Jump to content
SaschaFranck

FR: "Global Blocks"

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

One of the things why I plan to never use anything else but a single patch per gig would be that it's pretty tough to adjust things during the limited timeframe of a soundcheck, let alone inmidst a set.

As a simple example: "Ouch, need all my clean sounds to be a tad louder and a little less bright today". With an analog setup (maybe one controlled via MIDI and a loopswitcher) it's a complete no-brainer and all it takes is adjusting 2 knobs, which can even be done while a chord rings out. Within a single Helix patch it's almost as easy but once you're using multiple patches, it quickly becomes a nightmare, especially in case you need to correct some of the initial adjustments later on (aka "oops, turned up the trebles too much").
The cure for this would be what Fractal calls "global blocks", but it also exists in a somewhat similar way on the Boss GT-1000. The entire idea is being able to tag certain devices as "global". Once you use them in a patch and adjust them, these adjustments are valid throughout each and every patch using them.
As a personal example: I really never need more than 2 amps/preamps for my live duties (plus some modifications such as slapped in drives, but even these could likely stay the same all throughout my patches), but I would like to use more FX than one patch would be able to supply (let alone setting these "entire gig" patches up is quite a task). With these two amps plus maybe 2-3 stompboxes (and maybe even a delay and reverb - I tend to use the same settings here all night long, too) set to "global" I would be able to adjust all the relevant parameters in a heartbeat (within a single patch).

In terms of overall live usability, for me such a feature would possibly be the most incredible improvement ever. And fwiw, it's been the reason why I almost bought a GT-1000 instead of a Helix (even if I find the Helix better in pretty much any other aspect).

 

What do you folks think?

 

I'll add this to Ideascale as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the global EQ - but it's something not even remotely adressing the things I wish were possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think at the current development stage, adding global blocks would probably be quite difficult. The problem is the way Line 6 has the available DSP opened up in every preset. It doesn't allocate any DSP for any specific blocks, so if they went back and tried to shoehorn this concept into things after the fact, it would probably end up breaking a lot of users' presets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hm, I don't see why that would happen. I mean, a Placater is a Placater, regardless of the position and patch it is used in. Define this as "global amp #1" and you're done (obviously without losing the "un-global" Placater). The hidden parameters of any amp/fx are saved globally, too (such as the tube types, which you can't exchange on Helix amps) - just that they're not exposed. So, really, not sure whether it'd have much to do with DSP allocations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh btw, there's even a kind of (in this case IMO not so great) global setting within blocks: It's IRs. Slap another IR into slot 1 and each and every patch using the IR that is loaded into slot 1 will then be changed (fwiw, IMVHO, this is a pretty much less than ideal way to deal with IRs - but that's a wellknown Helix caveat anyway).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

Hm, I don't see why that would happen. I mean, a Placater is a Placater, regardless of the position and patch it is used in. Define this as "global amp #1" and you're done (obviously without losing the "un-global" Placater). The hidden parameters of any amp/fx are saved globally, too (such as the tube types, which you can't exchange on Helix amps) - just that they're not exposed. So, really, not sure whether it'd have much to do with DSP allocations.

 

I guess I hadn't really looked at how Fractal had implemented that before. It's different than what I thought. That's just a collection of defaults for different amp models. That's probably doable, although I'd expect Line 6 could come up with a much less clunky way to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, if they only came up with any way...

And fwiw, from what I remember, Fractals way wasn't particularly clunky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why couldn't they approach like Boss did with the GT series.  You can call up a stock amp, tweak till your hearts content, then keep it saved as that stock amp OR save it to a user slot (attached to the amp block).  Say they gave us 5 user slots.

 

So I create a new preset, I drop in an amp block and I can see all the available amp types based upon dsp.  Where the mono/stereo/legacy dropdown is, there'd be another category that says 'User' and when selected show the 5 slots.  It would display the amp types saved in each slot....and they would be grayed out or active to be used based on DSP just like the regular menu.  I choose the amp type/sound I have saved and away we go to tweekers heaven. 

 

I often use the same Legacy Dimension Chorus, and its always the same setting changes......switch 1 on (default off), switch 4 off (default on), adjust mix to around 30-35% (default 100%).  It'd be nice to just save that effect as 'Clean Chorus' and call it up. 

 

I don't see how that would cause any issues with loading a preset or anything, I could see how making user slots available for each block type could take up precious memory used for additional updates (new effects/amps)....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another, perhaps more flexible approach would be to allow patches to “link” to other patches and inherit their configuration with the ability to override settings. Any changes to the linked to (or target) patch that are not overridden in the linking (or source) patch could be automatically inherited by all the linking patches. 

 

This makes whole patches reusable, not just blocks. And it would be very easy to implement as it is a common software pattern.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah well, really, pretty much anything would do.

And even if I'd love whatever global amp/fx/anything feature, I'm playing devils advocate here: Quite obviously, there's "risks" getting along with anything globally valid. People will forget they used a few of  those global blocks in a preset they really dig. Then they fool around in another preset using them as well - *blam*, big drama, complaints sent to Line6. There could be some warning messages either at the first edit of any such a patch or once you save them (would probably be better), but that would have to be switchable because it'd defenitely annoy me.

 

Anyhow, I do as well think these global blocks should be limited in a way. First thing to limit would be the number of blocks. Could possibly be realized a little similar to IRs, so you'd have a list of whatever how much blocks could be assigned. If you wanted something to become a global block, you'd simply drag it into that list. Ideally, at least in HX Edit, you would as well be able to select such a block and tell the program to "show a list of all patches using this block", so you would know whether you can safely delete it in case you'd be running out of blocks (fwiw, this functionality would be really great for the IR list, too - you really never know which ones are in use).

Such a listing funtionality would be great to have anyway, as you could as well abuse it as a favourite thingy. Instead of the menu thing, you'd just grab an item from the global list. Come to think of it, such a favourite list would be great without the global block functionality as well.

In addition, there might be a special kind of patch list reserved for any patches containing global blocks.

 

Whatever, there's tons of improvements that could be made in that aspect. And seriously, being mainly a live player, they would help me tremendously. I would possibly just use patches with 2 global amps, 2 global drives, 2 global EQs 1 global delay and 1 global verb - these are the things I'm using in every patch and it's the very same way I organized things with my analog amps and my last pedalboard. I would then vary those patches as in using just one of the amps and different kinds of all sorts of effects - but I could always return to my most basic patches (which, in my case, are a clean and an overdriven rhythm sound, a lead version of each plus options to add a little more drive to either of them).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed that it would be nice to have global blocks. I could use a gain block as first in chain in all my patches, with the purpose to adjust gain for different guitars in order to compensate for different pickup output. The global pad does that, but has just 2 levels (well, better than nothing I guess).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen various suggestions along these lines. For whatever reasons, they always seem to get very little votes. Maybe there's not *that* much live players among Helix users, no idea - because this is something I'm sure many live players would dig a lot.

 

I'm just had an idea about how this could perhaps be a rather transparent thing (and likely easier to code, too). Will post later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

I've seen various suggestions along these lines. For whatever reasons, they always seem to get very little votes. Maybe there's not *that* much live players among Helix users, no idea - because this is something I'm sure many live players would dig a lot.

 

I'm just had an idea about how this could perhaps be a rather transparent thing (and likely easier to code, too). Will post later.

 

I think for a lot of people having snapshots is sufficient for there live use. I know that’s the case for me. I will typically use like three or four presets in a show, but each of them is set up with 8 snapshots. So that gives me a lot of flexibility when it comes to getting a wide variety of sounds out of a single amp model.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, phil_m said:

 

I think for a lot of people having snapshots is sufficient for there live use. I know that’s the case for me. I will typically use like three or four presets in a show, but each of them is set up with 8 snapshots. So that gives me a lot of flexibility when it comes to getting a wide variety of sounds out of a single amp model.

 

I don't even disagree that this might be fine for plenty of folks - yet, it's all up to the kind of jobs you do. As said, I'm often doing "last minute telephone band" gigs. So I really have no idea what's going to happen. And for such gigs, I need to be able to quickly do some global adjustments, sometimes even within a song. And I wouldn't want to perform these operations on multiple patches, even in case it's just 3 or 4, let alone redoing them or finetuning them later on, should I notice that I turned up the treble knob too much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, to perhaps make matters a little easier for the fine coders at Line6 (I actually don't know whether it'd make things easier...) and to probably achieve better transparency for the users, how about this idea:

 

Instead of being able to "tag" each and everything as "global", there could be some kind of limitations to the concept. I could imagine that there could be something like "patch groups". It could work like this: You would start with one patch and assign it to such a group. Now, each and every other patch you'd add to this group would share:

1) The entire patch routing.

2) All blocks (and their settings of course) you would tag as "global" (or rather "group-wide").

 

Quite obviously, I don't have the slightest idea wether anything like that would work anyway, but it could adress a few issues that might arise with different solutions.

 

1) Within such a group there'd be no trouble with DSP allocation as the routing couldn't be changed. So there'd be no way that an amp from path 1 which you might've tagged as a global block would all of a sudden be used in path 2. I could even imagine that patch switching within such a group could be a little faster. And well, in case you've tagged a delay as a global block, even trail spillover might be possible (as the required DSP power would be constantly reserved for that very delay at the very same position in the signal chain and as no dramatic routing changes could blow things up).

 

2) No patches outside of these groups would be affected. There wouldn't be any blocks all of a suddden appearing as "global" in whatever additional lists or what not. So, as long as you wouldn't explicitely enter "group patch mode", you wouldn't even notice something has changed.

 

3) As the routing would be identical within any such a group, you would likely not try to achieve fundamentally different things between the group patches (aka "super serial vs. super parallel") but keep it down to some patches sharing the same basic architecture, just with the added bonus that you could add, say, more different FX than within a single patch while also being able to control everything as you would as well have a sufficient amount of switches (which is pretty much what SlavaBass was mentioning in his Ideascale submission).

 

As an example, to illustrate things: My basic patch for such a group may look like: 2 amp and 2 cab blocks (in parallel paths I may switch between or whatever), 2 drives, a general purpose delay, a general purpose reverb and maybe a general purpose EQ. I would tag these as global, the routing would likely be some parallel thing for the amps. With these, I would be able to very quickly adjust the entire patch group to work in a whole amount of genres. For example, I can turn my current main patch (that I just used with great success on yesterdays first full stop Helix gig, fwiw) which is almost laid out like that from bar jazz to almost heavy rock in around a minute, just by changing some relevant parameters of the things mentioned. Which is mighty fine already, but I could *not* do any such a transformation *and* use multiple FX scenarios.

With the approach described above, I would just use, say, 3-4 of these group patches and have one for the ultimate delay mayhem, another one for filter madness and yet another one for all the dirty fuzz I may ever need - while always being able to easily keep a snapshot (or two or three...) using the core sounds I just modified. Within one patch that isn't possible due to DSP and switching limitations, across multiple patches that isn't possible because adjusting 2 amps and 2 drives on 3-5 (or even more) patches just isn't doable during a soundcheck, let alone during a gig.

 

Last but not least, let me illustrate it a bit more by comparing things to any of the half-analog, half-digital rigs I used during the last 2 (or even 3 - yuck, I'm old...). All of them were managed by some sort of loop switchers along with some MIDI-controlled FX units. But for example, the preamps and pedals have always been analog. So in case I needed a different flavour of my clean and clean-ish tones, I would just turn the appropriate knobs on one single preamp channel and call it a day - no need to adjust multiple patches at all. I'm sure you all have seen these kinda rigs in several rig rundowns - and there's good reasons why many of these folks still stick with them. One of them IMO being the very fact that you can control things globally with ease.

 

I am very sorry for this longwinding post, but this very issue has been plaguing me ever since I started using programmable gear. It has as well been the reason why I ditched my (IMO very nice sounding) Triaxis preamp back in the days, in favour of a much larger and much more expensive rack containing a loop/channel switcher, a Soldano and a Boogie Studio preamp. Simply because I needed that kind of global access. And in a way, it's still the same with programmable stuff. Sure, with all it's DSP power, the Helix suits almost all my current live needs within one patch. But it's still just "almost" and IMO there's no reasons for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×