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TheRainEnsemble

Helix Recording Style / Character Units

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Hello. I was thinking about what is missing from our lovely Helix products - not another amp or pedal, but something bigger. Today I saw "photos" of 3d models with emulated "shot with a real camera" post production effect, and thought that it was a photo, not just some render. They fooled me! And another render without effect and any postproduction, which was clearly 3d model. That thought lead me to my guitar recording and mixing experience, and I thought about all multitracks and isolated guitar tracks I listened through years. Well, there is always something more, than just guitar, amp and a cab with possible FX between them.
 

Even on this forum you can find some recommendations about adding Minotaur pedal between amp and a cab, adding Optical Tremolo in the end of a chain, Tube Mic Pre early in chain. This things wasn't designed for what we want them to do, and they can't do the job as we would like. Most of the time they just make sound louder by few dB, which always sounds better to our ears.
 

So I came to the final idea of what we are missing: thats a real recording conditions with mixing-mastering stage. In Helix we can't get that smooth natural almost-not-there reverb, that cannot be clearly heard, it doesn't leave a trail, it's just there in our sound, that makes it big, wide, three-dimentional. Try recording in a simple space like Garage with stereo mics and properly mix this tone - you will get lovely and lively sound, not too sterile, yet not reverby. Remember, how we can't use IR's in Helix to get any reverb from it - so IR's are no helpers in this.

nother important detail about guitar tone - more analogue gear after microphones. it could be vinyl, tape recorders with analogue consoles, EQs, comps, and it getting mixed and mastered to get along with other band. We don't have it in our Helixes, and some of us feels it - and tries to replace it with Minotaur, Tube Mic Pre, Optical Tremolo.. They are just effects that supposed to do their job.

But we need dedicated effects to give style and character to our tones - invisible air reverb, vinyl and tape saturation, analogue gear coloration and compression. That's not an easy task, and we can't expect it in 3.1, but thats a great goal to achieve and beat other modelers as a bonus. So I created an idea in ideascale, you can vote for it if you think thats a good idea. Thanks!

https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Helix-Recording-Style-Character-Units/1003874-23508

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Perhaps I'm missing something, but you're essentially asking for a subjective experience to be delivered via a firmware update... nobody can do that for you.

 

And as far as recording is concerned, I don't care if you're using a modeler, or mic-ing real amps and cabinets. You may even have access to a multi-million dollar facility with the best gear on earth...but if you don't have the necessary skills to produce a full, rich sounding mix is, then none of that gear will help you. Those skills are developed over time through endless repetition, just like one's instrumental prowess is... and there's no magic algorithm or piece of gear that can do it for you. You've either got, or you don't.

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6 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Perhaps I'm missing something, but you're essentially asking for a subjective experience... nobody can deliver that to you via a firmware update.

 

And as far as recording is concerned, I don't care if you're using a modeler, or mic-ing real amps and cabinets. You may even have access to a multi-million dollar facility with the best gear on earth...but if you don't have the necessary skills to produce a full, rich sounding mix is, then none of that gear will help you. Those skills are developed over time through endless repetition, just like one's instrumental prowess is... and there's no magic algorithm or piece of gear that can do it for you. You've either got, or you don't.

Well, the main thing here is that we don't have enough instruments to make best polished sound. Sometimes it is not what you want, however, if you need this particular sound live, you can't have it. 
1. Impulse Responses in Helix are just too short to have anything similar to reverb, also we can't have them in stereo (maybe we can use two IRs in parallel and hardpan them, but it automatically makes them half shorter). Yep, we have stock cabs (which I believe are not that bad BTW), but everyone on this forum claims they are using IR's because they simply sounds better. Stock cabs have something similar to reverb I meant in my Ideascale submission (called Early Reflections). But they are lacking so much - and still not that wide. There are some examples of such a wide reverb - sometimes it's called Air, sometimes - Early Reflections (what a surprise).

2. We don't have dedicated saturation/coloration blocks. I mean, many people on this forum uses other blocks instead of ones i'm talking, but they are not supposed to do that, and they don't do the job properly. There are plenty of saturation types, each with it's own character. It doesn't matter if i can create great mixed guitar sound in my stuido - when i'm playing live, it's just me, and amp-IR block in Helix, maybe some EQ and Compression. They can't do what saturation do after cab. There are some examples of saturation in modeling gear, main example - profiling amp. People say it profiles amps better than other modelers, and there are reasons for that.

 

Thanks for your answer!

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26 minutes ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

Well, the main thing here is that we don't have enough instruments to make best polished sound.

 

Again, this is entirely subjective. "Best" is a meaningless term here.

 

Quote

Sometimes it is not what you want, however, if you need this particular sound live, you can't have it.

 

Again, this is subjective. Not knowing how to get the sound you want does not imply a shortcoming with the gear you're using. Garbage in, garbage out.

 

Quote


1. Impulse Responses in Helix are just too short to have anything similar to reverb

 

Then use the reverb unit of your choice. That's what they're for.

 

Quote

 

also we can't have them in stereo (maybe we can use two IRs in parallel and hardpan them, but it automatically makes them half shorter). Yep, we have stock cabs (which I believe are not that bad BTW), but everyone on this forum claims they are using IR's because they simply sounds better.

 

Yet again, you're talking about subjective assessments of a particular sound. You either like something or you don't... but just because you prefer one thing over another, doesn't make one deficient, inferior, or something that needs to be "fixed".

 

Quote

2. We don't have dedicated saturation/coloration blocks.

 

And what exactly would this mystical feature actually do? What are we saturating and/or coloring, and with what are we doing it? 

 

Quote

 

I mean, many people on this forum uses other blocks instead of ones i'm talking, but they are not supposed to do that, and they don't do the job properly.

 

What on earth does this mean?

 

Quote

 

There are plenty of saturation types, each with it's own character.

 

Such as?

 

Quote

 

It doesn't matter if i can create great mixed guitar sound in my stuido - when i'm playing live, it's just me, and amp-IR block in Helix maybe some EQ and Compression.

 

Yes, live sound and studio mixing are different... but they are both skills that one acquires. You either know how to use your gear, or you don't.  Either way, it's not the gear's fault if you don't like the end result.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Then use the reverb unit of your choice. That's what they're for.

Right. But you can't really use m-series reverbs for that purpose. They are too narrow and too obvious. They are not part of guitar sound, they are addition, audible tail. Record guitar part with that reverb and listen to any isolated guitar track from studio recording which have natural ambience. Natural ambience will always be there, even if we can't clearly hear it. M-series legacy reverbs can't do that

 

13 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Yet again, you're talking about subjective assessments of a particular sound. You either like something or you don't... but just because you prefer one thing over another, doesn't make one deficient, inferior, or something that needs to be "fixed".

Nope, actually. I'm talking about not having a chance to have real ambience sound with IR's, because only ambience sound in helix is in stock cab's, which is also not so apropriate for this - it is too narrow and too obvious.

15 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

And what exactly would this mystical feature actually do? What are we saturating and/or coloring, and with what are we doing it? 

When we record guitar on studio, it goes through various analogue gear, and sometimes records to tape. Tape saturates signal, just like every other parts of analogue gear (with less audible effect tho). If you want to know what saturation does in general, first google link:
"Various flavors of saturation generate harmonics and apply subtle forms of “soft-clipping” compression. This unique effect makes sounds fuller, punchy, and louder." It's not always exactly that. Saturation makes signal louder, while making it peaks quieter. Just like compression, but they work differently.
 

20 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

What on earth does this mean?

You have 7k posts on this forum. I guess, you have seen posts where people suggesting using Tube Mic Pre before (or even after) amp to make sound more alive and alaogue-like. Same with Minotaur pedal between amp and cab, or EP Boost, or Optical Tremolo in the end of chain. I've seen enough of this posts to know that people are searching for something that's not there.

 

23 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Such as?

Tube, tape, transistor etc. Tape saturation tipically adds odd order harmonics, tube saturation adds even order harmonics, transistor saturation brings odd order harmonics with hard-clipping for some degree

 

26 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

Yes, live sound and studio mixing are different... but they are both skills that one acquires. You either know how to use your gear, or you don't.  Either way, it's not the gear's fault if you don't like the end result.

One may like the end result, however we simply can't reach some results. For example, guitar tones on Scar Tissue song. We can grab same exact guitar, use same exact cables, amps, cab, mic (all in Helix), playing style, but we never get that sound without ambience that was recorded in that room and analogue gear used to mix this song. Sometimes we can get close even when using totally differen amp, but we never reach it. I'm not into copying someone's tone, but if the tone in my head was that guitar in Scar Tissue, I simply couldn't reach it with Helix, regardless of my guitar playing and mixing skills. Even eq-based tone-match can't give us needed results.

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38 minutes ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

Right. But you can't really use m-series reverbs for that purpose. They are too narrow and too obvious. They are not part of guitar sound, they are addition, audible tail. Record guitar part with that reverb and listen to any isolated guitar track from studio recording which have natural ambience. Natural ambience will always be there, even if we can't clearly hear it. M-series legacy reverbs can't do that

 

Nope, actually. I'm talking about not having a chance to have real ambience sound with IR's, because only ambience sound in helix is in stock cab's, which is also not so apropriate for this - it is too narrow and too obvious.

When we record guitar on studio, it goes through various analogue gear, and sometimes records to tape. Tape saturates signal, just like every other parts of analogue gear (with less audible effect tho). If you want to know what saturation does in general, first google link:
"Various flavors of saturation generate harmonics and apply subtle forms of “soft-clipping” compression. This unique effect makes sounds fuller, punchy, and louder." It's not always exactly that. Saturation makes signal louder, while making it peaks quieter. Just like compression, but they work differently.
 

You have 7k posts on this forum. I guess, you have seen posts where people suggesting using Tube Mic Pre before (or even after) amp to make sound more alive and alaogue-like. Same with Minotaur pedal between amp and cab, or EP Boost, or Optical Tremolo in the end of chain. I've seen enough of this posts to know that people are searching for something that's not there.

 

Tube, tape, transistor etc. Tape saturation tipically adds odd order harmonics, tube saturation adds even order harmonics, transistor saturation brings odd order harmonics with hard-clipping for some degree

 

One may like the end result, however we simply can't reach some results. For example, guitar tones on Scar Tissue song. We can grab same exact guitar, use same exact cables, amps, cab, mic (all in Helix), playing style, but we never get that sound without ambience that was recorded in that room and analogue gear used to mix this song. Sometimes we can get close even when using totally differen amp, but we never reach it. I'm not into copying someone's tone, but if the tone in my head was that guitar in Scar Tissue, I simply couldn't reach it with Helix, regardless of my guitar playing and mixing skills. Even eq-based tone-match can't give us needed results.

 

Ambience, ambience, ambience...

 

Here's the dictionary definition of that word: a feeling or mood associated with a particular place, person, or thing; atmosphere.

 

Search forever if you like, but there is no objective truth to be found here. Everything you've lamented as missing, broken, or otherwise deficient is nothing more than your own personal assessment, and therefore 100% subjective by definition...which makes it no more valid, quantifiable, or "right" than anyone else's opinion. In the end, no matter how eloquently you phrase things, or how florid your descriptions become, you're asking for the engineers to perform a miracle, and hand deliver your own personal definition of what "sounds good" to you. Feel free to wait indefinitely for that to happen, or just go ahead and use whatever gear you've already predetermined to be capable of doing exactly that... because coming at the "problem" in this fashion guarantees that you'll never be satisfied.

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2 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Ambience, ambience, ambience...

 

Here's the dictionary definition of that word: a feeling or mood associated with a particular place, person, or thing; atmosphere.

 

Search forever if you like, but there is no objective truth to be found here. Everything you've lamented as missing, broken, or otherwise deficient is nothing more than your own personal assessment, and therefore 100% subjective by definition...which makes it no more valid, quantifiable, or "right" than anyone else's opinion. In the end, no matter how eloquently you phrase things, or how florid your descriptions become, you're asking for the engineers to perform a miracle, and hand deliver your own personal definition of what "sounds good" to you. Feel free to wait indefinitely for that to happen, or just go ahead and use whatever gear you've already predetermined to be capable of doing exactly that.

Simple objective truth:
1. Helix doesn't have dedicated saturation block

2. You can't use EQ or Compression to do what saturation does
3. Some other Hi-End modelers have some form of saturation that are not pedals or amps, or at least gives you opportunity to control that in power-amp section

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6 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

But we need dedicated effects to give style and character to our tones - invisible air reverb, vinyl and tape saturation, analogue gear coloration and compression.

 

i'm going to take a similar view as "cruisinon2" here.

 

Perhaps I'm missing something, but what you're essentially asking for, is what many Helix users will already have - a computer with a DAW of one flavour or another from GarageBand through ProTools etc.

 

Why would anyone want to try and cram all that nonsense into what is essentially a purpose built guitar processor. 

 

You mention tape saturation, esoteric reverbs etc, Most of that stuff is available as AU or VST plug-ins for the recording device of you choice, some of them are free. It's already out there.

 

When you mention people putting Tube Mic Pre, Minotaur between amps and cabs, and optical trems at the end of signal chains. Well I guess they do that because, in the digital domain, they can do that without blowing up anything important. It's called experimentation.

 

Then this: "We can grab same exact guitar, use same exact cables, amps, cab, mic (all in Helix), playing style, but we never get that sound without ambience that was recorded in that room and analogue gear used to mix this song." Yes, and unless you are the guitarist that played it, then it will still sound like you - this has also been discussed at great length in and among the 7k posts you seem to have researched to find "something that's not there."

 

What missing is the "Incredible Talent Button".

 

Sorry, "TheRainEnsemble" - but this concept is a complete non starter.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, datacommando said:

i'm going to take a similar view as "cruisinon2" here.

Would be nice if you are more friendly to newcomers. Well, 

4 minutes ago, datacommando said:

Perhaps I'm missing something, but what you're essentially asking for, is what many Helix users will already have - a computer with a DAW of one flavour or another from GarageBand through ProTools etc.

Basically, yes. That's why we have studio pre, studio comp, parametric eq, global eq and so on - why even bother adding these, if we already have straight-guitar blocks, not studio ones?
Helix Floor, Rack, LT are positioned as "all in one" package for live and studio. There are some things that's missing for that. That's one of the reasons why we have other Hi-End guitar modelers with the tools i'm talking.

7 minutes ago, datacommando said:

When you mention people putting Tube Mic Pre, Minotaur between amps and cabs, and optical trems at the end of signal chains. Well I guess they do that because, in the digital domain, they can do that without blowing up anything important. It's called experimentation.

In some degree. That's experimentation in search of something better, something that's missing. People always wants more amps and cabs, even when Helix have tons more than enough to please everyone. They just need to hear it in fair conditions compared to tones they grew up and learned to play the guitar

 

10 minutes ago, datacommando said:

Then this: "We can grab same exact guitar, use same exact cables, amps, cab, mic (all in Helix), playing style, but we never get that sound without ambience that was recorded in that room and analogue gear used to mix this song." Yes, and unless you are the guitarist that played it, then it will still sound like you

Even Frusciante itself won't sound like this with tools we have in Helix. He will be close enough, but not too much. There are some things that works in particular way and you can't change it. 

 

12 minutes ago, datacommando said:

What missing is the "Incredible Talent Button"

Basically, no. We don't need talent button, we just could use some help from things we already use in studio and sometimes even live mixing, especially when some of other only-studio things mentioned above are already there, so why not go deeper? At least for experimentation, not to say more

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7 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

But we need dedicated effects to give style and character to our tones - invisible air reverb, vinyl and tape saturation, analogue gear coloration and compression

 

I don't see the point.

If you need these pseudo-analog effects to enhance your recordings, add them in your DAW as plugins when mixing. There's a plethora of options available, from absolutely free up to insanely overpriced.

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7 minutes ago, lou-kash said:

 

I don't see the point.

If you need these pseudo-analog effects to enhance your recordings, add them in your DAW as plugins when mixing. There's a plethora of options available, from absolutely free up to insanely overpriced.

Good point. Why then they made other studio effects, when we had not-studio versions of effects?

Also, we could not only use saturation and reverb plugins from DAW. There are many options for amp-sims and long IR loaders. Some decent modulation and eventide pitch effects. Just get a controller and get rid of Helix. Right? We all want more amps, pedals, other options. Line 6 did many things from Ideascale, which was there because of people who wanted more. Why is it any different? Other Hi-End modellers have saturation and extended wide reverb options in one or another form. Maybe they don't know something, like myself, trying to get that thing in Helix. Well, at least we will get some 1947 reissue tube amp model or another fuzz pedal.

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40 minutes ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

Would be nice if you are more friendly to newcomers. Well,


Well, that maybe because you arrived with a post about “our lovely Helix products” that is actually a 5 paragraph critique of what is missing from something that both “cruisinon2” and I have been using for the last five years. It appears that we both have simply pointed out things that we didn’t agree with, which was most of your ideas. What did you expect to happen? This is not Line 6 fan boy nonsense, we use this stuff on a daily basis and are aware of the good points of the Helix and it’s short comings.

 

Using Helix as a recording tool allows me to capture decent guitar tone at a good level without the fuss of isolation and microphones. All that other stuff like tape saturation and esoteric reverbs, and even vinyl crackle and pop can be added then, if I wanted them. People using Helix products in a live context will have a different set of things that they like. So if they want to patch in a third party item such as Ditto x4 looper, a Strymon Big Sky, or an  Eventide H9 they simply plug it into the FX Loop. That’s the way it is. 
 

As you have already said: “There are some things that work in a particular way and you can't change it.”

 

I wish you well in your search for the audio nirvana you seek - try hooking up a Helix to Logic and some plug-ins.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, datacommando said:


Well, that maybe because you arrived with a post about “our lovely Helix products” that is actually a 5 paragraph critique of what is missing from something that both “cruisinon2” and I have been using for the last five years. It appears that we both have simply pointed out things that we didn’t agree with, which was most of your ideas. What did you expect to happen? This is not Line 6 fan boy nonsense, we use this stuff on a daily basis and are aware of the good points of the Helix and it’s short comings.

 

Using Helix as a recording tool allows me to capture decent guitar tone at a good level without the fuss of isolation and microphones. All that other stuff like tape saturation and esoteric reverbs, and even vinyl crackle and pop can be added then, if I wanted them. People using Helix products in a live context will have a different set of things that they like. So if they want to patch in a third party item such as Ditto x4 looper, a Strymon Big Sky, or an  Eventide H9 they simply plug it into the FX Loop. That’s the way it is. 
 

As you have already said: “There are some things that work in a particular way and you can't change it.”

 

I wish you well in your search for the audio nirvana you seek - try hooking up a Helix to Logic and some plug-ins.

 

 

If other companies had somebody like you, they would end up not modeling this stuff, because of listed above. However, they made it - all kinds of stuff. And a preset-pack with all studio gear baked-in for famous modeller sells out very well. There are no people complaining about having all this. Well, everyone have their a-ha moment in different time and place. Peace, I wont bore you more with this

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1 hour ago, datacommando said:


Well, that maybe because you arrived with a post about “our lovely Helix products” that is actually a 5 paragraph critique of what is missing from something that both “cruisinon2” and I have been using for the last five years. It appears that we both have simply pointed out things that we didn’t agree with, which was most of your ideas. What did you expect to happen? This is not Line 6 fan boy nonsense, we use this stuff on a daily basis and are aware of the good points of the Helix and it’s short comings.

 

Using Helix as a recording tool allows me to capture decent guitar tone at a good level without the fuss of isolation and microphones. All that other stuff like tape saturation and esoteric reverbs, and even vinyl crackle and pop can be added then, if I wanted them. People using Helix products in a live context will have a different set of things that they like. So if they want to patch in a third party item such as Ditto x4 looper, a Strymon Big Sky, or an  Eventide H9 they simply plug it into the FX Loop. That’s the way it is. 
 

As you have already said: “There are some things that work in a particular way and you can't change it.”

 

I wish you well in your search for the audio nirvana you seek - try hooking up a Helix to Logic and some plug-ins.

 

 

 

Appreciated, but actually I could care less if he likes his Helix or not, lol... everybody's entitled to their own

opinion. Just because it suits me doesn't mean that it's for everybody, but I digress.

 

My frustration was due to the fact that he continued to assert that amorphous, perceptual ideas like "ambience" and "feel" are not the entirely subjective notions that they are, but rather universally perceived concepts which can somehow be subjected to meaningful analysis. It's like arguing over the merits of brussel sprouts... you love them, I hate them. Great. Who "wins"? Then to follow it with a request of product designers to magically bake his fondest desires into a firmware update that would then instantly provide his personal version of tonal bliss... it's ridiculous at face value, and just another "If only..." thread.

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4 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

If other companies had somebody like you, they would end up not modeling this stuff, because of listed above. However, they made it - all kinds of stuff. And a preset-pack with all studio gear baked-in for famous modeller sells out very well. There are no people complaining about having all this. Well, everyone have their a-ha moment in different time and place. Peace, I wont bore you more with this


It appears fairly obvious to me that English is not your first language, and therefore some of your concept may be a little too complex to get across clearly. I am not trying to be offensive, your English is better than anything I could do in another language. Possibly I don’t have a full understanding of your idea which seems to be very important to you. Although, having said that, I find it odd that you would mention other high end modellers that have the tools you are talking about”. If that is the case why do you choose a piece of equipment that does not feature those things you feel are so important?
 

All I can say is that I hope you can understand when I say “you are trying to re-invent the wheel”.

 

Stay safe out there.

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11 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

we need dedicated effects to give style and character to our tones - invisible air reverb, vinyl and tape saturation, analogue gear coloration and compression.

 

The Helix includes a handful of great post-production style effects (Tube Mic Pre, LA Studio Comp, 3 Band Comp, Parametric EQ, etc... ) ... and although I agree I would like to see more, I don't feel limited by only having what we already have. 

 

4 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

Simple objective truth:
1. Helix doesn't have dedicated saturation block

2. You can't use EQ or Compression to do what saturation does
3. Some other Hi-End modelers have some form of saturation that are not pedals or amps, or at least gives you opportunity to control that in power-amp section

 

Why did you move the goal posts with #3? Throughout this thread you are talking about console/tape saturation, yet here you bring up "power amp saturation".  FYI: If you use the full model of an Amp in the Helix... the power amp saturation for each amp is modelled as well. BUT - this has nothing to do with post production effects... it's raw amp tone! 

 

I somewhat disagree with bullet #2: Just before saturation occurs on a TAPE or TUBE device, it is preceded by compression! "First it compresses, then it Saturates". You can get the compression feel with an LA Studio Comp.... but it won't saturate! 

 

Currently... for post production saturation the Tube Mic Pre is your best bet. It simulates a console input, and can be pushed in a similar manner. Just like a console, you push it to far, and it's melts down in anger - LOL!  A little goes a long way with this one! 

 

11 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

Even on this forum you can find some recommendations about ... 
.... Tube Mic Pre early in chain


IMO... only when the source is acoustic or a MIC. On electric presets I would add this after the CAB/MIC... as it would appear in a real setup. 

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