Jump to content
LineFever

Helix - Volume adjustments

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

 

I find it difficult to adjust the overall output volume as I create my chain.

Do you find best to start with your master output at 12 o'clock or at MAX?

 

Pros & Cons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep mine at around 2 o'clock. More than that and I start/(imagine) to notice unwanted clipping. This is with the spdif output. I never really looked at it closely as to why it clips above that, but there are other points in my signal chain where volume can be adjusted, so it may not be because of Helix. Not sure if there are any pros or cons to how you adjust your volume points. It's either going to sound acceptable or not.

 

But if your talking about adjusting the level of individual blocks within Helix, then you can make the tone sound different just because of those level changes. And depending on what you want to achieve tonewise, there must be pros and cons to how you make those level adjustments.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally,  I like headroom... if you dime the master volume, you've got nowhere to go. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My master volume only controls my 1/4 output which goes to my monitor on stage. This allows me to control my onstage volume from the master volume but sends a consistent and full volume signal via the XLR output to the FOH.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI. The Master Volume knob, when turned up all of the way, is supposed to be at unity gain. What does this mean? What it is supposed to mean is the input and output signals are the same. But wait a minute, you can change the outputs to Line, Mic (XLR outputs only) or Instrument (1/4" outputs only)(not sure about the FX sends, I don't use them). Now what? One way of explaining it is when you turn the Master Volume knob all of the way up, if you were to plug in a guitar (an instrument level object) to the GUITAR IN input and have nothing at all in the internal path of the Helix; the signal coming out of the 1/4" outputs, when set to instrument level, should be exactly the same as if you plugged your guitar directly into whatever you're plugging your Helix into. The same should apply to the MIC IN input. Again, with the Master Volume knob turned all of the way up and with the Helix's MIC IN gain set to 0dB; if you have a mic plugged into the MIC IN and have the XLR outputs set to mic level with nothing in the path of the Helix, the output of the Helix should be no different than if you plug the mic in directly to the same thing.  Another way of thinking about it is the Mater Volume knob doesn't turn anything up. It only turns the signal down. So theoretically, for the best signal, you should have it turned up all the way. This, by the way, is what happens when your Master Volume knob has no control over the output. It is the same as if the Master Volume knob was turned all of the way up. So if the Master Volume knob only has control over the 1/4" output and not the XLR's (as in HonestOpinion's example and is what I do as well). The XLR's output will be the same as if the Master Volume knob was turned all of the way up. I hope this helps. I have never actually tested this before.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I have some questions about volume levels also. I have recently purchased a Mackie 1608 digital mixer. I notice I have to keep the channel volume on helix very low in order to keep the mixer from clipping. This is true with just a simple amp patch- no FX- For example the placater dirty amp patch with the gain around 2 master volume around 6 and channel volume around 3or4- Then I have to keep the main volume knob on the unit at about 11 o'clock.

 

Does this sound normal?  I always ran it higher and did the xlr out with no volume knob as suggested, which usually sounded ok at home, but often had issues at gigs.

 

Does the lower volume setting above seem correct? I feel like I need a reality check, but (at home....with fairly high volume in pa), this seems to be a major improvement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I'm dialing in my presets I have my master volume set at 11:00.  Like those mentioned above, my XLR out is disabled from using the master volume.  However, that doesn't mean the signal level being sent to the board is always going to be consistent across all presets or snapshots.  That's determined by the settings within the presets/snapshot, but having a consistent signal level whether it's going to your monitor or to the board is vital for maintaining a good mix.

 

I do this at home by measuring the signal level of my 1/4" output through a small Alexis mixing board with my master volume set to 11 o'clock.  I try to maintain a target of around -6db on the signal meters so I know my XLR out will have a consistent level as well.  Generally speaking this 11 o'clock setting is about perfect for getting a good stage mix with the rest of the band with my DXR12 set to unity or 0 db.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, scottwilliams said:

Hi

I have some questions about volume levels also. I have recently purchased a Mackie 1608 digital mixer. I notice I have to keep the channel volume on helix very low in order to keep the mixer from clipping. This is true with just a simple amp patch- no FX- For example the placater dirty amp patch with the gain around 2 master volume around 6 and channel volume around 3or4- Then I have to keep the main volume knob on the unit at about 11 o'clock.

 

Does this sound normal?  I always ran it higher and did the xlr out with no volume knob as suggested, which usually sounded ok at home, but often had issues at gigs.

 

Does the lower volume setting above seem correct? I feel like I need a reality check, but (at home....with fairly high volume in pa), this seems to be a major improvement.

 

There are several things to consider here.  Every amp model is different in terms of it's volume output because the circuit measurements on the inputs and outputs are different on the various stages of the amp, and that is what's being modeled.  This is why I use a signal meter to set mine consistently across the various amp models I might use.

 

Ideally if you're not using the helix master volume for your XLR out you should probably also ensure you're setting it to Mic level line signal as that would be what's typically expected on most mixing boards.  If you have it set at line level that may account for why some boards are having trouble gain staging it.

 

As I mentioned in my above response, I set my master volume at 11 o'clock and measure the signal coming out of my 1/4" out targeting a consistent -6db on the signal meter.  With my XLR set to Mic level signal no one has ever complained about not being able to gain stage it adequately.  This assumes, of course, you're dealing with someone running the mixing board that understands how to gain stage a channel correctly...which can sometimes be a big leap of faith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, LineFever said:

Hey everyone,

 

I find it difficult to adjust the overall output volume as I create my chain.

Do you find best to start with your master output at 12 o'clock or at MAX?

 

Pros & Cons?

 

I'm still very new to the Helix. 

 

When I first started building patches or even messing with presets, my first thought was "what is up with the volume?"

 

The Helix is still quite the puzzle to me....but what I've been doing is utilizing the output "blocks"(round ones that are always present at the end of the chain). I have my volume knob set around 11ish....I build a patch....adjusting amp channel settings and other effect levels, ect....then adjust the output "block/circle" to taste. i've adjusted it from 0 all the way to 10db-12db depending on my patch.

 

Again, still new to it....and this might the wrong way to go about it.

 

The Helix is not plug and play, be prepared to put some time into turning dials and getting a big grin from what you create.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, kennyhickey said:

 i've adjusted it from 0 all the way to 10db-12db depending on my patch.

 

Again, still new to it....and this might the wrong way to go about it.

 

 

 

Well as long as the end result works and nothing is clipping, then it's not "wrong" per se, but... a 10 or 12dB boost is on the hefty side. Needing that much suggests that one or more levels farther back in the chain might be set kinda low. The channel volume in the amp block would be the first place to look, but most FX blocks have a level or gain parameter... culprit(s) could be anywhere.

 

I use the output block too adjust volumes too, often just as a boost for a solo, but rarely find the need to go more than 2 or 3 dB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, kennyhickey said:

 

I'm still very new to the Helix. 

 

When I first started building patches or even messing with presets, my first thought was "what is up with the volume?"

 

The Helix is still quite the puzzle to me....but what I've been doing is utilizing the output "blocks"(round ones that are always present at the end of the chain). I have my volume knob set around 11ish....I build a patch....adjusting amp channel settings and other effect levels, ect....then adjust the output "block/circle" to taste. i've adjusted it from 0 all the way to 10db-12db depending on my patch.

 

Again, still new to it....and this might the wrong way to go about it.

 

The Helix is not plug and play, be prepared to put some time into turning dials and getting a big grin from what you create.

 

 

 

If you think about it the Helix actually is plug and play if you were to be plugging and playing into a bunch of different amps and effects everytime you plugged in.  But it does look like you've caught on to the most important thing which is to select a level for the Helix master volume knob and work on adjusting each patch to get them to the same level.  There's really nothing mysterious about it once you consider what "modeling" is really all about which is simulating the input and output effect of an electronic circuit on a given signal.  Obviously a signal is affected differently by the circuits of a Fender Twin than it is on a HiWatt or a Marshall.  So even with actual equipment you'd have to be making some adjustments to get them somewhat near the same level of output.  There's no difference here once you get that paradigm firmly established in your mind.

 

There's nothing wrong with simply making adjustments to the output block and I've done that as well occasionally.  My personal preference is to start with the amp's channel volume as that won't affect the tone and most of the time that works out for me.  Once in a while I'm just not that comfortable going that high on the channel volume and will defer to using the output block for some additional gain in signal level.  I'm kind of in agreement with Cruisinon2 that an adjustment of 10 or 12 db on the output block makes me a bit nervous, but I can't specifically state it's going to cause a problem unless maybe you were to crank up the Helix master volume knob significantly.  The one other place you can safely increase the gain on the signal without affecting tone is on the cabinet output.  I used to use that when I first started, but now prefer to use the amp channel volume or the output block which one way or another has never failed to give me the signal level output I want.

 

The thing with effects I've learned is to try and maintain the same signal level with the effect on or off.  That of course doesn't apply in some cases to boost or distortion pedals for leads or sometimes compressors, but 99% of the time that's a good rule to follow so you aren't constantly driving your signal level higher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

There's nothing wrong with simply making adjustments to the output block and I've done that as well occasionally.  My personal preference is to start with the amp's channel volume as that won't affect the tone and most of the time that works out for me.

 

Good to know the channel volume on the amp won't affect tone, i'll start by adjusting that. 

 

2 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

a 10 or 12dB boost is on the hefty side. Needing that much suggests that one or more levels farther back in the chain might be set kinda low.

 

This was on a clean patch with some modulation, I will experiment more with levels in the chain.

 

I don't want to hijack this thread....hopefully LineFever has gained some insight on different ways to adjust volume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

Personally,  I like headroom... if you dime the master volume, you've got nowhere to go. 

 

1 hour ago, kennyhickey said:

 

Good to know the channel volume on the amp won't affect tone, i'll start by adjusting that. 

 

 

This was on a clean patch with some modulation, I will experiment more with levels in the chain.

 

I don't want to hijack this thread....hopefully LineFever has gained some insight on different ways to adjust volume.

 

I can confirm what brue58ski mentioned which is bringing the master volume at MAX is as if your signal chain is flat/bypassed to amp

 

Let me remind you that bringing the master volume down, will remove overall dynamics from your playing, so in some way, this can affect your tone & headroom, in a similar way then it is when you plug into a Tube amp, and your master vol is slightly to low for it to sound good... you need to reach that extra step in order for your amp to react and respond like it should...

 

So brue58ski has the right answer I find, set your master at MAX... and if needs be, you lower down the volume when your doing live sessions or something...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, LineFever said:

 

 

I can confirm what brue58ski mentioned which is bringing the master volume at MAX is as if your signal chain is flat/bypassed to amp

 

Let me remind you that bringing the master volume down, will remove overall dynamics from your playing, so in some way, this can affect your tone & headroom, in a similar way then it is when you plug into a Tube amp, and your master vol is slightly to low for it to sound good... you need to reach that extra step in order for your amp to react and respond like it should...

 

So brue58ski has the right answer I find, set your master at MAX... and if needs be, you lower down the volume when your doing live sessions or something...

 

 

 

Having your Helix master volume set below maximum will in NO WAY affect your tone or dynamics.  This is the digital world and it only controls the line signal signal level.  If you're going into the effect return of an amp, that's a pure power amp with no tone stack and should be providing clean power.  It may have an effect if you have the helix master volume too low due to the well documented Fletcher Munson effect, but that has nothing to do with any equipment other than your ears.  The VAST majority of us do not set our master volumes at max.  We might disengage the volume control from the XLR going to the mixing board which will send a full signal to the board, but once that signal is gain staged at the mixer there's no difference between the inherent tone of that signal and the one you're using on stage.

 

The Helix master volume has no relationship at all to the behavior of a guitar amp's master volume which does affect, in most cases, the tone and overdriven nature of the amp.

 

We really don't need any more voodoo superstitions floating around when it comes to this technology....we have enough of them relating to tube amps.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, LineFever said:

 

 

I can confirm what brue58ski mentioned which is bringing the master volume at MAX is as if your signal chain is flat/bypassed to amp

 

Let me remind you that bringing the master volume down, will remove overall dynamics from your playing, so in some way, this can affect your tone & headroom, in a similar way then it is when you plug into a Tube amp, and your master vol is slightly to low for it to sound good... you need to reach that extra step in order for your amp to react and respond like it should...

 

So brue58ski has the right answer I find, set your master at MAX... and if needs be, you lower down the volume when your doing live sessions or something...

 

 

My bad

 I thought due to the amount of posts you had that you were a newbie looking for help but it looks like you have it all  figured out.

 What would you do if you need more volume in said live session? Go into edit and adjust everything during the live session?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DunedinDragon said:

We really don't need any more voodoo superstitions floating around when it comes to this technology....we have enough of them relating to tube amps.

 

 

Amen....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, kennyhickey said:

My bad

 I thought due to the amount of posts you had that you were a newbie looking for help but it looks like you have it all  figured out.

 What would you do if you need more volume in said live session? Go into edit and adjust everything during the live session?

 

It's never going to be feasible to go adjusting volume patch by patch in a live situation, and it is unnecessary to do so. Everybody needs a little headroom for whatever your using to hear yourself on stage.... so leave some. Don't dime the master volume. The assertions about Helix's master volume affecting tone and dynamics are just plain incorrect. The master volume parameter in an amp block will affect your tone, yes... but the giant physical knob on the front, no. Not even a little. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

 

 

We really don't need any more voodoo superstitions floating around when it comes to this technology....we have enough of them relating to tube amps.

 

Tube amps HAha... We have enough superstitions that plague every facet of our lives, especially in the freaking South where I currently live. People need their superstitious fix, as for many it is an addiction.

 

On Topic, I usually find my master vol at about 11 to 12.   Anymore seems like too much, I already have my XLR output set to Mic level, and the volume on the studio monitors almost to the lowest it will go.  So I don't have tons of choice really.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×