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guitar output balancing

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Like a lot of people, I guess, I have several guitars I use with the Helix. These guitars have different output levels. I reckon my humbucker guitars are twice as loud as my Strat. So, when I build a preset that has some sort of dirty gain breakup threshold, the breakup is totally different for my guitars.

 

Rather than build different presets for different guitars, I add a boost footswitch with a gain of x2. But adding this to every preset is not only time consuming to set up and use, but wastes a footswitch I could use for something else.

 

It would be a cool feature to have an input gain adjustment you can set when you plug in the guitar. Can anyone suggest an easier way to do this?

 

 

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My presets are built for the guitar I intend to use with it.  For me it makes sense in that if the tone I want for that preset is based on a humbucker, changing the input still wouldn't make any single coil guitar sound like the humbucker.  The reverse is also true.  Different output levels is not what really determines the core tone.

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15 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

My presets are built for the guitar I intend to use with it.  For me it makes sense in that if the tone I want for that preset is based on a humbucker, changing the input still wouldn't make any single coil guitar sound like the humbucker.  The reverse is also true.  Different output levels is not what really determines the core tone.

 

Yes, I appreciate that. Some presets will work better with different guitars and worse with others. But not all. I'm trying to avoid duplication and over complication.

 

I think I've just found a workaround. I read that the Guitar In Pad provides attenuation, but I haven't bothered with it because I thought it was only for active pickups. According to Helix Help (and the Helix manual), this isn't really the case. It provides 5.5dB attenuation for whatever use you want.

https://helixhelp.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/tip-global-guitar-pad/

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I play a Les Paul and a Strat and face the same issue with a difference in level at the Helix input.  I also want the tone settings for the LP to be different from the Strat - not to make them sound the same as each other, but to both be somewhat similar in amount of lows and highs for my taste.  For example on the Strat I prefer to boost the lows and mids and cut the highs to a degree to make the Strat more in the ballpark of the Les Paul.  I do this not only for personal taste but I also keep two guitars on stage in case I break a string and need to get through a song or a set.  If I have to switch guitars I can't have a sudden drastic change in level and tone.  In the old days I used to switch on an outboard EQ on the Strat to boost its level and modify its tone so I did the same thing in the Helix.  I have a 10-band graphic EQ as the first block in my chain, bypassed for the LP and turned on when I use the Strat.  It is not assigned to a footswitch because like you I don't want to waste a footswitch for this purpose.  Also, I use snapshots so even if I had it assigned to a footswitch and turned it on for the Strat, as soon as I change snapshots the EQ's bypass state would change so I'd have to keep turning it back on.

 

However!  The new Snapshot Bypass feature introduced in firmware 2.8 helped me greatly with this.  I use this feature to set the EQ block to ignore snapshot changes.  I save my presets with the EQ block selected but bypassed, so when I load a preset the cursor is sitting on the EQ block.  When I switch to the Strat I just reach down and press the bypass button on the Helix.  It then stays activated regardless of snapshot changes.  When I go back to the Les Paul I reach down and turn it off the same way.  For me it is a great solution.

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The first block in all of my chains is the "GAIN" block. It is extremely transparent and uses very little resources. With that block in place, you have the most flexible "input pad" at your fingertips. My tele is my baseline... the gain block would be zero. My strat has about 5db of gain added... my les paul about 6db removed. The results are predictable effects settings because the input levels are "pretty much" balanced while he character of each guitar still shines through. 

 

I create a general preset for each of my guitars. When I grab my Tele I turn on the TELE presets... repeat for Strat, Les Paul, PRS, etc... etc... The presets follow the same structure and layout.... they are just fine tuned for each guitar. 

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On 6/12/2020 at 4:38 PM, codamedia said:

The first block in all of my chains is the "GAIN" block. It is extremely transparent and uses very little resources. With that block in place, you have the most flexible "input pad" at your fingertips.

 

+1

 

I used to use the input pad but now do this for the reasons you state.

 

IMHO the key point here is that there can be a need for input gain control depending on pickups / active guitar preamps. So long as that requirement is recognised and incorporated into the relevant patches, all will be well. If it isn't, then players may struggle to get the tone they want.

 

 

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I spent a couple of hours on Friday going though 13 patches I've built up since I got my Helix in March, adjusting them so that the Input Pad replaces the boost button. I duplicated the set list first, in case it was a disaster.

 

I was effectively halving the input volume on all patches. Before, the humbuckers dictated the gain settings on the preamps, and the boost pedal would match the single coils to the same level. Now, the Pad matches the humbuckers to the level of the single coils.

 

So I had to adjust the amp gain settings on each patch to bite at half their previous levels. Not only that, but I use the expression pedal to adjust the gain (and ch vol) on each patch. So there was a LOT of adjusting to do.

 

The jury is out on the results so far. I feel that I have more work to do across all patches, as there are compressors involved too. I'm starting to wish I'd not bothered, and just created a duplicate set list with a different boost setting. It would have saved a lot of effort.

 

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