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TheRealTomTom

My LT first impressions.

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So I have the bought the LT and have it for 14 days to see what I think and to try it with the band before I have to keep (and sell amp) or return it. 

 

My first impressions are quite torn. I both love it and hate it, but hate is a bit strong! Frustrated might fit slightly better.

 

Going back a step the reason for getting the Helix was due to the weight on my amp and pedal board and having a bad back and sciatica. 

I love my Blackstar but have already sold many of the pedals. I was always keen to own the pedals but realistically I rarely used them in a song (bar a little chorus here and there).

 

So I got the LT on the Sunday (with practice on the Monday although we were sans bassist) and set up a patch that sounded OK through a PA speaker I have at home. 

 

I plug in at practice and because of the PA speaker used being old and actually quite muddy I had over compensated on the treble. Not too much of an issue to get it sorted out. 

 

It was a very different change in how you approach playing as the other guitarist (lead) was complaining I was too loud as I was in the PA next to him but the drummer wanted more of me as my cab was no longer next to him. 

 

We fiddled with panning me about and it was OK but we play a range of gigs. Some where we go through a large desk and would be mic'd up and others where we are just amps on stage. There was a worry about the smaller gigs where essentially I am now in the PA and mic'd up and the other guitar isn't (more of a concern for G1 than me). 

 

I think another problem we have is we use 100 or 50w amps and don't get to use them at that volume to drive everything because of space in the venue. So it's knowing how we will all sit going forward.

 

So after the first practice, I have taken another PA speaker which seems much more neutral and made a new patch (and found all the setlists and spaces and it blew my mind). I found a few IR files and made a new patch with them and snapshots and I want to try it again with the band because at home at night I can't push the volume because of the kids in bed. It seemed to sound great and again showed me that it does loads. My wifes concern is I basically find the one patch I like and it's an expensive toy when it is not required. 

 

I am torn about if I keep it or not, maybe get a smaller amp to replace what I have that is not so loud for the small venue. 

 

It is a great piece of kit and I was impressed with the amp modelling but some of the time it still does have the digital fizz that is part of the problem of modelling and not using the real warm valve amp. It is much better than it used to be and I am blown away with it. I am sure it will be fine in the mix again and I was impressed with some of the feedback and how natural it sounded and how easily it did it reproduced that sound. 

 

I want to keep it to invest the time, I am conscious of the cost and the worry that I have to sell my real amp I love, but it's heavy and I don't really use that at the volumes it was designed for. 

 

Anyway.....not sure if I am asking a question or looking for a justification to keep it.

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You moved from air to water breathing (so to speak) and need time to adapt. Once you take the time and effort in reading, watching on Youtube, and learning your LT you (like the rest of us who have done this) will see the need for Helix in your musical life. But, it takes time and sometimes a while for it to all click in. 14 days, well flies live longer than that.  

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1 hour ago, TheRealTomTom said:

My wifes concern is I basically find the one patch I like and it's an expensive toy when it is not required. 

 

 

If everybody used this as a yardstick, we'd all be playing a $110 used Squire through a Pignose. Next time she whines about it, go over to the closet and start taking inventory of shoes and handbags. It's more or less a guarantee that the total will surpass what you spent on the Helix before she finishes a sentence...

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2 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

If everybody used this as a yardstick, we'd all be playing a $110 used Squire through a Pignose. Next time she whines about it, go over to the closet and start taking inventory of shoes and handbags. It's more or less a guarantee that the total will surpass what you spent on the Helix before she finishes a sentence...

If only the were true.... She's got shoes but is much more restrained than me and buys cheap practical work clothes more than for pleasure

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You actually have a lot of choices available to you, but you first need to figure out what benefits you want to get from the Helix and the situation you're going to be using it in.

The main thing to get a handle on is that the Helix will only be as good as the output device you use for it.  You can choose to simply plan on taking  the Helix to the gig and plugging it into the PA, but then you're dependent upon the PA and that's a crap shoot as you saw at rehearsal.  Through a great PA system with adequate stage monitors and someone running the equipment that knows what they're doing, you'll sound great and you can have your sound mixed appropriately for the stage...however, that's not a guarantee because a lot of that is out of your hands.  Most likely your best bet is to get a GOOD powered speaker that won't be too heavy, so you can somewhat duplicate the type of setup you've been doing with less weight and a more dependable/predictable stage sound.  Something along the lines of a QSC CP8 might suit your purpose since it's very light, and has more than enough power to meet your needs.  Of course you could also route the Helix output through your existing amp, but you wouldn't be gaining any advantage as far as weight and you would lose a certain amount of flexibility and features of the Helix since you wouldn't be using cabs or IRs since you'd be going through a real cabinet.

Ideally all of these things would have been better thought about before jumping in, but that didn't happen so you either press forward, or call the whole thing off.

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It may not seem like it but it was a thought process of starting to slim down my pedal board to a pedal train board, then I found out about the helix HX buy from here got told about the LT. 

 

Essentially I am going to get the HX to replace the pedal board and gives me all the pedals I might never use too.

 

It was the progression of trying the full beast and amp models first to see where I may go from there.

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44 minutes ago, TheRealTomTom said:

It may not seem like it but it was a thought process of starting to slim down my pedal board to a pedal train board, then I found out about the helix HX buy from here got told about the LT. 

 

Essentially I am going to get the HX to replace the pedal board and gives me all the pedals I might never use too.

 

It was the progression of trying the full beast and amp models first to see where I may go from there.

 

Regardless of the size whether it's an LT or a HX, the same thing will apply.  You'll still have to figure out the best output method for your system as that's going to be a MAJOR part of whether it will work consistently for you in all circumstances.  I pretty much doubt the HX would have made any difference at all in the problems you encountered in your first rehearsal.  Making a critical evaluation between LT or HX without a clear idea of how you will output whatever sounds come out of them is kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees.  Bottom line you can't evaluate any modeling unit in a vacuum because it's not a turnkey system...it's a component of a system.

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Do you have access to a powered speaker (frfr) that you can use at the next rehearsal? It’s a difficult scenario when one guitarist is using a traditional cab and the other is using modeling tech through the mixer. The sound dispersion is all over the place. If you are each using one speaker, you might be able to get a better sound as a band or at least get a better feel for your tone. If you do not have access to one frfr, You could also ask the other guitarist to turn down, and then mic his amp. Then, you are both in the mix together.

 

I’m lucky to be in a group where we all use modeling direct to the mixer (even the drummer!), but I remember being the first one to take the digital plunge. It takes time to find your sonic space. 

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40 minutes ago, steelstringer said:

Do you have access to a powered speaker (frfr) that you can use at the next rehearsal? It’s a difficult scenario when one guitarist is using a traditional cab and the other is using modeling tech through the mixer. The sound dispersion is all over the place. If you are each using one speaker, you might be able to get a better sound as a band or at least get a better feel for your tone. If you do not have access to one frfr, You could also ask the other guitarist to turn down, and then mic his amp. Then, you are both in the mix together.

 

I’m lucky to be in a group where we all use modeling direct to the mixer (even the drummer!), but I remember being the first one to take the digital plunge. It takes time to find your sonic space. 

Yes the drummer has a speaker he uses for his electric kit. 

 

I'm also taking a pa speaker and trying it like having an amp behind me

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Is this your first Line6 product? Ive been around em so long that the tweaking is second nature. ALL digital products have a specific language and once you get used to it, the stuff is real easy. Strymons have their own way of how to create sounds thats so different from others that it takes me a bit to re-wrap my head around it.

Options can be overwhelming. Make it as simple as you can for yourself. there's a site i saw with the "top 5 things you need to do when moving to the helix" help sort of checklist. 

Also, look for presets you can download which help show you how tones are constructed. 

As far as the fizz, double check the cab sim is on on that preset and most recommend turning off the Global EQ. 

 

GET the helix editor installed on your computer. Its much easier to use, even as easy as the screen is to work from

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So I tried using the USB in to Cubase to record and it does what all digital distortion does which is fizz like crazy. 

I also tried it through my UR22mk2 using the xlr out into xlr in. It was fizzy and digital. 

 

I know I am asking a lot with little experience of the product and recording but any advice about what I did wrong is welcomed! 

 

Again, it's an unfair comparison but you hear the demo videos of the OwnHammer IRs (and I tried one in this patch) and it is nothing like it.

 

Their version sounds like an amp and cab........mine not so much. Even if you take out those videos and look at what people using the Helix have recorded it sounds great. 

 

I'm going to read as much as I can now to look at global EQ and what to do to make it "better" I am aware it is all subjective. 

hxtest.mp3

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Post an image of your patch. There are folks on this board who can give more advice if they can see your workflow.

 

In my case as a new Helix user, digital fizz always came from clipping somewhere, like hot pickups that cause issues at the beginning of the chain or the output level being too hot and clipping the mixer or recording device. 

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