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Steeldom

On the verge - Footswitch assign, Lt or full, DT integration and the gear I already have

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Hi guys,

 

in the 15 years I play guitar I have learned that there's never going to be an "it", like in "This is it!". No matter how advanced the gear, something will always have an edge in some aspect.

So here I am again considering changing the gear I have.

 

The way I went was (you can skip this if its too boring):

Pod X3 Pro --> Which is a mighty fine unit but I "grew out of it"

Variax 600 - Pod hd 500 - Dt25 --> Which is a very flexible setup

Then the Kemper came along and those sweet sweet sounds...

But I sold it because I wanted more flexibility.

Axe-Fx Ultra --> Which had all the flexibility and sounds but was a drag to use because of the interface and you had to have a device to connect it to pc, and one to be able to play through headphones.

So that went away as well.

After some time with Lowlevel gear and not a lot of time for music I decided to again buy a Kemper, because of the sounds, and I love it.

But it lacks flexibility when it comes to effects.

So I also bought a Pod HD 500x and recently I upgraded to the full Dream Rig

JTV 59 - hd500x - Dt50 212 --> Now that is a combination but the Kemper sounds better.

 

Here are my considerations with each, and its important that I'm talking about live, because at home the Kemper is all I ever want and need.

Only using the Kemper brings some disadvantages for what I want

 - I have to play the variax with batteries

 - I have to have an extra footswitch

 - I have to have a device to amplify the sound for monitoring

 - I am very limited in the amount of effects I can use per preset

Heres what the Kemper does what I really want

 - It has the best Amp sound of any device I ever had

 - I can lock blocks so that they act like "global" effects --> I need this for my solo boost which I want to be a single effect that i can adjust for ALL sounds I use

 

The Dream rig on the other hand

  - is very easy to setup live, two cables, power, done

  - Variax integration

Its disadvantages are

  - limitation in number of effects

  - Gaps when chaning presets

 

The sound is great but it does need some tweaking and additional EQs to get it to where I want it. But every EQ is consuming one of my "precious" 8 FX blocks.

At the moment I have a pretty flexible 1 preset setup, dual amps with the bare minimum of effects I use.

It does work but it leaves a lot to be desired.

Again I want to be able to adjust the solo volume boost for all the sounds with pretty much one knob. This does not work when I use multiple presets.

 

The Kemper and the DT50 together sound EXACTLY like I want it to but the hd500 in front of the Kemper "kills" the sound. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I've tried every global setting and amp/line I could think of. It doesn't sound at all like the Kemper directly.

 

TLDR: What I have is good but it doesn't satisfy me completely

 

Now then there is the Helix. I say Helix, I mean the Helix family. Because there are some options to be considered.

DT Integration:

I've read that the Helix can only change the DT Poweramp config via Midi. That is not a problem to me since I do not WANT to change the settings.

But what I would like to know:

Can I connect Helix via Line6 Link to the DT 50? Will the Master knob on the front work? Because it doesn't work when I put the Kemper into the FX-return. I then have to controll the master volume with the Knob on the back of the DT50 which is very inconvenient (again I might be doing something wrong).

So will the Master and the "pulled master" mode still work with Helix and DT50?

 

The second thing is about snapshots. Because snapshots are essentially THE feature that I want a Helix for. If the HD500 had that I could make it work with 8 effects.

As far as I know you can setup the footswitches to be:

8 stomps or 8 Snapshots or 4/4 (with the option of toprow vs bottomrow)

So you cannot assign 5 footswitches to snapshots and 3 to stomps or vice versa, correct? And you cannot have Stomp - Snap - Stomp - Snap in one row?

 

LT VS Full

I really like the little screens on the big Helix. To be able to name anything like you want it is awesome. But I wonder if it is worth the price difference? So what are the thoughts of you who maybe have both?

I'm also considering the rack version with the footcontroller, which has some advantages and some disadvantages.

The thing about my X3 Pro I miss the most is having my modeler safely stored away in the back and only a footcontroller frontstage.

Since I do use my Variax with a cable I gain some space from having the HD500 at my feet. So theres that to consider as well.

 

HX Stomp

There could be a way of fixing my problem by putting an HX stomp into the FX loop of the HD500. This gives me 5 more effects (since one is used up by the fx loop) and an upgraded sound. Plus its the cheapest version of them all.

But I worry that it will have the same effect like with the Kemper and the sound will be worse than plugging into the Stomp directly.

Has anyone here tried this combination?

 

So bottom line for me is, I do not want to sell my Kemper because I already did that once and I regreted it immediatly. And also it's just too much fun.

But I could if I was sure that the Helix would make the things I want the way I want.

I'm sure some of you have experiences with the different gear I mentioned or even something else entirely. What would you recommend?

 

sThanks for your thoughts in advance, sorry for the long post :-D

 

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I see your problem!

No one can guarantee that the Helix - floor or rack - will make you as happy as the Kemper.

If you had the Kemper head with the built in amp, I'd just use the HX FX as an effects unit and patch changer in front of the Kemper - then you'd have all the smarts like snapshots and still get your tone from the Kemper.  That you need a power amp and speakers starts to make this a messy setup for live.

I like the Helix floor - I don't see why anyone wants the rack except if it's built in a studio setup.  But the floor is instead of the Kemper - you would need to try it for enough time to get past the initial learning curve - not so much the learning curve of programming - that's pretty simple if you have experience with amps and pedals - but the EQ that's needed to get it sounding good.  And I'd really suggest that the DT50 is a bad choice for that - you plug your Kemper into that??  i suspect you are EQing around a setup that is not really doing your Kemper justice - but then maybe it's the limitations of that system you like? after all, low and high cuts are the first thing you do with an FRFR system - the DT50 might be doing that for free!

To make the Helix sing, you need a good FRFR system.  You then need to EQ it with suitable low and high cuts and potentially some mid kick depending on your speakers.

When you got that happening, you would know if you could live with the Helix or not.  I personally can - but I'm not you.

Try to find someone who has musical tastes that aren't a million miles from yours and who uses a Helix and get them to work with you to get some sounds - then you can make an informed decision.  Don't stuff around with the HD500 and the HX Stomp - it's just getting into more mess and less clear path to your sound.  If nothing sounds as good as your Kemper (even if you have to run it through the DT50!} then get the HX FX and use it to control everything else through snapshots and midi.

 

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So bottom line for me is, I do not want to sell my Kemper because I already did that once and I regreted it immediatly. 

 

 

Then Don't. Keep your Kemper ( I have one too and agree it has just KILLER tones and I wont get rid of mine either) and buy the HX FX as RV stated above. In fact, I'm not sure why I didn't think of this route (even thou I love my Helix as well)... Tones aside for the moment, the sheer amount of in's and outs on Helix (my rack) are worth the price of admission. So a bit of overkill, but you could even run the KPA in Helix using Helix as an overblown patch bay, so to speak...

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Is interesting to see that infidelity exists rampantly in guitar gear too. Some people just can't stop chasing tail ... err ... I mean tone.

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1 hour ago, Kilrahi said:

Is interesting to see that infidelity exists rampantly in guitar gear too. Some people just can't stop chasing tail ... err ... I mean tone.

Yeah it's kinda fun and a huge drag at the same time...

You safe up to that new piece of gear you want and then you finally have it and it's so much fun... for a while. And then a clever marketing team comes up with the next "hot lollipop" and even though you were so happy a second before, you feel something is missing.

 

Quote

If you had the Kemper head with the built in amp, I'd just use the HX FX as an effects unit and patch changer in front of the Kemper - then you'd have all the smarts like snapshots and still get your tone from the Kemper.

The power amp thing isn't even the real problem for me. I've got the small ritter amp in the back of the Kemper and although it's certainly not as loud as the DT50 it has done some work and since I'm using modelling gear I've considered going in ears for a while. So the stage sound might not even be required at all.

The thing about HX Effects is that it wouldn't have the variax integration. Which is why I tried to use my HD500 only as a pedalboard and plug it into the Kemper front, like I would with a normal amp. But the result did not please me. Even without any effect engaged it sounded to me as if the HD500 would make it all thin and liveless (which at the moment I want to believe is user error).

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But the floor is instead of the Kemper - you would need to try it for enough time

EXACTLY! In an ideal world I would want a room where I can be as loud as I want for as long as I want, all the different modelers and about half a year of free time (at least) :-D

 

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Don't stuff around with the HD500 and the HX Stomp - it's just getting into more mess and less clear path to your sound.

Thanks for that. It was an idea but probably not a good one.

 

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If nothing sounds as good as your Kemper (even if you have to run it through the DT50!} then get the HX FX and use it to control everything else through snapshots and midi.

What would be your suggestion for the Variax integration of the setup?

 

Of course I could just use batteries. That would even open up the possibility of going wireless.

The reason I don't feel confident in using the variax with batteries in a live situation is that I tend to forget important stuff in the heat of the moment. When I'm on stage I want to focus on the music, on the band, on the crowd, not on the gear. I don't want to worry about battery life and if I have charged them all in the middle of a set. And I can almost see myself running out of battery life in the middle of a song :-D

 

There's no small variax capable device on the market at the moment, is there?

 

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16 hours ago, Steeldom said:

LT VS Full

I really like the little screens on the big Helix. To be able to name anything like you want it is awesome. But I wonder if it is worth the price difference? So what are the thoughts of you who maybe have both?

 

I'll address this question.... 

 

As you know, the full version has the scribble strips which place the labels at each switch. What isn't talked about as much is how the LT handles it. The large screen on the LT has something called "performance view" which the FULL version does not have. Performance view gives you a full reference of your switches (including the naming), so you can still see what they all do. In the end, both units have something the other one doesn't. 

 

I used to have an HX Effects and to be honest, I didn't like the scribble strips as much as I thought I would. When I got my LT... I found that I LOVE the Performance view. Others may feel completely different about this :) 

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6 hours ago, Steeldom said:

 

There's no small variax capable device on the market at the moment, is there?

 

 

I wish. I'd buy that in a flash.

 

I used a Firehawk before the Stomp and so it was tough to kiss the VDI integration goodbye. Still is because I play unusual tuning stuff frequently. However, you should know that OTHER than that the battery method and model switching works pretty well. 

 

The battery is supposed to be good for at least ten hours. I can confirm it lasts at least eight.

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