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best and simple home setup


Maxy71
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Hi guys!

 

I know that there are already tons of topics on this subject.

So sorry for this new one!

 

My question is...what's the best BUT SIMPLE home setup for our Helix in order to get patches that sound similar to real life??


Limits are space and budget, so I'd like to understand the simplest and budget conscious way to connect my helix to "something" at home ....with this aim in mind!

 

Thanks!!

 

 

 

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That really depends on what you mean by real life.  Real life as far as live performance or real life as far as recording?  In both cases it comes down to your output device, but the output devices are different.

In live performance you need to simulate what your audience will be hearing and that can be somewhat complex depending on your live setup.  In my case I go direct from the Helix to the mixing board so all I need is a quality, modern FRFR speaker mounted appropriately at chest height to get a good representation of what the audience will hear.  That should work in almost any type of configuration as long as you can isolate that sound from what you're using on stage such as a powercab or more traditional amp/cab using 4cm.  You're not going to like my next statement, but you really do need to use a higher quality FRFR speaker representative of the type that will be used on a live performance system.  I mostly use a Yamaha DXR12 but I've also used a QSC K10 from time to time.  In both cases I can set the DSP contouring on the speaker for how it's likely to be used in a live front of house speaker.  That's the best and simplest arrangement to get consistent results.

The studio is much simpler.  I use my Helix floor as my audio interface and have my studio monitors attached directly to it for output.  In addition I have a Beyer Dynamic DT770 set of headphones for when I'm doing vocal work.  My studio monitors are Yamaha HS7's and are placed on my studio desktop in an equilateral triangle with my chair and positioned relative to the walls (back and sides) as recommended by the vendor.

I realize this may not be as budget conscious as you'd like, but ultimately it's about getting a consistent and realistic representation of your guitar sound in the environment you're working in.  You may be happy enough with a lower budget approach to speakers, but that's a judgement call on your part.

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What I intended is ... I work for example on a patch at home, get a sound that looks fine to me....

Then I go to studio with my band, where I plug helix into the mixer that is connected to a couple of Alto TS312 

I try the patch... and it sounds horrible or completely different if I am lucky!    

 

Today at home for space reasons I've no chance to find out a fixed place where to create a home-studio setup.

I completely trust in Helix great sound capabilities.....indeed the lack is in not in helix itself, but in what and how I connect to it at home.

Today I use 2 options at home

 

1) studio Technica headphones (I cannot remember the mode), or

 

2) connect helix from mono 1/4 out to the return of a little marshall DSL1 in order to bypass Marshall Preamp.
 

I know this is not a good setup for Helix and similar devices... however I'd like to find a good setup that can produce a realistic sound...I mean quite the most similar I can (without chance to arrange a fixed place) to what I will get when I plug in the mixer with my band.

So, what I was thinking is somithing like Helix plugged directly into a Powercab 112 ... or other similar spekers (I see lots of them over the internet, ie Laney LFR-112,  RedSound RS-LG12, Kemper Kabinet). 

 

Can this be a good solutions?

Thanks!

 

 

 

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I think the best setup for you would be to get a pair of studio monitors for your home setup. What you want is FRFR monitors (Full Range Flat Response). These type of monitors are designed to minimize the tonal colouration produced by the speakers/monitors and deliver a sound as close as possible to the source signal. With this setup you should find that the sound you hear at home is at least close to the recorded sound that your recording studio captures and plays back. For best results, use the same monitors at home that are used in your recording studio. In your case - the Alto TS312.

 

Volume level also plays a big role in the tone of the sound you hear. Your home environment may be much smaller than the room you rehearse/record in, and 12” speakers may be too big and loud for the space. Drop down to 6” or 8” FRFR monitors for home, but understand that this will not sound the same as the 12” monitors in your recording setup.

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22 minutes ago, Maxy71 said:

where I plug helix into the mixer that is connected to a couple of Alto TS312 
 

 

 

 

I shudder when I see any mention of Alto speakers with a helix. Have you used those 312's previously with good results?

The reason I mention it is because I struggled with some Alto TS212's for ages, they actually killed the Helix tone because

they are way too muddy and boomy on the bottom end - just in case yours are the same?

 

I switched to Yamaha HS5 now upgrading to HS7's as a relatively low cost home speaker option, but the difference is remarkable,

so much clearer and better defined, I am using them in a small room though but I expect you could still crank them if needed.

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I will add that I am a new Helix LT owner and church worship musician. I used a relatively inexpensive pair of studio monitors and pretty loud volumes to setup some of my patches initially. I tested them out through my church PA last night for the time. While I did a tiny bit of tweaking once I was there and going direct to the front of house via a mono XLR (mic level, volume knob disabled for the XLR outs), it sounded pretty good and pretty close to how it sounds through my monitors. I even got some complements on my tone from several band mates. The sound guy actually found that this setup gave him a lot more flexibility with volume and EQ adjustment than he typically experiences when micing a real amp, so it's a win/win.

 

-Andrew

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I want to echo the "buy mixing monitors" suggestion.  I have these : https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-HS5-Powered-Studio-Monitor/dp/B075Q5T7Q1/  .  They are pretty neutral for guitar, as far as I can tell.  Great for practicing at home, listening to music, mixing, etc.  Everything else like an FRFR, a powerCab, an effects loop of an amp is going to color your sound somehow and you will wind up compensating for it.  Until you go to play a gig and learn that your overcompensated sound will not be suitable for the live situation (happened to me).  First gig I played, my EQ was too thin sounding.

https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-HS5-Powered-Studio-Monitor/dp/B075Q5T7Q1/

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Yamaha HS5 + Room Correction are my suggestion. They are perfect for a small studio and they really dont add any colour to your sound. I do all my presets with these, and usually the only thing I need, when moving from different places, is a bit of EQ on the fly. Most important, they are affordable. :)

 

84833589-A00-E-474-A-BC8-F-50-D5-DFB530-

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This is again comes down to the same old problem of thinking that "flat response" is somehow a standard that crosses the boundaries between all applications, which couldn't be further from the truth.

I myself use a pair of HS7 speakers in my studio, but I NEVER dial in my live performance tones using them.  That's because they're made for a different purpose than a live performance modern powered speaker such as a QSC K.2 series or a Yamaha DXR series which is what I use for dialing in live sounds.  And they're different because they're designed to be different because they serve two different situations.

Studio speakers are designed for evaluation of a sound or mix and require (by design) a very precise listening environment to be effective in which the speakers and the listener are positioned correctly in an equilateral triangle and the speakers themselves are positioned appropriately relative to surrounding walls as they often depend on bass reflex actions to provide an accurate representation of low end frequencies.  Live sound is concerned with covering a wide and long space with a consistent sound regardless of where the listener is positioned.  Very low end frequencies are boosted through the use of subwoofers (which all operate well below the frequency levels your typical guitar produces).

What this means in a practical sense is you shouldn't be surprised if you dial in your tone on studio monitors and then plug into a PA that's using modern PA powered speakers.  There are differences because there are SUPPOSED to be differences.  If you really want to evaluate the way your tones will sound in a live environment the quickest and easiest way is to plug your Helix direct into a modern live powered speaker meant for that purpose and listen to it in the way that people in the audience will be listening to it.  In effect, at longer distances and off-axis around the room and at a reasonably higher volume levels probably around 85 to 90 dbSPL.  THAT, or something very near to that, is what your audience will hear in your live performance.  And that, oh by the way, may be different from your stage sound depending on what your live setup consists of.  That's one key reason people choose to go direct to the mixing board and monitor either through high quality powered monitors or in ears.  It reduces the complexity and increases the consistency of your sound both on and off stage.

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On 10/8/2021 at 7:55 AM, Maxy71 said:

What I intended is ... I work for example on a patch at home, get a sound that looks fine to me....

Then I go to studio with my band, where I plug helix into the mixer that is connected to a couple of Alto TS312 

I try the patch... and it sounds horrible or completely different if I am lucky! 

 

This will always be the case, and the issue is two-fold:

1) You are switching to a different output device(s)

2) You are almost certainly playing at a much higher volume than at home.

 

Patches must be dialed in as you intend to use them, meaning through the same (or at least similar) speakers, and at or close to the same volume. There is no substitute for this... especially the volume, which is an ENORMOUS variable. This cannot be stated emphatically enough.... perception of tone varies drastically with volume. Nothing that you dial in at home with headphones will translate to live use without significant adjustments.

 

 

 

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Every venue will be different.  Using mixing monitors to dial in your sounds is not a guarantee your patch(es) will be perfect for every situation.  But it's the most unbiased way to set up your sound. 

 

Professional bands take many days/weeks to dial in their equipment.  They typically rent out a warehouse or even a theater/venue for several days and see what needs to be adjusted.  You simply cannot guarantee that your bedroom sound/setup will translate to a huge stadium without any hick-ups. 

 

 

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53 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

This will always be the case, and the issue is two-fold:

1) You are switching to a different output device(s)

2) You are almost certainly playing at a much higher volume than at home.

 

Patches must be dialed in as you intend to use them, meaning through the same (or at least similar) speakers, and at or close to the same volume. There is no substitute for this... especially the volume, which is an ENORMOUS variable. This cannot be stated emphatically enough.... perception of tone varies drastically with volume. Nothing that you dial in at home with headphones will translate to live use without significant adjustments.

 

 

 

 

Disagree with that.

 

Modeling is just like a recording; there is a mic, an amp, a cab, a room and pedals. The great thing of modeling, is that you can work your presets as if they were a mix in a daw, and the first rule for a good mix/master, is to make it sounding good and solid, in any speaker configuration. You dont do a different mix/master for every single speaker, or room size. Without that concept, modeling wouldnt make sense.

 

The volume variable can be easily managed through global EQ, to compensate the Fletcher Munson curve.

 

As soon as you have a good room correction (mandatory), and a good pair of reference studio monitors, I can garantee that 80% of the job is done, and it will work good in any condition, given the EQ for room and volume compensation. Of course Im not talking stadiums. That's a completely different beast, but I dont think it's the OP's problem atm...;)

 

That's a bit an oversimplified version of what Im saying;

 

 

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1 hour ago, PierM said:

 

Disagree with that.

 

Modeling is just like a recording; there is a mic, an amp, a cab, a room and pedals. The great thing of modeling, is that you can work your presets as if they were a mix in a daw, and the first rule for a good mix/master, is to make it sounding good and solid, in any speaker configuration. You dont do a different mix/master for every single speaker, or room size. Without that concept, modeling wouldnt make sense.

 

The volume variable can be easily managed through global EQ, to compensate the Fletcher Munson curve.

 

As soon as you have a good room correction (mandatory), and a good pair of reference studio monitors, I can garantee that 80% of the job is done, and it will work good in any condition, given the EQ for room and volume compensation. Of course Im not talking stadiums. That's a completely different beast, but I dont think it's the OP's problem atm...;)

 

That's a bit an oversimplified version of what Im saying;

 

 

 

Ok... so I'm not exactly sure where we disagree...

 

Volume is critical as you said (global EQ, Fletcher Munson, etc). Speaker choice perhaps less so, but still significant. No patch that I've ever tinkered with at a nice comfy living room volume through a pair of 5" monitors or headphones has ever worked at stage volume without significant adjustments... and that's difficult, if not impossible to do at home and outside a mix. If there something wrong with my ears or approach, so be it... but that's been my experience for years on end. As such, I've kept different set lists for each scenario forever... all of them tweaked in context.

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1 hour ago, PierM said:

 

Disagree with that.

 

Modeling is just like a recording; there is a mic, an amp, a cab, a room and pedals. The great thing of modeling, is that you can work your presets as if they were a mix in a daw, and the first rule for a good mix/master, is to make it sounding good and solid, in any speaker configuration. You dont do a different mix/master for every single speaker, or room size. Without that concept, modeling wouldnt make sense.

 

The volume variable can be easily managed through global EQ, to compensate the Fletcher Munson curve.

 

As soon as you have a good room correction (mandatory), and a good pair of reference studio monitors, I can garantee that 80% of the job is done, and it will work good in any condition, given the EQ for room and volume compensation. Of course Im not talking stadiums. That's a completely different beast, but I dont think it's the OP's problem atm...;)

 

That's a bit an oversimplified version of what Im saying;

 

 

 


In theory that might work.  As a practical matter that works fine in a recording scenarios but for live sound it really comes down to the differences in how PA speakers are designed to work and how studio monitors are designed to work, and the difference really is significant.  Studio monitors allow for very little latitude as to where someone is positioned relative to the speaker, in fact they tend to give pretty specific guidelines about speaker placement and listener's position relative to the speakers, but that's a HUGE consideration when it comes to PA speaker design because speakers need to be positioned in various ways to cover the area as completely as possible or tuning the speaker based on how it will be used (front speakers or stage monitors).  Because of that they have very wide horizontal coverage areas and very limited vertical coverage in order to conserve sound energy in a big area from being lost in the floor or ceiling as well as specific tunings that can be applied to the speakers to compensate for differences.  But in all cases the sound stays pretty consistent within those limits but can sound overlly harsh when sitting too close.  Volume plays a factor with PA speakers in that PA speakers need a bit of space to blend the highs and lows as well as blend appropriately with the subs.  That's why no one in their right mind would want to stand next to a typical PA speaker or place a sub in such a way that it causes problems with the mains.

Aside from those differences, you can certainly run into acoustical differences in a live show, but there's a process built into most reputable PA mixers called RTA or Real Time Analysis that is broadly used to make global adjustments across all channels before the final output to correct for serious deficiencies.  That's why I'm a big believer in making sure you know what you're audience will be hearing by using powered PA speakers positioned vertically at chest height at a reasonably higher volume level (around 90 or 95dbSPL for dialing in live tones if you want to really get a feel for what people will be hearing.

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57 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Ok... so I'm not exactly sure where we disagree...

 

Volume is critical as you said (global EQ, Fletcher Munson, etc). Speaker choice less so, but still significant. No patch that I've ever tinkered with at a nice comfy living room volume through a pair of 5" monitors or headphones has ever worked at stage volume without significant adjustments... and that's difficult, if not impossible to do at home and outside a mix. If there something wrong with my ears or approach, so be it... but that's been my experience for years on end. 

 

Yeah could be we are just sharing different experience, not saying you are wrong on your method. :)

 

For me, the biggest variables are probably 3; room/enviroment, speaker/monitor and volume. Of course I'm assuming we have couple of constants here, like player, playing style/dynamic, and guitar/s.


Well, for my experience, doing presets in a "calibrated" environment, the room, volume and speaker/monitor variables can be handled through a good EQ'ing, in between Helix and Monitors, or FOH. I rarely had to touch anything else, within my presets. Actually, I never edit my presets, between different places where I have to play, and my opinion is that this is because I do my presets in a "calibrated" environment.

 

If I would calibrate my presets on my two PC212+, then I'd be in trouble when hitting different monitors, because those powercab are extremely coloured, boomy and they needs some free air around to work fine. I'd probably end messing with block amp eq, cab mic (like using a 57 instead a good condenser, to tame the boomy tone) etc etc... I would probably end with something sounding fine with that specific speaker (in that room), but not good for something else. Of course you know as I'm stating the obvious, but this is why Studio/Reference monitors do exist.

 

Powercabs are the most distant thing from an ideal FRFR, and they are so biased that it's even hard doing a calibration profile for a corrected room, so I do prefer going to basics, and use studio monitors. 

 

This is not different than doing a master in your studio, and then listening that same master in your car, in your headphones, with a pair of budget spakers, or a tacky set of Moon Audio Opulence. Of course I wouldn't suggest anyone to do a master/mix just for one of these, because will only work for that exact condition (that speaker, that volume, that room).

 

Anyway, just sharing my opinion based on personal experience, not arguing. :)

 

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

 


In theory that might work.  As a practical matter that works fine in a recording scenarios but for live sound it really comes down to the differences in how PA speakers are designed to work and how studio monitors are designed to work, and the difference really is significant.  Studio monitors allow for very little latitude as to where someone is positioned relative to the speaker, in fact they tend to give pretty specific guidelines about speaker placement and listener's position relative to the speakers, but that's a HUGE consideration when it comes to PA speaker design because speakers need to be positioned in various ways to cover the area as completely as possible or tuning the speaker based on how it will be used (front speakers or stage monitors).  Because of that they have very wide horizontal coverage areas and very limited vertical coverage in order to conserve sound energy in a big area from being lost in the floor or ceiling as well as specific tunings that can be applied to the speakers to compensate for differences.  But in all cases the sound stays pretty consistent within those limits but can sound overlly harsh when sitting too close.  Volume plays a factor with PA speakers in that PA speakers need a bit of space to blend the highs and lows as well as blend appropriately with the subs.  That's why no one in their right mind would want to stand next to a typical PA speaker or place a sub in such a way that it causes problems with the mains.

Aside from those differences, you can certainly run into acoustical differences in a live show, but there's a process built into most reputable PA mixers called RTA or Real Time Analysis that is broadly used to make global adjustments across all channels before the final output to correct for serious deficiencies.  That's why I'm a big believer in making sure you know what you're audience will be hearing by using powered PA speakers positioned vertically at chest height at a reasonably higher volume level (around 90 or 95dbSPL for dialing in live tones if you want to really get a feel for what people will be hearing.

 

I agree with many things here (it's all correct), but I'm assuming we are talking small venues here, so easy situations. Not talking complex FOHs, or stadiums etc.. 

 

I do have a cheap behringer deq2496, coupled with a SoundID Ref microphone, listening the room and doing a realtime correction. Works great for small venues, and can be also used in between your output and the FOH, if you put the Ref mic listening the PA speakers.

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2 hours ago, PierM said:

 

I agree with many things here (it's all correct), but I'm assuming we are talking small venues here, so easy situations. Not talking complex FOHs, or stadiums etc.. 

 

I do have a cheap behringer deq2496, coupled with a SoundID Ref microphone, listening the room and doing a realtime correction. Works great for small venues, and can be also used in between your output and the FOH, if you put the Ref mic listening the PA speakers.


Pretty much everything I mentioned applies to the kind of places I normally play which really aren't that big...maybe 150 - 200 max occupancy.  But I have to admit I've yet to worry about doing an RTA on the rooms even though the capability is already built into my QSC TM30 mixer with the exception of a good area mic.  I suppose if I were walking into places that were horrible acoustic nightmares I might think differently about it.  It's just such a hassle to go through the process with people hanging around while you're loading in and setting up.  Especially if I'm running into feedback issues and I need to run the feedback notching wizard.  That's already invasive enough and always draws complaints from people in the venue.  Plus, by the time we get everything setup all I want to do is a quick soundcheck, gain stage and take a break before we have to start playing.  I've been doing this long enough in the same rooms that I pretty much know all my PA and monitor settings by heart.

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3 hours ago, PierM said:

 

I agree with many things here (it's all correct), but I'm assuming we are talking small venues here, so easy situations. Not talking complex FOHs, or stadiums etc.. 

 

 

 

Don't feel bad...nobody's asking me to play Madison Square Garden, either...;)

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