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Power Cabs?

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I am running the Helix into a small Yamaha mixer into two Yamaha HS 7 to monitor either playing with tracks or for recording. I am also running 7CM into two H&K Grandmeister each with matching 2x12 closed back cabs with V30s. The 7CM is a lot of fun to run stereo/dry-wet applications, but a pain in the butt because of having to make sure everything is routed properly, etc. Lots of cables and having to get both amps set up properly and there can be bleed in the FX loops. I am thinking of getting some power cabs so that I can run stereo a lot easier through Link cables and use this mostly for home playing and maybe some practice gigs. Playing out would be to use one of my Grandmeisters with 2x12 and HX Stomp unless the Power Cabs prove to be easier.  Not sure if the Powercabs might be a stupid investment at this point. I know this topic has been discussed at nauseam here, but that is what I am considering. 

 

Any ideas on if the Power Cab + might be worth it?

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If you can afford 2 PC+ by all means do it - do not pass go.   'OR' a couple of Line 6 Stagesource speakers will do the same thing.   I would say it depends upon the style of music you play.  I have a single PC+112 and two of the bigger Stagesource speakers (one of those with the on-board mixer option for playing out and keeping it REAL simple).   I like TX Blues, Gilmour, and basic edge of break-up tones for which the PC+112 is amazing.  I don't play the real hard stuff, but I would think the Stagesource speakers or a pair of the 212 PC+ would be better for that.  That aside, I've recently revisited messing around between various cabling into a tube amp that I kinda miss.  I absolutely don't think it's worth it.  I was a photographer when digital was finally able to be a real substitute for film and what a struggle it was for the purists, and myself, to admit it.  I honestly think the current amp and effect mod tech has finally reached that point as well.  Especially with the advent of the PC+.  It has a learning curve of it's own but it's all in there. 

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On 7/3/2020 at 4:37 PM, Wondo100 said:

I am running the Helix into a small Yamaha mixer into two Yamaha HS 7 to monitor either playing with tracks or for recording. I am also running 7CM into two H&K Grandmeister each with matching 2x12 closed back cabs with V30s. The 7CM is a lot of fun to run stereo/dry-wet applications, but a pain in the butt because of having to make sure everything is routed properly, etc. Lots of cables and having to get both amps set up properly and there can be bleed in the FX loops. I am thinking of getting some power cabs so that I can run stereo a lot easier through Link cables and use this mostly for home playing and maybe some practice gigs. Playing out would be to use one of my Grandmeisters with 2x12 and HX Stomp unless the Power Cabs prove to be easier.  Not sure if the Powercabs might be a stupid investment at this point. I know this topic has been discussed at nauseam here, but that is what I am considering. 

 

Any ideas on if the Power Cab + might be worth it?

 

Although heavier and offering less potential L/R separation, getting a single 212 Powercab is an option to getting two PC+'s for running in stereo.  I'm agnostic as to whether people opt to use FRFR, traditional guitar amp/cab, or Powercab. Personally I prefer an FRFR for gigging but maybe that will change as I get more comfortable with my PC+.  My hat is off to anyone who runs 7CM. You couldn't get me to do that on a bet.  The fewer cables and less possible points of failure the happier I am. Love those H&K amps. Lots of great Helix integration via MIDI to be had there. Heh, more cables :-)

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56 minutes ago, HonestOpinion said:

 

Although heavier and offering less potential L/R separation, getting a single 212 Powercab is an option to getting two PC+'s for running in stereo.  I'm agnostic as to whether people opt to use FRFR, traditional guitar amp/cab, or Powercab. Personally I prefer an FRFR for gigging but maybe that will change as I get more comfortable with my PC+.  My hat is off to anyone who runs 7CM. You couldn't get me to do that on a bet.  The fewer cables and less possible points of failure the happier I am. Love those H&K amps. Lots of great Helix integration via MIDI to be had there. Heh, more cables :-)

I had given thought to the 212, but I like the flexibility of maybe only using one cab if I need to and that they are lighter, but then the down side is an extra trip to the car as it were with both cabs. My studio is small and the 212 is big and loud, so the two 112s might be an option.

 

7CM is really cool. Actually I run a 9CM sometimes since I use a guitar with a second output for Piezo and run a third signal path from AUX on the Helix out one of the XLRs and into a Fishman Loudbox. So I have stereo separation and then I can kick in the acoustic sound whenever I want. But, as you mention it is a lot of cables and a lot of configuring to get things just right and a lot of places along the way that could get things a little crazy. And who wants to do all of that set up for a gig? I made a snake with labels on all of the 1/4 inch jacks, but still a pain. I think to get the stereo and integration of the Piezo, using two 112 cabs would be much easier in the long run. Love my H&K GMs. I used to have the big Triamp with a 4x12 cabinet, but that was so loud and so much to move around and actually I think the GMs sound better with good tubes (Tung-Sol in one and JJs in the other). For a simple gig, I am just going to run one GM with the 2x12 and use an HX stomp for effects and to control everything. The other GM becomes a back up at that point. I may even just use the HX Stomp and a Power Cab if the PC works out. 

 

I too used to be a big purest. I had the POD and then the POD XT Live and was never completely happy with the tone. The H&K stuff gave me the tone and the flexibility I needed, but then I got the Helix to run the 7CM and although that is really cool, is a pain. So I started really tweaking the Helix and after getting some IRs, realized just how close modeling has come. Never thought I would say that or think we have arrived at that place, but we have. I think the PC might just take it that much further. The flexibility, ease of use and less chance for tubes failing, etc. (had a GM fail on me at a gig once. It was a bad tube, but then usually a bad tube can take something with it which it did and the amp had to go in for repair) Not a good scene. 

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I thought I'd share that I have the Helix & a single PC112+, it's great for basement, but that's it.  I tried gigging with it a few times and it becomes invisible to the ears.  My guitar amps have the ability to move air and project the sound,  the PC+ simply can't do that.  It's loud but has no ability to cut through a room or hold its own against even a fairly quiet Bass cab, drums and the other guitarist's amp.  It was really surprising because at home it's so friggin' loud.   So after the PC+ failed to provide the right balance and multiple attempts to figure out why.  I gave up - I moved my powercab to basically be a monitor - and it doesn't do that well either - still gets drowned out.  Running my helix to the soundboard and out to a pair of 10" or 12" PA's at 30% volume is infinity better then a maxed out set of PC+.  Keep in mind, we don't play loud when gigging

 

My PC+ sits at home unused now.  I did play around with my helix into PC+, a Mesa Amp & 12" PA side-by-side at home, set to the same volume to my ear. Flipping back and forth with no changes to the helix;  the PC+ is void of any PUNCH... if I hit some muted chugs, it will be loud, but you feel nothing in your chest with the the PC+, the Mesa amp is like a punch to the sternum, and the PA is closer to the amp, miles ahead of the PC+.  so this reaffirmed how weak the PC+ is, it's not at all on par with a basic PA.

 

I'd caution moving away from an Amp with Cabs or even a set of PA's to the PC+ either in 2x format or 1x in stereo, it's a lot of money and I worry you might end up hating it.

 

I agree with JLondon said - and my opinion is this will depend very much on what music you play, we're mostly alt-rock, some modern alt stuff, not too heavy.  And modeling is definity passed the threshold into a full viable alternative for live music, makes my life significantly better and we mostly do covers so I can dial in true-to-original tones for every song and that brought us up to a whole new level of sound just by spending some time on my helix patches.

 

EDIT/ADD : Missed the part where you were going to use the PC's for home or practice gigs.  if that's the case, they probably will be good for that. I'll still leave my comments above in case anyone stumbles here thinking PC+'s are good for gigin' !

 

 

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I hope I am not making a bad decision. Some people seem to really like them. 

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I got them through Sweetwater with their bundle deal. I had ordered them before then canceled the order because I was not sure, then ordered them again. This time I will let them arrive, experiment but may very well send back. My Grandmeisters sound really good and I got a HX stomp to use with those, although I am thinking the HX Effects might have been a better solution.

 

I may just end up using the Helix at home for 7CM and then direct in to my DAW mixer and studio monitors to practice and record. HX Effects for playing out with the GM.

 

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Sweetwaters great, get majority of my gear there, so might as well test, if it's really for home use - you will probably like them a lot  

 

let us know what you think - maybe do a similar thing to what I did and have the 7CM amp hookup at similar volume and see how they compare.

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I don't understand the post about PC+s not cutting it live - Ive done gigs with one or 2 in stereo and have never run them over half - and the tones are great direct from helix with stock cabs and FRFR mode.

 

Horses for courses I suspect.

 

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13 hours ago, waymda said:

I don't understand the post about PC+s not cutting it live - Ive done gigs with one or 2 in stereo and have never run them over half - and the tones are great direct from helix with stock cabs and FRFR mode.

 

Horses for courses I suspect.

 

 

waymda, What's your situation like?

 

I play small 50-200 person venues without house sound and most are not acoustically designed for live music.  I'm playing with bass, acoustic drums, singer, and another guitarist. We play Pearl Jam, STP, Killers, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Green Day, Chili Peppers.   We're definitely competing sonically even when we do our best to EQ the three guitars into their own space. by comparison, it's no where near the cutting power of a PRRI, Mesa  Amp, or a pair of good PAs.

 

I could easily see if you are playing more open songs, you are not competing with another guitar or full band, and the songs are slower & cleaner... yes, then they would do great.  Just like it works fine for me at home.  

 

I think it comes down to your band, what music you play and your venues.

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Until recently four piece. Similar sized venues - pubs (australia, prbly bars US). Currently 3 piece and considerably louder.

 

Material ranging  from Johnny Cash through Foo Fighters, Blink, Killers etc. Massive range of material with my role being lead guit and some vox with acoustic drums, loud bass, and the other guitarist singer using valve amps. Using sounds from acoustic thorough  big triple coil pick-ups and rectifier type grunt. 

 

I used to run 2 valve amps, a JC120 and a pedal board and was constantly told to turn down with any volume that gave me the tone/feel I wanted. The other guitarist in particular would complain about how loud I was. I now balance my volume to venue and event with no issues.

 

In setting up patches and the PC+s I have made sure that the patches are optimised for stage volume, and that the signal hitting the PC+ is hot, constantly green (in the LED) and occasionally getting orange/redish for lead boosts - recognising they are single notes not chords so not so concerned.

 

However, I'm not interested in replicating my old valve amp need to blow my ears (or pants) off to sound good/have sufficient feel to play well and am happy with a very big, very loud tone, that more than covers bass and drums on stages that only offer vox to PA. If we're lucky I'll need to add come kick to a sub and some guit to upper end cabs for stereo separation.

 

No, its not like a valve rig in terms of moving air, but it can still make my bell bottoms flap, and frankly the whole hairy chested need to be painfully loud because 'that what it takes' just ain't doing it for me any more. I must be getting old (see reference to bell bottoms, that I never wore). :)

 

I'm not here to convince anyone of the merits or otherwise of the powercab units, just offering an alternate, working musician, perspective.

 

I would only go back to valve amps and a pedal board to do a very limited range of material where I need to have 'my sound' - and having written that I'd have to challenge if that's true as I know with a Helix and a pair of PC+ I could easily emulate my old back line with the speaker modelling and amps in the box, AND have nearly  infinite pedal board layouts driving the front end (how I always liked effects).

 

Mr Castellano says he's running his PC+ 85 to 90% on stage in this clip. I think that'd be getting me sacked or melting my ears (maybe both).

 

 

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OK, now you have me interested in retrying a few things and that video is a good view into his workflow.  I'll share what I find.  

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Just a note from a fellow basement dweller. I got the 212 PC+ because I just built an HX Stomp board and I have always wanted a stereo amp. It is awesome. I play a lot of acoustic guitar and I have been able to make that shine. Couple with stereo effects and it's pretty amazing BUT if I were to do it again (I did this 2 weeks ago), I would get two 112 cabs because the 212 is a beast. It's big! Maybe to the 4x12 crowd it's not big but to me it's big enough to have me looking at used 112 PC+ to have on the side. 

2nd Side Note - I have a buddy that plays lead guitar in well known Pink Floyd cover band and he said he ran 2 112 PC+ at their big shows and had plenty of volume (spoke to him this morning about it).

82918411_10223392583428260_5097186806213751840_n (1).jpg

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4 hours ago, billyhell2 said:

Just a note from a fellow basement dweller. I got the 212 PC+ because I just built an HX Stomp board and I have always wanted a stereo amp. It is awesome. I play a lot of acoustic guitar and I have been able to make that shine. Couple with stereo effects and it's pretty amazing BUT if I were to do it again (I did this 2 weeks ago), I would get two 112 cabs because the 212 is a beast. It's big! Maybe to the 4x12 crowd it's not big but to me it's big enough to have me looking at used 112 PC+ to have on the side. 

2nd Side Note - I have a buddy that plays lead guitar in well known Pink Floyd cover band and he said he ran 2 112 PC+ at their big shows and had plenty of volume (spoke to him this morning about it).

82918411_10223392583428260_5097186806213751840_n (1).jpg

I would be interested in how you are doing acoustic tones. I have a Les Paul Alex Lifeson Axcess (Humbuckers and Piexo)and want to run a path that has a dirty humbucker on one, a cleaner on the other and then my Piezo. I am really not sure how to do that and be able to have room to run some IRs, but then again if I use the PC+, I won’t need room on the path for IRs, they will be in the PC

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On 7/4/2020 at 10:04 AM, kringle said:

I thought I'd share that I have the Helix & a single PC112+, it's great for basement, but that's it.  I tried gigging with it a few times and it becomes invisible to the ears.  My guitar amps have the ability to move air and project the sound,  the PC+ simply can't do that.  It's loud but has no ability to cut through a room or hold its own against even a fairly quiet Bass cab, drums and the other guitarist's amp.  It was really surprising because at home it's so friggin' loud.   So after the PC+ failed to provide the right balance and multiple attempts to figure out why.  I gave up - I moved my powercab to basically be a monitor - and it doesn't do that well either - still gets drowned out.  Running my helix to the soundboard and out to a pair of 10" or 12" PA's at 30% volume is infinity better then a maxed out set of PC+.  Keep in mind, we don't play loud when gigging

 

My PC+ sits at home unused now.  I did play around with my helix into PC+, a Mesa Amp & 12" PA side-by-side at home, set to the same volume to my ear. Flipping back and forth with no changes to the helix;  the PC+ is void of any PUNCH... if I hit some muted chugs, it will be loud, but you feel nothing in your chest with the the PC+, the Mesa amp is like a punch to the sternum, and the PA is closer to the amp, miles ahead of the PC+.  so this reaffirmed how weak the PC+ is, it's not at all on par with a basic PA.

 

I'd caution moving away from an Amp with Cabs or even a set of PA's to the PC+ either in 2x format or 1x in stereo, it's a lot of money and I worry you might end up hating it.

 

I agree with JLondon said - and my opinion is this will depend very much on what music you play, we're mostly alt-rock, some modern alt stuff, not too heavy.  And modeling is definity passed the threshold into a full viable alternative for live music, makes my life significantly better and we mostly do covers so I can dial in true-to-original tones for every song and that brought us up to a whole new level of sound just by spending some time on my helix patches.

 

EDIT/ADD : Missed the part where you were going to use the PC's for home or practice gigs.  if that's the case, they probably will be good for that. I'll still leave my comments above in case anyone stumbles here thinking PC+'s are good for gigin' !

 

 

I've been thinking about this for a while, having had similar experience myself. For the longest time I couldn't come up with an explanation as to why my old Fender Showman with 2x12x would punch me in the chest with 90 watts while my pair of EON 610 FRFRs with Helix seemed loud, but didn't have that physical impact.

 

Now for sure electric guitar needs to be loud to sound good. That's partly how our ears work, how evolution makes us respond to loud sounds, and how the speakers interact with the guitar body and strings to actually change how the guitar plays and feels. So given that, I really wanted my PowerCab 212 with its 2x12 speakers to do the same thing that Fender Showman could do with its substantially less power. 

 

I think I understand now what is happening here and why @kringle and I had the experiences he describes.

 

First let's talk about power. That Fender Showman is rated at 85 Watts RMS. PowerCab 212 is rated at 500W (2x250 stereo). Should be a lot louder right? Well, PowerCab can produce 131dB and that's pretty loud. But let's try to understand what these differences in power mean. First, the Showman is spec'd at 85W RMS. I don't know what the units are for PowerCab - could be Peak-to-Peak power, Peak-Power or RMS. Which one makes a lot of difference. I think its Peak-to-Peak power which would be about 177W RMS or about double the power of the Showman. But double the power will only be 3dB louder, but should push the sound further and through more walls.

 

Powercab is designed to run clean, it should never be distorted as class D power amps won't distort safely or with the same sound as tubes. To get the Showman pumping, you have to push it hard enough to get it distorting. And a fully distorted power amp produces a square wave which has twice the area under the curve as a sine wave - which is twice the power. So all of a sudden, that Showman and the Powercab have close to the same effective power, abut 170W!  So it's probably not the difference in power that accounts for our perception of loudness and chest thump. Rather the Showman, and any 100W tube amp and Powercab appear to have effectively similar design points but for different purposes.

 

So what is it? Let's look closer at the difference between that Showman and Helix + Powercab. The Showman has no master volume, and cannot produce any preamp distortion unless you hit it really hard with a pedal with a lot of headroom. So to get the amp to distort, you have to turn it up and you're going to get to full power and really loud.

 

Helix + Powercab is very different. There are at least 6 volume controls between the power amp model in Helix and the power amp in Powercab: Amp channel volume, amp master volume, Cab model or IR level, Powercab output level in the output block output block level, and Powercab input level - and I could have forgotten some more - especially if you have blocks between the cab model and the output block that add additional level controls. If any of these controls are turned down, then you're going to get preamp clipping, not power amp clipping. This can sound loud because of the distortion and additional harmonics. But all those volume controls are limiting the actual power produced by Powercab. You're not going to get chest thump unless the preamps aren't limiting the output and you're actually pushing Powercab into the yellow as Richie describes in the video above.

 

So here's a way to see if Powercab can provide the chest thump that the Showman provides. Start with a clean amp model. Turn Powercab all the way up, leave the output and Powercab volume in the output block at their default values, turn the amp model master all the way up, and turn the channel volume up until you see some yellow on the Powercab input. Now put distortion block in front of that clean amp that only adds saturation, not additional level. I suspect you're gong to hear a pretty aggressive, very loud sound that's going to hit you in the chest just fine.

 

Don't forget to protect yours, and you audiences' ears.

 

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More great stuff!  I haven't had chance to mess with it yet, but it's at the top of my todo list when I get a chance.   I am suspecting now my input is way too low as I usually run master volume at 50% so I have adjustability during the show and I have an amp mentality where I am expecting the PC+  to drive the volume/power even if the volume to it is low. 

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