Advice for Helix Drives and Gain Staging

DanielK

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I'm a HX Stomp XL user (and a long term user of various modellers: helix, fractal, nux, pod), and I'm seeking some advice on gain staging and using virtual drive pedals. I tend to prefer using my volume knob to control my gain but I find that in jam settings, sometimes you need distortion at unity gain levels (relative to my volume of my clean tone) so that you don't overpower the rest of the band. I'm using the cali iv lead amp, set pretty cranked and hot, into the stock US 1x12 deluxe cab. I've dialled in a pretty decent drive sound with the Heir Apparent (prince of tone) model but I honestly would prefer if I didn't have to use it.

Anyway TLDR, how do ya'll like to handle your gain staging in modellers? I've been considering perhaps adding an external volume pedal after the output of my hx stomp xl so that I can control my gain really precisely while keeping my overall volume relatively similar.
 

Jupiter

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can you use an expression pedal with the Stomp to control the drive parameter (as opposed to volume)? My ZOOM MFX can do that.

Expression pedals are GREAT; I like being able to set it up to control stuff like repeat or mix for delays, or reverb, or attack... and of course it can be just a volume pedal when you only need that.
 

codamedia

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how do ya'll like to handle your gain staging in modellers?

I handle it the exact same way I handle it with a pedal board and amp.

1: I dial in a guitar tone I love with the AMP/CAB alone... this would include any interaction between guitar/amp I am accustomed to such as controlling gain with volume, etc...

2: I add one effect at a time, while making sure it is gain staged the way I want it to be. Usually it's unity when on/off, but there are sometimes I want an effect to add a little gain/volume as well.

3: Repeat #2 until I have everything I need in place.

4: Save it as a template.... as a starting point for any more presets I plan on making. Now I just have to swap stuff out, not start from scratch for everything.

I tend to prefer using my volume knob to control my gain but I find that in jam settings, sometimes you need distortion at unity gain levels (relative to my volume of my clean tone) so that you don't overpower the rest of the band. I'm using the cali iv lead amp, set pretty cranked and hot, into the stock US 1x12 deluxe cab. I've dialled in a pretty decent drive sound with the Heir Apparent (prince of tone) model but I honestly would prefer if I didn't have to use it.

Is it because you have a Stomp and don't want to use up a block? if so, I think @Jupiter has provided one great solution. Set up an external expression pedal to increase gain while balancing volume at the same time. IIRC... The Stomp can handle 2 EXP pedals... and each one can control multiple values.

You could also do this with SNAPSHOTS in an HX Stomp if you can't/don't want to add an EXP at this time. Even a "stomp button" can be set up to change multiple parameters at once... like a Pseudo snapshot. There is no shortage of options.

I digress... Ask yourself how you would solve it with a "pedal board and amp"? There is no reason you can't do that exact same thing with a modern modeler. The options provided above (EXP, Snapshots) are things a modeler can do that a typical setup cannot ;)
 
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Danjabellza

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I use a Minotaur in parallel with a timmeh, and an heir apparent following those 2. Then I can get 6 different levels of gain from clean to insane. You could of course use any combination of effects for this same setup. I like the Minotaur and the Timmeh particularly in parallel, sounds huge.
 

Danjabellza

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As far as volume matching, after I get the drive sounds where I like them, I go through and adjust the level of each drive effect to where it’s at unity with the clean setting, that minimizes the volume jump between gain stages. Of course snapshots would be the way to really fine tune it, where you can adjust the amp/channel volumes between snapshots.
 

Fluddman

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I also like to use my guitar's volume to control how dirty my sound gets.

I patch in an external volume pedal after the drive pedal. To get the cleanest possible sound I wind the guitar back and max the volume pedal and of course do the opposite to get the dirtiest sound. It takes a little trial and error but it works great.

Cheers
 




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