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Input impedance underrated/overlooked

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On the hx stomp, when using high gain amps with a tube screamer I couldn’t get the same results as Native. What I did to match Native was switching the input impedance from auto to 1m. now there’s more dynamics and clarity on the notes when playing.

why was this never mentioned? It looks like this feature is underrated. Now I’m more happy with the unit! 

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2 hours ago, jorgealberto25 said:

why was this never mentioned? It looks like this feature is underrated.

 

See page 18 of the manual:

 

Input Settings Page 2 Knob 1

In-Z
HX Stomp has an impedance circuit on its Main L/R
inputs that affects tone and feel by loading your
guitar's pickups as they would by an effect pedal or
amplifier. A lower value will typically result in some
high frequency attenuation, lower gain, and an overall
"softer" feel. A higher value provides full frequency
response, higher gain, and an overall "tighter" feel.

 

 

To learn more, take yourself over to The Gear Page>Digital and Modeling Forum.

Search for Input Impedance.

There's about 10,000 posts.

There's a spreadsheet of Input Impedances for most of the effects. It's called "Helix Effect Impedance Chart.xlsx" and it's been posted here and there many times.

Not underrated, but often misunderstood.

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And just to emphasize, they are modeled that way to match the input impedance of the real-life pedals, which matters a lot for the characteristic sound and feel of certain ones, like fuzzes. It's an analog circuit that re-creates (somewhat) the interaction between your guitar pickups and the pedal.

Most computer interface sound cards have high-impedance instrument inputs (usually 1Mohm), so if you're using them with Native, this is a piece of the hardware modeling that won't match.

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1 hour ago, qwerty42 said:

Most computer interface sound cards have high-impedance instrument inputs (usually 1Mohm), so if you're using them with Native, this is a piece of the hardware modeling that won't match.

That’s why now I prefer the helix hardware or other guitar hardware. don’t know If other vsts suffer with  fuzz pedals? 

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19 minutes ago, jorgealberto25 said:

That’s why now I prefer the helix hardware or other guitar hardware. don’t know If other vsts suffer with  fuzz pedals? 

 

When you're using VSTs, that's not a concern. They sound like what they sound like. You like them or you don't. Your pickups are loaded by the Interface.

If that's an issue, you put a real world pedal in front of your interface. MAYBE it sounds good.

 

BTW - apart from Helix and Fractal, maybe BOSS and Headrush, I don't think other MultiFX have Input Impedance modeling.

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Yup. In a VST, if it gets close to the sound and feel of the real pedals, it's all via software modeling and assuming a certain input impedance. With things like the Helix and AxeFX, it's actually a switched analog circuit inside the hardware that changes the input impedance--it's not really modeled, it's actually put into the circuit with your guitar. Depending on VST, some might feeling closer, others might feel less so... but I can say personally that I almost never use VSTs anymore (despite owning almost every one) because I much prefer the feel and response through my Helix. It's a combo of the low latency and increased dynamic range which many interfaces don't match, along with things like the impedance circuit.

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So doesn't "auto" automatically choose the correct impedance on the input? It's what I've always used.

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31 minutes ago, robbieb61 said:

So doesn't "auto" automatically choose the correct impedance on the input? It's what I've always used.

 

Auto selects the impedance proper to the first effect in the chain. The problem is that it does so whether or not the effect is active. If the first effect is 1M and the next is less (like a fuzz of certain type), your pickups are loaded at 1M, causing the other effect to sound different than it should. You can change the impedance to accommodate using Snapshots, but it's an extra step and requires knowing what each effect expects.

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51 minutes ago, robbieb61 said:

So doesn't "auto" automatically choose the correct impedance on the input? It's what I've always used.

Whewww... here comes the can of worms, lol. Brace yourself...

Yes, auto sets the impedance correctly based on the first block in your signal path. That's the simple answer. For most people, that's probably what they should be using.

 

The longer answer is that, even if you have that first block bypassed, 'Auto' still uses that first block's input impedance, regardless of what the next effect is. For some pedals, this is how it would work in real-life, but for true bypass pedals, that's not how it would work. Thus a lot of people don't like how it behaves and have asked Line 6 to change it so that 'Auto' uses the first *active* block in the chain to set the impedance, rather than just the first block.
 

If you don't like how auto behaves, you can: (1) override it for the entire preset by changing it away from Auto; (2) control the impedance via snapshots, which doesn't help much for stomp mode usage; (3) link the bypass switch for your first block to a pair of impedance values that it toggles between, depending on whether that first block is active or inactive.

 

None of those 3 totally solve the issue if you want all of the pedals to behave as if they're true-bypass and you'll be turning them on and off with stomp mode within snapshots.

Edit... darnit, @rd2rk beat me again... must type faster

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9 hours ago, qwerty42 said:

Whewww... here comes the can of worms, lol. Brace yourself...

 

Naw, just set it to 1 meg and be done with it... ; )

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5 hours ago, spikey said:

 

Naw, just set it to 1 meg and be done with it... ; )

Certain pedals like vintage fuzzes won't sound right or respond as intended if you do. The whole reason this circuit is included is because some pedals get part of their characteristic tone from their low impedance.

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1 hour ago, qwerty42 said:

Certain pedals like vintage fuzzes won't sound right or respond as intended if you do. The whole reason this circuit is included is because some pedals get part of their characteristic tone from their low impedance.

Then why not model that in the pedal block instead of the input? Probably because it also depends on the guitar - single and double coil pickups are pretty different.

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42 minutes ago, amsdenj said:

Then why not model that in the pedal block instead of the input? Probably because it also depends on the guitar - single and double coil pickups are pretty different.

 

You could probably use some software cleverness to get close, but the thing to keep in mind is that the input impedance interacts with your guitar's circuitry -- the pickups, the pots, all of it. So it changes not just the tone (like an EQ) but also the way it responds to different knob settings, types of pickups, etc. Trying to model the myriad of possibilities there would be a challenge and probably never really get close to working with your guitar controls the same way you'd expect with the real pedal.

Also I think you're already aware, but just to emphasize for others -- the input impedance isn't 'modeled' in the Helix, or the AxeFX--at least not in the sense we'd normally think. It's not a software trick. It has an analog circuit on the guitar input which actually changes the real input impedance to a range of different values, so the tonal differences you hear from varying the input impedance are due to real circuit interactions, not software EQ'ing.

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Oh okay. Well, I use the input noise gate and them my first block is an amp model always (I don't use distortion pedals, I like amp distortion).  
So is that why "Auto" sounds just fine to me?

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21 minutes ago, robbieb61 said:

Oh okay. Well, I use the input noise gate and them my first block is an amp model always (I don't use distortion pedals, I like amp distortion).  
So is that why "Auto" sounds just fine to me?

 

Auto sounds just fine IF none of the effects before the amp require a lower impedance AND you're hardwired (not wireless).

If you ARE using effects that require a lower impedance ITRW, they could sound fine because you don't have the real world effects to compare.

OR because the difference just doesn't matter to you.

All we're saying is that with some effects in some configurations, somebody who knows what the REAL effects sound like can tell the difference.

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Okay, I'm using a physical Digitech Drop pedal before the Helix. And the specs on it's output are:
Output Impedance: 1 kΩ (Effect Enabled) Output Impedance: True Bypass (Effect Off)

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Output impedance doesn't matter. If you're using a wireless your pickups are loaded at 1meg to match what they'd see plugged straight into an amp..

If you're hard wired (using a physical cable) THEN If the Drop has an INPUT impedance of 1meg, your pickups are loaded at 1meg, UNLESS the drop is TRUE True bypass.

If it's TRUE true bypass, when it's bypassed then your pickups are loaded per the Helix settings as described above. If the Input Impedance of the Drop is <>1meg, then it's not going to work as designed with wireless.

 

See why so many people just leave Helix at AUTO and either don't use effects with other requirements or just accept them as they are like it or not?

Unless you're a true connoisseur of fuzz (not me), in which case you don't use wireless or only use fuzz boxes that have 1meg Input impedance (that's me). 

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1 hour ago, rd2rk said:

See why so many people just leave Helix at AUTO and either don't use effects with other requirements or just accept them as they are like it or not?

Unless you're a true connoisseur of fuzz (not me), in which case you don't use wireless or only use fuzz boxes that have 1meg Input impedance (that's me). 

Auto was driving me nuts. There’s was no presence in the tone. ( metal tones, overdrive + amp). Leaving the auto+ amp sounds really nice but when adding a pedal before the amp and bypassing it or engage it, some brightness/presence, dynamics are gone ( depending the amp and pedal). So Adding snap shots will aid the stomp instead of switching the impedance back and forward? 

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49 minutes ago, jorgealberto25 said:

Auto was driving me nuts. There’s was no presence in the tone. ( metal tones, overdrive + amp). Leaving the auto+ amp sounds really nice but when adding a pedal before the amp and bypassing it or engage it, some brightness/presence, dynamics are gone ( depending the amp and pedal). So Adding snap shots will aid the stomp instead of switching the impedance back and forward? 

 

The simplest answer I can give here is, if you want your tone as bright as possible, set the input impedance ('Guitar In-Z')  to '1M Ohm' and leave it there for your patch. This will prevent any of the blocks in your chain from changing it, regardless of their bypass state.

 

If you do this, and you use certain pedals like the Arbitrator Fuzz, Industrial Fuzz, or Triangle Fuzz, their tone won't match their real-life counterparts because in real life those pedals have low input impedances. If you're not familiar with how those real pedals sound and behave, you might not care.

 

The full, detailed explanation is well-stated several times earlier in this thread. I don't think I can really summarize it any better than it's already been done, so if you want more info than that, you'll have to carefully read the previous replies. It's all there.

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1 hour ago, jorgealberto25 said:

Auto was driving me nuts. There’s was no presence in the tone. ( metal tones, overdrive + amp). Leaving the auto+ amp sounds really nice but when adding a pedal before the amp and bypassing it or engage it, some brightness/presence, dynamics are gone ( depending the amp and pedal). So Adding snap shots will aid the stomp instead of switching the impedance back and forward? 

 

Did you DL the Impedance chart I referenced? If, with AUTO ON, you ONLY use effects in front of the amp that have 1meg Input Impedance, then your pickups are loaded exactly as if you were plugged direct into the amp.

 

If you only use ONE effect before the amp and it has OTHER than 1meg Input impedance, set the Preset Input impedance to that.

For instance - Guitar>CABLE> Tube Screamer>Amp = Input Impedance 230k (or whatever the TS is).

If you use a mix of devices in front of the amp that have DIFFERING Input Impedances, use Snapshots to set the Preset Input Impedance to whatever the first ACTIVE effect requires.

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On 4/11/2020 at 8:54 PM, jorgealberto25 said:

why was this never mentioned?


AFAIK - this impedance setting topic has been discussed previously - even as far back as  May 2016, with many similar responses.

 

FYI.

 

 

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Certain pedals like vintage fuzzes won't sound right or respond as intended if you do. The whole reason this circuit is included is because some pedals get part of their characteristic tone from their low impedance.

That makes some sense too. I say (since we have that option with Helix) do what sounds good to you cause thats what its all about. And since none of us are using the same hearing devices (attached or unattached) things objectively will sound different for different people. So how do you know what's right then? The answer is, does it sound good to you. If it does (by comparisons or otherwise) then it's good. In my case, I've mostly played thru Marshalls and Fender amps my whole life, and everyone of those tube amps IIRC has 1 meg of input impedance. And I know for a fact that the makers of those particular amps know more than me, and probably know more than the whole collective group here about the needed input impedances for guitar amplifiers (OTOH I've also read where some very well made boutique amps don't have a 1m resitor at all). I'm using this setup with Helix @ 1 Meg with a Riverside, a Dual Fusion, and a Lagrange pedal with strats, LP's, and Yamaha guitars, and all of um sound unique, different, and good to me. ; ) As always, YMMV and thats ok too!

 

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9 hours ago, qwerty42 said:

The full, detailed explanation is well-stated several times earlier in this thread. I don't think I can really summarize it any better than it's already been done, so if you want more info than that, you'll have to carefully read the previous replies. It's all there.

Yes I understand now. Just looked at the chart that was provided showing the impedance level of each effect. Didn’t know the screamer was 230k. I’m gonna mess around with that today. 

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I wonder why they put an "Auto" setting in at all? What's the purpose?

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3 hours ago, robbieb61 said:

I wonder why they put an "Auto" setting in at all? What's the purpose?

You'll have to read the thread above. It's all explained. The reason is to match the modeled pedals as closely as possible, and for the most part it works very well. Because of the way it's been implemented, in rare-ish cases, it causes problems for some people when bypassing certain pedals.

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15 hours ago, robbieb61 said:

I wonder why they put an "Auto" setting in at all? What's the purpose?


The post I made earlier contains a link to a thread, from almost four years ago - the comments from Digital Igloo may be of interest. Or, maybe not!

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