HX Stomp FX Loop Noise

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,173
I’ve been working on wirind my pedalboard for a couple of weeks now. I thought I had it figured out. I was going to put my tube preamps and other analog drive and modulation pedals in the loops of my Rjm mastermind PBC6X switcher. Then, I put that entire switcher in the effects loop of the HX stomp. that way I can route all the pedals that are within the Rjm before and after other effects within the HX.

The problem I recently noticed is when I was using a Retro Sonic flanger, was that when using it in the switcher while in the effects loop of the HX, it introduced a lot of noise.

Just by having the Flanger on was making a ton of noise. For giggles I rearranged everything and took the effects loop out of the equation and it was silent. I also introduced other pedals into the effects loop individually and each time I engaged the effects loop block within my preset on the HX, it would automatically had a bunch of hiss and noise. I recently read about a test you can do to see if it’s a faulty unit, and I did that test. However, I think mine is fine.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, are there any ways to reduce the noise? My obvious workaround was to not use it and put the HX in one of the loops of the rjm instead. The bummer about that is that I have to run all my effects in front of my preamps like the old fashioned way (ie phaser/drive/delay/verb > front of amp) I can adjust everything to make it work, but I really like having the ability to rearrange things quickly as well as to not muddy up the sound
 

rd2rk

Member
Messages
541
I'm sitting here in my "office" where I have my HXS (Helix Floor and Powercab212 are in my "studio").
My HXS is set up in 4cm with my Egnater Tweaker15/112.

Once again I'm reading about someone wondering why the HXS (or any Helix) has a noisy FX Loop.
I'm struck by the apparent fact that my Egnater/HXS FX loops seem to have zero noise.

I opened a New Preset and stuck an FX Loop Block in it. Switched it ON/OFF/ON/OFF.
ZERO difference in noise level.
Virtually silent.

MAXED the Master. Maxed the Pre.
NO difference with FX Loop ON/OFF, other than the level when the Egnater's Preamp is out of the circuit.
NO NOISE other than the normal tube amp hum, and only with the Master (post FX Loop) turned way up.

A couple of thoughts occur to me:

1) Almost every time I hear about this noisy FX Loop thing it's in relation to people putting pedals in the Loop. Could the PEDALS (and/or their power supplies) be the problem and the Helix gets blamed?

2) Might it be possible that some amps have noisier FX Loops than others, and it's the Helix that gets blamed?

3) Could these folks simply be cursed with noisy electricity, and the Helix gets blamed?

4) Am I the ONLY one who uses quality shielded cables? Now I'm being silly.

I don't KNOW anything except that I have NO NOISE from my HXS/Egnater FX Loops.

Good Luck with your troubleshooting!
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,173
1. Possibly yes. I tried several options and will try more tomorrow.

2. possibly yes. Im not using an amp, but tube preamp, but yes some are noisier yhan oth

3. Possibly yes. But I have 20 amp infustrial grade outlets and use isolated power from cioks supply.

4. Doubtful, but it is always something to consider.

Ill try other options tomorrow. My only thought is that bc my Kingsley tube preamps have high output, maybe thryre the culprits...however, they eould have less yhan an egnater preamp in 4cm. Who knows?
 

Naigewron

Member
Messages
1,154
Have you tried using the FX loop without any pedals in it? In other words just a patch cable from send to return.

If that's noisy, the Stomp is the problem. If not, there's something about your pedals. Maybe the Stomp is overloading them, feeding them a signal that's too hot? Many pedals can't handle being in an FX loop.
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,173
Have you tried using the FX loop without any pedals in it? In other words just a patch cable from send to return.

If that's noisy, the Stomp is the problem. If not, there's something about your pedals. Maybe the Stomp is overloading them, feeding them a signal that's too hot? Many pedals can't handle being in an FX loop.
Tried that test...no noise.

I did a bunch of other trial and error. It seems that there are two potential problems. And at this point, I don't think its the FX loop.

Could the PEDALS (and/or their power supplies) be the problem and the Helix gets blamed?
Think you were onto something. I think the Kingsley Constable (which has very high output), the rjm, and the Retro Sonic Flanger (a copy of the 18V electric mistress ncluding the high end and the analog BBD clock noise associated) maybe the culprits.

So tonight, I started by putting the rjm into the HX's FX loop. In the rjm, I put those the Kingsley and Flanger in the loops. When I engage them both, there's a whole lot of noise from the flanger. When I put flanger after the constable in order, the noise is reduced, but the Kingsley's output and nature of the analog BBD of the flanger causes a volume drop.

So then I removed the Kingsley and put it after the HX and kept everything else the same. Still got some noise when I engaged flanger.

Then did rearranging to find...

1. with JUST the Flanger in the loop...no noise
2. When I went rjm (with pedals in loops) into the HX directly in, very little noise from flanger or Constable. Still got some, but normal from what I expect from a mistress clone

I think the rjm in the loop introduces the potential to really drive up the noise.
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,173
With that said, now I'm kind of bummed because I don't know how to arrange things. I like using phaser, vibe and polyphonic from HX, but I usually before my dirt and preamps. Similarly, I like using my delays and verb after the preamps to reduce the mud. I feel like my only real course of action maybe to run it old school and put all the effects into the preamps.

1. go put rjm in the HX FX loop, but keep the preamps after the HX or

suck it up and figure out different effect orders by going

1. go rjm > HX > preamps
2. go rjm and put HX in one of it's loop > preamps

There are so many routing options.... just dont know what to do.

I've even contemplated ditching the HX for a terraform and a delay / verb pedal and calling it a day. I don't really use the amp modeling much and because there's no power amp simulation by itself in the HX. Ideally I'd use my tube pre > HX power sim and HX cab IR...but no dice yet.
 

johnnyg88

Member
Messages
392
An easy way to test is to open an empty patch and make sure nothing is plugged into either of the HX loops. Just guitar in, out to whatever you use for monitoring. create this signal path in the HX: FX Loop>Distortion model (like timmah or whatever).

turn the fx loop on and off and see what happens! In my case, just having the empty fx loop block on adds noise. I have always wanted to put my MIDI Pedal switcher in the loop so I can put effects before and after the analog drive pedals. This noise gets louder through gain pedals and my own Retrosonic Flanger as well. The noise isn’t so bad and near non existent with guitar>flanger>hx in.

so now my setup is that the hx loop is in an early loop in my pedal switcher (which feeds the HX main in). If ever I happen to want pitch effects before my gain pedals, I turn this loop on and deal with noise in those few instances, but at least I don’t have to have constant white noise through my gain pedals. Kind of a pain and defeats a big purpose of me getting the HXFX in the first place, but it does everything else I need.

I had my first HXFX replaced my L6 and it still had the issue. Went in for repair twice and it still has the issue. I guess it’s just a quirk!
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,173
so now my setup is that the hx loop is in an early loop in my pedal switcher (which feeds the HX main in). If ever I happen to want pitch effects before my gain pedals, I turn this loop on and deal with noise in those few instances, but at least I don’t have to have constant white noise through my gain pedals. Kind of a pain and defeats a big purpose of me getting the HXFX in the first place, but it does everything else I need.
Sounds like a good idea. In those instances, how do you use delay / verb through HXFX when pitchshifting? Do you use those effects or are they separate in another loop.

And the final biggest culprit is Kingsley Constable..whether I have in a loop, or after...it's got so much output that it just amplifies anything. For example..I put just RS flanger and Barber GC in loops in rjm. I put that in FX loop of HX. I ran that all into the preamp. With the preamp on....got the noise. Even by just engaging the dirt pedal. When I turn off preamp...silent. So...maybe it's not RJM and for sure it's not FX loop. BUT here's the kicker..... I went rjm > HX and put Constable only in the loop of HX...it all sounds fine. No noise.

Frustrating.
 
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johnnyg88

Member
Messages
392
Sounds like a good idea. In those instances, how do you use delay / verb through HXFX when pitchshifting? Do you use those effects or are they separate in another loop.

And the final biggest culprit is Kingsley Constable..whether I have in a loop, or after...it's got so much output that it just amplifies anything. For example..I put just RS flanger and Barber GC in loops in rjm. I put that in FX loop of HX. I ran that all into the preamp. With the preamp on....got the noise. Even by just engaging the dirt pedal. When I turn off preamp...silent. So...maybe it's not RJM and for sure it's not FX loop.

Frustrating.
its a bit hard to type out and have it make sense, so apologies if it’s unclear!

i have two signal paths in the HXFX. A is for my post switcher stuff: delays, verb, mod. B is specifically for the pre switcher fx loop (pitch, mods). I have to use a split at the beginning and Pan it to make sure no signal goes into B from the HX input. The first block on B is the FX Loop Return, then pitch block, then FX Loop send. Since that gets sent to my switcher’s first loop, it goes through my drive pedals, the output of the switcher goes to the HX In, and everything is automatically fed to path A into delays etc.

I haven’t tried this with my stomp yet, but it should be doable considering the HXFX can have up to 9 blocks, which is just one more than the stomp.

the important part is making sure that path B gets ZERO signal from the main input or else you’ll get a shocking feedback loop.
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,173
Thats a pretty cool set up. Never thought about that.

Just now, I put both my preamps in just the FX loop of the HX with the stereo Y cable method and put in two FX blocks. Works out great with no noise. Even with flanger. IT works out nicely because all my pedals in the loops of rjm, I typically put in front of preamps anyway (drives, distortion, boost and flanger. I have chorus there too and run that usually into the dirty preamp. But by being in rjm, I can switch that around too.

Thanks for the insights and help.
 




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