Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Jump to content

Amp or Cab for Helix?


Recommended Posts

I’m sure this has been done to death. Though, I have a specific versus question. 


I am going to get a Helix and intended to use it for home recording and practice. I like the amp in the room feel, and have primarily played Mesa. 

I am torn between two options of 1x12. 

First the Line 6 Powercab 112 Plus and Second a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170 along with a Mesa 1x12 with Black Shadow. 


Black Shadows are one of my favorite speakers. Which is also part of the reason I like the Powercab as they have a speaker model of it. And the other option is obviously a Mesa cab. 


I wanted to see if there are any other Mesa cab / Black Shadow fans out there that have used either it both kind or similar options. 

Any feedback would be great. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can say I really love the PC112plus.... however I dont use the speaker models.  I run it in LF Raw mode.  But I love the way it sounds.... To me, the PC would give you more flexibility, however, it may not sound exactly like the black shadow..... it could be better or worse... depends on what you like.


I always go with the more options.... but that's me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have tried two kinds of powered cabs for Helix.  The first one I tried was a 10" Headrush.  That one was taken back immediately.  I have no idea what people see (hear) in them.  It was awful.  Recently I bought two Powercab 112 Pluses with the intention of running a stereo rig because that route was way cheaper in the long run than buying a second amplifier.  I spent about 10 or 12 hours with just one, trying to get a good clean tone and was very disappointed.  I tweaked my clean preset almost into oblivion (without saving of course and also reloading a number of times) and was unable to get the "amp in the room" feel that everybody says they can provide.  I tried FRFR mode as well as the speaker sims.  It just didn't have the same dynamic of a real amplifier.  The "tone" was good enough I suppose but the feel of it and the way it behaved was lacking.  I also tried it with a high gain tone and it was less obvious that it wasn't a real amp but still wasn't great.  I never did hook the two of them up.  I felt if i couldn't get one to sound good to my ear then it would just be a waste of time.  They both went back to the store yesterday within the 15 day no questions asked return policy.


I've gone back to running Helix through my guitar amp using 4CM.

In my opinion there is no substitute for a real tube amp.

I'm back to getting great tone and I've kind of given up on the hope of a stereo rig ... or at least I've put it on a shelf for a while.

My amp is a Mark V Thirty-Five 112 combo with a C90 Black Shadow and it sits atop a 112 Theile cab, also with a Black Shadow.

I think it is an underrated speaker.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Powercab 112+ here.

It does what it says on the tin, as they say.

The reason people can't get the 'amp in the room sound' is that modellers, whether Helix or otherwise model their cabs with a mic after the event. What you get is a model of how that setup sounds after it's been recorded, regardless of the amp/monitor you use.

With the Helix/Powercab combo, when you (or me at least) use the speaker models in the PC112+, the output from the PC speaker has the mic etc modelled in to it bypassed - just the speaker. To get the real effect, you need to remove the cab block from your Helix preset, then you get the 'amp in the room' sound.

Be aware, the speaker models are supposed to sound how the real thing would sound if it was screwed in to the PC112 cabinet - eg. my old rig uses a couple of 1 x 12 V30 cabs. The PC112 sounds very near to how they sound. It doesn't sound how a 4 x 12 with four V30s would.

You aren't getting 'amp in the room' if you use FRFR, third party IRs etc, etc.


Helix through a real guitar amp? You're hearing how your presets sound with the inherent sound of your amp colouring them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I absolutely did try removing the cab block (and IRs) and I tried it with the PC+ in FRFR mode.  I do believe I did say I spent 10 or 12 hours at it and tried everything under the sun.  I very seriously doubt you'll be able to think of something I didn't think of and have already tried.


As far as my amp colouring the tone I think you misunderstood.  I said I was able to get a passable tone.  The tone is not the problem.  The dynamics are the problem.  Feel, response, behaviour.  That's not tone.  That's a different thing.  Tone has nothing to do with feel and feel is what "amp in the room" is all about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try Mode: Flat, Voicing: LF RAW and no cab model or IR in Helix. You may find that Powercab112+ is a pretty good powered guitar speaker. This will give you amp in the room because that's exactly what it is. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I run my Helix in stereo into two bad cat amps' effects loop returns, bypassing speaker modeling of course.  a lot of the time i find that i get the best sound results keeping the power amp modeling section in place (verses preamp only), even though i'm going into a real amp's power section.  and yes, TOTAL amp in a room experience.  None of that lifeless FRFR sound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...