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Bass Rig 4CM Issue


Yorke
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Hello all, so I've been using my Helix with my Gallien-Krueger Bass Rig in 4CM, and started notice I just didn't like the tone. It doesn't sound bad, just doesn't sound great, very cardboard like, not warm and fat. So I started to experiment, I pulled all the cables and plugged straight into the amp input and voila, I got a great PHAT tone. So I was confused on why this was happening, and realized that 3 of the 4 cables I was using were TRS (Balanced). I am using an instrument cable from the bass into the Helix.

 

Talking to my guitarist, he says TRS cables do change the tone, I was wondering if anyone else has any insight into this? I have a few instrument cables that need the connectors replaced on, but might work just to test. so I am going to experiment with this tomorrow and see if it changes. I use the Helix in my home studio for guitar and bass, mainly guitar, but I had it already and didn't want to build a pedal board for bass if the helix worked. 

 

Thanks,

 

 

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So this morning I replaced all the TRS cables with instrument cables and there really was no change, but the tone robbing is definitely there. Very difficult to describe, but it's lost it's fullness and warmth. I love the Helix, it does so much so well, in this case it's just not cutting the mustard. 

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2 hours ago, Yorke said:

So this morning I replaced all the TRS cables with instrument cables and there really was no change, but the tone robbing is definitely there. Very difficult to describe, but it's lost it's fullness and warmth. I love the Helix, it does so much so well, in this case it's just not cutting the mustard. 

 

If done correctly, there is no way that it can be sucking the tone of your amp or the signal itself. It's hard for me to diagnose though because the problems could be any number of things.

 

How many times have you done a traditional four cable method without the Helix?  When you did that, what did you use and how did THAT sound? The first thing I would want to do is to see your signal path and make sure that:

 

1. The cables were all corrected correctly.

2. The Helix signal path is done right.

 

I mean, on the Helix itself there are tons of things you can do to fatten up the signal if you don't like how it sounds.

 

Essentially what I'm saying is I know there's a way to cut the mustard here.

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I would think so too, but I tried it a number of ways and got the same results. I know by my posts I appear to be a noob, I don't post a lot. So my signal path is as follows.

 

Bass---> Helix Instrument input----> Helix Send 3----->GK Instrument Input----->GK Send-----> Helix Return 4-----> Helix Send 4----->GK Return. With nothing in the Helix signal path there is a change in tone. I played with the gain of the sends and returns and didn't get a noticeable difference.

 

Bass--->Helix Instrument Input----> Helix Send 3---->GK Instrument input (No FX Loop Use) Same result. There is a loss in bottom end, I would to say say subtle, but it's not, its got a very card board like feel to it. Best way to describe it, it's not a BAD sound, it's just not the same warm analog tone of running straight into the bass amp.

 

On the Pod HD500 I got the best tone by first running my instrument into a Radial JDI then into the Mic input. The Jensen Transformer warmed up the tone and sounded a lot better than running into the HighZ input. But the Mic input on my Helix does not work for some reason, which is unfortunate as the above mentioned method seemed to clean up the brittle top end. 

 

I have active electronics, I've tried adding a pad at the input, but I wasn't getting input distortion, no change. I also messed with the impedance for the input Not much difference with the active electronics, compared to guitar pickups which do see a big difference. I am kind of stumped, it sounds great on guitar, I've used it 4CM with a Egnater Tourmaster and it worked very well. 

 

Only thing I can think is that the GK and Helix don't play nice together, I do have a power amp, I could see how that works by itself running into the cab. But I do like the GK and just wanted to put a few things before the input and be able to add a couple of fx if needed in the fx loop.

 

I didn't try the Helix outputs to send to the GK instrument Input instead of the Helix Sends. Just thought of that typing this, didn't think it would be any different.

 

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I know some of this may seem like a duh, but I just want to be clear:

 

1. If you go instrument into the amp sounds great.

 

2. If you add regular effects pedals in the effects loop of the amp does it still sound great?  What about Helix ONLY as an effects loop (so bass straight into amp but Helix exists in effects loop either on or off)?

 

Would it be possible to share a preset so people can look at it?

 

The idea that a DI box made it sound good on the old HD500 sounds weird to me.

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Well that particular DI uses a Jensen transformer, which is also used in some high end mic pres. It warms the tone and cleans up the top end, which I found to have a lot of sizzle in the Pod HD500. I would be doing that now if my mic pre worked on the Helix. 

 

I cannot remember if I tried it the way you mentioned, but will try it tomorrow when I have some time. As far as presets go, I have a few, but in this case just testing out why I didn't like what I was hearing, nothing is activated. It's simply passing the signal through the Helix to the amp and then through the sends and returns and it changes it in a way that sounds inferior to plugging straight in.

 

 

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So, I tried what Kilrahi asked/suggested, I plugged the bass into the GK1001RB and then inserted the Helix into the FX loop. And I could not hear any difference in tone, so that definitely works fine. I tried Bass into Helix using 4CM again and could hear the difference. I personally think it has to do with how the pick-ups interact with the preamp section of the amp, just not getting the same mojo into the Helix. I also tried using the Return and Output back to the amp input to see if their was a difference and I didn't hear one. 

 

I tried a compressor in the fx loop and it was ok, not great, also tried the Klon which I love and it didn't sound much better either. I like those before the preamp input. Running delay and modulation sounds really good though. So I think in my case, I am going to move forward and buy the analog pedals I wanted anyway. Use those in front of the amp, and use the Helix in the FX loop until I can buy the Strymon Timeline and other fx I want. 

 

 I have not liked the Helix on bass much anyway. It's so weird, sometimes a preamp with nothings sounds ok, sometimes a preamp with an IR sounds ok, sometimes a bass amp model into an IR sounds ok. It all just sounds ok, not great, to me. It does not have the mojo of a bass amp. Uninspiring is the word I will use. I can hear myself to practice or learn a song, but I never find myself going "Wow, that sounds soooo good". OnGuitar, I love it!

 

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Ok, figured it out, you can go into the global settings and determine if the outputs are line level or Instrument, same for the Sends. And Voila, I could not tell the difference. 

 

So, when using the Helix with the 4CM with a bass amp, be sure the signal sent to the bass pre-amp section is set to instrument in the Global settings page. Sounds worlds better, at least to my ears. 

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2 hours ago, Yorke said:

Ok, figured it out, you can go into the global settings and determine if the outputs are line level or Instrument, same for the Sends. And Voila, I could not tell the difference. 

 

So, when using the Helix with the 4CM with a bass amp, be sure the signal sent to the bass pre-amp section is set to instrument in the Global settings page. Sounds worlds better, at least to my ears. 

 

Sorry Yorke. I should have suggested that out of the bat. It's an easy mistake to make if you tend to reroute stuff a lot. I do that one fairly often. 

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I actually really love the Helix for bass, but it really depends on your settings and other gear, of course. Out of curiosity, why are you using 4CM in the first place? This is typically only needed if you are getting distortion from the amp so that you can run your delays, reverbs, etc after the distortion. But if you are running the amp clean, there is no reason to use 4CM. When I was still playing live, I would just run the output of the Helix into the FX return on my MarkBass head. This makes it so the Helix works as the preamp and the head works as the power amp. More pure transmission of the Helix tone (which is what I wanted). Otherwise, seemed to me there wasn't much point in using amp simulation if it was just going to go through the preamp on the head anyway :)

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On 2/4/2019 at 9:29 AM, njglover said:

I actually really love the Helix for bass, but it really depends on your settings and other gear, of course. Out of curiosity, why are you using 4CM in the first place? This is typically only needed if you are getting distortion from the amp so that you can run your delays, reverbs, etc after the distortion. But if you are running the amp clean, there is no reason to use 4CM. When I was still playing live, I would just run the output of the Helix into the FX return on my MarkBass head. This makes it so the Helix works as the preamp and the head works as the power amp. More pure transmission of the Helix tone (which is what I wanted). Otherwise, seemed to me there wasn't much point in using amp simulation if it was just going to go through the preamp on the head anyway :)

Same here.  Just Helix into the effects return of my Mesa Walkabout or M9.  Life was simple amd sounded great.

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