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Alfredo85

Helix LT right choice for me?

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Hi!

 

Would like some advice from you guys!

Really interested in the Helix LT. I only play my guitar at home and on a hobby/enthusiast level. Being a family man with wife/kids and living in an apartment sets some limits though, but I really want some good and authentic tones still!

 

- Is it worth it if I mainly play with headphones?


- Anyone here that also uses amp sims and how is the Helix in comparison? I recently tried out AmpliTube 4 (on IOS) and really felt it was lacking, presets available was somewhere between bad and OK. And to find a tone I was looking for on my own takes forever, but the end result of all the tweaking I was not really happy with either.

 

- Am I able to record my sessions on Iphone/IOS? For Cubasis for example? And if a yes - with good quality?

 

Thanks!

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First, don't judge Amplitube by the iOS app. It sux.

They have a FREE version of the full product, and if you pick up either the British Amps  or Mesa update (depending on your tastes), you will find some tasty sounds.

BUT - you'll need a decent computer and Audio Interface - at least $100 for the AI.

 

Based on what you've said about your situation, the LT is probably more than you need. I would look into the new POD GO, due out in April.

Much cheaper, same sounds, easy to use, targeted at your section of the market.

 

Whatever you decide to get - and there's lots of options (not just L6, not just new) out there for someone in your situation - keep in mind that if you judge any device or amp sim based on factory presets, you're bound to be disappointed.

 

Take some time to read up on your choices over on The Gear Page in the Digital and Modeling Gear thread. There's always threads along the line of "Best economy modeler", "Best beginner modeler", "This modeler vs that modeler", etc.. It's worth your time.

 

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Just to add, if you're not familiar with modelers and are expecting that amp in the room feel and/or not somewhat familiar with EQ and compression, you're going to be disappointed.  You'll end up tweaking for hours on end and still not be happy.  Whatever modeler you end up going with remember what you're hearing is a simulation of an amp and cabinet with a mic.  And as already mentioned, don't rely on factory presets.  Get ready to dive in deep and create your own patches from scratch.  

 

 

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13 hours ago, rd2rk said:

First, don't judge Amplitube by the iOS app. It sux.

They have a FREE version of the full product, and if you pick up either the British Amps  or Mesa update (depending on your tastes), you will find some tasty sounds.

BUT - you'll need a decent computer and Audio Interface - at least $100 for the AI.

 

Based on what you've said about your situation, the LT is probably more than you need. I would look into the new POD GO, due out in April.

Much cheaper, same sounds, easy to use, targeted at your section of the market.

 

Whatever you decide to get - and there's lots of options (not just L6, not just new) out there for someone in your situation - keep in mind that if you judge any device or amp sim based on factory presets, you're bound to be disappointed.

 

Take some time to read up on your choices over on The Gear Page in the Digital and Modeling Gear thread. There's always threads along the line of "Best economy modeler", "Best beginner modeler", "This modeler vs that modeler", etc.. It's worth your time.

 

Yeah, I thought AT4 would sound much better On IOS. It tried it out because of the flexibility in it instead of using and investing in the PC/Mac platform. Though it would not be that compromising, it certainly is not advertised that way IMO.

 

Checking out the new POD and it looks very promising and like you said, should suit me quite well! Will check out how it compares to the LT. Thanks for your input.
 

9 hours ago, lungho said:

Just to add, if you're not familiar with modelers and are expecting that amp in the room feel and/or not somewhat familiar with EQ and compression, you're going to be disappointed.  You'll end up tweaking for hours on end and still not be happy.  Whatever modeler you end up going with remember what you're hearing is a simulation of an amp and cabinet with a mic.  And as already mentioned, don't rely on factory presets.  Get ready to dive in deep and create your own patches from scratch.  

 

 


I understand. I like to tweak and experiment, thats not a problem. But in my example (have not tried out much else then AmpliTube and couple more amp sims) I could tweak the hell out of it without beeing happy or pleased with my final tone.

 

So right now I really look into the hardware alternatives and Helix Go or LT seems like what I’m looking for. Price of LT is fine by me, will compare the models though and see what I miss out if I buy the GO.

 

But still - what about using LT with good quality headphones, how does that working for everyone? I 

And am I able to connect my iPhone to it (USB/camera kit cable?) and record my sessions with an iOS DAW like cubasis?

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Good advice above. Of course, in your situation you can't HAVE a "cranked cabinet in the room" sound or feel, and that's the point of your search.

 

There are many great modeling paths. If HX Stomp and Pod GO were out when I bought my Helix LT I may have chosen one of those, as I just wanted a good quality sound with basic effects in a modern unit (and they're smaller). I was already pretty happy with my Digitech GNX3000, through headphones or studio monitors. But I'm glad I got the Helix - I've made some pretty complex presets that the lesser units wouldn't be able to do. Still...it's BIG... ;-)

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1 hour ago, Alfredo85 said:

But still - what about using LT with good quality headphones, how does that working for everyone?

 

For the bedroom player a good set of headphones should be fine.  The flatter the frequency response is, the better.  For my poor man's studio setup, I use a pair of KRK KNS 8400 for mixing and people tell me my mixes sound pretty darn good.  I also use them to work inside of Helix Native or jam late at night so everyone can sleep.  

 

If you start venturing into playing with a band, that's where things get different.  You'll want some kind of external FRFR speaker to dial in your patches, at (or near) gig level, to avoid the whole Fletcher Munson curve and also to monitor yourself on stage.  I use a QSC K10.2 for that.  But that's a rabbit trail we'll leave another time.... :-)

 

1 hour ago, Alfredo85 said:

And am I able to connect my iPhone to it (USB/camera kit cable?) and record my sessions with an iOS DAW like cubasis?

 

Have a look at this thread below.  According to Soundog the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter works great with Cubasis.

 

 

 

As far as POD Go or LT, they are very different products when it comes to block layout.  The LT is way more flexible in regards to the number of blocks you can use and in what order you can put them in. The POD Go appears to have a more static approach, much like we've seen with the Spider series.  Research and watch as many demos as  you can.  If you have a big box music store near by, go and test drive both.  

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Alfredo85 said:

But still - what about using LT with good quality headphones, how does that working for everyone?

 

Do a search here for "headphones". Everyone's experience is different, and many find that cheap headphones sound as good or better than the expensive ones.

Also, impedance matters.

You may have to try several sets before you find one you like.

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Thanks for all your advice! 
 

On 2/1/2020 at 6:46 PM, rd2rk said:

 

Do a search here for "headphones". Everyone's experience is different, and many find that cheap headphones sound as good or better than the expensive ones.

Also, impedance matters.

You may have to try several sets before you find one you like.

I have a pair of audio-technica m50x I love in general, will start with them I think.

 

On 2/1/2020 at 4:41 PM, lungho said:

 

For the bedroom player a good set of headphones should be fine.  The flatter the frequency response is, the better.  For my poor man's studio setup, I use a pair of KRK KNS 8400 for mixing and people tell me my mixes sound pretty darn good.  I also use them to work inside of Helix Native or jam late at night so everyone can sleep.  

 

If you start venturing into playing with a band, that's where things get different.  You'll want some kind of external FRFR speaker to dial in your patches, at (or near) gig level, to avoid the whole Fletcher Munson curve and also to monitor yourself on stage.  I use a QSC K10.2 for that.  But that's a rabbit trail we'll leave another time.... :-)

 

 

Have a look at this thread below.  According to Soundog the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter works great with Cubasis.

 

 

 

As far as POD Go or LT, they are very different products when it comes to block layout.  The LT is way more flexible in regards to the number of blocks you can use and in what order you can put them in. The POD Go appears to have a more static approach, much like we've seen with the Spider series.  Research and watch as many demos as  you can.  If you have a big box music store near by, go and test drive both.  

 

 

 

 

Seems like Cubasis should work!

 

And regarding the LT vs GO, I’ve been reading about known differences over the weekend. The fixed blocks I feel that it shouldn’t be a problem for me, but what does the differences with dual amp/cabs and DSP mean in ”bedroom player” situation? In theory.

 

I know I should wait for the GO release and reviews. Will be hard to wait for April though (or maybe much later depending on when it comes to Sweden), when I had set my eyes on a LT :)

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1 hour ago, Alfredo85 said:

but what does the differences with dual amp/cabs and DSP mean in ”bedroom player” situation? In theory.

 

All that means is that, because of the extra DSP and non-static block paths, the LT has the ability to have two amps and/or cabs within a preset.  And DSP, the LT has two SHARC ADSP-21469 chips; one for each path.  The Go will have one DSP chip.  The more DSP, the more blocks you can add to a preset. 

 

In my eyes when I look at the LT vs POD Go, the one thing that stands out in my mind is: Are 9 (static) blocks enough?  If you can answer that question, then it is an easy choice.

 

No matter which one you choose, the modeling technology is going to be the same.

 

 

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LT would probably be overkill for your needs, but I would highly recommend it.  You could probably get by with a stomp for what you are talking about, but the LT is awesome.

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On 2/3/2020 at 12:06 AM, lungho said:

 

All that means is that, because of the extra DSP and non-static block paths, the LT has the ability to have two amps and/or cabs within a preset.  And DSP, the LT has two SHARC ADSP-21469 chips; one for each path.  The Go will have one DSP chip.  The more DSP, the more blocks you can add to a preset. 

 

In my eyes when I look at the LT vs POD Go, the one thing that stands out in my mind is: Are 9 (static) blocks enough?  If you can answer that question, then it is an easy choice.

 

No matter which one you choose, the modeling technology is going to be the same.

 

 

 

 

16 minutes ago, caledoneus said:

LT would probably be overkill for your needs, but I would highly recommend it.  You could probably get by with a stomp for what you are talking about, but the LT is awesome.

 

Thanks for your input.

 

Well exactly in line with my conclusion @caledoneus. I feel that LT with have more functions/abilities then I will use probably, a stomp or a POD GO will probably suffice.

On the other hand I don´t really like the idea of feeling comprimised with creating unique and personal tones, and dont mind learning how to do it.

Super close ordering a LT right now, will decide before the weekend!

 

Off-topic: This seems to be a very friendly and helpful community!

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For your particular application, I'd suggest that a set of Boss Waza Air's might actually fit the bill better than an HX product.

I've got an LT and a Stomp, but the Waza Air's provide a far better headphone "experience" in my view.

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I can appreciate what Boss has crafted, but (to me) the product has a lot of shortcomings.  Dropping $400 on a device that solely relies on an app for full functionality, and may or may not ever be updated for newer mobile OS', or may or may not work with every Android device?  Must take one hand off the guitar to switch to a lead patch?  Only 6 memory presets?  Up to 5 hours of use on one charge? 

 

I'm sure the headphone experience is unlike no other and I think it's the perfect companion for a traveling musician or a student who wants to practice anywhere at anytime. IMO, for $100 more, POD Go looks to be the better product.

 

Not trying to be critical of your suggestion.  I just believe the OP deserves to be fed as much information as possible. :-)

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58 minutes ago, lungho said:

I can appreciate what Boss has crafted, but (to me) the product has a lot of shortcomings.  Dropping $400 on a device that solely relies on an app for full functionality, and may or may not ever be updated for newer mobile OS', or may or may not work with every Android device?  Must take one hand off the guitar to switch to a lead patch?  Only 6 memory presets?  Up to 5 hours of use on one charge? 

 

I'm sure the headphone experience is unlike no other and I think it's the perfect companion for a traveling musician or a student who wants to practice anywhere at anytime. IMO, for $100 more, POD Go looks to be the better product.

 

Not trying to be critical of your suggestion.  I just believe the OP deserves to be fed as much information as possible. :-)

 

While all of that is true, it ignores the primary purpose of the device. If you want to go TOTALLY wireless, dance around the room naked while playing your guitar along with your favorite grooves, THIS IS IT!

 

Maybe by next Xmas someone else will come out with something better, but if you want it NOW, it's the only game in town!

 

However, I don't think the dancing around wireless and naked thing is what the OP is primarily interested in..... :-)

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Not that I dance around naked or anything...

 

But with a Pod GO, TWO cheapo $50 guitar wireless systems, and this hack to make one an in-ear system (bring your own buds) you have a wireless setup for $550. AND a full blown modeler. I do this with my Helix and it works well - very little latency. One caveat: it IS mono.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXTZNY5Ta-o

 

 

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As a bare-bones practice system, very clever. Too bad the G10 Receiver is the size of a brick, I have two of them!

Now, why can't somebody create a version that's Stereo on one end for $200?

Still have body packs and wires, but no worse than a typical wireless and IEM stage rig.

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9 hours ago, rd2rk said:

However, I don't think the dancing around wireless and naked thing is what the OP is primarily interested in..... :-)

 

I have yet to try it :) Maybe an unspoken dream for many guitarists out there haha.

 

Looked up some reviews of the Waza Air, cool product indeed. Can really see how that market could expand and develope for sure.

But that was not really what I was looking for. I guess it´s always hard to recommend stuff to people when they (me) have different expectations and requirements.

I dont feel like relying on apps/mobile ecosystem.

 

Ok so - this is where I stand right now.

I don´t rule out getting a suitable speaker/amp/cab solution for the future, I just can´t do that in my home situation right now.

If the headphone experience is good overall (but I understand it´s rather flat/not super immersive) it´s OK.

The most important for me it´s getting good quality tones and the option to have a good variarity in getting them.

Second most important part was integration with DAWs for music creation.

I don´t want to invest in a product either that is reaching half-way of getting there.

 

So a LT (or maybe a GO) seems to be a good choice, a big plus that LT also has been out for some years backed up with a good community.

 

 

 

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Seriously, I don't think you really need an LT. Sure, it has more of everything, but in a pure home environment, you will likely not need all that. I'd rather think about HX Stomp vs. Pod GO.

If I was only playing at home, I would likely go for one of those.

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9 hours ago, Alfredo85 said:

So a LT (or maybe a GO) seems to be a good choice, a big plus that LT also has been out for some years backed up with a good community.

 

It sounds like you're leaning towards the LT. Proven tech, full function. If money is not an issue, GO FOR IT!

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5 hours ago, rd2rk said:

 

It sounds like you're leaning towards the LT. Proven tech, full function. If money is not an issue, GO FOR IT!

 

Bought the LT. Super excited!

Had some hours with it now and I´m certain this was the right choice.

Sounds really great out of the box!!

 

Obviously there is super much to learn now, going through some reading and tutorials atm.

Any recommendations where I could start?

Also is there any *must have* presets from customtone area?

 

Thanks everyone involved helping me on the way!

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Get the Jason Sadites presets and watch his "Dialing In" videos where he explains how he made the presets and why he did it the way he did.

Don't expect them, or any presets made by someone else on a different system, to sound great on your system.

Learn to roll your own.

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Just now, rd2rk said:

Get the Jason Sadites presets and watch his "Dialing In" videos where he explains how he made the presets and why he did it the way he did.

Don't expect them, or any presets made by someone else on a different system, to sound great on your system.

Learn to roll your own.

 

Also, learn all about the Fletcher-Munson Curve.

 

Most important of all - HAVE FUN!

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On 2/6/2020 at 12:47 AM, Alfredo85 said:

Any recommendations where I could start?

 

One of the things I still do (and one of the things more useful than anything else since years for me already, I even did that with my analog rigs): Insert a looper as the very first thing in your signal chain. That way, you can record some bits and fool around with your patches without having to play, interrupt yourself, adjust, play again, interrupt, adjust, etc...

 

I would then check all amp+cab models at least briefly. While doing that, take notes of which cabs are coming with which amp! I found that to be important. In the end, you will likely load amps and cabs (or IRs) separately, but to get the basic ideas Line 6 had while creating their models, it's a good thing to chose the amp/cab combo they had in mind.

Further, the very first amp parameters to observe IMO would be: Hum, Ripple, Drive, Master, Sag. I absolutely recommend to turn Hum and Ripple all the way down as all they do is to add static noise (for whatever authentic results - I never want any of it and have almost fooled myself into thinking something was wrong with my cables or whatever, simply because there was all that noise). Drive, Master and Sag all interact with each other, defining the gain structure of your patch (yes, Bias and Bias X also interact with the gain structure, but I think it's safe to leave them on their defaults when you just start out). I would have a look at how each of the amps you seem to be interested in (obviously you can't cover all of them straight away) reacts when using these controls.

Very (!) important note: Some of the default settings the amps show up with when you select them are completely awkward (and no, I am by far not the only one to say so, plenty of people will agree on that), so very often at least fooling a bit with the parameters mentioned above will likely result in a *way* lovelier experience.

 

Oh, another very important thing: Once you've found an amp model you like (preferably an overdriven one, just hang on...) and roughly adjusted it, make absolutely sure to head over to the global settings and check out the "Guitar In Pad" parameter. There's no absolute truth or anything, but *many* people seem to prefer the amp models to react much more balanced with it activated (it's turned off by default). I think this setting was implemented to take care of very high output guitars (switching it to "on" attenuates the input), but many people (myself included) are using it with rather low-ish output guitars as well. Personally, I just think it offers a better control over the "drive bandwidth" of certain amp models (IMO in the first place anything "british" profits a whole lot).

It's really important to check out this parameter very early in your "Helix career", simply because it's a global thing, so all patches will be affected. And the last thing you likely want is to go through 1087 patches and readjust every single one of them in some months just because you found out that you prefer the Input Pad to be on (but constructed all your patches until then with it off).

 

Anyway, getting comfortable with what is possible (or not) just by selecting and adjusting amps and cabs (well, you might like to have some reverb running for listening pleasure - even if I would recommend to not do that...) IMO is the single best thing you can do if you have the patience. It will pay off a whole lot later on, more than anything else.

And well, personally I don't recommend watching patch tutorial videos. They often involve rather complexed setups, routings and what not. It's fine to get into that stuff later on, but in the first place, your core sounds should be right up your (<-! and not anyone elses) alley.

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17 hours ago, Alfredo85 said:

Also is there any *must have* presets from customtone area?

 

 

You'll get varying opinions on this, but as far as I'm concerned the answer is none whatsoever. When the only common denominator is the patch, and absolutely everything else (the playback system, listening environment, guitars, playing style, and most importantly the volume at which the tweaking was done) is either unknown and/or completely different than what you've got on your end, continuity from one guy to the next is a pipe dream. The vast majority of what you'll download from Customtone will sound nothing like it's description... there are simply too many variables. It looks like a great idea on paper, but the reality is disappointing at best.

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15 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

The vast majority of what you'll download from Customtone will sound nothing like it's description... there are simply too many variables. It looks like a great idea on paper, but the reality is disappointing at best.

 

I would totally agree with that. All "taste issues" aside, unlike with, say, synthesizer or sampler presets, which work with an extremely limited input source (namely MIDI notes, plus perhaps a bit of ModWheel and aftertouch here and there) the very source of guitar sounds features so many varying parameters (pick/fingers, picking strength, string gauge, pickups, guitar built type, wood, whatever...) it's absolutely impossible to get predictable results from presets unless at least, say, an identical guitar with identically adjusted pickups would be used. Might work more or less well with Variaxes and patches done using the virtual pickups (as that would eliminate a whole lot of otherwise variable factors already), but even then there's still plenty of room for variation (mainly due to individual playing styles).

Having said that, I sometimes find it interesting to explore other folks' presets - but not exactly to use them or because I like a certain sound, but more because I like to see different approaches to patch layouts. But IMO that isn't exactly relevant when you start to explore a unit such as the Helix. As said before, I think it's vastly more important to find out about the core tones it has on offer. Btw, I'm still spending quite some time on that myself, just fooling around with drives, amps and cabs. And it still happens quite regularly that I stumble over some very interesting (and potentially useful) combinations that I haven't ever checked before.

 

As some more or less funny mathematical observation along those lines: By now, we have 67 guitar amps, 29 drive stompboxes (ok, that includes guitar and bass models, but why not...) and 29 guitar cabs. That's 67x29x29 = 56347 possible combinations just using these (completely excluding the option of using multiple drives). Now, sure, I guess it's fair to say that around 90% can safely be written off (at least in case you're after somewhat traditional tones). That still leaves you with around 6k of "core tone" variations. And so far we haven't even touched a single parameter. Calculating that option in easily demonstrates that even a lifetime (or 10...) wouldn't be enough to carefully explore all possibly useful combinations. I mean, just one of the more flexible amps (say one of the Calis or the Litigator) along with a flexible drive such as the Tone Sovereign would give you more than enough tonal options to waste days on. And now add something such as the RedWirez Big Pack with >20k IRs, some of them drastically altering the core tone...

 

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say would be to find a handful of amp/cab combinations to suit your style and then build up upon that and possibly stick with it for a long time, unless you really run into some limitations or weirdnesses.

Btw, this is also what pretty much all famous players do in the analog amp realm. Even if they could afford pretty much any rig they wanted, you usually find them using the same kind of amps for decades. You don't see a Carlton, Lukather, Ford, any of the Kings, SRV, Johnson, the Edge (or whomever, pick your poison) change amps all the time. Sure, the big studio cats do, but even someone such as Brent Mason seems to be getting away fine with around 5 amps and 10 pedals (at least kinda). The thing all these dudes are doing is to find a handful of decent core tones and then familiarize with the options these tones allow to achieve.

Personally, I would highly recommend to do it the same with any modeler of choice, simply because otherwise you will without pretty much any doubt stumble into option paralysis. A handful of core tones and some "character" pedals will take you a very long way in case you know how to use them. Recreating any possible iconic guitar tone or exploring any possible combinations will however leave you with the recreation process (unless it's what you do for a living) and very likely take away a considerable amount of your precious playing time.

 

Well, the latter also happens when you type longwinded posts on internet forums. Hence, I will now just stop and grab my guitar.

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2 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

Well, the latter also happens when you type longwinded posts on internet forums. Hence, I will now just stop and grab my guitar.

 

I really appreciated your posts, good reading and good tips on my way of understanding things. Thank you.

 

Regarding patches/others presets: 

Yeah I understand what you are saying. But there are good to get ideas and look out for magic combos of blocks as I see it!

Good for inspriration, especially for me now in the learning curve.

 

May I add that I have not owned more then two physical amps so that makes it hard for me to know what to expect from certain amp/cab options.

My biggest struggle right now I think is creating a good base structure of my tone, guess that is common for most of us?

I should narrow it down for sure, because it´s almost option paralysis already haha. But I really see it in a positive way and I knew I would before buying. Jason Sadites videos for example, explains some of this, his EQ filters/templates is what I done previously in a DAW after recording.

Seems like a good base to start with, before twisting knobs at amps/cabs right?

 

Tested out recording into Cubasis 3 (helix USB-->Apple camera kit cable-->Audiobus-->Iphone), worked great.

Altough that is a different world of tweaking in order to get that tone fitting in the mix :)

 

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