This is weird... I'm actually really happy with my HX Stomp amps right now

metropolis_4

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At the moment the HX Stomp XL is all I have. I don't know if it's just because I don't have anything else to compare it to, but I've been spending a lot of time dialing it in and I'm actually finding I'm digging the sounds I'm getting out of its amps! Way more than ever before.

These are the tweaks that I think seem to be making a big difference for me:
  • Input impedance 70k Ohm
  • Gr Pad on
  • Red Squeeze: Sense ~ 4 | Mix ~ 30-40%
  • Amp Sag ~ 7-8
  • Post amp EQ: 150Hz +10db | 6KHz + 3db
Give or take depending on the guitar and amp. I've been using the Divided Duo a lot, it's probably my favorite amp in there ATM.


I'd been planning to pick up either a tube amp, a powered Kemper, or an AxeFX III for my next run of shows, but I keep dragging my feet because I'm enjoying the HX Stomp so much I don't know if I need something else. I might just use it.
 
"I'd been planning to pick up either a tube amp, a powered Kemper, or an AxeFX III for my next run of shows, but I keep dragging my feet because I'm enjoying the HX Stomp so much I don't know if I need something else I really want that Strat."

;)
 
At the moment the HX Stomp XL is all I have. I don't know if it's just because I don't have anything else to compare it to, but I've been spending a lot of time dialing it in and I'm actually finding I'm digging the sounds I'm getting out of its amps! Way more than ever before.

These are the tweaks that I think seem to be making a big difference for me:
  • Input impedance 70k Ohm
  • Gr Pad on
  • Red Squeeze: Sense ~ 4 | Mix ~ 30-40%
  • Amp Sag ~ 7-8
  • Post amp EQ: 150Hz +10db | 6KHz + 3db
Give or take depending on the guitar and amp. I've been using the Divided Duo a lot, it's probably my favorite amp in there ATM.


I'd been planning to pick up either a tube amp, a powered Kemper, or an AxeFX III for my next run of shows, but I keep dragging my feet because I'm enjoying the HX Stomp so much I don't know if I need something else. I might just use it.
Seriously, though, I'm sure this sounds and feels great. Low impedance + high Amp Sag = lots of squishiness.
 
I genuinely don't get why Helix models get a bad rep around here (the interwebz).

I've owned Fractal, L6 and NeuralDSP products - and i'd rank Helix amps as high as any of those, if not higher.

For me the problem has always been that they feel "hard". There is a very immediate and hard feel to the attack, and they have a lot of upper mids. They just don't feel like they squish and give the way I like.

My taste in tones leans towards the Vox camp. I like low-watt amps that have a lot of "bounce" to their response. HX amps are kind of the opposite end of the spectrum.
 
Stomp lover here to... I get the sound I want from it, dont even tweak that much. Im pretty happy just pulling up the Ventoux or the Litigator with stock cab and adjust the level of clean and dirt with a switch on my Jet Micro. That's it...
But generally I adjust the sag to 7-8, bias down to 3-4, for cleans.
For dirt I do the opposite, sag down to 3-4 to counter the added compression/sag the drive causes, and bias sometimes gets adjusted to 6-7 depending on the amp model, it livens the amp up a little.

I think in the beginning I was obsessed with authenticity, trying to dial in amp models to real world counterparts... But its just easier to forget all that and go for the sound I have in my head.
 
For me the problem has always been that they feel "hard". There is a very immediate and hard feel to the attack, and they have a lot of upper mids. They just don't feel like they squish and give the way I like.

My taste in tones leans towards the Vox camp. I like low-watt amps that have a lot of "bounce" to their response. HX amps are kind of the opposite end of the spectrum.
Agreed. And this gets back to my preference for the NDSP sound: very squishy, slightly scooped. Perhaps inauthentically so. Very polished and easy to play. Though I have recently begun to appreciate your point about the compressors being a little too aggressive, irrespective of their settings. (At least I think it was you who said so?)
 
Agreed. And this gets back to my preference for the NDSP sound: very squishy, slightly scooped. Perhaps inauthentically so. Very polished and easy to play. Though I have recently begun to appreciate your point about the compressors being a little too aggressive, irrespective of their settings. (At least I think it was you who said so?)

Yeah, that was me who said that about the compressors. I was disappointed in them. Especially since one of them is supposed to be an 1176 which is my favorite type of compressor!

I agree with you about the NDSP sound. It had a great feel to it. My criticisms of the amp sounds in the QC were that the low end tended to be too boomy, and many amps had too much gain that came on too quickly. The scooped thing worked well on a lot of amps, but it bothered me on amps like Vox and Marshall that I wanted to be more mid focused. I do remember thinking the AC15 was pretty good though once I got it dialed in.

The Captures to me have that same great feel that I love in the Kemper.
 
For me the problem has always been that they feel "hard". There is a very immediate and hard feel to the attack, and they have a lot of upper mids. They just don't feel like they squish and give the way I like.

Crank the sag up! Every Helix amp has this knob available, and it does wonders for old-school, dimed amp tones.
 
I do remember thinking the AC15 was pretty good though once I got it dialed in.
Yeah, I actually really love all four (inc. Top Boosts) of the Vox models in the QC. On top of just sounding and feeling great, the controls are really fun. I don't have any real-world experience with AC15s or AC30s, but these are the first models I've genuinely enjoyed playing, and I feel like I've learned a lot by working with them.
 
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...just kidding!

Team NDSP Plugins. Still getting a lot of mileage out of those. Strumming away on a Les Paul with the middle amp in the Plini one as I type.
 
I usually go the opposite direction and turn the sag down. I don't find the Helix amp models to be "hard" or "stiff" but I primarily play high gain so that alone probably explains it. As another poster said, I don't care about authenticity at this point, only if it sounds good, and I have no problem with an amp model that I can make tighter and clearer than the original amp.

When I feel like doing the loose saggy vintage thing, I always go with the Ventoux. It can sound like a fuzz pedal + amp (and IMO better than any of the fuzz pedals in the Helix) with more extreme settings. I hope they make more original amps with extremely flexible but simple controls like that.

I genuinely don't get why Helix models get a bad rep around here (the interwebz).

I've owned Fractal, L6 and NeuralDSP products - and i'd rank Helix amps as high as any of those, if not higher.
People have perceptions of different brands based on marketing and word of mouth that they'll transfer to the products of that brand irrespective of facts. See how people bend over backwards to avoid saying they can't tell the difference in any of these blind comparison tests. Line 6 (and even moreso Yamaha) is a big company that's been around for a long time and it's not considered cool.
 
For me the problem has always been that they feel "hard". There is a very immediate and hard feel to the attack, and they have a lot of upper mids. They just don't feel like they squish and give the way I like.

My taste in tones leans towards the Vox camp. I like low-watt amps that have a lot of "bounce" to their response. HX amps are kind of the opposite end of the spectrum.
You can get 'em to work but I have found that to do so takes a lot of time and effort, not to mention non-stock IRs (York Audio are my go-to, dude has magic ears). And there always seems to be some harshness to the gainier sounds, I can mitigate it with good IRs and some judicious EQ but can never entirely dial it out.

By comparison, the Fractal stuff is pretty much like falling off a log. But tbh I still do use my Pod Go and Helix on occasion... but not often.

YMMV.
 
I usually go the opposite direction and turn the sag down. I don't find the Helix amp models to be "hard" or "stiff" but I primarily play high gain so that alone probably explains it.

Yeah, if you want modern metal tones, go the other way.

It's remarkable how much of a feel difference the sag/bias controls make in Helix. You can make, say, the Placater or a Brit Plexi feel like anything from Led Zeppelin to Meshuggah.
 
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The nice thing about the Stomp is that it's not worth selling.
When it sucks just put it back in the closet until it doesn't suck anymore (which has nothing to do with updates).

Absolutely! It's the best Swiss Army knife there is for guitar. There are so many different things you can use it for, amp modeling is just one small part of it. I don't know if I'll ever be without one because I just always seem to find so many uses for it, even if I'm not using it for amp modeling.

Yeah, I actually really love all four (inc. Top Boosts) of the Vox models in the QC. On top of just sounding and feeling great, the controls are really fun. I don't have any real-world experience with AC15s or AC30s, but these are the first models I've genuinely enjoyed playing, and I feel like I've learned a lot by working with them.

I hated the AC30 model, I really struggled with it. But the AC15 was great!

You can get 'em to work but I have found that to do so takes a lot of time and effort, not to mention non-stock IRs (York Audio are my go-to, dude has magic ears). And there always seems to be some harshness to the gainier sounds, I can mitigate it with good IRs and some judicious EQ but can never entirely dial it out.

By comparison, the Fractal stuff is pretty much like falling off a log. But tbh I still do use my Pod Go and Helix on occasion... but not often.

YMMV.

Agreed. It is taking more time and effort to get there, but as I'm learning more what works and what doesn't it's getting faster to know what I need to do to fix what I'm not liking.

Just curious, do you play at low moderate volume through studio monitors/"FRFR"?

At the moment this testing has all been done with "FRFR" at moderate levels (around 90db) and IEMs. I just checked my global EQ settings and forgot I'm doing a bit more there as well:

HPF: 100Hz
LPF: 10.1kHz
6.0kHz +1.5db

Not sure yet how that will translate to my live environment. Seems like my ears are really wanting to hear more in the 6k range... not sure if that's just my monitor, or if it's the voicing of the HX
 
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