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Guitar input pad - does you or doesn't you?


BBD_123
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I actually changed from input pad on to off (at least for the time being), pretty much the other way around from what many others seem to be doing. I started with it on after reading several comments about it to improve some things. That was before I bought the Helix. When I finally got it, I compared on/off with what I thought would be my most used amps and some things seemed to sound/react a little better, so I left it on.
Ok, over time I was working a bit more with Helix Native (and other software amps), using the straight DI signal (coming from USB 7/8). And even with my hotter guitars, it's always been pretty weak - which is annoying as I have to way zoom in to visually control cuts and such.

But well, that wasn't the main reason for me to turn it back off. I noticed that with my particular assortment of guitars (my absolute No.1 being an Anderson with pretty low level PUs) some of the drives would simply work better with Input Pad off, most notably the Top Secret OD (which is indeed my most loved drive within the Helix, actually delivering what I usually expect from a nice fuzz). So I checked all my patches and re-adjusted them. I found most of them to work better in the end.

 

There's some drawbacks, though. I think some Helix amps deliver too much drive, so I have to turn their drive parameter way down or activate a volume block in front - which wasn't necessary with Input Pad on. Now, I have a volume block as the first thing in my signal chain anyway (at least on all of my regular patches), but I prefer to have as little blocks as possible switched on for a basic tone. Whatever, unfortunately my most used amp models for anything slightly driven to standard rock kinda stuff, namely the two 2204s, are affected the most. I like them a lot with very little drive (I rather add gain with some drive models), just as I did back when I owned a JCM800, and with the Input Pad off, without a preceeding drive block I need to go down as low as 1.0 or even 0.8/0.9 on the Drive parameter.

I may have to revisit the entire thing one day, for now I decided to live with IP off.

 

Whatever, ideally, there would be a patch setting allowing you to overwrite the global setting (global/on/off). And IMO it'd be even better in case there were more settings (I'd likely go for something inbetween), but that would require new hardware.
 

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  • 3 years later...

Very useful posts in this thread, thank you!

For me it's worth revisiting as I have had my Helix floor for almost a year now. I used to play two main guitars: my '76 Strat with vintage low outpout pickups 90% of the time and a Player series Tele with its built-in pickups but rewired with traditional wiring ("grease bucket" circuit removed to use a single 0.47 cap). It's a bit higher output than my Strat but not hot by any means.

I've had the global input pad off the entire time as I didn't see the need.

I recently added a PRS SE Custom 24-08 to my arsenal which will be used a lot more than my Tele ever was (although my Strat remains my #1... I'm a Strat guy ;)

I then revisited the input pad thing because the PRS didn't sound that great in my Strat based presets. I turned it on and it improved the PRS tone imeediately without changing settings. I will still need to lower gain on some amps but it sounds way better.

But the thing is, so does my Strat without any changes to the patches. higher gain amps sound less compressed and fizzy (I mostly use the Revv Gen Red which I love) and for cleans, I use either the Cali Texas Ch 1 or the Jazz Rivet 120. Everything seems to sound less harsh without loosing definition. Personally, I love the tone with the Pad on now.

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On 6/12/2020 at 6:37 PM, donkelley said:

[…], it has just saved me a ton of trouble on my basses.  I play bass and guitar through this (and will play electric violin and cello through it too).

One of my basses is pretty high output active, and it happens to sound better with it's on board bass control boosted - and voila, we're talking very high output now.

[…] So I enabled the pad and voila - it solves my biggest issue.  However I change axes all the time, and they are not all the same output.

 

I'm a bass player too, and I can't get a clean sound with any amp model unless I turn the input pad on!

 

My fully passive bass is possibly the punchiest, since I almost never boost anything on my active preamps (I see them more as impedance helpers; I'm not a huge fan of batteries inside instruments, actually). I'm really not a "heavy hitter" but I've been told I'm not quite on the "light touch" side either…

 

On the odd occasion I plug a guitar in, I find the "pad always on" to be a no brainer. It goes very well along my LP. I was curious as to whether it would be "too tame" on single coils. I've recently borrowed a strat and navigated a few presets: damn, some come heavy! ^^'

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