Tip: Depth Control Explanation

The Depth knob on both the Badonk and the Archetype is a control of the low frequencies in the negative feedback loop of the power amp. A simplified explanation is that it’s an active boost of the low frequencies between the preamp and the power amp. This is how a Presence knob works, but with the high frequencies. So you can think of the Depth control as a Presence knob for the low frequencies.

In addition, it un-dampens the low frequencies in the power amp and speaker interaction, which makes the low frequency a little less tame and controlled at the speaker. The whole power amp, speaker, negative feedback system can get pretty complicated. There is no need to go deep if you don’t want to. You can just use the simplified explanation above.

— Ben Adrian

Tip: Moving from Axe/Kemper to Helix

Here are a couple of quick tips if you are coming to the Helix from an Axe or a Kemper.

  • Give your ears time to get used to the Helix – compared to the Kemper, and yes, even the Axe, as it is much more “in-your-face”, much more “nasty ampy”. The Kemper and even the Axe [yes, with 7.02] are both astonishing but do tend to be more “polished” and “refined” than the Helix.
  • Turn the unit on and before you do anything, turn the Global Pad ON and leave it on.
  • Start with the Input Z set to Auto instead of 1M …. for %99 of set up, its just right.
  • The stocks cabs ARE excellent and as good as any IR you will try or buy. Don’t hesitate to use them.
  • The Hi / Lo Cut slopes in the Cab / IR block are not quite the same as in the Axe which has well defined 6db or 12db slopes. The result being that you will find you may need to cut a touch more with the Helix than say, the Axe. Playing classic rock to a bit harder rock, for instance, with a CLR at gig levels, cuts tend to be around 90hz low end and around 4.5k high end for most patches [ I use a Tele which is quite bright ] ….. these cuts make the CLR sound “very ampy”.
  • The Klon and Timmy in the Helix are utterly astonishing. Seriously! Give them a shot.
  • The DC30 model in the Helix is as good as it gets regardless of modeller preference.
  • What you monitor through is critical! The golden rule is if your patches sound just right at low levels at home via your monitors or headphones, they will be way to bright and way boomy when you crank them for live use… this is not modeler dependent.
  • You will initially miss the sheer number of Amp / Profile choices in the Axe and Kemper. This will changing over time but the good part is you will spend more time playing and less time “endlessly A/B’ing” which of the 3,746 Marhsalls or Fenders sound “just right”. It is liberating.  The great thing is what the Helix lacks in sheer amp chocies, it makes up for in quality.
  • And finally, give yourselft a few weeks with it. Its every bit as sonically and tonally good and satisfying as an Axe or Kemper, as they in turn are with each other.

Tip: Compressors Are Your Friend

Compressors are your friend. They will add the professional polish to many of your patches just as they do in the studio. Each of the compressors respond in a slightly different manner and are best used for certain types of sounds. For example, the LA Studio can be a very subtle and non-intrusive compressor to bring out even articulation on a clean sound, whereas the Red Squeeze is a bit easier to setup and provides a nice Rolling Stones, The Who, or Doobie Bros. “strained crunch” on a crunchy style tone. Compressors can be placed at the beginning of your signal chain or toward the end with slightly different effects. Try them both to see which best fits your patch.