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Line 6 HX Stomp: amp vs amp+cab


1976fenderhead

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Just got an HX Stomp and been testing out all the amp and cab models... I like a few amps, especially the Cali 400 ch2 (the only one I prefer to my Ampeg SCR-DI pedal)... However, if I add cabs to the amp models, (or use the amp+cab block) the whole thing just sounds weird, like unfocused, distant, too spacey, lacking any punch... I don't know if this is supposed to sit better in a mix but it sure doesn't sound better to me playing solo (both with monitors and headphones from the HX, no real amp or cab involved). 

So... I'm confused. Isn't amp+cab supposed to sound bigger, stronger, etc? How is using a cab model better on bass with the Helix than just using an amp model? 

I've looked at impulse responses, like 3Sigma's, but I'm guessing I'll just feel the same about those?

 
Edited by 1976fenderhead
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Amps and cabs are just modules with a baked-in sound and some degree of adjusting that sound. If you don't like the sound a particular module gives you, then don't use it.

I have the full version Helix and most of my patches don't use any amp or cab modules at all. When I do use them, it's either a guitar combo sim (Roland Jazz Chorus) or it is specifically for the distortion sound that a particular bass amp gives.

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On 30/03/2019 at 13:18, 1976fenderhead said:

So... I'm confused. Isn't amp+cab supposed to sound bigger, stronger, etc? How is using a cab model better on bass with the Helix than just using an amp model? 

 

No - the cab changes the frequency range (mostly cuts off lows and highs), and adds some sponginess to the attack (like in the real world..).

I have given up cab IR filters, as it adds too much mud to the band sound. Experts split the signal and go in parallel with one channel DI sound

and one channel cab IR sound...

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It's all about choices man. I've got patches with 0 cabs and a patch with 3. The correct amount of cabs is the correct amount of cabs, and that can be any number of numbers.

Edited by Jack
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I'm getting good results putting the cab on path B with even split. I must say, I'm a bit disappointed with the amps in this thing... I like the scooped sound of the Cali Ch2 or Ampeg Bright but it's hard to get a clean tone from them. The best clean tone I've achieved includes the Obsidian + Woody Blue amp + 2x15 Brute cab, I wish I could get that tone without the Obsidian taking up a block, just with amp+cab.

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2 hours ago, 1976fenderhead said:

I'm getting good results putting the cab on path B with even split. I must say, I'm a bit disappointed with the amps in this thing... I like the scooped sound of the Cali Ch2 or Ampeg Bright but it's hard to get a clean tone from them. The best clean tone I've achieved includes the Obsidian + Woody Blue amp + 2x15 Brute cab, I wish I could get that tone without the Obsidian taking up a block, just with amp+cab.

Which is why I've ditched the bass amp Sims completely except for when I want to make a feature of the drive tone.

Currently my favourite amp Sim for clean bass sounds is the one based on the Roland Jazz Chorus combo. You wouldn't want to use a real one at gigging volumes, but because it's just a digital representation there's no danger of damaging it. Have a play with all the amp Sims. The worst that can happen is that you won't like the sound.

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All of the amps on the Stomp, for me at least, had the drive controls too far up and sounded too muddy on the presets and when the amp is selected into an empty block. There is a chap by the name of Jon Willis who has done a lot of work providing bass patches and settings for the Helix series within a couple of groups on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/669957523419623/
and
https://www.facebook.com/groups/145604946038429/

If use you Jon's settings in the images below - for which I take no credit and that are available via the first group above - the amps are much cleaner and it's possible to work from a more useful starting point. These 'clean' settings come into their own, I've found, at proper volume through an amp (via the FX return) and cab.

53241775_2259927204268344_4830474903775870976_n.jpg

53060140_2259927174268347_3747697422067826688_n.jpg

Edited by OzMike
corrected spelling
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9 minutes ago, la bam said:

Are the job Willis settings loud enough? As the drive affects volume on a lot of these sims?

With the several presets I've programmed in using Jon's settings it seems the channel and / or master volumes are bumped up to make up for the lower drive values. Across each of the settings above the volumes are pretty much identical, and are also roughly in line with the other non-Jon patches I've got setup.

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15 hours ago, OzMike said:

All of the amps on the Stomp, for me at least, had the drive controls too far up and sounded too muddy on the presets and when the amp is selected into an empty block. There is a chap by the name of Jon Willis who has done a lot of work providing bass patches and settings for the Helix series within a couple of groups on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/669957523419623/
and
https://www.facebook.com/groups/145604946038429/

If use you Jon's settings in the images below - for which I take no credit and that are available via the first group above - the amps are much cleaner and it's possible to work from a more useful starting point. These 'clean' settings come into their own, I've found, at proper volume through an amp (via the FX return) and cab.

53241775_2259927204268344_4830474903775870976_n.jpg

53060140_2259927174268347_3747697422067826688_n.jpg

Oooohh thx a lot, will give these a go.

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Ok I've tried all those settings. Couple of issues:

First of all, they're too quiet and make playing with headphones straight from the device impossible. So I plugged it to an audio interface so that I could increase volume and play with headphones from there (I'm using quality studio monitoring headphones btw).

Secondly, if you set amps with barely any gain, you're killing a great deal of their preamp character. So these settings make all amps sound very similar and uninteresting. Apart from a couple of exceptions, it's like they're all the same generic amp with slight EQ changes.

I'm pretty sure Line 6 did something wrong with these (I doubt you can't go above 2 or 3 gain out of 10 on a real life Ampeg SVT or Mesa 400 without getting lots of drive), but these settings aren't really a solution for me. I prefer to use the solid state models for now, which don't distort with cranked gain.

Edited by 1976fenderhead
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35 minutes ago, 1976fenderhead said:

First of all, they're too quiet and make playing with headphones straight from the device impossible. So I plugged it to an audio interface so that I could increase volume and play with headphones from there (I'm using quality studio monitoring headphones btw)

If you select the output block at the end of your signal chain you can increase the level up to about +20db.

44 minutes ago, 1976fenderhead said:

Secondly, if you set amps with barely any gain, you're killing a great deal of their preamp character. So these settings make all amps sound very similar and uninteresting. Apart from a couple of exceptions, it's like they're all the same generic amp with slight EQ changes.

Jon has created these just as baseline settings - getting the right sound for you  is a balance of input gain, channel volume and master volume, EQ adjustments aside. 

From a cab perspective, I use a cab sim when I'm going helix in to my FRFR onstage cab and send a DI only (no cab) signal to the PA.  This would replicate my usual live setup with traditional amp/cabs.  I tend to use the 3 sigma IRs but blend the IR level to get a sound that I want. 

One thing I have noted is that a good headphone sound does not equal a good live sound and vice versa. 

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1 hour ago, 1976fenderhead said:

Apart from a couple of exceptions, it's like they're all the same generic amp with slight EQ changes.

I believe that was a point that Jon made also; IME that's what a 'clean' setup on these amps gives you IRL too. The tonal and response differences seem more apparent to me at rehearsal volume as opposed to through headphones. I didn't personally find problems with volumes but this may depend on what instrument is being used to drive the Stomp and input impedance settings.  And ss posted above, these are known starting points rather than finished patches, and personally I found them much more useful than the overdriven Line6 defaults for each amp.

One good thing about the Stomp is that's easy to do some trial and error, so if you don't like what you hear it's not much time wasted. :)

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50 minutes ago, Muppet said:

If you select the output block at the end of your signal chain you can increase the level up to about +20db.

Jon has created these just as baseline settings - getting the right sound for you  is a balance of input gain, channel volume and master volume, EQ adjustments aside. 

From a cab perspective, I use a cab sim when I'm going helix in to my FRFR onstage cab and send a DI only (no cab) signal to the PA.  This would replicate my usual live setup with traditional amp/cabs.  I tend to use the 3 sigma IRs but blend the IR level to get a sound that I want. 

One thing I have noted is that a good headphone sound does not equal a good live sound and vice versa. 

Oh increasing level on the output block is a good tip, thx!

I struggle with understanding the balance between channel volume and master volume, any tips on that?

I'm not using this for live, just to play and record at home.

 

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Just now, OzMike said:

I believe that was a point that Jon made also; IME that's what a 'clean' setup on these amps gives you IRL too. The tonal and response differences seem more apparent to me at rehearsal volume as opposed to through headphones. I didn't personally find problems with volumes but this may depend on what instrument is being used to drive the Stomp and input impedance settings.  And ss posted above, these are known starting points rather than finished patches, and personally I found them much more useful than the overdriven Line6 defaults for each amp.

One good thing about the Stomp is that's easy to do some trial and error, so if you don't like what you hear it's not much time wasted. :)

Yes, as neutral starting points they're definitely more useful!

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On 04/04/2019 at 18:10, BigRedX said:

Which is why I've ditched the bass amp Sims completely except for when I want to make a feature of the drive tone.

Currently my favourite amp Sim for clean bass sounds is the one based on the Roland Jazz Chorus combo. You wouldn't want to use a real one at gigging volumes, but because it's just a digital representation there's no danger of damaging it. Have a play with all the amp Sims. The worst that can happen is that you won't like the sound.

Interesting.... and having read the rest of the thread so this is directed wider than just you... 
I like a fairly clean sound, just touching on some light OD when I dig in and then minimal effects. As an upgrade on a B3n Do you think the HX stomp would scratch where I'm itching? 

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4 hours ago, LukeFRC said:

Interesting.... and having read the rest of the thread so this is directed wider than just you... 
I like a fairly clean sound, just touching on some light OD when I dig in and then minimal effects. As an upgrade on a B3n Do you think the HX stomp would scratch where I'm itching? 

As a comparison I can't help you, as I've never even seen a Zoom B3n let alone used one.

I suggest you get down to your Line6 dealer and spend some time trying one out and editing some of the presets to something that suits your requirements, to see if you like it.

What I will say is keep your signal path simple. My default path is compressor, EQ, distortion/drive. However I try and avoid duplication of function, so if I'm using an amp Sim for my drive sound I'll also use the EQ on the amp and remove the dedicated EQ module from the signal path. If you have too many modules with overlapping functions it makes tweaking the sound to get it just right so much more difficult.

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