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Any tricks/tips for faithful TS808 use?


markwesse
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Hi All

Im trying to set up old gear in the helix that I have (original ts808/1982 that was a birthday present...yep Im old)...I have mucked around with the hxedit/scream808 and its just missing something...I thought it was just dig realm at first...so I opened up old guitar rig 5 and did a side by side...and its a hell of a lot closer and feels right when you are playing it

So to get the helix more in line with the original...are there any tricks and tips you might be aware of or should I just give up and patch the pedal (but its an extra complexity I dont want and it defeats the point?)

 

Cheers

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On 9/30/2022 at 2:59 AM, markwesse said:

Hi All

Im trying to set up old gear in the helix that I have (original ts808/1982 that was a birthday present...yep Im old)...I have mucked around with the hxedit/scream808 and its just missing something...I thought it was just dig realm at first...so I opened up old guitar rig 5 and did a side by side...and its a hell of a lot closer and feels right when you are playing it

So to get the helix more in line with the original...are there any tricks and tips you might be aware of or should I just give up and patch the pedal (but its an extra complexity I dont want and it defeats the point?)

 

Cheers

 

I would recommend starting by pairing it up with an amp/cab/mic combination you like. The TS808 often sounds best when the amp is set just to the edge of breakup. Try a compressor in front of it. Set an EQ before or after it to bring out its best. It can be a great sounding block. 

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On 9/30/2022 at 5:52 PM, HonestOpinion said:

 

I would recommend starting by pairing it up with an amp/cab/mic combination you like. The TS808 often sounds best when the amp is set just to the edge of breakup. Try a compressor in front of it. Set an EQ before or after it to bring out its best. It can be a great sounding block. 

Thanks for your reply

Before even starting the journey, it needs to be within scope of an AB comparison...it sounds nowhere near it atm. Just kind of lifeless and flat...and the harmonics sound kind of fizzy in comparison to the original and even guitar rig. Ive just downloaded a couple of others. What I mean is plugging it into a chain of variables is not an ideal way to get each stage right...like I said, this was a 17th birthday present...Im pretty familiar with how it should sound and it just doesnt... :-(

 

EDIT: Despite spending a lot of time trying to dial the L6 TS808, it really does sound muffled and flat with a boost in the low mids that is not there on the hardware nor guitar rig...prob halfway between GR and the brainworx imvho

 

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On 9/30/2022 at 6:06 PM, rd2rk said:

Craig Anderton wrote a book about the advanced features of Helix:

 

Sweetwater Publishing The Big Book of Helix Tips & Tricks v1.1 by Craig Anderton

 

Lots of info concerning Delays and, to answer your other two "I don't like Helix" questions, Distortions, Cabs and EQs.

 

Cheers...Craig has been at the anvil a long time so total respect...his days on sound on sound were amazing

 

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On 9/30/2022 at 5:52 PM, HonestOpinion said:

Try a compressor in front of it.

Baha...I dont use compressors on modellers or with any kind of saturation as ie saturation is compression (well clipping is limiting really); sure its a sound but....

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On 9/30/2022 at 12:59 AM, markwesse said:

Hi All

Im trying to set up old gear in the helix that I have (original ts808/1982 that was a birthday present...yep Im old)...I have mucked around with the hxedit/scream808 and its just missing something...I thought it was just dig realm at first...so I opened up old guitar rig 5 and did a side by side...and its a hell of a lot closer and feels right when you are playing it

So to get the helix more in line with the original...are there any tricks and tips you might be aware of or should I just give up and patch the pedal (but its an extra complexity I dont want and it defeats the point?)

 

Cheers

 

Helix is modeling whatever version of the ts808 they had. In my opinion,  it's pretty damn accurate to whatever I've heard those do.  

 

If it's still not there for you,  that's why EQ blocks exist, other distortion options,  or you can try the legacy tube screamer in the Helix to see if it's more to your liking.  I actually fell into this camp. While I feel the Helix model is more accurate, one day I tried the legacy Tubescreamer in the Helix and found I preferred it. I don't know why, I just do. I think it's great. 

 

You can also hire a professional to do a blind A/B test with you to determine if your success rate calling out the real vs fake is significantly above 50%. If it's not at least then you'd know it's all in your head and can move on. If you do pass, and assuming they're actually good at the setup, then you could take comfort knowing you have superhuman ability. That always helped me feel better. 

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On 9/30/2022 at 7:29 AM, markwesse said:

Thanks for your reply

Before even starting the journey, it needs to be within scope of an AB comparison...

 

 

Unfortunately, that is not how working with an advanced modeler like a Helix tends to work. I know what you are trying to get at but if you set up a precondition such as you have with A/B comparisons needing to be "within scope" right off the bat you are setting yourself up for failure. Before you get everything configured properly for ANY block it can sound like they are worlds away from the device they were modeled on. Especially when it comes to a favorite pedal that has nostalgic value. It takes some time to get things dialed in the way you like them and get predictable results. You have your entire signal path to consider - beginning with how the guitar is hitting your Helix, through the design of your preset and critically important EQ, and ultimately the output from whatever you have chosen as a monitor. If it were me, I would use it in the loop if I simply couldn't get past the perceived difference between the original and the model. and would continue trying to get the Scream 808 block to a point where I was satisfied enough to roll without the original.

 

Btw, is your Helix a relatively new purchase? I don't want to make any assumptions, but your post sounds like it has an element of frustration that usually is accompanied by a touch of buyer's remorse. Not that uncommon when dealing with a steep learning curve on a new(er) device. If this is the case, I hope you hang in there long enough to get it dialed in well, reassured somewhat by all of the users who have achieved stellar results with the Helix and the 'Scream 808'. If not, there are plenty of alternatives out there, including resigning yourself to the fact that there may be a couple of devices you want to keep permanently in your FX loop.

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On 10/1/2022 at 5:17 AM, HonestOpinion said:

 

Unfortunately, that is not how working with an advanced modeler like a Helix tends to work. I know what you are trying to get at but if you set up a precondition such as you have with A/B comparisons needing to be "within scope" right off the bat you are setting yourself up for failure. Before you get everything configured properly for ANY block it can sound like they are worlds away from the device they were modeled on. Especially when it comes to a favorite pedal that has nostalgic value. It takes some time to get things dialed in the way you like them and get predictable results. You have your entire signal path to consider - beginning with how the guitar is hitting your Helix, through the design of your preset and critically important EQ, and ultimately the output from whatever you have chosen as a monitor. If it were me, I would use it in the loop if I simply couldn't get past the perceived difference between the original and the model. and would continue trying to get the Scream 808 block to a point where I was satisfied enough to roll without the original.

 

Btw, is your Helix a relatively new purchase? I don't want to make any assumptions, but your post sounds like it has an element of frustration that usually is accompanied by a touch of buyer's remorse. Not that uncommon when dealing with a steep learning curve on a new(er) device. If this is the case, I hope you hang in there long enough to get it dialed in well, reassured somewhat by all of the users who have achieved stellar results with the Helix and the 'Scream 808'. If not, there are plenty of alternatives out there, including resigning yourself to the fact that there may be a couple of devices you want to keep permanently in your FX loop.

Cheers

I guess its not even about the helix version...I have 2 other pieces of software that I can blind test every time as much more vibrant than the helix. To level the playing field; I using identical pre in with 500k impedance and roughly calibrated using -12db on 440 with a consistent pluck.

The helix really does sound muffled and even when I eq it or try and get it right, its easy to pick because it gets worse the more I add to it

 

I have had the helix for a while but I play classical/steel string/electric using the 3 inputs which is a great feature (as well as sending a dry for guitar synth etc).

 

Do you have any examples of presets you have done using 808?

Is it a critical component in your setup?

 

TBH this all really started because the phantom power died on the helix (for acoustic mic) so I whipped out an old rig which had guitar on it and it sounded better but more than that, it felt so much more responsive to play especially with dynamics as my monitor was pretty loud at the gig. So I thought Id try and get something close...but thats not happening

 

Ill give the legacy a go...as well as my friends ts for second opinion

 

BTW the difference is blind pickable every time; i setup a switch and flick quickly with eyes closed before I start so I dont know which is which. Then I play, switching slowly...its obvious.

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On 10/1/2022 at 3:04 AM, Kilrahi said:

one day I tried the legacy Tubescreamer in the Helix and found I preferred it

Agreed, its definitely got a more playable response...with a tad less bass applied, its close enough then anyway

Now if I can just get an IR out of guitar rig I think Im set...

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On 9/30/2022 at 4:16 PM, markwesse said:

Cheers

I guess its not even about the helix version...I have 2 other pieces of software that I can blind test every time as much more vibrant than the helix. To level the playing field; I using identical pre in with 500k impedance and roughly calibrated using -12db on 440 with a consistent pluck.

The helix really does sound muffled and even when I eq it or try and get it right, its easy to pick because it gets worse the more I add to it

 

I have had the helix for a while but I play classical/steel string/electric using the 3 inputs which is a great feature (as well as sending a dry for guitar synth etc).

 

Do you have any examples of presets you have done using 808?

Is it a critical component in your setup?

 

TBH this all really started because the phantom power died on the helix (for acoustic mic) so I whipped out an old rig which had guitar on it and it sounded better but more than that, it felt so much more responsive to play especially with dynamics as my monitor was pretty loud at the gig. So I thought Id try and get something close...but thats not happening

 

Ill give the legacy a go...as well as my friends ts for second opinion

 

BTW the difference is blind pickable every time; i setup a switch and flick quickly with eyes closed before I start so I dont know which is which. Then I play, switching slowly...its obvious.

 

Not trying to be evasive but I rarely to never upload my presets because they depend so much on my specific rig. That and frankly I think there are people who are way more sophisticated in their preset design and provide better choices for "universal" presets.  On those extremely rare occasions where I upload a preset (I think there have been two), it is more in the spirit of a template, designed for a specific piece of functionality rather than a tone.

 

From your subsequent posts on the issue, including mentioning that your other device "felt so much more responsive", my first inclination would be to say that something in your signal chain, other than the 'Scream 808' is not quite dialed in to your liking or perhaps just not playing well with that block. Ears can be deceptive too, sometimes just switching to something else can sound good for a day or a week and then your ear goes back to preferring the former device. Or, as I mentioned, you just need to use your original pedal with the Helix. The Helix has so much more to offer than that one block. I can't see that being a deal breaker. Good luck with your tone quest!

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On 9/30/2022 at 5:34 PM, HonestOpinion said:

 

Not trying to be evasive but I rarely to never upload my presets because they depend so much on my specific rig. That and frankly I think there are people who are way more sophisticated in their preset design and provide better choices for "universal" presets.  On those extremely rare occasions where I upload a preset (I think there have been two), it is more in the spirit of a template, designed for a specific piece of functionality rather than a tone.

………

Exactly my sentiments!

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On 10/1/2022 at 7:34 AM, HonestOpinion said:

Not trying to be evasive but I rarely to never upload my presets

 

 

I didnt mean the preset...I mean audio clip...thats the real test :-) Interested to hear the print of those using something similar...just plain vanilla straight out of the board.

 

What I do need to say is

  • When using the real 808, the input is def loaded a lot more and you can feel the weight of the lower impedance which makes all of the plugins seem brighter (some more than others) but changes the headroom so the plugs tend to max out on heavy playing whereas the hw has a bit more room for dynamics
  • Its (HW) super responsive to changes that none of the modellers seem to match ie knob positions but even by ear, the change of character per knob increment is pretty touchy in comparison
  • Side by side so far; the GRig TS808 (including line6 x 2, brainworx and a couple of others) is clearer and very noticeably less muffled (NOT cleaner) and playing soft notes, they dont break up/distort with what seems more even harmonics (kind of smoother and not as brittle) like the others and acts most like the hardware
  • Both line6 models seem quite noisy?

 

At his stage, Ill likely go with Helix Live so I can have a lot more flexibility until I can read up on the IR and get the cabs etc that I really like and Ill give it another go. It seems like Helix native seems to load balance/multithread but if I serial HL and other plugins in line with HL...HL glitches a lot on the input despite only taking 25% cpu load

 

I would like to thank everyone for their time and input.

 

 

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On 9/30/2022 at 9:16 PM, markwesse said:

I using identical pre in with 500k impedance and roughly calibrated using -12db on 440 with a consistent pluck.

The helix really does sound muffled and even when I eq it or try and get it right, its easy to pick because it gets worse the more I add to it

 

On 10/1/2022 at 5:34 AM, markwesse said:

When using the real 808, the input is def loaded a lot more and you can feel the weight of the lower impedance which makes all of the plugins seem brighter (some more than others)

 

Now, I'm no expert, but as far as I know, lower impedance muffles the sound of the guitar, making it less bright, and lowers the signal level. So I think there's some sort of impedance confusion going on here. Set the input impedance on your Helix to Auto and try it like that. Also, when you do A/B the pedals, use as simple a preset as possible. Just the pedal and amp. And if you're using a real pedal in the send loop of the Helix, I am not sure how impedance is handled in that case. It may very well be that mismatched impedance is the root cause here.

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On 10/1/2022 at 7:32 PM, cristi_neagu said:

 

 

Now, I'm no expert, but as far as I know, lower impedance muffles the sound of the guitar, making it less bright, and lowers the signal level. So I think there's some sort of impedance confusion going on here. Set the input impedance on your Helix to Auto and try it like that. Also, when you do A/B the pedals, use as simple a preset as possible. Just the pedal and amp. And if you're using a real pedal in the send loop of the Helix, I am not sure how impedance is handled in that case. It may very well be that mismatched impedance is the root cause here.

 

Yes that's correct.

 

Lower impedance, less brightness, less gain.

Higher impedance, full response, more gain.

 

Also, the modeled 808 sets at 230K, not 500.

 

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If you put the REAL pedal in an FX Loop it defeats the Auto Impedance function, so you'll need to set whatever FS/SS you use to activate the FX Loop to change the impedance. Also, I once did some research on the impedance of the 808/TS9 type pedals and it's all over the place. If using it in an FX Loop you may need to try different impedance settings.

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I have the Scream 808 loaded on every electric preset. I set it the EXACT same way I set any Tube Screamer I've ever owned in my life and it performs the same with minor tonal variances aside. 

 

It is not part of my core tone, I use it to "goose" the overdrive that follows.... which may sometimes be an overdrive model and sometime it may be the amp model. 

 

FWIW, my experience with Tube Screamers goes back to the date of their initial release. They all sound a little different and the SCREAM 808 is just another variant. It won't sound exactly like any other Tube Screamer... but it does sound and behave like a Tube Screamer. 

 

On 9/30/2022 at 6:29 AM, markwesse said:

Just kind of lifeless and flat...and the harmonics sound kind of fizzy in comparison to the original and even guitar rig.

 

Maybe you just don't like the particular unit Line 6 modelled.  I was in a studio not long ago that had a nice collection of TS boxes.... I rolled through all of them until I found the one I liked best for that recording. NONE were the same!

 

Think about it... those vintage boxes (and even some newer models) used components with up to 20% tolerance.... that means values could be UP TO 40% different from pedal to pedal... exponentially multiplied by the amount of components in the pedal. 

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