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Helix and Phantom Power

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Someone just told me that Phantom Power can damage the Helix.

Is this true?  I find it hard to believe any company would build something today that can be hurt by phantom power.

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Phantom power won't damage the Helix, but it can attenuate and/or make the output from the XLR outs sound bad. You should have phantom power turned off for the channel you're connecting the Helix to.

 

 

 

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If you're dealing with a system that has phantom power and it can't be switched off, what's the best recommendation for how to deal with it?  Any specific product someone recommends? 

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I have a pair of these: Sescom In Line Phantom Power Blockers. They are inexpensive, durable and work great. I have them in my Helix Backpack so should the need arise (mixer unable to disable Phantom Power on a per strip basis) there won't be a problem. sescom_ses_il_ppb_xlr_inline_phantom_889

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Thanks for the info Law, I wouldn't run 48 volts Phantom power into my Helix and I don't care if it wont hurt it. Period.

 

Of course, since I didn't pay for anyone's Helix but mine, you all may run whatever voltage you wish into it. ; )

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Phantom Power never bothered the prior Line 6 lines (HD, X3, XT, etc...) so i fail to understand why it became a problem in the Helix. IMO, it's one of the great oversights in the development, and pretty much renders the XLR outs useless out of the box. The vast majority of low/mid range consoles have a global phantom power switch... products should be designed with that in mind. 

 

I use a dedicated DI box with my Helix... it's the only way I never have to worry about it. The phantom blockers would do the trick to, but I don't like how long they are. I'd have to run those in line with a short XLR cable first to be completely comfortable with those. 

 

Just my 2 cents...

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I use the Helix primarily for church, and in that context, a lot of your audio personnel are going to be volunteers with marginal experience.

 

With this in mind, I assume it is my responsibility to make sure phantom power is not being sent to the Helix. Whether that be by confirming with the audio team that the phantom power for my channel is off, or in the event that it is a global phantom switch across multiple channels, I use DI boxes or a phantom blocker.

 

i believe Line 6 designed the Helix with the semi-professional to professional musician in mind, in most of those cases, the audio consoles used are going to have phantom assignable on a per channel strip basis. And in the event that the console being used doesn’t have that functionality, Line 6 provided ample output options for you.

 

With that in mind, I see the XLR phantom problem as a non-issue. The XLR outs are still not useless, and serve their function. 

 

Would you have the same complaint about a vintage ribbon mic that cannot interact with phantom power?

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12 hours ago, EBeckley said:

i believe Line 6 designed the Helix with the semi-professional to professional musician in mind, in most of those cases, the audio consoles used are going to have phantom assignable on a per channel strip basis. 

 

The vast majority of pro's and semi-pro's still do countless small gigs when not on tours. They can be seen in a wide variety of honky tonks, clubs, coffee houses, legions, churches, etc...  

 

12 hours ago, EBeckley said:

With that in mind, I see the XLR phantom problem as a non-issue. The XLR outs are still not useless, and serve their function. 

 

You are right, useless was not a good choice of words... of course it still works. But it is limited & IMO that's hard to understand considering none of their previous products suffered that limitation. 

 

12 hours ago, EBeckley said:

Would you have the same complaint about a vintage ribbon mic that cannot interact with phantom power?

 

Vintage vs Modern is not a fair comparison.... especially considering modern ribbon mic's are not bothered by phantom power, some even need it. I wouldn't complain if a vintage amp required an expensive and hard to find tube, but I'd be p/o'd if a new amp was designed around it. 

 

I love the Helix... I could never go back. I just wish I could use the XLR outputs regardless of the quality of console I get to plug into that evening. Since I can't, I need other gear to make it possible. 

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With the Helix trying to be the $1500 swiss army knife jack of all trades it feels like a huge oversight to me. It's even weirder the later HX products didn't correct for it. What's more, you'll get musicians who won't know about the problem, plug it in, and think the age old complaint that even the most expensive modelers sound thin is true.

 

Again, it's a great device and in my opinion far better than any other, but this is one particular area that just seems like a sad oversight, and it clearly reduces the value of the XLR outs.

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There is absolutely no excuse for failing to RTFM!  

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3 minutes ago, MusicLaw said:

There is absolutely no excuse for failing to RTFM!  

 

I read the HX Stomp manual many times. There's still crap I missed. I get annoyed too when people don't even try, but this idea that one read through, or even two, just solves all your problems is complete hogwash. 

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" ... audio consoles used are going to have phantom assignable on a per channel strip basis. "--- correct.

Truly professional grade recording/mixing consoles have individual channel enabling of phantom power.

Global phantom power is one step down from professional grade.

 

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13 minutes ago, MusicLaw said:

There is absolutely no excuse for failing to RTFM!  

 

Who are you talking to with this one? I hope it not me because I always RTFM! 

 

Page 7 of the HELIX Floor/LT manual clearly states... "IMPORTANT! Never connect the Helix device's XLR outputs to a device whose XLR inputs have 48V phantom power enabled!".

 

I am not disputing that. I was aware of that when I bought the unit so I prepared for it (by breaking out a DI box) and have accepted it as such. That doesn't mean I have to like it :) 

 

 

13 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

I read the HX Stomp manual many times. There's still crap I missed. I get annoyed too when people don't even try, but this idea that one read through, or even two, just solves all your problems is complete hogwash. 

 

No worries there Kilrahi! You didn't miss anything so if that "RTFM" comment was directed at you it's completed unwarranted. 

 

The HELIX STOMP manual does not mention Phantom Power anywhere... but if you do connect the balanced TRS output to a console with Phantom Power engaged, the same problem occurs as with the Helix Floor or LT. I repeat... The warning is not in the stomp manual so it wont' matter how many times you RTFM :) 

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Let me clarify guys. My point is that if it's mentioned in the manual it's there as a reference so I don't always need to keep it in my head; I can just glance back at the manual (often quickly in a PDF). Absent reading the manual, the process of discovering features or limitations by exploration can be like stumbling around. For me, a quick read through whatever manual is provided for any sophisticated gear is a quicker process to getting started. At least it has always been for me. YMMV. No offense intended. 

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Hi,

 

yesterday i realized by pure coincidence that i was playing my Helix 'with phantom power' the whole time (3 weeks).  Then  i turned it off .... and nothing happened - I didn't  notice a change in tone or volume or any other behaviour.

That reminded me of the same issue i had with the tc electronic g system i had: There was  also a 'phantom power warning' in the manual and i took great effort to shield it. But then played accidentially a few days over phantom powered strips without noticing it. Nothing remarkably happened - no damage no change of sound ....

Although i reinstated my 'shields' and keep caring for it i am not sooooo anxious about phantom power any more.

 

I think it's more of a manufacturers 'safety disclaimer' than a proven source of damage.

But don't keep me accountable for this. ;-) ;-)

 

Bye

 

Simon

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5 hours ago, Simon268 said:

Hi,

 

yesterday i realized by pure coincidence that i was playing my Helix 'with phantom power' the whole time (3 weeks).  Then  i turned it off .... and nothing happened - I didn't  notice a change in tone or volume or any other behaviour.

That reminded me of the same issue i had with the tc electronic g system i had: There was  also a 'phantom power warning' in the manual and i took great effort to shield it. But then played accidentially a few days over phantom powered strips without noticing it. Nothing remarkably happened - no damage no change of sound ....

Although i reinstated my 'shields' and keep caring for it i am not sooooo anxious about phantom power any more.

 

I think it's more of a manufacturers 'safety disclaimer' than a proven source of damage.

But don't keep me accountable for this. ;-) ;-)

 

Bye

 

Simon

 

It won't harm your Helix, and isn't a safety warning.  The quality of the sound allegedly drops with phantom power.  Keep in mind, I only say allegedly because personally I've yet to connect it to a phantom power supply.  There's been many people posting here who complained about bad sound, and after troubleshooting it with the group they realized that they'd had it connected to phantom power.

 

Once they shielded it from the phantom power their awesome sound came back.

 

Hey, whatever works for you though.

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20 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

It won't harm your Helix, and isn't a safety warning.  ...

You are absolutely right! 

The manual (Helix 2.0 Owners Manual - Rev D - English) just states

"...IMPORTANT! Never connect the Helix device's XLR outputs to a device whose XLR inputs have 48V phantom power enabled!..."

Without any explaination.

 

I must have confused it with the g systems manual where SOMEWHERE (!! i don't even find that occurence) was stated that phantom power could harm the device.

Sorry, my mistake.

 

20 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

...The quality of the sound allegedly drops with phantom power.  ..

 

As you explained: 'Allegedly' .... and where others described their 'sound drops' i  just wanted to share my experience of 'no sound drop'. ;-)

 

(it sometimes bothers me that the internet often boosts and exaggerates - up to 'creates' - negative experiences because normal/expected experiences are usually not  shared. And since even positive experiences are shared more often the world is pictured as only hits & misses, tops & flops, blessings & dangers, .... So i just wanted to share 'normal life' ;-) )

 

Bye

 

Simon

 

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I play durectly connected to FOH when gigging, usin a wired Behringer in-ear system. Because of the phantom power issue, I added into my band’s technical rider that my LT requires a DI, to be part of the scope of the FOH. My XLRs are used by my in-ear, at least one so I can do my own mix.

In my opinion the DI-box serves as a galvanic seperation, just in case something happens to either my LT or the FOH system. Safety first, as the places where we gig do not all have state of the art electrics and sound engineers sometimes connect power distributor to the next one, to the next one and so on.

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1 hour ago, Simon268 said:

As you explained: 'Allegedly' .... and where others described their 'sound drops' i  just wanted to share my experience of 'no sound drop'. ;-)

 

Absolutely... there are numerous reports of sound attenuation and tone loss problems as well as numerous positive reports like yours.... but there is no "allegedly" about it, both experiences are quite possible.

 

It is important to understand that Phantom Power is not always the same. Although there are basic standards there are P12, P24 and P48 systems in the wild. There are also other specialized applications (P12L and SP48) that you may or may not encounter. Just because it works fine on your setup, you may drag it to a club and find your tones take a nose dive when the tech turns on the phantom power because something needs it.  Being prepared for that possibility could be the difference between having a good night or a really bad night wondering what happened to your tone. 

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18 hours ago, codamedia said:

...It is important to understand that Phantom Power is not always the same. ...Just because it works fine on your setup, you may drag it to a club and find your tones take a nose dive ...

Thanks for this advice. I didn't  know that and will consider it.

Fortunately this is not a big problem for me because i play either at  home or at my church 99,5% of the time .... so i only have to check 2 venues. :-D

(and in the other 0,5% i have DI boxes at with me :-D )

 

18 hours ago, codamedia said:

... but there is no "allegedly" about it, both experiences are quite possible....

I am no native speaker and understood

'allegedly'

as

'I (the one who is speaking/writing) can't verify this and am only repeating what other people reported'

Didn't meant 'I doubt that....'. :-D

 

But let's better play some guitar than discuss semantics (in a language i am not really firm). :-D :-D :-D

 

bye

 

Simon

 

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I absolutely have this issue with a Bose L1 model II system. I use the Triton Phantom Blocker (works great - is like the one listed above) but am now looking at the Radial Ice Cube as well - anyone try one of these?

 

The most likely reason some don't have the problem is that the phantom circuit voltage and impedance  from the mixer may be different than standard (aka not true 48V and some other impedance than 6.8kohm.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Radial-Engineering-Balanced-Isolator-Eliminator/dp/B00UIDM6TW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548619286&sr=8-1&keywords=radial+ice+cube

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