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Browse Helix Models and Effects

Helix currently supports 72 amplifier models, 194 effects, 37 speaker cab models, and 16 microphones. On top of all that you also have the ability to load Impulse Responses (IRs) that you can grab from free or paid sources. Go have fun.

Cartographer (Ben Adrian Cartographer)

Cartographer, the Helix model of a Ben Adrian Cartographer

Get the description straight form the source, Ben Adrian:

The Cartographer amp in Helix is a model of an amp that I built for myself to use in my band "Cartographer." The amp started its life as a 1977 Traynor YBA-1. When it came into my possession, it had been poorly modded as was not working very well. I decided to take the amp and mod it myself into the amp that would work best for my band's sound, and my unique guitar (an Electrical Guitar Company C500).

The first step was to get it working. I took out all the old modifications. I cascaded the bright and normal channels, making it a single channel amp. I began with a circuit very close to the JMP MkII amp. This included adding a master volume. The output transformer (OT) was not performing well, and was on the small side for a 50 watt amp. I replaced it with a larger OT. The amp was a bit bright for me (my guitar has a lot of highs), so I nudged the tone stack component values a bit, and I removed the two high-shelf circuits in the preamp.

Of course, I couldn't leave the amp alone. As time went on I changed some resistor values to add more gain. I added the second gain knob, which adjusts the volume between the second and the third gain stages. This allows the preamp's distortion voicing to be varied by adjusting where the most distortion is being generated in the preamp. Around this time I began my job at Line 6. Every month I had a different amplifier on my bench. Any time I discovered a clever or particularly good sounding bit of circuit, I would try it out in my personal amp to see if it pushed it into a more pleasing direction. I also began using other guitars and realized that I needed those high shelf circuits for darker pickups. I added presence and depth controls. People around the office played the amp and lobbied to get it put into Helix. I was happy to oblige.

Since the amp model is unique and slightly complicated, I wanted to give a rundown of the amp parameters.

Drive 1, Drive 2

Drive 1 is the traditional gain knob in a high gain, master volume amp. This is located between the first tube gain stage and the second tube gain stage. Drive 2 controls the amount of gain between the second tube gain stage and the third tube gain stage. The character of the amp can change drastically based on where these knobs are in relation to one another.

Drive 2 at max is the default position for high gain tones. then Drive 1 is the traditional gain knob. Of course, watch out for the Master knob being too high or things can get mushy.

If Drive 1 is set low (say about 3) and the Master is set high, then the amp will get a plexi normal channel vibe with Drive 2 acting as the gain knob.

With Drive 2 set low (2-3), and the Master volume at full, the amp can get big and clean, with Drive 1 bringing in just a bit of grit as it is turned up.

There are lots of textures available. Please experiment with the interactivity between Drive 1, Drive 2, and the Master volume.

Bass, Middle, Treble
These behave line a regular amp tone stack; located between the preamp and the power amp. Of course the values are slightly different than the big name amps. Use your ears and turn until it sounds good.

Channel Volume
Like on every other amp in Helix, this is a volume control at the end of the model used to adjust the overall level of the preset without changing the tone or distortion amount.

Master
This knob behaves like the Master Volume on the actual amp. It's located after the preamp, but before the power amp. When it's turned up high it will cause power amp distortion and saturation. At lower levels it will add less of its non-linearity and the tone and distortion of the preamp will come through more clearly.

Presence, Depth
These are similar to other amp models that have these controls. Presence and Depth are treble and bass boosts respectively. They occur after the preamp but before the power amp. They can affect overall tone of the amp model, or help define the character of the power amp clipping. They can also be said to affect the damping in the power amp.

Bright 1, Bright 2
The Cartographer amp has two bright switches. Both of these switches are high shelf boosts. Bright 1 adds a high boost after the first tube preamp stage. Bright 2 adds a high boost after the second tube preamp stage. They can be subtle, especially at higher gain setting. The usually affect the character and the harmonics of the preamp gain rather than provide a distinctive level boost in the high frequencies. Try turning them on for darker guitars. try experimenting by turning on each one individually and then both at the same time to discover how each one modifies the sound.

Sag, Hum, Ripple, Bias, Bias eXcursion
These behave the same as on other amp models.

Description source: Ben Adrian
Image source: benadrianaudio.wordpress.com


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