I got my QC on Friday and got my goto Helix patch recreated today. I like to use stomp mode to mix and match effects depending on the song and how I’m hearing the situation at the moment. So I tend to use one Helix patch most of the night, only changing when the song needs something unusual. That results in a patch with quite a few effects and needs a lot of footswitches. Snapshots/scenes don’t work as well because you can’t combine scenes, you only get one at a time.
The signal path in my most used preset looks something like:
guitar > wah > fuzz > mutron filter > compressor > phasor > pre-chorus (before distortion) > flanger > distortion > drive > overdrive > amp > cab > chorus (after distortion) > harmonic tremolo > Leslie > slapback | delay > reverb > EQ > FRFR
The core of my Helix clean tone is Litigator and an IR going into Powercab112+ or Powercab212 depending on the gig. For QC I used CA 1Star Clean 100W Tweed
and 212 CA Recto V30 ’98. This compared really well with the Helix clean tone, but was a bit cleaner (Litigator really never completely cleans up), wasn’t quite as scooped, and seemed to be more articulate and clearer. Helix has a brightness that we’re always trying to get rid of with hi cuts. QC has a brightness that seems to sound smoother, more musical, and more like a glassy Fender amp.
For overdrive, I use multiple distortion blocks gain staged similar to John Mayer and Jeff McErlain. In QC I used Obsessive Drive for distortion, Chief BD2 for a clean boost into the Green 808 for overdrive. The QC distortion effects aren’t as flexible as Helix, but they seem to sound more musical. In particular the Green 808 didn’t sound as compressed as Helix Scream 808. Again, maybe its how the high end in QC seems to hold up while it gets harsh in Helix. I had no problem reproducing my Helix gain staging in QC and was very happy with the result.
For other blocks I found:
- The QC Flanger sounded more musical than Helix, and I might use it more
- The QC Leslie is much better, a nice surprise
- The QC cab model seemed to be great and I had no desire to move my preferred IR from Helix
I did encounter some QC issues:
- I use a Jesse Davey King Tone Silicon Fuzz, I didn’t connect with any of the fuzz blocks in Helix. The King Tone Fuzz QC capture I created wasn’t usable, it had way too much high end fizz. Looks like fuzz is hard to model or capture in the digital domain. I’ll stick with using the external pedal.
- QC has no support for a switch in an expression pedal, so I’m going to use a separate analog Wah pedal
- There’s no stereo compressor to put at the end of the signal chain. I decided leave it out, it’s not really needed
- There’s no way to turn off slapback and turn on long delay with a single footswitch without using a scene, and that’s too limiting. I found I could leave the slapback on all the time as long as it wasn’t too prominent. I really hope Neural DSP extends the stomp and MIDI capabilities.
- QC does not auto detect stereo/mono connections so I have to program it into two stereo vs. mono patches.
- Helix UniVibe, Phaser, all poly effects, chorus were better. If I need any of them with QC, I’ll use an HX Effects.
Bottom line, I had no problem replicating my Helix Litigator gig patch in QC, and will not hesitate to use it next gig.