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Volume/Leveling options


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I don't know exactly how to word this question and haven't seen a definitive answer to what I think I'm looking for (If I missed it somewhere I apologize)... 


My specific set up at home is: Helix LT > FRFR (QSC K12). I was messing around last night based on reading where folks set their FRFR at Unity Gain and then adjusting volume from the helix. I am not using the big knob on top and would prefer not to.  Amp model is the Derailed Ingrid, Drive @ 3.5/Master @ 5/6, channel volume at 3-4. I barely had to dial up the guitar from the off position to get supper loud and while that is fun and all, it's not practical, lol.  


Where is the best place to reduce overall volume in a situation like this? 

1 - Channel volume in the amp block

2 - Volume on the FRFR

3 - At the output block at the end of the chain (I've never messed with this)


I tried calling support to see what they would suggest and they said that the channel volume (in the amp block) would have some impact on the sound of the amp. I do think that is strange based on what I've read elsewhere saying that the channel volume does not effect tone. And, for as long as I've had this thing I feel like I should have this down by now but I don't get as much time with it as I'd like and I'm still trying to figure out my best approach.  


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The easiest solution is likely to be simply reduce the QSC's Gain Level control to achieve the SPL range you desire. 


This will allow you to leave the Helix Master Output Knob at Unity (Fully Clockwise, or Disable it from your Helix Output feeding your QSC in Helix Global Settings). 


Also check to be sure that none of the parameters in the various blocks comprising your Helix signal chain have inadvertently been turned up. One method to assure everything is at default is to do a backup of your customized settings and presets, then do a Factory Reset. Then build a Preset from scratch using default block selections. 


AFAIK, the Helix Amp Block's' Channel Volume Parameter does not affect the tone. It is merely a level control for that respective Block. However, the Amp Block's Gain, Drive and Master Parameters will absolutely affect that Block's Tone and impact whatever follows in the signal chain. The final Output Block is also merely a Level Control. 


Once you have adjusted any of Helix's Block Parameters to your liking, save the Block to Favorites for quick recall and subsequent use. 


Hope this helps.

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Yes, that helps. But what about something like this: 


I want to dial in a dirtier amp setting without blasting the SPL's and use the output block or amp channel (assuming that I wouldn't be able to change settings on the QSC/PA speakers live) to keep the volume manageable at home. Let's then assume I need more signal live... I would simply pop into the system and bump up either the channel volume or the output block to give them what they need...  Is one of those two options "preferred".  


I'll try and spin some knobs tonight and see what happens but I'm definitely interested in hearing thoughts/approaches to this. 



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The "give them what they need..." you mention, I presume is the FOH or Mixer Desk/Console. Most often what you would send to them would be what you have already dialed in as your Preset. In other words, they would adjust the house volume at the desk to suit the venue, size of room crowd, part of the song, etc. 


Fletcher-Munson Curve physics are unavoidable. Thus, you must dial in your Presets for venue performance level SPLs. Set up your Presets so that when you enable or disable any FX, or other changes to the Parameters of the Blocks comprising your Preset, the overall SPL doesn't change more than you actually may desire. Most often the FX or other parameters will change the tone, but not drastically affect the SPL; this even if you switch to a dirtier or boosted lead segment etc. In many if not most instances, regardless if the FX or parameter change values are enable or disabled and how they may affect the tone (best accomplished using Snapshots) the overall SPL level should not change dramatically.  


If the FOH actually does needs a higher signal, and you would want that to apply to all the Presets you will be using for that performance, it would probably be easiest to use the Global EQ Settings to boost the output level, so you only need do so once for that show. Doing so for the Output block of each Preset would be cumbersome to say the least.


As for the a Block's Channel Volume vs the Signal Chain's Output Block or Send Block Level, each has a place for use. The Output Block Level will affect the output level of everything before it. Whereas, the Channel Volume of any individual Block will only affect it's properties and how that signal next hits what comes next in the Signal Chain (or external device if a Send Block).


So long as you are not overloading, use your ears an go with what suits you. 

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Apparently it took me too long to write the following …


My preferred approach is to make volume changes at the very end of your modeling chain. While it is crucial to understand that channel volume in you amp model does not change the amp model’s tone, the result of changing channel volume may impact tone because it is essentially a drive knob for models that follow your amp(s).

So if you change your volume at the very end of your model chain you get no tone impact in theory. BUT your ears will not play along, as things get louder or quieter your hearing will emphasis or suppress the volume of some frequencies and the apparent mix level of some effects, e.g., reverb. Thus you will need to compensate for example with global EQ or even changes in your patch. I’ve seen comments in the past that several players have tone/patch versions for performance and home practice volume levels.

Hope this helps somewhat. The only consolation I can offer is that this is not a modeller-specific issue. Anyone using some gear to play louder and quieter will run into this. As there is no such thing as neutral volume control on real guitar amps or effects, using a modeler at least gives you more controls to address the issues coming along with playing at different volume levels.

Edited by MartinDorr
MusicLaw beat me to the post
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The simplest and most appropriate approach if you want to manage the output volume going to the K10.2 without using the Helix volume knob would be to disengage the volume knob from the XLR out and to set it to Mic level impedence rather than Line level in Helix global ins/outs the same as you would for going to a mixer.  You would also need to set Mic level impedance on the K.12 as well.  I believe that can only be done on Chan A of the QSC.

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