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loydall

Amp/Cab (real) recommendations

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Hi. I've gone through various combinations over the years, FRFR, solid state amp into a cab, valve amp etc.. And I've come to the conclusion that (for me) I love having a real amp to play through and I didn't really get on with FRFR (no need to debate which is "best", this is just my personal preference).

 

But - I also love my helix.

 

My current set up is running in 4CM into a valve amp. I sometimes use the preamps in the helix and go straight to the powerstage of the amp or I sometimes use the actual valve preamp of my amp... Depending on the tone I'm after. This way I get best both of worlds and still get to have my amp in the room.

 

However - I'have also played the helix into a solid state amp head and then into a cab before and that sounded great. 

 

My thinking is, if you're going to use the helix as your preamp/amp then you're better off using a solid state head as your powerstage as it won't colour the sound of the helix in any way as there are no more tubes involved in the chain. In theory it should offer a cleaner/truer sound.

 

Plus - getting old/arthritic etc I don't want to be lugging my 2x12 combo amp around too much more.

 

So - I'm thinking the ideal setup would be some sort of head with a tube preamp and solid state powerstage and then I could run the helix in 4cm into that and still get my tube fix when I wanted to keep things simple but then also get the best of the helix when I run it into the solid state powerstage.... And then hook it up to a cab.

 

That's my idea anyway. Does such a head/amp exist? Any recommendations? 

 

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A lot of the character of an tube amp is the way the power stage reacts/distorts/compresses when you push it.  If you like the modeling in the helix (and I think it is great, btw), then by all means a SS power amp could be the way to go, especially if you are trying to cut down on weight.  There are a lot of options out there for combining a tube preamp and SS power amp, it just depends on what form factor you are looking for.  Since you mention going light (weight), you might consider separate units for the tube preamp, SS power amp and cab--that would let you mix/match to get exactly the tone you want without committing to having all the pieces in one cabinet.  Not an exhaustive list by any means, but here are a few options:

 

Carvin tube pre, SS power.  Both stomp format:

https://carvinaudio.com/collections/on-sale/products/x1-tube-preamp-and-100w-amplifier-combo

 

Victory V4 tube pres:

https://www.victoryamps.com/pedal-preamps

 

Seymour Duncan SS power stages made specifically for all pedal setups:

https://www.seymourduncan.com/products/pedal-amps

 

Keep in mind, though that with this approach, the cab *will* color your tone if you are going with anything other than FRFR.

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Noting that I too am an old bugger who hates the weight of tube amps, but yes enjoys their sound.

 

Have you tried a PowerCab using the speaker sim functionality - that 'might' work for you as a combined SS amp and 'in the room' speaker combo that is light weight, and conects digitally to the Helix.

 

Full disclosure - I mix and match between PC+ in FRFR and DT25s depending on circumstances. My band has a preference for the DTs and I've not fully worked through the Speaker sim approach with the PC+.

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HI,

 

I keep tossing these ideas around also.  I see there are a bunch of "Hybrid" amps out there that have a tube in their preamp and use a class D power section. 

 

On Amazon, I see several by Orange, and Joyo among others.  I have no experience with these.

 

My beloved Line 6 DT25 is the opposite using a hybrid digital preamp with a tube power amp with the flexibility to change amp topologies from within helix patches.  It really sounds great.   I still have to admin I use my Powercab+ 112 the most.   But I found recently, If I hook up the L6Link cable to my DT25 first, and then a jumper to the Powercab+, both work together!   I don't have the control over the powercab when I do that and there is no stereo, but I like getting a dual cab sound.

 

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52 minutes ago, jonandtice said:

I haven't used one but the BluGuitar Amp1 uses a "nanotube" as seems like it somewhat gets the tube thing?

The Amp1 has a four channel solid state preamp section and a hybrid classD/nanotube power amp.

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Thanks for your responses all. I quite like the idea of the Victory preamp with a powerStage 170. Could still fit on my board and that PowerStage 170 looks pretty decent.

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Victory makes some cool stuff. My gig rig was a v40 into a UAD OX for a couple years. Still miss it sometimes. You might want to look into an OX or another cab sim (two notes etc) if you're trying to cut weight but still want a tube head.

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Hi loydall, hi everyone,

I'm looking at buying a Helix for using it in 4CM, and you guys can probably help me with a programming question. I would like to do two different setups:

a) Helix in 4CM with my Hughes & Kettner Grandmeister Deluxe Tube Amp, using the real amp's pre-amp stage for most sounds (for bigger gigs)

b) Helix-only setup into PA/FOH (for small gigs or rehearsals)

I wouldn't want to create two sets of patches for everything. Can you use a global variable, or a global switch, or whatever it's called in the Helix world to simply switch between the setups? So, for example, in setup a) the presets 1, 3 and 5 would use the real amp's preamp stage in 4CM. And if I want setup b) I just change one bit in the general settings and presets 1, 3 and 5 use some Helix preamp. Is it that simple?

 

thanks,

Robert

 

P.S.: I've seen other people use the Helix in combination with a Palmer Macht 402 19" SS amplifier, seems to work well.

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