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PDXguitarfreak

Eliminating muddy low end (over-saturated) - new guy here!

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Hello! I purchased the Helix a week ago, after using the POD HD500 for the last 7 years. I'm having a ton of fun exploring the capabilities of the unit but seem to be struggling in one particular area. I'm experiencing some over-saturation in the low end when going for medium to high-gain lead tones, and I've explored the forums here and elsewhere to get ideas. I've already tried low cuts (typically I cut at ~120k)... and generally lowering the bass in the amp models too, to around 2 or 3.  It could be me, or something in the way my Helix is generally setup. As a reference point, I'm going for a classic early Van Halen tone (I particularly enjoy his tones on the second album, and Fair Warning). 

 

Given my experience with the HD500, I'm used to tweaking the sag and bias controls, and understand that cranking them (while great for more sustain), can make the low end a bit too smooth (and loss of any crisp edge). However, I didn't have the same issue with the HD500. I could still relatively crank sag and bias (usually around 65-80%) and still retain lower string note clarity with my bridge humbucker. Now, the low end on the high gain patches become way too smooth and lose any crisp edge... it almost sounds as if I'm using a neck pickup instead (well not quite, but approaching that). High strings still cut through the mix though.

 

I am happy to share some sound clips, if that helps. Also, I'm starting to feel that maybe others don't mind that type of tone... most of the YouTube videos that I have watched to get ideas from, they also tend to be okay with a relatively flat sounding lead guitar tone, with little bite. Jason Sadites is a great example, and I don't mean this to be a derogatory statement, as he is a fantastic player and he receives a ton of praise from many Helix owners (I also love that he has committed so much time to sharing his experiences and ideas). I've downloaded all of his patches from the CustomTone website (https://line6.com/customtone/profile/jaysadites/) and they just don't cut through the mix... neither the lows, mids or highs. I can hear that in his YouTube videos too - just kind of sounds too flat to me.  Anyways, I appreciate any comments or recommendations!

 

 

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4 hours ago, PDXguitarfreak said:

  It could be me, or something in the way my Helix is generally setup. 

 

 

Have you altered the Global EQ settings?  Also, a painful lesson I am learning now - your "by yourself" jamming tone will most like not work for a tone that sits well in the mix.   

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You might try playing with mic selection and distance. That can make a big difference. Good luck!

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A lot of what you're experiencing is going to be affected by your output device.  That being said if you're following the general template that Jason Sadites tends to follow you may want to consider different mic's on the cabinets.  Jason tends to have a preference for ribbon mics, which I also prefer and work well in my particular setup with a Yamaha DXR12.  But your setup may respond better to one of the dynamic mics such as the 409 or 421 or even the condenser mics, either of which will be a bit crisper on your low end frequencies.  Possibly even a blend of a 421 and a ribbon might work well.

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What Duned says works for me.  I find Jason's preset approaches great, but the sounds a bit too dark for my taste.  I'll usually do a stereo cab, and either go with the 160/4032(?) mic, and then mix it with either the 57 or one of two 409/421 depending on the amp's response in the high end.  One of those 3 will usually have the right balance of high end bite, but not be shrill or icy.

 

A few times I'll go to the 120(?) ribbon mic, but again it all depends on the bass.  I also find that I run a pre-EQ before the amp. Starting around 120hz, and adjusting until the muddy low end is gone, then at the end of my chain with a PEQ I add in a narrow band of lowend to give my sound some low end punch for palm mutes.

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