Helix Users -- Poll -- IRs or Stock Cabs?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Rocco Crocco, Nov 26, 2017.


Which do you use most of the time?

  1. IRs

    90 vote(s)
    51.1%
  2. Stock Cabs

    86 vote(s)
    48.9%
  1. Kutch

    Kutch Member

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    Oh man its getting ugly now.. i cant even look anymore:facepalm...Now that the "stock cab guys" have gotten their double accounts out of the way and all of their friends thru the poll i can see the gap widening considerably. :)

    Id also like to cast my vote for every person thats walked thru my studio doors and attempted to dial tones with my Helix. I think theres been ONE choose the sound of the Helix cabs over IRs, even after ive given them the "most accepted" starting points.

    Did Pete Thorn vote? Ive never seen him using stock cabs. Nor Richie Cstellano. Its been my experience that the players in more of a professional situation tend to gravitate to IRs.

    Guys who enjoy higher gain tones tend to gravitate to IRs where guys who seek cleaner tones gravitate toward HX cabs??
     
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  2. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    I would not call 55 to 45 ugly :)
     
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  3. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    Ha ha... I don't think it's a competition, however, I understand the humor in dramatizing the poll - it is, after all, November, and voting is just natural this time of year!

    I personally think that the majority of folks who are "IR Heavy Users", tend to be more into precise and detailed tones for the studio and recording while the "Stock Cab Heave Users" are more likely the live-gigging guys... just a hunch.

    For me, if I was studiously (pun intended) working a recording project and every track had to sound perfect through studio monitors and/or headphones, I think I would prefer the added precision of IRs to get that exact bit of high/low/mid/resonant character. But, when you think about it, that takes a good bit of extra effort to sort through the hundreds of individual files for just the right one, then spent part of your time "managing" and organizing so you don't get the wrong one in the wrong place and mess up several presets....

    For the one who don't mess around int the studio much (or at all) and spend all our time with the Helix to get a good tone on-stage, in a live band mix, the stock cabs seem to be a better fit (to me, anyway)... already in place, no added cost, does not require added hours finding, buying, downloading, sorting, organizing, etc... and gives some very good added "tweakability" of parameters to get you the sound you need that will work for a song at a gig... a LOT of those nuances that make IRs the preferred block in a preset are masked by the drums, keys, bass, and vocals on stage, so it's not (to some) worth the extra cost and hassle.

    Yes, I get the 'Why not get the most accurate and best tone possible, either way?' question... but for some of us, gigging every weekend and working full time (and more) day jobs, we already tweak tones WAAAY too much as it is... adding a couple of extra hours to find a "goldilocks" IR for each preset is time some of us really can't spare? I have already gone without meals, foregone needed chores, procrastinated on everything BUT Helix for several weeks (it's just fun to CREATE!), and in one scary incident, almost caught my house on fire while immersed in preset tweaking (never start a burner on the stove with grease in the skillet and walk over to the Helix "for just a couple of minutes" with the intention of "coming right back to cook those eggs"!!! Really, I actually did this and had to use a bag of flour to put out the fire) ... anyway... back to my hypothesis.

    As always, the truth is usually in the middle somewhere, but I would like to see a breakdown of users in the poll who prefer one or the other and which applications they tend to use the IR or Stock Cabs in.

    Just a thought, though, not trying to impose my rationale on everyone else. I, for one, am glad that we have the options and we can decide which is best for us in each given situation - Line 6 should be applauded for opening up the software scheme to third-party inputs. it improves the creativity, and it opens up a new market for those who have the time, resources, and talent to create IRs... I also think it sells a LOT more Helixes, too!
     
  4. Kutch

    Kutch Member

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    it was really just more of a thread bump to keep the voting going but if you were to apply that same ratio to the what? 12,000 helix users? I suspect the results would look a bit more dramatic.

    In my experience, that is an unusually high ratio of people who prefer stock cabs (edit). As I said, 99% of the hands on users, that I have dealt with, have preferred the IR’s I’m basing that on a number of about 40 to 50 cases
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  5. Willowdale

    Willowdale Member

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    IRs are easily better for me, but some of the stock cabs can sound quite good...
     
  6. Rewolf

    Rewolf Member

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    I think the poll results are biased because of the population being surveyed; TGP by its very nature attracts geeks, and geeks will try IRs just so that they know what the other geeks are talking about. There are not 10,000 Helix owners on TGP and the vast majority of those not present probably would say "Err whats an eyer?", followed by a "Sod that. I just want to play"

    The only thing this poll shows is the ratio of active TGP members that can be bothered to vote who have a preference.

    Personally I just want a decent sound and I have been getting it with Stock Cabs; have I tried IRs? Yes - the Allure pack and the free Celestion and some Acoustic guitar ones. I even tried making my own acoustic ones. But I don't currently have the time or inclination to try and find the perfect IR when I know that I will only be giving it some EQ to fit the guitar sound into an busy mix.
     
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  7. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    Closer to 30k but part of the problem is understanding that our cabs are not IRs but hybrids. They have parameters that can be changed like mic type and placement and are not as plug and play as a static IR.
     
  8. onwingsoflead

    onwingsoflead Member

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    When I first started with Helix it was 3rd Party IRs. They were quick and easy. Once I started digging in, I began to find that I preferred many of the stock cabs. They simply gave me more flexibility to tweak and get the tones I wanted.
     
  9. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

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    May 22, 2012
    I go back and forth, really. My main patch is still stock cabs on a boosted Bogner Shiva. But with the new update, the Trainwreck and Cartographer really came alive for me paired with Fremen's Marshall cabs and the JST Zilla cabs , respectively.
     
  10. MIJLOVER

    MIJLOVER Member

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    This poll is about what we use most of the time. Not necessarily what we prefer. I think going forward, I'll experiment more with IRs, because it's much easier with the new backup feature. I'll still mess with onboard cabs we well. IRs might be a bit more instant gratification, but I'm getting to know which stock cabs works for what, and how to set them up. :)
     
  11. Ichil

    Ichil Member

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    I've got my preferred IRs (5 or 6 IRs taken from the Ownhammer HHC2 bundle)that work for 99% of the sounds I'm after, so I use those and don't bother tweaking the stock cabs.
    For me it's faster with IRs.
     
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  12. Dead-Pan

    Dead-Pan Member

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    There is definitely an advantage to IRs otherwise Line 6 would not have included the option. The stock cabs can be good but there is a whole other dimension to IRs though it can take time and sometimes $ to explore and some may not see the cost benefit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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  13. EverlastingLight

    EverlastingLight Member

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    I hate the process of auditioning IRs but for high gain tones use them pretty much exclusively.

    I have pretty much all of the ownhammer IRs, redwirez series, vallhallir, and now recently some celestion ones. Not to mention old community made ones from the early days of modeling. Nothing is more annoying to me than auditioning hundreds of marginally different IRs to try and find the right one. That said, I've found it to be pretty much essential to high gain tones. The strangest thing to me about the Helix stock cabs is that the 57 model doesn't sound like any 57 that I've used in the past. I don't know where on the cab they're pointing that thing, since all we can control is the distance. If we could move the mic position in a three dimensional way, perhaps the results would be better.

    I've settled on a couple of the Mesa Trad V60 IRs for the lion's share of my high gain tones, especially through the Rectifier, Archon, 5150 models. The ENGL I pair with an ENGL V30 IR.

    For my mid - high gain marshall type tones I'm loving the Celestion Creamback IRs. I haven't gotten around to finding a good T12-75 IR yet though I have some waiting to audition.

    On the other hand, I spent a long time trying out IRs for the Vox AC30 recently. It's a hassle to mic these amps well and they're very sensitive to the room and tone controls and guitars in terms of mic placement - its not like micing up a modern metal tone where you have a pretty stock micing configuration 57 +/- 421 +/- 121 in pretty reliable places. I spent about 2 hours going through the Ownhammer Class A Duo pack and then through some of the Redwirez options, as well as auditioning it with the Creamback/Greenback IRs.

    I came back around and settled on the stock cabs for my Vox tones, for now anyways. I use the silver bell cab with 409 and the 414, both several inches back with a steep high cut on. This combo sounds much better to me than any of the IRs I've heard so far for the AC30. I may try to blend up an ideal IR using the redwirez stuff but honestly, doing that is such a hassle.

    I don't have a great understanding of the fender realm of tones and so I'm not sure about stock vs IR in that realm.

    I'm guessing as I learn more about the Helix and the various amps and effects contained therein that I'll settle on using a mix of IRs at times and stock cabs at times.
     
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  14. Jarick

    Jarick Member

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    I find that each of the different impulse brands requires a different approach.

    Helix Cabs
    I typically start with a single cab. I flip through the handful of cabs I would typically use, then have to pick a microphone. This makes it more complex as the mic will drastically alter the tone. Also, because the Helix cabs default to a particular microphone, it makes it much more time consuming to audition through several cabs. I really wish there was a neutral mic or common blend as a starting point, then fine tune with a particular microphone selection. Or a set of premixed/blended tones for each cab (bright, dark, full, thin, balanced, etc). While the clean tones sound good to me with a single cab, I can't ever find a good single cab/mic for mid to high gain tones, so I end up having to play around with dual cabs, which can be even more time consuming to find the right mix. On the plus side, I rarely have to touch the low and high cuts with stock cabs.

    Favorites: 1x12 Deluxe (R121), 2x12 Silver Bell (R121), 4x12 M25 (57) + 4x12 Cali V30 (160)

    Ownhammer
    I load the "OH1" mix file from the quick start folder for each cab into the Helix (anywhere from 10-40 depending on how many cabs I want to load). I flip through them until I find the one I like. I adjust high and low cuts. Done. Sometimes I might load the "121" or "160" mics for those cabs if I want a darker tone. I find Ownhammer tends to be the most consistent tonality although there's a signature sound to them (more lows and softer highs). The downside is trying to figure out which mic/mix for each cab you want, because Helix IR auditioning and management is HORRIBLE. So I tend to stick with OH1 which is balanced.

    Here's where one of my main criticisms of Helix impulse loading is revealed: it's a really big pain in the butt to audition IR's with Helix. You have to load them first, then play through them, then load more, and repeat. And there are only 128 spots. With the Fractal, you go to audition mode and you can just browse through and click IR's on your computer. If you like them, drag them over and find more. And there are 512 spots. When you have dozens of cabinets with dozens of mics/mixes, it's almost impossible to truly figure out which ones you like using Helix. And because of the limited spots, if you have to move impulses around, you have to redo all your presets.

    Favorites: 1x12 Deluxe Fane (OH1), 2x12 Vox Blue (OH1), 2x12 Bogner M25/V30 (OH1), 4x12 Marshall M25/H30 (OH1), 4x12 Mesa V30 (OH1)

    Celestion
    I don't use Celestion much because it's a struggle to find an IR that can fill a spectrum of sound. The phase/tonality might be more neutral, but the lows and highs tend to be rolled off. The R121 Balanced is as good as I can find, and it's a nice warmer tone, but it lacks the highs. The low and high gain mixes all sound too mid forward to me rather than say stacking the lows of the 121 and the highs of the 57. I tried to manually make mixes but it's a pain as I don't have great software. Maybe if the Helix impulse auditioning improves I can find better matches.

    Favorites: 4x12 Cream (121 Balanced), 4x12 M25 (121 Balanced), 4x12 V30 (121 Balanced)

    3 Sigma
    These are very easy to use with Helix. I load the five ACE impulses (B only as A are too bassy) for each cab. Then scroll through and pick them. So big plus for ease of use and not needing to audition them. The downside is, they are fairly mid scooped, the 1-5 positions are not always predictable, and limited impulses mean cabs are hit or miss. Sometimes I expect a cab to sound very different from the impulses but the particular mic blend and positions hype certain frequencies. So there's no standard/neutral position or mic tonality that allows the speaker sound to come through. As a result, I tend to blend two cabs which does work well but it becomes a lot more time consuming. Also, there are no warm tonality impulses.

    Favorites: 2x12 Vox Blue (ACE 3B), 4x12 Friedman M25/V30 (ACE 1B), 4x12 Mesa V30 (ACE 4B)

    So between the different approaches required by different brands and the horrible impulse auditioning and management in Helix, I tend to not branch out to other brands if they don't knock my socks off immediately.
     
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  15. Frank Ritchotte

    Frank Ritchotte Silver Supporting Member

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    Dude phenomenal reply as always.
     
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  16. bdrepko

    bdrepko Member

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    I found the OwnHammer 412 MAR_CB EVM IRs a while back. I love the "in your face" sound of these and have used them ever since on both my Helix and AX8.
     
  17. Dave Merrill

    Dave Merrill Member

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    Great answer.

    Check out the CabIR.eu VX-CA30TB_BLUE for Vox. I like it, and others of theirs too.
     
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  18. EverlastingLight

    EverlastingLight Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly with the above. I've just purchased Native with the Cyber Monday sale, so I'm going to start auditioning cabs using that instead of the floorboard. I'm going to fire up Native, put in an amp block and nothing else, and use a separate IR loader after it in the chain so I can just scroll through IRs until I find what I like. It's a nightmare trying to figure it out using the limitations of the Helix.

    For the Celestion IRs, I find I stick the the three mic blends (57/421/121) and enjoy those the most. To me, that's how I would mic up any of my real cabs as well, though here I don't get to choose the relative mix levels which is less than ideal.
     
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  19. Dave Merrill

    Dave Merrill Member

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    My first thought was that that was the best argument I've heard for Native, for me. But then I realized I could do the same with my Helix floor, and either way would have the IR at the end of the chain, which isn't what I do hardly ever.
     
  20. redmonda

    redmonda Supporting Member

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    Perhaps try the IR Workshop program linked below and try blending your own with the individual files?

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...impulse-responses-and-a-free-ir-pack.1862749/
     
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