Share Your Pro Tips for Modeling direct to FOH

EOengineer

Roadie
Messages
746
My band is jumping into an open mic tonight for a short 3 song set of original material in preparation for some larger upcoming shows. Because of the unpredictable nature of this type of gig and the fact that the venue has a great FOH system, I'm bringing my Helix Floor, and our other guitarist is using my HXFX/Tonex board. While I've run the Helix direct to FOH before, this is a new venue that I don't know well, which always makes me sweat a little. I thought it might be helpful to collect some pro tips from others out there that often go direct to FOH with modeling.

My dumb dumb pro tips:
  1. Make your presets as close to the actual performance volume as possible, and on similar gear...ideally at least something full range. Fletcher Munson isn't fake news. Most sounds dialed in at home levels are going to either rumble the entire room, take your head off, or both.
  2. Check your HX global settings - I have my XLRs detached from the large volume knob and have set the XLR out to mic level, as that is what most mixers are used to receiving when micing up an amp and its probably less likely to throw the sound guy for a loop.
  3. Just my opinion - but switching between a dozen different amps & cabs always seems like a better idea than the reality when things are loud and rocking. Some people can pull it off, but I've always just found the changes (especially cab/IR) to be jarring on stage. YMMV.
  4. Keep your global EQ available - IMO the global is really useful as an escape hatch in the event you find something resonating or ringing in ALL your live tones in a particular room. Keep that global freed up so you can save yourself when something unexpected happens in a new venue.
  5. Ask the soundguy to kill phantom power if you are running XLR. My understanding is Helix has some trouble with noise when receiving 48v.
Nothing really revolutionary in there but hopefully helpful. Would love to hear tips from others as well.
 
Spot on, IMO, and to add:

I had an engineer, who I really respect, tell me that he "usually has to add a few db at about 200hz" to modelers, as they just don't have that "girth" right off the bat.
 
Make sure your preset(s) fits the sonic footprint for your band mix. Power trio? 20 piece Up with People?
 
Maybe because everyone is putting high pass right about there because internet told them so.
7kf4kr.jpg
 
My band is jumping into an open mic tonight for a short 3 song set of original material in preparation for some larger upcoming shows. Because of the unpredictable nature of this type of gig and the fact that the venue has a great FOH system, I'm bringing my Helix Floor, and our other guitarist is using my HXFX/Tonex board. While I've run the Helix direct to FOH before, this is a new venue that I don't know well, which always makes me sweat a little. I thought it might be helpful to collect some pro tips from others out there that often go direct to FOH with modeling.

My dumb dumb pro tips:
  1. Make your presets as close to the actual performance volume as possible, and on similar gear...ideally at least something full range. Fletcher Munson isn't fake news. Most sounds dialed in at home levels are going to either rumble the entire room, take your head off, or both.
  2. Check your HX global settings - I have my XLRs detached from the large volume knob and have set the XLR out to mic level, as that is what most mixers are used to receiving when micing up an amp and its probably less likely to throw the sound guy for a loop.
  3. Just my opinion - but switching between a dozen different amps & cabs always seems like a better idea than the reality when things are loud and rocking. Some people can pull it off, but I've always just found the changes (especially cab/IR) to be jarring on stage. YMMV.
  4. Keep your global EQ available - IMO the global is really useful as an escape hatch in the event you find something resonating or ringing in ALL your live tones in a particular room. Keep that global freed up so you can save yourself when something unexpected happens in a new venue.
  5. Ask the soundguy to kill phantom power if you are running XLR. My understanding is Helix has some trouble with noise when receiving 48v.
Nothing really revolutionary in there but hopefully helpful. Would love to hear tips from others as well.
Good stuff. One thing I have been doing lately instead of using a clean amp and a dirty amp in the patch is I just assign the on/off of the dirt amp to a FS and an eq also assigned to that FS tweaked to my liking, instead of another amp. Have to make sure your patch is gain staged properly and it eliminates the volume jump issue. I do not like using snapshots so thats how I do it.
 
Good stuff. One thing I have been doing lately instead of using a clean amp and a dirty amp in the patch is I just assign the on/off of the dirt amp to a FS and an eq also assigned to that FS tweaked to my liking, instead of another amp. Have to make sure your patch is gain staged properly and it eliminates the volume jump issue. I do not like using snapshots so thats how I do it.
I’m still futzing around with a couple different approaches to this. For MOST of the last year I’ve been using a dual amp configuration where I toggle between the Brit Trem BRT (edge of breakup) and the Mesa Mark IV (Crunch) using a split path. The issue I’ve encountered here is that Helix will often POP when toggling from a clean to high gain amp, which scares the hell out of me in a direct FOH situation.

Tonight I’m falling back to the Brit Trem BRT in a single amp configuration and have a foot switch programmed to raise the amp drive to where I need it for crunch tones. No pop, and the slight boost in volume from the raised drive seems more natural and perhaps a bit more controlled. I’m still a bit concerned about some small volume jumps but we will see how it goes.
 
I like point 3. I NEVER switch amps mid song. Sometimes stay on a single, pick sensitive, and dynamic amp/model
for an entire night. Just riding that volume on the guitar can give me all the gain variation I need, and then I can
kick on a Delay or Boost as needed.

Cab/IR changes are a mother-bugger in a live setting, too.
 
My band is jumping into an open mic tonight for a short 3 song set of original material in preparation for some larger upcoming shows. Because of the unpredictable nature of this type of gig and the fact that the venue has a great FOH system, I'm bringing my Helix Floor, and our other guitarist is using my HXFX/Tonex board. While I've run the Helix direct to FOH before, this is a new venue that I don't know well, which always makes me sweat a little. I thought it might be helpful to collect some pro tips from others out there that often go direct to FOH with modeling.

My dumb dumb pro tips:
  1. Make your presets as close to the actual performance volume as possible, and on similar gear...ideally at least something full range. Fletcher Munson isn't fake news. Most sounds dialed in at home levels are going to either rumble the entire room, take your head off, or both.
  2. Check your HX global settings - I have my XLRs detached from the large volume knob and have set the XLR out to mic level, as that is what most mixers are used to receiving when micing up an amp and its probably less likely to throw the sound guy for a loop.
  3. Just my opinion - but switching between a dozen different amps & cabs always seems like a better idea than the reality when things are loud and rocking. Some people can pull it off, but I've always just found the changes (especially cab/IR) to be jarring on stage. YMMV.
  4. Keep your global EQ available - IMO the global is really useful as an escape hatch in the event you find something resonating or ringing in ALL your live tones in a particular room. Keep that global freed up so you can save yourself when something unexpected happens in a new venue.
  5. Ask the soundguy to kill phantom power if you are running XLR. My understanding is Helix has some trouble with noise when receiving 48v.
Nothing really revolutionary in there but hopefully helpful. Would love to hear tips from others as well.

People are too enamored of verb. Use a tiny bit and let the PA guy add it at the board. At home it's fun, but at a gig it takes away all the impact.

Same goes for global EQ - do it from the board.

Make sure you have your performance levels set between your different tones. Pros are in charge of their performance dynamics as individuals and as a group. Don't rely on someone else to "bring people up" for their solos. Make sure lead vocals and solos all stand out at the appropriate times.

It seems counterintuitive but generally I find it's the inexperienced folks who often have a very small volume differences for their solos. Pros know when they are soloing then they have to step up the volume and be heard. And using distortion flattens out the signal and requires more actual volume to get the same dynamic impact. Learn to use less of it and your solos will stand out much better. Same goes for minimizing effects usage.

Rant over...

And it's a three song set so get up there and have a good time. That's what the audience will notice the most!
 
In an unfamiliar place I'd always bring my own speaker just in case I needed it, even if I didn't end up using it.
 
Lots of great advice here.

Here’s a couple additions:

I always have a wired IEM ready in case the room/monitoring situation/egos of other players doesn’t allow me to hear enough of myself.

Sometimes compression later in the chain instead of eq does the trick (personally has helped me with cleaner tones and open mics where I’m playing electric instead of acoustic).
 
Bring your own stage monitoring. Stage wedge, PA speaker, IEMs or whatever you prefer.

Otherwise the usuals apply: more mids, way less bass and reverb.
 
In an unfamiliar place I'd always bring my own speaker just in case I needed it, even if I didn't end up using it.

Bring your own stage monitoring. Stage wedge, PA speaker, IEMs or whatever you prefer.

I made this mistake last night. The place has a great PA, wedges all over, and a sound guy that was either incompetent or just didn’t care. The only thing we could hear on stage was the drums.

In either event, I guess this raises another pro tip - BE WELL REHEARSED! Fortunately we were and everything went well despite the challenges. The club owner happened to catch the set and offered us some opening slots once we were off stage.

Mission accomplished I guess.
 
I made this mistake last night. The place has a great PA, wedges all over, and a sound guy that was either incompetent or just didn’t care. The only thing we could hear on stage was the drums.

In either event, I guess this raises another pro tip - BE WELL REHEARSED! Fortunately we were and everything went well despite the challenges. The club owner happened to catch the set and offered us some opening slots once we were off stage.

Mission accomplished I guess.
Sounds like a bar gig to me. Strikes and gutters (and in your case, both in the same night).
 
Back
Top