[Questions!] Using a Helix rack/controller and Kemper rack/controller together.

  • So, I've scoured the boards and have some unanswered questions.

    I'm using a KPA powered rack/controller, and a Helix rack/controller together. KPA for profiles, Helix for effects.

    1. Since the Helix controller doesn't have MIDI out (which makes direct control impossible), but the rack does. Is it possible to run a midi cable between each rack unit and then route KPA controls to the Helix floor controller to be used in conjunction? (Snapshots for switching KPA profiles, then mode for switching Helix effects)

    2. Is there any risk of damage to the Helix or KPA with the KPA being internally powered?

    3. Anything wrong with this routing?

    Guitar > Helix guitar input > Helix FX send > KPA front input > KPA direct output > Helix FX return (Helix send/return block inserted along chain) > KPA speaker output > Orange PPC212

    Could I switch the KPA input to the rear to clean up the cables, and use the return input instead.

    I'm sorry in advance if the answers to these questions are buried in a thread somewhere. I'm nervous, as I've spent basically my entire savings account on this setup. The KPA was bought used, and I'm sure is long out of warranty.

  • I have no personal experience with the Helix but i would suggest that you use the Helix in the effect loop if the PROFILER if you want to use the Helix effects. The effect loop of the PROFILER can be placed at various points in the signal chain and stored with each rig.
    That means: Guitar into PROFILER front input. Direct out into the Helix, Helix outputs into the return and alternative input of the PROFILER.
    This will give you the full signal chain at the speaker output of the PROFILER.
    The PROFILER reacts to standard MIDI program change and Control change messages. If your Helix can send these you only need to connect a MIDI cable from the MIDI out of the Helix into the MIDI input of the PROFILER and send the proper commands.

  • I thought about that chain as well. If I used the Kemper's FX loop, wouldn't it place all Helix effects in the FX loop? I want to place certain effects "in front of" the Kemper, and then place some effects "after" the preamp? My understanding is that if I use the Kemper's loop, then ALL of the effects from the Helix would be placed in the loop, with none affecting my signal chain until after it has gone through the "preamp."


    Helix chain - Guitar, Comp, Dist, FX send/return (Kemper), Delay, Reverb, Output
    KPA chain - Guitar, Kemper, FX send/return (Helix) Comp, Dist, Delay, Reverb, Output

    So then all effects would be placed AFTER the preamp... is that right? I'm significantly less-versed in the Kemper UI. Is it possible to place certain effects before the Kemper, and certain effects after?

    My issue with the midi commands is that ideally, I want to control both the profile changes of the Kemper and individual effects commands with only the Helix floor controller. This is more of a desire rather than a necessity. I was just curious as to whether or not I could shrink the stage footprint. I'll have to play around and see. There's no love lost if it isn't feasible. I have the board space available for both controllers.

    Thank you so much for the reply!

  • I had a helix rack for a while with my powered toaster, it was pretty awesome. I used the remote and the helix floor controller. That was kinda a mess. I thought about two things...

    Ditch the remote and use the controller like you said, or

    Program the Kemper to send midi to the helix to switch snapshots etc.

    The remote is faster so if you have one I'd use that. Of course you'll have to commit to your snapshots per profile though. Which means, from a performance standpoint , every part of your songs are thought out thoroughly.

    Of course, if you just want to be able to use your helix as some sort of on demand pedal board ,with the exception of a few designated snapshot switches and switch profiles, then using the helix control to send midi changes like you were saying is the way to go for that scenario.

    As far as routing everything through the back, it can be done but you will not be able to use the Kemper stereo loop because you'll have to sacrifice the alternative input as your Guitar>Helix>helix fx send>kemper input(which is in this case the alternative input) input>etc.

    It would kinda seem to be a shame, what with all that awesome routing and stereo effects the helix has to offer to just use a mono loop. But don't mind me, I'm just playing devils advocate while also having gear traders remorse ;):whistling:;(

    Edit: and of course, there's the question of expression pedals for either.

    Edit.2 If the Kemper remote could be used to send midi for individual effects in the helix and snapshots per performance, per top row buttons, that would solve it but as far as I know, you can only send one program change per performance slot in the Kemper.

  • Yeah, that's been my discovery. Wasn't sure if I was missing something. I'd rather not switch snapshots or presets in the middle of songs because where the Helix falls short for me is right there. There's ALWAYS a split second of silence switching over, making it very audible.

    I also have some parts with momentary switches, so that makes it about impossible as well.

    No biggie, though. I adore them both, and as I said, I do have the available space.

    Now, if Kemper could just adopt the Helix UI...

  • I run the Kemper in the Helix' FX loop. The Helix has a guitar input in front which is the best input to use, fidelity-wise. I forget why on the fly, but it's similar to how the Kemper alternate input is noisier. Also, if you ever want to record stereo or use a wet/dry/wet setup, the Helix has way more routing abilities (and easier UI to do it with). I use only a Helix controller.

    I run my guitar through a Polytune3 with buffered bypass into the Guitar input on the Helix. Then I take a cable from Send 4 around to the front of the Kemper (guitar input, has better signal-to-noise ratio than the AUX). I then use the L/R line outputs of the Kemper to Return 3 and 4 on the Helix.

    That way, the first path on the Helix can be used as a mono pre-amplifier path for distortions and boosts and whatever else have you. The second path is stereo, having effects post-amplifier, with stereo return from Kemper, allowing me to use the stereo effects on the Kemper as well. I then go to a Powercab Plus, so technically i can choose whether to have effects pre or post cabinet as well.

    This is the best way to run it, imo. One big selling point with the Helix is all the routing you can do with it. Putting it in an FX loop seems weird. The kemper lets you put effects anywhere in the chain anyway, so my proposition seems to have more flexibility about which effects from which unit ends up where in the chain, and where all the signals go.