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ledvedder5150

Trying to love my Helix

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I'm really trying to love my Helix, but something is just missing in my sound. I'm coming from a 50 watt EVH 5153 into a 212 cab. Also a DSL40. The main tone is usually always go for is a Van Halen type of hard rock tone. Nothing super heavy. 

 

Last night I was using the Brit Plexi Bright with the gain dimed, into the Cali v30 412, a 160 mic, some early reflections (15%), low cut at 85, high cut at 10K.  I'm running into a Laney LFR-112. I simply did not have the feel or the balls that I'm used to hearing. Is there something that I should change up with my settings? Any help would be appreciated. 

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What most people perceive as "missing" when transitioning from an amp to a modeler is the "amp in the room" sound... or the raw sound of a guitar amp a few feet away, and way off-axis, without the added influence of a microphone. Modelers though, are designed to produce recorded guitar tones... what you'd hear through a pair of monitors in a studio control room while you're amp is close-mic'ed in the room next door. They are two very different things, and it doesn't work for everybody... at least not initially. I suspect that those who've had a bunch of studio experience have an easier time making the transition to modeling, as they're used to hearing themselves that way already.

 

It's a never ending topic in the amp vs. modeler debate. Nobody's right or wrong... you like what you like. I'm not familiar with the Laney you mentioned, but something like the Powercab might suit you better, as it's designed to provide more of a traditional amp "feel".

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The reality is with modeling you're not going to hear what you used to hear on stage unless you use that type of configuration with the Helix.  What you're going to hear on stage is what your audience has always been hearing if you mic'd your equipment and sent it through the mixer.  The fact is your audience has never heard what you heard on stage whether it's live through a PA or recorded since it was captured by a microphone.  And that's what they expect to hear because that's what they've been hearing their whole life.

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10 hours ago, ledvedder5150 said:

I simply did not have the feel or the balls that I'm used to hearing. Is there something that I should change up with my settings?

 

I am a big fan of FRFR... but as @DunedinDragon says above, this is the sound the audience is hearing, not what you are used to hearing.

Some people have a very hard time with this transition. Here are a few things you can try to see it helps you out.

 

STAYING IN FRFR MODE ON THE LANEY

  • You didn't say how far you had the distance on the mic. The more distance you apply, the more "natural" the cab starts to sound. It's like standing 1 foot away from a speaker rather than putting your ear right up to it. I find 4" - 6" back is usually the breaking point for richer, more natural tones. 
  • Insert the tilt EQ after the cab/mic on the Helix.... roll the Tilt setting back to about "dark 50" then adjust more/less for taste. This should add richness/depth to the tone as it simulates moving the microphone from the "center" of the speaker more toward the "edge" of the speaker, a common mic technique with sound techs.
  • Instead of using the HI/LO cuts from the cab block... insert a Parametric EQ after the cab and use the HI/LO cuts from that. They have very different slopes, and many find the Parametric cuts more effective. (note: you are not using the parametric per say... just it's hi/lo cuts)
  • There is always the IR Cab rabbit hole you can try if you feel inclined to do so. Plenty of free and paid options.

TAKE THE LANEY OUT OF FRFR MODE.... TRY THE 412 or 112 SETTING

This will take away some of the best things the Helix does (cab/mic) but it might provide a listening environment you are more used to

  • Set the Laney to 4x12 or 1x12 mode.
  • On the Helix, remove or disable the CAB/Mic block... 
  • The Laney should have a neutral power amp... I would recommend using full amp models (sans cabs) on the Helix.... but you could also experiment with some pre-amp models. 

Good luck! 

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Hi Ledvedder

 

There are many here with much more experience than me at all of this, but here are my thoughts.

 

I come from various cheap multi FX units into a 1X12 DSL40, trading it in for a Mesa Nomad 1X12, then going for a POD HD500X into the Mesa. Then swapping the Mesa for a Line 6 DT25 with the POD HD500X. A couple of months ago I swapped the POD for a Helix LT. 

 

The reason I'm giving you this history is this; At every stage I got more flexibility. For me I've never needed 'one good tone'. I've always needed about eight. To me the Helix with the DT amp and a Variax feels like I basically own a guitar shop. The positive is I can try everything in the shop. The negative is options paralysis - how on earth do I find the one great sound I want? As I need lots of sounds I'm still really enjoying the experiment of trying to find them. 

 

I would encourage you to tweak and tweak and tweak to find new things, but if you have done all you can do and are still not there then it could be that the Helix you have never quite gets close enough to the rig you hear in your head. If there is just one sound you are trying to nail you may never get there with Helix.

 

Hope this helps.

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Have u tried running the Helix into your amp? You get the best of both worlds.

 

Once I set up the 4 cable method right, I started to feel like I could get where I wanted to go with this setup. Having owned many multieffects units previously, I wasn't expecting the Helix to be the holy grail. All hot new sounds get stale after a while. But FWIW, it is a very well organized one stop shopping effects box.

 

Also, have you hooked it up to your PC and use the HXEdit program? To me, it's night and day. The HXEdit makes editting your presets supereasy. I've had this thing for a month now and still can't remember what buttons pushed or pressed or held do what - nor can I really see those tiny icons - But on the HXEdit - clear as a bell. Check it out if you haven't.

 

 

hxedit screenshot.jpg

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My first question would be ; How long has you owned the Helix ?

If it's new, you can need some time to reach your sound....If not, and you have tried many things to improve your sound, i would say ; surrender and go further for something else.

I've owned the Helix for two years (and a firehawk for 6 months before). I liked it but i was always tweaking to obtain something more.

I've bought a Variax, a powercab (that i keep) and even if it was better, i couldn't help playing with buttons instead of guitar....

I've bought a Kemper Stage and that was what i was looking for.

I've got nothing against L6, the community is really helpfull, the device is simple to understand and to use. The routing possibilities are huge/infinite....

But we are all looking for something that can be different expactations.....

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90% of a really great convincing gain'd up rock tone is about the IR you're using. Some believe the built in cabs are good enough, but most know that a great IR makes ALL the difference. Same exact philosophy of running your real tube amp into a lollipop cabinet. No amount of tweaking will really give you a satisfying tone. Getting a couple good IR packs from like Ownhammer or Celestion will be the difference of almost wanting to return your Helix and using it as your main rig and loving it.

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12 minutes ago, bvaladez74 said:

90% of a really great convincing gain'd up rock tone is about the IR you're using. Some believe the built in cabs are good enough, but most know that a great IR makes ALL the difference. Same exact philosophy of running your real tube amp into a lollipop cabinet. No amount of tweaking will really give you a satisfying tone. Getting a couple good IR packs from like Ownhammer or Celestion will be the difference of almost wanting to return your Helix and using it as your main rig and loving it.

 

I find that the stock cabs are very good once you get used to using them properly (esp. Hi/Lo cuts). I've tried many IRs and have found some good ones that I use but it certainly, for me, wouldn't make the difference in terms of loving/returning my Helix.

 

Don't want to get into a debate about it - just wanted to note that this is a matter of opinion that may or may not be widely held by 'most'. Different courses for different horses.

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A 1x12 FRFR speaker (or 1x12 speaker in general) will most likely never provide you with the "balls" your 2x12 and tube amp provided you. The truth is that if you want the sound of a tube power amp on a cab behind you, there's only one way to get it. Now, if you want the sound of a cranked tube amp properly mic'ed through a TOL cab monitored from another room, that's exactly what FRFR and full amp/cab modeling can give you. If you need more "thump" to enjoy playing the only way to do it is with a real cab, or more speakers (or louder speakers). 

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33 minutes ago, silverhead said:

 

I find that the stock cabs are very good once you get used to using them properly (esp. Hi/Lo cuts). I've tried many IRs and have found some good ones that I use but it certainly, for me, wouldn't make the difference in terms of loving/returning my Helix.

 

Don't want to get into a debate about it - just wanted to note that this is a matter of opinion that may or may not be widely held by 'most'. Different courses for different horses.

 

Agree.  If you can’t spin up a reasonably satisfying tone with the current Helix Cabs, I doubt any IR will save the day.   

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4 hours ago, surfsup1955 said:

If you can’t spin up a reasonably satisfying tone with the current Helix Cabs, I doubt any IR will save the day.   

 

The lack of mic positions (center to edge) in the Helix cabs does create limitations on what can be done. When you buy a package of IR's those positions are often included and can be the difference between a "reasonably satisfying tone" and a "great tone" for some users getting the tones "they" are after. 

 

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4 hours ago, surfsup1955 said:

 

Agree.  If you can’t spin up a reasonably satisfying tone with the current Helix Cabs, I doubt any IR will save the day.   

The cabs are "fine", but without a cone/edge distance parameter, the only way to get really satisfying tones for me is either mixing two cabs and messing with mics for 20 minutes, or just grabbing an ML Soundlabs IR of the cab or cabs I like and dropping it in, maybe setting the low cut, and bam, there it is.

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7 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

The cabs are "fine", but without a cone/edge distance parameter, the only way to get really satisfying tones for me is either mixing two cabs and messing with mics for 20 minutes, or just grabbing an ML Soundlabs IR of the cab or cabs I like and dropping it in, maybe setting the low cut, and bam, there it is.

I agree that the lack of cone/edge distance parameter is a drawback of the stock Line 6 cabs. Problem for me is that I am not as familiar with 'the cabs I like' as you obviously are, so I end up spending more than 20 mins going through volumes of IRs to discover the ones I like. I find myself overwhelmed by the IR selections available. For that reason, as well as cost, I tend to stick with the stock cabs, despite the afore-mentioned limitation.

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5 minutes ago, silverhead said:

I agree that the lack of cone/edge distance parameter is a drawback of the stock Line 6 cabs. Problem for me is that I am not as familiar with 'the cabs I like' as you obviously are, so I end up spending more than 20 mins going through volumes of IRs to discover the ones I like. I find myself overwhelmed by the IR selections available. For that reason, as well as cost, I tend to stick with the stock cabs, despite the afore-mentioned limitation.

I've always been of the mindset that no matter what amp I'm playing through, there's really only three cabs I'd want. Marshall 1960 slant, Mesa OS, or a Vader 4x12. As long as I can find IR packs that make good use of one of those cabs, it's usually a pretty quick process. There definitely is the ability to get sucked into that rabbit hole, especially if you're chasing down album tones, or you want every song in a covers set to be nearly identical to the original recording, or you're not familiar with the gear being used in the IR. It's probably easier for me because I almost exclusively play original music, in two closely-tied styles. I tend to treat my IRs/cabs like a fixed piece of the chain, so when I find something I like I will build my tones to get what I want out of the cab, instead of find a cab/mic combo to get me the sound I'm after. For my use, I find IRs to be much quicker, and much better sounding, but mostly because of the lack of cone/edge distance parameter (and its harder to get a mix of them into one block to save on routing/DSP so I can stay on one preset all night).

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On 1/6/2020 at 10:28 AM, bvaladez74 said:

90% of a really great convincing gain'd up rock tone is about the IR you're using. Some believe the built in cabs are good enough, but most know that a great IR makes ALL the difference. Same exact philosophy of running your real tube amp into a lollipop cabinet. No amount of tweaking will really give you a satisfying tone. Getting a couple good IR packs from like Ownhammer or Celestion will be the difference of almost wanting to return your Helix and using it as your main rig and loving it.

^^This IME.

 

The stock cabs pre-the 2.8 firmware update were flat and lifeless and "lacked balls" that the OP is looking for IMO.  The 2.8 update with the default high and low cuts neutered them further to the point of being utterly useless in comparison to some good Ownhammer or Lancaster Audio IR's.

 

For VH rock tones using the Placator amp, try the following:

 

Ownhammer GNR pack

https://www.ownhammer.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=186&products_id=438

 

 

Lancaster Audio Marshall 1960 JMP

https://lancasteraudio.com/shop/impulse-responses/4x12-cabs/marshall/marshall-1960-b-jmp/

 

That Lancaster JMP one is my go-to.  It 100% nails this tone that Phil-X gets with the Friedman BE-100, balls and all:

 

 

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33 minutes ago, BrianPeter said:

The 2.8 update with the default high and low cuts neutered them further  to the point of being utterly useless

 

Neutering is permanent... a default setting is more like a condom... just saying.... 

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On 1/6/2020 at 5:00 PM, gunpointmetal said:

The cabs are "fine", but without a cone/edge distance parameter, the only way to get really satisfying tones for me is either mixing two cabs and messing with mics for 20 minutes, or just grabbing an ML Soundlabs IR of the cab or cabs I like and dropping it in, maybe setting the low cut, and bam, there it is.


Totally agree.  My comment was not a debate regarding IRs vs Stock Cabs.  I personally love IRs and own a boatload of Ownhammer and 3 Sigma sets and use them daily for various presets.  However, my point specifically being that Helix cabs have come a long way and are totally usable now.  In this topic, I’m saying, if the OP can’t get a “reasonable” tone using them - I doubt any IR will fix that particular problematic preset’s tone.  I.e., there’s an issue elsewhere and I wouldn’t want to give him the expectation that buying xyz IRs will 100% save the day.  

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1 hour ago, surfsup1955 said:

I personally love IRs and own a boatload of Ownhammer and 3 Sigma sets and use them daily for various presets.  However, my point specifically being that Helix cabs have come a long way and are totally usable now.  

 

Prior to the 2.8 update I could not get a live tone "I was happy with" with the stock cabs. With the addition of the TILT EQ I am now able to simulate the movement of the mic from CENTER to EDGE. I generally set it to "Dark 50" (give or take a little) and it's made all the difference for me. My latest round of presets are now primarily stock cabs. 

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Try using one of these IRs at gig/rehearsal volume. Served me well for over around two years already in a plethora of different live situations playing different styles. And yes, I never use anything else but these two live. Might not be everybody's COT, but apart from loading them and turning up your FRFR to good volume, it won't cost you anything.

Gen_01.wav Gen_01_bright.wav

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On 1/13/2020 at 12:44 PM, codamedia said:

 

Prior to the 2.8 update I could not get a live tone "I was happy with" with the stock cabs. With the addition of the TILT EQ I am now able to simulate the movement of the mic from CENTER to EDGE. I generally set it to "Dark 50" (give or take a little) and it's made all the difference for me. My latest round of presets are now primarily stock cabs. 

 

Thanks, I’ll have to play with the Tilt EQ..

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