Orange TH30 using 4 Cable Method with Helix HX Effects

rjwilson37

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When I received my TH30, not to long after I tried using the 4 Cable Method for hooking up my Firehawk FX Multi-Effects Unit so that I could have control about what is in front of the Pre-Amp or behind it and such. Well... not matter what I did with the Software/or Unit to config it for what is said to work with the amp, I could not use my amps gain channel, the amp just stayed clean. I used it using the 3 Cable Method which worked and I had to put everything behind the loop and it worked, but I still did not have the flexibility I was looking for.

Well... I just picked up the Helix HX Effects last week to replace my Firehawk FX and just I just connected it using the 3 Cable method to start of with. It has a lot better effects and is working great, but when I get home today, I am going to try the 4 Cable Method and see if I can get it setup and have it work properly with my TH30. I love the tone I get from my TH30 and just wanted effects which is why I got the Helix HX Effects.
 
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tolm

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I *think* the HX effects can send a CTL signal from (one of?) the expression pedal inputs so you should be able to switch between:

- Clean channel with effects pre- and post-
- Dirty channel with effects pre- and post

All with a single stomp ... good luck! :thumb:
 

rjwilson37

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Thanks tolm, I did hook it up and have it working as expected. The HX Edit software gives you complete control over what you want to do with this unit and it works great. I hooked up a 5th cable (Orange) to control my Amp switching between channels too, just like you mentioned. I will definitely have to play with this more to see what all I can do. But... I am very happy that I have just one Effects Unit to control everything I need, still keeping my amps tone as well as switching between my amps channels still using one unit.

 

tolm

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Thanks tolm, I did hook it up and have it working as expected. The HX Edit software gives you complete control over what you want to do with this unit and it works great. I hooked up a 5th cable (Orange) to control my Amp switching between channels too, just like you mentioned. I will definitely have to play with this more to see what all I can do. But... I am very happy that I have just one Effects Unit to control everything I need, still keeping my amps tone as well as switching between my amps channels still using one unit.

Nice! I’ve considered doing this myself but I’d need more switches ...

Ideally I want 4 “snapshot” footswitches to set the “base” tone (gain and reverb/delay) and then four “stomp” switches for adding individual modulation / fuzz / tremolo / boost effects on top. Plus tap tempo really ...

Whilst you can split the switches on HX effects that way, the left two go to “snapshot up/down” which leaves only 2x snapshots and 2x stomps available. The full Helix unit will do what I want but I have no interest in the amp modelling nor the extra cost! Guess I need ‘em to do an “HX Effects XL” ...
 

rjwilson37

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Thanks you two.

Tolm… Write to them, there is probably a way to add an additional foot switcher that can add more stomps.
 

redking

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Still liking your HX Effects? How did 4 cable method go for you? I have seen a couple of youtube vids where they demonstrate a severe tone loss using 4 cable method because of so many ins and outs through the unit - was this your experience? I would assume there are some buffer settings in the units to address these type of issues.
 

tzd

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How did 4 cable method go for you? I have seen a couple of youtube vids where they demonstrate a severe tone loss using 4 cable method because of so many ins and outs through the unit
The problem with doing 4CM using most Multi-FX units in the market, is signal level mismatch in the amp effects loop.

If you look at a traditional guitar and amp setup:

Guitar -- Instrument Level signal --> Front of amp
Amp FX Send -- (either Instrument or Line Level signal) --> Effects -- (same Instrument or Line Level as 'Send' ) --> Amp FX Return

The amp's effects loop is implemented at either Instrument or Line Level. Line Level effects loops send a very strong signal which can be handled by traditional rackmount effects processors, but is too overwhelming for a normal guitar pedal. For example if I stick my Boss DD-3 in the effects loop of my Mesa Boogie Express Plus 5:25 which has Line-Level effects loop, the result is a really bad sounding, overloaded delay sound.

Now if you look at the typical setup of a Multi-FX pedal, HX Effects included, you have:

Guitar Input: Instrument level
Effects Send AND Effects Return: Switchable TOGETHER to either Line or Instrument Level
Output: Instrument level

So you can see the problem here when you try to hook both of them up together in 4CM:

Guitar -- instrument level signal --> Multi-FX Input (so far so good)
Multi-FX FX Send --> Front of amp (expecting Instrument Level)
Amp FX Send -- [either Line or Instrument Level, depending on amp] --> Multi-FX FX Return (expecting the same level as Multi-FX FX Send)
Multi-FX Output --> Amp FX Return (expecting same level as Amp FX Send)

If the amp has an effects loop capable of operating at Instrument Level, all is good as you can set your Multi-FX Effects Send AND Return to Instrument Level, and you have the perfect signal level match going in and out of all the cables. Blackstar HT-series amp is an example I know of where you can choose to switch its FX loop between Instrument and Line levels.

But if the amp has a Line Level only effects loop:

(a) if you switch the Multi-FX Effects Send/Return to Line Level, the Multi-FX Send to the Amp's input will be at Line level, overloading the front of the amp. Additionally the Multi-FX Output will be going out at Instrument level, but the amp FX return is expecting Line Level signal.

(b) If you switch the Multi-FX Effects Send/Return to Instrument Level, the amp's FX Send will be sending Line Level signal into the Multi-FX FX Return which is expecting Instrument Level signal, overloading the Multi-FX FX Return.

You can try to compensate for all of these by adjusting the Levels controls at different stages, but it can quickly become a nightmare.

And that, is the reason why you will usually get much better sound running a separate effects unit in the amp FX loop than using 4CM with one single effects unit.

The only Multi-FX unit I know of that has the level matching right in all stages is the Fractal FX-8.
 
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