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Helix LT Recording Playback Unclear (Reaper)


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Hi all,


I've had my Helix LT since March and have now started recording. I have created a clean patch and sound I am really happy with and sounds lovely when I play through my Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitors. I record this using Reaper. Everything is fine up until the moment I press play on Reaper. The recorded guitar sounds unclear and cheap, nowhere near as clear and crisp as when I'm just playing when not recording. It's almost like it's being played on a cheap radio or something. No crackling, just unclear, a little distant and muffled. Even after rendering at the highest quality playback of WAV file sounds just as bad. My question is should the quality of my recording sound exactly the same and just as good as when I'm playing normally or is there always going to be a poorer recorded quality? 


Here is a summary of my setup and what steps I've taken:


- I'm using Helix LT as Audio Interface


- Good XLR Cables running from Helix LT to Yamha HS8 Studio Monitors


- Guitar running to Guitar Input on Helix LT


- USB running from Helix LT to a HP Pavillion laptop with 8gb RAM and a AMD A8-4555M processor.


- Asio Helix driver in use - I've tried 44100, 48000 88200 and 96000 sample rates as well as different block sizes. Made little to no difference in playback quality. Input and Output of Asio Helix are set to the Helix LT channels 


- I use HX Edit to have the guitar track playing at between -12bd and -18db in Reaper


- I have Record Monitoring turned off


Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. It's driving me crazy trying to sort this out. I tried using another HP Pavillion laptop with 8gb RAM but with a Core i-3 processor but still got the poor results in recording playback. I am at a loss but I hope it's my total inexperience in this field and some error(s) on my part is what's causing the poor recording quality. I'm guessing it must be something got to do with the settings in Reaper/Asio or else perhaps in the quality of the computer I am using because there is no issue in sound quality when simply just jamming with Helix LT through the Yamaha HS8 studio monitors. 

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Hi silverhead and thank you for your response. I have tried Mono Input 1, Mono Input 2 and Stereo Input 1/2 as the record inputs all with HX Edit turned off. Same result every time. Sounds like it's playing from a different speaker when I hit play.

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Have you tried using different USB ports and cables?


... and just double checking..... you are using the Line 6 driver, right?


Are you by any chance applying any VST to Reaper’s Master bus, or wherever you are directing the recorded track’s output?

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Hi gunpointmetal and thanks for your reply. That's correct, there's no EQ/FX on the guitar channel in Reaper. I'm at a loss as to why the playback is so poor. I'm a newbie when it comes to playing and recording digitally so I'll keep messing around with it and hopefully figure it out eventually. Plenty of time to do so with lockdown :D I'm saving for a new computer for work that will have a better processor so will see if that makes a difference when I get it in a couple of weeks.

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I have a Helix Rack and use Reaper on my Windows 8 PC and I don't have the issue that you describe.


I'm curious to know what your Helix preset looks like. Especially the input and output blocks. Also curious to know, in Reaper, which input source you're recording (hopefully not USB 7/8) and whether it's mono or stereo. Also in Reaper, what are the output port(s) on the Master track? Should be USB 1/2.


Maybe you're recording the dry guitar output (USB 7/8) instead of the preset output.

[EDIT]: Reading your previous reply, looks like you're recording USB 1/2 mono or stereo. Still would like to see your preset.


Here's something that you can try that might help:

  • On the PC, use Windows Media Player to play an mp3 or wav file that you're familiar with. With the Helix connected via USB, the audio should be routed to the Helix and the monitor speakers attached to it. Is that the case? Does it sound good? Meaning quality as you expect?
  • If audio from Windows Media Player is going to your Helix and quality is good, open a new project in Reaper. Create a track and insert the same mp3/wav file into that track. Hi the play button in Reaper and compare the audio with the audio from Windows Media Player. It should sound the same.


Another thing you can try is to arm the track for recording in Reaper and select Monitor Input by right-clicking on the arm button. Play your guitar and see how it sounds. If your preset's output block is Multi, you will want to change that to USB 1/2 in order for this to work.





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Are you using the Global EQ on the LT? The Global EQ will be applied to the XLR and 1/4" outs, but it won't affect the USB audio you record into Reaper. It also doesn't have any affect on playback from Reaper.

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