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Output to audio interface too loud when adding amps


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When adding any amp into the signal chain, the output of my Helix LT increases enormously. For example, if I connect to an audio interface, the gain would be at around noon without an amp. I have to take it down below 9 when adding an amp. This goes for all amps, and all presets (because they all have amps in them). 

I have updated firmware yesterday, I have gone back to factory settings and I have updated Helix Edit. 

The great majority of amps have master volume at 10 (some at 9) with channel volume around 7-10. I know I of course can just take these down, but it does not make sense that they should overdrive that much straight from the factory. When I check with other Helix owner, they do not hear a volume difference when they turn an amp on or off (based on factory settings). 

I use a FocusRite Clarett AI, but the same thing happens when using just a basic Palmer DI. 

Possibly related to this: Any distortion (via an amp or a pedal) only sounds reasonably ok when using the pad. Without the pad, I get an unpleasant, rough and non-harmonic sound.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. 

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Ummm....the primary purpose of an AMPLIFIER is to make the signal LOUDER.

If the default setting of the MASTER is 10, that means that ITRW, the amplifier DOES NOT HAVE a Master Volume (NMV).

Reducing the Master on those amps will affect the way that the Power Amp section responds, which is usually undesirable.

The purpose of the Input Gain knob on your Audio Interface is to adjust for differences in Input Levels.

The OUTPUT LEVEL Knob on the LT, at MAX, sends a UNITY (0db)signal. That's what you want going to the AI.

EDIT: if the signal is just too hot to be adjusted at the AI Input, you've probably got a problem in the Gain Staging of your preset. If the Preset itself is not distorting unpleasantly (digital distortion), you can try reducing the Level at the Output Block.


IOW - your equipment is functioning as designed, you just need to learn how to use it. There are many instructional videos on YouTube, and most every AI mftr and DAW producer have IVs on their sites. Sweetwater also has many IVs.

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 Don't know the FocusRite Clarett AI (have the Scarlett myself) but if you connect through mic inputs on AI set output from Helix to instrument level to the appropriate output you use. You change this in global setting. If you have a line input use that and line out on Helix. Rest as rd2rk and Smalle. 


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You dont have to add any audio interface gain to your Helix signal, since this one is already at line level. Just set your Focursite inputs at line level (adjust input volume if needed, NOT GAIN), and final levels in the DAW.

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I suspect it may be karma.  I know that when I eat 6 meals a day rather than 3 I get fatter.  When I drive twice the speed limit I go to jail more often, and when I drink twice as much alcohol I turn into an alcoholic.  It's a very suspicious set of actions and results isn't it???

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Thanks, everybody. I really appreciate you spending time on helping me. What an amazing resource! Still, it does not address my issue. Probably because I am bad at describing it. 


The whole thing is based on an experience of not getting anywhere near the tones that I was expecting. Specifically, I get tones which are either flat or unpleasant. 


I cannot find one single preset which sounds musical and reasonably correct. That is not what I hear from other users. To make sure the issue is with the Helix, I have tested with several guitars, via line and instrument outputs, with studio headsets, with various amps, etc. Still the same issue.


The tones that I get are hard to describe. Any level of gain or distortion sounds rough, not harmonic. It is not a clipping issue - I have checked. I have checked all the equipment by using instead Neural DSP. There, all the presets sound good right away (and I can easily dial them into something great). 


I thought the issue was somehow with the huge gain increase which any amp gives me. But maybe that is not the issue.


What I was hoping for was some advice on narrowing the issue down to something practical. Some way of diagnosing. At the moment, my plan is to go to Neural DSP exclusively. It is just such a shame to never get the Helix to work properly. 


Any ideas would be welcome. 

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24 minutes ago, samiyounes said:

The tones that I get are hard to describe.


Instead of using hundreds of words to describe something cant be described, we only need to know few things to (try) to help;


  1. How are you listening the Helix. Speakers, monitors, headphones etc. Give us details about that.
  2. Describe EXACTLY your signal, from the start to the end. Routing and everything.
  3. Describe your Helix Global Settings for the signal. In and Outs, and FX Loops if being used
  4. Give people a reference, like a specific preset name you are using, something to put everyone on the same page.
  5. Dont do comparisons with other things, like plugins or other devices, this never helps and sometimes may sounds a flame starter, especially on a first ever post.
  6. If possible, keeps other stuff out of the equation (PCs, audio interfaces, pedals etc)


This could be a good start. :)

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1 hour ago, samiyounes said:

The tones that I get are hard to describe...


Subjective descriptions of guitar tones are largely worthless anyway, no matter how fancy the adjectives, or how florid the prose... in much the same way as listening to the wine snob at the vineyard wax poetic about "citrus notes, earthy undertones, and a velvety nose" won't tell me if l'm gonna like it or not. There's only one way to find out, and this scenario is no different.


Absent a sound clip and/or more info about what's in your signal chain...specifically what you've got going on for cabs/IR's, any additional EQ, and what you're listening through... it will be virtually impossible to diagnose what the issue is from afar. Plus, the ugly truth that nobody ever wants to hear is that 99.97% of the time the problem ain't the gear...no matter how comforting it might be to lay the blame at it's feet.


My gut reaction (if you're new to modeling) is to say that you just don't know what you're doing yet. That's not a dig... nobody does at first. Modelers are not amps, and attempting to dial in sounds as you would if it were your favorite tube amp and cabinet  will yield disappointing (if not outright nauseating) results.


Check out Jason Sadites' YouTube channel for some excellent Helix- specific tutorials for all the how's and why's of creating tones.

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