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I have just had a couple of hours playing with the Native demo. I must stress that If I was a guitarist I'd have a Helix in a heartbeat. But, I was completely underwhelmed with the general bass content. I've heard it said in many reviews that the Line 6 & the Helix family doesn't ignore bass players and their needs. But I sadly have to disagree. Having only 2 dedicated bass effects (EBS octaver and Darkglass distortion) just isn't enough. I couldn't find a useable filter, and hardly any of the other effects have a blend control which doesn't make them bass friendly. On to amps - the bass world has moved on in recent years and SVT, GK & Mesa heads are not the only choice for the modern player. I have the same issue with the cab choices - why so many 10" choices - 4x10, 6x10 or 8x10. Or some old 1x15 or 1x18 from the 70s. So many bassists today are using 1x12s and 2x12s. The equipment in the bass world has changed significantly compared to even 10 years ago.  The sheer number of bass drive pedals out there is nuts. And lightweight yet powerful amps & cabs too. So many choices of modern different sounding rigs yet they're not here. Come on Line 6, it's time to catch up.

I had put down a deposit on a HX Stomp but I am about to cancel that. I'll happily come back and try again if there's more bass content but until then I'll stick with my Zoom MS60B (still a cracking swiss army knife of effects) on my board. Line 6, you have done an outstanding job for the guitarist, that I can't argue with. Think of how many more units you could sell if the bass content was as varied as the guitar.

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I sympathize with your plight...but I've yet to see the modeler/ multi-fx unit that devotes equal time to bass and guitar stuff. And if there is one, I'll bet that it's lackluster on both ends. You're never gonna find all that in one box... at least not done well.

 

The Zoom you mention is a bass- specific unit, so one would expect it to have more options for our low-end brethren than Helix.... which was never billed as purely a bass player's solution to anything. 

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25 minutes ago, herms said:

Come on Line 6, it's time to catch up. 

 

Catch up with whom? Zoom? I don't think they're too concerned with Zoom at this point. Fractal has fewer bass amps, cabs and effects than the Helix at this point, and not many other companies are making bass multi-FX. I think it's an inherently limited market, really. I've only played with a few bass players who use any effects at all, and those that do usually use a few pedals. I knew one guys who used an old Boss GT-6B...

 

There is another dedicated bass effect that you forgot - the Clawthorne Drive. I think, though, you need to be a little open-minded about using the other effects for bass. One thing that bass players typically want is a parallel dry path, and the nice thing with the Helix is you can add that easily to any effect. Also, the "mix" knob on effects that have it is essentially a blend control. It's a wet/dry balance with 100% dry/100% wet being at 50 (0 is 100% dry, 0% wet; 100 is 0% dry, 100% wet). As far recording, I've been using Native to re-amp all bass tracks recently. It works great, imo.

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I am not a bass player per say, but I do compose/mix bass guitar. I think the Helix could use just a couple more bass amps/cab variation.

 

That said Helix had a drought of bass content at launch, then it got an update that expanded the options for Bass quite nicely. I don't expect it in the next couple of updates (I would prefer if they add new models it is more HX reverbs, and high gain amps in the next couple of updates) though I think the Helix lineup could use one more Bass centric update at some point

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A agree, @Lachdanan0121. I struggled for months to get a good bass sound for rock/pop/alt mixes using Helix Native. Recently, a small company named Kush came out with a REDDI bass preamp plug-in and bingo, I was able to get the tone I was after quickly. So I know its possible using DSP. An update to bass-centric preamps, amps, and cabinets would be very useful to those of us who record and mix, and would expand sales to more bassists. Yeah, the dry parallel path capability really helps, but something seems to be lacking in the modeling and effects for bass.

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I dunno, the only thing I think it's lacking are good fuzz options. I use it as my entire bass rig and I don't shy away from effects at all. While there may not necessarily be things that are bass-specific, most of the effects don't need to be anyway. For example, why does a chorus, flange, phaser, reverb, or delay need to be "bass specific?" These all work great as is. A lot of the legacy stuff works really well for bass, too, including the synths and fuzzes. The Obsidian 7000 you mentioned is absolutely killer, too, one of my favorite effects on the Helix. Again, I do think it could use more in the fuzz department especially, but there's still a lot there.

 

I think it's easy to get caught up in the numbers game, but the reality is that you need to listen to the tones. I've not had any issues getting a great tone with it. Granted that my real rig (prior to the Helix) was a Mesa 400+ into a 1x15" cab, so my tone is pretty much perfectly represented here, but they've certainly covered all of the main tonal options. Certainly there will be people who will say, "But I use this obscure amp!" but that is also true on the guitar side - still no Rockerverb in there, for example. I think the challenge is to stop thinking about it in terms of the gear you are already familiar with and start figuring out what gets you the tone you are after.

 

Also, there is a Sunn 1x12 bass cab option in there as well as two 1x18 (!) options. Though there's no reason you couldn't use any of the guitar cabs if that's what you really wanted.

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I definitely agree that there is a severe need for more modern bass amp models. However, you can try using the guitar cabs and you might be surprised at them. Since we're not at risk of blowing the speaker, they're perfectly safe to use. Most of the bass cabs are too dark and muddy for my taste, although I can make some of them work.

 

I disagree that most of the effects don't have a blend control. Most do. And you can always set up a parallel path to mix in dry signal.

 

You're totally right about usable filters though. I've never been happy with the filter models on any Line6 unit. The "Legacy" Autofilter is the best one still. I wish for a QTron or an MXR Bass Envelope Filter model.

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8 hours ago, tjbassoon said:

I definitely agree that there is a severe need for more modern bass amp models. However, you can try using the guitar cabs and you might be surprised at them. Since we're not at risk of blowing the speaker, they're perfectly safe to use. Most of the bass cabs are too dark and muddy for my taste, although I can make some of them work.

 

I disagree that most of the effects don't have a blend control. Most do. And you can always set up a parallel path to mix in dry signal.

 

You're totally right about usable filters though. I've never been happy with the filter models on any Line6 unit. The "Legacy" Autofilter is the best one still. I wish for a QTron or an MXR Bass Envelope Filter model.

Agreed!

 

Some of the guitar cabs are far better than many bass cabs... for bass use!  One important trick for me is to avoid the use of certain mics (57 Dyn cuts lows!). In my experience, a close (1'') 414 Cond or 121 Ribbon give me the best results. If some cab is too dark, then the 47 Cond helps (this is what comes with the SVT by default). Then the 4038 Ribbon boosts lows too much, it is useful sometimes, but I am not sure if there is the need to boost lows when there are so many cabs that work well. Avoiding medium distance "57 Dyn" is what makes MANY guitar cabs usable for me. 

 

My favorites  bass cabs (Forgive comments in "Spanglish"):    

    image.thumb.png.bee4f91c68d3ec8ea16d1342734f3147.png

 

Also "No cab" works really well for me. With some EQ to tame and "voice" high frequencies, but totally transparent with lows. It avoids phasing issues. We bass players have enough with our "FRFR" cabs, they are not that "transparent" in the lows, so there is no need to make the problem twice as bad.

 

I have certain theory why some "good" or "professional" or "thoroughly recorded" cab models are not so great with the Helix or any other modeller. Their responses are anything but "tight". 1x18 Woody Blue may sound good with headphones, but I doubt it is good with the full band and using any practical real cab in stage with the full band at high volume. To me it sounds really BAD. I can understand why some bass multi effect users are enthusiastic with their presets tuned with headphones without a band and then in the first rehearsal the band tell them "This is for guitars, your old bass amp sounded way better".

 

 

 

==================

 

About the blend: Some overdrives / distortion have. And this is great because this avoids certain subtle problems that appear when using parallel paths. The problem with parallels paths (besides being very limited in number) has to do with phasing issues, they are different for each amplifier or overdrive. These issues are far worse in bass than in guitar. I know that this topic can be very controversial. Some ODs don't have a blend control, but they work at low / moderate gains "as if" they had a clean parallel path. If you play bass I recommend to try Teemah! for this reason. Teemah! and Obsidian 7000 are my favorite dirts. I have a preset that is simply Teemah! plus an EQ (instead of cab) plus effects, this is one of my favorites with the band. Because it is "rich enough" but "TIGHT". And I need my bass to sound very tight in many songs / band situations.

 

Next in my "OD" list are 3 bass amps (SV Beast and Tuck'n'Go) and then Clawthorn Drive. There are many usable blocks to create OD / Distortion, some are bass amps, some are guitar amps.  IME many of them are totally unusable for bass. But there are some surprises, for example the LEGACY heavy distortion (this one requires a parallel path). Or the Tube Screamer emulation is too "treebly", but does not CUT bass, so it admits EQ to restore bass... and does not require a parallel path! (it works better in a band context this way).

 

I really would like to add a blend control in overdrives and distortions. Now I know it is not trivial to add if done properly.

 

Hope it helps.

 

 

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I haven't experienced the phasing issues, but I definitely find parallel paths annoying. Rather just have a good-for-bass fuzz in there. I forgot to mention that the legacy synths in particular are great for bass. The newer ones don't trigger very well with bass, IMO, but the legacy ones are quite nice. I have one patch with two different synths going on a parallel path. One triggers the synth strings with an autoswell and reverb to reinforce what the keys are doing in that section of the song, the other essentially works as a sub-bass for extra deep low end. It's HUGE and amazing. This is all happening underneath a distorted (via the Obsidian) bass tone. Shoot, just the pedals I would need to make this happen with real pedals would cost as much as the Helix...

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Good info in this thread for bass players. For those of you who do some recording, I want to recommend again that the Kush REDDI DI preamp plug-in is fantastic. I'm not affiliated with Kush; I just love this plug-in. I use it for straight DI tracks, as well as a plug-in insert right before Helix Native to get better harmonics and saturation. Sometimes I'll blend a DI/REDDI track with a Helix amp modeled track. Here's a short review.

 

And .... I do wish Line 6 would provide a good bass preamp model in some future release. 

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1 minute ago, soundog said:

And .... I do wish Line 6 would provide a good bass preamp model in some future release. 

 

Isn't that what the Darkglass B7K (the Obsidian 7000) is?

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1 hour ago, phil_m said:

Isn't that what the Darkglass B7K (the Obsidian 7000) is?

 

Yes. There's also a tube preamp that's technically for mics that you could use. Or as another poster here said, just run an amp with no cab. Bass preamps are just DIs with EQ, basically, which can easily be done any number of ways on the Helix.

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The B7K leans more towards being a modern digital overdrive/distortion pedal with EQ; great for metal, hard rock. The REDDI is a big honkin' old-school analog tube-driven preamp, perfect for that fat round tone in hip-hop, R&B, rock, country, and pop. There's a reason so many recording engineers swear by it.

 

Having both bass pre’s modeled would be the best of both worlds! Whatever, I'm getting the tone I want through the Kush plug-in for tracking.

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Hmm. To me the offered preamp stages of the two Cali models and the Ampeg (though I rarely use that, I don't like the Ampeg sound in general) are pretty sufficient, and there's still the Aguilar and others available. I don't use the Darkglass because it sounds too harsh for me, instead I either use a guitar pedal like the Deranged Master or a blend of a guitar amp and a bass amp.

Without wanting to offend anyone: I'd rather check if there isn't a way to get the sound you desire with the amps and FX that are already available. You can always add an EQ inbetween stages and do a lot of tone bending, you have the IR block that can also be used in various places. I know the desire to have more different models available, but often enough the flexibility offered by the existing ones is actually sufficient. And I'd rather have Line6 focus on a few good models than to add mediocre ones on every update.

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I like the helix bass content but it would be cool if we got some of the bass gear that Line 6 modelled in the past with there former bass modelling gear. There seems to be a trend that they model the same standard: amps, effects, cabs, etc with each new generation of modelling tech; so, I would guess that eventually those bass models might end up in helix in some form. It would make so happy considering that the lowdown series amp is what I have used and recorded with and to wrote a bunch of my songs with it’s specific sounds and looking into upgrading my rig with something more user friendly and flexible would be great. Would cheaper and more effective to get it in one box instead of buying each component to replicate it what I have in the lowdown. Oh, well. Time will tell.  

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I'm a bass player, and a newish owner of a Helix HX Effects.  So my perspective is a bit different, as the unit doesn't have any amp or cab models.
I don't think I'm lacking anything, except that the factory presets don't help me, so I'm making everything from scratch.  Other than that, I as a bassist don't feel shortchanged at all.  So far I'm really happy with it, and really impressed that modeling of this quality is now available at an affordable price point.

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I use my helix for bass and guitar.   I haven't had a problem with either, the bass models work great and you just have to dial them in. Hell, Billy Sheehan uses one live. 

 

For a great nasty bass fuzz use the wounded paw battering ram model, it kills. Or and fuzz together. 

 

The woody blue and gk 800 models are the best sounding for my styles.

 

But live I use my helix in conjunction with a mesa prodigy head and bergantino nv610 cab. I add some of on the front or some modulation effects here and there.

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This is a bit of self-promotion here, but the Helix was used for all the bass tones on my band's album (and all the guitar tones, too): https://gunbladex.bandcamp.com/album/dark-dragon-king. Naturally there is a bit of processing after the fact, but nothing that couldn't have been done on the Helix. Just a bit of multi-band compression and EQ. Most of the album is heavy, so it may not suit everyone's tastes, but all of the tones are produced by the Mesa 400+ model with the 2x15 cab. Distortion is done by the Obsidian, occasional fuzz here and there but I can't remember which models (typically done by splitting to a separate, high-passed track for the fuzz). Child's Play also adds in a couple of the legacy synths to achieve a sub bass effect as well as to round out the synth pads.

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This past weekend I was dialing in a metal bass guitar tone with the software in my DAW. I have a parallel setup with EQs set to have one path be the lows, and the other path be the signal chain for the mids/highs. I got a decent chain doing this, and was thinking about popping Fabfilter's Saturn in there for a little distortion. However, I opted to try the Helix native with the bass pedals.

 

The Clawthorn was alright but not what I wanted, but as soon as I tried the Obsidian after adjusting parameters I had what I wanted, and didn't even need Saturn. I actually got better results with it than I was expecting from Saturn. So I have to reiterate that the Obsidian pedal is one very nice addition to the Helix for bass work.

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It’s been awhile since anyone commented on this thread, so just wondering if it’s gotten any better for the low Enders?

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I've been using my LT exclusively for Bass for 12 months now and have gotten to the point where I don't use an AMP/CAB on stage, unless there is no foldback or IEM available.

 

the 2.80 update provided the Ampeg SVT Pro model which I have swapped over to. previously I was using the GK800.

 

Rather than using a cab block, I use an EQ at the end of the chain.

 

There are some really great Bass information from Dr Tone's Secret Helix Lab (drtonelab.com). Jon Willis has done some amazing work in "normalising" but bass and guitar amps for use with Bass.

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On 10/15/2018 at 10:23 AM, phil_m said:

 

Catch up with whom? Zoom? I don't think they're too concerned with Zoom at this point. Fractal has fewer bass amps, cabs and effects than the Helix at this point, and not many other companies are making bass multi-FX. I think it's an inherently limited market, really. I've only played with a few bass players who use any effects at all, and those that do usually use a few pedals. I knew one guys who used an old Boss GT-6B...

 

There is another dedicated bass effect that you forgot - the Clawthorne Drive. I think, though, you need to be a little open-minded about using the other effects for bass. One thing that bass players typically want is a parallel dry path, and the nice thing with the Helix is you can add that easily to any effect. Also, the "mix" knob on effects that have it is essentially a blend control. It's a wet/dry balance with 100% dry/100% wet being at 50 (0 is 100% dry, 0% wet; 100 is 0% dry, 100% wet). As far recording, I've been using Native to re-amp all bass tracks recently. It works great, imo.

 

Yeah, this is a great point. I use my LT for bass all the time, and like you said, the reality is that technically every effect on the unit has a blend control, you set up a parallel un-effected path, and then use the split block as your blend.  To try and put the Zoom stuff on the same level as the Helix is just silly.  With it being a bass specific unit, I'm sure it has more things that say "bass" before them (Bass Phaser, Bass Flanger, whatever) but so what?  And as far as no 12" cabs go, you can put the bass "amps" into the 12" cabs pretty easy....  

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