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New to Helix...long term Marshall user. Need advice


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I recently purchased a Helix floor model.  I have been using Marshalls since the mid 70’s and own a 69’ plexi, a 72’ 50 watt jmp, a DSL-50, several DSL-40’s as well as a DSL-1Cr combo and a few Marshall code modeling amps.  In adition I have a number of cabinets including a mid 70’s 1960B checkerboard with blackback Celestion 25watt G12M speakers.  I have been very happy with my Marshalls.


that being said, I purchased a Helix floor.  My goal is to get a very portable rig but still have that Marshall sound.  I am running the Helix into a EV ZLX12P powered monitor.  I went thru the existing presets and found a few that are ok....the clean sounds on the Helix are good.  The lead sounds all sound somewhat sterile....and are missing the Marshall bite.  I need help.


i have started with the Brit 2204 preset.  Please help me dial in this unit......not impressed so far.  My 72’ JMP50 with the 1960b cab with blackback slays my Helix....so far.  I really want the Helix to work..


thanks in advance.

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Can be daunting trying to dial in a great 'lead' tone, especially when your used to your valve Marshall's. I've had L6 stuff for years and years and just bought a Helix (rack) two weeks ago..I have to say I wish I'd bought one sooner. I like the EVH/Splawn/Friedman sound and struggled to get that...so cheated! I'm not encouraging you to spend money or am affiliated in ANY way but I bought a pre made 'pack' from Choptones and downloaded it onto the Helix...very very good.


I would suggest taking a look at what they have to offer either via their website or check out their various 'pack demo's' on youtube in the first instance...they do some Marshall packs. They offer a great starting point with tone and you can then also see how they go about using the 'blocks' and what eq they use etc to get the tone. If you go on their FB site they have a 40% discount code which you can use. 


I haven't used any of the free downloads from users on the L6 website yet but will try a few out this weekend, some will work for you I'm sure.


The Helix is great, will I ever get rid of my valve 5150iii...no. But once you've found the patch for you, you will be really pleased with it. I've had Kemper & Axe FX...I think the Helix wins..IMO.



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Hi birwood62,

You can get great produced marshall sounds with the Helix - which is not exactly the same as standing in front of a 4x12.

To begin with the Helix is reproducing a Mic'ed cab - so you get the sound of the mic'ed amp not the sound (and hit) of a 4x12.

If you got to have exactly that to be happy, try the power cab - that's it's reason for being - https://line6.com/powercab/

But if you could be happy in the studio hearing a great mic'ed and produced amp wound up through big studio monitors (compression, reverb etc) then you can get that!

The first port of call would generally be some IRs of cabs like the ones you know - Ownhammer or Celestion IRs might make you more happy.

Then you need to adjust the high and low cuts - depends on how the IR was made, but generally in the studio you need some savage EQ before that mic sounds like we all immagine a Marshall in the room.  Drastic high and low cuts are common, regularly right down to say 5K in the high end and maybe 80-100Hz in the lows.

Remember that what you hear through the system you have at the moment is what you will hear out of FOH.

If you need a Marshall "up your lollipop" to feel good - check the power cab - and if that doesn't do it for you, you aren't going to get happiness out of any modeller.


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9 hours ago, briwood62 said:

i have started with the Brit 2204 preset.  Please help me dial in this unit......not impressed so far.  My 72’ JMP50 with the 1960b cab with blackback slays my Helix....so far.  I really want the Helix to work..



Try looking at Jason Sadites "Dialing In" series on YouTube.


Here's one specifically dealing with the 2204 model.



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9 hours ago, briwood62 said:

My 72’ JMP50 with the 1960b cab with blackback slays my Helix....


As far as an "amp in the room" sound, I would think this would be very true. But what happens when you put your 1960b in another room, put a mic on it, then listen to it through your EV ZLX12P powered monitor? That's the real comparison... because that is the final sound the Helix is emulating. 

  • When recording, that full blown Marshall is stripped down to what the MIC captures.
  • When live through a PA that Marshall is stripped down to what the MIC captures.
  • What you hear on stage is the 4x12... what everyone else hears is what the MIC has captured.

You need to get used to hearing yourself the way everyone else does, not the way you always heard it before, and that takes some getting used to. 


I've been going direct for many years (when applicable) and find it really has it's advantages once you get used to it. With an amp, I was often disappointed with my sound when I would go out front and heard it through the PA. I learned that it was much thinner than I was always hearing on stage. With a modeler, I dial in my tone through an FRFR to get it how I like it.. and the sound out front is now consistent with what I hear. 


Keep an open mind, and take your time understanding how it all works. It's very rewarding once you get it figured out. 


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I very much appreciate the advice.  Several replies here nailed what I am hearing,  it sounds like I am sitting in the control room listening to my Marshalls....not actually being in front of them.  I am using a powered ElectroVoice ZLX-12P with the helix but the sound out of it is blah....I may be too used to hearing the actual breakup of old 25 watt Celestions mounted in old 1960B cabs.  


Time will tell on the Helix...i hope it works out...but...it seems to be missng the dynamics of the speaker / cabinet combo as well as the bite of the tubes.  


Here is a pic of what I am attempting to replace.  


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Have you ever heard your amp through mic/IR and your monitor/headphones only?
If not, get the reactive load box and connect your amp to Helix and monitor. Use path 1 for your amp and path 2 for Hx emulation. Check if you can find IR that suits you, compare and tweak emulation to get the sound you like.
If you can not find IR that make you feel comfortable - make your own. Take your amp to the studio or to the basement and capture IR using flat response power amp.
If you can not bare the sound of miced and monitored amp/cab (I know guitarist who can't) so the future of your relation with any amp modeller (as replacement) is hopeless :(

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I'm a fan of a raging Marshall as well, although I no longer own any. As others have stated, it's not the same experience as standing in front of an amp. More like playing in the control room with your amp raging away in an iso booth. Check out the Placater Dirty amp (Friedman BE-100, i.e. hot-rodded Marshall). I'm liking it. 


I've also become fond of Jason's split crossover trick that he discussed in his videos. Playing around mic choice and distance makes a big difference too.

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(JMP1/EL84 20-20/GMajor/2x1912 user here)

The comments about the Helix not being 'amp in the room' are well made.  The Helix is a 'studio in a box' for guitars, and by that I mean the whole thing - before amp effects, amp, cab, mic, channel strip on the desk, studio fx ...  what it produces for you is the sound you would commit to tape/disk, not the sound you'd get standing in front of 2 4x12 cabs.


So that's the downside.  The upside is it's waaaay lighter and smaller than your current rig, it's not going to destroy your hearing, your audience are going to hear the mix of your band much better than if you're essentially on backline because the PA can't cope with your rig, and the engineer at your next gig is so much less likely to screw up your sound.  If you're recording you can just plug the USB into your computer and play.


I was struggling to get the sound I wanted until I headed over to the redwirez site and bought the 1960B T75 IR pack.  Dial in your 2204, pick the SM57 Cap Edge off axis IR set and look for the distance you need - I like 0.5" or 1" - and you will nail your Marshall sound.

For live, unless you can count on a PA with good monitors you're going to need some kind of FRFR cab.  Being a Black Country lad, I'd recommend the Laney LFR-112 (a pair would be perfect), but there is the Headrush unit and Line 6 do some neat cabs, as do Matrix amplification.

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