal to my amp/monitor/house, what have you. In the future would like two outs but let's keep it simple for now.

 

Scenario 2: With my Chapman Stick. Same as Scenario 1 but running two signals into the Helix from my Stick or NS Stick (stereo instruments), one input for the Bass side and one for the Melody, and processing each signal separate.

 

I currently am only playing bass with my band as adding the Stick would require a second amp and a second set of stomp boxes to get the full benefit of the split stereo pickups. When I do play the Stick I run it into a small mixer and then to my Holeyboard which gives me the ability to mix the signal levels but not process them separate with their own efx unless I bring more pedals, cables, amps, etc. Nope..I'm trying to scale down my rig as it is.

 

Any input and advice would be greatly welcomed and appreciated!

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Its good you can try a unit out with your basses to see how you like the bass amp models. I personally think they come up a bit short (compared to guitar), although I don't perform with bass live. The effects and stomp boxes would serve you well for sure. But you should be able to see if a Helix will work, or if you prefer sticking to an amp and using a Helix FX for stompboxes. And .... if you're satisfied with the bass amp(s) in Helix through a full-range speaker, you will be able to achieve just about any routing you want, and can even have presets that switch between your basses, with different EQ, FX, etc for each. Amazing flexibility.

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The Helix Floor or Rack will have enough inputs for you for this. I am not a bass/stick player but I do use two electric guitars, one of them with an added piezo bridge. I have my main guitar magnetics connected to Helix guitar input, and the piezo bridge connected to one of the Helix returns. I have the piezo and magnetics on separate signal paths to process them separately. I have each of those controlled by two separate expression pedals so I can control the level of each with my feet. My backup guitar is plugged into the Aux input. I don't process that signal separately, but I could if I wanted. 

 

Your two scenarios should be possible. The mono bass split into clean/dirty is a piece of cake. That would use up paths 1A and 1B in the Helix. For your stick dual outputs, you can connect them to two of the returns in the helix and process them separately or together. That would be done on paths 2A and 2B. 

 

You would have to give the amp models and effects a try though to see if you could get close approximations to your analog gear. Sweetwater has a 30 day return policy, so you could give it a try. 

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Everything you describe should work just fine.  One way to find out if you like the results is to download a free trial of the Helix Native plug-in and use it with a computer and audio interface that has two inputs with pre-amps.  That way you have fifteen days to see what you think and you get a good introduction to everything except the physical aspects of the Helix floor and rack units.  The Helix Native user interface is essentially identical to HX Edit, which is used for remote configuration of the hardware versions.

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Using a trial on Helix Native is a brilliant way to try out the "hardware" (assuming you have a decent audio interface).

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I speak from very recent experience, since that’s how I convinced myself to buy the Helix that arrived Saturday!

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Helix Floor bass user here. Your scenarios definitely work, and I can add something else: Depending on what you want to do with it, the Helix works great for bass. Most of the guitar amps and cabs obviously won't work well with a bass, but there is still a broad and usable selection of bass amps, bass cabs and FX. And you can of course load your own IRs. I can strongly recommend the Helix for that.

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I use a 10 string Chapman Stick with ACTV-2 block. Everything works fine using the FX returns as inputs. The output from ACTV-2 is a bit low so I use a gain block to compensate.
Could perhaps use the guitar input and the aux with a DI box. I haven't bothered yet, because with returns I have less boxes to carry.

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Awesome! Thanx for all the replies folks! I didn't know about the trial download. I will def check that out.

I am very excited about trying out the gear this Thursday and will def post my experiences here.

Now..I need to convince my guitarist about this..he is really not into the idea at all. :)

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Update

Well I spent the better part of this morning at my friend's house where he let me experiment with his Helix LT and Helix Rack+Controller.

After a few minutes of just mucking about with rudimentary settings I was able to dial in a nice stereo scenario on my Stick. Man..it was clean when it needed to be and grindy when it should be! I was impressed with the sounds but blown away by the ease of use. Within a couple of minutes I was up and running and enjoying just playing. We then moved on to a bass setup. Dialed in a dual signal path with a clean and a dirty signal. He had a damn close Pierce Preamp sound going and a nice clean signal with plenty of low end boom and growl. And lollipop...that unit is so damned responsive! I mean..I have heard a lot about the unit's ability to recreate not only the sound but also the feel and response to articulation in one's playing style. Even at a low volume the particular setting we had dialed in sounded amazing. I was coxing sounds and manipulating tones out of my Sire V7 that I have been chasing for years. I fell into a 30 minute jam just enjoying the variety of setting my friend was running through while I just let loose. So much to express...so much to convey. I know..sounds like I had a spiritual experience..well...maybe I did. To me music is as spiritual as it is organic. 

 So..I am leaning towards the Rack+Controller+Exp Pedal.

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That's what it is about. If you find a piece of equipment that allows you to play more and be inspired, then it's a home run. 

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Well..I am ordering my Helix Rack+Controller+Galaxy Pedal next Fri and having it shipped to my home.

My friend said I am more than welcomed to come by his place to get a quick "how to". A refresher in basic path theory wouldn't hurt either!

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Wonderful!  I’m glad to hear you had a positive experience and have decided to jump in.  I’m certainly having a blast with mine.

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I'm certainly excited and I'm sure I will visit the forums often for advice!!

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