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prudenjim

Tone and preset adjustments for outdoors

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Hi Tonechasers,

 

I’ve gigged with the Helix straight to FOH and, with many of the tips from this forum, have transitioed pretty well from tones I’ve created home, through practice site and on to performance site.

 

I’ve an outdoor gig approaching and was wondering what changes folks make to keep depth and clarity in their presets.

 

Simple Helix->XLR->Mixer set up.  IEM back from mixer.  I don’t expect a sound man this time around.  We may have someone for simply fader mixing but expect to set this on a decent sound check and let it ride.  We’re hoping for an outdoor practice in advance but not sure if it will occur.

 

Classic rock cover band so a preset per song with Snapshots within each preset display 4-preset top, 4 snapshot bottom.

 

I’ve not leveraged GLobal EQ to date.

 

The venue has a tarp cover and within an area enclosed with 6 foot fence.

 

Thanks in advance for any tips.

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I can't say I've ever had to do anything to adjust my presets to an outdoor event.  The only thing that could come into play theoretically is if your presets are designed to exploit the natural reflective ambient sound of an indoor venue in the place of reverb, but that's not a worry for me.  As long as you've normalized your preset/snapshot volumes equally and you get a good soundcheck and gain staging from the mixer it shouldn't be of any concern as far as your guitar channel.  Vocals or mic'd instruments like harmonica or conga drums would be a bigger issue without a dedicated sound man.

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I haven't had to adjust anything when playing outside either.  However, if any of your presets were using the new reverbs from the previous update you'll want to tweak all of those because the latest update made those same reverbs MUCH wetter.  Other than that you should be good to go!

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I found most of my indoor presets transferred pretty well to outdoor shows and required little to no modification. The main differences can be that you may need to crank the whole PA up a bit as you won't have the sound bouncing back at you off a rear wall as you do indoors. If you have a particularly bright preset this can be harsh on the folks in the front due to the increased volume so something to be aware of.  Reverbs may be a little bit less noticeable and reverbs designed to emulate small spaces like a room may not sound as natural outdoors where a reverb designed for emulating a larger space is more in keeping. You may or may not find yourself wanting to use your global EQ. Be ready with at least a high and low cut on the global EQ or even a well placed mid-range boost which you can adjust to taste if you need it.

 

If your PA is louder than usual your more distorted hotter presets with a lower signal to noise ratio may be a bit noisier now but hopefully you have Helix's noise gate dialed in to handle that. Just in general it is not a bad idea to start getting your mix by getting your vocal and even drums levels (especially if the drums are not miked as the band will need to match whatever volume your drummer plays at) and then set the rest of the instruments levels including your guitar(s) and Helix to match up. Depending on how big the space is be ready to crank your solos a bit more than usual if you want them to be heard further from the stage towards the back of the space in the cheap seats. One of the best things you can do is just to make sure you audition your presets at gig volumes or close to it so that you are sure they are not too harsh at full volume.

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20 hours ago, HonestOpinion said:

Be ready with at least a high and low cut on the global EQ or even a well placed mid-range boost which you can adjust to taste if you need it.

 

Just going to add to this that boosting things is sometimes not the way to go. If your mids and tops are well balanced, indoors, they will almost certainly be good out-doors without alteration (sometimes a sharp slapback echo off a building wall can be softened by cutting the upper mids slightly, so it's a bit less intrusive).

 

The part of your eq curve that may potentially change outdoors is from about 300hz down to your low-cut frequency area. That part of the spectrum may need slight tweaking (maybe). The rest should be fine. And do it with global eq, this situation is exactly what it's meant for. You don't want to mess with individual patches.

 

Lastly, resist the urge to boost eqs. If you feel the sound has become less distinct out-doors, instead of boosting the mids---don't. Rather, first try pulling back on some bottom eq bands a touch, as that may solve the indistinctness issue without moving the mid band at all. Before you boost ask yourself if part of the solution could be achieved via just slightly cutting some other band first.

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