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How to Use Helix with Real Amps - Need Help


msingh95
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So, I need some help with using the Helix with my real amps. Let me preface this with what I'm trying to do: Use my Helix with my real life amp to replace my pedalboard and have 1 touch complete sonic changes.
 
The whole story:
So I have my recording rig- a bunch of pedals on a big pedal board that I'm happy with. I run them all straight into my Vox Handwired AC30Hw2x with the alnico blue speakers. My problem with this setup, (if you haven't caught my influence yet) is that I have many pedals to turn on and off even with a boss ES-8 involved , in order to use my board to play the same songs live, I'd have to do a bunch of tap dancing because only my delay and reverb take midi and can switch patches. I still would have to change my other pedals knobs and positions and program the ES-8 patches so I don't have so much tap dancing to do. When I perform, I just want to play and not think about it. Just one button touch sonic changes for whatever section of the song I'm in, because I'm singing and playing at the same time.
So in short, I want to replace all ,my pedals live with the Helix and use that to switch my sounds while still using my AC30.
 
My problems:
I'm having some trouble setting my clean (dry) signal through the helix. I run my guitar with a moogami 10ft cable into my pedal board with some fuzzes, and then a dedicated buffer right after that into the rest of my crazy board. I've tried listening to the "all bypassed" signal from the Helix setup and the Pedalboard Setup. My pedalboard setup sounds awesome, I love it. The Helix however has just a bit too much top end, and not enough bottom end warmth. I thought I could change the input impedance in my patch, but that just made it sound quieter, and not quite the effect i wanted in simulating just a bit of cable length into the helix. weather I use my generic 20ft cable or the 10ft moogami cable, the results are the same. How can I remedy this? What have you guys thought up?
 
2) I set my Helix 1/4 inputs to instrument level so that I could run it into my Vox amp. I'm having trouble finding unity gain, it just seems like I have to turn my volume knob all the way up for it to sound like at right about unity.
 
2.5) I believe my unity gain issue is causing some pedal models to not react the way I thought they would. For example, I have a tubescreamer and a muff in real life, I have them on my board to compare. I practically turn the volume knob anywhere between 25% and 50% of the way up depending on the other settings to find unity gain, and then I have so much more boost available. And sometimes, I do use the pedal to boost my amp. I'm having a hard time replicating this with my current unity gain setting on the master volume and the level control on the pedals, because at max level on the muff, I'm expecting there to be quite a bit of push into the amp, BUT it's sitting just barely at unity level.
 
I know I have a lot of issues, but can anyone help me out or provide some insight? I just got the helix last night and I'm trying to figure out how it'll all work for me. Thanks
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I've found the Helix to be transparent when I used it in a pedal board type mode (ie stomp boxes only) - but I've not done any extensive A/B testing as I normally use it as my full system.

 

Some observations:

 

  1. The volume control on the Helix is a volume defeat, not a gain stage, so fully on should be unity (there's a global setting to bypass the volume control - I'd turn it off in this mode)
  2. If that doesn't equate to unity gain for your set-up adjust the output block(s) so you get unity with nothing else in the signal chain
  3. You say you're going into fuzzes then a buffer on your board then everything else - what does that do to the impedance for downstream effects and then the sound (not sure you can reproduce this with the helix, but helix fuzzes to a loop with the buffer pedal then the rest of your chain in helix might replicate it)?
  4. There's lots of threads in here about impedance and fuzz pedals within the Helix - they might help for your set-up (not a big fuzz user so have only glossed over them)
  5. Not sure why changing input impedance on the Helix would result in a loss of gain - my understanding is it will change the tone, so perceived gain?
  6. Point 1 may be the crucial one and then monitoring individual effect settings to ensure unity is maintained across the chain (or boost as required)
  7. I'm assuming your preferred solution is not to have the existing pedal board in the mix - the opening par then description of the problem is a bit unclear (to me)
  8. If you've just got the Helix you do have a learning curve even in a pedal board mode, and may have to 'relearn' effects you think you know in the analog world
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Quote

I set my Helix 1/4 inputs to instrument level so that I could run it into my Vox amp. I'm having trouble finding unity gain, it just seems like I have to turn my volume knob all the way up for it to sound like at right about unity.

Those observations are correct when input and output level are set to Inst. Which should be what you want in your use case: Just turn up the volume knob of your Helix all the way and you're done. Helix is now set up for unity gain - one thing less to worry about.

Quote

I believe my unity gain issue is causing some pedal models to not react the way I thought they would. For example, I have a tubescreamer and a muff in real life, I have them on my board to compare. I practically turn the volume knob anywhere between 25% and 50% of the way up depending on the other settings to find unity gain, and then I have so much more boost available.

Here is where the Input Impedance setting of your patch comes into play. It should be set to Auto to recreate the feel if you back of volume / tone on your guitar - especially with fuzzes. Or which volume know are you talking about?

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