Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Jump to content

Mesa Boogie Mark V and Helix


Recommended Posts

I recently acquired my dream AMP, the Mesa Boogie Mark Five. I wanted to set up all of my song patches, effects, channel switching etc with the Helix via midi, and the 4 Cable method. Its been a few weeks of trial and error and lots of research and I finally have my dream rig sorted. I thought I'd share some of my key learnings here as it was hard to find everything I needed in one place. Here goes:


1. The helix won't enable effective channel switching via TRS cable as the Ext Amp settings only cater for Tip or Ring. The helix is lacking the third option and you can't assign these settings to snapshots, you can only use foot switches in stomp mode. This means you still need to tap dance like an old-fashioned pedal board. The SOLUTION is to acquire a midi interface for the Mesa MkV from EM Custom in Poland. It cost me 150 Euro and was delivered to Australia within 10 days. Take a midi cable out of the Helix, into the interface 'midi in' socket. Then run the standard Mesa foot switch cable out of the interface into the AMP. Download the midi interface manual from the EM Customs website, and use program control messages to control the AMP via midi. Just select your snapshot, goto the command centre, set an 'instant' command by simply calling up the corresponding program number to the setting you want from the interface manual. The black dot in the manual means 'on'.

2. I got a nasty Ground Loop the moment I plugged the channel switching cable into the amp. I got the same ground loop when I tried the 1/4 inch TRS cable as well. This resulted in a loud buzzing noise that was particularly loud in the higher gain channels. The SOLUTION is an EBTech Hum Eliminator that I purchased from bmusic for $150.  I plugged the send 1 into the Hum Eliminator, then another cable out to the front of the amp, and followed the normal 4Cable method (amp fx send to helix return 1, 1/4 inch out to amp fx return). The Ground Loop buzz has completely vanished, the amp is quiet even in high gain mode at high volumes. 

3. Noise gates, put one after the send/return block, and one at the the end of your effects chain. Tweak to suit. My highest gain channel is at -40.00db, 11ms

4. Ins /Outs, set ins outs as follows in global settings - 1/4 inch out "line", send/return "Instrument"

5. The amp's high gain channels respond really well to the Minotaur sitting in front with plenty of gain (7.4), tone (5), level (4).


Hope this helps any MesaHelixHeads out there.





  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for this!

I run my Helix through a Mark III that I LOVE, but I've been drooling over the Mark V for a while now and do hope to go that way someday soon.

I run 4 cable and have been using the EBTech Hum Eliminator for a while. Great stuff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mark V had been on my mind for years - I've restored two 1986 Mk 2 amps that the Australian band, the radiators, toured with, and have a dual rec as well, but this thing just blows me away. Now that I can combine it with the Helix I'm in heaven, although I've had to invest in a decent set of ear plugs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the MB Mk V and the Helix floor with two Line 6 L3Ts (FRFR).


The Mark V model, on the Helix is VERY CLOSE to the Mk V. I use the Lead channel with Drive set at 4.7 for overdrive tone, no pedals.


So if you have an FRFR speaker setup, you should try it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
  • 3 months later...

Thanks for sharing everyone this has been a really informative post!


It looks like the RJM Music Mini Amp Gizmo is discontinued now! From what I've read the RJM doesn't give you the ground loop and you don't need the Hum Eliminator. Does anyone know if that is true? Is it maybe because it has a power supply and grounds it?


I need to get a solution for my set up (Mark V and Helix) but am having difficulty sourcing the Mini Amp gizmo and appears a lot of people have been trying to buy them... not sure why they discontinued it so might have to look at the EM Custom option with the Hum eliminator. 


I don't really want to use the Hum eliminator because I'm assuming adding one of these devices in will reduce sound quality? 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Hi, hopefully it wasn't too late to solve your problem.

I have bascally the same set up with you. I use helix effect instead of the helix floor because I'm using only the post effects and the main sound is from my Mark V 90 head.

The ground loop problem I have also encountered but I did not have the channle switching problem so I think you may have got a wrong cable or something. 

You will need a 

Stereo 1/4'' Male to two Mono 1/4'' Male Insert Y-Cable
You connect the trs end (two black rings end) on the helix ext amp, and connect ring end and tip end to the channel 1 and channel 2 switching socket on the mark v. 
You will definitly have a ground loop problem since you have connected the sleeve (ground)of the cable to the mark v. A simple solution is to disconnect the sleeve wire of the trs cable. you can cut it if your cable can be done like that. For my case, I'm using the cable I show you in the link. I cut the ring and tip end and re-solder in to a trs jack. Just make sure there is no connection between the sleeve wire to either the tip and ring end. In my case the problem is solved. 
In helix, you can use ext amp switching to switch channels. Make sure it is set to latch mode. And the mark v channel setting is set to channel 1 (default channel). 
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

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.

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...