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HX Stomp Global Settings


alanault
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Hi guys! I'm new to the modeling world and was hoping you could help clarify some things for me.

 

I'm confused on how to set the global output on the HX Stomp. I will be running the Stomp (as an amp replacement) to 3 different setups: a Harbinger M60 PA system, Cubase (via a Scarlett 212), and into a direct box (to FOH) for live playing. I've heard that it's best to change the default output from "inst" to "line" for these situations (as I'm not running into an amp) but wanted to see if anyone here had any insights. 

 

My other question is what cord is best to line out of the Stomp for these 3 situations. So far, for my home PA / DAW, I've just used a basic 1/4" guitar cable. That said, I was reading that many folks use a TRS to XLR cable. 

 

I really enjoy my sounds I've gotten in my headphones, PA, and DAW. But I haven't tried these in a live setting yet. I really want to create my presets at home in a way that they'll be comparable when I plug to play live through DI into a larger system. That said, I was hoping I had my global settings / cable correct from the start.

 

I appreciate any insights you may have!!

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Yes, you would typically use "Line" for anything other than going into the front panel of a guitar amp, although there are exceptions to every rule.  Start with "Line", and if it sounds ok, then you're ok. If something sounds off and using "Inst" solves it, then use "Inst".

 

As far as cables go, there's no difference in sound quality between an XLR cable and a 1/4" guitar cable. The difference is that an XLR cable will reject RF interference because it is a balanced cable. Simply, a balanced cable is actually two cables in one, with the same signal running through both cables, except the signal on the second cable is reverse polarity.  Both cables pick up the same interference (same polarity). The receiving device then restores the polarity of the signal coming from the second cable, which cancels out the interference. In theory it would make sense to just use balanced cables EVERYWHERE then, but in practice RF interference is not always a huge problem. It all comes down to cable length. The reason an unbalanced cable is typically used from a guitar to an amp is because guitarists usually stand near their amp and use a relatively short cable. The reason why the Helix provides a balanced output is because in many situations that output will be connected to a snake that might be hundreds of feet long to connect to the Front-of-House mixer somewhere out in the crowd. In that situation you definitely want a balanced connection, but if you're playing bars and other smaller venues, you might not see much benefit in using balanced connections. In my case, because I have a home studio and happen to own dozens of balanced XLR cables (because most, if not all, microphones have balanced outputs) and far less unbalanced guitar cables, I use XLR cables because I have them, not because they "sound better". If you don't own a lot of XLR cables, I think you can risk testing guitar cables to connect to a PA without resulting in a major disaster - they will sound fine. If you notice an amount of mains hum in your signal that is more than you're willing to accept, then go out and buy a couple of XLR cables.

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To answer your other question, if you need the 2i2 for a second instrument or mic, you can use the same connection as you use for the M60/FOH.

Otherwise, there's no need to use the 2i2, as your HXS is a fully functional Audio Interface. It also has the advantage of allowing you to record a DI track simultaneously with your HXS processed track for later re-amping with NATIVE or your amp sim/effects of choice.

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3 hours ago, zappazapper said:

Yes, you would typically use "Line" for anything other than going into the front panel of a guitar amp, although there are exceptions to every rule.  Start with "Line", and if it sounds ok, then you're ok. If something sounds off and using "Inst" solves it, then use "Inst".

 

As far as cables go, there's no difference in sound quality between an XLR cable and a 1/4" guitar cable. The difference is that an XLR cable will reject RF interference because it is a balanced cable. Simply, a balanced cable is actually two cables in one, with the same signal running through both cables, except the signal on the second cable is reverse polarity.  Both cables pick up the same interference (same polarity). The receiving device then restores the polarity of the signal coming from the second cable, which cancels out the interference. In theory it would make sense to just use balanced cables EVERYWHERE then, but in practice RF interference is not always a huge problem. It all comes down to cable length. The reason an unbalanced cable is typically used from a guitar to an amp is because guitarists usually stand near their amp and use a relatively short cable. The reason why the Helix provides a balanced output is because in many situations that output will be connected to a snake that might be hundreds of feet long to connect to the Front-of-House mixer somewhere out in the crowd. In that situation you definitely want a balanced connection, but if you're playing bars and other smaller venues, you might not see much benefit in using balanced connections. In my case, because I have a home studio and happen to own dozens of balanced XLR cables (because most, if not all, microphones have balanced outputs) and far less unbalanced guitar cables, I use XLR cables because I have them, not because they "sound better". If you don't own a lot of XLR cables, I think you can risk testing guitar cables to connect to a PA without resulting in a major disaster - they will sound fine. If you notice an amount of mains hum in your signal that is more than you're willing to accept, then go out and buy a couple of XLR cables.

 

Thanks for the detailed and clear response - much appreciation! I think you answered my question!

 

In the setting where I'm going to FOH, would there be a benefit to lining my 1/4" guitar cable into a DI verse running a TRS-to-XLR cable to FOH? Is this essentially the same thing, or would one method prove more beneficial?

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TRS to XLR-male cables are not common, and as a consequence are rather expensive. There would be no benefit to either scenarios in terms of sound quality, but at least in terms of cost and ease of acquiring the cables you need, a short 1/4" TS cable to a DI box would be the easiest solution.

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3 hours ago, zappazapper said:

The reason an unbalanced cable is typically used from a guitar to an amp is because guitarists usually stand near their amp and use a relatively short cable.

I doubt that. The  main reasons are tradition, cost efficiency and the industrial standard (guitars with simple electronics) - a balanced signal would need a more sophisticated amp input stage and guitars would need a balanced out and therefore active electronics.

3 hours ago, zappazapper said:

As far as cables go, there's no difference in sound quality between an XLR cable and a 1/4" guitar cable

I get your point - it's not the cable by itself that sounds better - but if one signal contains RF interference or ground hum noise and another doesn't which one of them sounds better?

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33 minutes ago, zappazapper said:

TRS to XLR-male cables are not common, and as a consequence are rather expensive. There would be no benefit to either scenarios in terms of sound quality, but at least in terms of cost and ease of acquiring the cables you need, a short 1/4" TS cable to a DI box would be the easiest solution.

 

$13.99

AmazonSmile: Monoprice 3ft Premier Series XLR Male to 1/4inch TRS Male 16AWG Cable (Gold Plated): Musical Instruments

 

I'll vouch for the quality of and warranty on Monoprice cables.

Even if you get two for stereo, still cheaper than a stereo DI Box.

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When playing live there is no need for DI's, you could typically go XLR straight from the Stomp to the desk/stage box.

Doing that though leaves you vulnerable to the phantom power on the XLR issue if that is an issue on the Stomp? I'm not sure. 

 

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2 hours ago, Schmalle said:

I get your point - it's not the cable by itself that sounds better - but if one signal contains RF interference or ground hum noise and another doesn't which one of them sounds better?

Short cable runs typically don't pick up enough interference to be an audible issue, so in that case a balanced cable will not provide a better SOUNDING signal. Sorry when I talk about "sound quality", I'm talking about what what we can hear, like what's within the limits of human hearing. I'm sure you could put an oscilloscope on a 6' unbalanced cable and prove that it's picking up interference vs. a 6' unbalanced cable, but unless it's something I can hear, it's not an issue for me. That's what I mean when I say "audible issue".

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