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Helix LT bass presets


MATObass
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The guitarist in my band has owned a Helix Rack for about a year and absolutely loves it. He finally convinced me to buy an LT for my bass rig. So far I'm not loving it. All of the bass presets sound horrible. I'm running it into a power amp with a 4x10 Ampeg cab. I thought maybe the cab simulator might have been the reason, but bypassing it doesn't seem to help. I haven't tried any custom patches yet, but can't even seem to dial in a half way decent tone right now. Perhaps my gear is the limiting factor, but it's all pretty standard stuff: Ibanez SR305 bass, Stewart World 2.0 amp, Ampeg 4x10. What am I missing here?  TIA

 

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My first piece of advice would be to not spend too much time worrying about the factory presets or even trying to download presets at first. I’d start simple and build from there. Try loading one of the bass amp or preamp models you like and build from there. Basically, your playback system is going to have a big impact on the tone, and the easiest way to account for that is just to build presets around it from the start.

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I've found that amp sims are much more important for guitar than bass. I've used a BOSS ME-50b for years. No amp sim, no cab sim, just eq and fx.

I've tried to get the Helix bass amps and cabs, including many IRs, to sound good through my FRFR112, and always go back to a touch of compression, eq, distortion and other fx as required, and just a hint of room reverb to liven it up. Essentially, same as I do on the ME-50b. Keep in mind how many records have been made with the bass direct to the board.

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If you can make the bass sound good through a "normal" rig the bass is not the fault. I'm using my stomp in the rehearsal space through IEMs so the strategies I do might not work for you. I'm spending more time than I'd like to admit trying to get amazing bass tones, it's not easy, but my bandmates start to dig it and me too. Try bring a laptop, record a clean DI bassline with the helix and reamp it through the helix so you can focus on dialling the tone instead of playing the bass to begin with, then you can experiment easier and faster.

 

If you run through a conventional bass cabinet I think you definitely should turn off IRs or cab in the Lt. Try different impedance settings. Remember that If you record clean DI the impedance setting is recorded/fixed, so if you want to experiment with different impedances you need one recording for each impedance, then you can reamp and for example try a bunch of amp Sims and tweak for different impedance settings and save presets and go back and forth to see what you like the most.

 

Good luck, the rabbit hole is deep!

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I downloaded several of Dr Tone's patches tonight. Some sounded good, others really didn't. I figured that most of the presets were designed to be run directly into a mixing board or FoH and bypassing the cab simulator dramatically alters the tone. So all hope isn't lost! 

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I've got pretty awesome tones from the Helix LT. Start from scratch with your own tones. 

Usually my go to is compressor, amp and IR. I reocmmend using IRs, I think the factory cab simulations aren't the best. Shiftline has a decent IR pack. Recently I fell in love with 3sigmas aguilar 810 and Mesa 810 IRs. 
My go to amp s the SVT-4 Pro, but the Aguilar and Mesa amps sounded pretty nice too.
I run it through FRFR but if you run it through a traditinal bass rig turn off cab sims and IRs. Also go into the poweramp section of the head.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/18/2021 at 9:41 AM, MATObass said:

The guitarist in my band has owned a Helix Rack for about a year and absolutely loves it. He finally convinced me to buy an LT for my bass rig. So far I'm not loving it. All of the bass presets sound horrible. I'm running it into a power amp with a 4x10 Ampeg cab. I thought maybe the cab simulator might have been the reason, but bypassing it doesn't seem to help. I haven't tried any custom patches yet, but can't even seem to dial in a half way decent tone right now. Perhaps my gear is the limiting factor, but it's all pretty standard stuff: Ibanez SR305 bass, Stewart World 2.0 amp, Ampeg 4x10. What am I missing here?  TIA

 

 

Little bit of thread necromancy.

 

What are you finding lacking? What wattage is that poweramp running? I'm wondering if you need more power. Not so much for volume but for accurately reproducing low frequency content. Bass frequencies gobble up wattage.

 

It's also possible that the output impedance of the LT isn't jiving with the input sensitivity of the poweramp. Might need to fuss with the output impedence in your global settings to get the LT to drive that poweramp a bit more. Line level is going have more umph than instrument or mic level. Page 65 of the Rack user manual details Inputs and Outputs (as an LT user, your mileage may vary)

 

Also check and play with the "Gate" and "Guitar In-Z" settings on the the input block of your signal path. From page 26 of the Helix Rack Owners manual (as an LT user, your mileage may vary).....

 

Quote

All input blocks include a dedicated noise gate and a gain reduction meter (see page 44). Threshold and Decay parameters are grayed out unless the Input Gate parameter is turned on:

 

Input > Multi and Input > Guitar blocks have an additional Guitar In-Z parameter. Helix has an impedance circuit on its Guitar Input that affects tone and feel by loading your guitar’s pickups as they would by an effect pedal or amplifier. A lower value will typically result in some high frequency attenuation, lower gain, and an overall “softer” feel. A higher value provides full frequency response, higher gain, and an overall “tighter” feel. The “Auto” option allows the impedance to reflect the impedance of the first block on Path 1A—also see the Auto Impedance option on “Global Settings > Preferences” on page 66

 

Lately my band has been recording and part of that process is tone finding. Were are opting on using Helix solely going to our interfaces and directly to Ableton Live. No mic'ing physical cabs. So far the SVT4Pro is my favorite of the stock Helix Amp Models and I've been building my tone around that. I'm looking for a pretty aggressive rock tone so I crank the Mid Frequency control all the way up and give the Midrange control a bit of a bump. I'm also using a Muff bass fuzz (actual pedal) in an FX loop and running that with a wet dry mix on the FX Loop block. I'm in love with the tones I'm achieving (not even getting into what I'm doing with Signal Path 2, the built in effects, using a guitar preamp on that path and mixing in the Hologram Electronics Microcosm in an FX Loop and doing an overall wet/dry mix).

 

I'm less than enthused on the stock Helix Cab Emulations. They are all just wimpy sounding lacking any real clarity. So I researched and downloaded the Celestion Pulse 10 and Pulse 15 IR player packs. These IRs definitely pulled the wet blanket off my tone. I'm achieving a pretty big clear sound. The gloves really came off when I starting messing with the Horn IRs in the 4x10 and 1x15 IR folders in those Celestion packs. Lovely pick attack and more high end content on my fuzz tone. Currently I'm stacking a 410 plectrum aggressive (on path 1A) with a 115 horn IR on a parallel path (1B).

 

For live settings I have yet to get a poweramp to drive my fridge cab but am pretty much settled on the Matrix GT1600fx. This is a stereo poweramp with 800watts at 4ohms per channel. I could theoretically efficiently power two Ampeg 810e Cabs if I wanted too (it's possible). I will be building a collection of Bass cabs (an array of smaller cabs, looking at the Orange single 12 cabs or the Avatar 126sb Cabs) and maybe some FRFR cabs (the Tech21 Power Engine 200s look suitable to reproduce Hi End Content) to deal with any live setting from small house shows/bar gigs with little or no PA, to larger venues with much more robust PA systems. We will be investing in IEMs as well. Again, pushing that much power is less about actual decibels and more about accurately reproducing clear tight low end content and giving the stage some feel. In these cases I'll run a path that has Speaker/Cab IRs for FOH and FRFR cabs and no IRs for actual bass cabs.

 

Prior to switching to Rack (My first foray into Helix is the HX Effects which I still have and love); I was using my SVT-CL (USA made, SLM era amp) running in 4 cable method pushing an Ampeg 810e. This setup didn't require any of the Amp models or Cab emulations. I was using Rack mainly for the effects, the effects loops to integrate analog pedals as well as the SVTs preamp, and to design signal flows. I was able to dial in some massive tones with this setup but 4CM is honestly a bit too clunky in wiring up and can introduce failure points, which is why I'm going the Helix Rack driving a poweramp driving some Bass cabs route.

 

Moral of the story is that you can achieve amazing bass tones with Helix. There's a lot of options and there may be a bit of a learning curve but stick to it and you'll get there.

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I would suggest, start simple...Empty patch and bring up only the PRE models...Start there...Grab the SVT twiddle with the PRE for a while.....Then move to the same model FULL....There are some extra settings there that I most times find set to high for my bass tone.....usually the master....I use the SVT Pro 4 probably 60% of the time....use some of the other models here and there: bassman for Beatles stuff....GK patch for Rush....etc....I am mostly an Ampeg guy...that's just a cool comparative approach I found that helps get under what is doing what....A lot of times, I use a premp model and don't need the power amp color.....cleaner stuff generally.

 

One thing I have found with the line 6 modelers is that that the pad is really not quite enough for bass. I play 80s 18v Steinbergers exclusivly and they are too much for the Line 6 inputs, even padded....I use a Source Audio EQ2 as my initial EQ peak limiter and level set so I can get it exactly where it needs to max out....Once you do this, things clean up quite a bit. There's a limiter in the codec converter and I try to stay out of that.

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