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tafkam

Helix directly in MAC or through extra Audio Interface?

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Hi Helix community, 

 

what do you think it´s better for recording (amateur home recording). 

Use the internal Helix audio Interface directly to connect with my MAC via USB for recording? Or go with the signal through an Focusrite and then into the Mac?

 

Best from Berlin!

 

Michael

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From my experimenting (Helix Stomp USB out, or audio out through an Apollo Twin), I think the recording quality was equal. But you also have to look at your workflow, and convenience.

 

For me, I also record with microphones (through the Apollo). And I use two sets of monitors coming out of the Apollo. I'm on a Mac running Logic Pro. At first I tried using an "Aggregate Device" but found it to be unreliable on my system. So now I run my Helix Stomp through the Apollo, and everything is working perfectly for my needs.

 

I think if I was doing guitar only, I might use the USB for recording due to the reamping capability. But I also have Helix Native, so I now only use the Stomp's USB for MIDI control.

 

PS.Berlin is a great city. I visited there about 5 years after the wall came down and loved visiting both the east and west sides and seeing the contrast at that time. Also spent a lot of time at Brandenburg Gate buying odd trinkets and souvenirs. I still have a bunch of cheap Soviet watches that are still working.

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3 hours ago, tafkam said:

Hi Helix community, 

 

what do you think it´s better for recording (amateur home recording). 

Use the internal Helix audio Interface directly to connect with my MAC via USB for recording? Or go with the signal through an Focusrite and then into the Mac?

 

Best from Berlin!

 

Michael


Hi, Michael,

 

I use my Helix floor unit hooked up to my Mac via USB to record directly into Logic Pro X. I also have my powered studio monitors connected from the XLR our on the back of the Helix. This allow me to monitor the audio without any latency and record the processed audio signal in stereo from USB 1&2 along with the dry guitar signal from USB 7. The dry audio can be used to re-amp back through the Helix hardware, or through the Helix Native plugin within Logic.

 

I used to have a Focusrite Saffire, but stopped using it when I got the Helix and a new iMac Retina 5k and could no longer efficiently use the FireWire connections on the Focusrite. Not using a second interface means one less stage of analog/digital conversion. It’s a personal thing, if you already have the Focusrite, you could try it and see if it is a better workflow system for you. Many Helix users have another audio interface for recording - the UA Apollo Twin seem to be a big favourite with all the extra plugin features and Thunderbolt, but is quite expensive.

 

Essentially - it’s personal preference.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

 

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So ..... there is a lot of flexibility! I suggest trying different things and seeing what works best for you. The main difference I saw was in recording levels: through USB the audio recording seemed too low (even though they are not), and with the Apollo I had more control of the recording level (which was only a problem when I was going in Helix; I had to dial the input down accordingly.)

 

@datacommando - I was also concerned about the extra D/A and A/D (it seems like you would logically have some deterioration), but I could hear no difference, and also read some interesting info online that indicated you'd have to go back and forth with the signal many times before you could hear any audio changes.

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OK so here is my question for the thread. I use logic Pro X, scarlet 18i8 as the interface, and pre-Sonus HP 4 so  that my band can listen with headphones. We use a Roland TD 25 electronic drum set and superior Drummer 3. My question is how do I send a dry signal from the helix LT to the DAW, so that it is editable later, but also so that I can use the processed signal for playing with the band where we can all listen at the same time, And I can retain the benefit of using all the different processed sounds so that we can get the right feel while we’re recording the music. I have seen so many videos about reamping, but they all involve using the helix as the interface. I do not want to do that because then I lose the output signal and the only one that can hear it is me through the helix, thank you in advance everybody

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I am using a Samson MDA1 active DI box to split the guitar signal. Then one signal can go (dry) into your DAW, and the other can go into your Helix for processing (and the L/R or mono outputs can go into your monitoring system).

 

The MDA1 is a quality piece of kit, comparable to a Radial DI but more affordable. You can power it via phantom power (dry guitar signal, XLR cable into your Scarlet).

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Ty! My next step was that! I was hoping there was a way to wire the helix Lt and do it all from within, but your way is probably better- direct path to the daw

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I have been recording guitars for over a year by connecting the Helix to my Macbook pro with the USB, and recording into Garage Band and later Logic.  No issues whatsoever.  My presets are already balanced and gig-ready, so I get the same exact sound, without any chance of extra/not enough gain.  

 

Sometimes I record by taking left and right line-level 1/4 inch out, with volume at 3 o'clock to the interface with very similar results.  In this song, I recorded guitars both ways, simply because there was an interface where I was recording guitars.  Later on I recorded some more guitar parts at home using the USB cable.  

 

 

 

 

And here, I recorded guitars exclusively through the USB into Garage Band.  I had no choice, because .... lockdowns, and we wanted to put out an album.  

 

 

 

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On 6/12/2021 at 10:46 PM, georgevoigt said:

I was hoping there was a way to wire the helix Lt and do it all from within


Hi,

 

There is a way to do it all from within the HXLT. See the info and diagram on page 70 in the Helix LT 3.0 Owner’s Manual - Rev C - English.
 

I use the D.I. dry signal so I have the option to re-amp either using my Helix floor, or Helix Native inside Logic Pro X. You can record your processed signal from you LT using USB channels 1&2. The dry signal is recorded from either USB  channel 7 or 8.

Give it a try before spending money when the option to record the dry audio is already built in.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

 

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As you can see, there are lots of options .... you gotta pick the one that fits your workflow and studio set up. A great thing about Helix is how flexible and adaptable it is! I choose the split path method (using a DI and audio interface) only because it works best for my workflow and studio setup. The "built in" USB direct method will get you to the same great sound.

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On 4/16/2021 at 7:00 PM, datacommando said:

I used to have a Focusrite Saffire, but stopped using it when I got the Helix and a new iMac Retina 5k and could no longer efficiently use the FireWire connections on the Focusrite.

I too have had trouble with my old Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 interfaces in recent macOS versions. But what I have found is that the simple Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter Apple sells works fine even in Big Sur. I did have trouble getting the Saffire kernel extension to load. But that was because of other old kernel extensions that wouldn't load and needed to be deleted. I cleaned these all up and now its working fine. I have two of them and they are the heart of my studio. Its great that they keep on working. 

 

Regarding using Helix as an audio interface vs. something like the Saffire or Scarlett interfaces, it depends a bit on your workflow. I like having everything into Logic Pro X setup the same from project to project so there's no changing audio devices. This allows me to leave a lot of things setup and ready to record vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, etc. without having to do anything but move mics and pick up instruments.

 

One easy option with Helix floor is to use the SPD/IF output connected to the SPD/IF input on your audio interface if you have one. This allows you to use your audio interface, but go all digital from Helix, avoiding unnecessary conversions.

 

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8 hours ago, amsdenj said:

I like having everything into Logic Pro X setup the same from project to project so there's no changing audio devices. This allows me to leave a lot of things setup and ready to record vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, etc. without having to do anything but move mics and pick up instruments.

 

Same here. And ... all my monitoring (headphones, multiple speakers) is done through my Apollo/interface.

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