Got a Helix, returning it tomorrow, what Amp do I get now?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by 70Seven, Jul 26, 2020.

  1. 70Seven

    70Seven Ibanez Foerever!!!

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    So to replace my BOSS GT-8 which I got in 2005, and my Peavey 110 amp I got in 2003.. I decided to jump in the amp modeling world and got a Helix LT and two Yamaha HS8 (Powered FRFR).

    Was aiming for the Axe FX, but the Helix seemed easier to use and I figured the amp modelers are so good now, there's no bad choice probably. So got the Helix LT since it was in stock at my local store.

    After two weeks, of playing 2 hours a day, I've tweaked, updated firmware, created patches, bought OwnHammer IR which I now find is essential (now thrilled that I had to add this to get better sounds out of it) and I'm still no where near satisfied with the sound. Just really sounds digital and not "real", there's no feel as weird as that sounds. My patches sound good, but its so uninspiring to play or practice through...

    I've just decided that I'm not spending more time trying amp sims, buying IR's and tweaking and tweaking, low and high cut, single/dual IR, EQ and more EQ... this just isn't fun. Returning it all tomorrow.

    I plugged in my old amp and GT-8 and it sounds pretty bad... but it feels 10x better.. actually sounds musical, but bit of that 2005 BOSS fizz going on haha..

    So maybe the sounds in my head, the sound I'm after comes from an amp.. I play lots in Drop C (I Built the Sky songs mostly) and other guitars are in standard but I experiment alot with lower turnings. I'm looking for a high gain amp and a 2x12 probably. Budjet is wide open, but I'd like an amp that can sound good at lower volume, not whisper quiet, but something I can play in my basement while the family sleeps on the second floor.

    I'm looking into REVV Generator 100P.. Interested in the Bogner Ubershall and the Deizel VH4 but the price is kinda outrageous, and could be hard to get in Canada with Covid and all.. Maybe just a Dual Recto would do.. 5150?

    Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
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  2. Choop

    Choop n______n

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    5150's can sound good at lower volume, perhaps a 5150 III even. Also Mesa Marks tend to sound pretty good turned down, you'll just need to EQ accordingly for the volume you are playing at. Rectifiers however I don't think sound great turned down compared to Marks.
     
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  3. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    If you’re looking for something smaller/inexpensive then the PRS MT15 might suit you.

    Also I use a digital amp as well (Kemper) but I turn off cab service and run it through an EVH cab, instead of FRFR. Works for my needs.
     
  4. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    It is probably the FRFR thing bugging you. Try that Helix into a poweramp and cab, or even into your old amp. Don't use the cab block or IRs. It will probably feel better like the GT-8.

    I am the same way, and I have an Axe-FX II. I can get direct sounds to sound OK, but they bore me to death on feel. I just get so uninspired and quit playing, where I can play an actual amp for hours. I don't know what it is, but it sounds like the same issue.

    I am a fan of the 5150 III 50W amps. They sound great for low volume, cover a lot of heavy ground, and have a lot of rumble you would expect from a 100W amp with a 212 cab. I have been using mine a lot lately, with the Axe-FX in the loop for Delay and Reverb.
     
  5. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    You're only going to hear about Fryettes out of my mouth, but look into a D60 or 50CL. Used you can grab those for under a grand, and they're literally the only amp that gets a thumbs up from both God AND Satan.
     
  6. erdiablo666

    erdiablo666 I'm from Canada...and they think I'm slow...eh

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    I agree with this 1000%. I got a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 170 and that's what I run my HX Stomp and Mooer GE 200 into. Sounds and feels a million times better than when playing through headphones or through an interface. Maybe just return the FRFR and get the Powerstage?
     
  7. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    Check out that Synergy stuff. It looks very promising. If you get bored of a flavor you can change it up too.
     
  8. Boofchuck

    Boofchuck SS.org Irregular

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    I run a 5150iii 50w el34 with an hx stomp in the loop.
    I do think that the FRFR speaker is a bug part of why it feels uninspiring to you. However, when I use the 5150 as a power amp for the Helix models, they still Just don't sound or feel as good to me as the actual head. With a lot of tweaking I can get sort of close, but the ease of use with the head and the fact that I just love the tone of the head makes the amp modeling superfluous to me when I'd rather use the 5150 for the core tone.

    BUT, using the helix as an all in one fx unit is awesome. And If I didn't have a head that I enjoy so much I would totally use the amp modeling + power amp into cab solution. The flexibility and utility of the helix goes a long way.

    So yeah, consider returning the FRFR speakers and try the Helix through a power amp. And remember to use the preamp models when doing so.

    Also, I'm just a hobbyist with a lot of love for this stuff. So take this perspective with a grain of salt.
     
  9. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Before you go changing your whole rig, simply try if your problem is solved by playing at louder volume. I suspect that it might be your output devices that are the real issue.

    I have a pair of Genelec M040s sitting on my desk and running my Helix Floor into those does not produce sounds significantly different from running my tube amps through a loadbox. The sound is different from having a guitar cab in the room and there is no way around that with FRFR setups.

    Now I can understand if you don't care for all the tweaking options. While the Helix is the easiest to use "everything but the kitchen sink" model on the market right now, it still has a ton of stuff in it. But you should not need anything more than throwing in a high gain amp of your choice and the right impulse response and playing that through a good output device at enough volume.

    The volume required does not need to be super loud but I would say well above 80 dB @ 1m. Real tube amps and guitar cabs don't work any better in this regard. Mine sound their best past 90 dB @ 1m but work fine at lower than that, as long as you understand it's a compromise. It's got everything to do with how we hear sound and different volumes.
     
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  10. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Just buy a 5150.
     
  11. sleewell

    sleewell SS.org Regular

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    Several years into the new round of modelers I still dont get the blaming of equipment when a pa speaker doesnt sound like an amp. Crazy statement alert: they arent supposed to sound the same.

    Try the helix into a power amp and guitar cab. Sounds really good and probably a lot more like what you're expecting. I see so many ppl throw the baby out with the bath water for the same repeated reasons and it's just puzzling. It's like buying a sports car and then being upset it wont tow a boat.
     
  12. protest

    protest SS.org Regular

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    KSR Anything
    VHT Pitbulll
    Mesa Mark IV or V
    Diezel Herbert (believe it or not)
    Diezel VH4

    All of those amps sound good and retain an inspiring feel at low volume. The Herbert might be an issue depending on your house's setup because of the amount of low end.

    Used pricing on the VHT and the Mark IV will be around a grand USD give or take. The others will be much more expensive.

    You could also look into the KSR Ceres pedal and a power amp, probably a Duncan Powerstage or maybe a used tube power amp like a Fryette Power Station or something from Mesa. The Ceres pedal is the best sounding and feeling high gain pedal around, and you get 3 channels with multiple modes and voicing switches, meaning you can still tweak.
     
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  13. SSK0909

    SSK0909 SS.org Regular

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    Try the helix through a real cab before selling it. There's nothing digital sounding/feeling about high end modellers anymore.

    Honestly.The Helix should blow that horrible Peavy amp out of the water.
     
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  14. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Get a power amp and cab and run the Helix that way. The Helix doesn't feel bad to play through, the studio monitors feel bad to play through if you're not used to that type of setup. The Revv models in the Helix are siiiiick, and you'll never run out of FX options, or amps to mess around with, and the low-volume/headphones tones will be much better.
     
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  15. Nicki

    Nicki SS.org Regular

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    For that price range, I would definitely go with a 5150 50w; any of the variants depending on your tastes.

    My B rig is an MT15 with a Boss GT-1 in the loop and it sounds really great. Nice and simple.

    However, like others have mentioned, the FRFR thing might not be for you.
     
  16. 70Seven

    70Seven Ibanez Foerever!!!

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    Thanks for all the replies guys. I read through and pretty much agreed with everyone, from those saying "just get a 5150" to those that echo the comment that FRFR isn't for me or whatever..

    But I just returned the Helix and the monitors. In the end I've been too frustrated with it to give it a fair shot running it through a Cabinet ect.. Since I don't currently own a cabinet I'd have to spend time finding one and then starting from zero again making patches..

    For the price, nearly 3k Canadian for the Helix and monitors, I just wanted to return them and invest my time in researching amps and going that route..

    Again for the price I paid, I've had very little fun with all this last few weeks, there was no honeymoon period with it for me, was unhappy with it from the start, so I was done.

    Now, I need an AMP!
     
  17. Werecow

    Werecow SS.org Regular

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    One of us. One of us.

    (that's another vote for 50W 5153 from me by the way)
     
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  18. MASS DEFECT

    MASS DEFECT SS.ORG Infiltrator

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    May I suggest a Mesa JP2C? Honestly, the easiest Mark to tweak and to deal with, sounds just as aggressive, and has all the bells and whistles of a modern amp. It has two gain channels and two 5 band EQs. MIDI. And an onboard overdrive that pairs well with 7 or 8 string guitars.

    The best part is that it absolutely sounds great at lower volumes, too. It can do 60w and 100w and the volume knobs have a wide taper. And the amp is relatively lunchbox sized.
     
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  19. 70Seven

    70Seven Ibanez Foerever!!!

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    Good to know, I'd consider a JP2C for sure, I didn't think it would sound so good at lower volumes, never read that before about this amp, I assumed it was one of those that needs to be cranked.. Thanks for the suggestion
     
  20. MASS DEFECT

    MASS DEFECT SS.ORG Infiltrator

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    It is very useable at low volumes. I have a toddler who sleeps lightly in the next room, and I can play through the night no problem. Engaging the Shred toggle makes it sound better in low volumes.
     

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