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How to Craft Warmer More Tube Sounding/Feeling Helix Patches


IMMikeMurphy
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Hey guys, I'm looking to get way better at building Helix patches and I'm on a quite to make the most tube sounding patch I can, that sounds great in my in ears (Alclair Audio Dual XB)...Something that sounds a warm and juicy as the video below... 

I've bought many patches from the more well known patch providers, but they all seem to sound harsh and fizzy.

Is there a good guide on best practices for crafting patches?

 

Thanks

Mike

 

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The "warmth" of a guitar tone does not only depend on amp settings. A big part of your tone comes from your guitar, especially the pickups.

On my Helix, any patch sounds different with different guitars. E g. my LTD with Seymour Duncan pickups sounds completely different than my Ibanez with Infinity pickups.

 

Maybe this does not help you much in the moment, but always be aware of that fact when you watch YouTube videos. Different guitars, different pickups, different sound.

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One of the best options I've found is placing a parametric EQ before the amp. Set the midrange to a narrow Q, create a deep cut, and vary the frequency until you find the sweetest, warmest sound. This doesn't work all the time, but it can do things like make the new Oblivion amp super-smooth. Of course, YMMV.

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On 12/4/2023 at 10:09 AM, IMMikeMurphy said:

that sounds great in my in ears (Alclair Audio Dual XB)

 

Just on this, if you get your patches sounding great for in-ears they may not sound good in FoH (any in-ears). Unfortunately the compromises of each reproduction system means you need to target patches for a primary source and live with what you get in secondary sources. Having EQ over your monitor send may help.

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Unfortunately it will require time. I would suggest going through Jason Sadites You Tube videos and see what he's got there. I would suggest this book as well

 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AndertonHX-e--sweetwater-publishing-the-big-book-of-helix-tips-and-tricks

 

It's a download and is updated everytime the Helix is updated. It's by Craig Anderton who has been around awhile (he had a column in Guitar Player mag back in the day) and is well known and respected.

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On 12/5/2023 at 6:34 AM, brue58ski said:

I would suggest this book as well

 

Thanks for the mention! Version 1.4 of the book is just about wrapped up. It covers all the additions in 3.70, and includes 20 new presets optimized specifically for the new amps. Again, v1.4 will be a free update to owners of any previous version of the book.

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On 12/5/2023 at 12:40 PM, craiganderton said:

 

Thanks for the mention! Version 1.4 of the book is just about wrapped up. It covers all the additions in 3.70, and includes 20 new presets optimized specifically for the new amps. Again, v1.4 will be a free update to owners of any previous version of the book.

Yay!! I refer to this book often and appreciate the free updates.

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One way I get more "warmth" is to use a '63 spring reverb block.  I basically dial it out almost completely, leaving just the initial "boink" sound, not the full splashy reverb.  I put it right before the amp.  Also I take an envelope filter and also make it very very subtle, placing it in the beginning of the chain.  It adds a certain degree of warmth, movement, if it makes sense. 

https://youtu.be/ulqdh3CQ9jY?si=bQMVDVs2xbhG0TBG

 

This is all subjective, but I like the certain bark/boink that I have as part of my sound.  Makes it feel and sound more tube-ey.

 

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On 12/6/2023 at 9:29 AM, theElevators said:

One way I get more "warmth" is to use a '63 spring reverb block.  I basically dial it out almost completely, leaving just the initial "boink" sound, not the full splashy reverb.  I put it right before the amp. 

 

That intrigued me, so I gave it a try. I'm curious what you use for the reverb's Mix parameter. The amps I tried had enough gain to bring up the reverb, so I dialed the mix down to 15% or so and it seemed to add that kind of "warmth" you mention. In any case, it's a cool trick.

 

On 12/6/2023 at 9:29 AM, theElevators said:

Also I take an envelope filter and also make it very very subtle, placing it in the beginning of the chain.  It adds a certain degree of warmth, movement, if it makes sense. 

 

This is off-topic, but what you're doing can also sound good with vocals. Have very subtle variations in the 3 kHz range where articulation happens. It kind of makes the voice sound more lively. FWIW I think Helix is underrated as a vocal processor.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/3/2023 at 8:09 PM, IMMikeMurphy said:

Is there a good guide on best practices for crafting patches?

 

As said by @brue58ski, Jason Sadites has many videos on Helix tweakings, where he explains how you should deal with the parameters in great detail.

 

Other than that, my personal approach is start simple. Choose a head and a cab first, then a pedal do push the signal before the head. This is the core of your tone: if you make these 3 blocks sound good, everything else is minor. Just like working with actual, analog gear.

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On 12/4/2023 at 2:56 PM, waymda said:

 

Just on this, if you get your patches sounding great for in-ears they may not sound good in FoH (any in-ears). Unfortunately the compromises of each reproduction system means you need to target patches for a primary source and live with what you get in secondary sources. Having EQ over your monitor send may help.

Agreed.  I personally shoot for the best tone for FOH/console, then make adjustments in the playback system (IEM or wedges).  My IEMs ( Sensaphonic dual drivers & Shure 425s) lose low end compared to most playback systems, which can be compensated for on the monitor console by cutting some top end to the IEMs, so it doesn't affect what is happening in the mains.. 

 

the other "more involved" way to do this on Helix/HX could be to have separate sends with different EQing to FOH and Monitors, assuming you don't already have those outputs assigned to other needs.

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