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Helix through Mustang III or Tech 21 PE 60 - Help and Opinions Needed...

Spooky73

Member
Messages
466
So I recently picked up a pair of Fender Mustang III v2 amps to use in a stereo amp setup. I was thinking I would sell my Helix and just use the Mustangs as I am familiar with their sound and they seem to do do what I need (with the addition of a dedicated stereo effect pedal like an H9).

Out of curiosity I decided to run the Helix into the Mustangs in stereo to see how that sounded. I think that one of the things I missed with the Helix is the "amp in the room" sound. My initial impression is that it gave me the sound I was missing. Just a nice guitar amp sound rather than the too neutral, revealing FRFR sound (IMO).

So...of course now I am thinking about keeping the Helix (not getting a ton of action on it in the Emporium anyway - surprisingly) and using a pair of guitar cabs for the amplification.

So now I have many questions...

1. I am now curious about Tech 21 PE 60's as the solution as opposed to the MIII's. Anyone have any experience/opinion between the two? I have read a bit about the Celestion's used in each and can't come to any real conclusion.

2. If I decide to keep the Mustang III's, any advice on the best way to run the Helix into them (from a stereo setup)? I would want to use the pre-amp and cabs in the Helix and just really use the MIII's as the power speakers.

For my demo I just used the 1/4" outs of the Helix into each guitar input of the MIII's. I then set each MIII to the patch that is just a flat studio pre-amp setting. Results met my expectations in a good way but I am reading a lot about potentially using the effects loop instead.

Sorry for the long post - thanks in advance for any help/advice.
 

eriwebnerr

Member
Messages
2,790
In terms of this use - my personal opinion is there's no advantage to using the PE60 over the Mustang. The PE 60 is still a guitar speaker in a cabinet with a power amp and more expensive to boot. The Mustangs also give you a built in backup. In my experience stereo does not translate live or outside of a very controlled space. So personally I would go with the one cab or daisy chain mono. The 100 Watts of the Mustang should be plenty and I would definitely go into the effect's return. You can then use your helix as the master volume.
Let us know how it goes!
 

partytrain

Senior Member
Messages
6,110
For awhile, I was using my mustang with my hd500 or Zoom G5. Seemed to work fine, but in the long run, I found I liked the sound of the PE60 better. Maybe it was just the speaker difference or something (my PE60 is the older unit with the tech 21 branded speaker, not the seventyeighty). I just felt like there were some highs on the mustang I couldn't get out. I've since moved into the Amplifire, then AX8, and I've been using the PE60 exclusively for those.
 

Spooky73

Member
Messages
466
In terms of this use - my personal opinion is there's no advantage to using the PE60 over the Mustang. The PE 60 is still a guitar speaker in a cabinet with a power amp and more expensive to boot. The Mustangs also give you a built in backup. In my experience stereo does not translate live or outside of a very controlled space. So personally I would go with the one cab or daisy chain mono. The 100 Watts of the Mustang should be plenty and I would definitely go into the effect's return. You can then use your helix as the master volume.
Let us know how it goes!
Thanks for the input!

I was thinking that unless I heard from others that there is a distinct advantage in sound with the T21 PE's, that the Mustangs would be good because they can also be used on their own.

So...about using the FX Loop/Return - I am very uneducated with loop send/returns. I get the basic premise but would it be different with the Mustang's since it's a modeling amp?

How exactly would I set up this configuration with the Helix and the Mustangs? Keep in mind that I will be using the Helix for all amp sounds (pre-amp and cabs) and just want the Mustang for amplification.
 

dbagchee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,968
I think @MusicLaw 's post from another recent thread has exactly the info you need to setup the mustangs:

For the v.2 Mustangs III/IV/V, pressing the Mustang's Menu Button, Eight times, displays the Looper Mode Menu.

The default is "Normal." In default, "Normal" Mode the FX Loop's position in the Mustang's signal chain is before the Cab Sims are applied. Even though the FX Loop's Return signal enters the Mustang after the Preset's Tone Stack and Preset Volume, the FX Return's signal will be affected by the Cab Sim of the currently selected Preset on the Mustang! If you are also using an IR Block or Cab Block on the Helix, you will get a compounded result!

When the Looper Menu is changed to "Looper" the insertion point of the FX Loops is changed to after the Cab Sims and thus the FX Loop Return signals are unaffected by any Cab Sim associated with whatever Preset may be selected on the Mustang. This allows the Mustang to be used as a Powered Cab only without it's Cab Sim affecting the signal coming from the Helix.

See Fender's Website Mustang Support PDF document regarding the Mustang's FX Loop Position Block Diagram!

These are excerpts from the PDF:

"Effects Loop Position: “Normal” Press the Utility button 8 times to access the Fx Loop Position menu item. “Normal” mode is best for typical usage: rack mounted delays reverbs, multi-effects, etc. Not ideal for using a looper pedal because cab simulation can change when switching presets. A looper pedal can be used here without problems if the preset doesn’t change, or if presets are chosen that have the same cab simulation setting."

"Effects Loop Position: “Looper Pedal” Press the Utility button 8 times to access the Fx Loop Position menu item. “Looper Pedal” mode is best for usage with looper pedals and phrase samplers. Looper playback tonality will not be affected with preset change. Actual internal insertion point changes based on whether or not the headphones are inserted. Note that the looper pedal signal will appear in the Line Outs and USB Recording path only when the headphones are connected."
 

Spooky73

Member
Messages
466
I think @MusicLaw 's post from another recent thread has exactly the info you need to setup the mustangs:
This is helpful and how I understood it as well (albeit a clearer explanation). Thanks.

BUT - I guess I still don't fully understand what patch setting the Mustang should be set to after making sure the FX loop is in Looper mode. I still need to have a patch/preset selected on the Mustang.
 

dbagchee

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,968
This is helpful and how I understood it as well (albeit a clearer explanation). Thanks.

BUT - I guess I still don't fully understand what patch setting the Mustang should be set to after making sure the FX loop is in Looper mode. I still need to have a patch/preset selected on the Mustang.
Not 100% sure but my guess is that you would save whichever patch you were in after changing that loop mode setting. The other settings shouldn't matter since they are getting bypassed anyway. So maybe save Patch 1 with the looper settings and name it Helix?
 

Guitardave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,491
I was thinking that unless I heard from others that there is a distinct advantage in sound with the T21 PE's, that the Mustangs would be good because they can also be used on their own.
I agree and if you're getting good results with the Mustangs they are good as a standalone solution.
 

eriwebnerr

Member
Messages
2,790
By setting things up the way @dbagchee said you are bypassing the Mustangs effect on the tone and just going into the power amp / cabinet. So as long as the loop is located as far back in the chain as possible (sounds like the looper pedal setting is the way to go). You could also try the "Aux in" but sometimes amp manufacturers hype the high end on those inputs to make up for the loss of going through a guitar speaker. Might be work a quick try though. You might also want to experiment with bypassing the cab sims on the Helix since you are going through a guitar cab.

I've never used a Helix but I'm guessing you could have one output with cabs off to the Mustang and the other with the cabs on to go direct.
 

MusicLaw

Double Platinum Member
Messages
2,135
Had a great chat with @MusicLaw - he was able to provide me with all the setup/routing answers I needed (and then some). Thanks again ML!

I will be trying these out over the next day or two with my Helix and Mustangs. I will report back my findings/experience for those interested.
Glad to help!
You could also try the "Aux in" <snip> Might be work a quick try though. You might also want to experiment with bypassing the cab sims on the Helix since you are going through a guitar cab.

<Snip>I'm guessing you could have one output with cabs off to the Mustang and the other with the cabs on to go direct.
Yes to both!

In addition to what we spoke about on the phone, certainly try feeding the Mustang's stereo AuxIn, either, L&R Line Level FX Sends or L&R Main Outs from the Helix. The Mustang's AuxIn, is not affected by the Mustang's Looper Mode setting. My main concern would be the Mustang's AuxIn is not physically robust! It is merely a plastic 1/8" TRS jack; absolutely not as durable as the 1/4" FX Return jack on the rear of the Amp.

On the Helix you could easily use several Cab Blocks (subject to Dynamic DSP limits) and use Helix's Bypass Button to Bypass them to quickly audition between or amongst the Helix's Cab Blocks feeding the Mustang. You could also do so with Snapshots in a Preset, or entirely different Presets. However, the later may impose some switching lethargy.

Moreover, as you have two of the same Mustangs, for testing/demoing purposes you could feed one the Helix's Main Out and the other a Helix FX Send. The FX Send Block being another way to Bypass whatever is before the FX Send in Helix's Path.

You have lots of options to explore!
 
Last edited:

Strattman76

Senior Member
Messages
165
Had a great chat with @MusicLaw - he was able to provide me with all the setup/routing answers I needed (and then some). Thanks again ML!

I will be trying these out over the next day or two with my Helix and Mustangs. I will report back my findings/experience for those interested.
Following.
 

MusicLaw

Double Platinum Member
Messages
2,135
Wow!! What an Awesome and Sweet Setup!! Your room looks like it has a great feel! Are those the HS7 or HS8?
 

LaceSensor1

Senior Member
Messages
3,429
In my personal experience....

Any digital modeling into the front end of the Mustang sounded like asswhole..

Maybe some sort of digital interference? I dunno, but bad idea.

Plus isn't the idea of the Mustang to only need the amp, guitar, and cable?
 

Guitardave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,491
In my personal experience....

Any digital modeling into the front end of the Mustang sounded like asswhole..

Maybe some sort of digital interference? I dunno, but bad idea.

Plus isn't the idea of the Mustang to only need the amp, guitar, and cable?
He's running into the effects loop so it doesn't apply - it's just a power amp and speaker.
 

LaceSensor1

Senior Member
Messages
3,429
He's running into the effects loop so it doesn't apply - it's just a power amp and speaker.
I've tried this as well. Still sounded terrible.

I ran a boss gt10 every which way you can with a Mustang IV. Nothing sounded right.

This was my experience, maybe others have achieved better results.
 






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