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Helix LT with Catalyst 100 - Cabs, pre amp or amp ?


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I’m using a Helix LT connected via 4c method, I know it doesn’t have to be 4 cables, it just gives more control options if I want to switch between catalyst amps and Helix amps.


i think I’ve figured out that in most cases I seem to get better or let’s say clearer tone when not using cab blocks which is a real shame given all the work and good stuff that’s gone into cabs in v3.5. It would be interesting to hear other folks views in this though, I kind of feel like I’m missing out somehow by using the Catalyst!? But I do like the air pushing feel off it.


Anyway, my main question is whether or not I should be using pre-amp blocks in presets going to an amp rather than amp blocks, the manual suggests pre-amps but doesn’t really say why other than they use less DSP and when I’ve tried they just seem comparatively weak to the amp blocks needing further volume or boost settings of some kind so I’ve stuck with amp blocks.


So I’d be interested to hear what others have found on this.



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If you're using the return of a TUBE amp and a guitar cab/speaker, that's where you MIGHT want to use a Helix preamp, especially if you'll be playing at high/performance volume. That's where the specific characteristics of different power tube types come into their own, at volume.

The best sounding pre-amp will be one designed for use with that type of power amp and speaker.


EXAMPLE - EL84 and open back cab with 112/212 Alnico Blue/silver = VOX.

EL34 and closed back 212/412 cab with GB25 = Marshall.

Those are not ABSOLUTES. YMMV. If it sounds good TO YOU, it IS good!


Catalyst "preamps" are the equivalent of Helix full amp models, not Helix preamps. The power amp, speaker and cab are designed to sound good with 6 different types of modeled amps , not any particular amp.


Modeled cabs/IRs sound best and were created to be used with FRFR systems.

When I said above that the Catalyst power amp/cab/speaker was designed to be used with 6 different amp models, that to me means that the combination is flatter and more wide-range than, for instance, a Fender Deluxe. I have tried different Helix amps/cabs/IRs through my Cat and some sounded good, some not so much.

Again, YMMV. If it sounds good TO YOU, it IS good!


Personally, I have limited patience with "tweaking". I generally just use a Helix full amp model into the Cat's return. Works for me!

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Schmalle & rd2rk - many thanks for the quick and quality help in your responses; there’s some seriously good knowledge out there on this stuff thanks to you guys.

rd2rk - you just go that extra mile - mucho respect! 
I’m slowly learning, one day I might be able to answer someone’s questions, if I’m quick enough!

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