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No clean ever !


gmailclaude
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I am completely new to Helix, or modelers for that matter. I tend to use clean tones a lot ( jazz and other melleow trends ) Seems impossible to get a completely clean tone. Even with no blocks enabeled, simply a solid strum on any of my guitars prduces distortion. I have the output set to MIC going to a PA system and the 1/4 inch set to intrument going to the loop return of a guitar amp.

I have set a low pass at 10K and high pass at 90hz 

Any clue how I can get a solid clean tone ?

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Of course you can do clean tones with Helix, I only play clean and never had any issue with that.

 

Your routing has plenty of potential impedance and level mismatch, so you need to find out what's the correct setup. A bad mismatch between impedance/load can easily produce signal distortion, even without any Helix block in the middle. Also be 100% sure you are not sending phantom power from that mixer to the Helix.

 

Mixer settings (mic/line/pad etc...), amp loop return specs (why going into a loop return?), and once you know all that stuff, you need to set the Helix globals in/out settings accordingly.

 

 

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Right, check for phantom power, the Helix can't deal with that. You might as well want to check the global Input Pad setting. In case you switch it to on, not even the most powerful pickups should cause any clipping on the input, so make sure to try that for a test. Also make sure to check your patches with headphones first. Any further connections could, at least potentially, cause different issues, unrelated to the Helix.

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29 minutes ago, PierM said:

Of course you can do clean tones with Helix, I only play clean and never had any issue with that.

 

Your routing has plenty of potential impedance and level mismatch, so you need to find out what's the correct setup. A bad mismatch between impedance/load can easily produce signal distortion, even without any Helix block in the middle. Also be 100% sure you are not sending phantom power from that mixer to the Helix.

 

Mixer settings (mic/line/pad etc...), amp loop return specs (why going into a loop return?), and once you know all that stuff, you need to set the Helix globals in/out settings accordingly.

 

 

HI, thanks for the response. I am a bit confused here. When you say "potential mismach" you are refering to the routing from helix to the PA ?

About the loop return, I expected this would work better than going in front of the amp. I am testing this setup to figure eventual live play where I would need/want something behind me on stage...

 

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9 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

Right, check for phantom power, the Helix can't deal with that. You might as well want to check the global Input Pad setting. In case you switch it to on, not even the most powerful pickups should cause any clipping on the input, so make sure to try that for a test. Also make sure to check your patches with headphones first. Any further connections could, at least potentially, cause different issues, unrelated to the Helix.

Are you saying I should have that pad ON ? I use P90s and PAf stile Hbs...

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4 minutes ago, gmailclaude said:

Are you saying I should have that pad ON ? I use P90s and PAf stile Hbs...

 

Not necessarily but for this test (Input Pad on = input signal is dampened). I have an old early 70s Ibanez pre-AS semi acoustic (almost a 1:1 335 clone) and the original PUs are pretty much among the hottest I ever had in any guitar, for whatever strange reasons, even if otherwise that very guitar is doing a great job at jazzy-ish stuff. It's still not overdriving the Helix but most things do at least sound somewhat better with Input Pad set to "on" (well, in fact, they just require less adjustments).

But really, this is just to sort out anything that could be Helix-related.

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FWIW I play vintage spec guitar (ie: low output) and keep my pad off. I'm a country guy... clean is my bread and butter and I don't have any issues producing clean tones with the Helix. I have one guitar with hotter pickups... and it does increase "gain" (as expected) when used, but it certainly doesn't turn my clean tones into dirty tones. 

 

1 hour ago, gmailclaude said:

I have the output set to MIC going to a PA system

 

1 hour ago, SaschaFranck said:

Right, check for phantom power, the Helix can't deal with that.

 

^^^ this ^^^ is the first thing to check for. 

 

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Well I think I found the main issue. I upgraded the firmware to 3.11 but forgot to go back to Global settings... the volume control was still active on the XLR outs. Removing that changed everything. Sorry  guys, It seems my inadequacy made you waste time... Yet, I am wondering if you have a simple procedure to level all patches for volume. There is a gigantic difference in volume between clean and driven tones... What is the best way to level them without cahnging tone ?

 

Thanks again !!

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1 hour ago, gmailclaude said:

Yet, I am wondering if you have a simple procedure to level all patches for volume.

 

No.

 

1 hour ago, gmailclaude said:

What is the best way to level them without cahnging tone ?

 

Going through each patch and either adjusting the amp's channel volume or the volume of the output block.

 

Unless Line 6 decides to add a global block feature, which IMO would be a huge game changer (not only regarding volume adjustments). Unfortunately they won't do that.

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1 hour ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

No.

 

 

Going through each patch and either adjusting the amp's channel volume or the volume of the output block.

 

Unless Line 6 decides to add a global block feature, which IMO would be a huge game changer (not only regarding volume adjustments). Unfortunately they won't do that.

 

Humm, do Fractal or Headrush have such a feature ?

 

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2 hours ago, gmailclaude said:

Humm, do Fractal or Headrush have such a feature ?

 

As far as global blocks go, the Axe FX has such a feature (but so far it's exclusive to the big guy, the smaller siblings don't offer it, at least not yet). The Boss GT-1000 has a similar feature (called "stompbox", which is absolutely misleading, but it offers an option to save whatever blocks as global ones, so each patch using them will be automatically adjusted once you adjust that very block in a single patch) and the Kemper has a feature allowing you to "block" certain parameters throughout multiple patches, which allows for similar treatments of multiple patches at once. In all the other modelers, nothing like that exists.

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10 hours ago, gmailclaude said:

 

Humm, do Fractal or Headrush have such a feature ?

 

Bear in mind that would require that level setting to be done within the digital to analog conversion process which is a crucial element in maintaining minimal latency, and I suspect that's why most modelers avoid it and rely on you to manage your output levels within the digital environment of the modeler.  I'm not advocating for or against such a thing, but I really don't find it that much of a problem as I commonly manage my modeled signal level on every preset I use as a part of gain staging my presets so it's never been a problem for me.

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57 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

Bear in mind that would require that level setting to be done within the digital to analog conversion process which is a crucial element in maintaining minimal latency, and I suspect that's why most modelers avoid it

 

Huh? That makes no sense. Why would it be required for that kind of leveling to happen in the "digital to analog conversion process"? And what would that have to do with latency?

Everything could easily be done entirely within the digital domain and not add any latency at all. The modelers allowing for such maneuvers prove that.

Besides, it's not just about levels (at least not for me) but also about a whole number of other parameters that I often find myself adjusting on the fly.

 

59 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

I'm not advocating for or against such a thing, but I really don't find it that much of a problem as I commonly manage my modeled signal level on every preset I use as a part of gain staging my presets so it's never been a problem for me.

 

Depending on the kind of gigs you play, quick global adjustments can become absolutely crucial. For me they are. I'm often sub-ing in several scenarios, so there's no rehearsals, I often don't even know which tunes will be played and I also often don't know the other players, so I also don't know how certain tunes will be interpreted. As a result of that, I need to be able to quickly tweak my sounds to suit any possible situation.

 

Apart from all that, it's quite strange that for decades, global adjustments have never even been remotely an issue. When I wanted to have all my clean "patches" to be a little louder, all I'd do was to turn around to my amp, crank the volume of the clean channel a bit and that was it. The same goes for plenty of other things.

Regarding all these aspects, modelers are a huge step back (well, all modelers apart from the Axe FX, GT-1000 and Kemper).

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48 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Huh? That makes no sense. Why would it be required for that kind of leveling to happen in the "digital to analog conversion process"? And what would that have to do with latency?

Everything could easily be done entirely within the digital domain and not add any latency at all. The modelers allowing for such maneuvers prove that.

Besides, it's not just about levels (at least not for me) but also about a whole number of other parameters that I often find myself adjusting on the fly.

 

 

Depending on the kind of gigs you play, quick global adjustments can become absolutely crucial. For me they are. I'm often sub-ing in several scenarios, so there's no rehearsals, I often don't even know which tunes will be played and I also often don't know the other players, so I also don't know how certain tunes will be interpreted. As a result of that, I need to be able to quickly tweak my sounds to suit any possible situation.

 

Apart from all that, it's quite strange that for decades, global adjustments have never even been remotely an issue. When I wanted to have all my clean "patches" to be a little louder, all I'd do was to turn around to my amp, crank the volume of the clean channel a bit and that was it. The same goes for plenty of other things.

Regarding all these aspects, modelers are a huge step back (well, all modelers apart from the Axe FX, GT-1000 and Kemper).

 

 

I take it you are not such a big fan of Helix then, but you  seem to be active here... Am-I correct to assume you use Fractal in live situations  ?

 

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1 hour ago, gmailclaude said:

 

 

I take it you are not such a big fan of Helix then, but you  seem to be active here...

 

 

Correct, I'm not a big fan. There's just too many (partially horrible) design flaws, the hardware is partially flaky and its development team isn't doing anything to cure at least a few of these subjects (in some areas, not even the most trivial things work, such as finding a missing IR).

Still, when I bought the Helix, it has been the best choice for what I needed at that time.

 

1 hour ago, gmailclaude said:

Am-I correct to assume you use Fractal in live situations  ?

 

No. Not only that the Axe FX is too expensive (along with a rack, a floor controller, an expression pedal and a case for the latter two I'd end up with something like close to €4.000), I also explicitely don't want a rack anymore (have been dealing with these for the better part of my life) and just love the idea of a single pedalboard (+case) with everything inside.
I can however see myself using a GT-1000 in the more or less near future (right now it's making no sense to purchase anything as pretty much all gigs are cancelled due to wellknown reasons). Seems as if it'd be doing everything I need. I just don't need a plethora of amp models and what not, never did with my real amp setups, either - give me a clean amp with plenty of headroom, ideally sort of in the Fender ballpark, a basic Marshall-alike driven channel, a handful of drives and I'm all set (especially given that EQs and partially compressors can take you quite far anyway).

 

Whatever, as you asked, I'm using the Helix live, but I never switch patches during gigs. Oh well, I actually did in case acoustics were asked for, but for the last gig I even brought my trusty Zoom G3 just for the nylon string. Sticking with one patch on the Helix allows me to adjust everything, well, sort of globally.

But as I'd sometimes like to use some more elaborated patches, the Helix will very likely be retired one day (I might even keep it for recording purposes).

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41 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

I can however see myself using a GT-1000 in the more or less near future

 

I'm not sure about where you live... but I know around here I could easily trade my Helix LT for a BOSS GT1000... likely within a day or two of posting. I never would because I am very happy with the Helix, but you are not - so why wait for money. With a full Helix, you could likely even ask for a little cash or more product to sweeten the deal. 

 

17 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:
18 hours ago, gmailclaude said:

Yet, I am wondering if you have a simple procedure to level all patches for volume.

 

Going through each patch and either adjusting the amp's channel volume or the volume of the output block.

Unless Line 6 decides to add a global block feature, which IMO would be a huge game changer (not only regarding volume adjustments). Unfortunately they won't do that.

 

I fail to see how a "Global Block" is capable of solving any preset level differences. Sure... it could give you the option to quickly adjust a level when changing presets (if needed) but that's not practical. IMO, the only way to balance levels is by doing it preset per preset, and to be honest it's not that difficult once you decide on a common method. 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Huh? That makes no sense. Why would it be required for that kind of leveling to happen in the "digital to analog conversion process"? And what would that have to do with latency?

Everything could easily be done entirely within the digital domain and not add any latency at all.


Because that is where the differences in signal levels (mic, line, instrument) will be actualized and have to be properly compensated if it's going to be consistent with the signal that will reach the end point analog device.

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14 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I'm not sure about where you live... but I know around here I could easily trade my Helix LT for a BOSS GT1000... likely within a day or two of posting. I never would because I am very happy with the Helix, but you are not - so why wait for money. With a full Helix, you could likely even ask for a little cash or more product to sweeten the deal. 

 

I could easily trade the Helix for a GT-1000 pretty much any day. Used Helix prices are higher than new GT-1000s.

But I would not do that before I couldn't compare them directly - hence I had to pay the full GT-1000 price in advance, something I can't do ATM.

Besides, I'm not in a hurry at all. But I won't play a sunlight gig with the Helix ever again because I'd just go mad at that "mega flop by design".

 

20 minutes ago, codamedia said:

I fail to see how a "Global Block" is capable of solving any preset level differences. Sure... it could give you the option to quickly adjust a level when changing presets (if needed) but that's not practical. IMO, the only way to balance levels is by doing it preset per preset, and to be honest it's not that difficult once you decide on a common method. 

 

As said, I only use two amps/channels anyway. Adjust the clean channel in one patch and all the other patches using that amp would follow suit. Just as in the analog domain - what's tough to understand about that approach?

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5 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

Because that is where the differences in signal levels (mic, line, instrument) will be actualized and have to be properly compensated if it's going to be consistent with the signal that will reach the end point analog device.

 

No. OP was talking about balancing patches. Wouldn't have anything to do with latency, though.

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19 hours ago, gmailclaude said:

I am wondering if you have a simple procedure to level all patches for volume. There is a gigantic difference in volume between clean and driven tones... What is the best way to level them without cahnging tone ?

 

Unless you touch the gain structure "prior to the amp" (or any compression).... tones will not change with levels, your perception of them might. 

  1. Nothing beats "pre-preparation"... try to get the levels as matched as possible prior to going to a rehearsal and/or gig. 
  2. Choose your method for fine tuning the volume.... will it be the channel volume on the amp, will it be the output block, will it be a gain block at the end o the preset, etc... etc... Try to be consistent with this choice.. it makes life easy as you move forward. 
  3. Set the choice you make to be "highlighted" when you move from preset to preset so you have immediate access to it via the small rotaries. 
  4. When you change each preset... if the volume is off - bend over and adjust the volume until it's right. Then hit SAVE! 
  5. Repeat #4 as often as required. 

NOTE: Many (if not most) people will choose to have the AMP as the highlighted block. This makes sense as it places the "important" amp controls at your fingertips, just like having a real amp sitting behind you on a gig. Instant access to gain, bass, mid, treble, presence, & volume. Any changes you make can be temporary, or permanent depending on whether or not you choose to save. 

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4 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

Adjust the clean channel in one patch and all the other patches using that amp would follow suit. Just as in the analog domain - what's tough to understand about that approach?

 

What is tough to understand is that the person asked how to "balance presets" which this does not solve. As you say above, adjust the channel in one and "all others follow suit". The volume differences "preset to preset" will still not be balanced. 

 

You provide a GREAT option for a live adjustment tool, but not for balancing presets which is what the question actually was. 

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2 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

Unless you touch the gain structure "prior to the amp" (or any compression).... tones will not change with levels, your perception of them might. 

  1. Nothing beats "pre-preparation"... try to get the levels as matched as possible prior to going to a rehearsal and/or gig. 
  2. Choose your method for fine tuning the volume.... will it be the channel volume on the amp, will it be the output block, will it be a gain block at the end o the preset, etc... etc... Try to be consistent with this choice.. it makes life easy as you move forward. 
  3. Set the choice you make to be "highlighted" when you move from preset to preset so you have immediate access to it via the small rotaries. 
  4. When you change each preset... if the volume is off - bend over and adjust the volume until it's right. Then hit SAVE! 
  5. Repeat #4 as often as required. 

NOTE: Many (if not most) people will choose to have the AMP as the highlighted block. This makes sense as it places the "important" amp controls at your fingertips, just like having a real amp sitting behind you on a gig. Instant access to gain, bass, mid, treble, presence, & volume. Any changes you make can be temporary, or permanent depending on whether or not you choose to save. 

#2 is crucial for me.  I take the time to level presets as best I can, but there are always some that just catch me off guard live.  I have my presets saved on the Output Block.  I make the adjustment and save the preset in about 3 seconds.  Occasionally I go through my presets and any that have 'odd' output block numbers ( I start all presets at -4db) I adjust the block that is causing the volume difference.   

 

Being that I usually create basic amp/cab presets first, and then use those templates to build my presets there shouldnt be anything greatly off, unless an effect is pushing something hard.  

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3 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

With global blocks you could solve pretty much any level balancing issue one way or the other.

 

I think we are looking at "preset balancing" from different angles. 

  • Your global solution is great for changing a dozen presets equally in a moments notice. I'm not debating that, or questioning that in any way. But those presets would already be "balanced" by that point.
  • My point is that when a user creates 2 or more presets that are already out of balance (eg: a Fender clean tone vs a Plexi Crunch tone, vs Vox chime, etc... etc...)... there is no global block that could possibly balance them - they need to be balanced individually with each other. 
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33 minutes ago, codamedia said:

My point is that when a user creates 2 or more presets that are already out of balance (eg: a Fender clean tone vs a Plexi Crunch tone)... there is no global block that could possibly balance them - they need to be balanced individually with each other. 

 

Well, that strongly depends partially on a) how much of a difference we're talking about and largely on b) how you organize things (which obviously also depends a lot on the options any hypothetical global blocks function would provide).

As far as (b) goes, I have at least a gain block or EQ in pretty much any patch. And even if that's not the case, I usually have a block slot (or some) free which I would utilize for such tasks (I have actually been doing just that on analog boards and on a laptop based setup using Guitar Rig back in the days).

One could now use, say, one dedicated "gobally blocked" EQ for all cleans, another one for all crunchy rhythm things and yet another one for all heavier tones. In addition, one could use a global EQ for overall lead boost balancing.

As said, I have been doing just that on the last analog (or hybrid) setups I've been using. I always went for a kind of two channel approach (in fact, those channels usually were loops on my loop switcher, but that's pretty much the same). So I had one loop with all sorts of drives in it and another one for the clean-ish stuff, usually featuring just one drive and maybe a compressor. In both loops however I had an EQ as the last item in the signal chain, allowing me to do global adjustments to all driven and all clean-ish patches with very little effort. I pretty much replicated that setup in Guitar Rig, also added an external MIDI knob box (Behringer BCR2000) and it worked marvelleously well (apart from the not too great sound of GR back then, but fortunately it was just for a musical production that didn't require serious riffing sounds). With these days computing power (even in dedicated HW devices) I could easily multiply that approach and have some "global utility" blocks for pretty much everything, especially as in that case I'd finally be able to switch patches, hence never running out of processing juice ever again.

Talking about all that, in a nutshell, I personally wish there was an option to build a virtual rig similar to my loop switcher based setups. But it's absolutely impossible, regardless of the modeler used (perhaps the Axe FX would get kinda close, can't tell due to the lack of in depth hands on experience). I can't even replicate what was possible with my last smaller, pretty much feature reduced board.

 

And fwiw, I know that this isn't for all folks, but I do as well know quite some people who would applaud such a system. Most of the folks I know don't need a dedicated patch with a different amp and what not for each song but rather 2-3 great sounding basic sounds that you'd build up upon, allowing for on-the-fly tweaks.

Because of that I have actually been thinking about going back to my older board, but by now I wouldn't be happy with the last, smaller incarnation anymore and refining it would be quite expensive and also result in a rather large board, something I don't want anymore. Hence I'm looking for the second best solution, for my personal needs that'd be a global block functionality.

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2 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Well, that strongly depends partially on a) how much of a difference we're talking about and largely on b) how you organize things (which obviously also depends a lot on the options any hypothetical global blocks function would provide).

As far as (b) goes, I have at least a gain block or EQ in pretty much any patch. And even if that's not the case, I usually have a block slot (or some) free which I would utilize for such tasks (I have actually been doing just that on analog boards and on a laptop based setup using Guitar Rig back in the days).

One could now use, say, one dedicated "gobally blocked" EQ for all cleans, another one for all crunchy rhythm things and yet another one for all heavier tones. In addition, one could use a global EQ for overall lead boost balancing.

As said, I have been doing just that on the last analog (or hybrid) setups I've been using. I always went for a kind of two channel approach (in fact, those channels usually were loops on my loop switcher, but that's pretty much the same). So I had one loop with all sorts of drives in it and another one for the clean-ish stuff, usually featuring just one drive and maybe a compressor. In both loops however I had an EQ as the last item in the signal chain, allowing me to do global adjustments to all driven and all clean-ish patches with very little effort. I pretty much replicated that setup in Guitar Rig, also added an external MIDI knob box (Behringer BCR2000) and it worked marvelleously well (apart from the not too great sound of GR back then, but fortunately it was just for a musical production that didn't require serious riffing sounds). With these days computing power (even in dedicated HW devices) I could easily multiply that approach and have some "global utility" blocks for pretty much everything, especially as in that case I'd finally be able to switch patches, hence never running out of processing juice ever again.

Talking about all that, in a nutshell, I personally wish there was an option to build a virtual rig similar to my loop switcher based setups. But it's absolutely impossible, regardless of the modeler used (perhaps the Axe FX would get kinda close, can't tell due to the lack of in depth hands on experience). I can't even replicate what was possible with my last smaller, pretty much feature reduced board.

 

And fwiw, I know that this isn't for all folks, but I do as well know quite some people who would applaud such a system. Most of the folks I know don't need a dedicated patch with a different amp and what not for each song but rather 2-3 great sounding basic sounds that you'd build up upon, allowing for on-the-fly tweaks.

Because of that I have actually been thinking about going back to my older board, but by now I wouldn't be happy with the last, smaller incarnation anymore and refining it would be quite expensive and also result in a rather large board, something I don't want anymore. Hence I'm looking for the second best solution, for my personal needs that'd be a global block functionality.

While I dont run my presets/setlists like he does.  I do recall having 'Global' blocks in my Boss GT.  It was nice to create/save 10 user amps/cabs/effects (sorta similar to favorites).  Then when creating a preset from scratch you want to add an amp block, scroll right to get all the preset amps included or scroll left to get the User defined slots.  The benefit to using those though was more what Sascha is referring to.....If I had 10 Amps that varied from sparkling clean to death metal chugging heavy and implemented those across say 40 presets for various projects, and those 40 presets maybe were spread across 3 different setlists in varying orders (10 in this setlist, 15 in this setlist etc).......   it WAS nice to be able to make a change to any of those global user defined amp blocks and it would update all presets that used that user defined slot.  

 

That feature ran for all effects that you could do user defined spots for.  I think ever effect had 10 slots.  10 wahs, 10 chorus, 10 delays, 10 reverbs etc.  Something like that would be great I think.   It would also help in my case where we get a new toy (amp/effect etc) and I want to insert into my stock presets and song presets.  Its hard to remember which of the 60 presets I have currently that implement the TS808 vs Kinky Boost.  However, if I changed the user slot labeled (Lead Boost OD) it would update all presets using that slot.   

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2 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

Folks...It's abundantly clear to me that SaschaFranck isn't here to contribute or discuss...he's here to argue.  Why feed him???  It goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing...

 

How pathetic. Add to this it's coming from someone thinking that post count would be a relevant quality.

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18 minutes ago, themetallikid said:

Its hard to remember which of the 60 presets I have currently that implement the TS808 vs Kinky Boost.  However, if I changed the user slot labeled (Lead Boost OD) it would update all presets using that slot.   

 

Precisely. And that's just one of the numerous advances of global blocks.

 

Just as another example: One advance would as be that you could possibly make use of the "no gap plus spillover" feature as you could keep individual presets less complexed (for me that'd defenitely be the case). I mean, right now, if I split, say, a complexed clean patch over two presets, in case I wanted to change the amp sound, I'd have to edit both of the patches. But uh-oh - turned up that treble knob too much? Well, re-adjust, save, select second patch, re-adjust, save. Multiply that with more patches and different additional blocks and you won't be able to adjust anything during soundcheck anymore. With global blocks, you'd turn the treble knob once - and in case it's been too much, I could even adjust that during the gig while a chord is ringing out.

Also, add to this that on both the Axe FX and the GT-1000 you could even control these global blocks via an external MIDI knob controller (or even just with something such as Touch OSC) - so you don't even have to bow down to adjust anything. Even that isn't possible with the Helix as you'll be losing snapshots that way (snapshot and MIDI controlled parameters are using the same protocol internally, for whatever absurd reasons, it's really making no sense at all).

 

 

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