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Helix 1/4" out out to monitors super low level? help a newbie out


ididid
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Hi all

 

great forum everyone, I've learnt so much by lurking here :) and sorry if my post has been solved before; I've had a look around and haven't come across a solution yet...

 

I'm a home-only guitarist and have had a lot of fun for a couple of years using my Helix LT with headphones and recording bits and pieces via usb to my Mac. However I've never had any success at all connecting my Helix to my active hifi speakers (Kef LS50 Wireless). I've tried to connect either with a stereo 1/4" from the Helix headphone out to the speakers' RCA inputs or with 2 mono 1/4"s from the Helix L&R outs to the RCAs. In both cases the level is very low: I have to crank the Helix up to max and then increase the volume of the speakers a lot to even hear anything at all. Is this to be expected?

 

I normally use the speakers for streaming music direct from Spotify Connect or via the optical out from my TV. In both cases the level there is way way higher than the Helix.

 

I also have a Yamaha THR10C practice amp and it's a similar story there as far as I can remember.

 

Any ideas as to where I'm going wrong? I don't think it's a firmware issue because I've tried off and on over the past few years and the Helix has gone through several firmware versions and factory resets. Also I've tried a few different cables so I don't think that's the problem either.

 

Thanks!!

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The Helix 1/4 outputs to the speaker RCA inputs should work best imho. Make sure your Helix outputs are set to match the speaker’s RCA Input levels (line vs. instrument, or -10db and +4db. Consult your speaker documentation). Experiment with different settings and you should fine one that suits. See Helix Global Settings -> Ins/Outs.

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On 8/17/2022 at 7:29 AM, ididid said:

I normally use the speakers for streaming music direct from Spotify Connect or via the optical out from my TV. In both cases the level there is way way higher than the Helix.

 

Hi,

 

Using two grands worth of Hi-Fi speaker system seems little over the top for listening to a guitar, but hey, each to their own.

 

I would say that hooking up a Helix to these things could be potentially damagingAccording to the KEF LS50II spec sheet, the RCA connectors are for Subwoofer output, not input.  Other than that, the only way to get audio from your LT is via the Analogue 3.5mm Auxillary input on the rear of the speaker.

 

You could try a 1/4"  stereo to 3.5mm stereo lead from the Helix LT Headphone socket (Hmm...), or a Y cable with a stereo 3.5mm jack on one end (to the speaker) and a pair of mono jacks on the other from the Helix 1/4" out, but be very careful to make sure the level is matched to what your Hi-Fi expects to see (-10 or +4db). 

 

EDIT: STRIKE PREVIOUS COMMENT

I guess that you may be referring to the older version of these speakers that do have RCA Analogue Line Level Inputs on the rear of the cabinet, in which case you could use a pair of 1/4" mono to RCA mono cables from the Helix 1/4" outputs set to lIne level in the Global Settings.

 

https://www.amazon.com/JOLGOO-Stereo-Interconnect-6-35mm-Adapter/dp/B082X6F6S4/ref=sr_1_4?crid=100JNMC1UT7M0&keywords=1%2F4"mono%2Bto%2BRCA%2Bplug%2Bcable%2Bpair&qid=1660744636&sprefix=1%2F4%2Bmono%2Bto%2Brca%2Bplug%2Bcable%2Bpair%2Caps%2C125&sr=8-4&th=1

 

Or possibly a 1/4" stereo to 2 RCA plug cable, from the headphone out.

 

https://www.amazon.com/MOSWAG-Gold-Plated-6-35mm-Splitter-Connector/dp/B09GFFNVJC/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1TJ2B4OYDF4B6&keywords=1%2F4"+stereo+to+2+RCA+plug+cable&qid=1660744525&sprefix=1%2F4+stereo+to+2+rca+plug+cable%2Caps%2C326&sr=8-4

 

Anyhow, as you stated that you have used USB on your the Helix LT to record into your Mac - have you then tried streaming the audio from the Mac to your speakers? That should do it - the Mac has Bluetooth. 

 

Even better - buy some cheap dedicated monitors so that you don't wind up frying your Hi-Fi.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

Edited by datacommando
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There are different output levels: Microphone, instrument, line.  If Microphone is not enough, try "Instrument", etc in Global Settings. 

 

It could be that your preset is too low in volume.  Try out some factory presets. 

 

I personally have my 1/4" set at Instrument level.  My normal audio level is where I have the volume knob at 3 o'clock. 

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On 8/17/2022 at 3:40 PM, datacommando said:

 

Hi,

 

Using two grands worth of Hi-Fi speaker system seems little over the top for listening to a guitar, but hey, each to their own.

 

I would say that hooking up a Helix to these things could be potentially damagingAccording to the KEF LS50II spec sheet, the RCA connectors are for Subwoofer output, not input.  Other than that, the only way to get audio from your LT is via the Analogue 3.5mm Auxillary input on the rear of the speaker.

 

You could try a 1/4"  stereo to 3.5mm stereo lead from the Helix LT Headphone socket (Hmm...), or a Y cable with a stereo 3.5mm jack on one end (to the speaker) and a pair of mono jacks on the other from the Helix 1/4" out, but be very careful to make sure the level is matched to what your Hi-Fi expects to see (-10 or +4db). 

 

EDIT: STRIKE PREVIOUS COMMENT

I guess that you may be referring to the older version of these speakers that do have RCA Analogue Line Level Inputs on the rear of the cabinet, in which case you could use a pair of 1/4" mono to RCA mono cables from the Helix 1/4" outputs set to lIne level in the Global Settings.

 

https://www.amazon.com/JOLGOO-Stereo-Interconnect-6-35mm-Adapter/dp/B082X6F6S4/ref=sr_1_4?crid=100JNMC1UT7M0&keywords=1%2F4"mono%2Bto%2BRCA%2Bplug%2Bcable%2Bpair&qid=1660744636&sprefix=1%2F4%2Bmono%2Bto%2Brca%2Bplug%2Bcable%2Bpair%2Caps%2C125&sr=8-4&th=1

 

Or possibly a 1/4" stereo to 2 RCA plug cable, from the headphone out.

 

https://www.amazon.com/MOSWAG-Gold-Plated-6-35mm-Splitter-Connector/dp/B09GFFNVJC/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1TJ2B4OYDF4B6&keywords=1%2F4"+stereo+to+2+RCA+plug+cable&qid=1660744525&sprefix=1%2F4+stereo+to+2+rca+plug+cable%2Caps%2C326&sr=8-4

 

Anyhow, as you stated that you have used USB on your the Helix LT to record into your Mac - have you then tried streaming the audio from the Mac to your speakers? That should do it - the Mac has Bluetooth. 

 

Even better - buy some cheap dedicated monitors so that you don't wind up frying your Hi-Fi.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

thanks for your input :-)

 

Yep the LS50 Wireless mark 1 speakers are a bit OTT for guitar monitoring only, but I do use them for other things as well...  And thanks for the cable suggestions, these are pretty much the cables that I've tried already. You're right, I am afraid of frying kefs - I could buy some cheap monitors instead but I'll have a hard time convincing my other household members that I need yet another set of speaker shaped things cluttering up the house :-)

 

I don't think I've tried connecting the Helix to the Mac by USB and then streaming from Mac to the Kefs, I guess I just assumed the latency would be too high. Or do you mean just as a test to see if the low level signal is something to do with the RCA in vs another input? That's a good idea, I'll give it a shot. thanks again!

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On 8/17/2022 at 4:46 PM, theElevators said:

There are different output levels: Microphone, instrument, line.  If Microphone is not enough, try "Instrument", etc in Global Settings. 

 

It could be that your preset is too low in volume.  Try out some factory presets. 

 

I personally have my 1/4" set at Instrument level.  My normal audio level is where I have the volume knob at 3 o'clock. 

thanks yep it could be that my presets are set too low. Can that still be the case if it sounds loud through my headphones but almost inaudible via hifi?

 

I have my 1/4" output set to line, I'll give the other options a go.

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On 8/17/2022 at 2:26 PM, silverhead said:

The Helix 1/4 outputs to the speaker RCA inputs should work best imho. Make sure your Helix outputs are set to match the speaker’s RCA Input levels (line vs. instrument, or -10db and +4db. Consult your speaker documentation). Experiment with different settings and you should fine one that suits. See Helix Global Settings -> Ins/Outs.

thanks I'll give this a go. I have no idea what the RCA input levels of the speakers should be. They are just standard hifi amp inputs to connect an external source, so I guessed I should set the helix to Line.

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On 8/17/2022 at 10:17 AM, ididid said:

I have no idea what the RCA input levels of the speakers should be.

 

RCA Inputs are almost always -10 Line Level (consumer grade line level)... I can't see why any company would deviate from that. 

If those were mine... I'd set the Helix output to LINE Level. 

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@ididid, I often enjoy using my Yamaha THR10C for near field stereo monitoring with my Helix Floor or HX Stomp. Typically I'll use a 1/4" TRS Stereo to 1/8" TRS Stereo cable to connect from the Helix's 1/4" Stereo Headphone out to the Yamaha THR10C's 1/8" Stereo Aux Input. The THR10C Aux Input bypasses the unit's DSP stack so none of the THR10C's TAmp, Tone, nor FX knobs are active. Powered on high capacity rechargeable AA batteries this setup with the THR10C works great and provides the greatest battery performance.

 

At other times, I've routed the signal from a Helix Send output directly to the Yamaha's Guitar In. In this configuration, the THR10C's entire DSP stack is active and this battery performance is reduced. However, it is fun to use the Helix for any pre-stage effects before signal is sent to the Yamaha. 

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On 8/18/2022 at 1:16 AM, MusicLaw said:

I often enjoy using my Yamaha THR10C for near field stereo monitoring with my Helix Floor or HX Stomp.

Hmm… I tried this by using a standard guitar cable to connect the left (mono) 1/4 inch output of the helix to the guitar input of the THR10C set on ‘flat’ as the amp model. And now I get a nice and high level! I can set the helix to 12:00 and the signal gets as loud as I want on the Yamaha. 
 

any ideas why then the signal is so low when using both the L and R 1/4 outs to the RCA ins on the KEFs then?  I’ve ordered a L/R Stereo to 3.5 mm cable to try to connect the helix to the thr in stereo, let’s see :)

 

thanks for the tip MusicLaw

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Not sure what's going on with your KEFs setup.

 

Also to clarify..., when connecting my Helix to the Yamaha's Guitar In, I also use a high quality guitar cable (1/4" TS to 1/4" TS) from the either the Helix Main/L Output or from one of the Helix Send Outputs for which I'll place it's corresponding Send Block in the Helix Signal Chain, and set the Yamaha to Flat. 

 

Hope you get the KEF's scenario sorted out. 

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