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Scottm1215768

Helix Lt with vintage fender twin reverb

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Sooooo I purchased a helix LT about 4 months ago and have purchased sound bundles on line (won't name because I don't wanna offend anyone). I play two main guitars, one is an american made strat and the other is a Les Paul custom. My amp is an original Fender twin reverb loaded with EV force 12's. I had researched the helix for months prior to making the substantial purchase and am really disappointed in not only the factory patches that came with the unit but the purchased created patches are no better. I've tried running thru the PA with a powered 1500 watt on each side and the tone is the same. Nasty, dirty tones. I too have watched countless videos on proper placement on building signal chains and have built a decent clean patch but as I suspect most struggle with the endless search for that great overdrive lead tone. The fender twin has a great clean tone on its own as we all know. The best combination I have been able to achieve is simply using the helix as a peddle board run into the twin reverb. I can't help but suspect I am doing something wrong here because the tones I am hearing in videos isn't even close to what I have been able to achieve with this pricey helix. I play world class guitars, have a vintage amp guitarists drool over and I can't get a decent sounding factory OR bought patch produced from the unit nor can I though pretty darn good PA speakers. Have had several processors and am a seasoned pro player so this isn't my first rodeo but it is my first helix. Someone PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME HERE! I was hoping this would finally end my relentless years of a tone I would really enjoy. 

Thx!

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Congratulations! By buying a Helix you've stepped boldly into the modern world! By pairing it with a Fender Twin you've succeeded in booting yourself 50 years into the past!

 

While the Twin is a great amp, it's use with Helix reduces the Helix to a fancy pedalboard. Almost any effect you've ever wanted to put IN FRONT of your tube amp. You don't even have an effects loop!

 

By using the Helix with your PA you're getting closer to maximizing it's features. You can now use it to create complete rigs - amps, cabs, effects loops, the whole nine yards. Getting it to sound good is, as you've discovered, challenging, especially if your point of reference is one of the world's greatest clean tube amps.

 

Start by checking out Jason Sadite's YouTube videos. Lots of tips and tricks and he's a great teacher.

 

However, if that doesn't get you there, and if you can't find a single decent sounding preset, either from the factory or in any of the aftermarket packages, you might want to consider that maybe the modern world isn't for you. Else, maybe you need to sell your Helix and get a Fractal or a KPA.

 

I don't mean to be insulting or discouraging, but not everybody likes Fords, some prefer Chevies!  And a LOT of GREAT music has been made with a Twin and a Tube Screamer!

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You can't run amp sims into an amp.

If you want to use the Helix amps, you need to run FRFR.

So you say you plugged into the PA?

I'm  assuming you mean direct out of the Helix?

Then you need to know about High and low cut filters.

All cabs and IRs (the speaker simulation part of the digital process) need to be EQ'd so the range is similar to a guitar speaker.

There are 2 common ways to do this - use the high and low cut filters on those cabs and IRs - or use global EQ.

The secret is that you don't need to hear much above 5K for a typical guitar sound - even a bright "hifi" clean strat sound.

Distortion hates frequencies above 5k (ish)

So if you want decent overdrives, that's the first thing to do.  It also smooths out clean sounds.

Suddenly a Helix amp starts to sound like the thing you know so well.

Next you need to reduce the lows.

Normally somewhere around 100Hz is about the place to  roll off the lows.

Those high and low cuts need to be drastic - if you use the global EQ make those curves steep!

Do that, and you will start to get good sounds - direct into a FRFR system.

You can only use the Helix as a pedal board into the front of a guitar amp - you positively don't want to send an amp simulation into an amp!

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The question I have is about the PA you used for the Helix.  Not all PA's are made equal, and the wattage is really irrelevant. What is relevant is the type of speakers being used on the PA as well as the way you set up your preset.  You mentioned it's a powered PA assuming that means you have powered speakers.  But there are older generation powered speakers that still rely on simple crossovers and have tone controls, and more modern speakers with DSP driven crossovers and bi-amp designs that have more flat response such as the EV ZLX series, or the Yamaha DXR or DBR series, or the QSC K.2 or CP series and so on.  Those will provide the most accurate representation of the elements in your Helix patches because they won't have the typical drop out in the frequency range where the crossover occurs.  If you have speakers consistent with those I've mentioned, you really don't need to go through a complete PA to get a feel for the sound from the Helix, you can simply go from the 1/4" L/Mono output to one of the powered speakers.  One important aspect when using these type of speakers is to dial in the proper contour adjustments for how they're being used such as Monitor if they're set on the floor to mitigate bass coupling, or default if positioned on a pole and make sure you provide adequate space (around 5 or 6 feet) between you and the speaker in order to not be overwhelmed by the speaker horn.

 

As mentioned before, it's common to use both high and low cuts to trim out excessive highs and lows on flat response speakers, but that's also highly dependent on the cabinet models, mic models, and mic placements used within your preset.  This is nothing new and relates very much to the way these things affect traditional setups.  You can achieve a mic mix by selecting a dual cab block and specifying the same speaker on both but with different mics and placements on each.  I usually have some form of high and low cuts on my presets, but they tend to be much more subtle due to how I use mic mixes and mic placements on my cabinet models.  I normally use a combination of mics such as a MD421 dynamic mic and a R121 ribbon mic typically placed at a distance of around 6 to 8 inches.  This mitigates the harsher highs so I rarely have a high cut less than 8 kHz, and more commonly up in the 8.5  to 10 kHz area.  My low cuts generally range in the 80 to 125 Hz area.  I apply these cuts using a Parametric EQ toward the end of my signal chain.  Jason Sadites demonstrates these techniques in his great YouTube series on getting great tone.

One of the things that likely affected your sound when using your Fender Twin (aside from not being able to bypass the preamp and tone stack of the amp through an effect loop input) is the fact you were using a physical guitar cabinet.  There are many people that use traditional amps rather the powered flat response speakers normally in some kind of 4CM arrangement, but even in those cases you wouldn't use the Helix cabinets and mics because the Helix cabinets would add additional coloration to the sound of the physical cabinet.

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13 hours ago, Scottm1215768 said:

My amp is an original Fender twin reverb loaded with EV force 12's. I had researched the helix for months prior to making the substantial purchase and am really disappointed in not only the factory patches that came with the unit but the purchased created patches are no better. I've tried running thru the PA with a powered 1500 watt on each side and the tone is the same.

 

Sounds like you started the process backward to me... as already mentioned, and amp sim into an amp (Twin) is not going to yield good results. Plugging into a PA is better (if using the amp sims in the Helix) but if you are new to this, you need to give it time. The Helix is quite capable, your way of thinking will need to change to go the direct route. 

  1. You are NOT going to get a tone that sounds like a Twin sitting beside you
  2. You ARE going to get a tone that sounds like a Twin sitting in another room, with a MIC on it, being fed back (and listened to) through your PA system.
  3. If you are a seasoned pro then you will know that there is a big difference between #1 and #2.

As for factory patches.... I'm surprised you are attempting to give them any merit. Presets can give you an idea of how to route a chain, but there are rarely any "real world" tones to work with. Purchased presets are meant to go with studio monitors or FRFR's... it's not fair to judge those when plugged through an amp.

 

13 hours ago, Scottm1215768 said:

My amp is an original Fender twin reverb loaded with EV force 12's. I had researched the helix for months prior to making the substantial purchase and am really disappointed in not only the factory patches that came with the unit but the purchased created patches are no better....

 

.... I play world class guitars, have a vintage amp guitarists drool over and I can't get a decent sounding factory OR bought patch produced from the unit 

 

I'm not sure where you did your research, but I don't know of a reputable source that would ever suggest you plug your Helix INTO an amp and attempt to get a good sound from it, especially from factory patches. As for purchased presets, unless the seller told you they were made to go into the front of a Twin, why would you expect it to work?

 

13 hours ago, Scottm1215768 said:

The best combination I have been able to achieve is simply using the helix as a peddle board run into the twin reverb.

 

That would be expected when running an amp. IMO... there is no harm in running the Helix in this manner. If you insert a SEND after the effects you can send that to the AMP then place an AMP sim after that send and send that output to a PA. Voila... you don't have to mic your amp on a stage anymore, but you still get to enjoy it. 

 

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"presets are meant to go with studio monitors or FRFR's... it's not fair to judge those when plugged through an amp"

 

Exactly you need to try FRFR's speakers instead

 

A ref video there are more on YT

 

 

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Guys thx for all the replies I do sincerely appreciate all negative or positive. To clarify the signal chain I created uses no amp cab simulation from the helix. That would make no sense as I’m utilizing an amp / cab. When I attempted running through the PA speakers they are quite new 1500 watts each powered Gemini speaker cabinets with internal crossovers.  We run full band through these speakers. In that scenario I did try numerous speaker / cab combinations etc. Would a high dollar FRFR sound that much different than these Gemini’s? 

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1 hour ago, Scottm1215768 said:

Guys thx for all the replies I do sincerely appreciate all negative or positive. To clarify the signal chain I created uses no amp cab simulation from the helix. That would make no sense as I’m utilizing an amp / cab. When I attempted running through the PA speakers they are quite new 1500 watts each powered Gemini speaker cabinets with internal crossovers.  We run full band through these speakers. In that scenario I did try numerous speaker / cab combinations etc. Would a high dollar FRFR sound that much different than these Gemini’s? 

 

Maybe. Maybe not.

I use a $300 Headrush FRFR112, sounds great TO ME. I also have an Alto TS210 that sounds fine (the FRFR112 is better for Bass than the TS210).

But the Geminis should be just fine. Per my post above, if you've done all you say, could be you just don't like the Helix. It happens.

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3 hours ago, Scottm1215768 said:

Guys thx for all the replies I do sincerely appreciate all negative or positive. To clarify the signal chain I created uses no amp cab simulation from the helix. That would make no sense as I’m utilizing an amp / cab. When I attempted running through the PA speakers they are quite new 1500 watts each powered Gemini speaker cabinets with internal crossovers.  We run full band through these speakers. In that scenario I did try numerous speaker / cab combinations etc. Would a high dollar FRFR sound that much different than these Gemini’s? 

 

It's kind of hard to draw any conclusions about the Gemini speakers as the company doesn't provide much technical information.  The fact that it doesn't provide anything as far as contouring selections as well as the fact that in lieu of that provides an equalizer for adjusting tone response suggests it's not of the more modern DSP designs used by most Helix users.  I'm personally leary of them simply due to the fact that they're primary market is, and historically has been, for DJ's and not live musicians.  That doesn't necessarily mean you couldn't get a reasonable representation of the Helix's capabilities through them.  Especially if you were to compare it to going through the Twin with no amp or cabinets in your signal chain.  It would suggest it's not likely to be the flat response type speakers you mostly hear about on forums such as this for modeling use.

That being said I tend to agree with rd2rk that maybe modeling may not be your cup of tea.  What you have to recognize is that the Helix (and other modelers) paradigm is that of a guitar playing through a live PA with a mic'd cabinet.  That's a different sound than what you may be used to if you've spent most of your time playing through a traditional amp on stage.  It IS the sound you would get from your traditional on stage amp once it's mic'd and sent through a PA.  But that may not be the sound you're used to.  If you do mic your traditional amp and send it through the PA, it is the sound your audience is used to.  But some musicians have a hard time getting past that situation and don't feel comfortable with that sound.  For them, the best option is to use the Helix in a 4CM configuration using an amp with an effects loop using a signal chain that can send the amp and cab signal to the FOH and only the Helix amp model through the effects loop of the amp and it's cabinet.

Quite frankly I'm a bit surprised given your statement of how much you had investigated the Helix that this would be something you hadn't uncovered in your research.

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Understand guys thx. The fact I have played through an original 63 twin reverb for years I suspect is problematic. No effects loop obviously on this amp. Presently I mic the twin but have a sound barrier in front of the twin and run the mic through the barrier. utilizing vocal harmonizers we must control stage volume behind mics as harmonizers pic up amps etc and affect the harmonizers even though we’re using uni  directional mics. I believe I simply need to keep trying to tweak the helix to something I like. Always open to suggestions! 

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Since you have no effects loop, have you tried using only the preamp of any of the amps?

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