Getting Started with a Helix

Discussion in 'Amp Modeling' started by drew365, May 17, 2016.

  1. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    A dedicated SS power amp and a volume expression pedal cures all those volume problems for good.. For Amps no budget limits.. Get the Matrix GT1000. Budget issue... Get the RockTron Velocity 150 or 300.
    $525 vs $200 used
     
  2. Rocco Crocco

    Rocco Crocco Senior Member

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    drew could you go straight into the PA at rehearsal? That's what I do. The other guitarist has his Marshall 4x12 mic'd and goes into the PA as well. He keeps a low amp volume and we control the loudness through the PA.
     
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  3. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    I've been busy at work, but here's a little update. I think I figured out what my main problem was during rehearsal. I was using a preamp model "Brit J45 Nrl". It sounded fine playing by myself, but when I got to playing with the band it was muddy, and the more I turned up the volume to hear myself, the muddier it got. I switched to "Brit J45 Brt" and BAM, it cuts like a knife. I can't wait to get to rehearsal next week.
    Also, my OD after the preamp, and my EQ Boost weren't working very well, because I had my Path 1, Line B, going parallel, after the preamp, so the OD and EQ were only active on half the signal. I can't play right now to test this, but I'm pretty sure if I pull Line B up to Line A, so it's serial ahead of the OD and EQ, I'll be processing the full signal and get better results.
    This thing is addictive. Too bad you can't order pizza with it.:)
     
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  4. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Isn't it? I enjoy diving into mine every chance I get!!!
     
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  5. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Mark. Great talk today on the phone. I could have gone on for 2 hours instead of 1. hahahahah

    Gotta get over to your place to see that 48 track mixing board. :fingersx::thumb:
     
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  6. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    Now that I switched to the Brit J45 Brt preamp, my OD's are pretty noisy. So I put a Noise Gate after the second OD near the end of the chain, just before the boost.
    I've been looking at a lot of the patches my unit came with, and I see most of them have a Noise Gate at the beginning of the chain. It seems to me that would quiet a noisy guitar like a Strat, but it won't do anything for OD or amp noise. How do you guys use a NG? At the beginning of the chain or after the OD and amp?
     
  7. Rocco Crocco

    Rocco Crocco Senior Member

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    I just use the noise gate in the input block. It doesn't take up any DSP. I do this even with super distorted hi gain patches. This seems to remove the noise enough. I never really had to put a gate at the end. I should try that.
     
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  8. Liam

    Liam V.I.P. Member

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    I was stunned by my first gig with FRFR and transparent power amp. The clarity is amazing, and I can also plug into the PA and know it will be right in the ballpark for tone.

    Liam
     
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  9. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    Thanks Liam. I'm actually pretty surprised by how well the Helix sounds going through the FX return, once I worked out a few things. But it's comments like yours that will probably have me picking up an FRFR speaker before to long. I still have to decide on an active or passive set up. They both have plus's and minus's. If I had an Axe FX in a rack mount, it would be natural to go with a rack mount amp. But with the Helix, I'm leaning towards an active setup. I'd rather not have to get a rack type road case to haul a SS amp.
     
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  10. frankv

    frankv What Are You Waiting For? Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Makes a hell of a lot of sense.
     
  11. MusicLaw

    MusicLaw Senior Member

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    The Helix Backpack sure makes a compelling argument for Helix's portability, particularly when using the Helix w/ a powerded FRFR monitor system or PA.
     
  12. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'll get notified when Sweetwater has them in stock. I probably should pre buy so I don't miss out. I got pleasantly surprised the other night. I didn't know how I was going to get the Helix to rehearsal. I tried my Powertrain PT2 gig bag and it was a good fit.
     
  13. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    So this is a test. I wanted to see if I could post a screen shot of a preset, in case it helps when discussing one. Here's my test patch:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    Cool, it worked. Well in this test patch the last EQ is a boost. Next to that is a Noise Gate. Next to that a second OD for balls to the walls moments, use sparingly!:)
     
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  15. Liam

    Liam V.I.P. Member

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    Definitely makes sense. No-one else in the band wants to carry my 19" rack case, not because it is heavy (no heavier than a 100W Marshall I shouldn't think), but because its contents cost me something approaching $5k! Helix and an active FRFR speaker make one hell of a lot of sense for all sorts of reasons.

    Liam
     
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  16. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Drew365 - Have you installed Glenn Dulaine's (or whatever his name is) 3 channel patch? I did last night, and while I am going to be tweaking it to my tastes, it seems to pretty much be the "be-all-end-all" gigging patch.

    I was running through some "live" play last night, practicing one of my songs like I would play it onstage, and there was NO latency in switching channels, kicking effect in and out, or using the boosts. I was impressed. I will probably make an entire bank of "3 channel" versions of the various "amps" I record with.

    I am even MORE excited now!!!!
     
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  17. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    My unit came with 18 of his patches. I don't think the 3 channel was one of them, I'll have to check later. If I don't have it, I'll buy it. I also want the Joe Bonamassa patch, and I know that one wasn't loaded. Thanks for reminding me about the 3 channel patch. I had watched his video and it looked really usable.
     
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  18. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    Discovered another cool trick last night....

    I was tweaking the 3 channel patch and things started getting nasty sounding real quick. Too many delays and the cab sounded muffled through my monitors. Ultimately I decided I did not dig MOST of the block that were used to create the patch. So while I was creating my own 3 channel rig, I removed a volume pedal (having the rack version with the Helix controller I have no expression pedals right now - and truthfully I am not sure I will even get any) to gain some more processing power. When I did this, the "clean" amp fed into the "gain" amp and was making the tone VERY ugly.

    I messed around for a while, including starting over several times with reloading the patch. After 2 hours I was getting VERY annoyed, so I decided that I really don't need three channels anyway. I was rearranging footswitches when I accidentally put the two amps - my Twin Reverb tone and my Dr. Z tone on the same footswitch.

    It was a revolutionary mistake!!!! I hit the button and it seamlessly toggles between the clean Twin and the driven Dr. Z!!!! It's like having a two channel amp. It was easy to set the volumes because I could just stomp back and forth quickly while making adjustments.

    I didn't use "amp+cab" blocks. I used "amp" blocks - just like in Dulaine's 3 channel patch. I didn't move their location - kept them where Dulaine had them. What I DID do significantly different was that I changed his "cab" block from a 4x10 bass cabinet (sounded terrible) to a "dual" guitar cab block (I forget which ones I selected - I just ran through various combinations until I found what sounded like my real tone).

    I changed the "crunch" channel (really just an OD assigned to the "clean" amp) in the 3 channel patch to being a "gain boost" for a little more sustain/drive for leads. I used an OCD model for this - whereas the 3 channel patch uses a RAT. At the end of the path, I switched out the hall reverb to a 63 spring and turned the trails on so it would splash/ring over into the sound when I change "channels".

    I am WAY happier with this arrangement than the 3 channel patch. I am not a big effects guy and my tonal needs are rather simple. This lets me do what I could do with my Rivera - hit a button and change my sound FAST. I keep my reverb on, I hit the gain boost for leads, and SOMETIMES use a phase 90 or uni-vibe. SOMETIMES I use delay, so maybe I'll set-up another button the combines my gain boost and a delay for when I need that. I already have the MXR compressor turned on in front of the chain (switched from Dulaine's LA2A at the front end), not assigned to footswitch because it stays on all the time anyway.

    I have to tweak it a bit more tonight, but it's coming along nicely - and I dig the tones MORE because they are what I need. I am just glad to have Glen Dulaine's path because it is routed WAY beyond what I can understand at this point.....
     
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  19. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    Lots of good tips. I would have thought that if you put two amps on the same footswitch, they would both turn on or off together rather than toggle back and forth. The Line 6 guys must have really put in some overtime to figure out so many possibilities. Thanks for the report.
     
  20. drew365

    drew365 Senior Member

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    I meant to ask. You said you got rid of the volume pedal to gain a little processing power. Has processing power been an issue? I'm not sure how I would know if I was loading too much stuff up, unless something didn't work. So far that hasn't happened.
    I saw a video that suggests using both paths, because one DSP controls each path, so by utilizing path B, you take some load off of the first DSP. That's pretty much the depth of my knowledge on that.
     

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