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HX Stomp/Helix preamp/amp block into return of traditional power amp/cabinet.


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Hi, I am a new HX user, and I like it a lot, but still I miss the "amp in the room" feel after a while so I tried to use it with traditional (non-FRFR) cab.

My setup is HX Stomp -> Clean Pedal Platform (AC30ish Dr. Z amp) -> 2x12" cabinet with V30s.


The problem is HX stomp amp block sounds wrong with every combination I tried. In FX loop sounds horribly dull (lacks clarity, dynamics, even with high end and presence maxed), straight to the front of the amp it sounds horribly shrill even with treble and presence on 0.


I used both Preamp/Amp blocks in both cases, the results are similar. Also it's noticeable not only for high-gain models, but clean and mid gain too.

Also I tried both OUT and SEND in case they have different output impedances, but the results are the same.

Changing Instrument/Line level did not help either.

So my question is next - is it my amp loop not taking HX in return properly? I'm starting to regret selling my Dual Rectifier because the tone I'm dialing in with current setup is nowhere near the real thing.


  • Have you used your HX/Helixes with in returns of traditional amps with traditional cabs?
  • If you had any success - what was your power amp that worked well with HX/Helix?

PS. Stomp boxes are great though, I A/B'ed them with their real life counterparts (OCD, TS808, Boss DS-1/2, etc.) and they were so close that I wouldn't be able to tell which one is which in a blind test.

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First - there's a learning curve with modelers. It's steeper than the curve you experienced and internalized so long ago with your analog gear.

Second - your tube amp and guitar speaker will always color the sound. Your AC30-ish amp will likely sound best with the AC-ish Helix amps.

Third - don't confuse FRFR and AITR.


The thing I don't like about FRFR (aside from the fact that FRFR itself is a myth), is what the HF Driver adds to the high end.


I recently got a Catalyst100. I run my Helix into the Cat's relatively neutral Class D power amp. They designed the speaker to sound good with the range of amps in the Cat - clean to mean. Being open-backed, the heaviest metal tones aren't the best, but overall everything sounds pretty darn good.


I'm not trying to sell you a Catalyst. I used that as an example. A higher quality Class D amp (Quilter maybe?) and a fairly neutral speaker (EVM12L? Kappalite Neo?) or two in a convertible style (removable rear panel) cab might be a much better choice for AITR with a modeler than a tube amp with classic tube amp tone that lays that color over everything.


I also have an L6 PC212+ which I use in RAW speaker mode (no HF Drivers). L6 spec'd wide range Eminence speakers. There's lots of options in that cab, and after a steep learning curve I've tried them all. Using the RAW speaker mode, no HF Drivers, no DSP trickery (though the speaker emulations are NOT NEARLY as bad as some make them out to be), sounds really good. If it had a removable rear panel it MIGHT be perfect!


Anyhow, just some things to think about. My first point is the most important.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am experimenting with running my guitar> jhs bonsai> hx stomp> Orange pedal baby> Harley Benton 2x12 with V30s. I’m finding that I prefer to use the preamps instead of the full amps. The full amp models sound a bit darker and muffled. The preamps are much brighter and more present like an actual amplifier. I then use the bass and treble knobs on the pedal baby like resonance and presence controls. That might not be technically right but that’s how I see it. In my opinion, the 4cm is the best way to use the stomp. Get an amp you like the sound of and run the stomp as a pedalboard to compliment it. Using the stomp as a full rig is more convenient playing live hence the experimenting with the preamp modelers. This might not help the original question directly but hopefully it helps someone on the same path. I was just looking for an opinion on preamps vs amps and I wasn’t finding much. 

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