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Understanding Natural Feedback With Helix


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Say everybody,


I've had my Helix for a few weeks, and am LOVING it. I found a few tones right away that I was able to easily adjust to work for a lot of what I play.

The rabbit hole gets deep pretty quickly once you discover just how much you can do with this thing. I'm having a lot of fun getting into the details of some rather specific tones.


What I'm having a hard time understanding is the "rules" (for lack of a better term) for generating natural feedback.

Reading through the forum, there are a number of variables that people are talking about, but they don't all seem to match up.


For instance, I know that folks that are running straight to FOH, aren't going to get natural feedback without some help. The physics of speaker/distance/string/volume/pickup make perfect sense.

I can see why something like a Freqout pedal is required.


I don't gig often, and when I do, I'm able to bring a cabinet with me. I'm looking to retire my combo amp for a FRFR type of cab.

At home I use a class D monitor that does a decent job with my guitar synth (GR-55) and has a second input that I run my Helix into. I can get some natural feedback out of that, but it has to be louder than I would expect it to be. At practice with the band, I've been running the GR-55 though our PA. Our space is small enough that we don't really need our monitors, so I pan the 55 to the monitors only and set them next to my main amp. It works great. (The guys don't get spooked when they hear random sounds coming from different places......) When I run the Helix through the monitors, it's almost impossible to get natural feedback. It seems like it tries, but it just becomes an annoying squeal. I'd rather not get a Freqout or external device if I can help it. The FX loop trick doesn't seem like it's going to be a natural sound. Before I buy an FRFR for practice/gigs, I'd like to understand the "rules" for creating natural feedback when using speakers.


I just downloaded the "Feedbacker" and "Simple Feedback" patches from Customtone, and should be able to try them latter on tonight. If I can understand the fundamentals of how it works in the Helix patch structure, it would be helpful while I'm building new tones.


What are the settings/blocks on the Helix that make a difference, and what placement in the chain should they be in?

I know that having a noise gate on can squash natural feedback.

Obviously volume matters, but I've never had to be this excessively loud (or overdriven) to coax a little feedback.

Will there be settings on my PA that can be keeping it from happening that I should look at?


Any hints, tips, and advice would be appreciated.




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I just a moment ago tried the "simple feedback" preset ... works pretty well although, with a pitch shifter in the mix, it seems to sometimes sound a bit artificial. Probably just takes some getting used to though so I'll be giving it a go at the next band rehearsal.


I've used a Freqout since they came out. It's a very nice pedal and I'd have to say that, on my analog(ish) pedalboard it's probably my favourite. However, it would be nice not to have to haul the Helix *and* that pedalboard along to a rehearsal or gig just for that one pedal.

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Just like an amp, proximity, gain, and volume are the components necessary for natural feedback. I don’t seem to have a problem getting the expected feedback behavior out of my FRFR rig, but I’m also playing relatively high gain most of the time (5150/Archon/Modded 2204/HBE models with gain above 2, anyways). I just turn off my gates and let ‘er rip. 

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My band is pretty loud and we play a lot of 90's grunge with a fair amount of gain. So I have no problem getting feedback from my Helix / PC+ rig. However, the feedback I get often doesn't sound very natural. Kind of too squealy, and not enough low end harmonics. I still feel that I might pick up a Freq Out just to see if I can dial in a more friendly type of feedback that suits what I'd like to hear, rather than a random frequency that got latched onto.


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Cool. It sounds like some of us play similar kinds of stuff.

I've never had trouble getting natural feedback from either my stack amp or any of my combos in the past. So I'm looking for details that may help me figure out the specifics of making the Helix behave a bit more like I think it should in this regard.


More detailed descriptions of your equipment set-ups, screenshots of successful signal chains, sharing of patches, and that kind of thing is what I'm looking for. It looks like a lot of other people are having the same problem.



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Interesting - I've never had a problem getting feedback with my Helix/FRFR, in fact I've found it one of the most reliable rigs I've had for that.


Nothing really special - I run a couple of Alto TS110s in front of me, floor monitor style.  So my sound is firing right back up at me, I suppose that's a big part of it.  Never need to be too loud.  Most of my patches have a touch of compression before the amp, I'd assume that also helps get things rolling.

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As feedback is the result of a loop occurring between the pickup and the speaker  over a distance you might be able to replicate it within fairly wet reverb block set for resonance and some EQ and compression and boost tube gain before it on an alternate path. This will produce sustain at moderate volumes and the trick is to bring the resonance out where you'd like it than reduce the effect volume to keep the straight path predominant. Should be possible! Even a delay in the line. Basically replicate the feedbackloop using a couple of paths.



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