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Helix as a recording interface. Cracks and pops


MyNameIsCharon
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Getting kind of frustrated with this. Basically I've got the helix setup to put out one DI channel and one with the helix fx. I've got record monitoring off so it sounds pretty good coming out of the helix while i'm recording. There are some pops and cracks that I don't notice when I'm just playing but it's mild. However, when I go back and listen to the actual recording there are pops, cracks, and drop outs that are just not acceptable. Because I'm not using record monitoring I've tried all buffer sizes to no avail. I'm technologically incompetent so I have no idea what to do about it. As it stands my $50 behringer interface has less issues recording than my helix.

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You can certainly keep using your Behringer to record. I know the point is to get Helix working so maybe that can be explored a bit. Tell us more about your setup. What DAW software? What computer? How old is it? Using a USB hub of any kind? etc.

 

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Attached are two Notepad files. In them you'l find basic system optimization instructions and links to more thorough directions.

After you've done all that, if you've still got problems, come back here with SPECIFIC details about your hardware. 

BUT...until you've optimized your system for recording, anything anybody suggests is throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks.

DAW Optimizations.txt Optimize W10 for DAW.txt

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Yeah, the behringer works. But my tone on the helix is sooooo much better than the freeware plugins I have. It's just for demoing as my bandmate is going to reamp everything I do. But it really helps to hear something close to the finished product while I'm recording. So the behringer works for my needs, but it'd be nice to have this $1600 beauty replace it. I know I can get helix native and use that with the behringer, but that's another expense better avoided if possible. 

 

Anyways, I'm using Reaper. It's an MSI Apache Pro Laptop. I forget the specs and gen but I got it late 2018. Using either USB 2.0 or 3.0. Don't remember which. Windows 10

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In case the Behringer is working fine, you shouldn't have to optimze your computer. You should rather check whether you're running the latest Helix driver and possibly try another sequencer for testing purposes, too. Cakewalk is for free and possibly not a bad idea anyway.

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The helix is brand new so i have all the latest drivers installed. What do you mean sequencer? You mean DAW? I'll add that to my list of things to try, but i've been using reaper for years so really hoping to keep it that way.

 

Actually lollipop... the behringer is not an option. Ever since I put these EMG's the Behringer can't handle the signal. Output is so high that its distorted even with the interface gain all the way down. The Helix can produces a clean signal minus the issues we're discussing. So that's a whole other issue I have no idea what's up with. God I hate technology haha

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5 minutes ago, malhavok said:

@MyNameIsCharon, I meant plug Helix into the Behringer (as opposed to get rid of Helix and only use the Behringer). ...as a backup plan, if things don't go well with Helix USB and your computer for some reason.

 

I don't know if it will overcome the issue I just mentioned with the Behringer and EMGs. But I can try it out. What would be the best way? Out the 1/4" straight into the instrument input? Or XLR? Or?

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IOW - Plug your guitar into the Helix, then take the XLR from the Helix (or 1/4") into the Behringer. Set the Helix Out that you're using to either Line or Mic level (Global Settings>Ins/Outs), depending on which the Behringer likes better.

 

And DO take the time to optimize your computer for Audio/DAW. The files I attached have links to many of the leading Audio Interface mfrs recommendations, and the ones I didn't list will have similar info on their sites. They can't all be wrong about the improvements to be gained by optimizing.

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3 hours ago, rd2rk said:

IOW - Plug your guitar into the Helix, then take the XLR from the Helix (or 1/4") into the Behringer. Set the Helix Out that you're using to either Line or Mic level (Global Settings>Ins/Outs), depending on which the Behringer likes better.

 

And DO take the time to optimize your computer for Audio/DAW. The files I attached have links to many of the leading Audio Interface mfrs recommendations, and the ones I didn't list will have similar info on their sites. They can't all be wrong about the improvements to be gained by optimizing.

 

See, while these tips are great to squeeze the last ounces of performance out of a system, ever since Win 10, things usually work fine out of the box - just as they seem to do with the OPs Behringer. There's very little reason to assume the Helix would not work on the very same machine, unless its drivers were plain bad - which, from all I know, they aren't.

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4 hours ago, MyNameIsCharon said:

What would be the best way? Out the 1/4" straight into the instrument input?

 

@MyNameIsCharon What interface do you have? But avoid going Helix into an instrument input of a recording interface. My favorite way would be Helix 1/4" outs to a pair of stereo 1/4" ins on the interface but show what interface you have. Helix XLR outs to a pair of XLR ins on an interface will work, too. Make sure they're all set to line level if possible. The good thing about this vs. plugging your guitar directly into the interface is you can turn down Helix volume if it is clipping the interface and it won't affect the tone at all. It will still be awesome if you can get the Helix USB working directly but the Behringer may still be a good backup plan.

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I had a popping and cracking issue using the Helix as an interface.
Turned out to be an inferior shielded USB cable.
Bought a hi-Grade shielded USB cable for about $20 and all noise was gone.
All other settings were default. 
Just wanted to share the simple fix. 

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7 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

See, while these tips are great to squeeze the last ounces of performance out of a system, ever since Win 10, things usually work fine out of the box - just as they seem to do with the OPs Behringer. There's very little reason to assume the Helix would not work on the very same machine, unless its drivers were plain bad - which, from all I know, they aren't.

 

If Helix wasn't working I'd agree. But it IS working, OP is getting "pops and crackles" that aren't being fixed with simple buffer/sample changes. That indicates a problem elsewhere with system resources/conflicts. He can't be sure about the Behringer either, as he's getting distortion from his hot pickups which is likely masking the "pops and crackles", or preventing him from even getting that far in the recording process. Besides, it can't HURT to squeeze out the last ounces of performance. If performance didn't matter to him, why spend $1600 on a Helix in the first place? Lastly, he admits to being "technologically incompetent. If nothing else, the process of learning to optimize his computer will further his knowledge and computer skills. That's never a bad thing!

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Well, I would in any case check with different USB cables (and ports, if available) as well. As we all know, the Helix is quite sensible when it comes to those (as an example: I can run my Zoom UAC-2 just fine through a HUB, using any average USB cable - the Helix won't work under these conditions).

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So... I'm kind of an idiot. Several issues were at play. The first was the I had the helix routed channel 1 and 7 to get a DI signal and a wet signal. Every time I wanted to save a take but I wasn't sure it was "the one" I would duplicate the tracks mute the old ones and then erase the two new ones for another take. Well... somewhere along the way I started duplicating 7 and 7 instead of 7 and 1 and I never noticed because those numbers kind of look the same. So in the playback I wasn't even hearing the helix signal. I was hearing the DI being run through freeware (somehow the fx got turned back on). Normally my FX don't act up like that, but I guess since I've got multiple recording arms going with the helix they were crapping out on me. The other issue is that I didn't realize how loud my helix output was so even when I was hearing the helix signal I was getting a lot of digital clipping. I don't have an FRFR yet so I've been using headphones. Apparently the master volume does not work with headphones so I had it all the way turned up thinking it wasn't doing anything. And the presets I was using were louder than usual. So I had an incredibly high output but no way to know it until I plugged into my band mates studio monitors yesterday and it nearly blew our ears out XD Fixed all that and it's recording nice and clean now. Still a little noise, but probably just need to keep messing with the volume on the preset.

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