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Real amp vs Helix


leborgne23
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To be clear I'm happy with my Helix as I found the proper patches, IR's and playback system (Powercab) to fit my needs.

I'm just wondering why it takes 3 or 4 blocks with Dynamics / distorsion / EQ / Custom IR to create a sound that ressembles this one ? https://youtu.be/kNGSCQceY6Q?t=1024

In the video John is plugged straight into the Mark IV with no additional pedals and it sounds great. Why doesn't the Cali IV Amp + 4x12 V30 helix  block sound like this  ? It's not even close and I own the same Majesty guitar.

 

 

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There are all kinds of reasons...

 

1) You are hearing a recording. What was the recording process? What is the quality of the tools and equipment used? Was any post-processing done? Was the sound recorded 'direct' from the amp's line out or was it a mic'd amp? If the former, it bypassed the physical amp's cab so reference to the cab John was using is irrelevant. If the latter, what mic was used and where was it positioned, exactly?

 

2) The guitar may be the same, but of course two different guitars of the same model from the same manufacturer can sound different. There's no such thing as two identical guitars in terms of the tone produced by each. Also, what exactly were the settings of the pickup selector, vol, and tone knobs that John used at the time of recording? All of these will affect the tone.

 

3) Your monitoring equipment (speakers, amp, ...) plays a huge role in the tone that you hear. Again, this goes back to the tools and equipment used for the recording vs. the tools and equipment you are using when listening to the playback.

 

4) Playing technique. The tone is in the fingers, as they say. Unless you are playing with exactly the same technique, and the same fingers/picks as John, it will sound different.

 

.... and I expect there are other factors as well.....

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4 hours ago, leborgne23 said:

I'm just wondering why it takes 3 or 4 blocks

 

Let's count the different components John is using...

  • Amp / Cali EQ within the AMP 
  • Cabinet
  • 2 different microphones
  • A mic pre-amp (not visible)
  • Post production EQ/Comp (also not visible)

That's at least 5 components, maybe even 6 or 7 components.... IMO, if you can do it in 3 or 4 blocks you are doing good!

 

4 hours ago, leborgne23 said:

John is plugged straight into the Mark IV with no additional pedals and it sounds great. Why doesn't the Cali IV Amp + 4x12 V30 helix  block sound like this  ?

 

No he is not plugged into a Mark IV... he is plugged into his signature series JP-2C which is a spin off from the Mark V. I have not researched to see how it is voiced... but there will be differences or that amp wouldn't exist. 

 

To match the chain I see in the video.... IMO, this is what you need....

  1. Mark IV Channel 2 Amp (if the Cali EQ is not included in the amp, then you need to add it as well)
  2. Dual Cab (mic choice I'd have to research...). Keep the mics at 1" - 2"
  3. Apply the title EQ after the cabinet then set it to DARK 20 or DARK 30 (this simulates the mic positions on his cabinet
    NOTE: You could use a custom IR for #2 and #3, but you really need to make sure it matches his setup since you have no adjustments with an IR
  4. Add the Studio PRE (that will simulate a pre-amp for the mics)
  5. Add the LA Studio Comp (that will simulate any compression that is occurring in the video. 

Voila - 5 blocks.... pretty much what John required in the number of components. 

 

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From the JP-2c manual:

 

"If you were to tell the 16 year-old me that one day there would be a MESA/Boogie IIC+ with my name on it, I would have laughed in utter disbelief and dismissed you as a mean-spirited charlatan. But alas...here we are. The JP-2C has been born! When the reality of doing a signature amp came to be, immediately the emphasis was placed on this being a bonafide and authentic C+ reissue in every sense of the word, from the massive transformer to the circuit and everything in-between. Randy not only vowed to make good on that commitment, but pledged that in anyway we could, we’d even try to surpass the original. Now, this may be hard to swallow for anyone out there reading this who is a C+ purist and tone-junky, but...we have surpassed the Holy Grail!!"

 

So, until L6 models a IIC+, there's no way to simply duplicate that tone. You'll need to play around with the various Mesa amps, EQs, IRs and Distortions until you get something that sounds good to you. It'll take as many blocks as it takes.

 

Wondering why you can't duplicate the tones from a Helix model that doesn't exist seems rather pointless IMO.

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2 hours ago, rd2rk said:

If you were to tell the 16 year-old me that one day there would be a MESA/Boogie IIC+ with my name on it, I would have laughed in utter disbelief and dismissed you as a mean-spirited charlatan.

 

I thought the "2C" in the name was referencing the Mark IIC+.... I didn't know for sure so I didn't want to bring it up :) 

Thanks for posting that! 

 

@leborgne23...  I think it is still important to recognize that there is more to a RAW AMP TONE on any recording or video than the amp itself.... there are still mics, mic placement, pre-amps and compression that need to be factored in. 

 

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18 hours ago, leborgne23 said:

I'm just wondering why it takes 3 or 4 blocks with Dynamics / distorsion / EQ / Custom IR to create a sound that resembles this one?

 

 

 

Because nothing in life is ever that simple, no modeler is perfect, and as nifty as the Helix is...it's not gonna do the work for you. Oh, and the 1000 other things everybody else already noted. ;)

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