Woo! Nice to be joining this club. :^)
A little background. I have been playing for 30+ years, and used to be a tube snob. Have owned a lot of vintage and modern tube amps (they are great!). I spent 8 years as a professional musician (teaching and gigging). Although that was a ton of fun, it was not the right career choice for me. I am a Software Engineer now, but still play a decent amount of paid gigs.
When I started gigging again after 'retiring' I ended up getting into solid state amps. I still have some and love them. But the Helix (and the Ampli-Firebox) are my first serious foray into digital. I think the technology is finally 'there', at least for my needs.
I spent months demoing and researching all of the top floor board units. I did not dig the tone of the Headrush. The GT-1000 sounded great but had an awkward interface. I was VERY close to getting the AX8, but I hate using a computer while being creative, so I really wanted an inspiring interface on the device. From what I have read and heard, the AX8 and Helix BOTH sound incredible. So here I am!
Initial impressions of the Helix (using it with quality headphones):
- The interface is brilliant. There are tons of little touches letting you know this product spent a lot of time in user testing. It is incredible that such a complex device can be so fun to use!
- The tone is inspiring. I was getting lost in just playing clean tones. I have never had a headphone-only session where that happened. Usually headphones (in my experience) are too bright and brittle. The Helix has plenty of options to dial in a warm tone.
- The looper length is too short. I knew this going in and it was swaying me toward the AX8, but the Helix won on too many other counts. I play a lot of solo gigs and looping is an important part of that. I may need to still bring my trusty RC-1.
- Is there a way to move a block from Path 1 to Path 2? I tried copy and paste as well as just moving the block, but nothing seemed to work. I ended up just deleting the block and recreating it on the other path.
- I sure hope the updater or HX Edit work on Linux through Wine. I know AX8-Edit works perfectly through Wine, so I am hoping for the same here, if worse comes to worse I will have to figure something out for firmware updates.
- The hardware is incredibly sleek and sexy. Plus it just feels very solid. I baby my stuff, but this thing looks like it could take a beating.
Any other tips besides the things I asked about?