Author Topic: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.  (Read 16396 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline germanicus

Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« on: October 18, 2015, 05:22:20 PM »
Here is my review after owning a Helix for around 10 days. I've spent a total of probably 12-16 hours tweaking and learning its functions.

What it is

Helix is a multi fx/amp modeler floorboard from Line 6.
Helix supports guitar, bass, and microphone inputs(with phantom), as well as Variax, aux, and 4 assignable effects loop in/outs. It has Midi In/Out, as well as USB audio/midi interface functionality for using with a computer (8 in/out).

The basic setup gives the user has 4 independent stereo pathways. Each pathway has 8 blocks. These blocks are what you load your fx/amp/cabs in. The Helix has two specialized DSP chips, each responsible for its own double stereo pathway (set 1A/1b and 2A/2B). Pathways can each have their own independent Inputs and Outputs, and can be run in parallel or serial. You can have two pathways with different inputs merge together to run through the looper, or have a single pathway split into two. Its very versatile.

Cost

I got my unit from Guitar Center, they price matched a 20% off coupon I had from Musicians Friend. So my cost was $1200. In addition, I purchased Redwirez Big Cab collection for $125, but more on that later.

Build quality

This is the most well built unit I have owned from Line 6. The chassis and faceplate are solid metal, and the unit weighs a fair amount. It in no way feels cheap. The footswitches feel MUCH better than those on my HD500. The only issue I have with its build quality, is in regards to the 'Joystick', in that its very easy to turn the knob when pushing the knob side to side, or up and down. This can cause you to inadvertently change a setting. The solution would be for L6 to tighten the twisting action of the joystick. No wall wart is great.

Presets

I was very underwhelmed by the presets. Thankfully you can overwrite them. I recognize that manufactures rarely have an easy solution for presets. They need to demonstrate the unit's capabilities by showing off specific features and effects, and/or replicate famous tones used in popular songs. As assuredly as every guitarist has their 'goto' sounds and preferences when it comes to tone, there are just as many players who likely dislike those same ones. The conundrum becomes which master to serve when creating patches. What ended up in the Helix has the problem that many of the presets are drenched in fx/compressors and gain staging, so it's hard to appreciate the dynamics possible in the Amp models.

Testing it out

If you are thinking of getting this unit, i recommend not assessing based on presets. If i had tried this in a guitar center or similar environment, I probably would have walked away. If you are thinking of getting a helix, I recommend buying it, LEARNING it, and then assessing whether it meets your needs. Set aside several hours in a controlled environment, plugged into a Flat system. Its actually very simple to construct patches in the Helix. Try out the amps with JUST an amp/cab block. There is a dedicated button for selecting the amp block(s) and its very easy to change any of the amp/cab/mic settings rather quickly. Get a feel for each amp, and then try changing Cabs and Mic models. There are also high and low cut eq parameters built into all Cab and IR's. On many amps, these make a huge difference.

User Interface

Fantastic, its very intuitive and quick to dial in patches from scratch once you learn a few things. Assigning effects to footswitches is accomplished by simply holding your finger lightly on a footswitch (capacitive switch). To edit parameters, you only need to lightly touch a footswitch with your finger to get access to its effect settings. This sounded SUPER gimmicky to me, but love it now.

Sound Quality

I am extremely impressed with the amps. They react much more like real amps in terms of responding to picking dynamics. The amps still maintain much of the character of whichever guitar you are using. This was not so much the case in the HD500. I don't know if this is due to greater dynamic range or the modeling algorithms themselves, but the helix bring out a guitars identity compared to PODs. 

It is possible to mix whichever Amp you want, with whichever Cab you want within a single block, or have them as separate blocks. Separate blocks allows you to run one Amp into multiple cabs (or vice versa - multiple amps, through the same cab). You can create HUGE guitar sounds this way, and pan/route them wherever you like. The signal routing is amazing. It is possible to run 4 independent stereo paths, each with their own different Amp and Cabs. You are only limited by having 8 blocks per pathway and your DSP. Certain amps take up more dsp than others.

Mic settings have a profound impact on sound quality. You really want to get in and learn which mics are good for certain sounds. They give you quite a few to use. In addition to the cabs included, it is possible to load in Third Party Impulse Responses in place/addition to the internal cabs. The Helix can store 128 at any given time. There are many IR's available for free on the web, but I found it worth it to purchase a very large library made up of 49 cabinets, all mic'ed with different mics, positions, angles, and distances (3+ gigs worth). This lets you really tweak a sound, and a basic knowledge of mic'ing real amps can be handy in this regard. The combination of the Amps with 3rd party IR's is simply amazing. Due to being able to load multiple Amps and multiple IR's, its possible to assign a footswitch to activate different IR's within a patch. One can create a patch with the speaker close mic'ed at the cap of the speaker and mix this with an impulse of the same speaker taken from the back of the cabinet with a different mic. The possibilities are seemingly endless. It is interesting to compare third party IR's to equivalent L6 Cabs (same Cabinet, Mic type, and Mic Distance/orientation). In some cases they are identical sounding, in others not so.

Variax integration

For owners of Line 6's Variax guitars, the Helix offers a VDI interface. This cable allows you to power your Variax, store custom tunings in patches, as well as triggering guitar pickup/model changes as part of Helix patch changes. You can also assign your Variax's Volume and/or Tone controls to control just about any Helix control (have your tone knob control your Amp gain, or your delay mix %).

You can also process a JT Variax or Variax Standard in true 2 voice mode using the Helix. Have the signals from the Mag pickups enter one pathway, with their own Amps and effects, and have the Variax Modeled guitar sent to its own pathway. Want to have a Les Paul through a Marshall and simultaneously an Acoustic guitar through a compressor and verb at the same time? It's easy to set up.

These functions all work as advertised. I would like however, even more control - the capacity to assign midi footswitches to send model/tuning changes WITHIN a patch. Every other parameter of FX/Amps can be assigned to latching/momentary footswitch controls, why not the Variax as well? Its not a big deal, but it would be cool to have a footswitch to swap to different tunings on the fly within a patch.

Ultimately the Helix really helps build and realize the promise of what the Variax guitars offer. One guitar which would otherwise takes dozens in a live context.

Midi and Midi Guitarist Applications

The Helix is an intriguing hub for the Midi Guitarist. It's incorporation of USB audio/midi, scribble strips, programmable footswitches, multiple processing pathways which can be driven by disparate input sources, and multiple outputs means you can replace a fair amount of other gear. There are numerous possible iterations, but one can be as basic as Guitar, Fishman Tripleplay, Laptop, and Helix. This combination gives the user footswitch control of softsynths, and duplex audio and midi CC/PC transmission through a single cable. Scribble strips allows you to label the various footswitches so there is no confusion which one turns on your Rhodes Piano and which does the Choir. So far it has performed very well in this capacity. Of course the guitarist can get an all in one unit, like the gr55 as a simple live midi guitar solution. Going piecemeal, you can get superior results (Faster/more accurate tracking, more realistic synths and sample sounds, etc.)

Comparisons to other units

With something that costs as much as this unit, one is apt to compare it to other units currently available. Meaningful assessments comparing competing units depends on what features the user wants. Are they 'paying' for things they dont need? If the core function (fx/amps) don't measure up, then extra features are irrelevant.

-I don't own nor have I played through a Kemper, so a comparison would be inappropriate.
-While not having owned a Fractal, I did have my friends FX II for a week. I was impressed by the FX II, it certainly had great sounds. I was not impressed however by its price (3+ grand to get a floorboard equipped setup). At the time it was obvious that it responded much better to playing dynamics than my HD500/VG99/GR55. It's effects were also much more robust and powerful compared to the units I had at the time. That said, I wasn't so blown away that I felt I needed one immediately. So how does the Helix match up with my experience with the Axe FXII? The best way I can say this is that I don't feel like i'm missing anything with the Helix, with the exception of sheer number of Amps, and some FX. The responsiveness to playing dynamics is just as good. Also the Helix has VDI, which for live usage can become so useful (and depended on), it becomes a real pain in the ass when its not present.
 
-Fractal also has the AX8 floor unit, but it is much more limited than the Helix. It doesn't have a foot pedal. It doesn't do USB audio (much less 8in/out interfacing/re-amping), you are limited to one amp (as opposed to up to 4), and there is no Variax VDI or mic pre with phantom power. It doesn't have capacitive footswitches or scribble strips. It's not necessarily an apt unit to compare in this light. It may very well be that for different players the lack of these features may not be important. Is the amp modeling superior to the Helix, and worth the difference in features? Good question! Buy them both and find out!  ;D

It's interesting to note that both the AX8 and Helix use the exact same specialized DSP chips.

Overall Musical Application

Three questions that are relevant in this context.
1) Does it meet your required contextual needs? Do you need it for live gigging, and if so, how much other gear are you looking to incorporate?
2) Does the unit get out of your way so you can make music effectively, by allowing you to get/create a certain sound? Ie. how easy is it to dial in that tone in your head, or craft a patch to cover a song you are performing or tracking in the studio. Certain units (HD500, GR55) had a horrible workflow that required diving through pages of small menus.
3) If desired, does the unit let you go to new places, by tweaking and being creative. Creating new inspiring sounds that you would not have otherwise had, and hopefully sparking new music as a result. (The VG99 had this in spades).

For myself, the answer to these questions are Yes. Tweaking sounds is very simple and the workflow intuitive. Routing and multiple amps/cabs/IR lets you get very detailed sonic soundscapes.
Because it has scribble strips, MIDI/audio over USB, and extensive routing and programming, it can replace several pieces live in a midi guitar setup (Hd500, FC300, M-Audio midi interface, Focusrite Forte). I'm very pleased with the Helix.

What I dont like:

-The aforementioned Joystick spinning.
-I have found the ASIO driver in Sonar not as stable as I would like. Using a higher buffer cleared up issues, but nonetheless theres room for improvement. I think that the complexity of a patch can influence ASIO stability, but maybe this is coincidental. FWIW the ASIO driver was great in Cantabile.
-Lack of editor (they are working on one, supposedly due out in a month or so). As crazy intuitive and easy it is to edit, i want an editor. Less wear on hardware, and it gets around the joystick issue.
My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline whippinpost91850

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2015, 05:31:54 PM »
Germanicus, Thanks for the Very nice and complete review

Offline Pete1959

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2015, 05:59:04 PM »
Ditto here. Many thanks for the detailed review.

My only concern is the mention of patch to patch latency last month.
I sold my beloved GR-55 for that reason. Thankfully, I am enjoying the GP-10 which does not have that problem.

My thought would be what it would be like to have a Helix with a Variax Standard. It would seem to cost less than an Axe FX2 rig and I get to enjoy the guitar models and alternate tunings that I find to be a must have in my setup for some tunes.


Offline germanicus

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2015, 06:06:53 PM »
Ditto here. Many thanks for the detailed review.

My only concern is the mention of patch to patch latency last month.
I sold my beloved GR-55 for that reason. Thankfully, I am enjoying the GP-10 which does not have that problem.

My thought would be what it would be like to have a Helix with a Variax Standard. It would seem to cost less than an Axe FX2 rig and I get to enjoy the guitar models and alternate tunings that I find to be a must have in my setup for some tunes.

The patch to patch latency is great. Plenty fast.
My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline Elantric

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2015, 06:28:36 PM »
great review

Question? is it confirmed the Helix works as a true USB to 5 pin MIDI I/O Interface to allow your Windows DAW, ( Sonar / Cantible) to interface on all 16 MIDI channels to third party 5 pin MIDI Gear ?

This would be a major leap compared to HD500X, X3 Live, XT Live - none of those units could transmit MIDI Sysex over 5 pin MIDI to third party MIDI gear

Also does Helix have a MIDI Merge function on 5 pin MIDI input? Then I could feed MIDI Out from a Sonuus Voluum to control Channel Volume via MIDi CC#7 , and re-mamp the Helix Expression pedal to other chores  would be nice - but I doubt Helix provides that?

http://www.sonuus.com/downloads/sonuus-Voluum-Manual.pdf

Yes  that would be an ideal test

In other words - test if Helix complies with this:

Test if the Helix can also be used as a genuine USB-MIDI interface ( this would be a Line-6 first) , allowing you to send MIDI between your
computer and other MIDI gear via 5pin MIDI.

Test if the Helix when connected to your computer via USB, if any MIDI messages sent to the Helix over USB will also be sent out the 5-pin MIDI output.

Similarly, test if MIDI received on the 5-pin MIDI input will be sent over USB to your computer

FWIW -
and I can confirm the HD500X does NOT work as a USB > MIDi Interface
http://line6.com/support/topic/8410-hd500x-as-a-midi-in-interface/
Quote
The MIDI jacks aren't seen by the HD500X USB driver, so there's no way to use the HD500X as a MIDI interface for another device like you're describing.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 07:11:21 PM by Elantric »

Offline germanicus

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2015, 06:43:50 PM »
great review

Question? is it confirmed the Helix works as a true USB to 5 pin MIDI I/O Interface to allow your Windows DAW, ( Sonar / Cantible) to interface on all 16 MIDI channels to third party 5 pin MIDI Gear ?

If is - this a major leap compared to HD500X, X3 Live, XT Live - none of those units could transmit MIDI Sysex over 5 pin MIDI to third party MIDI gear

Also a MIDI Merge function on 5 pin MIDI input would be nice - but I doubt Helix provides that
Ill test. Just to clarify:
DAW song has midi track which outputs down helix USB pipe and then out the Helix 5 pin Midi to external midi gear?
My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline germanicus

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2015, 06:51:24 PM »
Ok i had to dig up a Yamaha SY55 from a closet but I have a 5 pin midi keyboard here now. I tested its MIDI in using a different controller keyboard.

Using Fishman Triplay into Cantabile. Cantabile Rack 1 has "MIDI IN" set to Omni.  "Send To" is set to "Output, Line 6 Helix". No other plugins loaded into that Rack. When I play, it triggers notes in the SY55.
 
So its taking Midi down the USB and passing it out of its 5 pin MIDI output.

My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline Elantric

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2015, 06:51:43 PM »
Thats good news!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 07:10:28 PM by Elantric »

Offline germanicus

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2015, 07:25:11 PM »
I tested a song in my Daw. It send notes down the USB and out the 5 pin Midi.

BUT.... When I reversed the cables, I was unable to send Midi notes INTO the 5 pin MIDI IN, and have that send up the USB midi into the daw. I will try again with a Fatar SL-990 controller to verify.

So maybe it merges the midi coming down the USB to the 5 pin Midi Out, but doesn't merge the 5 Pin Midi In to the USB Midi out.

My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline Elantric

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2015, 07:32:43 PM »
Thanks for testing

Often devices that allow full access the their 5 pin MIDi I/O jacks can be identified by observing  in the DAW MIDI Device Preferences you will see the hardware under review as two separate MIDI I/O Devices. One MIDI I/O driver for the USB connection to the Hardware device control, and the second MIDI I/O driver for the Hardware device's  5 pin MIDI I/O.

« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 07:34:27 PM by Elantric »

Offline admsustainiac

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2015, 08:00:14 PM »
Glen Delaune wrote>
http://line6.com/support/topic/16244-lag-time-between-presets/
Lag time between presets
Well I finally got my hands on my Helix and I like it very much. Sorry if this has been asked before but. . . I just have a question about the lag time between presets. Is that going to be addressed soon?? I surely hope so. It's almost 250ms.


Phil_m wrote>
Quote
250ms? When I measured mine in Reaper, it was maybe 100ms at most. It was fast enough that I couldn't really hear a gap, and I actually had a hard time isolating the gap. It might get a little higher if you're switching between two very complicated presets, but still shouldn't be that high.

Glen Delaune wrote>
250ms was just a guess going by ear. Even the factory presets have a lag between them though. You can surely hear the gap right??. It's defenitely noticable. Are they ever going to be seemless??
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 08:36:00 PM by Elantric »

Offline vxboogie

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2015, 10:20:09 AM »
Glen Delaune wrote>
http://line6.com/support/topic/16244-lag-time-between-presets/
Lag time between presets
Well I finally got my hands on my Helix and I like it very much. Sorry if this has been asked before but. . . I just have a question about the lag time between presets. Is that going to be addressed soon?? I surely hope so. It's almost 250ms.


Phil_m wrote>
Glen Delaune wrote>
250ms was just a guess going by ear. Even the factory presets have a lag between them though. You can surely hear the gap right??. It's defenitely noticable. Are they ever going to be seemless??
From the product manager, Digital Igloo, on TGP:
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/line6-helix.1586637/page-530#post-20706699

Offline germanicus

My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline Elantric

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2015, 05:04:17 PM »
Quote
The time to switch between two complex sounds is 153-158ms.

I must have calibrated ears, as my estimate for the longest patch to patch transition I experienced on Helix was around 150 milliseconds

Offline germanicus

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2015, 05:11:04 PM »
I must have calibrated ears, as my estimate for the longest patch to patch transition I experienced on Helix was around 150 milliseconds

It must be like you've done this before?

 :P
My albums done with modelling/guitar synth at http://music.steamtheory.com

JTV69/59P/Helix/FTP
GP10/VG99
Traynor k4

Offline Elantric

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2015, 06:03:05 PM »
Quote
It must be like you've done this before?

Yes - two straight days at LA Amp show Oct 3-4 2015 - i spent a fair amount of time playing and listening to all the latest DSP Amp Modelers

Read Pete Thorns perspective
http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/23115-tone-tips-modelers-versus-traditional-rigs
« Last Edit: October 19, 2015, 06:06:22 PM by Elantric »

Offline Elantric

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2017, 09:28:38 AM »
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/24014935/
Fairness wrote>
Hey guys,

Initially this whole test was intended for a japanese magazine but that doesn't seem to happen right now so i thought i do a quick write up here.
Me and a friend took A LOT of time and gear to compare different modelers.
Disclaimer: This is all my personal opinion.
And yes, i am very sorry but analogue gear still wins.

I already owned the Boss GT-100 and Axe Fx 2 and some of the analog gear. The rest i sourced via people i know and the people they know, etc.
I managed to get my hands on an AX8 to compare it better in terms of usability and build quality to the GT-100 and Helix.
Sadly i couldn't get the new Headrush Pedalboard (obviously), the Atomic Amplifire and the new Bias Head thingie (is it even released yet?).

I was pretty excited getting my hands on the Line6 Helix and thought that it probably would be the absolute fav in all categories and my Boss GT-100 the worst.

Here are my findings (I'll try and keep this short):
In tests by just running effects into real amps (we had my Fender Deluxe Reverb, a JCM800 and a Tubemeister 40) i couldn't get the digital tube screamers of the Helix, GT100 and AX8 to sound as good as my old modded 808. Nor could i get distorted sound that is as satisfying as the sound of the Boss "Waza Craft" Super Overdrive, which my friend brought.
The delays and compressors were (in my humble opinion) very good in all units.
However, modulation effects were sometimes downright awful. None of the modeling gear could hold up to a cheap no name copy of a MXR Phase 90, none sounded as good as a Fulltone Tremolo and even worse were the digital Wah Wah effects.
So in terms of effects my chart was:
1. Analogue
2. Axe FX
3. Helix
4. Boss GT-100
(didn't really include the kemper here..)

Some of the effects in the Helix are painfully bad, to be honest. Again especially the modulation effects. I noticed this already in some Helix demos but blamed the person doing the demo for that.... but apparently they really did include some sub-par effects.
On the other hand the Helix has a LOT of effects.

Next we tested pure amp tones of the modelers into PA, amps and cabs with the different methods like amp simulation only, amp + cab simulation, IRs, etc.:
1. Kemper (this thing is amazing).
2. Axe FX
3. Helix
Then a long gap...
4. Boss GT-100

Next test was running analogue pedals into a modeler, the Kemper takes pedals really really well:
1. Kemper
2. Axe FX
3. Helix
4. Boss GT-100

In terms of usability, look and feel the Helix wins with its clever menus, colors and 'scribble strips'.
It also has probably every feature you could hope for.
I always found that the Boss GT-100 was really easy and intuitive to use and it's not far away from the Helix but the Helix is clearly the winner here. I have more trust in the Boss GT-100 not breaking, though. I got it directly after it was released and it took quite a beating but every single knob and jack still works perfectly. Having also owned Line6 gear and considering all the touch sensitive knobs, the 'joystick', all the lights and displays and so on, i really don't have such a good feeling with it. Of course i couldn't really test it because it wasn't mine and i only had it about 7 weeks....
So ease of use:
1. Helix
2. Boss GT-100
3. Axe (i wouldn't use the AX8 without the computer software... ever.)
I would have really liked to test the Headrush pedal against the Helix here since it's supposed to be the easiest to edit but oh well....

In the end, it was obvious that the GT-100 is the worst in almost every aspect but it wasn't a fair comparison in the first place, i guess it's better compared to the Pod HD.

TL;DR:
Analogue gear still sounds and feels better to me. Digital gear is 98% there but there are scenarios where i wouldn't want to miss the real deal.
The Helix is a great unit but i expected it to be a bit better. I could make out the Helix in every single blind test.
If you want to use amp tones only with your old pedal board or multi effects unit: Kemper.
If you want everything in one box or a digital multi effects floor unit: Fractal.
If you want all the bells and whistles, an overwhelming number of features and pretty lights: Helix.

In the end it comes down to what you want and need. I wouldn't take my Axe FX II instead of tube amp to a small bar to play blues, for example. On the other hand a unit that is lightweight, small and can go directly to PA is great for travelling.

Can't wait to try an Atomic Amplifire.

Remember, this is all just my personal opinion.

Wish you all the best!

Offline sixeight

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2018, 11:08:26 AM »
I guess effectively I have had the Helix for around 10 days. I have been away from it over Christmas.

On paper it all sounds great. A very flexible signal routing. Being able to combine amps and effects in any way. Also I guess the Helix has the largest development team, so that pulled me over to get one.

But in reality I am struggling to make it work with my setup.
I have effectively two guitars, a Crafter TMVS acoustic with a GK3 and a Charvel with a GK2. Both guitars sound fine with GP10, GR55 and VG99. Actually the Crafter sounds fuller than the the Charvel and also it tracks better on guitar to midi applications.

But when I use the COSM models with the Helix, somehow it does not sound right. The Crafter sounds too acoustic, even though I have an electric model, and the Charvel sounds good from the regular output, but thin through its COSM models.

So The Helix does not seem to combine well with COSM modeling. I connected the VG99 through spdif and the GP10 regularly, but both scenarios do not give a satisfying tone.

The only solution seems to be to get a Variax. But I don't know if I want to go that way. I am afraid the acoustic models of the Variax will not cut it for me anyway. Some examples on YouTube sound ok, but most are very thin.

I guess if I was a more regular player, I would be over the moon with the Helix. But as it stands now, I think I will let to of it for now. I even wonder if any high end modeler will work with my setup.

Offline HecticArt

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 11:56:06 AM »
I guess effectively I have had the Helix for around 10 days. I have been away from it over Christmas.

On paper it all sounds great. A very flexible signal routing. Being able to combine amps and effects in any way. Also I guess the Helix has the largest development team, so that pulled me over to get one.

But in reality I am struggling to make it work with my setup.
I have effectively two guitars, a Crafter TMVS acoustic with a GK3 and a Charvel with a GK2. Both guitars sound fine with GP10, GR55 and VG99. Actually the Crafter sounds fuller than the the Charvel and also it tracks better on guitar to midi applications.

But when I use the COSM models with the Helix, somehow it does not sound right. The Crafter sounds too acoustic, even though I have an electric model, and the Charvel sounds good from the regular output, but thin through its COSM models.

So The Helix does not seem to combine well with COSM modeling. I connected the VG99 through spdif and the GP10 regularly, but both scenarios do not give a satisfying tone.

The only solution seems to be to get a Variax. But I don't know if I want to go that way. I am afraid the acoustic models of the Variax will not cut it for me anyway. Some examples on YouTube sound ok, but most are very thin.

I guess if I was a more regular player, I would be over the moon with the Helix. But as it stands now, I think I will let to of it for now. I even wonder if any high end modeler will work with my setup.

Hi Six,
So you're running your VG99,  GR55, etc into your Helix for further signal processing?
I think you'll get better results from both if they are each running (separately) directly to something like a powered speaker or PA system.
With my GR55, I run my synth out directly to a powered speaker, and the guitar out to my amp.
I haven't run into objectionable sounds.

I'm still thinking about getting a Helix at some point, so these kinds of issues are something I'm pretty curious about. Keep us posted.


Offline sixeight

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 12:19:17 PM »
Quote
So you're running your VG99,  GR55, etc into your Helix for further signal processing?
I think you'll get better results from both if they are each running (separately) directly to something like a powered speaker or PA system

The idea was to use the COSM guitar models and combine them with the amp and effect models of the Helix. That way I could have a super VG99 with four signal paths and multiple virtual guitars. But using them this way I get the unpleasant artifacts. Boss amps have a different voicing (what some folks call the Boss sound). The Boss amps do seem to hide the artifacts of the COSM guitar models better then the Helix amps. My Crafter TMVS guitar has acoustic phosphor bronze strings, hence the artifacts. But these strings give a much better acoustic sound.

That's why I am considering the Variax, as I would expect it to match the Helix better. But YouTube videos of the Variax have not convinced me yet. Most seem to sound thin and lacking sustain.

Overall the Helix lacks smooth or lush sounds, that I enjoy playing most. Maybe the new reverbs will be the solution to this. I just hope they will be released soon.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 12:28:50 PM by sixeight »

Offline HecticArt

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2018, 08:38:16 PM »
Ahhh. Now I'm picking up what you're putting down.

The idea seems like you should be able to create some deeper sounds.

I don't know enough about the signals to know why they don't play well together. 

Offline sixeight

Re: Line 6 Helix 10 day review.
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2018, 01:04:30 PM »
Quote
The idea was to use the COSM guitar models and combine them with the amp and effect models of the Helix. That way I could have a super VG99 with four signal paths and multiple virtual guitars.

I have been playing with the VG-99/Helix combo again. I still think it has potential. The artifacts did not disturb me as much as last time.

Made a short recording of me noodling on my Crafter TMVS, hrough the VG99 and Helix:

https://soundcloud.com/cfeddema/vg99-and-helix-playthrough

Clip has four patches:
1) COSM Strat into a Variax Twin with an IR. Last bit some Adriatic delay. Love that one!
2) COSM Tele into the Variax Ligitator and some Adriatic Delay
3) COSM LP into a Variax Marshall Plexi. I also turned on the harmonic pitch shifter of the Variax.
4) The Crafter TMVS into an IR I made myself, some eq and some reverb.

That last bit is the best acoustic sound I have ever had from my Crafter TMVS. Which is really why I want this to work.

I think I am at the point where the VG-99/Helix combo sounds better then my GP-10. And it is definately much more flexible, but also a lot more to carry.


 

Blog