Question: HBII Piezo controls

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by StringDreamer, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. StringDreamer

    StringDreamer Life is good, let's find more of it

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    Hello,

    I purchased a used HBII a while ago and have been using it with dual outputs and everything works fine. I get the magnetic pickup signal at the mag output & the piezo signal at the Piezo output. More recently, I have tried using the Mag/Mix output alone (with the mini-toggle in the middle position) and am having trouble blending any piezo signal with the magnetic pickup signal. In fact, if I turn the magnetic pickup volume to zero, I get no signal at all with the piezo volume/blend control at ten. I wanted to confirm that this is not normal. I would expect that with the mag volume off, I would still get some piezo output. Am I correct? Any suggestions on what might be wrong?

    Thanks
     
  2. ElrytNamrogo

    ElrytNamrogo My name be scrambled

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    That's how mine works, as well. When running both pickup systems out of the one jack, the volume knob that would control the magnetic pickups basically kills all sound when at zero. The only way to "blend" is to run the signals separate.
     
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  3. Callan

    Callan hack guitarist..

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    Uh, not sure @ElrytNamrogo.

    When running a single cable, you have 1 volume and a blend. Put the switch in the middle, (mag) volume on full and use the piezo volume as the blend between the two.

    When running dual cables, you have 2 separate volume and no blend.
     
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  4. StringDreamer

    StringDreamer Life is good, let's find more of it

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    Thanks for the input guys. My "problem" started with not being able to hear any difference in the magnetic pickup tone when I tried to blend the piezo pickup to it. That led me to notice that I got no output when I set the Mag volume at zero. I believe that you guys are correct in pointing out that this is normal.

    I didn't mention in my original post that I was running my guitar through a Helix floor unit. With your reassurance that my guitar was likely working normally, I started looking elsewhere. It turn out that the Helix is the source of my difficulties. I started working through my single-channel presets, and some of them blended the piezo brilliantly...others not at all. It looks like I have some Helix homework to do.

    Thanks again guys.
     
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  5. ElrytNamrogo

    ElrytNamrogo My name be scrambled

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    Yeah, I probably worded that weird. You can still "blend" the sounds when running them through the single "Mag/Piezo" jack, but dialing the magnetic volume pot to zero kills all sound. The "blend" knob (what I consider the piezo volume knob) doesn't do a whole lot when running through the "combo" jack. I notice subtle differences, but it's nothing compared to when you split the signals.

    Now when splitting the signals through the two output jacks, and zeroing the magnetic pickup volume knob, I'll still have piezo volume. That's the best, most affective way I have found to "blend" the two sounds. If this isn't the way it's supposed to function, I was not aware...it's just the way mine has always worked.
     
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  6. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    Once you run the mag/piezo on separate cables to individual "amps", I don't see how you could go back.

    The only way to run separate operable volumes to a single jack is to run the volume controls in parallel.
     
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  7. StringDreamer

    StringDreamer Life is good, let's find more of it

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    You didn't have to clarify anything EN (I just overlooked that "only way" part of your response). You clarified the Mag Volume function and that's what I was really looking for. I had already had success with using separate outputs but had never really explored the single output blend. Subtle differences (as you describe) is what I had expected until I saw a PRS HBII video with Colin McAllister. In that video, Colin was using a single blended output and when he adjusted the piezo level it was very noticeable. Granted, it wasn't as good as dual outputs, but it wasn't bad.

    I agree with you and ViperDoc that it is best to run separate outputs, but I wanted to explore what Collin was achieving. To that end, I did find one Line 6 preset (running through Helix) that really adds significant piezo top end when used with the single Mag/Mix output. I assume it's OK to name the preset; it's called "Steven Wilson". It's got a "Piezo Snapshot" (number 4) that works beautifully. I'll still run the dual outputs for most occasions (that's why I got the Helix in the first place), but it's nice to have a good single output option in my hip pocket.
     
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  8. StringDreamer

    StringDreamer Life is good, let's find more of it

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    Hi ViperDoc,
    I have run separate outputs, but only through my Helix and then on to a PA. I'll have to try your suggestion of running them to separate amps. Of course, that means I'll have to buy a couple of amps. Hmmm, maybe I could work up the nerve to power up my old Teisco Checkmate 50...
     
  9. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    The piezo tone sounds exceptional into an acoustic amp or an acoustic DI. An acoustic preamp will be properly voiced for the piezo tone and will give you a much more lively sound. The mix will be much more noticeable.
     
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  10. goat-n-gitter

    goat-n-gitter Dismembered

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    I get outstanding results running my piezo signal through path "B" on the Helix, in which I apply compression and an acoustic impulse response (I mostly use the 3 Sigma Martin D-45 model) out to the PA. I'm sure an acoustic amp is great too, but if you have a good PA, or a decent powered monitor, the Helix is more than capable of processing the piezo signal to sound outstanding and quite realistic.

    Where I use my Helix in a somewhat less conventional manner is my electric signal - I'm not a huge fan of modeling for live use. I run my mag signal into the Helix guitar input to path "A", apply front end effects like OD's, compression, wah etc., out the Helix FX send to the input of my Mesa MK V amp, back from the Mesa FX send to the Helix return for loop appropriate FX, then from the Helix output to Mesa FX return. The Helix makes an outstanding control center for my rig. Using snapshots I switch the amp channels, switch between mag/piezo signals, switch FX, and even sometimes use modeling on the mag signal to create huge stereo rigs using both my amp and the PA. For my band's material, I create one preset for each song, and the snapshots in that preset make it so I never have to step on more than one footswitch no matter how many things need to change instantly.

    This same philosophy can easily be applied to using just the Helix into the PA, keeping path A for electric sounds but obviously adding an amp/cab model and not needing the loop, and using path B for the Piezo. You add a volume block to the beginning of each path, and then you can program them in snapshots to turn the volume of each on or off depending on which signal you want to hear in each snapshot (or just continue to use the selector on the guitar if you prefer).

    I do agree with you that using the mix output and combining the two signals is of limited use, but it can make a nice "sparkly" electric tone on occasion.
     
    #10 goat-n-gitter, Oct 31, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2019
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  11. ElrytNamrogo

    ElrytNamrogo My name be scrambled

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    That's awesome! Yeah, I've never had experience running the single output through anything other than a standard guitar amplifier, both tube and solid state, just to experiment. That's super-cool you found a good setting in the Line-6. Even cooler that it's called Steven Wilson, because he always had great results with the piezo / magnetic pickup combinations (big fan of his). A lot of what he has done is what got me into PRS in the first place. :D
     
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  12. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Plugged In.

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    This is a great way to use your Helix. I was unaware you could run multiple "paths", and an acoustic IR would sound great. How do you like the front end push from your Helix into the Mark V?
     
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  13. goat-n-gitter

    goat-n-gitter Dismembered

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    I typically use the Klon model "minotaur" to get a little more push on top of the amp's lead channel for solos, and I can't tell much difference between the model and my J Rocket Archer. I also use some of the other fuzz or distortion models into the clean channel. I don't know how accurate they are, as I haven't owned many of the real pedals they model, but they sound really good to me. I specifically bought the Helix to use as a complete pedalboard replacement to use with my Boogie and cut back on my tap dancing, and it has worked out tremendously for that purpose. It's a bonus that I can hook it up to my recording rig and model just about any other amp tone I want, but I don't use it that way very often. I do have the Helix native plug in that I use occasionally as well.
     
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  14. StringDreamer

    StringDreamer Life is good, let's find more of it

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    What a great story! I'm always amazed at coincidences like this. After reading Goat-n-Gitter's detailed Helix discussion, I should mention that the Steven Wilson preset also uses an IR. I don't recall what might have been in Steve's original preset, but I use the same 3-Sigma Martin D-45 impulse response that Goat-n-Gitter does.

    Thanks again to you, and everyone else, for all of this fantastic input!
     
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