Running Helix pre's into the amp they modeled..crazy.

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by Pastafarian, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Member

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    So I like to experiment with different ways to run my gear into my amps and I set up both of my main amps which are a Tremoverb Dual Rec with matching V30 cab and a Marshall DSL40c that also runs into that cab (independently). I decided to forego 4cm and set up the Helix to run directly to the return of both amps.

    I put pre-amp blocks in the path and matched as close as I could to the actual amp I.E. Cali Rectifire for my Dual Rec and Brit 2204 for the DSL and the results were nothing short of amazing.

    Compared to running 4cm in either amp the Helix produced the same general tones but with more clarity and dynamics than the actual amps themselves. I thought I was hearing things so I spent hours going back and forth meticulously making sure all the settings on the actual amps were the same on the Helix pre blocks. I did have to set the 1/4" out's differently on each amp, instrument for Marshall and Line for Mesa.

    After getting just the dirty pre blocks dialed in I added my typical go to things using the top path for pre-amp fx and gains and the bottom path for post amp fx and a clean boost. I like to do it this way to simplify things. I set up separate patches for each amp. For cleans I used Brit J-45 Nrm for the DSL and Cali IV Rhythm 1 for the Dual Rec.

    I cannot stop playing through my rig it sounds so good. The biggest kicker for me?....

    I don't need to get the amps up the crazy volumes to sound good. Both the Marshall and Dual Rec needed to be very loud to sound and perform properly. Not any more BUT when I do decided to crank it they just sound even better instead of "ehh I can live with it".

    I'm sure I didn't stumble onto something that no one thought of but I wanted to share it. Running the Helix pre blocks into a power amp matching (or closely matching) the actual amp they modeled is the best of both worlds. On top of that no cable snake to run!
     
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  2. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    IME the preamp models in Line 6 gear is maybe its most overlooked function. As much as the HD500 is disliked by some, you can get outstanding tones by using its preamp models into a good power amp\speaker or an outboard power amp\speaker sim like a plug in or Torpedo CAB. It doesn't surprise me at all that the HX Stomp excels at such things as well.
     
  3. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    The Helix pre models have a touch of power tube sag built into them, so in that sense, they probably are more dynamic than the real thing. They wanted to make them useful with a wide range of power amps, so, yeah, they work well.
     
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  4. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Member

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    The experience was similar to the first time you put a Sonic Maximizer in the loop of an amp except it didnt sound processed like a BBE unit does. Also the BBE does nothing for dynamics IMO.
     
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  5. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    Wouldn't added sag make them LESS dynamic?
     
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  6. Karl Houseknecht

    Karl Houseknecht Member

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    We dare not speak that pedal's name!

    I agree that using the Helix preamps or even the full model minus cab into the return of a tube amp is an ear opening experience. You start questioning why nobody else does this, and then you think...how do we know they don't? ;)
     
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  7. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Supporting Member

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    Oh people do this, Karl. People do this :drink
     
  8. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    Well, perhaps it's that guitarists' perception of dynamics and compression is kind of the opposite of how an audio engineer would want to use. When guitarists experience the natural compression of a tube power section, they tend to explain it as more dynamic and responsive to their playing. In reality, the tube sag is actually what causes the loud and/or more percussive parts to push the tubes momentarily into saturation... A tube amp is actually reducing the dynamic range of the guitar by a large extent, but it's generally in a good way. In short, I think we generally think of dynamic and responsive as synonyms even though they're technically not...

    My wife gets on my case when I spend too much time worrying about the technical definition of things, and will be like, "just stop talking - no one cares". Maybe I'm just used to having to defend myself here... :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  9. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    More dynamic tonally, less dynamic re: amplitude. Gotcha.
     
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  10. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Member

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    For me "dynamics" means the ability to roll back the guitars volume knob to clean it up a little and also playing attack affects certain things like digging in for more punch and laying back for less.
     
  11. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Not really. You are looking at sag like a compressor. A compressor kills dynamics because no matter how hard you pick or how much you roll the guitar volume down to clean up, the signal still gets compressed. Sag is different in that it happens more the harder you pick making it very dynamic. And when you roll down the guitar it cleans up and theres less say. So done right it's actually MORE dynamic because it also retains volume dynamics but when you play hard it doesn't have that hard hitting the wall feel but rather gives the string a squishy feel AND more volume. I guess you could say its mainly a feel thing, not something that kills dynamics.
     
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  12. Baba

    Baba Supporting Member

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    I haven't read too many guys on here that run their Helix into tube power amps, is anyone doing that?

    I run 100% IEM, and I'm not asking for a friend, I just like talking about this stuff :D
     
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  13. JiveTurkey

    JiveTurkey Supporting Member

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    I found a "tube preamp" I am going to give a go with. Providing I can find a working 13v ac power supply :mad::messedup I am anticipating it will, in fact; sound like sh!t as it is some idiotic Rocktron pedal with horrific parameter names :barf
     
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  14. Unnecessary

    Unnecessary Member

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    Of the handful of gigging musicians I know that use modeling of some sort, about half run a tube power amp and real cab everywhere, a few run FRFR, and the rest alternate depending on the venue. The nice thing about Helix (and I'd imagine other modelers) is that if you want, you can easily route your IEM tone to your monitors, and also send a tone without an IR or cab modeling to a power amp/cab set-up on stage if its important or necessary.
     
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  15. DigiPOV

    DigiPOV Member

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    This is one of the things I hear as "fake" about the Line6 modeling. The artificial dynamics.

    Regarding the extra clarity, I also thought that was fake from the Helix trial. There isn't the same harmonic complexity, the models sound like there is some% of di signal mixed in with the distortion.

    Its clear to anyone with ears that the amp models are creative interpretations of real amps, that they don't actually model the amps they are named after.
     
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  16. UnderTheGroove

    UnderTheGroove Supporting Member

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    My favorite method of using my Helix is running into the fx return or 4 cable method. Running into 2 amps at the same time is glorious!
     
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  17. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    Three years ago I got my Helix Floor. Ran it in 4CM and used my favorite drive pedals in the loop. It was a PRS 2 Channel H combo.

    It sounded amazing - way clearer than using my analog board sitting next to it. Not in a sterile, digital sort of clarity like using rack stuff in the loop often gives. It just made the overall rig sound clearer.

    Next up I experimented with using the Helix preamp only models into the effects loop and toggling back and forth between the real preamps and the Helix. That experience just floored me as to how good it was.

    Just like you have done - if you use an appropriate pre-amp for the power amp section it sounds amazing. I bought a Mesa 2:90 poweramp I use for just that reason. I sold off a PRS 2 Channel H, Mesa TA-30, Mesa LSS and a few more I can't remember at the moment. The solid-state poweramps sound fine with full pre/power amp models - but not as good as the 2:90.
     
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  18. Watt McCo

    Watt McCo Supporting Member

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    This is all...incorrect. the behavior you attribute to a compressor is actually the behavior of a limiter (which is effectively a compressor with a very high/infinite ratio. Many guitar pedals sold as compressors are acting with a ratio of 20:1, making them effectively limiters. The behavior you describe for sag is the behavior of a compressor set with a modest ratio. It may result in an output with greater volume Dynamics than the output had the signal been sent to a limiter, but it necessarily has less volume Dynamics than the output of a sagless amplifier.

    Speaking generally, I find most players have a sweet spot on the compression continuum where they play with the most picking nuance/dynamics. For me, I don't have the right hand skill of Josh Smith, so if I've got no compression in my chain anywhere, I wind up just playing at full gas to avoid a signal that is too spikey in volume level to be usable. I need a little bit of compression to even out the volume change that happens with my sloppy changes in pick articulation for me to want to use those to add color to my playing via tonal variation. So I play more dynamically on a less dynamic system and this it feels more dynamic to me because I'm actually using it's dynamic range rather than fighting it.
     
  19. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Member

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    Right. I understand that. What I am saying is the models sound better than the actual amps to me.
     
  20. JerEvil

    JerEvil Supporting Member

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    Atrox does this with his BE-100. Same thing basically. He posted a vid comparing the Placater vs. his actual amp this way and it was nuts! About identical.
     

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