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ETThompson

No cabinet - Newbie/seemingly simple question

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Hi 

 

I've just switched over to guitar in my band, and to cover the wide variety of stuff we play I got a Helix.  (I know this is common...), I ran the Helix through my amp (Fender Blues Jr.), just into the front and while it sounded pretty good at lower volumes, at high volumes it doesn't.  I was just using the standard presets.  I've read a bunch of threads so i know most of the issues and discussions, but can't seem to find an answer to this exact question...

 

So, I want to try this *without* cabinet simulation (to see if that helps), but (ideally) still with the amp (preamp?) part.  For amp+cab blocks, how do I turn off *just* the cabinet?  I see that side in HX edit, but can't figure out how to just turn that off.  Am I missing something?

 

Thanks

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53 minutes ago, ETThompson said:

For amp+cab blocks, how do I turn off *just* the cabinet?  I see that side in HX edit, but can't figure out how to just turn that off.  Am I missing something?

 

Don't use an amp+cab block... for what you're trying to do it's pointless, and all you're doing is using up extra DSP. Go into the preamp-only menu, and pick the amp model you want from there.

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A Blues Junior is a 15 watt guitar amp - it does not have enough clean headroom to work in a band situation with the Helix unless you just use the Helix as a pedal board - an overdrive, a chorus and not much else and accept that you will not get a clean tone anyhow that keeps up well with a loud drummer.

You got to have more headroom to exploit the Helix pretty much at all.  15 overdriven tube watts can sound loud-ish, but then you are stuck totally with the tone of the blues Junior.

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Thanks for the helpful comments.  I do actually also have a Vibrolux reissue (35 watts, 2x10), so trying that instead.  It needs some minor repairs, and also pre-Helix I'd preferred its warmer tone, but seems like it'll do better.  I'm also trying the preamp versions of the amp+cabs I liked.

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You might want to try running the Helix straight into the power amp return. That way you could make use of the amps in the Helix (which likely don't sound too great running into a preamp).
 

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Just to make sure you understand.  The common way of using a Helix with a traditional guitar amplifier is to go from the output of the Helix into the Effects or Loop return of the amp.  That way you're bypassing the guitar amplifier pre amp and only using the power portion of the amp.  There are more complex ways of doing this such as the 4 cable method, but the essentials revolve around only  using the guitar amplifier's power amp and letting Helix do the rest.

As mentioned previously you probably won't want to use a Helix cab or IR in that type of setup as you'll be going through real cabinet.  The simplest way to do that is don't select Amp+Cab, but rather just Amp or Preamp.

Just to clarify, there are always going to be certain limitations when using a traditional guitar amp.  That's the reason most people prefer to either use a simple power amp and a real cabinet, or a FRFR powered speaker in order to avoid all the limitations.

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Unforch the Vibrolux does not have an effects loop or power amp input.  However, it is working better, seemingly, than the Blues Jr.  Maybe someday I'll get a FRFR amp but have to save up $ after dropping several coins on the Helix...

 

I appreciate the tips, yes, I've read through a lot of the forums so I am aware of the problems of doing it the way I am (the way I can, for now).  I've also read that with patience and tweaking many people are able to get this rig to sound good. 

 

The test will be in band setting, but at home, even at high volumes, seems to work pretty well so far.  It is a little hard so far to control highs (my Tele is hard to get just right, SG is easier) and overall volume, but I think I can dial it in within reason.  Or at least I'm making progress in that direction. 

 

At the moment, having a problem with HX edit messing up my preset names, but I posted a different post about that elsewhere...

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Ok, this is something I've been through a number of times already and it always seemed to come down to this: Preamps in series rarely do your sound any good.

I can't pinpoint the exact reasons for this, especially as these days proper level matching (such as getting the Helix output down to instrument level in order not to push the amps input stage too much) isn't an issue at all, but as said, it has always been like it for me, regardless of the modeler used (ranging back all the way to a shoddy Zoom 9000, followed by various Pods, Boss GTs and what not). I liked using the input of my amps (often a Fender "The Twin", which turned out to be a most excellent - perhaps the best ever for my tastes - pedal platform after I replaced the speakers) because that would allow me to use their tone stacks as master EQs, something I really like having quick access to, in order to adjust things according to the location. As soon as I switched the modeled preamps off and only used the provided dirt stomp boxes and FX, things usually went just fine.

 

I suspect one of the reasons for all this to be that each and every guitar preamp (perhaps minus the preamps of a handful of solid state ones, such as a Jazz Chorus) adds its own pretty distinct compression (even a Twin with plenty of clean headroom does, and yes, I measured quite some preamps out of interest) and running them in series simply doesn't work well. Might as well be a frequency and saturation thing, but I think the kind of compression is the main culprit here - which would also explain why things seem to work fine at lower volumes but end up in a pretty un-defined sound once you're getting louder, especially in the context of a band. Fwiw, the same is true for a full amp scenario, most power amps add yet another bit of compression, and again that is true for most typical clean headroom power amps, too.

You could even try these things out just within the Helix by running one (pre-)amp into another serially. I'm pretty sure you won't find too many pleasant combinations.

 

Having said sll that, if I was using an amp without a power amp in, I would very likely skip the entire amp modeling and try to get along with just the various compression, EQ and drive pedals of the Helix for all core sound shapings. Yeah, that'd pretty much take away the main advance of the full Helix over the HX FX, but in the end, I'm sure your tones will improve quite a bit.

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