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jman64

Rebuilding my Helix rig and looking to change it up.

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I have been a Helix user now for a few years, and I have been very happy with the device. Awhile back I had some of my gear stolen out of a storage unit which included my Helix, my FRFR speakers and some other random gear.  As I haven't been playing out recently I hadn't been in a rush to rebuild my rig. However now I'm to the point where I am starting to think about it. I've been thinking about what I want to do different to potentially address the one issue I ran into at times.  My old rig was pretty straight forward. Guitar into digitech drop to Helix, and out to JBL EON 615's. In general I got great tones, and had the flexibility I need for the range of cover tunes I was playing.  However there were times at gigs when I would hear myself in the rooms mix, and it would be pretty different than what I had coming out of my stage speaker. Usually it would be on the thin sounding side. Now I think a lot of that problem was that I was creating patches listening through the JBL EON615s which had more low end than a typical guitar cab, and I would EQ too much low end out of my patches. I also ran into a fair amount of sound guys that really wanted to mic a cab instead of taking a direct line, and I have a feeling may have been annoyed as they dialed me into the mix.

 

Now as I plan to rebuild, I'm thinking that I want a rig that uses a more traditional speaker cab, so at the very least I can go direct or be mic'd. Which would also make the tones I create hopefully closer to to me in a live mix. I'm thinking there are 2 or 3 ways I can go. 1 being into a powercab, or a Friedman ASC, or a MIssion Gemini 2. Two being getting a regular 2x12 cab, and running something like a Seymour Duncan powerstage. Or finally getting a regular amp and cab and running the Helix in 4CM with it.  My concern with option one is how well can you mic systems like the powerstage or Friedman. Do they tend to be more like a normal FRFR speaker that you wouldn't usually mic or are they close enough to a traditional cab that they can be mic'd without issue?

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Posted (edited)

I'm thinking you may need to upgrade the sound men you work with more than the equipment quite frankly.  Just suggest to them that it's now 2020 so they don't need to use the techniques soundmen used in 1990.

If I were to take a guess at what happened to you (and this is assuming the PA you were going through was a decently modern one), it wasn't the speaker as much as it was your expectations of the sound you were producing.  I've been playing at least once or twice every week for the last 6 or more years using either a HD500X or Helix through a Yamaha DXR12 and going direct into a wide variety of modern PA's, all of which sound very much like what I'm getting on stage.  But I'm not trying to dial in a sound that duplicates the sound of a cabinet because a speaker is not a cabinet.  It's not designed the same nor is it supposed to sound the same.  That's why you don't see guitar cabinets used for PA systems...you see powered speakers like your JBL.  The fact is, if you have a guitar cabinet that sounds great to you on stage it's absolutely not going to sound the same way once you mic it and take it into a PA because the mic will change the tone and the position of that mic on the cabinet with change the tone.

Most people are used to understanding that the sound you're dialing in with a Helix is not the sound of a traditional amp and a cabinet, it's the sound of a traditional amp and cabinet, mic'd...in other words the sound you would hear through a PA or in the control room of a recording studio.  When you dial in the sound, that's the target if you're using a modern powered speaker as your stage speaker, because that's the sound that will be coming out of the FOH speakers.  The sound of a traditional amp and cab in the room is not a sound your audience is used to hearing.  Every recording they've ever listened to is the studio control room sound and every concert they've attended is the sound of a cabinet being mic'd...neither of which is the sound you hear on stage from the guitar cabinet.  You're the only one that hears that.

That's not to say you couldn't use a cabinet style FRFR like a powercab rather than a traditional powered speaker, but you wouldn't want to mic that cabinet and send it to the PA as you'll have the same problem you had with the PA sound being different than your on stage sound if you used a typical Helix preset containing and amp and cab/IR.  Many people are happy using a traditional cabinet setup, but in that case you wouldn't use any cabs/IRs in your preset.  You'd go raw into the cabinet and mic it, or you'd split your signal chain and send a non-cabinet/IR version to your on stage cabinet, and a Helix cab/IR version to the mixing board direct.  But again in that case the on stage sound will differ from the PA.

In essence, what you had would work just fine as is evidenced by the large number of people being very successful with it, but it would require you to adjust your way of evaluating your tones, and it would likely require you to understand a bit more about how to use a powered speakers so the powered speaker doesn't add any overtones to your sound such as bass coupling if your speaker is on the floor in the monitor position.  It's far and away the simplest and most straightforward way of using a Helix.  That is until you run into a sound man that doesn't realize it's no longer necessary to mic all the instruments on stage anymore.

Edited by Line6Tony
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In regards to the sound guys, many of the local venues around here have their own sound system, and operator. Some of them are very good, some less so. However getting on the wrong side of any of these sound men makes it likely you don't get called to play there again. in my area there are far more bands looking for gigs than there are venues looking for bands. So if you want to play out at all regularly you keep the venue and the sound guy happy.  To be fair there are  some places where the sound guys like and appreciate the Helix. For the gigs where we hire our own sound guy we have a great one that we deal with and have no issues. 

 

My goal is to create and run a rig ( and patches) that can either be mic'd  or sent to FOH. So when I pull out the Helix, and the sound guy rolls his eyes I can at least give him options. I do understand that that requires multiple paths per patch with a no cab path, and a stock cab or IR path. I guess you could also just run the no cab signal on an FX send but either could work. I know that there is going always be some difference between going to a guitar cabinet, and going DI to FOH but I'd like to work on limiting it as much as I can, and still being somewhat versatile.

 

I do think the JBL EON's color'd my tone a little and weren't as transparent as you would want. On the other hand I liked the portability of that rig, and the lack of large heavy to haul around cabinets.

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1 hour ago, DunedinDragon said:

I'm thinking you may need to upgrade the sound men you work with more than the equipment quite frankly.  Just suggest to them that it's now 2020 so they don't need to use the techniques soundmen used in 1990.
That is until you run into a mongoloid sound man that doesn't realize it's no longer necessary to mic all the instruments on stage anymore.

 

LMAO at this. Straight up, 'old guy don't give a crap' truth.

 

I feel fortunate that I love my Helix coming through all three audio sources I am using; Powercab 112+; JBL305s w/sub monitors; Fishman SA330x w/sub.  Each is different but they all sound good to me relative to their purpose and I never get caught up in how one is coloring the sound vs. another but only think "does it sound good with the music I'm currently playing?".  Part of that might be my Strat always sounds like my Strat and between pickup selection and volume/tone I can easily tune it.

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11 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

That is until you run into a mongoloid sound man that doesn't realize it's no longer necessary to mic all the instruments on stage anymore.

 

Err...  Pardon, but are you f****** serious? I'm defenitely not the most PC person on earth, but you'll either edit that out or I'll be reporting it.

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9 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Err...  Pardon, but are you f****** serious? I'm defenitely not the most PC person on earth, but you'll either edit that out or I'll be reporting it.


LOL...the irony in your response alone speaks for itself....

 

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55 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:


LOL...the irony in your response alone speaks for itself....

 

 

Dude - I don't know where you're coming from, but the social education level seems to be questionable at best in that area. Anyway, I'm not gonna tolerate your racial slurs - which, btw, have been completely out of fashion in the 80s already - and weren't you mumbling about mixers in the 90s?

Whatever, I'll report things now. For very good reasons.

At least you have now displayed what kind of a person you are.

 

Bye bye.

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You can laugh about that all you want. And you can go "oh it was just a joke" all you want, too. What's next? N-word jokes? Would be your level I suppose.

Whatever, I'm done with it.

Edit: And fwiw, I did not expect you to understand things anyway.

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