Jump to content
channelk

Helix Translation

Recommended Posts

My band uses 3 Helix units - 2 guitars, 1 bass. Its great. No amps on stage, all IEM. I am the main lead player. The lead singer is also a very good guitar player, but his sounds and levels are all over the place, and compared to my programming - his sounds suck. So what's going on and why? I program my Helix sounds using a pair of Yamaha HS5 studio monitors and a cheap board. This has worked excellent for me - my gain staging is pretty good, all sounds level - and my tones are fantastic, after tweaks when playing thru the PA system. The singer has been using an acoustic guitar amp - and I have been telling him that what he hears at home does not translate to the board well because an amp and a direct feed into a mixer are very different things. He took my speakers home and says they suck. 

 

Anybody out there in Helix land use this unit mainly thru IEMs, and if so, how do you go about gain staging things so they translate well into a mixer. PS - the mixer we use is a Yamaha TF1.

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, channelk said:

My band uses 3 Helix units - 2 guitars, 1 bass. Its great. No amps on stage, all IEM. I am the main lead player. The lead singer is also a very good guitar player, but his sounds and levels are all over the place, and compared to my programming - his sounds suck. So what's going on and why? I program my Helix sounds using a pair of Yamaha HS5 studio monitors and a cheap board. This has worked excellent for me - my gain staging is pretty good, all sounds level - and my tones are fantastic, after tweaks when playing thru the PA system. The singer has been using an acoustic guitar amp - and I have been telling him that what he hears at home does not translate to the board well because an amp and a direct feed into a mixer are very different things. He took my speakers home and says they suck. 

 

Anybody out there in Helix land use this unit mainly thru IEMs, and if so, how do you go about gain staging things so they translate well into a mixer. PS - the mixer we use is a Yamaha TF1.

Thanks.

 

Assuming that you're running the channels flat, the mixer isn't your problem. And an acoustic amp is not an unheard of choice...given its wider frequency response, it's an infinitely better option to a traditional electric guitar amp. That said, I suspect one of two things (or possibly both) is going on here:

 

1) Volume. If he's trying to dial in sounds at living room levels and expecting everything to sound the same at stage volume, then it makes absolutely no difference what he's playing through....that will never work in a million years, no matter what he uses. You have to tweak everything at the volume at which you intend to use them... end of story. Whether it's a guitar amp, FRFR speaker, or IEM's is irrelevant.  

 

2) Tone is 100% subjective, and the two of you may simply have very different ideas about what "good" tone is...and from what you've described, this is where I'd put my money. You hate his choice of speakers, and he hates yours. Obviously this is a more difficult hurdle...as guitar players, we like what we like. If he thinks his tones are awesome, you'll never convince him that they suck. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the response - volume may be a big part of the problem. To comment about tone - the other guitarist himself states his tones suck. We are not talking about close, they are WAY off, harsh, and not appropriate for the material. 

The biggest issue is this - this guy has the unenviable job of having to use 4 very different guitars - these all have very different outputs, and he seems not able to get them balanced. It means sometimes the acoustic is non-existent in the mix. and his inconsistent levels for all his patches is a real issue. Not sure why this is, as I am having no problems, but I have it way easier and only play electrics that are pretty similar in output.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, channelk said:

My band uses 3 Helix units - 2 guitars, 1 bass. Its great. No amps on stage, all IEM. I am the main lead player. The lead singer is also a very good guitar player, but his sounds and levels are all over the place, and compared to my programming - his sounds suck. So what's going on and why? I program my Helix sounds using a pair of Yamaha HS5 studio monitors and a cheap board. This has worked excellent for me - my gain staging is pretty good, all sounds level - and my tones are fantastic, after tweaks when playing thru the PA system. The singer has been using an acoustic guitar amp - and I have been telling him that what he hears at home does not translate to the board well because an amp and a direct feed into a mixer are very different things. He took my speakers home and says they suck. 

 

Anybody out there in Helix land use this unit mainly thru IEMs, and if so, how do you go about gain staging things so they translate well into a mixer. PS - the mixer we use is a Yamaha TF1.

Thanks.

 

I think some of the comments here already are dead on. I would add sharing your presets with him and letting him adapt and adopt the ones he likes would probably be step #1. You may want to dedicate part of a band rehearsal to getting there early and just working collaboratively with your bandmate on designing or modifying  a handful of presets that sound good through the PA system your band will be using. Whatever method he is using at home to design his presets is not as you say translating to the band's PA; refining that process would be helpful going forward. He may just flat out be using a difficult amp/cab to develop his presets although you can work around that, or as Cruisinon2 points out he needs to crank it up, modify the amp's EQ, or make some other adjustment that assists him to better anticipate what will come out of the PA. Bringing the amp he uses for preset design at home to practice can be helpful for seeing how they match up and what to expect as he moves from the amp(home) to the PA(stage).

 

You may have more of a knack for designing presets or anticipating the PA and perhaps could give him a few tips on how to design them. Working collaboratively (pride allowing) should assist him in getting a couple of preset examples that sound good through the PA. He may be able to design them better himself after that going forward or at least clone them from a workable template. If all else fails, and I am a DIY guy so it pains me to say this,  he could always buy some presets although those may require some tweaking for the PA as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, if he says your studio monitors "suck" its because he doesn't like whats coming out of them, lol. I think its going to come down to either sharing presets, or setting aside time outside of rehearsal for him to bring his guitars and Helix to you so you can both hook up to your mixer and dial in tones together. Is it possible the device is a little overwhelming for him and he's too proud to explain that aspect of the issue. I have a bass player who is "pedal guy" but he's always eyeballing my Helix. He acquired a Boss GT-6B and the thing was just waaaaay too complicated for him. He was always fiddling with levels and adjustments even after multiple explanations of how these things save a preset and it sounds the same every time you pull it up.  The options were too much to resist even though he wasn't very sure what he was doing, but also uninterested in the RTFM approach, as that would imply some level of incompetence on his part. He's back to his little pedalboard with a B7KUltra at the end that we DI to our IEMs and things are much better now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to add information on the volume side of things....This is something that happens with my lead boosts when we use a different sound system for gigs.  I'll try and explain in a way that is easy and makes sense, so sorry if it doesn't. 

 

Our PA scenario:

My presets output are set to (for the sake of conversation only) +/- 0 db.  The gain on our mixer is set at unity gain, +/- 0db.  That means what my Helix is putting out is what is being pushed through the mixer (albeit controlled by the fader for mixing, but the signal strength/level is equal).  

 

When I hit my lead boosts (on average, +6db at the end of my signal chain), the board is getting an extra +6db fed into it, even without moving the fader, its louder. 

 

Random Soundguys PA Scenario:

My presets output are set to (for the sake of conversation only) +/- 0 db.  Soundguy uses a different mixer and its inputs are padded more than ours is, so he has to raise the channel gain on the mixer to get my signal to a 'happy place', lets say its raised +6db.  That means my helix volume is be boosted at the input of the mixer +6db and being mixed from there.

 

When I hit my lead boosts (again, +6db boost on my end), that boost is then hitting the mixers +6db, and my lead boost now will have a much greater level difference from my rhythm tone cause the +6db is being boosted as well.....

 

 

Where I'm going with this is that, while your presets are leveled, and everything is good.....maybe the way you leveled your presets was done differently than his.  If his outputs sound 'close' at home, but his mixer channel is boosted in your band system, then any volume/level discrepancy is going to be exaggerated.

 

Its a long shot, but that is something I worry about and have experienced on my end....something to consider possibly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2019 at 6:12 PM, channelk said:

The lead singer is also a very good guitar player, but his sounds and levels are all over the place, and compared to my programming - his sounds suck. So what's going on and why? 

 

I wouldn't look beyond the obvious.

  1. He is not as adept at setting up tones than you are, and may not be as good at understanding or interpreting what needs to be done. 
  2. You are using a better set of speakers to setup your tones... even if they are smaller. 

Tones setup on a pair of HS5's at moderate to loud volume will translate to IEM's and PA's far better than tones setup on an acoustic amp. They are studio monitors, and are far more accurate at letting you hear what is going on. 

 

On 4/9/2019 at 6:12 PM, channelk said:

He took my speakers home and says they suck. 

 

Read the latter half of my "bullet point #1" above... this type of response is exactly what I mean. 

 

FWIW... I setup my tones on a set of studio monitors (6.5" woofer and 1" tweeter) and a set of consumer grade 3 way stereo speakers. When I get my tones sounding great on BOTH sets, it's ready to go live. I also have a small mixer that I use to meter the levels. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did your singer previously use physical guitar amplifiers on stage? He may believe he "knows" what amp settings are right based on the settings he used to use on a physical amp. It could be that when he plugs in your very good speakers to listen to the amp settings he "knows" are right, but doesn't get the sound he wants, he feels justified in claiming it is the speakers that suck, because his amp settings are obviously correct. From what people have said on this forum, its seems like some of Helix's amps behave more similarly to their real-world counterparts than others with respect to tone settings. It sounds like you have the right idea though.

 

As for volume leveling between presets, that is a pain. You just have to spend the time in front of your speakers, at performance volumes playing and switching between presets (and the guitar that goes with each preset) and working them until they are at the right levels relative to one another. Again, it sounds like you have a handle on this, but your singer is the one making the classic mistake, either relying on in ears or the acoustic amp to get a feel for his levels. Someone may know the answer to this, but acoustic amps might have some natural compression to them, which would make it seem like the presets are closer to one another than they really are when going through the non-compressed PA. (Then again, maybe the lazy answer is for the sound guy to just throw a compressor on his channel?)

 

I can sympathize with the nuisance of playing multiple guitars, I only switch between two and occasionally an acoustic guitar. At least for me, the acoustic always has to be boosted way beyond what you would think is right, so it sounds like that part of his problem is normal. You can use the mic preamp or an IR that models acoustic guitars for additional places to add gain. You can also make all of your electric guitar presets a little quieter and turn up your master volume. If he can't boost the acoustic any further, and it is still quieter than the electric channels, this might be what's going on. But kudos to him for "knowing" that the proper amp settings are dimed across the board.

 

Last tip: on each preset, create one snapshot that is set up to be just a straigtforward, middle-of-the-road type of sound you would use for the most basic verse on your setlist, whether you would ever actually use that snapshot in a gig or not. Set the levels of all the other snapshots relative to this snapshot (using your speaker, not his acoustic amp). Then, when you cycle through the presets, adjust levels at the output block so that this "standard" snapshot is the same volume for each preset. Obviously there may be presets for which this just doesn't work, but it should be worth trying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...