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DennisK012

Victory V4 tube amp with Helix floor

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I'm looking for a way to improve the "feel" of the Helix Floor. (more tube feel)

I am considering putting a Victory V4 tube amp (nice and small) in the FX loop of the Helix. (the Victory has an FX loop, but also a balanced line-out)

Is it ok/safe to send the balanced line-out from the Victory back into the Helix? So that I can send this signal through a cab sim or IR, and then output it to FOH?

 

so..
- Guitar into helix
- Sent from Helix to Victory guitar input
- Line out Victory to return helix (can the helix handle this?)
- Add effects and Cab-sim or IR
- Then send this signal to FOH and FRFR monitor.

 

or are there better options?

or maybe it's better to only use a tube preamp, since I'm not going to use a real speakercab on stage?

Does this addition of real tubes gives me more of that "feeling" I had with my tube amp? Or do I only get that back when using a real cab? (instead of hearing a DI signal into FRFR)

 

 

From the V4 Manual:

LINE OUT, (Balanced) The Line Out is a TRS socket allowing for balanced connection to a PA system or desk. The signal is Post-EQ and Effects Loop so all the Tone settings, Tremolo and Reverb effects will be included. It is also Post-FX so any pedals effects will also be included. The level of this signal is nominally 1.7Vrms, (+4dbu). This signal level is plenty to drive a desk

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"Feel" means something different to everyone who uses the word. Even if you tried to describe it, it wouldn't make any sense to me because I can't "feel" it through your senses.

Here's what I would do if I had that problem.

 

Purchase a HIGH QUALITY Reactive Load Box such as the Suhr Reactive Load.

 

Signal Path:

Guitar (cabled)>Helix (attn to Input Impedance settings)>FX>Helix Send 1>V4 Input>V4 Send>Helix Return 1>FX>Helix L/Mono Out>V4 Return>V4 Speaker Out>Reactive Load Box>RL Line Out>IR Loader (or back to Helix Return 2 for the IR)>IR Loader(or Helix Send 2)>FOH/FRFR

 

ALT Signal Path:

Guitar (cabled)>Helix (attn to Input Impedance settings)>FX>Helix Send 1>V4 Input>V4 Send>Helix Return 1>FX>Helix Send 2>V4 Return>V4 Speaker Out>Reactive Load Box>RL Line Out>IR Loader (or back to Helix Return 2 for the IR)>IR Loader(or Helix L/Mono Out)>FOH/FRFR

 

I've described 4 methods above, depending on how you choose to wire it and where you get your IR. There's no real difference in latency except possibly in your choice of external IR Loader if you choose to go that way vs a second trip back to Helix for the IR (recommended). One method may have noise advantages over the other. Be Sure to set the I/O-S/R levels properly in Global Settings>Ins/Outs.

 

This way you retain all of the advantages of Helix in 4cm, and also retain the sound of the V4 Power Amp which, after all, is at least half the reason to own one in the first place, and a MAJOR influence on "feel".

 

HIGH QUALITY Reactive Load Boxes such as the Suhr ($350-400) are pricey. If you can't afford it, just use Helix/V4 in 4cm with your FRFR while you save your pennies for the right tool for the job.

 

Afterthought - you might also consider the Two Notes Captor ($250). It doubles as an IR loader, saving (maybe) some latency/noise, but requires (IIRC - research it) that you use Two Notes IRs and learn the excellent Wall of Sound App way of doing things.

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WAIT - are you talking about the V4 Duchess AIAB? If so, disregard all of my wasted typing.

Go ahead and spend your $850(!) on an AIAB to get MAYBE a 5% improvement over what you already have in your Helix.

 

Also, if you're interested, I have a trans-oceanic bridge for sale in Arizona......

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OK, had another cup of coffee and calmed down a little. I'll try to explain why I think an AIAB, even with preamp tubes, is NOT the solution.

 

Companies have been doing what Victory is doing with their AIAB series for DECADES.

It's never been a really popular solution.

The only thing that's new there is combining the preamp tubes with a Class D SS power amp.

 

Tube amp "feel" is a result of the COMBINATION of preamp tubes, power amp tubes, and a GUITAR speaker in a GUITAR cab.

1 + 1 +1 = 1000!

 

When they first came out, I watched the Anderton's video review of the Victory AIAB devices. Anderton's, IIRC, has a stake in Victory.

It seemed to me that they were trying REALLY hard to find something nice to say, and the tones were NOT very impressive.

 

Also, consider the realities of putting 4 tubes in a tiny box. Instant hand warmer for those cold spring/fall outdoor gigs.

Instant frying pan in summer.

Heat is the enemy of electronics. Is there a Victory authorized (with EXPERIENCED tech) service center in YOUR town?

Does anyone in your town even own ANY Victory product?

 

AND, in the end, the final component in tube amp "feel" is the speaker. The GUITAR speaker in a GUITAR CAB.

You're already losing that whenever you put your signal through an IR and FRFR.

 

All of this is to say that, while you can get excellent sounds from Helix>FRFR, indistinguishable from a tube amp TO THE AUDIENCE or on a recording, that extra 5% of tactile pleasure that you, as the player, gets from a real tube amp, is not gonna come from an AIAB through FRFR.

 

Learn how to better use your Helix. Maybe spend your money on a Powercab. or an actual, REAL tube amp.

I have all three options - FRFR112, Powercab 212+ and Eganater Tweaker 15/112 Combo.

I can make all of them SOUND great, and the "feel" aspect is only really apparent when I use the real tube amp.

But then, it always sounds like exactly what it is. Limited to that sound, and the "feel" thing, while pleasant, is not that important to me.

YMMV.

 

Rant over.

 

 

 

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Hi, I thought I could offer a counterpoint.

 

I own a Helix Floor, and have been using Line 6 floor boards since the initial HD500.

 

I also use my Helix with the Sheriff V4.

 

I love it.  I know the Helix very well, I can get great sounds out of it, and frequently use it with no additional pedals much less ampa. But yeah, if I'm playing a gig where the electric guitar is going to be very textural and very dynamic (often church worship service), I can feel a difference having some real tubes in the signal chain.

 

I don't use the Duchess which includes a power amp, I use the preamp only V4, and I run it in a loop of the Helix with absolutely no issues. It Just Works(tm).  I literally took one of my patches that has a marshall-y sounding amp - I think one of Placater models - replaced the amp with a Loop block, and done.  Tweaked a bit from there over time, but literally that got me though a gig.  

 

Sometimes it's nice to plug in a Helix and not worry about any other gear.  Sometimes it's nice to be able to incorporate your favorite amps and pedals.  That's what the FX loops are for, and Line 6 made a big deal of this fact in the early promotions.  Imo, for good reason. 

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Everything I read from people wanting to improve the feel of their modeller seems to come down to wanting to expereicne the amp in the room - ie air moved from speakers that aren't FRFR and not simulating a mic'd cab. I say this as in most cases they claim to have found nirvana when running though a power amp and cab.

 

In this case it would seem running back into the Helix to use a simulated cab will just continue the mic'd cab feel issue, and all you'll have done is added another pre-amp available to be used.

 

I don't buy the having a tube pre-amp in the loop improves the feel bit - but thats subjective, and subject to confirmation bias either way (ie I'm unlikely to experience the sense of improvement unless I belive it will in the first place and vice versa).

 

 

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I see far more users opting for Helix amps through tube power amps and real guitar speakers than tube preamps into SS modelers into FRFR, but some mfrs are building their guitar amps like that so, who knows. My thought is that, if I'm going to spend $850 to get "feel", I want it ALL! Tube pre>Tube Power>Guitar speaker. But no way am I gonna spend $850 for a three legged chair.

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For me, "amp in a room" has always been at odds with stage volume.  I play a lot of small theaters and houses of worship that require literally zero stage volume except for monitors.  So Helix -> Tube amp -> Cab or FRFR speaker is a nonstarter.  I see this kind of stage set up more and more - little to no stage volume allowed.  

While I can definitely get amazing sounds out of the Helix with no additional components in these scenarios, I consistently find it MUCH easier to dial in a sound on the Sheriff.  (I send the V4 Preamp into a combination of Helix cabs and IRs, same as I do with Helix amp models).  Is it confirmation bias? Is it familiarity with the gear?  Well, it might be both, but in the case of the latter - familiar with the gear - I spend a lot of time with the Helix amps as well.  I almost always record straight into Helix Native.  

As some people suspect that me using a tube preamp is "thinking I sound better because I expect to sound better" - I have long thought the same thing about people who use tube power amps.  Specially made tube power amps - the Carvin Ts-100 was the one everyone used to talk about, but now there's the Fryette and the Peavy, among others - are often not designed to work like the power amp of a guitar - instead they are designed to have a much flatter frequency response, and so "sounding better" through one I've always thought was confirmation bias. 

But hey man, ultimately, it's what inspires you.  Dan from That Pedal Show used to lug around a modded Roland/Boss CE-1 - the original monster that ran on mains power.  Why?  Because it inspired him.  Could he get 99% of the tone from a much easier to deal with piece of gear? Yeah.  Would anyone notice the difference but him, even if they were paying attention? Not in a million years.....except.  Except he would play different on different gear.  I LIKE my Sheriff V4.  Do I sound different with it?  Well. I play different. 

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Thank you all for the responses! Now I realize that I have to reconsider what exactly I want to achieve.

 

My situation:
I play 50/50 acoustic/electric in the band, and I wanted to keep my rig as compact and light as possible, which was also the reason for me to switch to Helix 1 year ago (Xlr out L&R are panned 100% L&R to sent seperate to FOH)

 

My electric guitar sound is fairly clean/edge or breakup to low gain sounds. I have not yet managed to get the right sound through the PowerCab+ and FOH speakers.

Maybe I need more time to get to the sound I want. And keep it simple.

 

I used to play in a rock band with a 100w Mesa Boogie tube amp behind me. but those times are over.

That feeling of power under the fingers is absolutely wonderful, but I have to let go of that now.

 

There are so many possibilities that you can adjust in the Helix, but I still have trouble making a good basic preset on the Helix that sounds good at gig level.
low & high cut settings, other eq adjustments because for example I switch to neck pickup on my strat. etc etc 

I didn't have these "problems" before I started using the Helix.

I've been tweaking sounds for a year now instead of playing guitar and being creative.

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