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Speaker / Power Amp Advice Needed


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I’m looking for some advice for my set-up. I’m playing mostly at home now, with an occasional jam out with friends. I purchased a Helix LT a few weeks ago and love it; past the honeymoon phase. Currently, my set-up is going through the effects loop of my Mesa Mark V:25, so using the power amp only, into a 2x12 closed back cab with V30s. It sounds great!  However, the Mesa is a pretty expensive as just power amp...  So I’m looking at two options. 1)  Helix straight into a JBL PRX812 (or other brand/model suggestions?) and sell the Mesa and cab. Or 2) Helix into a separate power amp (brand/model suggestions?) into my current 2x12 cab. 

There’s really no way to test either of these optional methods without major time and expense, so I’m hoping someone here may have experience comparing these set ups and be able to offer some sage advice. Thanks in advance for your input!

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Hi there!


I also have a Mark V:25, great little amp! I agree that the Helix sounds great into its effects loop + cab. 


A while ago I A/B-ed the Helix Mesa Mark V preamp model into the V:25 return, then take the speaker sim out into my monitor (LSR305), versus the V:25 preamp+power amp and speaker sim out into monitor. I could eq the preamp model to sound essentially indistinguishable (to my ear) sound and feel-wise with respect to the real preamp (despite the Mark V:25 using EL84's). I did this at home volume, though. This is just to say that in principle you could indeed sell amp+cab. Oh by the way... it was a bit harder to find a good match for the Crunch channel of the V:25 using one of the Helix amp models. Eventually I got very satisfactory results using the Park Drive model, which is another take of a Plexi-ish amp.


Also, despite the above, eventually I have not been able to depart from my Mark V:25; I wanted to keep a valve amp just in case, and the Mesa is just too good.


Regarding what you should buy to go with the Helix, it also depends on your future plans. If you just play at home and will not gig in the near future, then I suggest by all means to get a quality monitor. I am happy with my JBL LSR305, but there are plenty of good monitors out there. If you picture yourself playing with a band sooner or later, you may consider an FRFR speaker that you will be able to use as a wedge monitor later on.


I am not particularly keen on the power amp+cab solution; live, if you go direct to PA, monitoring with power amp+cab would give you a different sound and feel with respect to what the audience hears, which you may or may not like -- I do not. Power amp + cab has the advantage that it will give you the amp-in-the-room feel, and a lot of people like it; in that case, you may also consider the L6 Powercab, which can work as amp in the room and also as FRFR. I have not tried it but it seems to receive a lot of praise.

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Depending upon the style music you play and if you're still wanting to 'play out occasionally', I say get a Line 6 Powercab Plus and don't look back.  I don't play super heavy and more radical types of Metal - but I would think no form of speaker or cab other than a 4x12 would be suitable for that anyway.  But for everything else - Powercab!  That said, after reading this thread, I'm looking forward to trying my Helix through the effects loop of my own Mesa V-25 and traditional speaker cabs.  I've been selling all my amp heads but recently decided to keep the Mesa due to it's on-board speaker load box/sim and it's capabilities with my DAW and Helix NATIVE plugin.

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 emagli - 

Thanks for sharing, very helpful!  I love my V:25!  That’s why the conundrum over a change. I stopped playing out recently, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have two rigs, but then again....



Thanks! I’ve been looking at the Powercab and it would be a contender vs a powered speaker for sure. Please post back with your findings after you A/B them. THAT would be extremely helpful!   

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