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sayid98

New Helix LT Owner - Please advise

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Picked up an LT last week - goal is to play modern & classic metal and hard rock. So factory presets 22D (DFW Cowboys) & 21D(Justice for y'all) were only two that suited my taste. Tried plugging my jackson with their high output pu into both aux in (using 2-1 mono to stereo Y cable) and front input of my spider V 240 & IV 150. Man, it sounded terrible - extremely artificial (like those old pods and spiders) and 'compressed'( like  cheap in-ear headphones). Then tried my fancy LP studio and Adrian Smith signature US Jackson - they sounded like distorted fizzy punk rock (first jackson sounded like metal at least - pu output difference ? ). Then tried Sony MDR-7506 headphones - worse! So that's quite a start. I have totally lost the desire to mess with it. If the experience was at least decent, I would be willing to invest more into frfr setups. Has anybody had good experience from similar setup ? Something has to be wrong here - Either my unit is bad (running latest 2.92) or the setup is terrible - or it's just not for me.

 

Please help me here! Thanks.

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There's nothing wrong with your unit... you just don't know how to use it yet. Modelers are not amps, and can't be approached as such. It's essentially a recording studio in a box... you have to think like a recording engineer, not a guitar player. EQ is your friend, and you will be using a lot of it... and I don't mean just the typical bass, mids, and treble knobs we're all familiar with on the amp model itself. Setting everything at noon and ripping away will NOT work. You can expect to have (at a minimum) high and low cut filters, and more likely than not a parametric EQ block to fine tune specific/problematic frequencies. Mic choice and distance parameters are also a HUGE part of your tone... this can't be stated enough.

 

And whatever you do, forget about relying on factory presets and anything downloaded from Customtone. You need to learn how to construct a patch that works for you, and the beginning is difficult for everyone.

 

I suggest watching some Helix- specific tutorials... YouTube is flooded with them. Jason Sadites' channel is a particularly good resource for beginners unfamiliar with modelers. There are also 1000 threads just like this all over this forum where all of this has been discussed ad nauseum... search around a bit and you'll find them overflowing with info and suggestions.

 

 

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Here is a discussion about this from a few years ago: 

Good luck!

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I think you just need to start simply.  Plug your guitar into the 1/4 inch stangard guitar input of the Helix and listen via your headphones.  If your pickups are too hot you can change the impedance in your global settings if necessary.  That's not the optimal setup but it's a basic setup that should get you started.  As mentioned in the attached discussion above, the Spider amps don't have a loop input which allows you to go directly to the power amp of the Spider amp, and a basic clean power amp and speaker setup is all you need for the Helix.  But you can get by with your headphones for now even though they're not the most popular for the Helix, they should work.  Getting everything working with the basics and then you can branch out as you get the feel for how signal chains work and how to control them.  Then you can make some decisions about what you want for your final configuration.  You may even decide to not have any amp and just go direct to the PA and use your stage monitors which is a perfectly fine configuration.

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Thanks for the replies, Guys. No offense - but the spider V thread mentioned above only added to my confusion. One guy ran his helix floor with two 120 Spider V's (AND a helix rack ? WTH). 

 

Thanks for mentioning impedance setting - I'll try it next time I plug in the LP studio. Btw, I have only one 63 ohm flat response headphones pair and they sounded bad. Do I need different kind of pair for a better experience?

 

One more question - if I want stereo setup, should I go with one 212 plus or two 112 plus setup? Any other brand to try?  Why would anybody want a 212 over two 112 which allows more spatial separation? Also in case I don't keep the LT, will those be of any use to me with traditional amp/head/combo setup? This is important to me as I really don't like to return stuff. Thanks.

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45 minutes ago, sayid98 said:

Thanks for the replies, Guys. No offense - but the spider V thread mentioned above only added to my confusion. One guy ran his helix floor with two 120 Spider V's (AND a helix rack ? WTH).

 

Forget this... as suggested above, keep it simple until you get a handle on how modelers work. The learning curve tends to be steep at first, and we all went through it. It will take a while and a great deal of experimentation... and I'm taking days to a couple of weeks, minimum. Don't expect to wrap your head around it all on a Saturday afternoon. I spent a solid 2 months with my Helix before I was comfortable enough to gig with it... and that was with a number of years of modeling experience under my belt already. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

 

 

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Btw, I have only one 63 ohm flat response headphones pair and they sounded bad. Do I need different kind of pair for a better experience?

 

No. It's not the headphones...

 

 

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One more question - if I want stereo setup, should I go with one 212 plus or two 112 plus setup? Any other brand to try?  Why would anybody want a 212 over two 112 which allows more spatial separation?

 

This is just personal preference and/ or your individual needs. Stereo is wonderful... through headphones, or with a set of studio monitors when you're sitting dead center between the speakers. Live it's a disaster. The only one who ends up hearing stereo effects as intended in a live environment is the one guy in the audience who happens to end up standing right between the mains. Everybody else hears half of what's going on.

 

 

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Also in case I don't keep the LT, will those be of any use to me with traditional amp/head/combo setup? This is important to me as I really don't like to return stuff. Thanks.

 

That depends entirely on what you buy... if they're traditional guitar cabinets, you can use them with any amp under the sun... but FRFR speakers will be useless with a "real" amp, and will likely produce results very similar to what you're currently experiencing.

 

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What part of keep it simple is confusing to you?  You should be able to get a decent sound without all these hardware permutations.  You're getting distracted from the core idea, which is:  FIRST LEARN HOW TO MASTER THE HELIX.  A simple guitar input and headphone output is all you need.  If you're not getting the sound you want check back here about what's missing and maybe we can direct you to things to try in your signal chain.  You're worrying about all the hardware on the outside of the Helix when you need to be concentrating on dialing in the Helix and learning how to master it.

No matter what hardware you attach to the Helix, none will sound right until you know how to adjust the blocks in your signal chain to give you the sound you want.  Start there.

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6 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

No matter what hardware you attach to the Helix, none will sound right until you know how to adjust the blocks in your signal chain to give you the sound you want.  Start there.

 

This.

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Like you, I struggled at first with the Helix, but for me it was trying to get a good recorded tone. As @cruisinon2 mentioned above you have to adjust how you approach it vs a regular amp. Once I did that (and built my own patches) everything started to fall in line and now I’m incredibly happy with how my recordings sound. There’s a lot of great advice to be had on this form - take advantage of it :)
 

I have the same headphones - MDR7506 - and really like them with the Helix. 
 

Good luck. 

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I'm no expert by far and still learning everyday, but the "keep it simple" advice is the best you can get at the moment. Actually I just started over again creating basic presets for my needs and forced myself to keep the amount of blocks to a minimum so as to concentrate on the core tone (i.e. keep it simple). Once that is set you can move on to "more sophisticated" signal chains including parallel paths, all kinds of EQ blocks etc. etc.

 

I'm not sure exactly what sound you're after, but try this:

- In the signal in activate the noise gate and set the threshold at around 55 - 60 dB just to avoid some noise; not strictly needed.

- Pick the RevvGen Red amp+cab combination

- You may want to lower the gain slightly (my personal preference)

- In the cab settings set the reflections to around 20 - 30 

- Add a room reverb (reduce the mix to around 30% !!) after the amp/cab block

 

This should get you a good starting point and should sound already pretty convincing.

 

Next, tweak the EQ on the amp itself so that it sounds good together with your specific guitar. Be careful with treble and presence; at headphone volume levels you may feel the need to increase those and/or to decrease the mids, but once you get to high volumes the sound may get ear-piercingly harsh.

 

From here you can go in many directions, but don't try them all at once. Options are endless, but the obvious ones to try first:

- change the microphone and/or change the distance

- change the cabinet

- go for a dual cab or put two cabs in parallel paths with two of the same (or different ?) cabs, one mic'd with a SM57 the other with a R121 or R160

- .... and so on and so forth

- Need a more tight bass for palm muting? Add a tube screamer with gain at 0 and tone/ volume to your liking right before the amp.

 

Should work in my view ....

 

 

 

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