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Picksalotmore

HX Stomp sounds better when HX Edit is running. Why?

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I've had my HX Stomp for a little over 5 months, and noticed something odd since first getting they it. The Presets on the HX Stomp sound noticeably better "after" I launch HX Edit on my PC. Initially, I thought it was because I was new to the Stomp, had a lot to learn, and was sorting out some other tone issues.

 

I feel pretty comfortable with the Stomp now, and yesterday (after doing some mods on my guitar) I notice the problem again. The sound from the Stomp was not very good, and I initially thought I'd messed up some guitar wiring. But, the moment I launched HX Edit my "good" Preset sounds came back. Specifically, with HX Edit launched, my Stomp is louder, warmer, more dynamic and alive, and sounds like higher fidelity.

 

I don't know why that happens. It's as if the HX Edit on my computer has updated/better information on it, and that information only gets sent to the Stomp after I turn on the HX Edit. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Do you you know what causes it and how to solve it?

 

This phenomenon may account for some of the complaints that the HX Stomp doesn't sound good. It doesn't sound good until I turn my HX Edit on, and after I do it sounds totally awesome, as I've figured out how to dial in the sounds I like. Thanks in advance.

 

System Information: Windows 10 Pro, latest HX Firmware 3.11 and HX Edit.

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Just to be sure, everything is working on a clean slate, (i.e. all the software and drivers are up to date), I would reinstall all your Helix Firmware and HX Edit on your Windows 10 Pro computer and your HX Stomp. After completing that entire procedure, do a Power On Factory Reset on your HX Stomp. Then, do a Presets Rebuild Power On sequence on the HX Stomp for any Presets that you may have Backed Up during the update procedure and subsequently Restored afterwards. If still no good, open a Support Ticket with Line 6 for them to assist further.  

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@MusicLaw - I did all the steps you suggested when I updated from 3.01 to 3.10 and 3.11, including the Factory Reset, and restored the Backup I made of my Presets. I'll wait a little bit to give some time for others to chime in. If no solutions emerge, I'll open up a Support Ticket. Thanks

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How are you monitoring the Stomp and how is it connected for output?  HXEdit has nothing to do with processing the Helix signal chain, but it may have something to do with your USB connection to your PC.

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No difference here, I even tried just in case I'd simply never noticed before but, no difference.

 

15 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

How are you monitoring the Stomp and how is it connected for output?  HXEdit has nothing to do with processing the Helix signal chain, but it may have something to do with your USB connection to your PC.

 

This.

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@DunedinDragon - My signal path is fairly complex. Here it is: in 3 parts:

 

 

1. HX Stomp USB to Laptop running Windows 10 Pro.

2. Guitar Cable mono > Y splitter cable > HX Stomp Input L + R > HX Stomp Output L + R > Mixer Input Channel 7/8 L + R > Mixer Phones Output > Audio Selector Box  > Studio Monitor Headphones.

3. JamMan Stereo Aux Input > Y Splitter > one side to Mixer Tape Input L + R, and the other side to Audio Selector Box.

 

I did a couple more tests:

A. I monitored a Preset on the HX Stomp directly from its Output jack using Studio Monitor Headphones, and then launched HX Edit on my laptop. As one might expect, there was no difference in the sound of the Presets.

B. I then monitored the same Preset via my complex signal path described above, and used the same Studio Monitor Headphones (not connected directly to the HX Stomp as in test B). I then launched HX Edit on my laptop and the sound of the Presets improved. All other connections and signal path remained the same. It sounds so awesome this way. I'd sure like to know why.

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2 hours ago, Picksalotmore said:

@DunedinDragon - My signal path is fairly complex. Here it is: in 3 parts:

 

 

1. HX Stomp USB to Laptop running Windows 10 Pro.

2. Guitar Cable mono > Y splitter cable > HX Stomp Input L + R > HX Stomp Output L + R > Mixer Input Channel 7/8 L + R > Mixer Phones Output > Audio Selector Box  > Studio Monitor Headphones.

3. JamMan Stereo Aux Input > Y Splitter > one side to Mixer Tape Input L + R, and the other side to Audio Selector Box.

 

I did a couple more tests:

A. I monitored a Preset on the HX Stomp directly from its Output jack using Studio Monitor Headphones, and then launched HX Edit on my laptop. As one might expect, there was no difference in the sound of the Presets.

B. I then monitored the same Preset via my complex signal path described above, and used the same Studio Monitor Headphones (not connected directly to the HX Stomp as in test B). I then launched HX Edit on my laptop and the sound of the Presets improved. All other connections and signal path remained the same. It sounds so awesome this way. I'd sure like to know why.

 

Just curious, why are you splitting your guitar's output via a splitter cable to the HX Stomp?  What happens when you use a standard mono guitar cable without the splitter? It could be this or something else related to how you are connected as DunedinDragon alluded to. I would start by removing one thing at a time while HX Edit is connected to troubleshoot until the "improved" sound goes away.  Also, unlikely but you can try eliminating electrical power as a possibility.  Try splitting your devices across a different circuit than the Stomp if possible.

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5 hours ago, Picksalotmore said:

 

2. Guitar Cable mono > Y splitter cable > HX Stomp Input L + R > HX Stomp Output L + R > Mixer Input Channel 7/8 L + R > Mixer Phones Output > Audio Selector Box  > Studio Monitor Headphones.

 

A. I monitored a Preset on the HX Stomp directly from its Output jack using Studio Monitor Headphones, and then launched HX Edit on my laptop. As one might expect, there was no difference in the sound of the Presets.

 

 

These two things tell you everything you need to know.  I think @HonestOpinion's advice is a good one to follow, and Id start with the mixer and/or the audio selector box.  The very fact you have a mixer means there are more than just the Helix coming into it so there's a whole world of things we're not being told about your entire signal chain and what it consists of.

At home when I practice and dial in presets I have a fairly complex setup myself and I'm always connected to my mixing board which is a QSC TM-30 which is primarily used to gain stage all my signal levels for live performances.  In addition to my guitar channel on the mixer attached via XLR outputs from the Helix, I also have a BeatBuddy connected vial XLR output to a different mixer channel, and the mixer has it's output going to a single Yamaha DXR12 speaker.  My Helix is also connected via USB to my laptop where I run HXEdit as well as play regular audio/video tracks which get played through the Helix outputs to the mixer via it's XLR connection to the mixer channel.  I control the volume of the audio tracks from the laptop, not the mixer.  All of this works reliably and consistently with no difference in output regardless of whether I'm running HXEdit or not.

I eventually intend to add an Aeros looper unit to my setup, but that will be connected the same as the BeatBuddy with it's output going direct to it's own mixing board channel.  Since I intend to only use it to play backing tracks I won't have a guitar signal going to it, but if I did want to use it that way I'd use a send and return.

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It sounds like what happens to me when my DAW is monitoring the Helix USB signal to the same monitors that the  Helix 1/4" outputs are going into. I end up with a duplicate signal that sounds bigger because it is louder and the DAW signal is imperceptibly delayed compared to the other one.

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@HonestOpinion - The reason I split the guitar's output via a splitter cable to the HX Stomp is that I might have I read something in the Manual about doing that. Anyhow, months ago when I tested going mono or using a splitter, the split version sounded better, so I've continued to use that setup.

 

@DunedinDragon - You've got and even more complex setup than I have. On my Mixer, everything I'm not using is turned off, so I'm only running the HX Stomp and my Laptop at the same time. There can be all kinds of unexpected interactions within the Mixer depending on how devices are connected.

 

@Jonandtice - It sounds like what's going on in your setup is probably what's going on in mine, though I'm not running my HX Stomp through a DAW. I'm guessing that the USB signal is going into my Laptop and then it's combining with the HX Stomp signal going directly into my Mixer producing that bigger sound as you described. I absolutely love that sound, so I want to understand how its happening so I can recreate it on the Stomp without being connected to my Mixer or Laptop. I'm curious, do you prefer the "duplicate signal" or the regular signal?

 

Thanks everyone for your comments, insights, and suggestions. I'll be looking into the USB Audio signal chain and its settings.

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A Y cable (with no DI) carrying the same signal to L/R inputs is not a good idea (i seriously doubt there is something like that in the manual). Just use a mono cable to HX Stomp L input.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Picksalotmore said:

The reason I split the guitar's output via a splitter cable to the HX Stomp is that I might have I read something in the Manual about doing that.

 

Hi, 

 

I think you may have misread the comment, in the manual, about using a Y cable. The reference is in respect of the ability to use 2 expression pedals with a TRS 1/4 Jack to a pair of TS Jack Plugs. The recommendations for input are either L & R for stereo, or, L for mono.

 

Follow the advice give bu “PierM” in the post above - “mono cable to HX Stomp L input”

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

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@datacommando - Here are a few interesting quotes from the Owner's Manual that affected my decision to connect my guitar as if it was a stereo device:

 

1. "INPUT L/MONO, RIGHT Connect your guitar, bass guitar, or mono pedals to the L/MONO input. Connect stereo pedals, keyboards, synths, or modelers to both the L/MONO and RIGHT inputs."

 

2. "The signal path in HX Stomp is stereo, carrying two channels of audio. When the device is fed a stereo input source (i.e., when discrete left and right signals are connected into the HX Stomp Left and Right input jacks), the source audio is processed discretely in stereo wherever stereo blocks are used within the path. Whenever a mono block is added within a path, both channels of audio are combined and sent out of the block as mono."
 

3. "Okay, this one’s for the  power users: If you move a Split > Y block all the way left, set its BalnceA to “L100” and its BalnceB to “R100,” you can process the L/MONO and RIGHT inputs independently. In addition, if you route the Mixer block to Path B (Send L/R), you can process two instruments simultaneously, each with its own mono input, stereo processing, and stereo outputs!"

 

My thinking:

1. The Stomp Inputs allow for either mono or stereo devices to be connected. I tested it - Stereo sounded better, and no phasing.

2. Connecting a device using both L + R jacks allows for more signal flexibility when using stereo blocks. I think that is good.

3. Proof of number 2.

 

I do have a pair of TS Jack Plugs into EXP 1/2 so I can get a couple more buttons available on my stomp, but they are used just for changing pages and views, are are not in the signal path.

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You guitar is NOT a stereo device. sigh... Helix can handle a stereo signal at the input (for stereo pedals), , but using a Y cable will cause a drop in the signal and a cut in frequencies. Result is, you are still feeding a MONO signal, just sounding crap.

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@PierM - It doesn't matter. I can still use Stereo Blocks in creative ways that I couldn't if the signal was a mono input.

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27 minutes ago, Picksalotmore said:

@PierM - It doesn't matter. I can still use Stereo Blocks in creative ways that I couldn't if the signal was a mono input.

 

Stereo spread happens at the output of the stereo blocks, so there is nothing creative feeding the Stomp with two mono input (causing impedance mismatches), as there is no stereo image to preserve. 

 

If you just plug guitar into L/Mono, and then add a stereo block in the patch, from there you have a stereo image.

 

If your goal is to make the guitar sounding bigger, using that Y cable is doing exactly the opposite.

 

Experiments are always good stuff, but my suggestion is (if you want to preserve the concept) to either use a buffered splitter (like a JHS), or a TB stereo pedal turned in bypass, just in front of HX. This way you should preserve the pickup loading and the tone. Still, Im not sure it will make your tone any better.

 

https://www.jhspedals.info/buffered-splitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@PierM - I appreciate your comments, but I've tested using the mono input and the stereo input repeatedly, and the stereo input consistently sounds significantly better on my setup. Words to the contrary are not going to change what I can hear with my own ears.

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46 minutes ago, Picksalotmore said:

@PierM - I appreciate your comments, but I've tested using the mono input and the stereo input repeatedly, and the stereo input consistently sounds significantly better on my setup. Words to the contrary are not going to change what I can hear with my own ears.

 

Fair enough.

 

My point is, it will be hard for people over here to help you, since nobody is connecting their guitars that way.

 

Good luck anyway. ;)

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On 5/15/2021 at 3:48 AM, Picksalotmore said:

that affected my decision to connect my guitar as if it was a stereo   


Once more - your guitar is not a stereo device. The stereo inputs are for the connection of stereo pedals, keyboards, synths, etc., for example a drum machine sending a stereo signal that will probably only require a reverb block after it. Or a synth pad, lead line, whatever that is already a stereo signal for added delay fx. What you are doing is creating a dual mono input, which is not the same.

 

What both “PierM” and I are suggesting is that you hit the input in mono from your guitar and then (as you, have actually quoted from the manual) - “a Split > Y block all the way left, set its BalnceA to “L100” and its BalnceB to “R100,” you can process the L/MONO and RIGHT inputs independently. In addition, if you route the Mixer block to Path B (Send L/R), you can process two instruments simultaneously, each with its own mono input, stereo processing, and stereo outputs!"

 

Anyhow, your original question was along the lines of why does it sound different - well that looks like it could be your approach to sound design. O.K., with all this stuff there are essentially no rules - “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. If it works for you - great, but the downside is if you ask for advice about something on this forum, then you are likely to be pointed in another direction by more seasoned users. If you chose to ignore that advice, maybe they will be unwilling to do so in future.

 

Also, you commented earlier, regarding the “duplicate signal” from your mixer and USB through your speakers -

I absolutely love that sound, so I want to understand how its happening so I can recreate it on the Stomp without being connected to my Mixer or Laptop.

Easy enough to create by using a very slight unmodulated delay of 5 to 12ms to replicate what you were hearing from the speakers. Make it even more obvious by using a dual pitch shift, only with no pitch change, with for example, a 8ms delay on the right, and a 10ms delay on the left.


Hope this helps/makes sense - possibly not!

 

 

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I finally figured out the cause of problem I was having, and was able to fix it.

 

1. My JamMan Stereo Looper is connected to a Channel strip on my Mixer.

2. At some point, I changed Channel strips due to noise on the Channel I had been using.

3. I did not notice that I moved it to a Channel strip that was set up so the "FX" output on that strip was sent to the Control Room "Phones" mix.

4. That caused the signal to go back again to the Looper. I discovered this when overdubbing a track on the Looper which was causing both phasing, and an increase in volume as it automatically overdubbed the track on every subsequent loop cycle.

5. I turned the "FX" on the Channel Strip down to zero, and the problem went away. The output of the Looper is no longer cycling through my Mixer and back into the Looper which I monitor with headphones.

6. I also removed the mono to stereo Y-cable I was using to connect the guitar to the Inputs on the Stomp, as it was no longer providing any benefit once the Looper problem was solved.

7. Previously, the volume of my Headphones Output directly from the HX Stomp was very low, even with the dial turned all the way up. That problem went away when I removed the stereo Y-cable.

 

Thanks everyone for all your help and suggestions, as they pointed me in the right direction, and I was finally able get this issue resolved. There was nothing wrong with the HX Stomp.

 

Thanks

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4 hours ago, Picksalotmore said:

There was nothing wrong with the HX Stomp.

 

 

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