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shawnt113

Amp Drive modeling improvements

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What I would love to see in the Helix is improvement to the amp modeling. I feel the amps are a little dark but aside from that  the overall “tone” tones are close (enough), but where they really could use some attention is the characteristics of how the amp breaks up. I know I’ll take some heat for this but the amp breakup isn’t there, it’s not the same as the real world amps I’ve had experience with and it doesn’t compete with my Axe Fx II which is  now a legacy product. 
 

I really think this is something that keeps the Helix  from being in then next tier of modeling units.

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Which of the offending Helix modeled amps do you currently own? I ask because:

 

"Acoustic Memory. Can hold information for up to two or three seconds."

 

It might be helpful to the L6 engineers, who compared the actual amps they modeled to the modeled amps, to make some comparison clips to send them so that they can hear exactly what you're talking about.

 

I would argue that if you no longer own the amps in question, then you're comparing the modeled amps to an idealized memory.

Even worse if you're comparing the modeled amps to so-and-so's recording of such-and-such song recorded in some-studio-or other and engineered by "THAT guy".

 

Also, some have argued that the perception of the AXE amps sounding "better" is based on the AXE amps having been "smoothed out" (got no idea what that means, just repeating what I've read over on TGP), vs the Helix amps, which are more "RAW" (authentic?) sounding.

 

And then there's the difference between the sound of a tube amp through a cab and the Helix sound through....?

 

Finally, the number of well recorded comparisons of Helix vs AXE vs "The Real Deal", where nobody could consistently tell the difference, even when actually playing the parts, is considerable.

 

We'd ALL like to hear the Helix/AXE/KPA updated to sound even realer than real, and I'm sure they will be. Soon....

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And why would your subjective opinion be somehow better than the vast multitude of those of us who have been successfully using Helix for years now...some of which own or have owned other brands of modelers and profilers such as those you've mentioned and still prefer the Helix?

You, of course are entitled to your subjective opinion, but that's yours and yours alone....which has no comparison at all to the objective process used on ALL modelers of measuring the inputs and outputs of the circuits in the actual amps in question and simulating those exact measurements in mathematical calculations via a DSP processor.  Sorry, but I'll take the math every single time over any subjective opinion that's not mine.

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@shawnt113, Would you post which firmware version is loaded in your Helix?

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6 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

I feel the amps are a little dark but aside from that ....

 

Right out of the gate I have a very different experience than you. I find Helix models to be rather bright for my liking... but believe this is more about the cab models/mic positions than the amps. 

 

6 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

the amp breakup isn’t there, it’s not the same as the real world amps I’ve had experience

 

I think it would be very helpful if we knew which "real world amps" you might be referring to. The amps I have experience with... the Helix models are very accurate. Some better than others, but overall - quite good! 

 

If I had dark presets and gain that was misbehaving I'd be taking a hard look at the input impedance settings and/or the input chain in general. 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, MusicLaw said:

@shawnt113, Would you post which firmware version is loaded in your Helix?

I am running 3.0

 

3 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

Right out of the gate I have a very different experience than you. I find Helix models to be rather bright for my liking... but believe this is more about the cab models/mic positions than the amps. 

 

 

I think it would be very helpful if we knew which "real world amps" you might be referring to. The amps I have experience with... the Helix models are very accurate. Some better than others, but overall - quite good! 

 

If I had dark presets and gain that was misbehaving I'd be taking a hard look at the input impedance settings and/or the input chain in general. 

 

 

 

 

When I say dark I should have clarified, its not the overall tone of the Helix but its the tone and behavior of the Drive/Break up or virtual input, like the input is too dark or something, its almost like the same effect when  you take a Mesa Mark series and turn up the bass knob. . Its hard to explain really, it got a little better once I messed with the impendence settings but only a  little better.

 

As for real world amps I have reference to from in person quality experience: 5150, JCM 800, Diezel VH4, Uberschall, Shiva (which no one has gotten that one right), Dual Rec, Soldano (though limited and a while since). These are the ones that from experience I feel need attention in the way the amps distort. 

 

5 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

And why would your subjective opinion be somehow better than the vast multitude of those of us who have been successfully using Helix for years now...some of which own or have owned other brands of modelers and profilers such as those you've mentioned and still prefer the Helix?

You, of course are entitled to your subjective opinion, but that's yours and yours alone....which has no comparison at all to the objective process used on ALL modelers of measuring the inputs and outputs of the circuits in the actual amps in question and simulating those exact measurements in mathematical calculations via a DSP processor.  Sorry, but I'll take the math every single time over any subjective opinion that's not mine.

 

I get what you are saying and you are right that our opinions are subjective but there is still something about the way Helix does amp distortion and Fractal does that aren't in the same league. Its just not close, I notice it most when I go back to the Axe fx from playing the Helix, and when it comes to Native, forget about it.The Line 6 Helix algorithms for amp distortion both pre and power just aren't as realistic as Fractal Audio. I also get what its like to have a vested interest in wanting your gear to stand up, I would LOVE the Helix to be good enough for me to sell my Axe Fx II while I still could get some money out of it, while its sufficient for live use, especially given the floor units convenience when it comes to recording, its just not.  I know more than a fair share of Youtubers who highlight both units that privately admit that the while the Helix is great kit, its not on the same level as the Axe Fx. 

 

I am pretty sure by how you worded your original reply you are going to come out swinging but I am not looking a fight, I am just being honest, so anything I am saying that is contrary is with respect. I can speak on this matter as I have the first hand experience with both, and if anything, my bias leans towards the Helix because I WANT it to replace the Axe Fx, and I have owned and still do many L6 pieces of gear since 2001 and on so L6 has a special place in my heart. 

 

The last thing I would say about your take on subjective, math, DSP etc is that by your rationale A.I. music mastering should be as good as if not better than tracks mastered my mastering engineers with training, experience and the right room. I think we can all agree that is not the case. 

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Wrong way to start a topic: "This Helix thing suuuucks!!!1!1!"

 

Right way:

Example1.mp3

Example2.mp3

Guys, what am I doing wrong with my Helix for it to sound THAT bad? 

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4 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

When I say dark I should have clarified, its not the overall tone of the Helix but its the tone and behavior of the Drive/Break up or virtual input, like the input is too dark or something, its almost like the same effect when  you take a Mesa Mark series and turn up the bass knob. . Its hard to explain really, it got a little better once I messed with the impendence settings but only a  little better.

This is odd and suggests to me that something else is going on, because the default (Auto setting) impedance for most of the Helix amps, as far as I'm aware, is 1MOhm. Adjusting the impedance should only make them darker, because you can only go lower from 1MOhm. 1MOhm input impedance gives you the brightest tone vs. lower values.

Are you making this assessment with nothing else in the chain? If not, pedals in front of the amp could be adjusting the impedance lower. There's a new Global setting in v3.0 which is "First Active" for the auto-impedance functionality, meaning if you bypass all your blocks in front of the Amp block, the Helix input will switch to the input impedance for the amp as if you were plugged straight into it. You also need to make sure that "Guitar In-Z" is set to "Auto" in your input block for this to work.

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4 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

 

The last thing I would say about your take on subjective, math, DSP etc is that by your rationale A.I. music mastering should be as good as if not better than tracks mastered my mastering engineers with training, experience and the right room. I think we can all agree that is not the case. 

 

Well, that wouldn't be "by my rationale", that would more precisely be "by your rationale".  My rationale wouldn't allow me to make that assumption since I recognize I would be comparing AI ( which is based on a simulation of heuristic processes) and modeling (which is based on absolute measurements and mathematical calculations) and are not equally effective at what they do just because they might both be done on computers.

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3 hours ago, Zelll said:

Wrong way to start a topic: "This Helix thing suuuucks!!!1!1!"

 

Right way:

Example1.mp3

Example2.mp3

Guys, what am I doing wrong with my Helix for it to sound THAT bad? 

 

I never said the Helix sucks. I said, truthfully so, that the amp distortion modeling needs improvement.  I also never said it sounds “THAT” bad, I did however say that the amp distortion modeling is not in the same league as the Axe FX, also saying that I notice it most when I go back to the Axe FX from the Helix. If I never had an Axe Fx then maybe I wouldn’t k is better but I do and I do.

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8 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

When I say dark I should have clarified, its not the overall tone of the Helix but its the tone and behavior of the Drive/Break up or virtual input, like the input is too dark or something, its almost like the same effect when  you take a Mesa Mark series and turn up the bass knob. . Its hard to explain really, it got a little better once I messed with the impendence settings but only a  little better.

 

Something is wrong.... and whatever is causing this to happen is likely the reason why the breakup is not as you would expect. I've owned a MESA Mark Series and know the sound you are describing... I am pretty sure if that was normal, most of us here would not be owning a Helix. 

 

Please describe your chain, starting with the guitar and don't leave anything to be assumed. It would also be helpful if you could share your preset. 

 

8 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

As for real world amps I have reference to from in person quality experience: 5150, JCM 800, Diezel VH4, Uberschall, Shiva (which no one has gotten that one right), Dual Rec, Soldano (though limited and a while since). These are the ones that from experience I feel need attention in the way the amps distort. 

 

Admittedly, I am not a high gain player so I can't comment on any of these amps other than the JCM800 which I find quite realistic in regards to breakup. You can line up a dozen JCM 800's and they will all sound/behave very different... similar, but different. The model in the Helix is just another variation... not to mention the mod model also included in the Helix. 

 

8 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

I notice it most when I go back to the Axe fx from playing the Helix, and when it comes to Native, forget about it.

 

The Helix and Native sound the same, as long as I/O is equal. If they sound different to you, then you have not optimized one, the other, or both! 

 

 

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5 hours ago, shawnt113 said:

 

I never said the Helix sucks. I said, truthfully so, that the amp distortion modeling needs improvement.  I also never said it sounds “THAT” bad, I did however say that the amp distortion modeling is not in the same league as the Axe FX, also saying that I notice it most when I go back to the Axe FX from the Helix. If I never had an Axe Fx then maybe I wouldn’t k is better but I do and I do.

 

So the solution is obvious. Sell the Helix that you can't figure out and keep the AXE that you love.

 

OR you COULD provide the requested details of your signal chain (including playback/monitoring system), sound samples (with recording details) and a sample preset.

Your memories of long gone amps, regardless of whatever extensive experience you had with them back then (my question was, what amps do you have NOW), is useless to us. We can't help you if you won't cooperate with the troubleshooting process.

 

 

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