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Last weekend I did my first full blown Helix into FOH gig, worked okay - the sound guy said I had great tone. My problem is the level, mostly the OD/Dist were all over the place so I was doing a lot of dancing around between presets. I also tried an FRFR speaker at a friend's house & it was distorted. My most common amp model is a Marshall Plexi Jump / 4x12 greenback cab /57  with the gain below the factory setting.


All I have at home for FRFR is a pair of Rockit 5s & of course some headphones but I understand Fletcher Munson & the danger of setting sound that way. Any ideas for balancing the low level / high gain sound at home vs. the high headroom clean sound live? It's almost like you have to fake out the system at home but it's not the same.


Any tips/help very much appreciated. Since we use Iem's it seems that headphones would be the same but again, way different.

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Well, you're covering a lot of different things here, but I'll see if I can give you some perspective. 


First, as far as balancing your volume levels.  This is most commonly due to the fact that the amp models are simulations of the actual behavior of the amp circuits.  Therefore the levels will be different on each of them just like the real amps would be.  You can do this by ear just comparing them to each other.  I personally use a small mixing board so that I can compare the signal levels not just as an aid to matching volume levels, but also to better ensure the signal I send to the FOH remains consistent across all my various presets and snapshots.  Another approach is when you add a block to the signal chain you check the signal chain with the block turned on and off to make sure you're not building up additional volume over the base volume level of the signal chain with no blocks added to it.  In all cases once you get all the volumes matched up you use the Helix master volume knob to control your output.  In my case I disengage the Helix volume knob from the XLR output which then sends a signal to the FOH the same as if the volume knob were turned to full max. Then I just use my Helix volume knob to control the 1/4" output going to my FRFR speaker.

As far as the distortion you heard at your friend's house that would most likely be do to overdriving the gain level of the speaker.  The generally accepted way of setting up a powered speaker is to set it's gain knob at unity or 12 o'clock.  That means that the amplifiers in the speaker will operate at their normal maximum volume level without anything being added or subtracted from the incoming signal.  If you get too much gain going into the FRFR powered speaker either from the signal being too high on the Helix or too much gain on the speaker itself the signal will clip on cheaper powered speakers and on more sophisticated powered speakers it will kick on an internal limiter to protect the speaker.

I personally haven't used Rockit speakers but there are a number of people that dial in their tones on studio speakers.  It's not optimal but it can work if you have enough volume to rise above most of the limitations of the Fletcher Munson effect.  Generally that's going to be around 80 to 90 db or the equivalent of standing on the side of the highway with traffic passing, so not really all that high.  What is a limitation with using studio monitors is that they are designed in such a way that the speakers need to be positioned optimally and you need to be positioned between them optimally in order to get the most accurate representation of the tone.  Powered live speakers are much more flexible in that they have tonal consistency across a wide area if they're in an upright position (not floor monitor) but can sound harsh if you're positioned too closely to them due to your close proximity to the horn.

I personally don't have to "fake out" anything with my setup at home.  I have a small mixing board which I route my signal through so I can visually see my signal level and I'm attached to a Yamaha DXR12 in a vertical upright position at roughly chest height.  With that setup I get a very accurate representation of my tone and have a consistent signal level going to the FOH so that it only has to be gain staged once on any of my presets.

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