My honest take on this unit is this so take it for what it's worth. First thing, I'm a big fan of the amp modeling stuff, have been for along time and have had my share of them. That said, the Helix is one of the best ones I've had to date not just because of the modeling quality but it just has great flexibility and routing options. It's pretty much my go to board for playing at the church, recording or practicing at home with the headphones on. I'm also fortunate to have a nice pedal board that's cost me 3x that of the Helix and a few decent tube amps. When I get the opportunity to just sit down and get lost in the guitar playing I turn to my pedalboard/amps as there is just something I feel playing them that I just don't get from the Helix (or other's) amp modeling. In my opinion, there is just a warmth or fullness about an amp that I just have not been able to replicate 100% through monitors or PA speakers, it's just that last 5 to 10% that's missing. As previously mentioned, I don't even bother with trying to mic the amps for recording as the Helix just has such good solid amp tones its not even worth the effort. In regards to the strymon question "no" the Helix is not going to have the ability the timeline/big sky etc have. I can get good ambient stuff from the Helix that gets the job done live but in the room or with headphones on it won't be as ambient as the big sky or have all the different delays the timeline has. However, it does have a good selection of delays/reverbs that will more than work for live or recording. One of the biggest advantages I've found in these units is the ability to store patches with different perameters such as (Eq, drive, effects, arrangement etc) and with the snapshot feature the Helix has just can't be accomplished with a pedalboard/loop switcher set up. You mentioned only having one rig set up as one would just sit but if you can afford both I recommend having both. Also, there is the 4 cable method where you could use the Helix to control your amp, looper, strymon stuff etc and then just grab the Helix portion when it's gig time, possibilities are endless. Hope this helps a little.