Jump to content
leonardoborges

Helix LT - Amp Ext and Cab bypass

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I have a POD Go which I really enjoy. However there is one thing I can't do with it which is changing channels on my external amp. As I understand it, I can do that with the Helix LT via a TRS cable in the Amp Ext output, happy days!

 

Now there is one feature in the POD Go I really like: it has an output called Amp Out - regardless of which patch you're in and how it's been configured, this output taps the signal off right before the Cab block. So I can send this straight to my amp return all the while sending my "Main out" output to a recording device, without having to change my presets or disable the cab block manually.

 

Is there an equivalent feature in the Helix LT?

 

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, leonardoborges said:

I have a POD Go which I really enjoy. However there is one thing I can't do with it which is changing channels on my external amp. As I understand it, I can do that with the Helix LT via a TRS cable in the Amp Ext output, happy days!

Yes, the Helix has an EXT AMP jack which can be used to control the switching on many amps, but be aware that it doesn't work on every amp. I would search this forum for your specific amp and see if anybody has mentioned anything about whether or not the Helix can switch it properly. 

 

10 minutes ago, leonardoborges said:

Now there is one feature in the POD Go I really like: it has an output called Amp Out - regardless of which patch you're in and how it's been configured, this output taps the signal off right before the Cab block. So I can send this straight to my amp return all the while sending my "Main out" output to a recording device, without having to change my presets or disable the cab block manually.

 

Is there an equivalent feature in the Helix LT?

Helix doesn't have a dedicated output that does that, but it has a number of available outputs and a very flexible way of routing signal to those outputs, although you would have to set each preset up manually to function the same way it does on the Pod Go. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah thanks for that! It's unfortunate that there isn't a way to do it globally but it is what it is.

 

As for the amps I'll be using:

  • ENGL Fireball 25
  • Mesa/Boogie Mark v:25

 

From what I was able to read online, it seems the LT would support both amps. But if you know of any issues with these amps, please let me know before I pull the trigger! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, leonardoborges said:

Ah thanks for that! It's unfortunate that there isn't a way to do it globally but it is what it is.

The amount of power and flexibility that comes with something like the Helix doesn't always lend itself to convenience, which is probably the main reason why the Pod Go exists, as it's specifically designed to be easy to use in comparison. 

 

7 minutes ago, leonardoborges said:

As for the amps I'll be using:

  • ENGL Fireball 25
  • Mesa/Boogie Mark v:25

 

From what I was able to read online, it seems the LT would support both amps. But if you know of any issues with these amps, please let me know before I pull the trigger! :)

I don't have any specific experience with either of these amps. I do seem to recall that Mesa Boogie amps seem to have more issues with external switching than most brands, although I can't speak to individual models. My amp is also a Boogie, a .50 Caliber Plus, and the channel switching works fine, but I get a weird problem where it only half disables the 5-band equalizer. I ended up getting this:

 

https://amtelectronics.com/new/amt-fs-2midi/

 

It's the only 2-button footswitch I've found that sends and receives MIDI CC messages. It switches both switchable functions on my amp, I can control it with the Helix via MIDI and I can control some functions on the Helix with it via MIDI. It might be your only option if the Helix doesn't properly control your Boogie on its own. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I just found the video below.

 

Seems you need a TRS splitter and you lose the ability to toggle the EQ in the mark v. But the channel switching works.

 

That being the case it's not a big deal as I usually don't use the EQ on my clean sound and leave it always on on the lead channel.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, leonardoborges said:

Actually I just found the video below.

 

Seems you need a TRS splitter and you lose the ability to toggle the EQ in the mark v. But the channel switching works.

 

That being the case it's not a big deal as I usually don't use the EQ on my clean sound and leave it always on on the lead channel.

 

 

 

The Helix has an EQ model based on the classic Mesa Boogie 5-band, so it's really not a huge loss to not use the onboard equalizer, especially since you can have a different EQ per-preset by using the model. The only thing I really use the onboard EQ for anymore is that I have an "everything else" preset that I use for everything that I don't have a specific preset for, for which I have a basic EQ shape that I use but will tweak depending on the venue and my mood. It wasn't a deal breaker that my EQ wasn't properly switchable but I found the FS2-MIDI and it was within my budget so I bought it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup that's what I find as well. I love the V curve from MESA and I use that through my ENGL via the Cali EQ in the POD Go with absolutely killer results.

 

Really the only thing I don't have is the ability to switch amp channels, which would be my primary motivator for upgrading to the Helix LT. Otherwise I'm very happy with the POD Go.

 

Without amp switchiing, I feel like I either go the LT route, or abandon heads altogether and buy an FRFR speaker. But I don't think I'm quite ready for that just yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, leonardoborges said:

Yup that's what I find as well. I love the V curve from MESA and I use that through my ENGL via the Cali EQ in the POD Go with absolutely killer results.

 

Really the only thing I don't have is the ability to switch amp channels, which would be my primary motivator for upgrading to the Helix LT. Otherwise I'm very happy with the POD Go.

 

Without amp switchiing, I feel like I either go the LT route, or abandon heads altogether and buy an FRFR speaker. But I don't think I'm quite ready for that just yet.

The LT with an amp is pretty incredible. If you're looking for a complete solution for 4CM, I don't know if you'll find much out there that's better, even if the amp switching doesn't work properly and you have to get something like the FS2-MIDI, which is just going to give you two more switches to use and free up the EXT AMP jack to use a second expression pedal anyway. I just played my first gig with it on Saturday and my amp sounded as good as it ever did plugging straight in, plus I had virtually limitless effects options and a super versatile way of controlling everything. There are a few minor things that I'm hoping are addressed in firmware updates but all things considered, I'm very happy with it. If L6 releases a new flagship processor in the near future, the only reason I would get it is out of curiosity, not because I need something better. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FS2-MIDI looks interesting though I have no idea how I'd set it up. Is there a video or written article about some different ways to use it? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, leonardoborges said:

FS2-MIDI looks interesting though I have no idea how I'd set it up. Is there a video or written article about some different ways to use it? 

 

There aren't any videos that I'm aware of. There's a manual but it's a Russian company and it's a really bad translation. But it's actually a really simple device, you shouldn't have any trouble.

 

There's a 1/4" TRS jack that you use a splitter to connect to the switch jacks on your amp. I connect it so the left switch selects the Rhythm or Lead channel on my amp, and the right enables or disables the 5-band EQ. 

 

Then you connect the MIDI In and MIDI Out to your Helix. By default, the left switch uses CC14 and the right switch uses CC15. So for example, when I push the left switch to change channels on my amp, it sends a message on CC14 to the Helix, with a value of 0 for the Rhythm channel (light is off) and 127 for the Lead channel (light is on). Then I can use this CC message to, say, control the bypass state of a distortion block so that it turns on when I switch to my Lead Channel.

 

It also responds to the same CC messages FROM the Helix. If I send CC14 with any value between 0-63, it switches to my amp's Rhythm channel, and if I send a value between 64-127, it selects the Lead channel. You can send MIDI CC messages from the Helix either with the Instant Commands or with a footswitch. Instant Commands are great because you can change their value per-Snapshot, so for example, Snapshot 1 could be Rhythm channel with 5-band EQ off, Snapshot 2 could be Lead channel with 5-band EQ off, Snapshot 3 could be Lead channel with 5-band EQ on, etc.

 

The only downside is the way the Helix treats incoming MIDI versus its own footswitches in terms of block bypass. A Helix footswitch can be set to control the bypass state of multiple blocks, with the ability to have some blocks enabled and others disabled for a given footswitch state. So for example, when a footswitch is dimmed, you could have a distortion block be off and a chorus block on, and when you press the switch into its lit state, the distortion will now be on and the chorus will be off. However, if you control a block's bypass state with an incoming MIDI message, it will turn the block off when it receives a value between 0-63 and will turn it on when it receives a value between 64-127. So there's no way to, say, use the switches on the FS2-MIDI to turn a chorus block on when you switch to the Rhythm channel on your amp and turn it off when you switch to the Lead channel. The only way to have this kind of behavior is to use a Helix footswitch to both control the bypass state of the chorus block AND send a MIDI CC message to the FS2-MIDI, because you can have the chorus block turn off when sending a message to the FS2-MIDI to select your Lead channel, and vice versa. It's kind of a waste of a footswitch but it's the only way to do it.

 

At any rate, it's a pretty handy little device and it's pretty easy to use, and like I said, it frees up the jack on the Helix to use a second expression pedal if you should want one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, zappazapper said:

 

There aren't any videos that I'm aware of. There's a manual but it's a Russian company and it's a really bad translation. But it's actually a really simple device, you shouldn't have any trouble.

 

There's a 1/4" TRS jack that you use a splitter to connect to the switch jacks on your amp. I connect it so the left switch selects the Rhythm or Lead channel on my amp, and the right enables or disables the 5-band EQ. 

 

Then you connect the MIDI In and MIDI Out to your Helix. By default, the left switch uses CC14 and the right switch uses CC15. So for example, when I push the left switch to change channels on my amp, it sends a message on CC14 to the Helix, with a value of 0 for the Rhythm channel (light is off) and 127 for the Lead channel (light is on). Then I can use this CC message to, say, control the bypass state of a distortion block so that it turns on when I switch to my Lead Channel.

 

It also responds to the same CC messages FROM the Helix. If I send CC14 with any value between 0-63, it switches to my amp's Rhythm channel, and if I send a value between 64-127, it selects the Lead channel. You can send MIDI CC messages from the Helix either with the Instant Commands or with a footswitch. Instant Commands are great because you can change their value per-Snapshot, so for example, Snapshot 1 could be Rhythm channel with 5-band EQ off, Snapshot 2 could be Lead channel with 5-band EQ off, Snapshot 3 could be Lead channel with 5-band EQ on, etc.

 

The only downside is the way the Helix treats incoming MIDI versus its own footswitches in terms of block bypass. A Helix footswitch can be set to control the bypass state of multiple blocks, with the ability to have some blocks enabled and others disabled for a given footswitch state. So for example, when a footswitch is dimmed, you could have a distortion block be off and a chorus block on, and when you press the switch into its lit state, the distortion will now be on and the chorus will be off. However, if you control a block's bypass state with an incoming MIDI message, it will turn the block off when it receives a value between 0-63 and will turn it on when it receives a value between 64-127. So there's no way to, say, use the switches on the FS2-MIDI to turn a chorus block on when you switch to the Rhythm channel on your amp and turn it off when you switch to the Lead channel. The only way to have this kind of behavior is to use a Helix footswitch to both control the bypass state of the chorus block AND send a MIDI CC message to the FS2-MIDI, because you can have the chorus block turn off when sending a message to the FS2-MIDI to select your Lead channel, and vice versa. It's kind of a waste of a footswitch but it's the only way to do it.

 

At any rate, it's a pretty handy little device and it's pretty easy to use, and like I said, it frees up the jack on the Helix to use a second expression pedal if you should want one. 

 

 

I've just bookmarked this for later! You're a legend! Thank you for the thorough explanation!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...