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Hillman1312

Rehearsing together with 2nd guitarist using a real cabinet

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Hello again forum,

 

I'm in a band with 2 guitarists. I myself play through a Helix LT connected to the "PA" in the rehearsal room and for some extra monitor signal I sometimes use my Alto 308. The other guitarist plays a Kemper but does not use the cabinet simulation. Instead, he uses a power amp and feeds the amp signal + effects of his Kemper to a regular 4x12 cabinet in the room.

 

The other band members seem to like his tone better than mine. This can have varies reasons obviously and it might be that my presets may need some work, but in general I believe that they like it better simply because it is a totally different experience. I.e. they hear (and feel) the actual cabinet, whereas from me they hear a (simulated) mic'd cabinet which is not in the same room. This however appears a difficult message to get across and I'm not sure how to improve this situation. It's a bit frustrating.....

 

Any advice/ experience?

In order to take out the possible preset issues I'm happy to share some of my tones so you can check/listen accordingly (although I need to say the more recent ones are based on some commercial Ownhammer IRs, which I cannot distribute). 

 

Thanks!

 

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I would say that a lot of that has to do with the "physical experience" of a real 4x12. Your best bet would possibly be to carfully check out your patches without your bandmates present, trying to find a nice balance between PA-"spread" and some more direct/pointy goodness from the Alto.
Personally, I haven't had to compete with a 4x12 yet, but my Alto TS 310 has been holding up against a Twin pretty well on some gigs already. In fact, pretty much everybody prefered my tone almost all the time (not in each and every situation, but let's say around 80% of the time), which included the singer/guitarist who was playing the Twin (so much he is now thinking about going FRFR as well).

I'd guess it depends a whole lot on the style of music, too.

I should possibly add that I'm exclusively using some of my own IRs, which I have tweaked quite a bit to work well (I could easily share them).

 

You could post one or two of your patches no needing any commercial IR, though.

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1 hour ago, Hillman1312 said:

.... but in general I believe that they like it better simply because it is a totally different experience. I.e. they hear (and feel) the actual cabinet, whereas from me they hear a (simulated) mic'd cabinet which is not in the same room. This however appears a difficult message to get across and I'm not sure how to improve this situation. It's a bit frustrating.....

....

 


I think you’re probably right that this is about the ‘amp in the room’ familiarity for guitarists and other band members. 
 

What situation exactly are you wanting to improve? If you want your band members to perceive and like your tone the same way that they perceive his then get a cabinet like the other guitarist has. No amount of explaining is going to change what they hear or their preference about it. 
 

But what about your audiences? Do they think the other guitar sounds better? If so you may have to work on your presets. If not then you have to decide who you want to please, yourself or your band members, because the audience doesn’t care.

 

EDIT: It may help to improve your rehearsal room ‘PA’ (your quotes, not mine). If that’s not a quality system with good speakers your tone is at a distinct disadvantage. Also, have you tried using his cabinet as an experiment? What do you and the other band members think about that tone?

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I have had the same problem (two guitarists, I play Helix through Yamaha DXR10, the other guitarist uses a Kemper into a big cab and is not shy of turning the volume knob in the clockwise direction). Problems were not only in terms of tone, but also in terms of cutting through; in a small rehearsal room a real cab cuts through better IMO. For the tones, this forced me to learn the relation between guitar, pickups, amp, eq, cab and mic; it took more time than I expected, especially making the right choices for mic and cab which really make a lot of difference, and dialing the mids and highs right (not too harsh or boxy, but enough to cut through). Main problem being that all those aspects interact. Now I am usually able to recognize what's wrong with my tone and make corrections accordingly; it's taken about a year for me to get there and develop the necessary ear.

 

Live, we all go through PA; nobody (band members and audience) finds that my tone is any less good or does not cut through equally well with respect to his.

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23 minutes ago, emagli said:

 in a small rehearsal room a real cab cuts through better IMO.

 

Yes, this is exactly what I'm experiencing as well. I can hear the other guitarist very well but can barely here myself. The Alto helps a bit but not much .... 

Would you mind sharing a preset that has the cut you are referring to? I can then compare it with my tones pretty easily myself and using my guitar, speaker etc.

 

44 minutes ago, silverhead said:

It may help to improve your rehearsal room ‘PA’ (your quotes, not mine)

 

I don't know much about PA systems but by the looks of it this is an old system. We rent the rehearsal room so need to stick with whatever is available. That said, the sound coming from the Alto (albeit a bit on the brighter side) sounds cleaner and more articulate than what comes out of this "PA" (my quotes indeed :-)) So yeah, for sure the PA we use is not helping, but in my view it's not really bad either.

 

44 minutes ago, silverhead said:

What situation exactly are you wanting to improve? If you want your band members to perceive and like your tone the same way that they perceive his then get a cabinet like the other guitarist has. No amount of explaining is going to change what they hear or their preference about it. 

 

Good question ... for one it is that there's a lot of volume coming from the 4x12 and it is difficult to compete with that. So hearing myself properly and fitting in the mix is an issue. And yes I have thought about getting a Poweramp and a cabinet (or maybe a Powercab) but to me that defies a lot of the purpose of these great all-in-one units. I'd rather spend my money on other gear. As to the audience ?  I don't know yet ... like pretty much in the rest of the world there's no gigs at the moment and I only joined this band in January. My guess would be that in a complete mix with a decent PA there would not be a real problem.... but that is actually what I don't know at the moment.

 

 

 

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Sure. In the attached preset, snapshot 1 is one of my crunch rhythm tones and snapshot 2 is the corresponding lead tone (there might still be an IR block in the preset but it is not used -- I don't have the Helix in front of me to check. The basic tone is with all stomp footswitches in the off position). I use this for AC/DC or Kiss style songs. Keep in mind that the amp, eq and mic/cab have been chosen to play well with a PRS CU24 with HFS/VB pickups. The guitar already provides a lot of low mids, so I can afford keeping the mids low on the Bogner Amp; moreover, the guitar has high output (for passive pickups) and my input pad is off, so the gain control is also on the low side. I would make somewhat different choices of amp/cab/mic/eq for another guitar. For me this does still not cut through quite like a real cab, but it keeps up.

Crunch Bogner.hlx

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This mostly is going to come down to communication between you and the other guitarist. If he needs to turn down a bit to improve the overall band mix, that's one consideration. If he's reliant on the "feel" (I so much hate that term, as its basically meaningless, but guitarists are notoriously picky about stupid stuff), then you might have to consider a live cabinet option. Maybe meet him in the middle and you can both run 2x12s for in-the-room sound with DI feeds for FOH from you both, so you can get an even mix for the whole band. I highly doubt his sound is any better than yours, its just more visceral because of the amplification and that's the aspect that he and your other band mates are enjoying. If you snoop around the Google machine a little bit you might be able to find a "far-field" IR that will make your PA/Alto sound more cab-like in the room, but mostly you need to converse with the other guitarist and your band mates about the issue and options for a solution. No matter how much more cut and clarity you add to your signal its still going to sound like an amp mic'd in another room compared to a 4x12.

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Posted (edited)

Have you tried boosting your mids further?  You stated you can afford keeping the mids low, but mids are in fact the key component for guitar, especially when mixed with other instruments.  Are you making this assessment about the mids when playing with the others?  Or when you're playing alone?  In my experience most PA speakers are a bit mid scooped to begin with.  Is the EQ contour button on?  Those are usually a smiley curve EQ to boost lows and highs.  Sounds great for processed music, but for live bands that's probably not a good thing.

It may also be a matter of your guitarists tone stepping on yours as well.  If they're dominating the frequency spectrum and volume, the whoever is loudest is going to win.  That just how the psycho-acoustics of our ears work (see frequency masking).  See if you can get them to carve out some space for your guitar, and you boost the same frequencies.  If they're lead, have them cut out some lows to let you fill in that space, for example.

 

You can help with this automatically by also staying out of each others way in the riffs you play.  If you're both playing in the same register, one of you move the riff up an octave, or preferably two.  Both will cut through a lot better. 

 

If you've ever tried mixing a band, it quickly becomes clear how difficult it is to have two guitars playing in the same spectrum both cut through.  You might be surprised at the crazy EQ you may need to do for them to both be heard.

How big are the PA speakers you're using?.  You may also have the High Pass Filter enabled in your EQ or Cabinet Emulation that removes some mud.  In a recording, that's a good thing.  But live, that lack of low end thump can also make your rig feel less than desirable.  Do you have access to more PA speakers, or larger ones?  A sub perhaps? 

 

Edited by guitars69
Realized someone else mentioned Yamaha DXR10s, not OP

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4 minutes ago, guitars69 said:

Have you tried boosting your mids further?  You stated you can afford keeping the mids low, but mids are in fact the key component for guitar, especially when mixed with other instruments.  Are you making this assessment about the mids when playing with the others?  Or when you're playing alone?  In my experience most PA speakers are a bit mid scooped to begin with.  Not sure if the DXR10 is supposed to be FRFR or not.  Is the D-Contour on?  That's basically a smiley curve EQ to boost lows and highs.  Sounds great for processed music, but for live bands that's probably not a good thing.

 

To be more precise, I keep the mids low only on the Bogner amp because that amp is strong on low-mids and same for the guitar. On most amps I keep the mids between 5 and 8 for rhythm tones; essentially I keep the mids as high as possible before the tone gets too honky, plus I use a healthy dose of mid boost for solos. Yes, I do this at rehearsal. I do not use the D-contour during rehearsal; I use it live if the DXR10 serves as my wedge monitor.

On solos, I find that cutting the low end actually helps making the tone more clear and articulated in the mix (after all, that's part of what tubescreamers do). Frankly, I never had the impression that I needed more low end (nor does that the other guitar overpowers me there). 

 

6 minutes ago, guitars69 said:

If they're dominating the frequency spectrum and volume, the whoever is loudest is going to win.

 

Exactly this. As I mentioned, I've got the problem sorted out when we are on even volumes; I found a combination of eq (mid-heavy overall), cab and mic that cuts through without being harsh. If it becomes a battle of volumes, the loudest wins, no contest. That's not a kind of battle I like to be engaged in, however. At this stage, it is a communication issue more than anything else.

 

 

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2 hours ago, emagli said:

 

As I mentioned, I've got the problem sorted out when we are on even volumes; I found a combination of eq (mid-heavy overall), cab and mic that cuts through without being harsh. If it becomes a battle of volumes, the loudest wins, no contest. That's not a kind of battle I like to be engaged in, however. At this stage, it is a communication issue more than anything else.

 

 

 

Easy fix.  Mount your powered speaker on a medium height pole, point it in the other guitar and drummers face and melt their eardrums.  There's no way any 4x12 cab can compete with that...that's why we don't use 4x12 cabs on PA's.

Just kidding of course...but get your speaker off of the ground so it can project appropriately and you're probably half way there.

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13 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

Easy fix.  Mount your powered speaker on a medium height pole, point it in the other guitar and drummers face and melt their eardrums.  There's no way any 4x12 cab can compete with that...that's why we don't use 4x12 cabs on PA's.

Just kidding of course...but get your speaker off of the ground so it can project appropriately and you're probably half way there.

 

I think this is a good point. For now, I have built a very small wood stand that keeps the DXR10 vertical and pointed slightly upwards and reduces coupling with the floor. I'd like to try a medium height pole, I think it would indeed project the sound better. Problem is that they seem hard to find, most poles are rather high as they are intended for PA speakers. I'll search more. 

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1 hour ago, emagli said:

 

I think this is a good point. For now, I have built a very small wood stand that keeps the DXR10 vertical and pointed slightly upwards and reduces coupling with the floor. I'd like to try a medium height pole, I think it would indeed project the sound better. Problem is that they seem hard to find, most poles are rather high as they are intended for PA speakers. I'll search more. 

 

This is the one I use.  Works great.  I place it behind me in the backline and it easily fills the stage in a 7 piece band.

 

Short speaker stand

 

By the way, the Alto 308 IS a PA speaker as are all FRFR powered speakers.

 

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22 hours ago, emagli said:

Sure. In the attached preset, snapshot 1 is one of my crunch rhythm tones and snapshot 2 is the corresponding lead tone (there might still be an IR block in the preset but it is not used -- I don't have the Helix in front of me to check. The basic tone is with all stomp footswitches in the off position). I use this for AC/DC or Kiss style songs. Keep in mind that the amp, eq and mic/cab have been chosen to play well with a PRS CU24 with HFS/VB pickups. The guitar already provides a lot of low mids, so I can afford keeping the mids low on the Bogner Amp; moreover, the guitar has high output (for passive pickups) and my input pad is off, so the gain control is also on the low side. I would make somewhat different choices of amp/cab/mic/eq for another guitar. For me this does still not cut through quite like a real cab, but it keeps up.

 

Thanks a lot, I'll give this a try over the weekend and let you know how it compares with my other presets. I don't have that particular kind of guitar but for sure I'll be able to tell the difference using my own instruments. 

 

There's a lot of discussion about "the mids" which makes me wonder what typical frequency range for those are? People talk about "low mids" and "high mids" but for me it is actually not very clear what is meant with that in terms of frequencies.

 

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15 minutes ago, Hillman1312 said:

 

Thanks a lot, I'll give this a try over the weekend and let you know how it compares with my other presets. I don't have that particular kind of guitar but for sure I'll be able to tell the difference using my own instruments. 

 

There's a lot of discussion about "the mids" which makes me wonder what typical frequency range for those are? People talk about "low mids" and "high mids" but for me it is actually not very clear what is meant with that in terms of frequencies.

 

High mids (imo) = 1kHz-3kHz

Low mids (imo) = 400Hz-1kHz

Cutting through usually happens in the high mids (depending on the music/rest of the band tones)

Body usually happens in the low mids, but can also be "boxy" between the 400Hz-800Hz range depending on pickups/amp

 

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1 hour ago, Hillman1312 said:

There's a lot of discussion about "the mids" which makes me wonder what typical frequency range for those are? People talk about "low mids" and "high mids" but for me it is actually not very clear what is meant with that in terms of frequencies.

 

I think everyone has their own definition of this :-) My own one is that low mids add body (say 300-700 Hz) and high mids add articulation (e.g. 700 up to 2-3 kHz). Not too far from gunpointmetal's definition after all, for what these definitions are worth. For solos I usually set the mid boost around 1100 Hz for a classic rock tone, but it is mostly a matter of preference and the specific tone one is seeking (fatter, more airy, ...). Many like to boost around 700 Hz for solos, e.g. employing a tubescreamer or minotaur; I happily do that with a strat, but not with a guitar that already has a lot of low mids. Just to say that there is not a recipe that is valid for all cases.

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3 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

This is the one I use.  Works great.  I place it behind me in the backline and it easily fills the stage in a 7 piece band.

 

Thanks for the tip. I have found this one shipped from Europe (shipping from US would be too inconvenient for me). It is here, just in case anyone is interested.

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On 6/11/2020 at 4:36 PM, emagli said:

Sure. In the attached preset, snapshot 1 is one of my crunch rhythm tones and snapshot 2 is the corresponding lead tone (there might still be an IR block in the preset but it is not used -- I don't have the Helix in front of me to check. The basic tone is with all stomp footswitches in the off position). I use this for AC/DC or Kiss style songs. Keep in mind that the amp, eq and mic/cab have been chosen to play well with a PRS CU24 with HFS/VB pickups. The guitar already provides a lot of low mids, so I can afford keeping the mids low on the Bogner Amp; moreover, the guitar has high output (for passive pickups) and my input pad is off, so the gain control is also on the low side. I would make somewhat different choices of amp/cab/mic/eq for another guitar. For me this does still not cut through quite like a real cab, but it keeps up.

 

Ok, so I did a first test with the preset and compared it to my presets with the same type of drive (different amp though) and I think I found the issue in that there were a lot less of these "mids" and more "highs". I changed the IR and the amp settings (not that much though) and came a lot closer to your sound. Next I cranked up the volume of my Alto and it gave a lot fuller sound where my original preset was closer to being thin and slightly harsh. I know, this is all not very scientific but at least this gets me in the right direction. So, thanks a lot !!

 

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13 minutes ago, Hillman1312 said:

I know, this is all not very scientific

 

But exactly how it should be done, in the end.  Experimenting, learning and tuning to your needs and gear.

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I’m just going to throw in another approach, which works because the Helix is such a flexible device. Create a hybrid patch that sends a path from 1/4 inch to the effects return of a real amp and a separate path to the xlr to the PA system. Of course, this is only an option if you have a guitar amp. 

 

In in my current band, everyone uses modeling devices and the drummer uses an electronic kit, so Helix to frfr works great. No real amp needed. But if I were competing with a tube amp and drummer, I would use the hybrid approach mentioned above. Again, this is just another point of view. The other users here have also provided helpful tips that might work for you with your current gear. 

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On 6/13/2020 at 4:23 AM, steelstringer said:

In in my current band, everyone uses modeling devices and the drummer uses an electronic kit, so Helix to frfr works great. No real amp needed. But if I were competing with a tube amp and drummer, I would use the hybrid approach mentioned above. Again, this is just another point of view. The other users here have also provided helpful tips that might work for you with your current gear. 

 

Yep, I have considered that. Actually I was thinking about buying a poweramp and a cabinet just like the other guy has, but as I said, this actually defies the purpose of the all-in-one-unit. We don't do a lot of gigs and if we do don't get paid (a lot). We play for fun basically and with that in mind I don't want to spend the extra money on gear that I don't really need. I may go for a bigger speaker (maybe the Alto TS 312, i.e. the bigger brother of my 308). The bigger speaker will move a bit more air and that might just be enough.

 

As to patch creation I'm getting closer to what I want but keep getting confused. I downloaded the Michael Britt preset pack (there's a discount now) and that pack has some really nice sounds and seem to be dialed in for live use. But, if you would compare those tones at the same volume to the free presets that for example Jason Sadites has on customtone or even the factory presets loaded in the Helix, then the difference is huge in terms of brightness. I know, the factory presets may not be the best, but as a user I would expect that these tones would also be usable for (high volume) live applications. But, things get harsh pretty quickly when the volume knob is turned clock-wise (the Fletcher Munson principle). Also if you would listen to isolated guitar tracks from recorded songs then the tone is actually very often on the brighter side rather than on the darker side. It's because of the mix that this isn't very noticeable I guess.

 

Anyway, I'll get there eventually :-)

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2 hours ago, Hillman1312 said:

Actually I was thinking about buying a poweramp and a cabinet

I actually just use a 1x12 tube combo (Marshall DSL), and it cuts in a way that works great with a drummer. It’s also small enough to not encourage volume wars with other guitarists. Very little tweaking needed on the patch. No mic needed since I’m sending a completely modeled sound to the mixer via xlr. 

 

I get what you are saying though about keeping it simple and staying with an all modeling/frfr solution. I do that exact thing most of the time. But since the Helix provides such flexibility, I think it’s a good idea to check out other options. I mean, it’s always fun to buy more gear, right?

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18 hours ago, steelstringer said:

I mean, it’s always fun to buy more gear, right?

 

What? You buy gear for FUN??? I thought you NEEDED it!  ;-)

 

Another thing I forgot to mention... it helps to keep reverb to a minimum and use modulation effects sparingly at least on crunch/drive tones, as they tend to wash out the pick attack and put the guitar in the back of the mix. I just use early reflections in the cab and keep them relatively low, around 15%.

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Just a quick report from rehearsing with the band, putting the DXR10 on a short stand at ear level. It really makes all the difference. The tone is better and more textured; all boominess is gone and the tone is less harsh and less honky. It's one of those things that seem obvious and yet for some reason I had never done before...

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