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Setting it up at home vs playing through PA with band


lespool79
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I auditioned for a band and they pointed out I'd need to drop my amp for a quiet stage.  Ok, twist my arm, I'm happy to buy new toys.  My concern is that if I get a Line 6 Helix floor system... if I am at home in my apartment with headphones or some small speaker, what is the best way to make sure that those sounds also apply when going through a full PA system at a venue?  Is the Helix that good where it can scale up in sound and not completely sound different at home headphone volumes vs full PA system?  

 

thanks!

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6 hours ago, lespool79 said:

Is the Helix that good where it can scale up in sound and not completely sound different at home headphone volumes vs full PA system?  

 

This has been discussed at length many, many times on here.

 

Two words - Fletcher–Munson.

 

Here's one example - I recommend that you check the reply from "codamedia"

 

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

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The issues tend to be related more to how human hearing works than how the Helix works.  As mentioned about the Fletcher-Munson curve is a very real thing and can deceive you in terms of dialing in your tones.

Over the years I've found that an SPL reading of around 90db at 6 ft or so tends to be adequate for getting a good representation that won't vary much in a live performance which is in the range of a food blender or hair dryer or maybe slightly above that.  If you think that may be too much for your living conditions then your best option would be a good set of reference headphones (not consumer headphones).  A popular choice is the Beyerdynamic DT770.  I use the 80ohm model in my studio and it gives a fair representation of my presets.  It's not as accurate as my Yamaha DXR12 (which actually IS a PA speaker) which is what I use most when dialing in my presets, but it might suffice until you can tweak things at a good rehearsal space.

The more important consideration for going silent stage is getting your presets gain staged accurately and consistently.  I have a pretty involved process at home in which I run my Helix through an actual mixing board (QSC TM-30) and then into the DXR12.  This allows me to get an accurate signal level reading of my presets so they will always be consistent on any modern mixing board.  As a matter of course I have my Helix global ins/outs configured so that the XLR output is disengaged from the Helix master volume knob and set to Mic signal level.  This sends my preset at a signal level most used on mixing board inputs and at full volume.  I then manage the output levels within the Helix presets by adjusting either the channel volume on the amp model in my preset or on the output block as I monitor the PA signal meter neither of which will affect the tone of your preset.  Although this is a fairly involved process, much of it can be done by simply selecting the output block on the Helix preset which gives you the output signal level and keep it in the 60 to 65% range.  If you have a final compressor such as the LA Studio compressor you can also get a gain reduction indicator on the Helix by selecting that block to help manage the peaks in your signal.

The value in all of this is a huge savings in time at sound checks by only having to check a single preset as the adjustments the soundman makes on one preset will be consistent across all your presets.  If you gig every week like I do that's incredibly important.

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23 minutes ago, lespool79 said:

Thank you .  Great responses.  I'm terrified this is too complex for me.  

 

Modeling isn't for everyone, it can be a little daunting at first as there is a learning curve, but the Helix is designed for mere mortals, and you will most likely find yourself wrapping your head around it soon enough with some initial effort. After that point it becomes very rewarding! As you design your presets at home, you will get better as time goes by at anticipating what will work once you hit the stage, regardless of what you are using to monitor them. The advice already presented here holds though. The closer your volume is to performance levels, and your monitor equipment is to a PA speaker, the more direct the translation will be, and more likely fewer preset adjustments will be required for that transition from home to stage.

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42 minutes ago, lespool79 said:

I'm terrified this is too complex for me.  


No, not really.

 

A Helix floor may look like the flight deck of a starship, but it can replace a whole room full of amps, and racks full of outboard gear.


Once you start to play around with it for a while, you will find it all clicks into place, and rather than dragging tons of equipment around from gig to gig - it’s all in one relatively small footprint unit. Can’t fail.

 

There are stacks of YouTube videos doing run throughs, and demos of how to use the thing - check them out and get familiar with how it functions. There is a user group on Facebook with over 37,000 users - most of them thought it was too complex for them, but now!

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

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Thank you.  I think I can handle the general sounds bc I am very familiar with logic pro x so I can work with digital pedals.  I think im just scared of getting this set up for live performance. I just got the phone call.  I got the gig I auditioned for last night so I believe I will be buying one of these after I watch some more videos to try and relieve some "digital sound anxiety" haha.  

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10 minutes ago, lespool79 said:

I just got the phone call.  I got the gig I auditioned for last night so I believe I will be buying one of these after I watch some more videos to try and relieve some "digital sound anxiety"


Yay! Congratulations.

 

When you get your Helix, remember, there are always other users here to help out when you find something you’re not sure about. 
 

Welcome to planet Helix.

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9 minutes ago, datacommando said:


Yay! Congratulations.

 

When you get your Helix, remember, there are always other users here to help out when you find something you’re not sure about. 
 

Welcome to planet Helix.

Thank you.  I have no doubt there is a wealth of information here!  

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Some tips for what I've found so far:

1. don't have too much gain.  At full volume, you may get unbearable feedback in-between your notes.  What sounds great at home, on a loud stage may be too gainy.

2. Easy does it in terms of dynamic changes.  When everything is loud, your "louder" stuff may be absurdly deafeningly loud through a PA.  So don't go crazy with too much rhythm/lead contrast.

3. Turn off Global EQ!!  and make adjustments with it turned off at home.  Otherwise, you risk having your sound being too brittle live.

 

Otherwise, you need to just practice in a space where you can crank up the PA with your Helix.  No other way to know what can possibly go wrong.  No amount of meter checking, or spectrum analyzing will save you from the unknown.... lol

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18 hours ago, lespool79 said:

Thank you.  I think I can handle the general sounds bc I am very familiar with logic pro x so I can work with digital pedals.  I think im just scared of getting this set up for live performance. I just got the phone call.  I got the gig I auditioned for last night so I believe I will be buying one of these after I watch some more videos to try and relieve some "digital sound anxiety" haha.  

Congrats on the new band.  I'd strongly suggest you meticulously go through this particular YouTube video from Jason Sadites who's been a key guru and influencer for many years in the Helix community.  This is his revised 'Getting a Great Tone' for 2022 and will give you a good understanding of key elements that will make a HUGE difference in your efforts.  Yes, it's somewhat technical, but Jason describes things very well to help you understand each block and how you might use it.  His templates are available online or you can just pause the video and copy/create the template and it's settings on HX Edit while you watch.

I think this can go a LONG way to overcoming your digital sound anxiety once you begin to understand all the power contained in the Helix and how you can use it.  As with any new technology it comes with some effort on your part to understand how to best use it if you want to get the best out of it.  Jason has TONS of videos on YouTube all of which can be helpful in dialing in specific amps or effects along with guidance on how to gain stage your presets for live performances.  Have fun and learn a lot!!!!  You'll be glad you did.

Jason Sadites How to Create a Great Tone 2022

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I'm old school and I'm happy to say I have never been in that situation; being asked to play without my amplifier.  I would decline membership in such a band ... but that's me.  To each their own.  

 

A good friend of mine played for many, many years in a church worship band.  I'm not a church goer but I would sometimes go and hear him play.  The team was quite good.  The congregation was really into them too.  They enjoyed their worship team and for lots of people the music was the best part of the service.  He and I had many conversations about playing on stage.  I helped him understand about finding his sonic place in the mix and a few other things as well.  He was a happy guitarist on that team.  Then they made a change and he was told he had to put his amp inside an isolation box for a quiet stage.  They also built a sound cage around the drummer.  These changes were to please the new sound guy who was the son of somebody important.  I guess the somebody important had his son placed in that position because he felt the band was too loud and that God is not deaf.  It was apparently lost on him that God is also not jumpy and his nerves won't be rattled by a little joyful noise.  You can imagine what happened after those changes were made.  Immediately the dynamic of the team changed.  They couldn't hear (feel) each other so they were no longer able to feed off of each other and a once vibrant and dynamic band became bland.  They went from music to muzak.  My friend described it as being like playing along with a song on the radio.  No interaction.  Then they decided to video the services and post them online so they took it another step further.  Not just a quiet stage but also a clean stage for presentation value.  No isolation boxes for the amps allowed anymore.  Too much clutter.  Plug into the snake direct.  The acoustic kit was removed and replaced with an electronic kit.  Floor monitors were removed and replaced with in-ears.  The whole team lost their joy but the A/V guys were ecstatic.  Within a couple of months the keyboardist, bassist and both guitarists all stepped down and asked to be replaced.  My friend is a pretty good player and he was under so much relentless pressure to stay in the band and get with the program that he chose to leave that church.  He keeps in touch with some of his former bandmates and apparently the whole music part of the services has devolved and even the congregation has lost their joy and zeal.

 

I tell that story only to give some context.  As guitarists we sometimes talk about that "amp in the room" dynamic.  Well, imagine being in a vibrant, dynamic and interactive band and then the whole team loses not only the amp in the room but the band in the room as well.  

 

Yah,  I know for sure I would decline being in such a band but I'm old school and I make real music with soul and emotion.  I'm sure lots of people don't understand what I'm going on about because they don't have the experience of playing with real dynamic but it is definitely not the same.  By not the same I mean not good.

 

My two cents.  Feel free to differ.

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40 minutes ago, MGW-Alberta said:

I'm old school and I'm happy to say I have never been in that situation; being asked to play without my amplifier.  I would decline membership in such a band ... but that's me.  To each their own.  

 

A good friend of mine played for many, many years in a church worship band.  I'm not a church goer but I would sometimes go and hear him play.  The team was quite good.  The congregation was really into them too.  They enjoyed their worship team and for lots of people the music was the best part of the service.  He and I had many conversations about playing on stage.  I helped him understand about finding his sonic place in the mix and a few other things as well.  He was a happy guitarist on that team.  Then they made a change and he was told he had to put his amp inside an isolation box for a quiet stage.  They also built a sound cage around the drummer.  These changes were to please the new sound guy who was the son of somebody important.  I guess the somebody important had his son placed in that position because he felt the band was too loud and that God is not deaf.  It was apparently lost on him that God is also not jumpy and his nerves won't be rattled by a little joyful noise.  You can imagine what happened after those changes were made.  Immediately the dynamic of the team changed.  They couldn't hear (feel) each other so they were no longer able to feed off of each other and a once vibrant and dynamic band became bland.  They went from music to muzak.  My friend described it as being like playing along with a song on the radio.  No interaction.  Then they decided to video the services and post them online so they took it another step further.  Not just a quiet stage but also a clean stage for presentation value.  No isolation boxes for the amps allowed anymore.  Too much clutter.  Plug into the snake direct.  The acoustic kit was removed and replaced with an electronic kit.  Floor monitors were removed and replaced with in-ears.  The whole team lost their joy but the A/V guys were ecstatic.  Within a couple of months the keyboardist, bassist and both guitarists all stepped down and asked to be replaced.  My friend is a pretty good player and he was under so much relentless pressure to stay in the band and get with the program that he chose to leave that church.  He keeps in touch with some of his former bandmates and apparently the whole music part of the services has devolved and even the congregation has lost their joy and zeal.

 

I tell that story only to give some context.  As guitarists we sometimes talk about that "amp in the room" dynamic.  Well, imagine being in a vibrant, dynamic and interactive band and then the whole team loses not only the amp in the room but the band in the room as well.  

 

Yah,  I know for sure I would decline being in such a band but I'm old school and I make real music with soul and emotion.  I'm sure lots of people don't understand what I'm going on about because they don't have the experience of playing with real dynamic but it is definitely not the same.  By not the same I mean not good.

 

My two cents.  Feel free to differ.


Actually this is an example of how "silent stage" can be taken too far.  My band has gone to what might be called "silent stage", but in reality is simply an isolated stage sound.  Everything is plugged directly into the mixing board but we use very high quality stage monitors (Yamaha DXR12 and QSC K10.2) rather than in ears.  We came from being a traditional band with with stage amps mic'd behind us, and eventually incorporating modelers with their own FRFR speakers, and finally to where we are now with an isolated set of stage monitors connected to and mixed on a modern digital mixing board (QSC TM-30).  And by all accounts from our audiences over the last 10 years we have the best sound and presentation we've ever had with exactly the same manageability of a pure silent stage with more room on stage and limited to no interference with the audience sound.

The difference being our stage sound has equally good speakers as most FOH systems and they're dialed in specifically for each individual on stage according to their needs, but the overall loudness is controlled and limited to the stage.  Everything the audience hears comes from the FOH speakers without any significant stage bleed, which is very hard to do when you have amps or even powered speakers behind you facing the audience.  We get every bit of the energy one should get from playing live because we hear everyone equally well with our own instruments slightly louder in the mix and can better blend our sound dynamically with each other which I don't think you could really accomplish with in ears.  I've played with in ears before in other bands and it's a pleasant experience very similar to working with a live band in a studio, but something is missing in my opinion when you use them live.

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On 2/25/2022 at 7:32 AM, lespool79 said:

I auditioned for a band and they pointed out I'd need to drop my amp for a quiet stage.  Ok, twist my arm, I'm happy to buy new toys.  My concern is that if I get a Line 6 Helix floor system... if I am at home in my apartment with headphones or some small speaker, what is the best way to make sure that those sounds also apply when going through a full PA system at a venue?  Is the Helix that good where it can scale up in sound and not completely sound different at home headphone volumes vs full PA system?  

 

thanks!

 

Simply put, no. There is no audio device on earth "that good". Do battle with the Fletcher-Munson curve and the realities of the human perception of sound if you must, but you will loose 100% of the time.

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39 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:


Actually this is an example of how "silent stage" can be taken too far.  My band has gone to what might be called "silent stage", but in reality is simply an isolated stage sound.  Everything is plugged directly into the mixing board but we use very high quality stage monitors (Yamaha DXR12 and QSC K10.2) rather than in ears.  We came from being a traditional band with with stage amps mic'd behind us, and eventually incorporating modelers with their own FRFR speakers, and finally to where we are now with an isolated set of stage monitors connected to and mixed on a modern digital mixing board (QSC TM-30).  And by all accounts from our audiences over the last 10 years we have the best sound and presentation we've ever had with exactly the same manageability of a pure silent stage with more room on stage and limited to no interference with the audience sound.

The difference being our stage sound has equally good speakers as most FOH systems and they're dialed in specifically for each individual on stage according to their needs, but the overall loudness is controlled and limited to the stage.  Everything the audience hears comes from the FOH speakers without any significant stage bleed, which is very hard to do when you have amps or even powered speakers behind you facing the audience.  We get every bit of the energy one should get from playing live because we hear everyone equally well with our own instruments slightly louder in the mix and can better blend our sound dynamically with each other which I don't think you could really accomplish with in ears.  I've played with in ears before in other bands and it's a pleasant experience very similar to working with a live band in a studio, but something is missing in my opinion when you use them live.

 

 

As I said, people are free to differ.  

Personally, I would take a hard pass.

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I don't know if anybody else will find this interesting but it's interesting to me.  That church thing happened about 7 or 8 years ago.  About 5 years ago my friend moved away to a new job.  He's only about an hour and a half away from me now but it's enough we don't see each other in person very much.  Not at all when the covid first hit.  We talk on the phone, we email, we interact on social media but it's not the same.  When you can't hear the actual person speaking from his mouth with your own ears it changes the interaction.  He was the one who pointed it out to me some time last fall when we spoke on the phone.  In his mind our friendship was experiencing the same dislocated communication that he experienced on stage.

 

I just think that's interesting.

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On 2/25/2022 at 7:32 AM, lespool79 said:

if I am at home in my apartment with headphones or some small speaker, what is the best way to make sure that those sounds also apply when going through a full PA system at a venue?  Is the Helix that good where it can scale up in sound and not completely sound different at home headphone volumes vs full PA system?  

 

On 2/25/2022 at 1:10 PM, lespool79 said:

Thank you .  Great responses.  I'm terrified this is too complex for me.  

Well, rule number 1. You will get lost. 

Think about it - if you went out and bought 60 different amps and 100 different pedals... and someone said "you have an hour to get good tone". You would be overwhelmed. Not to mention being able to break the laws of physics, like being able to put a distortion pedal after the microphone that is sending your amp to the pa. 

 

Rule 2. In order to not get lost, start with what you know. 

Meaning, look at your physical rig. If you don't have a 'tron up', there's no reason to add it virtually. 

 

Beyond that... 

Unlike a tube amp that gets better with volume, listen to a CD (for this example, do not use vinyl because it adds other variables). It doesn't really change when played through your headphones or a cheap stereo or a good stereo. Yes, there are minute differences with each (there better be with a price range of $20-10,000), but for the most part they are the same. 

That's exactly what you get with good modelers. You get that pre-recorded CD sound that stays the same at any volume. Of course, I like to have it at a volume where you can hear the nuances of your tone (I loathe YouTube videos where I can hear the unplugged electric playing).

 

It does take time to adjust to the situation. 

Same room air push tone, of 2 full Marshall stacks that someone than mics and plays through a set of speakers (the pa) that you can't hear from the stage. Vs you hearing that big huge sound of 2 Marshall amps being mic'd and played through the pa... though a set of headphones or tiny little speakers that you can talk over. 

 

 

 

11 hours ago, MGW-Alberta said:

He was the one who pointed it out to me some time last fall when we spoke on the phone.  In his mind our friendship was experiencing the same dislocated communication that he experienced on stage.

That part is a 'human' issue. It can be odd to be on a stage dancing around and making the guitar faces when there is no noise to inspire you. 

But that is where professionalism comes in. This is a job. You have people to work for. You need to do stuff for them to get paid. 

It is really no different than breaking up with your girlfriend, and needing to be on stage in an hour singing the song you wrote for her about eternal love. 

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