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jdm752617

TAKING THE PLUNGE!

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I’m seriously thinking about taking the plunge and selling my two tube amps, pedals, etc and going with the Helix LT. Ultimately I’m looking for a setup where I can bring it from my small home studio to small venue/church. Been reading a lot about FRFR speakers and am wondering if I could get some advice as to what to use for small venue/church setup? I’m guessing a small FRFR as floor monitor so I can hear myself/tone accurately and an XLR line out to FOH/board? I currently have a Sterling MX5 powered monitor for my home studio. Would this be adequate for the Helix in home setting? Thanks!

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The best advice I can offer is DON'T SELL ANYTHING until you spend some time in the digital realm and decide if modeling is for you... not everyone makes the transition successfully. Modelers are not guitar amps, and require a significantly different approach to dialing in your sound than a tube amp. Also, the end result, whether you're happy with it or not, will not sound like your tube amps. Expect some growing pains initially.... maybe a little, maybe a lot. It varies.

 

As for FRFR choices.... options abound now, from the reasonably priced to those requiring a home equity loan. They're all gonna do essentially the same thing, and require similar EQ adjustments... form factor and price will be the only significant differences. But as I alluded to above, no FRFR speaker will give you what you're accustomed to... the "amp in the room" sound won't be forthcoming, no matter what you choose. Modelers provide recorded guitar tone... what you'd hear through studio monitors with your favorite tube amp mic-ed up and blasting away in the next room. This is the hurdle that some just can't get past... so that's why I say don't sell off everything else you own to fund a digital rig until you know if you're gonna like the results. Some don't and return to their amps, and that's OK.

 

Buy from someplace with a decent return policy so you can spend some time with it, and not have to worry about dumping big $$, having already unloaded your tube amps. And when I say "spend some time with it", I mean a couple of weeks or more... not just 2 hours on Saturday afternoon. That ain't gonna cut it.... there's no instant gratification with this stuff. It'll take you a little while to wrap your head around it, as was the case for the rest of us.

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This is very sage advice.  It took me a while and much experimentation before I went completely digital.  But if you're going to go that route, it's hard to beat the Helix.  Until recently I was using a full floor Helix.  In the interest of having a smaller footprint and a simpler setup, I'm now using an HX Stomp (as well as a couple of competitors' modelers). I'll be honest...as I get older, the subtle nuances of audio quality are harder to distinguish (main reason I haven't jumped on the vinyl revival bandwagon).  I want something easy to use, easy to transport, that gives consistent results regardless of the venue.

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I’d consider moving into modeling in steps.  For example, first getting a helix LT and running it into your tube amp’s effects return.  That’ll get you use to the amp and effects models while not deviating too much from what you’re used to already. 
 

Then, once you’re comfortable with that, you can start digging into the other side:  cab models / IR’s and using a wedge or other monitor live.  This is the part many guitarists associate negatively with modeling because they have no experience producing finished studio-style mic’ed tones, or playing along with those tones in a live setting.  

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