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Recommended Setup for Optimal At-Home Practice


williamjaywhalen
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Hello,

 

I'm getting my Helix on Monday...and one of the benefits my wife and kids have expressed is my ability to practice and play without plugging into my amp.

 

So, my question...is how do I go about doing that?

 

Here's what I'd like to setup:

1) Getting audio from my PC to the Helix -- playing audio/tracks via my Windows PC.  Stereo output via 3.5mm jack or could purchase something for optimal output.  i have a 3.5mm to stereo 1/4" jack to input into the Helix.  I assume I'd set this up via the Aux In, As a Return, digital input?  Which would be best for this?

2) Input into Helix via Guitar

3) Output from Helix into my in-ear monitors -- presumably a output/return, via the Phones jack or through the 1/4" out?

 

Thanks in advance for your input and insight.  :)

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Connect to PC via USB (no connection from computer audio out put is necessary).

In Windows Sound Panel, set Output to the computers soundcard (not Helix). This gets streaming audio (Youtube etc) from computer to Helix, unprocessed.

In Helix Globals set USB 1/2 Destination to Multi (default).

Set Headphones Monitor to Multi (default).

Plug your headphones into Headphone jack.

 

 

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Welcome!

 

I've had a Helix for a couple of years and I'm still slightly confused as to how to optimally setup the Helix and PC for home practice (with Monitors and Headphones)!!

 

I've got my Helix USB connected to my PC for Helix Edit functionality and the rare times I want to record into a DAW.

 

This also means that I use my Helix as the soundcard, so that I can jam with YouTube/backing tracks. The downside is that my Helix has been powered on 16+hrs a day for the past 18 months.... and my £200 audio card is gathering dust in the PC chassis....

 

I tried a more complex/flexible option, whereby I had the Helix 1/4" Out and the PC soundcard stereo Out go into a mixing board (Behringer Xenyx502) and I was able to mix volumes of both sources (eg match Helix/guitar to YouTube without constantly messing with volume sliders on the screen). This seemed a perfect solution since I was able to leave my Helix off until I wanted to play (maybe a few half our jams a day) however I noticed that the Helix/Guitar audio was muddy compared to the headphones being plugged straight into the Headphones Out on the Helix and I couldn't live with it so I took the mixer out of the loop entirely... 

 

The Helix is a fantastic tool for home/bedroom players since you can achieve any tone at any volume, however I'm still wary of using it as an external soundcard given the power consumption and possible long term wear/tear on the device.

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3 minutes ago, JimDiGritz said:

Welcome!

 

I've had a Helix for a couple of years and I'm still slightly confused as to how to optimally setup the Helix and PC for home practice (with Monitors and Headphones)!!

 

I've got my Helix USB connected to my PC for Helix Edit functionality and the rare times I want to record into a DAW.

 

This also means that I use my Helix as the soundcard, so that I can jam with YouTube/backing tracks. The downside is that my Helix has been powered on 16+hrs a day for the past 18 months.... and my £200 audio card is gathering dust in the PC chassis....

 

I tried a more complex/flexible option, whereby I had the Helix 1/4" Out and the PC soundcard stereo Out go into a mixing board (Behringer Xenyx502) and I was able to mix volumes of both sources (eg match Helix/guitar to YouTube without constantly messing with volume sliders on the screen). This seemed a perfect solution since I was able to leave my Helix off until I wanted to play (maybe a few half our jams a day) however I noticed that the Helix/Guitar audio was muddy compared to the headphones being plugged straight into the Headphones Out on the Helix and I couldn't live with it so I took the mixer out of the loop entirely... 

 

The Helix is a fantastic tool for home/bedroom players since you can achieve any tone at any volume, however I'm still wary of using it as an external soundcard given the power consumption and possible long term wear/tear on the device.

You realize you don't have to have the same speakers for Helix practice as you do for normal everyday work on the PC right??  Just connect some studio monitors to the Helix and a pair of smaller consumer grade speakers for everyday work to the PC soundcard.  The PC will handle the rest by selecting the right sound device.

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18 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

You realize you don't have to have the same speakers for Helix practice as you do for normal everyday work on the PC right??  Just connect some studio monitors to the Helix and a pair of smaller consumer grade speakers for everyday work to the PC soundcard.  The PC will handle the rest by selecting the right sound device.

Hi mate, yeah that would work however I use my PC for Video Editing, YouTube, Gaming etc so having another set of speakers just doesn't make sense. I also use headphones for both PC use and guitar so I'd also need two sets of headphones... 

 

 

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2 hours ago, JimDiGritz said:

 

This also means that I use my Helix as the soundcard, so that I can jam with YouTube/backing tracks. The downside is that my Helix has been powered on 16+hrs a day for the past 18 months.... and my £200 audio card is gathering dust in the PC chassis....

 

The Helix is a fantastic tool for home/bedroom players since you can achieve any tone at any volume, however I'm still wary of using it as an external soundcard given the power consumption and possible long term wear/tear on the device.

 

 

Hi Jim,

 

As someone once said “yer ‘avin’ a bubble baff, ain’t ya?”

 

This thing is built like a tank!

 

I got my Helix in November 2015 and it immediately replaced my Focusrite Saffire as the main audio device. It is tethered to my Mac, and is used daily, as the heart of my studio. You say that you are “wary” of using it and the possible long term “wear and tear”. Yet, by the same token you would presumably run your £200 sound card for 16+ hours daily? Are you also concerned about running your PC for that amount of time, because the Helix is essentially a big computer/soundcard, but dedicated to doing one thing. It does that very well! Plus what about the strain put on the components every time you power these things up and then turn them off!

 

Oh, yeah, that thing about gathering dust in the PC chassis - that’s not a good thing! Fire hazard!

 

;-)

 

 

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On 7/7/2019 at 2:37 PM, rd2rk said:

Connect to PC via USB (no connection from computer audio out put is necessary).

In Windows Sound Panel, set Output to the computers soundcard (not Helix). This gets streaming audio (Youtube etc) from computer to Helix, unprocessed.

In Helix Globals set USB 1/2 Destination to Multi (default).

Set Headphones Monitor to Multi (default).

Plug your headphones into Headphone jack.

 

 

 

When I play live... Do I need to tweak any of the global settings or should it be good?  I believe I'll be going stereo out via XLR at my church. 

 

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, datacommando said:

 

Hi Jim,

 

As someone once said “yer ‘avin’ a bubble baff, ain’t ya?”

 

This thing is built like a tank!

 

I got my Helix in November 2015 and it immediately replaced my Focusrite Saffire as the main audio device. It is tethered to my Mac, and is used daily, as the heart of my studio. You say that you are “wary” of using it and the possible long term “wear and tear”. Yet, by the same token you would presumably run your £200 sound card for 16+ hours daily? Are you also concerned about running your PC for that amount of time, because the Helix is essentially a big computer/soundcard, but dedicated to doing one thing. It does that very well! Plus what about the strain put on the components every time you power these things up and then turn them off!

 

Oh, yeah, that thing about gathering dust in the PC chassis - that’s not a good thing! Fire hazard!

 

;-)

 

 

 

All true!! Although I do miss an easy to reach central volume mixer - I'm constantly tweaking the PC/App/Helix volumes!!

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1 hour ago, williamjaywhalen said:

 

When I play live... Do I need to tweak any of the global settings or should it be good?  I believe I'll be going stereo out via XLR at my church. 

 

Thanks!

 

You will find that you will sound different at church than at home. I've never experienced different. If you can, create your patches at home with the Gobal EQ off, and then spend some time at your church playing through their system, turning on your Global EQ on and tweaking that. Then, hopefully, the next time you will just have to turn on the Global at church and turn it off at home. It would be nice if the Global EQ had the ability to save more than one "scene". That's one way of dealing with it. But you can pretty much count on sounding different in each scenario.

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2 hours ago, williamjaywhalen said:

 

When I play live... Do I need to tweak any of the global settings? 

 

Thanks!

 

Yes, and the issue is volume. Perceived loudness of different frequency ranges varies drastically with volume. A patch that's dialed in for low volume bedroom playing will be a hot mess cranked up to stage volume.

 

You can accomplish that with the global EQ if you like. My preference is keeping different set lists of the same patches,  just tweaked for different uses... live, headphones, studio monitors, etc. It's more work up front, but in the end it saves you from having to muck around with the global EQ every time you move your Helix someplace else. As mentioned above, if the global EQ could save settings for a given acoustic environment, I'd probably do it that way, and just have one set list...but I don't want to tweak things back and forth constantly... that drives me nuts. Especially at a gig.  Ymmv...

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29 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

...but I don't want to tweak things back and forth constantly... that drives me nuts. Especially at a gig.  Ymmv...

 

Oh I agree, but since it's consistantly the same venue, theoretically, you should only have to set your Global EQ up once.

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