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Digital_Igloo

Helix FAQ

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Hi,
I'm a bass player and I've been a occasionally Line 6 user with my old Bass Pod Xt and a (very good) Relay G30.
I've been very disappointed by the Pod HD X and the very tiny number of bass amps and effects. And same disappointment for the Firehawk.
 
I was thinking about buying a KPA when I've seen the new Helix. But, one more time, I'm a bit disappointed by the amps list that I've seen in this topic.
Obviously, B15, SVT and GK RB800 are incredible legendary amps but what about more "exotic" stuff ? Like Sunn or Aguilar amps ?
 
More and more bass players have a complete pedalboard with drives (B3K Powa !), fuzz or strange effects like bass synths & modulations and we want an efficient lightweight solution too ! (A Marshall JC800 and a 4*12 cab are really easy to transport if you compare with a SVT and the 8*10 cab ! :p)
 
IMO, An Axe Fx is really to expensive for bass players regarding the bass simulations that are inside. And KPA is not suitable in terms of bass effects availables.
So please this time, don't underestimate bass players, there is a market to take (that is currently taken by Zoom B3...) :)
 
 

 

(Sorry for grammar mistakes, I'm not a english native speaker)

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Hi,
I'm a bass player and I've been a occasionally Line 6 user with my old Bass Pod Xt and a (very good) Relay G30.
I've been very disappointed by the Pod HD X and the very tiny number of bass amps and effects. And same disappointment for the Firehawk.
 
I was thinking about buying a KPA when I've seen the new Helix. But, one more time, I'm a bit disappointed by the amps list that I've seen in this topic.
Obviously, B15, SVT and GK RB800 are incredible legendary amps but what about more "exotic" stuff ? Like Sunn or Aguilar amps ?
 
More and more bass players have a complete pedalboard with drives (B3K Powa !), fuzz or strange effects like bass synths & modulations and we want an efficient lightweight solution too ! (A Marshall JC800 and a 4*12 cab are really easy to transport if you compare with a SVT and the 8*10 cab ! :P)
 
IMO, An Axe Fx is really to expensive for bass players regarding the bass simulations that are inside. And KPA is not suitable in terms of bass effects availables.
So please this time, don't underestimate bass players, there is a market to take (that is currently taken by Zoom B3...) :)
 
 

 

(Sorry for grammar mistakes, I'm not a english native speaker)

 

 

Put your ideas to ideascale at

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/ideas/top/campaign-filter/byids/campaigns/51424

 

and I'll vote it up. I'd like some Sunn too and a Marshall Super Bass. Plus some bass-specific compressors, distortions and EQs would be nice too.

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Digital Igloo, I can't seem to find an answer from you on the throughput-latency question I asked 4 or 5 pages back. Do you have a figure in ms for, say, an analog-source guitar through the Helix to its main outs?

 

Any response will be appreciated.

BUMP! 

 

I'll be benchmarking my Helix with it arrives anyway, but low latency is a very important characteristic to me, so I'd love to know what to expect, in terms of MS delay and/or samples. 

 

I'm assuming that on the Helix, each insert is a movable effect block, and so would have it's own A/D - is this correct?   I'm a little concerned about having up to five AD and five DA conversions in a 4cm setup with 3 looped pedals - all those buffers can add up.  On my G-System rig I have a similar setup, but with onboard and outboard ADC.   Wehn I add in a SoundBlox Overdrive, Line 6 M5 and Eventide H9 (all with their own AD/DA)  I can really feel how late the sound is.  Hopefully the Helix can obsolete some of these and other pedals just with it's own effects. 

 

Thanks, 

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Two Helix questions:

   1) Are the LCDs bright enough to easily see for daytime/outdoor bright sunny gigs?

   2) Does it have spillover capability? (1 patch has delay, change to 2nd patch and still hear spillover delay trail from first patch)

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Two Helix questions:

   1) Are the LCDs bright enough to easily see for daytime/outdoor bright sunny gigs?

 

From what I've read apparently so.

 

   2) Does it have spillover capability? (1 patch has delay, change to 2nd patch and still hear spillover delay trail from first patch)

From what I've read not at launch. But you could have enough going on in one patch to not need to change patches. Obviously that depends on your use scenario.

 

Another way to get delay spillover possibly would be using an external delay perhaps in one of the loops. Especially if the delay were MIDI capable. I'm speculating a bit here but just some ideas.

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Another way to get delay spillover possibly would be using an external delay perhaps in one of the loops. Especially if the delay were MIDI capable. I'm speculating a bit here but just some ideas.

 

It would be even better if you could set up a Global signal path (with, for instance, delay and reverb), then use Send and Return blocks in each preset, all within the Helix itself.

 

A man can dream...  Maybe I'll throw it up on IdeaScale.

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It would be even better if you could set up a Global signal path (with, for instance, delay and reverb), then use Send and Return blocks in each preset, all within the Helix itself.

 

A man can dream... Maybe I'll throw it up on IdeaScale.

That's a cool idea, but I think for it to work the Helix would need the capability to run a couple of virtualised instances of itself, so if delay was in one instance and the other instance fed into it. Then one instance could change presets while the other did not.

 

This idea exists in mainstream computing where a device can run various virtual devices that are distinct to each other. But that takes a lot more compute power than is likely to work in a floor box.

 

I can see that for some the Helix will become the hub for various other boxes from L6 or others that can be added in order to create a flexible rig.

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That's a cool idea, but I think for it to work the Helix would need the capability to run a couple of virtualised instances of itself, so if delay was in one instance and the other instance fed into it. Then one instance could change presets while the other did not. 

 

 

Agreed.  Ultimately, only the Line 6 devs know whether there's enough power under the hood to do what I'm describing without compromising the system as it's already architected.

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I've discussed spillover at length elsewhere, but the gist is this:

The only way to get true total preset spillover is to dedicate an additional 100% DSP to spillover and only spillover. This of course could also mean halving the sound quality. The only modeler on the planet that does true preset spillover is the DigiTech GSP-1101, which has two DSP chips, one of which dedicated to nothing but spillover.

Other products utilize Global Delay or Reverb blocks to varying degrees of success. This is very different from true preset spillover.

And yes, this absolutely should be on IdeaScale, and I will absolutely vote it up. Really surprised it wasn't already. Why is our internal Helix Wish List 20 times longer than yours? You guys be slackin'! ;)

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Why is our internal Helix Wish List 20 times longer than yours? You guys be slackin'! ;)

That is actually a good thing. Means you guys are on your lollipop, rather than waiting for us to suggest them ;-).

 

EDIT: Definitely didn't write lollipop :-D.

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Why is our internal Helix Wish List 20 times longer than yours? You guys be slackin'! ;)

Cause you guys have been thinking about it since 2008!      :)

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Cause you guys have been thinking about it since 2008!      :)

Good point! :-)

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Cause you guys have been thinking about it since 2008!      :)

 

Touché.  :D

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I've seen some questions about the Helix control. I think th equestions and responses were a bit over my head.

 

Basically i want to know if I could control my Axe Fx 2 with this unit?

 

You will sell A LOT of these if it can act as a stand alone midi controller. What an amazing platform? I would happily sell my Fractal foot controller in preference for the Helix control if it is up to the task of controlling other gear.

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Helix control will only control Helix rack and basically anything on a mac/pc

it does not have midi ports that could be used to control other equipment.

(just USB and ethernet based helix control port as far as i know...)

you might be able to control something like that if your helix control is plugged into a Helix rack and the axefx is plugged into its midi ports....

but not thinking that's what you were getting at.....

 

 

I've seen some questions about the Helix control. I think th equestions and responses were a bit over my head.

 

Basically i want to know if I could control my Axe Fx 2 with this unit?

 

You will sell A LOT of these if it can act as a stand alone midi controller. What an amazing platform? I would happily sell my Fractal foot controller in preference for the Helix control if it is up to the task of controlling other gear.

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Helix control will only control Helix rack and basically anything on a mac/pc

it does not have midi ports that could be used to control other equipment.

(just USB and ethernet based helix control port as far as i know...)

you might be able to control something like that if your helix control is plugged into a Helix rack and the axefx is plugged into its midi ports....

but not thinking that's what you were getting at.....

 

Not to sound negative at all but that really sucks. Haha. I'm kinda devastated about that. It is such an impressive floor unit I really think you guys should adapt that platform (or release another based on it) to be a midi controller for anything. It looks amazing!! Big clear display and having the light up switches and LCDs for each switch puts it way upfront. Frankly it would kick the lollipope out of the Fractal controller. Waaaa not fair!

 

 

I really want something to replace my current midi controller and I would buy this in a heart beat if it were usable for other devices.

 

Do you think you guys might release something in the same form as a midi controller that can control a wide variety of units/applications?

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Helix control will only control Helix rack and basically anything on a mac/pc

 

Helix Control doesn't work directly with a Mac/PC. USB and DC in are for potential future implementation (which may never see the light of day; we just wanted a bit of futureproofing, just in case).

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Not to sound negative at all but that really sucks. Haha. I'm kinda devastated about that. It is such an impressive floor unit I really think you guys should adapt that platform (or release another based on it) to be a midi controller for anything. It looks amazing!! Big clear display and having the light up switches and LCDs for each switch puts it way upfront. Frankly it would kick the lollipope out of the Fractal controller. Waaaa not fair!

 

Do you think you guys might release something in the same form as a midi controller that can control a wide variety of units/applications?

 

If Helix Control had the UI, I/O compliment, MCU, file management, and embedded system R&D to work completely standalone, it'd cost way more than $499. If people want us to build a standalone MIDI controller (note that the market for those types of products is extremely small), IdeaScale is their refuge.

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I'm curious how well Helix works as an audio interface, besides its guitar use. With several analog and a digital I/O, plus a mic pre, I could see patching some pres into it. The questions would be, are the converters up to the quality of mid priced recording gear, and are the drivers optimized and robust enough for this type of use?

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I've only one question, DI:

 

Has throughput latency been drastically reduced, or has the increased available DSP been commensurately annulled by the increase in code complexity and concurrent (parallel and FX) simulation demands?

 

I had a major issue feeling "disconnected" from the guitar through the HD500, and this problem was obviously exacerbated when I plugged either of my JTVs into it. Any sense of immediacy and "connection with the instrument" was lost. I cannot overstate what an issue this was for me and how it prevented me from playing; the joy was lost, I'm sorry to say.

 

Thank you for hosting this Q&A mate; it's much appreciated by all here, I reckon.

 

Thank you.

 

That was 5 pages ago. I've asked the question again, and at least two others have plus-oned and bumped the thread.

 

So... bump.

 

For what it's worth, the Kemper's is 3ms. No feeling of being disconnected there. In fact, the sense of immediacy is, well, exhilarating. I'm putting it down to the fact that the profiles are only 1 or 2k in size; the CPU chip is over 3 years old...

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Can the Helix do dual outputs like this:

Output 1: Tube Power amp with pre amp sim on. Cab sim off.
Output 2: Out to House PA amp sim on, Cab sim on. 

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Can the Helix do dual outputs like this:

 

Output 1: Tube Power amp with pre amp sim on. Cab sim off.

Output 2: Out to House PA amp sim on, Cab sim on.

Yes.

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I'm curious how well Helix works as an audio interface, besides its guitar use. With several analog and a digital I/O, plus a mic pre, I could see patching some pres into it. The questions would be, are the converters up to the quality of mid priced recording gear, and are the drivers optimized and robust enough for this type of use?

Bump me up

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If Helix Control had the UI, I/O compliment, MCU, file management, and embedded system R&D to work completely standalone, it'd cost way more than $499. If people want us to build a standalone MIDI controller (note that the market for those types of products is extremely small), IdeaScale is their refuge.

 

 

Thanks for the response. I'm surprised to hear you say that the Market for Midi controllers is so small. As more and more people move toward digital rigs there are more people needing midi controllers. I never needed one until I got my Axe Fx. To be fair, a midi controller doesn't need a super duper U/I as most programming would be done with a software editor.

 

There aren't many really good midi controllers. Having individual LCDs for each switch is a game changer. Only the Liquid Foot + has this so far.

 

The Fractal MFC 101 isn't even that great and that was designed to be used with the Axe Fx.

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I haven't seen the idea to split amp models into pre and power amp blocks to enable a virtual FX loop, mixing and matching diff pre's and power sections, etc, so I created a new entry in IdeaScale:

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Independent-pre-and-power-amp-blocks/748793-23508?submitted=1

 

I understand cabs are already their own independent blocks, but if this is not the case, please let me know.

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I haven't seen the idea to split amp models into pre and power amp blocks to enable a virtual FX loop, mixing and matching diff pre's and power sections, etc, so I created a new entry in IdeaScale:

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Independent-pre-and-power-amp-blocks/748793-23508?submitted=1

 

I understand cabs are already their own independent blocks, but if this is not the case, please let me know.

 

I've been waiting for that one since HD came out. Nice  ;) 

Voted!

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I haven't seen the idea to split amp models into pre and power amp blocks to enable a virtual FX loop, mixing and matching diff pre's and power sections, etc, so I created a new entry in IdeaScale:

 

http://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Independent-pre-and-power-amp-blocks/748793-23508?submitted=1

 

I understand cabs are already their own independent blocks, but if this is not the case, please let me know.

 

Voted

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Congrats on a fine looking product.  To date I've owned the AX212, Pod HD400, HD500, HD500X, DT50 and DT25 so I'm a Line 6 fan and always have been for a long time now.  I'm glad to see you guys step up your game to a higher tier and I think you'll compete well there.

 

Recently I've had time with the AxeFx 2 XL and Kemper and if there is any advice I could give you it is as follows:

 

1.  Please don't slap together 256 presets to ship with.  You need to spend some serious time working on those.  Fractal and Kemper have - and they are wonderful.  They need to have balanced volume.  They need to be usable - very usable.  I should be able to power on the unit and plug it in and be so impressed with the first few presets I can't put down my guitar for days.  There should be 2-3 presets in the first 10 where people say the unit is worth the cost just for those presets.  I should know how they were designed - like these first 5 work best direct or with headphones, the next 5 sound best in the return of an amp, etc.

 

2.  Keep in mind when you are designing your presets your users aren't running through a multi thousand dollar mixing console (well most of them).  You need to think about the user who is plugging directly into a set of low-mid grade studio monitors (or headphones) - how does he perceive this?  As he moves through the patches does it go from blasting harsh to he can't even hear it?  Balance that stuff out because they won't have a board that influences the tone and volume like you will.

 

3.  With all the wild variations in volume on every single thing we need a way to balance volume - and not just by ear.

 

4.  I am sure you will have software to load on Mac or PC to edit this thing and for the love of God, please, make it's resolution adjustable so I don't have to stare at my 27 inch monitor and edit a box the size of a business card.

 

THIS!  A thousand times this.  What landon79 wrote is the single biggest issue I have with the POD floorboards.  I've been using them in live band settings since the PODXT.  Now I'm using the POD HD500 and I look forward to checking out the Helix. But failure to get SOLID, USABLE, NORMALIZED patches right out of the box is the products' biggest failing.  

 

And what's even worse, this should be something that Line6 can fix pretty easily.  It's just a matter of the experts at the labs spending time with them.

 

To get a good tone that works well in a live setting you have to work at it.  Sure sitting in the basement each amp sound sounds great.  But playing with a band and playing out brings out the warts.  Is it "easy" to adjust tone and volume?  Yes.  Is it easy to find band-setting live usable tones that are all normalized across your setlist.  Not at all. It's the main thing I've struggled with, and still struggle with, using Line6 products.  

 

Address what landon79 wrote, and you have a major improvement to the product without any hardware or software cost, that will make your customers extremely happy, and make the product more usable out of the box.

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I've discussed spillover at length elsewhere, but the gist is this:

 

The only way to get true total preset spillover is to dedicate an additional 100% DSP to spillover and only spillover. This of course could also mean halving the sound quality. The only modeler on the planet that does true preset spillover is the DigiTech GSP-1101, which has two DSP chips, one of which dedicated to nothing but spillover.

 

Other products utilize Global Delay or Reverb blocks to varying degrees of success. This is very different from true preset spillover.

 

And yes, this absolutely should be on IdeaScale, and I will absolutely vote it up. Really surprised it wasn't already. Why is our internal Helix Wish List 20 times longer than yours? You guys be slackin'! ;)

Many of us already voted the scene mode (Fractal-way) on ideascale.

If you will implement a proper scene-mode (see Fractal FX-8 or Axe-Fx II) there will be no need for spillover through patches for the 99% of the customers.

This is the ultimate solution for spillover and patch-change latency problems. :)

 

No need of extra power, only programming because you basically remain in one patch and you select for each footswitch wich effects are on and wich are off.

So no toggling effects (as in footswitch mode) but a more flexible and smart way to change sounds: when you pass from fs1 to fs2 for example, fs1 shuts down so you can recall only the effects you need without any tip-tap.

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For the love of all things, put out a demo that actually covers what this thing has in it! Everyday I look and don't find one, I die a little!

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For the love of all things, put out a demo that actually covers what this thing has in it! Everyday I look and don't find one, I die a little!

 

If one had a long afternoon, they could conceivably write the Helix manual just from reading threads on this forum and that monster one on The Gear Page. I'd really like for the manual to not be full of surprises when it finally drops; hence, I've been curbing enthusiasm where appropriate.

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If one had a long afternoon, they could conceivably write the Helix manual just from reading threads on this forum and that monster one on The Gear Page. I'd really like for the manual to not be full of surprises when it finally drops; hence, I've been curbing enthusiasm where appropriate.

Oh, I know haha. There is a ton of information in here. Reading about it and hearing it are two different things though. With that being said, it's nothing on you guys! I'm just anxious to see/hear it. You guys have answered tons of questions and I do appreciate it!

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The Helix switches are like the upgraded HD500X switches. I don't know if they are the exact same mechanism as the HD500X, but they are definitely not the same as the M-series and HD500.

 

This is my concern as well because I just had to purchase my second HD500X to get me through a couple of gigs.

 

The footswitches on my first 500X starting behaving the same way as blitzt29's HD500 (switches sometimes needing more than one press to activate).  Then recently during a live show (a couple of shows actually), my patches starting changing by themselves!  Mid-song!  I cannot verify this but, I think as my switches have worn over time, they have become very susceptible to vibration, whether it be stage vibration or strong bass notes from our bass player.  The unit is not even two years old and I'm very gentle with my gear.  I've noticed many of the switches no longer "click" when depressed.  I am hoping I can order replacements from Line 6 to get my first unit back up and running.

 

So, all this to say that I really want a Helix but, even though it's built like a tank, if the footswitches are the same as in the HD500X then that worries me.

 

For what it's worth, I had footswitch problems way back when I had a Vetta and it's footcontroller (I think it was called FB1).  Line 6 was gracious enough to send me replacements free of charge.

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This is my concern as well because I just had to purchase my second HD500X to get me through a couple of gigs.

 

The footswitches on my first 500X starting behaving the same way as blitzt29's HD500 (switches sometimes needing more than one press to activate).  Then recently during a live show (a couple of shows actually), my patches starting changing by themselves!  Mid-song!  I cannot verify this but, I think as my switches have worn over time, they have become very susceptible to vibration, whether it be stage vibration or strong bass notes from our bass player.  The unit is not even two years old and I'm very gentle with my gear.  I've noticed many of the switches no longer "click" when depressed.  I am hoping I can order replacements from Line 6 to get my first unit back up and running.

 

So, all this to say that I really want a Helix but, even though it's built like a tank, if the footswitches are the same as in the HD500X then that worries me.

 

For what it's worth, I had footswitch problems way back when I had a Vetta and it's footcontroller (I think it was called FB1).  Line 6 was gracious enough to send me replacements free of charge.

 

Similar issue here... Half my HD500x switches were no longer "clicking" after a year of use. So much for "Pro-grade footswitches" hey, anyway... this is what I did to fix the problem myself:

 

  

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Are you implying that the Helix's switches are the same as the X3? or the non-HD Pod 500's? If that's the case there is reason for concern. I had switches on a earlier pod fail and have to be replaced. I had a HD500X and never had that problem with the switches and I believe that they updated the switches on the HD model, and they were less prone to failure then the ones used before. I would like to think that the switches on the Helix are even more robust that the ones used on the HD500X considering the price difference.

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