Couldn't bring myself to commit to a Helix so I bought Native instead

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Axe-Man, Dec 4, 2017.


  1. PBGas

    PBGas Member

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    I find the stock cabs for the Helix to do a fine job. There is a ton of tweakability in there if you need it. That being said, if you are just playing at home, Native is a great solution. I have a Helix rack that I use regularly live and it sounds fabulous.
     
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  2. Axe-Man

    Axe-Man Member

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    Just got a Suhr Reactive load and ran my little Orange Rocker 15 into it using Native for reverb and Two Note WOS for cab/mic sims...hmmm

    I don't have any high end roll off happening; the interface is doing a great job.

    I have a Boss GT-1 so I'll try that to see if the buffer does anything. I have loads of high end and rolling the volume down on the guitar sounds great so I'm interested to see how the poor lowly Scarlett has been doing by its lonesome.

    As for brutally; I'm talking straight into the sim; not polished post produced diamond hard tightness. As I play.

    Even John Browne's YT vid had terrible bottom end if you listen when he's finished dialling it in.

    Anyone can cut the low end off using a low cut which works in a mix but as you're playing..?

    Patches to demonstrate this brootz thou speaketh of?
     
  3. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    As you shouldn't sending a line level signal into a line level input. The challenge is connecting a guitar directly to the interface.
     
  4. Axe-Man

    Axe-Man Member

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    I'm not talking about high end roll of with the Suhr, I'm talking about guitar interface Native.
     
  5. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    Have you done any experiments to confirm? Or does it just sound fine so you think its fine? The only reason I noticed was because I was running a Helix LT along side and could hear a difference in tone. If I hadn't had that I wouldn't have thought there was any improvement to be had.
     
  6. Axe-Man

    Axe-Man Member

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  7. yeky83

    yeky83 Member

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    Audio interfaces are really good these days. It should be fine for DI guitar.
    It's the input impedance setting that matters. The button/switch is either called "Instrument" input, or "High Z" input, etc. on audio interfaces. It sets the input impedance to 0.5 - 1 MOhm, reflecting real world amps and pedals. Focusrite's "Inst" setting puts input impedance at 1 MOhm, no pedal needed in front.

    Maybe you guys enjoy the sound of some jfet or opamp buffer in the chain, but that's no reason to say the audio interface DI is bad. I'd say the voice is a far more demanding of a sound source than the electric guitar. If the quality of the audio interface can support the voice, and I think all the Focusrite 2i2 types can, it should be fine for guitar. Just put it in the right setting. Most small audio interfaces have a High Z setting.

    0.5 MOhm would still be significantly high input impedance. Guitar pickup impedance is what, 15k for really hot pickups? Strymon OD pedal inputs are 0.5 MOhm.
    I don't doubt you hear a sound difference if you do. But input impedance probably isn't the whole picture.

    Agreed.

    If you're going through GT100, I imagine you're doing more than going through the input buffer. You're probably goinng through ADC, DSP, DAC, introducing latency as well... or does it have analog dry through? If you like the sound of it, OK. But it's not cus mid-priced audio interfaces have bad input buffers.
     
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  8. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    I'm sure there were other things, however, the main sonic differences I could replicate on the Helix simply by adjusting the input impedance down to 0.5 MOhm. Again, its not a matter of "sounded like poop until..." to my ears. I just think the assumption "my audio interface says instrument input, so its fine" isn't necessarily the best strategy.
     
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  9. DigiPOV

    DigiPOV Member

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    Google for opinions on DI input on Scarlett interfaces. Its not good.

    Its not the quality of the preamp, but of the DI buffer. I have a cheap behringer UMC interface that has surprisingly good preamps, but the DI is unusable.

    I haven't tried the latest version of every interface, but ime, quality of DI input is make or break for guitar sims. There are tons of pedals < $100 that noticably color or load a guitar signal, so doing this transparently for cheap is not a trivial thing. The "easy way out" is to make a pedal true bypass; it s input buffer is only audible when the effect is on, so its not possible to tell how much tone suck there is.

    Every interface I've tried DI input, only one that was acceptable was RME UFX. I'm sure there are other good ones, but I'm not sure that has trickled down to consumer interfaces. Once you've heard the difference, it is something you will be sensitive to.

    GT100 input is designed specifically for guitar and its transparent. Yes there is some (unfelt) latency, but its the best way for me to record my bass into Amplitube. Also, using the GT as an interface avoids another stage of AD/DA. The signal to computer is digital, so only ONE AD conversion.

    It also makes it easy to record DI guitar takes and later reamp through the GT (this eliminates having to use a reamp box.)

    Back to the subject: Regarding the Helix Native. There is a good chance that many people playing Native aren't getting the same sound quality as the Helix hardware because they are using consumer audio interface DI. This can be remedied by trying different ways to get the signal into the computer. An active DI, a good pedal, a good MFX, all provide better results than consumer interfaces I've tried.

    The point of my post wasn't to disparage anyone's interface, but to help them get the best results possible.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  10. yeky83

    yeky83 Member

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    Right. Do whatever it takes to get it to sound good, in the end ;)
    But I don't think this thread's "audio interfaces suck" is a necessary response. It does what it's supposed to, you can get good results.
     
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  11. yeky83

    yeky83 Member

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    I imagine googled opinions of DI input on Scarlett interfaces is much like this thread's...
    Making guitar pedal input buffers transparently for cheap is trivially easy to do, actually. http://www.muzique.com/lab/buffers.htm
    I didn't know the GT100 had digital output. That's cool.
     
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  12. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    I never meant to imply that audio interfaces suck, just to make sure you do some investigation to understand how yours might (or might not) be impacting the sound you're getting when plugging a guitar directly into it. I go straight into my Zoom TAC-2 and could not tell any difference A/Bing it in comparison to using my Helix LT as an audio interface only for guitar.
     
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  13. DigiPOV

    DigiPOV Member

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    Agree.

    Anyone who has used a relatively expensive consumer interface and heard poor quality of the built in DI will be attuned to this. Maybe they didn't "hear" the difference because they had nothing to compare it to? A great DI "takes the blanket" off VST guitar sims. They end up sounding bigger and have more air. I suspect alot of people are unimpressed with various VSTs because their interface DI sucks.

    I'm not trying to disparage anyone's interfaces, only trying to help people get the best result possible. Someone spending $400 for an amp sim, would appreciate this.
     
  14. yeky83

    yeky83 Member

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    I can't disagree with your experiences... but most audio interface DI would be fine. Most users just have to be aware that they need to flip the Hi-Z or Instr switch.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  15. DigiPOV

    DigiPOV Member

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    o_O
     
  16. AZG

    AZG Member

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    I have a 1st and 2nd generation Scarlet and they both seem to work very good from an instrument input perspective for Helix Native, S-Gear, X50, Kazrog, etc. it’s latency that has me considering a better Thunderbolt interface. But since I also have an AX8 I’m hesitant to spend more on another interface.
     
  17. yeky83

    yeky83 Member

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    As in, I'm not going to argue with your subjective experience, on your own equipment. If it's what works best for you, great. Keep on doing it.
    But if you're going to give advice on the internet about audio interface Hi-Z inputs and DI's, you should understand what they do...
    Maybe sweetwater is an authoritative source for you:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/s...instrument-input-on-my-preampaudio-interface/

    I have a Scarlett 2i2 1st gen, works fine with VSTs when it's set to "Inst." I get ~10ms RTL with it, which I don't notice too much... thunderbolt is awesome, but so expensive!
     
  18. Axe-Man

    Axe-Man Member

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    Ok...I did what was suggested using a 'buffer' (Boss GT-1) and I heard a difference.

    Is the difference huge? No. Can you hear it? Yes. Is the 'difference' the ADDA conversion of the Boss? Not sure. Could it have been user error? Quite possibly as I'm no recording engineer. I didn't think I had any stand alone buffers though I just realised I may have a fancy buffer in a volume pedal which I'll try later on.

    For this test with the Boss the difference wasn't in the high end but in the low end. I found greater level of chunk and warmth in the bottom end. It was the same for guitar into Helix Native via the Scarlett and using a tube preamp into the Scarlett. It improved both times.

    I have no latency issues with the Scarlett.

    Using a tube amp into a Suhr Reactive load works a treat using the Scarlett. I have not tried the buffer with the Suhr. The Suhr is unpowered for reference but outputs a line level signal. I'll have to try it but basically have little reason to as the amp into the Suhr sounds pretty amazing with just guitar>amp>suhr>WOS and nothing else.
     
  19. Jchrisf

    Jchrisf Member

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    Please explain what a good tube preamp with DI input is and how you would use it? I use Amplitube 4 and am very curious.
     
  20. Slicklickz

    Slicklickz Member

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    By good I generally mean it's a high voltage 12AX7 based preamp with an instrument input impedance of 750,000 ohms or higher for passive pickups.There are many inexpensive 12AX7 based units that are a "starved plate" design that often share the tube power supply with phantom power,typically under 50 volts.Avoid those.Shoot for a bare minimum of 125 volts and if possible 200 volts or higher.Typically many of these high voltage models are somewhat expensive but deals can be found.The Presonus ADL 600 pops up occasionally for $700 or so.The best bargains are typically the 2 rack space ART models,Pro MPA,MPA Gold,Pro MPA 2,etc.You can pick one up any day for $200 and often under $100 for the older models.The 1 rack space ART units are all starved plate,so avoid those.You plug into the instrument input on the front and then run the balanced out into the balanced input of your interface.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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