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andymguitar

Helix FRFR options

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I'm currently using a Behringer eurolive b110d with my LT. It's fine, but I'm pretty sure there are better options!

 

Any recommendations for alternatives? I can't afford a powercab at present unfortunately, does anyone use headrush monitors (or other.) on here?

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This is one of those subjects that's been done to death. Search for FRFR. MANY MANY suggestions! Do it over on TGP for even more.

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I'm using an Alto TS310 for almost 2 years now. It's supposed to be pretty much identical with the Headrush. Had a direct shootout between it, the previous model (TS210), a Yamaha DBR10 and a Yamaha DXR10 (both of which seem to be well received as modeler monitors), an older RCF 12" (sorry, don't remember the model name, would have to look it up, but it was rather heavy) and a 12" Mackie Thump. The Mackie was plain horrible (boomy and shrill), the RCF was great but is out of production, the follow up models are significantly more expensive than the other contenders, too - and as said, it was noticeable heavier than all the others.

Both Yamahas (which, at least to my ears, are pretty much identical when used for modeling duties) would do a better job as general purpose monitors as they come with a switchable EQ setting somewhat boosting the mids, which might be extremely welcomed on some stages - but apart from that, I liked the Alto better (added bonus of saving a few bucks, but that wasn't the important thing).

Fwiw, I went for the 10" model because I actually like the form factor and didn't miss anything in terms of fullness compared to the 12" RCF.

 

A few things to consider when it comes to using any more or less typical FRFR monitors (even if you're already using some):

 

- You generally need to get used to the experience. It's different from playing an amp. The good old "amp in a room (or onstage) vs. mic'ed up amp" debate. But let's not get into that here, personally I do by now prefer it over playing through a real amp (or cab, for the matter). Which leads to...

 

- I would place any typical FRFR monitor the way they're meant to be placed. Which would be in front of you. Quite a different thing from the way you usually place a guitar amp or those dedicated solutions such as the Powercab, the Mission Engineering ones and so on. Might be the most different thing from typical amplification. Tip: Try to place it a little further away than straight in front of your Helix. Not as relevant with coaxial designs but with non-coaxial 2-way designs you may experience certain phase issues here and there when standing too close to it. One of the reasons I will likely try out a coaxial thing one day (not sure I need it, though).

 

- Never expect the same decent bump into your legs, booty or whatever you may get from a guitar cab, at least don't expect it from any of the lightweight models. There's just not enough physical substance to back that impact up. Even if those things may sound impressive on their own, once drums and bass kick in, all lower (or low mid) end will simply not push as much physically. Another thing to get used to.

 

- Make absolutely sure to use the global EQ as a dedicated monitoring EQ. Send the signal without EQ to the FOH folks but keep the EQ adjustments to yourself. For me, the best way to set this up and dial it in quickly is to set the mid peak band to a rather broad band (right now mine is set to Q = 0.4 and 1.2kHz) and adjust the level of just that. This will likely sound nasty when adjusting sounds in your comfortable home/rehearsal/studio environment but it may do wonders live. Depending on your FRFR, you may want to chose a different frequency. Seriously, having a dedicated monitor EQ for me has been *the* best thing ever since I started using monitors and has as well been the reason why I always had a little mixer with me before going Helix. It's also a godsend for the FOH guys as you can make adjustments to your overall sound without destroying what they might've done for the house sound already.

 

Having all that said, this summer I played a whole bunch of outdoor gigs with a pretty loud drummer (and partially bass player) and never missed a single thing. Never had to have my guitar on further house monitors, either. Both the bandmates and the FOH folks seem to love that solution, too, as there's no nasty, beaming speakers pointing at anyone else but me (and well, there's significantly less beam with FRFR monitors anyway).

Fwiw, I still have 3 very good guitar cabs (1x12, 2x12, 4x12, all with great worn in speakers) and considered getting one of those Duncan poweramps or so - but that won't happen. For me, the days of using any such things are over once and forever (unless I have to use some rental stuff).
But, as said, regardless of which FRFR solution you go for, they all take quite some getting used to. But you may know that already.

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Sascha, thank you for an incredibly comprehensive reply!

 

I'm not concerned at all about the lack of volume, the issue I have with my behringer is that I just feel that there's a bit of clarity missing. The speaker was around £120 to be fair, so maybe that's to be expected! I think I will see if I can try out the Alto or Headrush, and see if it's an improvement. When I trialled the LT in the shop they set me up with a Power cab (of course!) which sounded amazing on the Line 6 presets, I'm hoping with my own presets which I'm really happy with and a better speaker it'll all fall into place.

Nice tip about the global eq too, I'll try that out.

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DO try the Yamaha DXR10 mkII if you can, it sounds really good with plenty of everything (volume, bass, mids, smooth, non-harsh highs).

 

I have been pretty slow to go the FRFR route as I love my tube amps and speakers but I took the plunge recently in the ZZ TOP cover band and I have not regretted it. That said, I still do pedals and BassMan head + 2x12 Marshall cab in the Blues Trio :-)


Here's a recording in the room (Tascam DR-07 mkII built-in mikes): PITZZTOP: Just got paid

 

br

 

JimR

 

 

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I pretty much subscribe to what Sascha sais. Another couple of things. I have a Yamaha DXR10. The tone control is not for mid bump, but for low cut  If the speaker is  on the floor, it will generate unwanted extra lows. You can avoid them using a speaker stand, or cutting them through the onboard DSP. Moreover , if there’s enough room onstage, make sure to stand not too close to the speaker. You will avoid extra bass from near-field effect. 

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I'm currently using 2 Headrush FRFR-112 with my LT, set as stereo output. Sounds great. I've set them on upright stands at (sitting) ear height. Not had an issue.

 

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The Yamaha are a lot more cash than the Headrush and the Alto, which is going to influence my decision at the moment.

 

I think all the above will be an improvement on my Behringer, thank you everyone! will look for a deal and see what I can get.

 

It looks like the Alto is the headrest more or less, but around £70 cheaper..!

 

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2 minutes ago, andymguitar said:

The Yamaha are a lot more cash than the Headrush and the Alto, which is going to influence my decision at the moment.

 

I think all the above will be an improvement on my Behringer, thank you everyone! will look for a deal and see what I can get.

 

It looks like the Alto is the headrest more or less, but around £70 cheaper..!

 

 

The only difference between the Alto and Headrush is that the Alto has a mic preamp that cuts in past halfway on the volume knob. It's RUMORED that it has a different EQ curve, but no one has proved that eitherway, and an extensive email conversation with Inmusic support failed to elicit confirmation from them.

 

To the excellent advice given by Sascha I would add that if you use an FRFR speaker as backline, get it up off the floor. I have the HR FRFR112 on a short speaker stand.

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Seriously, if you learn to make clever adjustments using the global EQ, there's really not much differences between the lower-end-ish FRFR candidates. Within the realm of modeler amplification, IMO this would even include the somewhat more expensive Yamaha DBRs (as said, I A/B-ed them with the Alto before making a decision). Yes, there's some differences in, hm, let's say "mid definition" that you possibly won't be able to compensate for entirely with the global EQ,  but given my experience, these differences become pretty much not noticeable anymore once you play along with whatever it might be (bands or backings).

I do defenitely think that there's a difference once you're dealing with the higher-end-ish coaxial solutions (even if my personal experiences with those are limited), which will be getting even more noticeable in case they're a bit heavier (to support whatever kind of "air pressure", something light models simply can't deliver), but we're talking about something like <500 vs. >1000 bucks here, so there better should be an improvement.

 

Oh, one thing I haven't mentioned (in this thread at least): For me it has been a huge difference to find the right cab-IR. I have "shot" some myself and mixed and modified them pretty heavily at gig levels. They don't have much in common with the ones that you will get from the usual suspects - and while they might not be ideal for recording, I found them to be much more suitable for live work than anything else I've tried. I could happily post some of them in case you folks want to give them a try.

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here that might be of value to you.  The higher end speakers most commonly come with some contouring options for how the speaker will be voiced.  Generally if used appropriately you shouldn't need to correct for things like bass coupling if placed on the floor in a monitor position because the speaker will correct for such things if the "Monitor" contour is selected.

I have a range of FRFR speakers I use depending on the situation from an Electrovoice ZLX-12P, to a QSC CP8, to my most common one which is a Yamaha DXR12.  I personally place my FRFR behind me in the backline on a half height speaker stand.  The reason for this is to avoid the bass coupling issues when used as a monitor.  But more importantly it provides a better stage mix with the other instruments on stage in that these speakers are all designed in such a way that (in a vertical position) they have a very wide horizontal sound cone and a very narrow vertical sound cone.  When placed vertically as I do it all the instruments can hear it and mix with it on stage much better than if it's used as a monitor.  It also has the additional advantage if you're playing in a smaller venue and not sending instruments through the PA, it can pretty easily fill a room since it's, in effect, a PA speaker.
 

In all cases I never make any corrections to my global EQ for any of my speakers as the signal I send to them is the same as what I send to the FOH so I have some confidence that what I'm hearing is what the audience is hearing.

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1 hour ago, DunedinDragon said:

In all cases I never make any corrections to my global EQ for any of my speakers as the signal I send to them is the same as what I send to the FOH so I have some confidence that what I'm hearing is what the audience is hearing.

 

You can never be confident about that. Each and every FOH dude(tte) will most likely make some corrections to the signal, be it a low/hi cut or whatever. It's happening all the time. I very often ask the folks (in case they're into that kinda chat) what they had to do to my signal to make it suit their arrays and I pretty much never came across a "well, fader up" answer.

Add to this that you will likely listen to your guitar within an entirely different mix. Usually, you will listen to your guitar a *lot* louder compared to the rest whereas the audience will listen to a way more balanced mix. IMO assuming that there's the same sound going out to the audience as to your FRFR is an illusion in 99% of all cases, not even considering that the FOH arrays are adjusted in an entirely different way on their master EQs.

 

Also, you're talking about utilizing whatever contouring options of FRFR monitors - well, they are doing exactly the same thing as a monitor EQ. Just that the Helix' global EQ is a lot more flexible and easier to reach for.

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4 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

You can never be confident about that. Each and every FOH dude(tte) will most likely make some corrections to the signal, be it a low/hi cut or whatever. It's happening all the time. I very often ask the folks (in case they're into that kinda chat) what they had to do to my signal to make it suit their arrays and I pretty much never came across a "well, fader up" answer.

Add to this that you will likely listen to your guitar within an entirely different mix. Usually, you will listen to your guitar a *lot* louder compared to the rest whereas the audience will listen to a way more balanced mix. IMO assuming that there's the same sound going out to the audience as to your FRFR is an illusion in 99% of all cases, not even considering that the FOH arrays are adjusted in an entirely different way on their master EQs.

 

Also, you're talking about utilizing whatever contouring options of FRFR monitors - well, they are doing exactly the same thing as a monitor EQ. Just that the Helix' global EQ is a lot more flexible and easier to reach for.

 

I can pretty confidently say I've found no reason over the last 4 years across a pretty wide range of FOH setups and venues to adjust anything globally at the Helix.  First, it would affect every preset and each preset is different both in style and in use of the various guitars that the preset was designed for.  Whatever you might adjust in terms of high or low cuts or any other EQ for that matter can just as easily be done on a preset basis and not interfere across other presets with different sound requirements.

As far as the FOH, whatever they may need to adjust for the room it applies equally to all instruments and voices due to the acoustics of the room.  I have no problem with them doing that, but my attempts to adjust for acoustics of the room would only compete with or impede whatever RTA process they're using with their sound system.  Other than that there are a few of the more modern digital systems that do incorporate preset assignements for different types of speaker systems.  Again that's a global adjustment that affects all inputs but in my experience it really doesn't change the basic nature of the signal I'm sending nor the way it mixes with the band.  It just tends to refine the overall characteristics of the PA in a fairly moderate manner.  I can't say I've been surprised at all by any of the various PA systems making my sound different than what I expect when I go out and listen to the mix during sound checks.  The only time I've ever run into any problems is with much older PA systems that use older analog centralized amps and passive speakers due to the the mid range dropoff that happens with non DSP driven crossovers.  But we really don't play in situations that use those type of systems anymore.

As far as what I listen to on stage as our stage mix will have some slight differences from the FOH, but I wouldn't say I listen to my guitar louder than other instruments.  There's really no reason to IMO.  Getting an accurate stage mix is the first step in getting a decent FOH mix and I'll leave it up to the PA to do the heavy lifting when it comes to volume.  But everyone is different in that regard.  My job is to blend with the music and not stand out other than for leads or color fills and most of the time that requires no interaction from the FOH mixing board because I've already adjusted for that in my preset.

I only mentioned the contour options as a way to adjust for differences between a floor monitor and a raised vertical monitor.  I don't use mine that way as I mentioned I always place mine vertically and therefore only use the contour setting for live sound, so I'm getting the same response characteristics as if it were it being used as a FOH speaker.

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3 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

I can pretty confidently say I've found no reason over the last 4 years across a pretty wide range of FOH setups and venues to adjust anything globally at the Helix.  First, it would affect every preset and each preset is different both in style and in use of the various guitars that the preset was designed for.  Whatever you might adjust in terms of high or low cuts or any other EQ for that matter can just as easily be done on a preset basis and not interfere across other presets with different sound requirements.

 

You're missing the point here. I don't want to alter my presets to adjust for a different kind of FRFR situation. That's what a monitoring EQ is made for. As easy as that.

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On 10/16/2019 at 1:06 AM, andymguitar said:

I'm currently using a Behringer eurolive b110d with my LT. It's fine, but I'm pretty sure there are better options!

 

Any recommendations for alternatives? I can't afford a powercab at present unfortunately, does anyone use headrush monitors (or other.) on here?

 

Using an Alto TS308, which is pretty much similar if not identical as the 8" Headrush. Plenty of volume and a nice form factor (small, light !). 

Placement is an issue; I 've tried several positions at home and find it works best in vertical position at +/- ears height. As a monitor you get a loss of bass coupling. Of course that can be corrected with the Global EQ if desired, but I'd rather just "plug and play". Also take into account you need some distance to get the best idea of what the sound is like. If you're too close it may sound harsh compared to when you are further away. I think this goes for all PA speakers.

 

On the "FRFR"; that's just a word invented by Headrush. Nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn't be confused with an indication of quality or sound. No speaker will sound "flat" over the "full range". Just try several and you will find the one that works best (depending on how much money you have to spend of course). I'm very happy with the Alto although dialing in a preset remains tough because I can only assume that what comes out of the Alto will sound more or less the same as on other PA speakers. And that's the issue here .... no PA speaker is the same, so a preset dialed in on one speaker will sound slightly different on another.... and it may even sound different when listened to at different volumes and at different angles vs the speaker...... Too many variables to worry about actually. I just prefer to play :-)

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hillman1312 said:

 

Using an Alto TS308, which is pretty much similar if not identical as the 8" Headrush. Plenty of volume and a nice form factor (small, light !). 

Placement is an issue; I 've tried several positions at home and find it works best in vertical position at +/- ears height. As a monitor you get a loss of bass coupling. Of course that can be corrected with the Global EQ if desired, but I'd rather just "plug and play". Also take into account you need some distance to get the best idea of what the sound is like. If you're too close it may sound harsh compared to when you are further away. I think this goes for all PA speakers.

 

On the "FRFR"; that's just a word invented by Headrush. Nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn't be confused with an indication of quality or sound. No speaker will sound "flat" over the "full range". Just try several and you will find the one that works best (depending on how much money you have to spend of course). I'm very happy with the Alto although dialing in a preset remains tough because I can only assume that what comes out of the Alto will sound more or less the same as on other PA speakers. And that's the issue here .... no PA speaker is the same, so a preset dialed in on one speaker will sound slightly different on another.... and it may even sound different when listened to at different volumes and at different angles vs the speaker...... Too many variables to worry about actually. I just prefer to play :-)

 

 

 

 

 

Yup. I've worked in the audio engineering industry for close to 25 years. During that time I've measured tons of loudspeaker speaker systems. Let me assure you, they are not "flat", not even the best of the best. If you want a flat response, you need to look at serious high end hifi gear...not something you'd play guitar through. The term flat response may be their way of saying "we aren't adding any extra EQ or DSP". It's certainly not a flat frequency response. No system is ever flat in a room and will change from room to room, even changing within the same room, depending on placement.

 

The other FR (full range) is also misleading. You don't really need a Full Range system for guitar. You need something that will operate from like 60Hz to like 12kHz. I think this is just to drive home the point that whatever comes out of the Helix is accurately reproduced by the loudspeaker.

 

All that said. There are tons of really good options. Just depends on what you want it to do. 

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I don't think "truly flat" does matter at all. There's so many factors *way* more affecting our perception of sound than a speaker being a little off from true flatness.

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2 hours ago, mjc009 said:

The other FR (full range) is also misleading. You don't really need a Full Range system for guitar. You need something that will operate from like 60Hz to like 12kHz. I think this is just to drive home the point that whatever comes out of the Helix is accurately reproduced by the loudspeaker.

 

 

It kind of depends on what you intend to use them for. A lot of us buy the FRFR systems for a multitude of options. So, for example, when practicing we want to jam to the real song coming out of the same speaker, and so we want a wider range than what a guitar amp would do. Or we want to plug in acoustic guitar into it which needs a wider range than an electric. 

 

Or you plan on running all types of instruments through it. The one I use has a frequency response of 50Hz to 20 kHz. 

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3 hours ago, mjc009 said:

 

The other FR (full range) is also misleading. You don't really need a Full Range system for guitar. You need something that will operate from like 60Hz to like 12kHz. I think this is just to drive home the point that whatever comes out of the Helix is accurately reproduced by the loudspeaker.

 

 

I honestly wish we'd never coined the term FRFR, which was in common use LONG before it was commercialized by Headrush.  It's been so misleading and confusing for people.  But I do think this generation of powered speaker brings a lot to the table depending on how it's being used.  For me it's not about range or flatness as much as it is about clarity and definition when it comes to the guitar.  In some cases and in some genres particularly those using high gain sound that may not be as important as it is in styles like jazz, funk, country or even certain finger picked styles.

Regardless of whether you use it on stage to monitor your sound, you can be assured speakers of this nature will be what is heard by your audience on most modern PA systems, so you might as well get used to adapting to it if you're going to be using a modeler.

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6 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

 

It kind of depends on what you intend to use them for. A lot of us buy the FRFR systems for a multitude of options. So, for example, when practicing we want to jam to the real song coming out of the same speaker, and so we want a wider range than what a guitar amp would do. Or we want to plug in acoustic guitar into it which needs a wider range than an electric. 

 

Or you plan on running all types of instruments through it. The one I use has a frequency response of 50Hz to 20 kHz. 

 

Great point. I hadn't considered the other use cases.

 

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On 10/24/2019 at 8:26 AM, SaschaFranck said:

Each and every FOH dude(tte) will most likely make some corrections to the signal, be it a low/hi cut or whatever. It's happening all the time. I very often ask the folks (in case they're into that kinda chat) what they had to do to my signal to make it suit their arrays and I pretty much never came across a "well, fader up" answer.

 

We live in very different worlds :) 

 

Clubs, Festivals, Soft Seaters, Arena's.... my guitar strip rarely moves from "flat" at the console! I talk to every tech I work with... and aside from some very minor adjustments (plus or minus 3 db on the strips) there is nothing special going on. They can engage a low cut if they want... it won't effect anything because I don't send them those frequencies to begin with. If (and this is rare in my world) a system is so poorly setup that my guitar needs serious work... I know it's not just my guitar they are EQ'ing the crap out of... it's EVERYTHING! Usually one look at the FOH EQ is a dead give away of how bad the tech and/or gear is! 

 

Just like an engineer/producer creates recordings that sound good in "most" listening environments, I do everything I can to create my tones that way as well! 

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I wasn't talking about massive corrections, but minor ones. And usually there's some of these corrections, mainly regarding the low end. Even if I trim that away myself already, FOH dudes sometimes like a bit more low cut - which I think is just normal and to be expected. If there had to be massive corrections all the time, I'd think about my patches.

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On 10/24/2019 at 10:04 AM, SaschaFranck said:

I could happily post some of them in case you folks want to give them a try.

 I’d be happy to try them, thanks! Email address: e.magli@gmail.com

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1 hour ago, emagli said:

 I’d be happy to try them, thanks! Email address: e.magli@gmail.com

Fwiw, here's two attached that I posted already in another thread (there's plenty more of them, but I'm currently resorting things a bit to adjust to a somewhat changed workflow).

These are created at gig volume and they probably don't work as well at lower volumes, they're pretty midrangy, but I use them a lot.

 

Gen_01.wav

Gen_01_bright.wav

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On 11/3/2019 at 6:24 PM, SaschaFranck said:

Fwiw, here's two attached that I posted already in another thread (there's plenty more of them, but I'm currently resorting things a bit to adjust to a somewhat changed workflow).

These are created at gig volume and they probably don't work as well at lower volumes, they're pretty midrangy, but I use them a lot.

 

Gen_01.wav

Gen_01_bright.wav

 

Thanks! I had eventually found them in the other thread. Good to hear that they are created at gig volume. I'll try them at our next rehearsal. The (not so many) commercial IRs I have tried sounded great at bedroom levels, but were way too mid-scooped at gig level for my taste. Mbritt's ones seem to be the exception -- to my ears his presets and IRs sound good also at gig volume.

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I've been pretty happy with the Tech 21 Power Engine Deuce Deluxe.  Deep ported cab, tons of low end, onboard EQ and switchable tweeter.  And the price was right.

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