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gunnzshow

New Helix LT user: Helix into combo amp questions

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Hi there,

 

I am new to Helix but not to multi-effect pedals. I used a Digitech 500 for 11 years, and while I notice a noticeable improvement in the effects, I am having issues with getting the tone I need to play live. I play a PRS Mark Tremonti passive guitar with a Marshall AVT 50 combo amp. I play the Marshall only on the clean channel. I am emulating a Fender twin with a metal zone distortion.

 

I I have a few problems. I play in a hard rock band, and I need to be able to do feedback. I haven't been able to get any good feedback (just the ear splitting kind). Any tips for that? I understand that you need to crank the gain for feedback, but one of the problems I am having with my amp is that I have to crank it with the Helix. When I do that it starts to break up, and I need it as clean as possible. I understand that the amp will colour my tone, but I never had this issue with my old pedal. I have a feeling I am missing some setting.

 

Also, do you have some general tips for going straight into a combo amp in terms of placement of amp, cabinet etc? Should I be using preamp amp and cab if I am already using an amp that colours my sound?

 

Thanks for any help you can give!

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Generally if you are playing directly into a real amp you are not going to use modeled amps, preamps, or cabinet sounds. But that is a basic guideline. If you want to experiment with using the preamp sounds or even the full amp sounds I recommend doing it with no cab or IR model. Also check the settings for output on helix for instrument and line level and try both to see if that helps with the sound your trying to get. Then mess around with with some of the different EQ blocks in helix after that to see if that helps you recreate the sound you are going for, and helps you find the feedback frequency you are trying to get. I haven't used a Digitech RP500 but since its an older and cheaper product I'm guessing the cabinet modeling in it was probably acting as more of a basic EQ, while cabs in helix or IRs are creating a very complex EQ that might not help you (or it might but I would try that last)

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Ideally you should be plugging the Helix output into the effects return of the Marshall which will then use only the power amp portion of the amp allowing you to get the clean and accurate modeling output of the Fender Twin through the Marshall power amp and cabinet.  Because you're using a physical cabinet you wouldn't typically use the modeled cabs or any IRs in your signal chain.

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4 hours ago, gunnzshow said:

do you have some general tips for going straight into a combo amp in terms of placement of amp, cabinet etc? Should I be using preamp amp and cab if I am already using an amp that colours my sound?

 

 

IMO.... this is how I would do it with your setup  (some has been said above, I am just going through all the steps to be complete)

  1. Plug your guitar into the Helix
  2. Plug the output of the Helix into the POWER AMP IN or Effects Return (depending on what it has) on the Marshall
  3. Do not use "cabinet" models on the Helix  (use the preamp model, or the amp without cabs)
  4. Dial it in as you wish, and use the big knob to control your overall volume volume. 

 

(NOTE: there are no particular rules with a modeler like the Helix.... the above is just a general guideline)

 

As for your tone/feedback... that is different from rig to rig, setup to setup. IMO, controllable feedback comes from volume and position, not gain - but there are always exceptions. All I can suggest is that you don't scoop the mids too much.... that's where all the resonant frequencies are. If you get "ear splitting" feedback... that likely means the highs are taking off before the mids can. 

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I know it’s counterintuitive, but I prefer the sound of the Helix full amp model and IR into the return of my Marshall tube amp. I’ve tried the preamp/no IR approach, and it always sounds small to me. I use a wet/dry/wet setup, and the Marshall is the dry in the middle. My xlr outputs go to 2 frfr speakers. Pretty big sounds/tones. Good luck on your tone quest. 

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3 hours ago, Cody_smith said:

Generally if you are playing directly into a real amp you are not going to use modeled amps, preamps, or cabinet sounds. But that is a basic guideline. If you want to experiment with using the preamp sounds or even the full amp sounds I recommend doing it with no cab or IR model. Also check the settings for output on helix for instrument and line level and try both to see if that helps with the sound your trying to get. Then mess around with with some of the different EQ blocks in helix after that to see if that helps you recreate the sound you are going for, and helps you find the feedback frequency you are trying to get. I haven't used a Digitech RP500 but since its an older and cheaper product I'm guessing the cabinet modeling in it was probably acting as more of a basic EQ, while cabs in helix or IRs are creating a very complex EQ that might not help you (or it might but I would try that last)

Thanks! You are right that the Digitech 500 is a cheaper multi-effects and circa 2008. Significantly cheaper actually. But it does boast amp modelling, and it definitely makes a big difference when you bypass the amp and just use the Marshall. I currently have the Helix 1/4 output set to instrument. Line gives me a lot more volume, but I am a bit concerned about the noise. The manual says to use instrument, but I will experiment. Any tips for the EQ? With the Digitech, I never used EQ, just a noise gate.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, codamedia said:

 

 

IMO.... this is how I would do it with your setup  (some has been said above, I am just going through all the steps to be complete)

  1. Plug your guitar into the Helix
  2. Plug the output of the Helix into the POWER AMP IN or Effects Return (depending on what it has) on the Marshall
  3. Do not use "cabinet" models on the Helix  (use the preamp model, or the amp without cabs)
  4. Dial it in as you wish, and use the big knob to control your overall volume volume. 

 

(NOTE: there are no particular rules with a modeler like the Helix.... the above is just a general guideline)

 

As for your tone/feedback... that is different from rig to rig, setup to setup. IMO, controllable feedback comes from volume and position, not gain - but there are always exceptions. All I can suggest is that you don't scoop the mids too much.... that's where all the resonant frequencies are. If you get "ear splitting" feedback... that likely means the highs are taking off before the mids can. 

Thanks for this. I never really had to do much EQ with my previous pedal. I've got the treble turned up to 7, bass 4, gain 5 and volume at 4 on the Marshall. There is no mid knob. I only use the clean channel. Any idea how to avoid scooping the mids?

Edited by gunnzshow
Missed a part

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41 minutes ago, gunnzshow said:

Thanks for this. I never really had to do much EQ with my previous pedal. I've got the treble turned up to 7, bass 4, gain 5 and volume at 4 on the Marshall. There is no mid knob. I only use the clean channel. Any idea how to avoid scooping the mids?

 

Just to clarify, if you go into the effects return on the Marshall you would be bypassing the tone stack of the Marshall so your Marshall tone knobs wouldn't do anything .  You'd be controlling the modeled amp on the Helix with it's tone knobs.  I believe all codamedia is referring to is to make sure your mid tone knob and treble tone knobs are fairly close rather than have your mid tone knob turned down too much and get too much high frequency feedback.

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far. So one thing that seems to have helped is changing instrument to line for the 1/4. I get a significant volume boost, meaning I don't need to crank the amp so I get far fewer of those piercing highs. I did plug the cable from the Helix 1/4 out directly into the effects return. What I found though is that everything sounds very thin like that. Any suggestions for that? I did manage to get some nice feedback though. 

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Wah pedals are great for getting controlled feedback.  A wah is basically a volume boost in a narrow frequency band.  The frequency is controlled by the pedal.  So you can use the wah pedal to tune in on the frequency your guitar note(s) will feedback at, and get a nice controlled feedback.

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21 hours ago, gunnzshow said:

Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far. So one thing that seems to have helped is changing instrument to line for the 1/4. I get a significant volume boost, meaning I don't need to crank the amp so I get far fewer of those piercing highs. I did plug the cable from the Helix 1/4 out directly into the effects return. What I found though is that everything sounds very thin like that. Any suggestions for that? I did manage to get some nice feedback though. 

 

That really opens up more questions than anything.  Going into the main front input on your Marshall you were getting quite a bit of help from the Marshall pre amp and amp tone stack, so it really begs the question of whether you used the Helix pre-amp block or the full amp block.  It also would likely require you to change the way the Helix amp model was dialed in.  I would think you'd need to dramatically change the setup (tone knobs, gain, master volume, channel volume, etc) of the Helix amp block once you go into the effects return given you're no longer getting the benefit of the Marshall pre amp and tone stack and most likely you'd be better off with the Helix amp block than the Helix pre amp block.  Since you're now going through only the clean Marshall amplifier circuit, you'd also likely carry the Marshall volume louder and simply control that overall volume using the Helix master volume control.

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1 hour ago, DBCrocky said:

Wah pedals are great for getting controlled feedback.  A wah is basically a volume boost in a narrow frequency band.  The frequency is controlled by the pedal.  So you can use the wah pedal to tune in on the frequency your guitar note(s) will feedback at, and get a nice controlled feedback.

Yes I am using a wah, but I am only getting awful ear piercing feedback. Any hints on how to get the good kind? Also one other thing. I do a pick scratch attack in some songs, but even without a noise gate there is no sustain.

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