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Loud noise when switching snapshots


therunawayfive
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I recently bought a HX Stomp XL and have been loving it. After a lot of the kind of deliberation between Helix models you all know well, I decided the smaller form factor was more important to me than the lack of DSP. I know that multiple amps in a preset is tough with that limitation and I was afraid of the gap when switching presets. So my goal is to go from sparkly clean to a thick rhythm to a boosted lead, all in one preset. I've succeeded well enough so far for having this thing for like 2 weeks. I'm using the Mahadeva with some pretty dramatic changes to the amp settings and an EQ block further down, along with turning on a compressor for the cleans.

 

It works pretty well, even if I'm still tweaking. The problem is that switching snapshots causes a terrible POP! That's awful, because the whole point of snapshots in this context for me was to avoid the gap when switching presets. This is worse! I don't hear it if I mute completely before switching, but that's just the preset gap, only manual.

 

I've looked around and gathered that I'm not the first to experience this when changing amp settings a lot. People seem to believe this is due to the way that the thing tweaks all those knobs--not all at once, but in extremely rapid succession, leading to a very short, very loud noise if, say, the volume boost for the clean sound is turned down last. But this noise is so much louder that it seems more likely that this is the Stomp glitching out for a split second. Someone else seemed to think this was introduced in firmware version 2.71, but I can't really test that. I'm on 3.1 and don't really want to downgrade that far.

 

Is there anything I can do? I've attached an audio example and a picture of the waveform. It's the kind of thing that'll make a sound guy wanna kill me. I'd wanna kill me. I was hoping that using single-amp presets and creative snapshots like this was a clever, if laborious, workaround. But the cure seems worse than the disease. Is this just the way it is, or is this a bug that might be fixed someday?

hxstomp_snapshot_spike.png

hxstomp_snapshot_spike.mp3

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Yeah, I did. Searched a bunch! Found the thread linked above, where someone suggests using a single amp model (I already am). Or to disable time-based effects (none engaged). Or that the volumes aren't level (they roughly are, the spike is much louder). Some suggest adding a volume blocks (I don't have the blocks to spare). A few folks said it only started in a particular firmware version, but I'm skeptical.  People on reddit seem to have the same problem, no solutions over there. As a matter of fact, here's a member of the Helix dev team describing my problem:

 

Quote

The reason this is important is that while Snapshots are really fast, they're not technically instantaneous. In order to keep the system from having to mute (like changing presets), we can't process multiple blocks/parameters at once; we have to go sequentially, just like hitting the bypass button on each block, but really really fast. What this means is that, if you've got one block that jacks your level way up and then another one after it that brings it back down, and both of those get enabled during a snapshot change, there might be a little blip where the first block is active, but the second one isn't, so that super hot level is getting through.

The solution? Just bring down that block's level! Go through and try to keep the level relatively consistent in your signal flow and this should pretty much never be an issue. The one exception is doing the high-level-low-drive thing with dirt boxes in front of a high gain amp, since that necessitates a level jump, but if you keep that distortion block and the amp it's going into close to each other in the signal flow, you should be ok. The further the disparately leveled blocks are from each other, the more likely you could hear an artifact.

 

Yeah that's pretty much it, except boosting a clean sound is what I absolutely have to do in order to reach volume parity with the distorted sound being made by the same amp. So "bring down that block's level" isn't too helpful, since doing that would make the clean sound inaudible in comparison. Do those changes happen in the literal order in which they are in the chain? I posted here hoping people had found specific workarounds. There's clearly a gain staging puzzle to solve here, and since I'm not the only one that's run into this (as you noted), here I am. I'd prefer to not go to presets, but it's better than this.

 

Thanks though.

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47 minutes ago, therunawayfive said:

Yeah, I did. Searched a bunch! Found the thread linked above, where someone suggests using a single amp model (I already am). Or to disable time-based effects (none engaged). Or that the volumes aren't level (they roughly are, the spike is much louder). Some suggest adding a volume blocks (I don't have the blocks to spare). A few folks said it only started in a particular firmware version, but I'm skeptical.  People on reddit seem to have the same problem, no solutions over there. As a matter of fact, here's a member of the Helix dev team describing my problem:

 

 

Yeah that's pretty much it, except boosting a clean sound is what I absolutely have to do in order to reach volume parity with the distorted sound being made by the same amp. So "bring down that block's level" isn't too helpful, since doing that would make the clean sound inaudible in comparison. Do those changes happen in the literal order in which they are in the chain? I posted here hoping people had found specific workarounds. There's clearly a gain staging puzzle to solve here, and since I'm not the only one that's run into this (as you noted), here I am. I'd prefer to not go to presets, but it's better than this.

 

Thanks though.

Yeah... I very rarely change the settings of my blocks between snapshots, just bypass and un-bypass things.  Maybe instead of changing the gain on the amp, try adding an overdrive pedal. I'm sure you can find something more suitable. 

 

Helix has these weird popping noises when there is a big change in terms of volume/gain.  I've had to redo some of my presets in order to overcome that. 

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I've tried a distortion pedal or two in front, but I can't get sounds I like as much as the cranked amp models. Not surprising, and was worth a shot. On a Stomp XL, I don't have the luxury of adding a bunch of other stuff, anyway. If I could do that, I'd just run another amp. At rehearsal, the spike was extremely noticeable even with an entire band playing, I got some looks

 

. I'm going to experiment with the various ways of increasing a clean sound's level and see if changing the location in the chain helps. If the changes are made (very quickly) from left to right, then it would make sense to put the volume boost as early as possible so that it comes back down first....but that pushes the amp harder and it starts breaking up. So right now I've got makeup gain on an EQ after the amp and a bit of on the output.

 

Right now, I'm leaning toward just dealing with the pause between presets.

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On 10/29/2021 at 2:46 PM, therunawayfive said:

I've tried a distortion pedal or two in front, but I can't get sounds I like as much as the cranked amp models. Not surprising, and was worth a shot. On a Stomp XL, I don't have the luxury of adding a bunch of other stuff, anyway. If I could do that, I'd just run another amp. At rehearsal, the spike was extremely noticeable even with an entire band playing, I got some looks

 

. I'm going to experiment with the various ways of increasing a clean sound's level and see if changing the location in the chain helps. If the changes are made (very quickly) from left to right, then it would make sense to put the volume boost as early as possible so that it comes back down first....but that pushes the amp harder and it starts breaking up. So right now I've got makeup gain on an EQ after the amp and a bit of on the output.

 

Right now, I'm leaning toward just dealing with the pause between presets.

try 2 amp blocks: enable one/disable the other one...?

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I think you're gonna get this no matter what you do if your amp settings are changing that much. The only thing I can think of is maybe a compressor after the amp with a super fast attack setting. Such a fast compressor may not even exist in the Helix roster, you might have to find a pedal that does it and put it after your Stomp. 

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