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Helix LT with Marshall DSL15C

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Hi all,

 

what's the best way to set up a Helix LT with a Marshall DSL15C. At the moment, I have the guitar going into the helix and then the output to the amp. But it doesn't sound very good. The Marshall is a clean channel.  I also have Native Helix on my mac.  I have the stock presets that come with the helix and that's it. I don't really want to spend a lot of time making my own.

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What are you trying to do with the Helix, effects only, amp and cab models too, etc?  The DSL15 doesn't have an effects loop - which is typically where you'd put your time-based/modulation effects - so you may be somewhat limited in that regard.  You can certainly run all your effects in front of the amp, you just might not like how they sound as much.

 

Also, there are no rules and you won't break anything, but if you're trying to run an amp/cab model into your amp you may want to just try the preamp model into the Classic Gain channel.  I would not rely solely on the stock presets either.  While some of them are fine, you should really "tune" your Helix to your amp.  Preamp, power amp, speaker, etc. all make a difference in tone so what might sound good on one amp may sound like crap on another.  The Helix, as well as Axe FX, Kemper, etc., all require spending some time setting up - but it's well worth it in the end.  Assuming you bought new you spent $1,100+ on it - take the time to maximize your investment.

 

 

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Couple of options here...but I think the best way to set this up would be through the 4CM method...Guitar to Helix Guitar in, FX loop Send to Amp input, Amp FX loop send to Helix Loop return, 1/4 inch out to amp FX return....This will allow you to use your preamp from the Marshall and use the helix purely for effects..alternatively, you could simply use the power amp of the Marshall if you don't need the preamps by plugging in the helix out to the return of the FX loop in the Marshall. In the end it will depend on what you need. note that you probably don't want to enable your cab models when using your amp. 

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Thanks guys. Effects and amp and cab models. I'm actually just using the Marshall as a speaker at this point! WIth some tubes on top.  I started thinking about it.  I got the Marshall very cheap so not too bothered if I need to change it for a model with an effects loop at some point.  I don't really like how it sounds right now but need to spend some time on it. I just noticed a post of someone saying the DSL40 had the effects loops then wondered why I needed that and why I would miss that with the 15.  I've had a bunch of amps since the 80s but never one with an effects loop.

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Ah..the newer versions of the DSL15's have an effects loop...the DSL 40's sound awesome but they are kind of heavy to lug around...if you are running it front of the amp only, then I guess your only option would be to use the clean channel and then set it up in a typical pedalboard framework..

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I have a DSL40C and run my Helix in 4 Cable Method (4CM) as @fenderbenderlax mentioned above.  If you already know this please disregard: An effects loop comes in-between the preamp and poweramp sections of your amp.  Typically you'd put drive pedals before the amp, and time/modulation pedals in the loop.  With 4CM, for example, you can have the Helix route your Wah, Compressor, OD to the front of the amp and then route your delays, reverbs through the effects loop.  But there are other advantages to using the loop.  Here's how I run my Helix LT:

  • Some presets I my DSL for pre and power amp and the Helix for effects only. Using 4CM I route the effects either to the front of the amp or to the loop.
  • For presets that I want to use an amp model, I use a preamp from the Helix, and then route my signal to the effects loop return so my DSL is essentially just a power amp at this point (as I'm bypassing the preamp section).  I setup my effects the same way - drives in front of the Helix preamp model, time-based after the preamp model, and then send the signal to the return of the effects loop for the power amp.  Notice that I'm using a preamp model and not an amp, or amp & cab.
  • For recording I go direct to my Mac/garageband via USB and monitor the audio from the Helix using Studio/Flat response headphones.  With this I use all Helix and either amp/cab models, or separate amp and cab/IR's.

All this is possible with 4CM and not having to change any cables once your setup.  All the routing is managed in the Helix using send/return blocks and where you place it.

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8 minutes ago, fenderbenderlax said:

the DSL 40's sound awesome but they are kind of heavy to lug around.

Very true.  I have the G12M-65 Creamback in mine and with that the amp is 58 lbs.  Marshall doesn't make the DSL15 anymore, but the 5w and 20w both have effects loops.

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22 minutes ago, kraftybob said:

Very true.  I have the G12M-65 Creamback in mine and with that the amp is 58 lbs.  Marshall doesn't make the DSL15 anymore, but the 5w and 20w both have effects loops.

@kraftybob of yes you are correct...DSL20 was what I had in mind...for the weight...I loved the tones from the DSL 40 but the weight is putting me off...how is your experience with the helix in the loop of the 40? 

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4 hours ago, fenderbenderlax said:

how is your experience with the helix in the loop of the 40? 

I was always of the mindset that I get my tone from the amp and effects are in addition to that.  Prior to the Helix I was using the M13 - which is stomp boxes only.  I started hitting some limitations of the M13 so was going to upgrade to the HX Effects, but then got a good deal on the Helix LT from Sweetwater.

 

My plan then was to run 4CM with effects only.  Then I tried a few preamp models into the effects return of my DSL.  Big mistake <sarcasm>.  Now I find myself using more preamp models from the Helix (routing to the effects return) than I do straight DSL.  I still really like the DSL tone, but there are so many other options now with the Helix I'd be crazy to ignore them.  In addition to the Creamback in my amp, I also have a 1x12 closed back cab with a G12T-75.  For me, having the helix preamp going into the DSL tube poweramp, with these two speakers, really delivers.  I'm really happy with my setup at this point.

 

As far as the weight of the DSL is concerned at some point I'm going to convert it to a head.  There are a few after market options for the DSL, or I may just do it myself (as I'm pretty handy). My 1x12 cab was actually a MG250DFX that I bought from some guy that pulled the head and used it as a 2x12 cab.  The DSL is wide for a 1x12 combo so this fits under it nicely.  Whenever I do the head conversion, I'll make a new baffle for the cab and convert it back into a 2x12 cabinet.

 

The good thing about the DSL20CR is that it uses EL34 power tubes.  A lot of amps in the 15-20w range end up using EL84's and sometimes I don't think those have as much punch as the 34's (or 6L6's). 

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3 hours ago, kraftybob said:

I was always of the mindset that I get my tone from the amp and effects are in addition to that.  Prior to the Helix I was using the M13 - which is stomp boxes only.  I started hitting some limitations of the M13 so was going to upgrade to the HX Effects, but then got a good deal on the Helix LT from Sweetwater.

 

My plan then was to run 4CM with effects only.  Then I tried a few preamp models into the effects return of my DSL.  Big mistake <sarcasm>.  Now I find myself using more preamp models from the Helix (routing to the effects return) than I do straight DSL.  I still really like the DSL tone, but there are so many other options now with the Helix I'd be crazy to ignore them.  In addition to the Creamback in my amp, I also have a 1x12 closed back cab with a G12T-75.  For me, having the helix preamp going into the DSL tube poweramp, with these two speakers, really delivers.  I'm really happy with my setup at this point.

 

As far as the weight of the DSL is concerned at some point I'm going to convert it to a head.  There are a few after market options for the DSL, or I may just do it myself (as I'm pretty handy). My 1x12 cab was actually a MG250DFX that I bought from some guy that pulled the head and used it as a 2x12 cab.  The DSL is wide for a 1x12 combo so this fits under it nicely.  Whenever I do the head conversion, I make a new baffle for the cab and convert it back into a 2x12 cabinet.

 

The good thing about the DSL20CR is that it uses EL34 power tubes.  A lot of amps in the 15-20w range end up using EL84's and sometimes I don't think those have as much punch as the 34's (or 6L6's). 

thanks for that...I have been thinking about the 20CR for a while now...the crunch channel on the 40 is appealing but the weight on the other hand is holding me back..

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28 minutes ago, fenderbenderlax said:

the crunch channel on the 40 is appealing

I agree - the crunch channel on the 40 is pretty amazing.  Another good thing about the 20w is you still get a 12" speaker, however, keep in mind it's the Seventy 80 which is a lower-end Celestion.  Certainly not a reason to pass up the 20w, but something easy enough to change out at a later date if you want.  I used to have a 4x12 cab with Seventy 80's and by itself I thought it sounded pretty decent.  Then when I got the DSL40C w/the Creamback I realized what I was missing.

 

Good luck with whatever you end up getting.  The DSL20 is a nice amp and will be a great platform for the Helix.

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