What do you guys amp/cab do you guys use with your Line 6 Helix/Headrush pedalboard?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by pfizer, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. pfizer

    pfizer SS.org Regular

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    I made this post just out of curiosity.

    I'm not a professional musician by any means, but I do love the hobby. I'm currently quite happy with my THR10 amp for practice, jamming and the occasional recording session.

    However, my friend and I went to our local guitar shop to ogle some new gear and there was a Headrush pedalboard for sale. We tried asking the sales clerk what amplifier or cab would be the best to use with it and he was either too busy, didn't know or just didn't give a shit about us.

    Now, I've heard somewhere that for something like Headrush, along with its contemporaries like Kemper, Fractal and Line 6, that using an FRFR monitor would be best. I also read about something called a 4-wire set-up. Finally, would any of you guys use a Line 6 Helix or a Headrush pedalboard with an expensive tube amp like ENGL, Mesa, Peavey or Marshall? I've heard quite a few say that using a multi-effects unit with an expensive amp would be pointless. However, I'm sure there's a way to combine the good things about a nice amp head with the versatility and ease of use of modern multi-FX, right?

    Any input from you guys would be great :D
     
  2. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I use an Axe-fX II with the 4 cable method with an Engl SE. Regardless of how good your amp is, you're either going to need a pedalboard or an FX unit to polish the sound up. Even if not talking about time-based effects, the flexible EQs on multi-FX units can really help tailor your sound for whatever you're doing that day / recording/playing in your room/playing out presumably.
     
  3. pfizer

    pfizer SS.org Regular

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    I've only ever used an Engl about 3 times and they really do cost a pretty penny, but man does it really justify that steep price.

    Any thoughts on some of the less expensive tube amps, like a Peavey 6550 or Randall?

    What effects do you use in the Axe? Do you get your distortion from the amp head itself?
     
  4. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I'd probably feel the same about it, regardless of the amp. The Engl has some nice features in this regard -- both serial/parallel loops, easily switchable on the front, a pre-amp pass-through on the front, midi pass-thru to go to the axe as well, etc., but none of this stuff is game-changing. And it's true of really any amp I would own. The only amp I don't use it with is the one that doesn't have a good loop.

    Regarding effects, the Engl doesn't need a boost, so I just use delay/comp/eq. I sometimes get the distortion from the head or sometimes from the Axe. Both are good - I think the Engl tone is definitely richer and more fun to play, but only when I want that almost artificial processed Engl metal sound. For mid-gain Marshall stuff or a chimey clean, I go to the Axe (though the Engl clean is really good too in its own hi-fi way). No high gain amp does it all, so I pretty much wholeheartedly disagree with the "using a multi-effects unit with an expensive amp would be pointless" statement. If you want flexibility, it's a great approach.
     
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  5. pfizer

    pfizer SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the detailed advice man! Yes, the ultimate thing I look for in a rig is versatility and ease of use. Now I just need the cash...
     
  6. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    There's not really a right or wrong way with these things.

    Someone like narad may just use the effects with his axe fx into the ENGL, or he may use the preamp models into ther ENGL's poweramp also.

    People who are into maximum versatility will likely use an FRFR setup. Likely a powered PA speaker, or one of the FRFR (or close to FRFR) options out there, like the Atomic CLR or Friedman ASM.

    Other people (like me), may get option paralysis with thousands of impulse responses to choose from, or they just don't need the versatility of FRFR, so they can use a solidstate poweramp and a guitar cab. The downside is that you only get the sound of that one cab (as opposed I FRFR, you could use impulse of a 4x12, or impulse of a 1x10, etc). But the upside is simplicity, and the 'cab in the room' sound.

    Some others still prefer the sound and/or feel of tube poweramps but want a lot of flexibility with regard to the preamp, so they may use the modeler with a tube poweamp and guitar cab.
     
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  7. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    I run my Helix with a Matrix GT800FX power amp into a Madison 4x12 cabinet, or whatever people are backlining. I just love the oomph of the proper cab. Gives me chills and makes me feel like a golden god onstage, with all the control and flexibility that I spurred me into the digital direction.

    When budget allows, I will likely change up for a Mesa 4x12. Their sound compliments my standard array of stage tones extremely well.
     
  8. PBGas

    PBGas SS.org Regular

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    I run my Helix Rack via 4CM with my JP-2C which goes out to my Torpedo Studio for both studio and Live. The Helix switches the amp and works beautifully with it. I have barely cracked the manual on it. It is so very easy and intuitive to use.

    The great part of this setup is that if something goes wrong with the amp, I can simply change my patch and use the Helix FOH.
     
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  9. pfizer

    pfizer SS.org Regular

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    The second option you described is interesting; as much as I love the sound of a good tube amp, maintaining the tubes and the commonly exorbitant prices has me looking into using my Boss Katana Amp Head run that through a cab, with the Helix for additional flexibility. I've heard some good things about the ISP Vector 210 Sub cab, since I'm a big fan of downtuning and djenty stuff on occasion.

    I've also considered a fully digital set-up paired up with some good cabs. I'm not that knowledgeable about poweramps, so I might do a simpler 4-cord setup with the amphead, cab and multi-fx.

    I've been looking at some Mesa amps and cabs as well, since I've been a big Dream Theater fan for a while now.

    Damn, that sounds like an insane set-up and probably what I'm going to shoot for when I have the cash. Petrucci's one of my favorite players and his signature gear is pretty well thought out as well.

    I've heard of that term "Front of House" before -- what exactly does it mean?
     
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  10. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    Would love a JP-2C or TC 50 to pair up with my Helix. For now i just run it into the fx in on my evh 5150 iii 100 watt. I use full amp sims still not just preamp. At some point i will dive into 4cm just so sounds so so good as is and i rarely get a chance to crank the 5150 anyways so i leave it as is for now
     
  11. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    It refers to the main PA system/mixing console setup that the audience hears. You could plug the Helix into a DI (or even straight into the mixing board) and just have your tones feed straight into the venue's sound system, hence the term FOH

    Yeah that works. I did that for a little while with an Axe-FX info my old Orange combo but never got something that I considered useable. Keep in mind that most amps will colour the sound a certain way. You can get power amps that don't do this too much. I think the Matrix is quite good for this. I would experiment and try a few things and see what a) sounds the best b) has the most simple setup+workflow
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  12. PBGas

    PBGas SS.org Regular

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    FOH is what is coming out of the PA system that the audience hears. It is such an easy setup, bud. I have a very small snake that I run between the amp and the Helix and a longer snake that runs from my pedalboard which has the control unit, a digitech drop pedal and a Line6 G10 wireless. Works beautifully! I'll have to take a pic and post it up.....
     
  13. VBCheeseGrater

    VBCheeseGrater not quite a shredder

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    This was my rig for the longest time, modeler, tube preamp, tube power and guitar cab. I think it was the ultimate ease of use and "amp in the room" tone, 2nd to FRFR on versatility, and not easy to initially set up (e.g. get the tube pre switching with modeler patches, etc) but if you like tweaking , that's the fun part, and satisfying when it all works flawlessly. I've ditched the tube pre since then to simplify and downsize.

    I do think if your modeler is good enough, hard to beat FRFR for ease of use + versatility - especially with so many sound guys desperate for low stage volume now.....I still like having the guitar cab, but it's usually at "just loud enough to hear" volume on stage - which defeats some of the purpose.
     
  14. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    If I were using a floorboard unit for my amp and effect sounds like this, then I would make my poweramp the new Seymour Duncan powerstage 170 pedal board poweramp.
    170 watts. -
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. pfizer

    pfizer SS.org Regular

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    Not too knowledgeable on power amps, but I do know that some of the really good amp heads already have a built-in preamp and poweramp in one unit, right?

    I'm probably going to go the route with the best versatility and ease of use, with the amp + cab + floor effects set-up.
     

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