Jump to content

Building presets to accommodate multiple guitar output levels, e.g.: Les Paul / Tele using Return 1, 2, etc.


theElevators
 Share

Recommended Posts

Howdy.  I just figured something out, and wanted to share my hack with you all.  This is a hack that solves the issue of having 2 different guitars with different output levels.  As you know, if you dial in your sound for a Humbucker-equipped guitar, playing a single-coil guitar through he same preset is not going to sound anywhere close. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This works fine except for two things.

1) it's well known that the SEND/RETURN blocks add a (low) level of noise, which is NBD if you're using negative settings, but still....

2) the Input Impedance feature is only on the Guitar input, and the S/R inputs are 1M, which only matters if you're using FX with input impedance <1M, but still.....

 

So it makes more sense to use a GAIN Block and skip the added noise, but you lose the Input Impedance feature either way.

 

I'm all for the adjustable PAD, which should be in the Input Block so we can change it via FS or Snapshot.

I'm pretty sure this has LONG been up on Ideascale if you want to vote for it (FWIW).

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

I'd simply love to see a global input volume trim (with way finer adjusting options than the Input Pad), accessible through a footswitch, preferably with 2-3 different "slots". But we will never see anything like that on the Helix.

You can simply use the Microphone input for your guitar.  It has a gain setting and you can use run the tuner for the Microphone input too... All you need is an adapter, and now you can raise the level of your instrument with the Mic gain setting.  Of course there's no negative gain....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, rd2rk said:

This works fine except for two things.

1) it's well known that the SEND/RETURN blocks add a (low) level of noise, which is NBD if you're using negative settings, but still....

2) the Input Impedance feature is only on the Guitar input, and the S/R inputs are 1M, which only matters if you're using FX with input impedance <1M, but still.....

 

So it makes more sense to use a GAIN Block and skip the added noise, but you lose the Input Impedance feature either way.

 

I'm all for the adjustable PAD, which should be in the Input Block so we can change it via FS or Snapshot.

I'm pretty sure this has LONG been up on Ideascale if you want to vote for it (FWIW).

 

 

I'm all for the additional flexibility on the pad, as long as they retained a global setting with for example, "Global", "Preset", "Snapshot" options.  I suspect many people use the pad globally when they switch guitars, sometimes for the duration of their gig or recording session, and want it to impact all presets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, theElevators said:

You can simply use the Microphone input for your guitar.

 

Have you tried that? Apart from the auto/manual impedance feature (that I'm regularly using), I don't think things will sound too great. I mean, typical dynamic mics come with an impedance somewhere between 150 and 300 Ohm, so I'd suspect the Mic in to support those. A typical PAF pickup has an impedance of 7.5k(!)Ohm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Have you tried that? Apart from the auto/manual impedance feature (that I'm regularly using), I don't think things will sound too great. I mean, typical dynamic mics come with an impedance somewhere between 150 and 300 Ohm, so I'd suspect the Mic in to support those. A typical PAF pickup has an impedance of 7.5k(!)Ohm.

 

True, but there could be a possible workaround. I did an article for Guitar Player magazine on interfacing guitar with the 1/4" dynamic mic input in Native Instruments' Maschine. The "interface" was a guitar cable with a 390k resistor in series with the output jack's hot lead. IIRC the mic input was maybe 10k (?), so it acted like a voltage divider for the 390k resistor, which brought down the guitar level so it was a better match for mic preamp gain. The 390k input impedance prevented dulling. You could probably do the same thing with the Helix XLR connector by creating an adapter with a 1/4" jack at one end for the guitar, and a resistor in series with a lead that goes into the mic in's pin 2 hot. Then connect ground to XLR pin 1. I'll try it out if I get the time, and see if it works...but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Anderton said:

True, but there could be a possible workaround. I did an article for Guitar Player magazine on interfacing guitar with the 1/4" dynamic mic input in Native Instruments' Maschine. The "interface" was a guitar cable with a 390k resistor in series with the output jack's hot lead. IIRC the mic input was maybe 10k (?), so it acted like a voltage divider for the 390k resistor, which brought down the guitar level so it was a better match for mic preamp gain. The 390k input impedance prevented dulling. You could probably do the same thing with the Helix XLR connector by creating an adapter with a 1/4" jack at one end for the guitar, and a resistor in series with a lead that goes into the mic in's pin 2 hot. Then connect ground to XLR pin 1. I'll try it out if I get the time, and see if it works...but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't.

 

Pretty interesting, thanks.

But seriously, in case I buy a flagship modeler from whatever company, I don't want to deal with things like that.

Line 6 could at least do it like Boss, their units offer freely adjustable global input trims (in 1 dB steps from -20dB to +20dB) and you can save up to 10 input level presets. Unfortunately it seems that they're still not switchable, that would possibly be a nice idea.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I just don't see this as a huge issue given I've been dealing with this quite well for the last 7 years on my Helix.  The difference being that I accept different guitars are going to sound different so I simply accommodate it by having a different preset that incorporates the adjustments necessary.  It also means I have to actually "plan ahead" (oh the horror!!!) about which guitar I'll be using BEFORE I get on stage.

The fact is different songs sound different to a large degree depending on the type of guitar being used.  That's the primary reason I have four different guitars to accommodate those differences (Les Paul, Gretsch Silver Eagle hollow body, Strat and Tele).  This doesn't work in all cases (I often finger pick on the Gretsch which sounds horrible if done on any of the others) and in some cases I can directly substitute a Les Paul for the Gretsch and vice versa and the same for the Tele and Strat without any adjustment to the preset, except for maybe minor adjustments on the guitar itself (tone knob, pickup selects, Gretsch dirt switch, etc.).  However in some cases when I'm more or less forced to use a Les Paul on a song rather than a Strat due to the flow of the show, I'll simply do some surgery on the preset which includes WAY more than a simple adjustment to the input impedance or PAD.  Often it involves changes in the amp, cab, mic'ing and definitely EQ and gain components.  But the overall preset still works in the same way and I just have it exported to my hard drive with a code at the end specifying which guitar it's for.

I realize this isn't an accommodating approach for folks that don't want to prepare or plan for their performances, but it works fine for those that live by the motto:  Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

Fwiw, compare it to adjusting the input level of an audio interface. You wouldn't accept too low levels just because you're using a Strat and you would as well not accept input clipping just because you're using a Les Paul.

If I was doing two guitar tracks on a song using a VST plugin for the amp sim, one on the Les Paul and one on the Strat, I would adjust the input gain so that the Les Paul wasn't clipping, then I would use the same input level on the Strat and adjust the gain on the amp sim if needed. I'll accept that the Helix is technically closer to an audio interface than a guitar amp, but I think you treat it like it's a guitar amp. Just seems a simpler solution to have a volume block on a Snapshot Bypassed footswitch than to get into janky hotwiring schemes using the mic input, and only because you couldn't assign a footswitch to the gain control of the amp and have it ignore Snapshots, because...

 

https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Controller-Assign-independent-of-Snapshots/1000019-23508

 

Edit: see what I did there? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, zappazapper said:

but I think you treat it like it's a guitar amp.

 

Right. As a guitar amp with a pedal board going along with it. And on those very pedal boards I owned for the last 20-30 years, I have usually been able to globally adjust my input level by using a switchable booster in front of it. Nothing like this is possible on the Helix (unless I would in fact use an external booster).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

I realize this isn't an accommodating approach for folks that don't want to prepare or plan for their performances, but it works fine for those that live by the motto:  Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.

 

That's quite some arrogant nonsense right there - accusing people asking for a most trivial feature in the analog world of not planning well.

Apart from that, it's utter bogus. Unless you want to accuse, say, Robben Ford of not planning well and failing. I've seen him swap guitars live more than once. And he certainly didn't use any special preprogrammed patches to suit each guitar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Btw, a global block functionality would easily fix the problem, too. And things would be switcheable. The only issue being the loss of the auto-impedance feature (in case you were using a gain block as the first thing in your signal chain), but that could possibly be fixed by an "ignored by auto impedance" checkbox on that block.

None of that will ever happen, though. It's more important to supply yet some more amp models.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

Pretty interesting, thanks.

 

One of the main reasons I posted that was because I figured I'm not the only Helix user who has Maschine. I've yet to find any multieffects that can do as many parallel paths as Maschine, and of course, you get to access all those DJ-oriened effects for slicing, tempo sync, etc. So knowing about this hack might be helpful. Even though Native Instruments clearly wasn't thinking about guitar players when they made Maschine, it's a cool multieffects that complements Helix well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Right. As a guitar amp with a pedal board going along with it. And on those very pedal boards I owned for the last 20-30 years, I have usually been able to globally adjust my input level by using a switchable booster in front of it. Nothing like this is possible on the Helix (unless I would in fact use an external booster).

K, but, I mean, if it's a multi-fx designed for guitar, then the input would be designed to have a level that is appropriate for guitar. Audio interfaces have trim pots because there are a range of sources that could be plugged into them, all with different output levels. Yes, different guitar pickups have different levels, but more or less are in the same ballpark. And the gain knob on a guitar amp is almost never used to set a level that is appropriate for the circuitry, rather it's used as a tone shaping tool, usually by setting it to a completely inappropriate level for the circuitry. And so the different output levels of different guitar pickups IS as much of the uniqueness of one guitar vs another, as much as frequency content is. So I was just pointing out that it seems like a funny exercise to negate one of the fundamental differences between two different guitars. AFAIC the lower level of a single coil guitar is a big reason why I would use a single coil guitar.

 

Having said that, I'm certainly not saying it shouldn't be done. To each their own, and in all honesty, I've done plenty of investigating myself on how to make one type of guitar sound like another, just for the opposite reason - I only owned the one guitar, and wanted it to sound like another for some songs. That makes more sense to me than making two guitars sound the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

That's quite some arrogant nonsense right there - accusing people asking for a most trivial feature in the analog world of not planning well.

Apart from that, it's utter bogus. Unless you want to accuse, say, Robben Ford of not planning well and failing. I've seen him swap guitars live more than once. And he certainly didn't use any special preprogrammed patches to suit each guitar.

And how, exactly would you know that?  Were you watching what his guitar tech was doing backstage to accommodate the guitar change?  Quite frankly I doubt you would even notice any suspect actions on my part when I change guitars on stage since the only thing you might notice is I changed my preset...which I do for every song.

The real fact is, the statement "those that fail to plan, plan to fail" shouldn't bother anyone other than someone who's insecure about their lack of preparation.  There's not a single instance of anyone in ANY field of endeavor who's a globally recognized success story that wouldn't agree with that statement as they're all well-known for their diligent work ethic.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

And how, exactly would you know that?  Were you watching what his guitar tech was doing backstage to accommodate the guitar change? 

 

Precisely. In fact, they just had one backliner for the entire band and Ford was doing everything himself. Guitars were all on stage and he also tuned them himself.

 

15 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

The real fact is, the statement "those that fail to plan, plan to fail" shouldn't bother anyone other than someone who's insecure about their lack of preparation. 

 

Another completely arrogant statement.

 

But by now I have seen more than enough of such and similar statements coming from you.

Do you have any of your great performances online to listen to? Just would like to know whether your playing justifies the high horse you're trying to sit on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a solution that works for me, but it only works for me because I keep a "simple" live set up, and don't require "auto impedance" in any way. 

 

For the most part.... I use one preset live, but I have one iteration of that preset for each guitar I own. 

 

I create the preset on my Tele (my primary guitar) and the first block is a simple GAIN block. When I copy the preset for the Strat... that gain is turned up a little to compensate the gain difference. For my Les Paul I need to reduce the gain, repeat for each guitar I gig with...  The simple act of leveling the input takes care of everything I need. Yes the presets sound different with different guitars... but for me that's the point!

 

On 11/9/2021 at 6:26 AM, SaschaFranck said:

On those very pedal boards I owned for the last 20-30 years, I have usually been able to globally adjust my input level by using a switchable booster in front of it. Nothing like this is possible on the Helix (unless I would in fact use an external booster).

 

I would have no argument against a global solution. I use to use a BOSS LS-2 at the front of my pedal boards for this very purpose... providing 3 instantly accessible levels at my feet when I changed guitars.

 

My Helix solution works fine for me, but something global would work much better for those that work with a lot of presets. If it was an option, I'd likely find a way to use it. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use my Source Audio EQ2 to calibrate my guitar/bass outputs so I can share a lot of patches...First in the chain...without doing any midi at all you can select 4 presets on the pedal itself (4 guitars)...you can also use channel 2 as a loop for drive pedals or as a stand alone clean boost....you could use a button on the stomp to toggle presets on the EQ2....I have used a boss ls-2 in the past and they work really well....great utility dual buffer pedal for lots of things....EQ2 is a mind blowing eq that is one of the best I have ever heard....It reminded me of the first time I put a pultec EQ on a chain flat...same thing...it makes your chain sound better just being there flat.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, codamedia said:

For the most part.... I use one preset live, but I have one iteration of that preset for each guitar I own. 

 

I'm doing it pretty much the same. One preset per gig (I'm a "one guitar per gig" person as well, unless something special is required, such as acoustics - and obviously I always have a spare backup guitar with me, too) and that's it. So, in a nutshell, this very problem doesn't even bother me.


But uhm - in fact, it *does* bother me. But not so much because of input levels (I could possibly adress that by using an analog boost/cut, even if I usually prefer the 230kOhm setting on the Helix, but I could get a booster with the same input impedance) but because of the general lack of any global adjustment options.

Yeah, I know, I'm sounding like a broken record on repeat - but having a "global blocks" functionality would solve this and all related issues in a heartbeat.
 

I mean, I went for the one-patch-per-gig thing just because there's no global blocks (and yes, I knew this prior to purchasing the Helix). I would happily use more than one patch, simply because it'd keep individual patches less complexed, I'd have more switching options inside a single patch (yes, I'm often running out of switches) and I could possibly even use the preset spillover feature as my patches could be less complexed.

But then, by now I'd almost take any bet that the Helix will never see any such a feature (even if it'd be almost trivial to implement, at least in a certain way - I can almost "hack" it, using an external MIDI knob box, will possibly explain the how-to in a dedicated thread...). Which is the very reason (or at least one of the several reasons) why I see myself using a GT-1000 somewhen next year, once the gig situation is halfway back to normal.

 

Until then, I don't really break a sweat over adjustable input volumes - I was just taking part in this thread because I can perfectly understand why people are asking for such a feature.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've put a gain block at the front of my patch with a slight boost, and renamed the scribble strip the name of my quieter guitar. Plug in that guitar, stomp on the switch, and off we go. No problems when I've done this.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...