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jim_bass

DI Only Rig - Helix vs Sansamp + effects

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Hey guys first day posting since 2015 after a hiatus from bass (been playing drums for a while).

I’m now back to bass and considering selling my amp and downsizing to a smaller pedalboard. We now run in ears for the band so I’m thinking of ditching the amp going DI only. I normally play a SQUIER CV Jazz into Ashdown Klystron 500 with no other effects. I use the valve drive on the amp and the built in compressor (although I’d like a compressor with more control).

So basically I need a valve drive sound, a compressor and a decent amp sim.

I’m thinking either a Helix stomp or a mini board with a sansamp, drive pedal and maybe an MXR compressor? (I used to have a MXR M80 and hated the overdrive sound).

I already have a HD500X which I use for guitar but have never really been happy with the sound for bass. Possibly this is down to my IEM’s though ?!? I use SE215’s or MEE Audio M6 Pros so both single driver.

Any suggestions welcome!

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Well the Sansamp is a fairly scooped sound so unless that’s the sound you dial in I’d look at maybe the Tech21 VTDI - much more capable of getting near the usual Ashdown sound. Or there’s the Ashdown Original pedal which is meant to be a very good representation of the Ashdown sound. 

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1 hour ago, Lozz196 said:

Well the Sansamp is a fairly scooped sound so unless that’s the sound you dial in I’d look at maybe the Tech21 VTDI - much more capable of getting near the usual Ashdown sound. Or there’s the Ashdown Original pedal which is meant to be a very good representation of the Ashdown sound. 

That’s good to know, it was the scooped sound that put me off the M80.

I’ll take a look at the ashdown pedal too - never seen that one before.

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Id get the Helix Stomp. It has a BDDI in it, as well as numerous drives/comps etc. It also has a lot of EQ options, should you need that. Handy to tame the OD's when using IEM's.

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I use a HD500X all the time for bass (rarely play guitar these days!), and I love it. The sound I was always after is right there, add in all the effects. Ideal.

It would depend on what amp model you use, and what sort of sound you're after of course, but for me, I found a great sound with minimal tweaking, then went from there (SVT Normal model & the 8x10 cab model).

I would suggest trying it again, and start from basics as you would a new amp. Set everything at 12 o'clock and work from there.

IMO, it is a great and very underrated unit for bass. It's a shame there are only a handful of amp & cab models available, but they're all usable.

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It may or be the stomp or the BDDI, but I regularly gig with either the helix rack or a mini board with a paradriver.

 

The both sound fantastic, the helix is undoubtedly more versatile and the board in undoubtedly easier to tweak and simpler to use. For me there's the added thing that the board is smaller and lighter, obviously that's not the case for you with the stomp. I'm not really adding anything useful here, am I?

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It sounds like the Helix Stomp would do the job for you, though make sure the extra features of the bigger units won’t be useful.

Personally, I have the LT and it’s great. I’ve done my past 20 or so gigs without an amp. It’s the switching options that swung it for me. I have patches for a few core sounds, a few for specific songs, then one I call ‘pedalboard’ with a different effect assigned for each of the 8 foot switches.

Another one to consider is the Zoom B3n. It can easily do what you have described and a much lower price. I only got rid of mine due to Helix GAS, but truthfully it was more than sufficient. (Don’t tell my wife!)

George

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I play a lot of gigs without back line,  and tho I've never been a pedalboard junkie I've had single multi-units like the Boss ME-50B, the Zoom 60 and B3, and a HD500x, but I have a Stomp now which does everything I need (and a whole lot more). I should add the B3 and HD500x were good units, I just needed the pitch shifting to be a bit less warbly down to D (or even C), which I found the Stomp to be ideal for; it's not cheap, but it's brilliant at what it does...

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58 minutes ago, Muzz said:

I play a lot of gigs without back line,  and tho I've never been a pedalboard junkie I've had single multi-units like the Boss ME-50B, the Zoom 60 and B3, and a HD500x, but I have a Stomp now which does everything I need (and a whole lot more). I should add the B3 and HD500x were good units, I just needed the pitch shifting to be a bit less warbly down to D (or even C), which I found the Stomp to be ideal for; it's not cheap, but it's brilliant at what it does...

+1 on Helix pitch-shifting. Was never really usable on my Zoom units, but great on the Helix.

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Big fan of the VTDI personally - I actually use pretty much the same rig as you with a CV Jazz into an ABM500. Ashdown do a version of the ABM preamp in a board format with the valve drive and compressor built in though and I think that'd be worth a look for you. 

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7 hours ago, geoham said:

+1 on Helix pitch-shifting. Was never really usable on my Zoom units, but great on the Helix.

Yeah, on the Zoom i get  a sort of chorus effect, even at 100%. The Helix is so much better, even if it's boot 100% perfect. 

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On 3 November 2019 at 08:13, geoham said:

It sounds like the Helix Stomp would do the job for you, though make sure the extra features of the bigger units won’t be useful.

Personally, I have the LT and it’s great. I’ve done my past 20 or so gigs without an amp. It’s the switching options that swung it for me. I have patches for a few core sounds, a few for specific songs, then one I call ‘pedalboard’ with a different effect assigned for each of the 8 foot switches.

Another one to consider is the Zoom B3n. It can easily do what you have described and a much lower price. I only got rid of mine due to Helix GAS, but truthfully it was more than sufficient. (Don’t tell my wife!)

George

I've been playing ampless for around six months now. I also went for the Helix Lt (from a GT-10) and have not regretted it at all. You could argue that its way overkill for what i need, but what i do need to for it does exceptionally well : a few amp sims and a couple of effects. The HX Edit makes creating patches so easy too.

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On 28/10/2019 at 14:19, Skybone said:

I use a HD500X all the time for bass (rarely play guitar these days!), and I love it. The sound I was always after is right there, add in all the effects. Ideal.

It would depend on what amp model you use, and what sort of sound you're after of course, but for me, I found a great sound with minimal tweaking, then went from there (SVT Normal model & the 8x10 cab model).

I would suggest trying it again, and start from basics as you would a new amp. Set everything at 12 o'clock and work from there.

IMO, it is a great and very underrated unit for bass. It's a shame there are only a handful of amp & cab models available, but they're all usable.

Does that mean you have the bass expansion pack? I don’t have it so only had the flip top amp to play with! Maybe I should download that first!

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On 03/11/2019 at 13:04, borntohang said:

Big fan of the VTDI personally - I actually use pretty much the same rig as you with a CV Jazz into an ABM500. Ashdown do a version of the ABM preamp in a board format with the valve drive and compressor built in though and I think that'd be worth a look for you. 

Thanks - I’ll check it out! Just curious, as we have the same setup, what cab do you use? (I’ve got a neo 1x15)

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5 hours ago, jim_bass said:

Thanks - I’ll check it out! Just curious, as we have the same setup, what cab do you use? (I’ve got a neo 1x15)

I'm a little sketchy on model numbers to tell the truth, but it's either an ABM 210 or a 410 EVO IV depending on the size of the room. 

The 410 is obviously more fun but I've not used it in a while because it seems like overkill - I'm generally on IEMs so the stage rig is just for extra oomph. 

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My entire rig is a Stomp into a QSC K12.2 and I often just use the Stomp. Where are you based @jim_bass? You are welcome to try my Stomp out.

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4 minutes ago, jim_bass said:

Hey @Frank Blank - that’s a nice offer to try yours out, but I’m a bit of a trek from you in Lincolnshire!

True, but your welcome anyway.

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15 hours ago, jim_bass said:

Does that mean you have the bass expansion pack? I don’t have it so only had the flip top amp to play with! Maybe I should download that first!

If you want to use the HD500x for bass, the HD Bass pack is pretty essential. As you say, there's the B15 flip top on the standard model pack, but there's also the Fender Bassman & 4x10 cab that's worth a try, and I've had some good results using the HiWatt amp & 4x12 cab model. However, though it "only" adds 3 amp models (2 of which are variations of the SVT), it also adds the 8x10 & another 4x10 cab model, and the SVT Normal model is simply superb IMO.

If you run the HD into your amp's Effects Return socket (bypassing the amp's preamp), you'll get the sound from the HD without too much of the amp's colouration. I run mine into a MAG 300 2x10 combo, into the Effects Return, and it works for me.

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I might be going against the grain as I don't have the patience to sit for hours working out patches for multi effects only to find that they sound garbage in a live setting. 

I'm finding the combination of my Radial Tonebone with Behringer CS400 is giving me the best sound I've had in a long time into my QSC K12.2

For overdrive I am using a cheap Mesa Boogie distortion copy by a company called Twin Note that cost me about £15 on Ebay and a Behringer Ultra Chorus just for the hell of it

All of the controls are right in front of me and I can change them quickly should the need arise

After a month my guitarist is still at the stage where he's still not 100% happy with his Helix

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But the OP stated he already had a Line6 HD500X, all I'm saying is that they don't need to buy another multi-FX, just the HD Bass pack add on.

Well happy with mine.

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1 hour ago, Skybone said:

But the OP stated he already had a Line6 HD500X, all I'm saying is that they don't need to buy another multi-FX, just the HD Bass pack add on.

Well happy with mine.

Thanks for your comments. I’ve just been reading you old post from 2016ish when you got yours!

I think buying the bass pack for $30 is a no brainier before I fork out for a HX stomp.

Our guitarist has just ordered the stomp so I’ll see if I can A/B the Sansamp model with the Pod HD bass pack after Christmas when I get the chance!

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For ease and quality, the Stomp.

SO many options and different ways to use it. Loads of ins and outs and a million different ways to use and route it.

Quality is fantastic. Size is perfect. And is everything youd ever want or need - DI, amp sim, cab sim, compressor, drive and tuner, just for starters.

Amazing piece of kit.

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