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Newbie Q's on Best Practices for using Amp/Cab and/or Audio Interface

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Have had this amazing piece of gear for about a week and was hoping to get some feedback on a few newbie questions...


How to Know I'm only using the "cab" when running helix through my Hughes & Kettner 2x12 Switchblade and not getting coloration from the preamp?

I'd like to practice/jam running various helix preamp/amp models through the Hughes & Kettner cabinet.  I'm confused as to whether this entails using the 4-Cable Method or running direct into amp input (Guitar > Helix > 1/4" mono out - amp input)?  Can someone clarify the proper "chain" and how that would look within the Helix's interface (correct block signal chain)?  


For controlling gain staging/input level when Recording, can I have the Helix as the Audio Interface "In" and my UA Apollo Twin set to the "out" for the studio monitors?  Or do I need to have the helix setup for both In/Out for monitoring?

I'm running into gain staging/input level issues with this current setup.  I can't seem to make the Helix signal "louder" - Yes, I've tried the Helix volume, but is there an "output" volume that may need adjusting?  Or are there signal issues with this current setup?  I know I could simply go XLR out from Helix into my studio monitors (Yamaha HS8's), but would prefer to have my Apollo Twin as my recording interface.


This is an awesome community - thank you in advance for the help

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14 hours ago, davewieser said:

How to Know I'm only using the "cab" when running helix

For starters - the Helix forums is over there>>>> 


But, to answer the questions.... 

If you are getting good tone, it really shouldn't matter if you using a preamp or not, nor should it matter if the physical amp is adding color. 

People just want to eat the donuts, they don't care to know how they are made. 

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