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distantoverture

Playing live. Recommend best approach for single song with completely different tones

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Helix novice trying to build some patches for a gig.  Thanks for any suggestions.

 

Take the song Enter Sandman as an example with the totally clean intro leading into a crushing metal rhythm.  I could create 2 separate patches for the two sounds, but potentially experience latency issues when switching between them.  Alternatively could use single patch with scenes to minimize latency, but then how best to build the patch so that the tones aren't compromised?  Two different amps in same patch?  If so, how do you get around the cabinet issue?  IRs instead?  Or are people just compromising and using one amp for multiple tones within a song?  Might not be a big deal in some tunes, but I'd like to get things as accurate as I can.  Thanks!

 

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1 hour ago, distantoverture said:

Two different amps in same patch?  If so, how do you get around the cabinet issue?  IRs instead?  

 

 

What cabinet issue? Many of my patches range from crystal clean to heavily saturated rhythm and lead tones... often with a Blackface or Matchless model for the cleans, and any of several mid to high gain amps for the rest. More often than not I'll run them both through the same cab model or IR. Or I might have two totally isolated chains with separate amps and cabs. There are nearly a limitless number of ways to organize a patch... and no rules. The only thing that sucks is the experimental phase... you just have to poke around and see what works for you. 

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Everyone has their own take on this question.  For me I use two amps for the clean to crunch with a FS for switching and an IR for the cab but it does take me some experimentation as cruisinon2 has mentioned to get the correct sound.  Sometimes I have used two amps in parallel paths with a snapshot to push one and pull back the other based upon the dominant tone I want (clean or saturated) while keeping a slightly wet/dry effect with both amps still in the mix.  The Helix has no one pat answer for me.

 

Dennis

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I may be wrong but it seems to me , you already have a patch for this song in the factory's preset.

 

Use it as a base to see how it's built?

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Many ways to do it:

A clean amp, with a distortion pedal in front for dirt

One amp that does both clean and high gain, where you switch the gain parameter with a footswitch (not mamy amps can do that)

Two amps that you turn on/off alternatively and a separate cab

Two complete chains with 2 amp/cab/effects that you A/B switch (or mix)

 

I think you can even have only 1 cab efffect and switch the ir number with snapshots?

 

I personnaly have 1 looooong effect chain with everything in it: 1 of every effect I need, 2 amps, 1 cab. I use snapshots to only have 1 amp on at the time and switch between them. I use only one IR, it is more concistent and makes things easier (and I would have used only one "real" cab too anyway in a live situation)

Very easy to setup and doesn't use too much dsp.

 

Making separate patches doesn't work for me (except at home), the gap when switching is too long.

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There are a few single amps in the Helix that can pull off a clean/overdrive situation, and the Cartographer (w/Minotaur od) is my favorite. I tend to use 4 different patches (using snapshots for leads only), but you could absolutely create one patch around this amp. I’ve been pondering whether I want to try this approach, but I’m always afraid that I’ll end up getting confused in a gig situation with so many snapshots. I like this model through a 3 Sigma ir (Marshall 1960 cab), but I’ve also used a stock cab. Have fun!

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I would use two different amps switched with snapshots through the same cab. If I need clean/mean in the same patch, I usually pick the cab the works best for the heavy tone, and adjust the clean amp to sound good through that cab. 

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Thanks for replies.  I kind of assumed that if I was to use 2 different amps and 2 different cabs in same patch that I might run into processor power issues.

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Ha!  My band is working up Enter Sandman right now!

 

I'm playing James' part.  What I did was create a patch with two amps that were selected via snapshots.  I used the Roland JC for cleans adding 70s chorus and tape delay and the Rectifier for the rest of the song.  I used the same cab for both amps.  Works great and sounds fantastic. 

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Snapshots can change IRs.  I found this out because I use an IR that is an acoustic guitar simulator and then I use it as heavy cab sim on other snapshots.

 

I like to use the same IR for dirty and clean sounds.  It gives me consistency when switching.  I feel that when I switch between to completely different sounds it's a little bit too jarring for my tastes.  

 

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1 hour ago, distantoverture said:

Thanks for replies.  I kind of assumed that if I was to use 2 different amps and 2 different cabs in same patch that I might run into processor power issues.

 

In a really busy patch, you might...depends on the amps in question, and what else you've got going on in the chain. Some models chew up more DSP than others. 

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Or you could use both DSP channels separately and have top for clean and bottom for distorted etc. A snapshot could toggle all of the units on each DSP.

 

No major benefit except it might be more logical to troubleshoot/tweak.

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we do this song in our set.  While I typically play Kirks parts and sing....I have done James/Kirks parts in one preset before. 

 

I run a split path on path 1 for everything pre-Amp, and path 2 is post-Cab.  Meaning the amp/merger block is usually last on Path1 and my split on path 2 for the cabs is the first thing in line.

 

My path 1 is split between the Roland JC120 in 1a and the Badonk in 1b.  I use the A/B split block attached to snapshots to switch between them.  By splitting the amps like this I can get a chorus on the clean amp, and still boost the Badonk for tighter rhythm/leads without affecting the other.  I also add the Mesa EQ post the Badonk on 1B to help give that Recto Scoop type sound it does.  At the beginning I will have an EQ block to help with cutting low end, and then a Valve Driver OD/Wah combination (I find adding the valve driver, settings to taste, in conjunction with the Crybaby wah model, min freq around 250-max freq around 2.1, really gives it an aggressive sound that Kirk likes as well) before the A/B split block. 

 

On path 2 I have my dual IR's and all post effects (Reverb, Delay, LA Comp (Sadites style), and a gain block for leads).

 

 

 

This is how I would do it if I was doing the Clean picking part, utilizing snapshots to vary between clean/heavy sounds within the same preset. 

 

For right now, I am playing the ringing wah part in the intro and coming in when the heavy guitars come in (my other guitar player plays the James intro).  For this version:

 

I only have the badonk amp as mentioned above, all settings the same.....however I add a volume block at the beginning of my chain set to 1% (I think, maybe 2 or 3%, its not very high, more on this in a second) to give me that slightly broken up grit on the wah when it kicks on.  I also only run one snapshot on this.  As I only play the wah part in the beginning, I just automatically step on the wah (auto engage style, toe down=off, below 98% is on) at the beginning to do the wah.  When I return to toe down, I'm on my heavy rhythm sound.  I also have with the wah on auto engage my OD/Delay/Gain for my solo (being that the whole solo utilizes the wah, once you turn it on, you don't have it off until your done).  Which is why I have the volume block at the beginning of the chain I mentioned above set to only 1-3%.  Once you add in the OD/Gain boost for my lead....you don't need much input to really get that slightly gritty sound. 

 

 

This works for me, as always you mileage may vary...but when trying to sing and play, its great to just keep my right foot on the exp and only rock back when doing the lead fills during the 2nd verse and solo verses stepping on snapshots. 

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I take a hybrid approach that uses all of the above. I use a goto patch that has most of the effects I’d typically need before the amp (compressor, Wah, Uni-Vibe, Phasor, overdrive, distortion, etc.) and after the amp (chorus, delays, reverb, etc.) and use that patch for my own generic tone. I use it for almost all songs all night because its very flexible. I use one amp model, Litigator, and use a Drive footswitch to create something like an amp channel switch: it changes the drive, bass, presence, IR high cut and a few other things to switch from a clean to a driven amp tone. I don’t bother changing the IR, find a good one you like and stick with it. Consistency has its benefits. There are lots of amps in Helix that can do this including Cartographer, Derailed Ingrid, Cali Texas Ch2, Archon Lead... These amps have wide gain capabilities, and the Cab/IR block often has more to do with tone then the amp model.

 

I use snapshots in this patch for big changes that might happen between or within a song, mostly changing Variax open tunings, a quick acoustic (turns off amp and cab models, changes EQ), configuring for a Leslie. 

 

Then I use different patches for things that are song specific and go outside what can be done with by goto patch.

 

Summarizing:

Foot switches are a very effective way of turning on/off various effects in a patch that you might use in different combinations. These are changed very often.

 

Snapshots are a good way of making big changes in a patch for different sections in a song, reconfiguring the patch for a different purpose temporarily. Note you can change the snapshot, then switch back to stomp model to turn on/off effects in the context of that snapshot. I do this all the time. Snapshots are changed, less frequently, either for different songs, or different sections in a song.

 

Patches are required if you need completely different blocks for special things for a song, musical style, etc. These are changed least often, only when you need a very different configuration of blocks for a unique purpose.

 

That’s one way to use Helix. There are other ways. You can create a patch for every song, a snapshot for every section of a song, and use foot switches to change effects within the song section. That’s great, and might be especially useful in a situation where you’re playing in the orchestra pit for a play. I don’t do this because I like to have a consistent tone of my own, and a consistent layout of foot switches so I know where everything is in a live situation. Too many patches becomes a distraction for me, and inhibits creating my own tonal identity.

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I use a single preset with a snapshot for each different part in a song for many songs, particularly covers. The presets are named after the song and the snapshots are labeled for example, "Intro", "Rhythm1", "Solo1", Rhythm2", "Outro" or whatever parts are demanded by the tune.  I arrange them sequentially so I can switch from one snapshot to the next. That works most of the time and leverages the fact that snapshots include trails on the delay/reverb and have little to no latency when switching.  For those reasons I find it best to switch snapshots rather than presets wherever possible.

 

You can cram a surprising amount of stuff within a single preset. Depending on how DSP intensive the blocks are, I can fit three amps and a cab, or some other combination of amps/cabs and a host of effects in a single Super Serial(X2) route. That gives me multiple amps or amp channels as well as a healthy selection of cab and effect choices within a single preset and covers a whole lot of potential scenarios.

 

For those very few songs where the guitar parts are so different or the blocks are so DSP intensive that I can't fit all the necessary blocks in one preset then I switch presets. Just about never require that though. Switching presets may also be useful in the rare instance where you are switching from acoustic to electric within one tune. You may be able to make even that work though within a single preset using snapshots, separate routes, or just make it simple with a Variax.  

 

I also have a few general use presets like amsdenj which I use whenever I don't feel a song requires setting up snapshots. Often just switching an effect block or two in is all a song requires.

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Okay looks like I will need to do some homework to fully understand some of this advice but appreciated.  Thanks.

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Hi Distant,

 

There is a lot of great advice here.    I would approach this the same way as many.  Two amps, one clean, one high gain, and one cabinet/IR.   You don't need to use snapshots to have full control over all of the values of the amps, switch IRs etc.   You can have foot switches control nearly all aspects of the amp settings.  Experimentation is part of the fun with the Helix because it is amazingly versatile.

 

With the arrival of the HX Stop, I have been watching folks videos on how they get the most out of it.  Everything applies to the Helix, so you can learn to be extremely efficient with your setup in the same way.   I recommend you watch Richie Castellano's videos on setting up a basic patch for tele, strat, and les paul on the HX Stomp.  He basically takes the two amp approach discussed above, and does it in a very efficient manner with a few effects.  With your Helix, you can expand on that in significant ways.   Of course there are lots of other videos on Youtube, but you can get a lot of mileage out of this one.   

 

Have fun!

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I use the jumped Plexi model for most of my live presets. I use an expression pedal to start heal down as clean and pristine to toe down mid gain nasty. The nice thing about doing that is you have all the territory in between and you can go heal to toe slowly for some extra nice dynamics. 

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33 minutes ago, jbuhajla said:

I use the jumped Plexi model for most of my live presets. I use an expression pedal to start heal down as clean and pristine to toe down mid gain nasty. The nice thing about doing that is you have all the territory in between and you can go heal to toe slowly for some extra nice dynamics. 

I find this approach great for a 'one sound' style gain increase.  However, I get stuck in shaping my guitar towards the song I'm playing so my Metallica crunch will be different than my 3 Doors Down Crunch which is different than my Poison style Crunch.  I suppose you could setup stomps with EQ's that are curved different ways or even multiple cabs or IRs to get a change in that EQ sound and still retain the Exp sweep for gain control. 

 

 

On a side note, not to hijack the thread, but maybe a similar approach to what Jbuhajla is suggesting.........I remember when the original Axe FX (I had the Ultra) came out, there was a parameter in the deep edits (not nearly as deep as they go now) that gave the "Central Frequency" of the amp.  It varied somewhat, but most amps seemed to be right around 700hz or so.  One guys approach was to dial in a light/medium style gain tone (I picture a classic rock style tone, not balls out Plexi) and then he would boost the front end of the amp with a Parametric EQ that had the mid frequency only boosted.  I think in his test he setup 4 EQ blocks, in +3db increments so the 1st block was +3db, the 2nd was +6db, 3rd - +9 db and 4th was +12db.   Essentially using them as boost pedals, but boosting the main frequency character of the amp.  I really worked pretty well in retaining the character of the amp. 

 

Just another approach if you have the space for extra EQ blocks and don't want to use your EXP pedal to change gain much.  Instead of dialing in a Med Gain, you could set it up to just edge of breakup for a dirty clean type sound, then setup a OD pedal to give you the 'medium sound', and using the EQ blocks to boost the input further.  Not sure if pre-OD or post-OD would be a better placement for those EQ"s. 

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