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Virtual Sends? Send to XLR? Creative DI routing?


saemola
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My Helix LT bass setup is comprised of several effects on the first DSP, spread between Path 1A and 1B, going into the second DSP with a clean amp on Path 2A and a dirty one on Path 2B.

After all the effects, but before getting to the amps, I use a Send block (that passes 100% of the signal through to the amps) to output a clean signal to Send 1, which then goes into a physical DI box and to FoH, so that it can be blended with the amps signal (both amps chains are coming out of XLR L).


Pretty easy so far.

 

What I'd like to achieve is:

- have the clean "DI" signal coming out of XLR R instead of Send 1, so that I can avoid carrying a physical DI box and just provide FoH with the XLR output going into the mixer's preamp.

- affect the DI chain with a SansAmp (the block is called ZeroAmp), but not having it affect the amp chain.

 

For the first goal, I looked around and I seem to understand that it's not possible to have a Send block output to XLR. Since all my effects are on the first DSP, I thought I could at least have Path 1 to output both to XLR (which would be my "DI") and to Path 2 (which would be my amps), but that doesn't seem possible either. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

 

As far as the second goal goes, so far this is the only solution I have found (picture attached, for clarity):

- after the effects blocks on Path 1, the chain goes into Path 2

••• here it enters a Send 1 block, coming out of Send 1 physical out which is plugged straight into Return 1 physical in to bypass the DI chain

- Return 1 block gets the signal and carries it to the amps, culminating in the XLR output

••• Send 1 block has Thru set to 100%, carrying the signal to a SansAmp block

- the signal terminates into a Send 2 block with no Thru, leaving the amps unaffected

- Send 2 physical out goes into a DI box, to the mixer

 

The reason why I don't like this solution is that the amps signal goes out of and back into the Helix, adding extra latency (and D/A, A/D conversion), which messes up the phase when blended with the DI. There are ways to fix it, but it's just too much of a pain and too prone to errors. (Oddly enough I thought that sending the DI chain from a parallel Path 1 B would create a similar phase issue since that chain wouldn't be affected by the second DSP latency, but I can't hear such an issue. Maybe latency in the system doesn't work the way I think it does.)

I thought that using Send and Return blocks without plugging anything into the physical outputs/inputs would create a virtual path that would normalize Send block 1 into Return block 1, but that's clearly not the case. Is there another way to "tap" the signal chain at any point and send it somewhere else into the chain virtually and without adding latency?


Bonus question: does each block add latency or is the latency fixed in a Helix system (other then when outputting Path 1 into Path 2)? I'm wondering for all the parallel paths patched I create.

 

Is anyone aware of any solution to my problems?

IMG_4450.jpg

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2 hours ago, saemola said:

For the first goal, I looked around and I seem to understand that it's not possible to have a Send block output to XLR. Since all my effects are on the first DSP, I thought I could at least have Path 1 to output both to XLR (which would be my "DI") and to Path 2 (which would be my amps), but that doesn't seem possible either. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

 

I may be mis-understanding what you're trying to do, but take a look at the attached preset.

 

You can split Path 1 before the effects and send Path 1A to Path 2 and Path 1B directly to the XLRs. You do need to add 'something' to Path 1B, but it could be something like an flat EQ, Vol, or Gain. Then you have 2 'Amp Channels' in Path 2, and you can add additional Sends/Returns where (if?) needed, with the final Outs going to either Sends or 1/4", whichever works for you.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Edit - Whoops - In the attached preset, the Output of Path 1A should be to Path 2A+2B, not just 2A.

 

New Preset.hlx

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Thanks for taking the time.

It might have not been too clear from the first post, but the problem is that path 1 is already split in A and B and I need the effects to come before the DI send, so I don’t have any other splittable paths.

 

Unless there exist techniques that I don’t know of,  the only options right now are:

- Send 1 to DI box before amps in path 2

- Giving up the parallel path on DSP 1

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My understanding is you want one guitar input, then the signal to be processed by some effects, then the signal to split with one 'copy' going through the SansAmp, then to the Mixer, while the second 'copy' of the signal bypasses the SansAmp and goes to your (virtual) Amps on Path 2. Is that the short of it?

 

You can't Send a signal at one point in the chain and Insert it back later in the chain. You have to use the FX Loop to Send/Return it all in one block if you want to bring the signal back into the Helix. I made this mistake, too.

 

Did you look at the file I posted?

 

I'm thinking:

Input > Path 1 w/ Effects (assuming same effects go to Mixer and your Amps)

After Effects on Path 1:

--Split Path 1 to 1a > Output to Path 2A+2B

--Split Path 1 to 1b > Output to XLR > Mixer (You can use an FX Loop on Path 1b to go to your SansAmp, and yes, you can output Path 1 to Path 2 and to the XLR)

 

Path 2a Input (from 1a) (Amp1 is on this path)

Path 2b Input (from 1a) (Amp2 is on this path)

--Merge back into Path 2

Output to 1/4"

 

 

 

 

Annotation 2019-12-03 225026.jpg

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I had a similar problem/limitation and there is no way around it if you need the parallel path for other purposes. 

The external DI is the only way to achieve this, if you are short of parallel paths. You may check the delay of both DI signals, they are very likely not perfectly in phase... That might effect the low end.

 

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5 hours ago, LMychajluk said:

Did you look at the file I posted?

You got it all right, but what I was trying to say is that I need parallel path 1B for some effects pre-DI split, hence the reason why I couldn’t use it as my DI chain.

 

57 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

Having said that, it'd possibly be cool if the sends allowed you to use the XLR outs, too.

Yes it would. I’m pretty surprised this isn’t possible, but I’m not complaining. I discover new, incredible flexible ways to achieve things everyday with the Helix.
 

16 minutes ago, bassbene said:

You may check the delay of both DI signals, they are very likely not perfectly in phase... That might effect the low end.

 

When using the 2 send method I showed in the pic above, the delay was there obviously as they can’t account for DA/AD, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is no phase difference when summing into an external mixer a signal coming from Path 1 with a signal coming from Path 2.

 

Looks like this is it then: I either give up the parallel path on Path 1, or I keep using the  unprocessed DI via the Send on Path 2.

 

 Thanks everybody for chiming in!

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22 minutes ago, saemola said:

Yes it would. I’m pretty surprised this isn’t possible, but I’m not complaining.

 

I think this would have a potential to cause plenty of confusion. As is, sends and returns are limited to one function (well, more or less...) that can be clearly described. Same goes for the XLR outs. Now, it's not that you couldn't already abuse either, but that'd require some sort of far away from normal cable routing. With the send blocks being able to use the XLR outs as well, chances are that you might run into some pretty weird scenarios, causing extremely nasty feedback loops and such.

 

However, what I would really like to see is more path splitting options. If we had 1/2 A/B/C/D paths, your issue could already be solved (and some of mine as well). From all I can see, these don't cause any noticeable CPU overhead, so it should be just doable, the only main issue likely being that the display wouldn't be large enough to show 8 paths vertically stacked.

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13 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

With the send blocks being able to use the XLR outs as well, chances are that you might run into some pretty weird scenarios, causing extremely nasty feedback loops and such.

 

However, what I would really like to see is more path splitting options. If we had 1/2 A/B/C/D paths, your issue could already be solved (and some of mine as well).

I can see how it might be cause for trouble, but I think it could be easily circumvented by automatically disabling certain I/O when selecting them from the Send block, much like the Path 2A+2B option is greyed out when the merge box is not brought on the B chain on Path by 1.

 

The lack of extra paths per DSP definitely looks like it’s a simple design/interface decision, which I can understand on a basic level, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t give advanced users the choice to “mess up” their interface by  choosing extra paths. It could even be an option that’s buried in some advanced menu for all I care. No point to have these arbitrary limitations.

Fingers crossed for firmware 3.0.

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I've been wanting more flexibly in the routing since the moment I bought my Helix.

 

I made this idea scale 4 years ago!

https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/SEND-Block-to-more-places-e-g-1-4in-for-easy-IR-bypass/818624-23508

 

Even Digital Igloo upvoted the idea - so I was kind of expecting it would be here by now... 

 

Like you say "Fingers crossed for firmware 3.0" 

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