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clean-ish Bass tone for technical death metal [HELP]!


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Hi everyone,


I own an helix LT and I've tried out some bass tones out of line6 customTone. I dig the one for Djent/prog stuff, based on Nolly's sound, and also some Darkglass-lish stuff.

In addition to those distorted sounds, I wish to craft a more clean/compressed sound in the vibe of Obscura (Cosmogenesis) or Necrophagist (Epitaph).
I'm aiming to go back and forth between those sounds depending on the riff type.

Any ideas ?


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Best way to "learn" to use modelling gear is to try things out. Nothing can go wrong, so just try some things out. Nevertheless downloaded presets can be a good starting point or inspiration.


If you want a clean and compressed tone... start with a clean amp with a lot of headroom. The SVT4Pro, the Cougar (GK) or the Aqua (Aguilar) are good choices here. All of them are really hard to distort. 

Since you seem to fancy some Darkglass stuff, you can also use the B7K "overdrive" as amp simulation. Just turn down the distortion part to a minimum, perhaps just enough to give you some extra overtones. Result is a very clean but still typical modern Darkglass sound. Perhaps too clanky for this application, but perhaps worth a try.

Have fun trying things out. That's the power of Helix&Co. 

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On the Obscura stuff, I'm thinking a fretless bass with low action for that sweet mwah, compression, lots of mids, and some tube-y saturation. Could probably reach a similar result in many ways, and I'm pretty new to Helix, but I'd probably try something like LA Studio Comp --> Ampeg SVT (for some mild tube saturation) --> Ampeg 8x10 miked with 421 or maybe 47 if you want a bit rounder tone  --> EQ for mids. But bass tones are largely about playing technique/bass setup, compression and EQ anyway - can't give any magic bullet settings.


Also, looks like the Obscura bass player plays through an Ampeg fridge in every shot, so might indeed be a pretty good starting point.


Another cool trick you can do with Helix (that is annoying and costly in the analog realm) is to split the signal with the crossover split to retain deep and powerful lows while being to add more character to mid frequencies. Can be tricky to use, but also very powerful if you want just a slight bit of grit on the top of your tone without saturating most of your signal.

1.) Split the signal with a crossover split.

2.) Add heavy compression to the lower (bass frequencies) path and leave the upper path with light/zero compression depending on playing dynamics. Some light tube saturation can also work for the low freqs, experiment!

3.) Apply dirt of your choice to the upper path. Guitar amp+cab models can work well here also (it's how they did it in the 70s), I like the P75 model with the stock cab but might not work for your application.

4.) Adjust crossover point and mix to taste.

5.) Apply EQ and low/high cut to entire signal. You often end up with a slight dip around the crossover point, but you can use EQ to remedy that to some extent.


One thing I've liked to do in the analog realm is to chain some other dirt box (Rat-style boxes tend to work well IMO) into a Darkglass B7K and use it strictly as a tone-shaping device. The Darkglass has some really nice tone-shaping magic going on, but I've never liked the dirt on it personally. It is great for taming other dirt boxes with more interesting character, though, and I assume this would work with Helix too, as the B7K emulation seems to be pretty good.

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