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Help Needed - want to play along to Backing Tracks


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Hi Helix Family,

Long story short i am a new helix owner i played around with it for a couple of days before going back overseas to work. Long story short i am not very tech savvy if i want to play backing tracks from my computer how do i go about it? i was thinking of plugging lead from headphones on helix to computer so i can use the headphone volume knob on the helix for Backing track loudness. Basically i have 1 Powercab 112 so mono. I would be very grateful for any help in this its doing my head in lol. Can not wait to get back home and get stuck into making patches. Thank you.

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Easiest way.

In Windows (if you don't specify, you by default have a Windows computer) Sound Panel, set Playback to Helix.


Use the volume control on whatever app you're streaming from to control the level to Helix.

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Would need more details about this. Not sure if you are listening how you are monitoring everything. Are you using the Powercab to monitor the guitar and the backing tracks. Or are you just listening to the guitar through the Powercab which would mean you were listening to only the backing tracks through the computer's speakers. Or are you trying to monitor your guitar and computer audio through the speakers you use for your computer? Or is it something else. I guess what I'm asking is what is your specific signal path that you want to accomplish. The Helix is so versatile there are often several ways to accomplish things.

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Brue58ski thanks for commenting basically i am useless at this stuff i have my Powercab 112 and helix and i am wanting to use headphone out of the helix into the headphone port on my windows computer then play to backing tracks YT etc and be able to use the phones volume knob on helix for set the loudness of the track but will i need to put a separate signal path on each of my presets for the headphone jack to computer so i can control the volume of backing track from the headphone knob on the helix. I hope you get where i am coming from if not can you give me a easy way to play to backing tracks without using a daw.      

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What's confusing is that you seem to be conflating "What I want to accomplish" with "How I want to accomplish it".


My suggestion above is simple, but results in the backing track playing through the PC112. That sounds bad even with my PC212.


If you have a stereo, or decent computer speakers, letting your backing tracks play through them and playing along through the PC112 is much better. Most modern computer keyboards have a volume control for the computer's sound card. Just leave the computer's soundcard as the default playback device.


The way I do this on my systems is to take the computer's HP Out to a pair of inputs on a small/cheap mixer, take the analog outs from Helix into another pair, and send that mixed signal to my stereo (in the office) or Studio Monitors (in my studio, through a Multi IO Audio Interface). This allows great flexibility, as overall balance can be controlled from the mixer, playback volume separately from the keyboard or mixer, or guitar volume separately from Helix. I can also play guitar through the PC212 when I want to get loud (L6 Link), or through the stereo/studio monitors/headphones late at night, without re-routing any cables.


None of these methods require changing anything in your presets. With the Outputs set to MULTI, all outputs are available.


Later, when/if you start using a DAW, you can replace the mixer with a proper Multi IO Audio Interface. With the inputs configured as with the simple mixer, you'll be able to get your backing tracks and guitar tracks recorded to separate tracks in the DAW. You can't really do this using Helix as AI without modifying your presets for separate routing.


As @brue58ski said, there's lots of ways to do this. These are simply the ones that I've found to be easiest and most efficient for my workflow.



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2 hours ago, beatty2387 said:

I hope you get where i am coming from



Nope don’t get this at all.


”I am wanting to use headphone out of the helix into the headphone port on my windows computer then play to backing tracks YT”


I have no idea why you would think that the headphone out could possible send a signal to your PC’s headphone socket. It’s physically wrong. The PC headphone socket is a one way street - audio comes out, it cannot go in.


You need to connect your Helix to your PC via a USB cable, then you set your PC to use the Helix as the audio interface. Then any audio from your computer plays back down USB channels 1 & 2, through the Helix and out to the Helix headphone out, plus whatever Power Cab monitor speakers are connected to the digital, XLR and 1/4” outs. 

I suggest that you read the Helix 3.0 Owner’s Manual - Rev F - English

Pages 68-71, USB Audio


https://line6.com/data/6/0a020a3f041b611d61cac763b/application/pdf/Helix 3.0 Owner's Manual - Rev F - English .pdf


You might like to check this video about using you Helix as an audio interface.


Hope this helps/makes sense.

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So I'm still not so sure I understand you yet. I think English may not be your first language and there may be a translation issue but that's OK. Not a problem. The big thing I don't understand is how you want to listen to this. Did you want to hear both the Helix and your backing track through the computer's speakers or through the Powercab? Another thing you mentioned is that you want to be able to only turn up the backing track from the headphone output. I see no way to do this particular thing. I'll start from scratch and assume that you want to hear the backing track and your guitar/Helix from the Powercab. I am also assuming you have the Powercab and not the Powercab Plus which has the L6 Link feature. There are two ways to do this that I can think of to hear this through your Powercab.


The first way is to use the Returns on the Helix. One thing the Helix lacks is a dedicated stereo input for exactly this kind of thing. The way to get around this is to use Returns on the Helix. You have four returns that are all mono. BUT you can place a Return block that is stereo in your patch path. The stereo return blocks use either inputs 1 & 2 or 3 & 4 for it's stereo signals. So you will need to split your computer's headphone output to two mono outputs with a cable like this IF your computer has the headphone output I'm thinking of.




The 1/4" mono cables would go into your 1&2 or 3&4 Return inputs depending on which Stereo Return block you used. So you would put the Stereo Return block in as the last block in your chain. You can then control the Helix/Computer mix several ways.


The Stereo return block has two parameters. The first parameter is called RETURN. That's the level of the computer's audio going into the Helix. The second parameter is MIX. That will adjust the blend/level between the Helix's and the Computer's audio signals. The third way will be the easiest way I think and that's just to use the computer's own volume level to adjust that. Setup your Return's RETURN and MIX parameters for one song on your computer and then leave that and just turn the computer's audio up and down as needed. Now, like you said, the Powercab is mono and right now your signal is stereo so I would then put a mono block of some kind in after the Stereo Return block and before the output. Just a mono Gain block right before the output will do the job.


The BIG hassle with all of this is you have to put a Stereo Return block into EVERY patch you plan on playing the computer along with your Helix. That's the biggest hassle.


The other way involves audio over the Helix's USB connection. This method involves a whole set of different issues one of which is  making your Helix the sound card for your computer so before I get into that mess let me know if what I just posted was even close to what you want to do. If you want hear both the Helix and the computer audio through the computer's speaker let me know. Really, the easiest way to do his is to just get a little 4 channel mixer and a couple of powered speakers plugged into the outputs of your mixer. You can even use some cheap computer speakers for this. And you can go stereo.


Hope all this helps. Good luck!!

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