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Multiband distortion article

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Very very cool, but I wonder if Craig knows about the Split > Crossover type? Might save some block locations.

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I've used the crossover split, and it can indeed save some block locations. But as the article says, "You can also use the Split’s Crossover function when working with a single path, but there may be times when you want the Low and High Cut frequencies to overlap so they emphasize a specific frequency, and besides, you can’t use the crossover across the two independent paths."

 

The overlap aspect turned out to be more important than I thought initially. Because there's no multiband crossover split, for 3 or 4 band splits I usually end up using the graphic EQs to boost specific bands while cutting the rest. But in the multiband preset pack, I often tweaked the presets for a frequency overlap between adjacent bands. It's not necessarily "correct" or "incorrect," but the overlap allows emphasizing bands that sound really good with guitar.

 

One of the main things I love about Helix is that it has the flexibility to do "out of the box" experiments to see what works and what doesn't. The four parallel paths are like a super tone playground for me :)

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7 hours ago, Digital_Igloo said:

Very very cool, but I wonder if Craig knows about the Split > Crossover type? Might save some block locations.

I thought about that too! As well as using the merge or output blocks rather than volume pedals for testing. A few things popped out for efficiency, but the overall concept looked pretty interesting. I also wonder if he was trying to keep things as accessible as possible for anyone still learning all of the helix's capabilities 

 

I was trying to use the helix to its potential, but then it's easy to get lost in mix... and now I run 4cm with the bluguitar amp1. So I haven't really been doing anything special with my helix floor; sticking with a less is more mentality in a live setting. It seems to work better, and my helix now has at very least 312 shows/gigs, plus studio, plus practice, etc on her.. So I've definitely put her through her paces and tried all the things. 

 

-Seeing an idea like this that isn't riddled with an over abundance of effects gives me a chance to experiment with the helix again!

 

Though pulling this off while still using the preamp of the amp1 may not be possible. Could always just feed the return with a helix pre though. Anything that doesn't require moving a wire. The pedal board case has been properly OCD'd, and those wires would take real work to remove!

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8 hours ago, jmp22684 said:

I thought about that too! As well as using the merge or output blocks rather than volume pedals for testing. [snip] I also wonder if he was trying to keep things as accessible as possible for anyone still learning all of the helix's capabilities 

 

Using the volume blocks is something I use in the 3- and 4-band presets, and it's become a sort of "best practices" thing for me. In addition to being used for diagnostics, as mentioned in the article, after developing a preset they then become useful for varying the levels of the various bands through snapshots. The presets in my preset pack typically have snapshots for no low band, no mid band, and no high band but I've also found that sometimes, you don't want (for example) "no high band" but instead, "mostly no high band."

 

However, using volume blocks may be more of a lazy way out...I'll take another look at the Merge and Output blocks to see they can supplement or improve upon what I've been doing. So many possibilities! Another thing I like about Helix is how you can sometimes accomplish the same functionality in different ways, so you can choose "the right tool for the right job."

 

As to keeping things accessible, FWIW there will be a follow-up article that's intended more for experienced Helix users. For the two-band article, I wanted all the components being used to be obvious by looking at the screen shots. I believe the way you can see everything as a "block diagram" in Helix is very helpful for explaining various aspects of its operation.

 

Unfortunately an entire section with three audio examples was left out, I'm checking with Sweetwater to see if that could possibly be added back in. One of them helps illustrate using two bands with reverb, which is one of the processors where (referring to the above post about using the filters instead of the crossover) you sometimes want the bands to overlap.

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14 hours ago, craiganderton said:

I've used the crossover split, and it can indeed save some block locations. But as the article says, "You can also use the Split’s Crossover function when working with a single path, but there may be times when you want the Low and High Cut frequencies to overlap so they emphasize a specific frequency, and besides, you can’t use the crossover across the two independent paths."

 

The overlap aspect turned out to be more important than I thought initially. Because there's no multiband crossover split, for 3 or 4 band splits I usually end up using the graphic EQs to boost specific bands while cutting the rest. But in the multiband preset pack, I often tweaked the presets for a frequency overlap between adjacent bands. It's not necessarily "correct" or "incorrect," but the overlap allows emphasizing bands that sound really good with guitar.

 

One of the main things I love about Helix is that it has the flexibility to do "out of the box" experiments to see what works and what doesn't. The four parallel paths are like a super tone playground for me :)

Gotcha. Cool—thanks, Craig!

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Okay...I gotta come clean here.  I haven't really been able to justify Native despite semi-frequent DSP depletion.  I've done "loli"-all with my DAW for quite a bit now.

 

IT HAS METERS????

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Yeah I read the same article on the Sweetwater website.  It has a lot of good points, but a lot of this stuff I already did with bass guitars.  However, I just didn't think about trying it as a multi-band distortion for electric guitar.  Funny how that works sometimes.  I will have to give this a go once I start Amping my guitars on my next album.

 

Much appreciated Craig

 

As for Native, I love it, I have more than justified its $99 purchase.  I use it every time I ReAmp, and I always record the dry signal. My Helix rack is a great wet monitoring tool/interface.  Being able to trade presets between them, as well as they being updated simultaneously,  is definitely appreciated.  

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Yeah Craig, thank you so much for this. It's great to see people contributing new ideas and ways to use this unit. 

 

Thank you again!

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On 6/16/2019 at 10:25 AM, PiFromBRC said:

Okay...I gotta come clean here.  I haven't really been able to justify Native despite semi-frequent DSP depletion.  I've done "loli"-all with my DAW for quite a bit now.

 

IT HAS METERS????

It needs meters because unlike with Helix/HX hardware, we have no control over input level. There's nothing stopping someone from boosting their interface's gain knob and suddenly Helix Native sounds like someone put 20 boost pedals in front.

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On 6/15/2019 at 10:14 PM, jmp22684 said:

Received this email, I'm sure there's also a few here as well that have.

 

Anyways I thought it may be of some interest!

 

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/double-best-line-6-helix-tone/?utm_content=article1-image&utm_source=insync&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190615-T1

Thank you ... very inspiring article!!

But: Craig mentions 'audio expamples" .... and i dan't find them enywhere. Am I blind? Or did I misinterpret? ...

 

 

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Now we would need an actual multiband distortion effect in Helix.
 

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5 hours ago, Simon268 said:

Thank you ... very inspiring article!!

But: Craig mentions 'audio expamples" .... and i dan't find them enywhere. Am I blind? Or did I misinterpret? ...

 

 

 

Unfortunately the article was rushed into production, and the audio examples weren't included. But if you have a Helix, just follow the instructions, and you'll hear cool sounds :)

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5 hours ago, Ka5par said:

Now we would need an actual multiband distortion effect in Helix.
 

 

That sure would be convenient! The only problem I see is that multiband distortion takes up a lot of CPU, so there are tradeoffs involved. Being able to "construct" multiband Helix presets and optimize each amp and cab for a particular band and minimum CPU drain is huge for getting the sound you want. I'm not sure a single multiband distortion effect could offer the same kind of flexibility, although maybe Line 6 could do a more general-purpose multiband effect that wouldn't be as flexible, but still give useful multiband distortion.

 

I've found that four bands is great, but three bands is often all you really need. You might want to check out the video that accompanies my multiband preset pack, it shows the "block diagrams" for several multiband Helix presets along with the audio examples.

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17 hours ago, craiganderton said:

 

Unfortunately the article was rushed into production, and the audio examples weren't included. But if you have a Helix, just follow the instructions, and you'll hear cool sounds :)

Aha!! Thanks.

So i am NOT blind ... good to know! :-D

 

Unfortunately i doesn't have my Helix at hand at the moment and just would've wanted a quick first impression of what it sounds  like - and also you MADE the samples for that: So i think they would transfer the idea better than me fiddeling something i don't really understand. ;-)

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17 hours ago, craiganderton said:

 

Unfortunately the article was rushed into production, and the audio examples weren't included. But if you have a Helix, just follow the instructions, and you'll hear cool sounds :)

 

Indeed you do :-)

 

Thanks for posting this,  it's been illuminating.

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18 hours ago, craiganderton said:

 

That sure would be convenient! The only problem I see is that multiband distortion takes up a lot of CPU, so there are tradeoffs involved. Being able to "construct" multiband Helix presets and optimize each amp and cab for a particular band and minimum CPU drain is huge for getting the sound you want. I'm not sure a single multiband distortion effect could offer the same kind of flexibility, although maybe Line 6 could do a more general-purpose multiband effect that wouldn't be as flexible, but still give useful multiband distortion.

 

I've found that four bands is great, but three bands is often all you really need. You might want to check out the video that accompanies my multiband preset pack, it shows the "block diagrams" for several multiband Helix presets along with the audio examples. 

 

Cool, will look, thanks!

 

It's easy to forget the CPU restrictions while fiddling with multiband distortion VST-s like FabFilter Saturn in a DAW. In Helix it would probably take quite a chunk, but even then, it opens up some other possibilities, as the paths remain free for other stuff. Ideally there would be different selectable distortion / overdrive types for each band.
With a stereo instrument the paths run out pretty quickly, if one wants to multiband-distort both sides separately.
 

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After some tweaking for a couple of days, I put the multiband distortion principles to practice:
 

 

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I've done a version of this on some of my patches.  

 

When I developed a TOOL (Aenima album) patch I used 2 different amps (Marshall and Mesa) 

The Marshall amp, I focused on it being cleaner and tighter and focused the sound on the bottom end by turning all the high end off, by way of high cut filter on the cab and more EQ at the amp.  Then I tailored the preamp section to where felt right.

The Mesa (EPIC) amp i saturated the mids and highs, blend them back together.    Take the low end out with the low pass filter at the cab / high pass too to get rid of the junky fizz.  

IR's or stack cabs i'd mess with the mics and positions until i got what i liked. 

I will admit i used the amps volume level in snap shot mode to do the editing or fine tuning. 

 

I like using brode strokes for eq'ing first before I go and start chopping away with para eq. 

so many ways to go into the rabbit hole. 

 

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I've been tinkering with Craig's technique and have had really great results with the Plexi Trem jumped and Plexi 100 jumped models. Have a go... costs nothing and sounds fantastic...

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On 6/27/2019 at 11:04 AM, BBD_123 said:

I've been tinkering with Craig's technique and have had really great results with the Plexi Trem jumped and Plexi 100 jumped models. Have a go... costs nothing and sounds fantastic...

 

Quick update...I've been experimenting with other effects, like chorus, phaser, reverb, etc. Although three or four bands can be really cool, a lot of times bi-amping as described in the article is all you need to do.

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