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Uriel1251

Does it matter where I place the amp in signal path?

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I just purchased a helix like a week ago and I’m starting to get the hang of it. I’ve been watching tutorials and and reading forums. 

 

My question was, does it matter where in the signal path I place the amp or cabs? Does it make a difference? Everything I’ve read or watched, people just seem to place it somewhere in the middle. Or do you have to think of it like a real pedal board, where the amp comes last? Please help.

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8 hours ago, Uriel1251 said:

Or do you have to think of it like a real pedal board, where the amp comes last?

 

The standard approach is to setup the Helix like you would setup the following...

Pedal Board Effects > Amp/Cab/Mic > Studio (Post) Effects

 

The nice thing is, there are no rules with the Helix, you can put anything your want, anywhere you want, without damaging anything. That opens the door to a lot of experimenting if you are so inclined. 

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What codamedia said. It definitely makes a difference in that the order of the blocks in your signal chain will impact how they perform and what the end result sounds like, but really there are no rules. You can choose to treat it like a traditional Pedal-Board-And-Amp rig or you can get as weird as you can imagine. It’s a wonderful time to be a guitar player!

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As a very general rule of thumb, distortion, overdrive, fuzz, and compressors before the amp and cab. Delays and reverbs after. Even those "rules" have examples of being broken successfully.

 

Try stuff ... see if something inspires.

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Just to expand on this a little.... aside from breaking the general rules there are also different tools for different jobs. It all depends on what you are after.

 

For instance, an echo plex is a commonly used echo in front of an amp, while other delays are often applied after. Stomp style compressors generally go before an amp to add some snap/pop/sustain, while the 3-Band or LA Studio is more of a studio style comp that is really effective (in a subtle manner) near the end of the entire chain.

 

Again - those are just more general rules that can be easily broken :) 

 

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Okay, so far from what I’m understating so far, it basically like a normal pedal board chain? 

 

For example, this is how I normally have my pedal board chain;

Guitar>Compressor>overdrive>volume pedal>delay>reverbs>then straight into amp. Would I do the same in the signal path? 

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7 minutes ago, Uriel1251 said:

Okay, so far from what I’m understating so far, it basically like a normal pedal board chain? 

 

For example, this is how I normally have my pedal board chain;

Guitar>Compressor>overdrive>volume pedal>delay>reverbs>then straight into amp. Would I do the same in the signal path? 

 

Personally I've never had much luck putting delays and reverbs before an amp, be it a "real" amp, or a modeled one... the whole reason FX loops exist is because some effects just tend to work better after the preamp, but much of it boils down to personal preference.... and as everyone else has already said, you can do as you like. The one and only "rule" is this: If it sounds good, it is good. How you got there doesn't much matter...

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1 hour ago, Uriel1251 said:

Okay, so far from what I’m understating so far, it basically like a normal pedal board chain? 

 

For example, this is how I normally have my pedal board chain;

Guitar>Compressor>overdrive>volume pedal>delay>reverbs>then straight into amp. Would I do the same in the signal path? 

 

Well, again, IF you like that, you can. 

 

However, I would do it this way more often than not:

 

Guitar > compressor > overdrive > volume pedal > amp/cab > delay > reverbs. 

 

 

 

 

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The recommendations described here will likely get you the best results. However, the beauty of a digital modeler is that you can experiment. 

For example: I don't know too many others that do this, but I like some of the amp models, mainly Fender, as amp only, with NO cab or IR in the chain. Came upon that technique by just trying different things.

Also, if you use compressors, you can try placing them LAST, instead of at the front--so you get more of a "studio compressor" effect.

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On 3/31/2019 at 1:56 PM, Uriel1251 said:

Okay, so far from what I’m understating so far, it basically like a normal pedal board chain? 

 

For example, this is how I normally have my pedal board chain;

Guitar>Compressor>overdrive>volume pedal>delay>reverbs>then straight into amp. Would I do the same in the signal path? 

 

It may be more effective to think about how things would be laid out in a studio session than on a pedalboard simply because it opens up a lot more possibilities than one would have on a typical pedalboard and amp situation.  It's also more in line with how Line 6 has represented the Helix signal chains.  Not everything on a pedalboard is necessarily optimal for getting the sounds one hears in many recordings.  It's that way due more to technical limitations in many cases which aren't present in the studio environment.

 

For example, in the studio reverbs and delays tend to be more toward the end of the signal chain, but in some cases something like a spring reverb may make certain amps have a more authentic flavor if it's placed between the amp and the cabinet(s).  Certain things like phaser and chorus effects can produce significantly different tones when placed before or after the amp.  And harmony effects can have atrocious tracking before an amp in many cases whereas they sound much tighter right after the cab or even between the amp and cab.

I think you can lose a lot of creativity if you confine yourself purely to the physical world of pedalboards and amps.

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On ‎3‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 9:37 PM, Uriel1251 said:

I just purchased a helix like a week ago and I’m starting to get the hang of it. I’ve been watching tutorials and and reading forums. 

 

My question was, does it matter where in the signal path I place the amp or cabs? Does it make a difference? Everything I’ve read or watched, people just seem to place it somewhere in the middle. Or do you have to think of it like a real pedal board, where the amp comes last? Please help.

 

All the suggestions and feedback are very valuable here.  The Helix is a truly interesting modeler in my experience.  I have tried everything suggested and here is one more I have tried but not the end by any means [note the FX blocks are assigned FS and sometimes as multiple for the tone I am looking for with little or no noise];

 

guitar -> boost -> wah -> distortion -> gate -> preamp -> EQ -> delay -> amp only -> modulation -> comp -> cab IR -> boost -> modulation -> vol -> loop -> XLR out to PA.  Adjust blocks to taste.  You would think some of this chain would not work well but based upon the FX & settings I chose it does.  And I also use global EQ and multi paths

 

Long and short is Helix is a modeler for the inventive and active player

 

Dennis

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Just don’t put it in a warm bath and feed it donuts. That’s dangerous. 

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I've been trying to re-create some of those highly-processed 80s metal tones.  What really helped nail it was to think in terms of how those guys set up their gear.  Most of them had rack processors that sat between the cab and amp in the signal chain.  So I created a parallel loop between the amp and cab and placed all my modulation and time-based effects.  It sounds great and just like those 80s guitar players.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, davepmoll said:

I've been trying to re-create some of those highly-processed 80s metal tones.  What really helped nail it was to think in terms of how those guys set up their gear.  Most of them had rack processors that sat between the cab and amp in the signal chain.  So I created a parallel loop between the amp aond cab and placed all my modulation and time-based effects.  It sounds great and just like those 80s guitar players.

 

 

 

Well I used to be one of those 80's rack-mount processor guys (some days I still miss my hair... sigh) lol... technically, the FX units used to live between the pre-amp and power amp, not the amp and cab. If you put any sort of multi-fx unit that's expecting a line level signal between a power amp and a cabinet, bad things happen....often involving the fire department, lol. 

 

In the virtual world however, you can put whatever you want, wherever you want... if it sounds good, it is good.

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5 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Well I used to be one of those 80's rack-mount processor guys (some days I still miss my hair... sigh) lol... technically, the FX units used to live between the pre-amp and power amp, not the amp and cab. If you put any sort of multi-fx unit that's expecting a line level signal between a power amp and a cabinet, bad things happen....often involving the fire department, lol. 

 

In the virtual world however, you can put whatever you want, wherever you want... if it sounds good, it is good.

 

Absolutely!  You'd never hook up a rack effect between amp and cab.  

 

However, there was a big difference in the way Helix processed the effects placing them in between the amp and cab vs. after the cab.  Placing them between really captured that Lynch/Nuno/Lee processed tone.  

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On 4/2/2019 at 11:20 PM, GingerLefty said:

Just don’t put it in a warm bath and feed it donuts. That’s dangerous. 

HEY! I believe I resemble that remark! ;)

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1 hour ago, brue58ski said:

HEY! I believe I resemble that remark! ;)

Funniest remark from the never ending thread. 

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On 3/31/2019 at 3:31 PM, Kilrahi said:

 

Well, again, IF you like that, you can. 

 

However, I would do it this way more often than not:

 

Guitar > compressor > overdrive > volume pedal > amp/cab > delay > reverbs. 

 

 

 

 

 

This is almost exactly how I tend to set up my signal chain with one difference. I set up the volume after the amp/cab and right before any delays/reverb. That way I don't change the tone of the amp/cab when I work the volume pedal. I use my guitar's volume knob for that. One of the significant aspects of Kilrahi's signal chain or the one I use is that the volume pedal does not kill the tails on the delays or reverb when your ratchet it down and lets them finish naturally. Also setting up the volume pedal right before the delay/reverb means it acts primarily only to affect the overall volume of the preset while the the volume knob on my guitar continues to serve its usual purpose of providing more push to the initial signal which drives effects like distortion/overdrive as wells as the amp/cab harder and changes the overall tone of the preset.

 

If you don't tend to use your guitar's volume knob very much you may prefer Kilrahi's setup or even putting the volume pedal in front of the distiortion/overdrives as it will change not only the volume but also the amount/tone of the distortion effects and the amps/cabs.  As everyone has pointed out though, the only rules are what sounds good to you and what serves the tune and your playing style.

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If you’re using a clean amp and no distortion pedals, you might find little difference in where the amp is placed. It when non-linearities (distortion) is introduced that you have be be more careful. Generally tone shaping (Wah, compressor, phaser, Uni-Vibe, etc.) work well before distortion, and time/frequency based effects (chorus. Flanger, delay, reverb) work well after distortion. This difference is whether you want to distort the effect or effect the distortion.

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