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pilethemup

Opinions on speaker situation for Helix LT

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I'm about to jump into the modeling game. Selling my tube stuff and cabs to go full modeling. I haven't played out in years, and while I cant say I never will again, I don't see it happening anytime soon. I've come to the realization that I get zero benefit from a tube amp because I can never really push the tubes. Playing by myself to a backing track or whatever I just don't need the volume. I've decided on the Helix LT. Although I've had a few people I know tell me to get the AX8, the UI of the Helix is just seems super intuitive.

 

Next dilemma is how to get sound from the Helix. I've narrowed it down to two options. Either a pair of JBL 308P MKII on stands, or a pair of Alto TS310 on the floor as wedges. The room I play in is decent size (13'x30'), and I tend to move around alot, almost never playing while sitting. Cost is the same on both. I just don't know which will sound best. Unfortunately, while I'm within 20 minutes of 3 different Guitar Centers, not one of them has both of these to demo. I could just order all of it and return the lesser ones, but if at all possible I'd rather not do that. I've made a little diagram of my room hoping that will help.

 

Sorry about the crappy paint work, I'm not an artist.

 

 

Helix speakers BOTH.png

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This being a Helix forum, between the AXE and the Helix, guess which one we'll recommend?

 

As for speakers, the JBLs are near field monitors, intended for mixing. They'll sound best standing at the apex of the equilateral triangle between the speakers.

 

The Altos are PA speakers, and have a much wider dispersion. They should also go on (short) speaker stands to prevent bass coupling with the floor, and because they don't have the DSP that more expensive speakers have to cope with that.

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I use a pair of Yamaha DXRs on stands in my basement with my LT. Awesome sound. I switched from an all tube setup, as well. 

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For your needs, either will do. The Yamaha are lower powered, but higher quality and more flexible (DSP).

I've never compared them. I use a single HR FRFR112 and it sounds great. A pair, plus stands, will cost about $650. The main difference between the FRFR112 and the TS312 is that the TS312 has mic preamps. Inmusic claims that the FRFR112 is "voiced for guitar", but the only difference that they'll admit to is the lack of mic preamps.

Again, Yamaha quality/flexibility (and 10" vs 12") vs Alto price.

LOTS of people use the Yamaha and are very happy.

If you get the Yamaha, I'd get the stands anyway. Higher up means closer to ear level and that always sounds better to me. YMMV.

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57 minutes ago, pilethemup said:

ok. Still not clear. Maybe Im just dense. Which will sound better? For my needs?

 

A frequently asked, yet unanswerable question... it's entirely subjective. As already noted though, either would be more than adequate for your needs. Which one you'd prefer only you can answer, and there's exactly one way to find out.

 

On a side note, no matter what you choose, do yourself a favor and watch some youtube vids on how to dial in a modeler with FRFR speakers. Check out Jason Sadites' channel... he's got a number of Helix- specific tutorials. Many players making the switch from tube amps have difficulty at the outset. Modelers are NOT guitar amps, and FRFR speakers have a much wider and flatter frequency response than typical guitar speakers, requiring a completely different approach to the use of EQ. Setting everything at noon and letting it rip will not work, no matter what speakers you choose. There's often a steep learning curve... one that's totally worth it imho... so don't expect instant gratification. It'll take a while.

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Thanks for the heads up. Ill definitely check out that channel. 

 

My main concern is that the JBL's may sound "smaller", compared to the Alto. Im sure theyll both have great audio fidelity. 

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12 hours ago, pilethemup said:

Thanks for the heads up. Ill definitely check out that channel. 

 

My main concern is that the JBL's may sound "smaller", compared to the Alto. Im sure theyll both have great audio fidelity. 

 

Smaller isn't necessarily the problem with the JBL's.  As mentioned previously they're studio monitors, meaning they're meant to be listened to in a very specific equilateral triangular arrangement between the listener and the two speakers in order to get the full effect.  They will most undoubtedly sound very high fidelity, and will probably sound okay as you move about the room, but the stereo effect will be limited.  Since they're a bass reflex system you'd need to follow the manufacturers directions regarding placement.  That's simply the nature of the design of those types of speakers.

In terms of the other direction of using FRFR live performance style powered speakers, it's important to understand that you get what you pay for in terms of quality.  Generally speaking, other than professional large scale concert type speakers, you have three basic levels in the market right now.  The low end systems which have a good range of sound but very little flexibility in terms of adjusting for different placements and types of usage (spoken lectures, recorded music, live music, etc.), and fairly high volumes.  The Alto's or Headrush would fall into this category.  The next level of speakers would be more mid-range priced, have more flexibility for adjusting for usage, but a bit lower maximum volume, and use a bi-amp design for separating power to the speaker and the horn.  The speakers that would fall into this category would be things like the QSC CP12, EV ZLX-12P, or Yamaha DBR12.  The premium level speakers have all the general features of the mid-range speakers and with more clean and precise high volume performance, and more advanced electronics and DSP capabilities for contouring the speaker's response.  The type of speakers falling into this category would be things like the QSC K12.2, Yamaha DXR12, or the Line 6 Stagesource speakers.

As you mentioned, volume isn't a primary concern.  That being the case I might suggest you look more into the mid-range speakers such as the ZLX series, DBR series, or CP series.  You might also consider looking into the smaller versions of these speakers as bass response really isn't a major consideration when it comes to DSP driven powered speaker designs.  I personally own a QSC CP8 that I use for smaller open mic nights or jam sessions which is very capable with a great sound and consistent peformance to my DXR12 which I use for professional gigs.  I also own a ZLX-12P which I use for a side fill monitor, but have used it on occasion for my Helix.

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The lower range speakers (Alto, Headrush, etc) also use bi-amping, but the crossover frequency is fixed. That means that they'll have a "sweet spot" in terms of volume and listener position, and are best used vertically on poles.

 

Speakers with DSP adjust crossover frequency and/or relative power levels between low and high frequency components based on volume levels. The higher range do that and have presets for different situations and placements.

 

As DD said, you get what you pay for. However, keeping the above feature differences in mind, the relative quality in terms of construction and durability on the low end has increased considerably in recent years.

 

Yamaha's warranty is hard to beat though!

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