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Helix FAQ

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Wow. It looks smaller than an HD500x.

 

I just have questions regarding that big screen...

 

How resistant is it to scratches, cracking or minor bumps? I owned Zoom G3s, Digitech RPs etc and the screens show a lot of fine scratches after months of use. Overtime, the screen becomes riddles with scratches all over and the it's hard to see through it especially under the sun or under strong fluorescent light. How durable is it? 

 

It's a little bigger (and quite a bit heavier) than the HD500.

 

The screen seems similar to a tablet or smartphone screen. I don't know the specifications for the glass. I imagine you could be buy a screen protector that you'd use for a small tablet and cut it to size if you're really worried about scratching it.

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I'd kindly like to ask. Can the Helix serve as a slave for other modellers with its digital connections?

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I'd kindly like to ask. Can the Helix serve as a slave for other modellers with its digital connections?

 

Helix bows to no other modelers! ;)

 

I'm not sure if you're asking if it can be controlled by other gear via MIDI or if it can be used as a controller. But the answer to both questions is yes.

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Woah... Awesome video on the integration of the Variax and the Helix... Just what I was wondering... Any more videos out there on this?

 

Edit- oh, derp, just subscribed to Sweetwater's YouTube channel...

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I'd kindly like to ask. Can the Helix serve as a slave for other modellers with its digital connections?

 

Yes.

 

Funny aside: If you're an AxeFX user and want to get into Variax, it'll actually sound better if you add an HD Pro X (or HD Pro) in between. Variax to HD Pro X via VDI > HD Pro X to AxeFX via AES/EBU. Then run MIDI from AxeFX back into POD HD Pro X to sync preset selection, which will recall Variax settings per preset.

 

The whole rig is 100% digital with very little latency. Any effects or amps in HD are a bonus.

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Guys, I added a freeze effect to idea scale. I think it would be a sweet feature to have something like the EHX Freeze or even better, the Superego to use with a momentary switch. Go vote for it on the Helix campaign!

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Last year I asked about the HD500x and whether it could meet my needs, and the answer was "err... sort of, maybe". This looks more promising, so I may as well ask the same question. Assuming that patch switching time is still too long to be useful mid-song, will the interface, effects availability, and DSP capacity allow me to set the following chain up all within one preset?

 

signal1.png

And if so, can I:

  1. switch between those 2 parallel paths at the top with a single footswitch?
  2. maybe switch arbitrary sets of those effect blocks on and off with single footswitches, to simulate patch switching within a single patch? If so, is that limited to toggling, or can it be "set this block on, even if it's already on"?
  3. add a high gain amp sim in the bottom parallel path (so that I can test patches at home without my real amp)

2 final questions:

  • is there a noise gate option that can be active somewhere in the middle or end of the chain, but which is triggered by the guitar input rather than the input from the block prior to the noise gate itself?
  • is it possible to make it enter the Tuner mode when the volume pedal is switched to zero? This wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me but it's a feature I really like from the Boss GT range.

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Last year I asked about the HD500x and whether it could meet my needs, and the answer was "err... sort of, maybe". This looks more promising, so I may as well ask the same question. Assuming that patch switching time is still too long to be useful mid-song, will the interface, effects availability, and DSP capacity allow me to set the following chain up all within one preset?

 

signal1.png

And if so, can I:

  1. switch between those 2 parallel paths at the top with a single footswitch?
  2. maybe switch arbitrary sets of those effect blocks on and off with single footswitches, to simulate patch switching within a single patch? If so, is that limited to toggling, or can it be "set this block on, even if it's already on"?
  3. add a high gain amp sim in the bottom parallel path (so that I can test patches at home without my real amp)

2 final questions:

  • is there a noise gate option that can be active somewhere in the middle or end of the chain, but which is triggered by the guitar input rather than the input from the block prior to the noise gate itself?
  • is it possible to make it enter the Tuner mode when the volume pedal is switched to zero?

 

Yes.

 

1. Yes

2. Yes. Currently limited to toggling.

3. Yes.

• Currently no sidechaining of blocks.

• Currently no.

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Is it possible to use a switch to set parameters to certain values?

 

So... Example...

 

Switch 1 - amp 1 active, gain set to 9, amp 2 muted

Switch 2 - amp 1 muted, amp 2 active, gain set to 2

Switch 3 - amp 1 muted, amp 2 active, gain set to 5

 

In short... Can you have two amp models in a preset and use control switches to emulate a 4 channel amp setup?

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Will it be possible to connect Helix with hd500 without any A/D conversion?. Can the signal go out the Helix variax/aes/ebu connector and into the hd500 variax connector and then out the hd500 spdf connector back into the Helix? If yes, would this be a preferred means to connect? Are there other options? I thought I read someplace that the A/D coverters are much better on the Helix, so I am thinking the HD500 A/D is the weak link. there are FXs I want to use that are on the 500 and not yet on the Helix.

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Forgive me if this has been answered already - does Helix have delay and reverb "spillover" of trails between preset changes?

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no, but you can switch between 2 paths within a single preset and preserve them.

 

Forgive me if this has been answered already - does Helix have delay and reverb "spillover" of trails between preset changes?

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Helix when connected to PC work as  Audio Interface? Specifications?

 

Yes 8 in/ 8 out and re amping

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I see on the helix page the guitar input has 123 dB of dynamic range.

How does this compare to the HD500X?

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Is it possible to make a selection of switches "exclusive", e.g., I would like to setup 3 switches like so: one that is assigned to chorus, the next to phaser and the last to flanger. Now, when I select any of those 3 switches the other 2 would switch off. If this is possible, then it's nearly as good as the Axe FX scenes since (IIRC) each Helix switch can control up to 8 parameters.

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Helix when connected to PC work as  Audio Interface? Specifications?

 

What about latency on a Mac/PC as an audio interface... The HD500x is slow, IIRC way over 10ms which is about the limit for being able to use it with monitoring FX.

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I'm curious about the dynamic range too. DI said it had variable input impedance also. Is that assignable per patch or input or global?

 

I was also wondering if the s/pdif in/out can be used as a digital loop? Thanks!

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One of the most frustrating thing about the hd series was phase issues when dual tones were summed to mono, can you let us know if this is a potential issue on the helix or has it been designed to compensate for latency incurred on different signal paths so they remain in phase when summed?

 

Cheers.

If you have a moment to answer this one, that would be great.

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One of the most frustrating thing about the hd series was phase issues when dual tones were summed to mono, can you let us know if this is a potential issue on the helix or has it been designed to compensate for latency incurred on different signal paths so they remain in phase when summed?

 

Cheers.

 

I too would like to know this.

 

I would also like to know if the Dry track signal (that is sent to the PC/DAW) is a fixed volume, or is there a way to increase the volume (and only the volume) of that Dry Track?

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POD HD devices as Audio Interface has some problems about half-duplex mode limitations of port USB v2.0 specification. Actually, the specifications USB v3.0 and v3.1 allow full-duplex mode.

What is the USB port version of Helix HX devices?

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Oh, you mean the footswitches?

 

By default, there are two footswitch modes—Preset and Stomp. You toggle them with the MODE switch. In Preset mode, you get eight presets, in Stomp mode, you get eight stomps.

 

You can also customize how the switches appear. In Preset mode, you can choose to view four stomps on the top row (like HD500X) or the bottom row, and in Stomp mode, you can swap out Bank Up/Down for two more stomp switches. You can also repurpose Bank Up/Down as Preset Up/Down.

 

If you press Bank Up or Down, you'll queue the next eight presets (they'll flash). Then hit the desired preset switch.

Regarding preset mode....

I am particulary interested in how the 4 qty FX loops can be integrated in preset mode as i plan on integrating analog drive pedals along with helix effects and run that into a high headroom clean tube amp for live applications.

 

Can i place each loop ANYWHERE in the signal chain independently and program them to come in and out of the signal chain? and can i assign any loop to any preset footswitch position?

 

for example

Loop 1: analog drive pedal 1

Loop 2: analog drive pedal 2

Loop 3: analog fuzz pedal

Loop 4: analog compressor pedal

 

I'm hoping To use a bank per song and then...

 

Preset FSW1 bring loop 1 into the chain.

Preset FSW2 loop 3 and loop 1into chain

Preset FSW3 brings loop 4 into chain and no drives, but helix modulation and delay effects.

Preset FSW 4 brings loop 1 into chain plus helix delay.

Preset FSW 5 brings helix phaser + Loop 1 + Loop 2 and helix delay.

 

Etc.

Please let me know if this is possible. I have been trying to sort this on the gear page, but my understanding of preset and stomp mode has been greatly enhanced via my visit here.

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Sends/Returns - balanced or unbalanced?

 

Thanks

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I apologize if this has already been answered. I have an hd500. There are a few FX on 500 that are not yet on Helix. Is there a way to connect Helix and 500 digitally, so there are no D to A conversions needed? The 500 can accept a digital signal via the variax connection. Can the Helix route an acceptable digital signal out its Variax port to the 500's? If yes, then the 500 can output the signal via spdf and I believe the Helix has spdf input capability. Please let me know if possble or if there are other digital connection options open. Thanks

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Hopefully people won't hate our presets, but then again, if one were to find a stranger's iPod, there's a good chance they'd hate 90% of the songs on it. Presets are really, really subjective.

 

 

 

I didn't care for a lot of the presets on the HD500X at first. When the new Variax presets came out with the latest firmware version, they were based on actual songs. I was not familiar a lot of the songs and tunings, at least by title, but when I played the patches along with the originals on You Tube, I could hardly complain. They nailed the sound and I discovered a backdrop for the valid use of a patch. 

 

I have never thought much about Love the One You're With as a song to include in a set list until I played the patch with my Variax. What and amazing sound and tuning. Every customer I have demoed that patch to has been impressed, even if they have never heard of the song. the same goes for the rest of the patches in that set list. 

 

I played for an Elvis impressionist recently. I used Blue Suede Shoes (factory preset) as a template for modification and used it for most of the gig instead of my go to patches. Very cool.

 

So, I recommend, whenever possible, for the new patches to be referenced to a song. If you haven't done so, play every new HD500X patch along with the song, and then tell me if you think the patch sucks.

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Is there a way to connect Helix and 500 digitally, so there are no D to A conversions needed? The 500 can accept a digital signal via the variax connection. Can the Helix route an acceptable digital signal out its Variax port to the 500's? If yes, then the 500 can output the signal via spdf and I believe the Helix has spdf input capability. Please let me know if possble or if there are other digital connection options open. Thanks

 

You can route HD500 into Helix via S/PDIF, but there's no digital connection the other way.

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Hi,

I have a few questions:

 

1) There seems to be a gap between the left side of the expression pedal and the chassis. Are you able to recover objects (like thin guitar picks) that have fallen into that gap without opening the chassis?

 

2) Is there a way to adjust the resistance of the expression pedal (like on the HD500)?

 

3) Can the device take damage if you don't use the power switch, but instead use a power strip with a switch, to turn the device on and off?

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Hi,

I have a few questions:

 

1) There seems to be a gap between the left side of the expression pedal and the chassis. Are you able to recover objects (like thin guitar picks) that have fallen into that gap without opening the chassis?

 

2) Is there a way to adjust the resistance of the expression pedal (like on the HD500)?

 

3) Can the device take damage if you don't use the power switch, but instead use a power strip with a switch, to turn the device on and off?

 

1) No. 2) Yes, Helix includes a hex wrench. 3) A power strip's no problem.

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What does phones output equal to?

XLR's, 1/4" or can it be chosen as output by itself?

 

Thank you!

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What does phones output equal to? XLR's, 1/4" or can it be chosen as output by itself?

 

You can globally choose whether the PHONES output mirrors the Multi Output (1/4", XLR, Digital, USB 1/2"), 1/4" only, or XLR only.

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On Sweetwater's product page the USB port says "USB audio interface with re-amping".  Can you explain how this works?  The HD series fails terribly with reamping (convoluted process and not exactly noise free) and I'm curious as to how easy/noise free this process is with the Helix.

 

I'm expecting that you would have to go something along the lines of Interface SPDIF out > Helix > Helix SPDIF OUT > Interface SPDIF in to avoid the A/D & impedence conversions (thus reducing noise), but would like to know your recommendations.

 

Also, when can we expect to hear sound samples outside of the Plexi model?  Before Sweetwater's 24-month financing ends?

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On Sweetwater's product page the USB port says "USB audio interface with re-amping". Can you explain how this works?

 

The manual has a whole section on re-amping with Helix, which should be out before release. Basically, USB out 7 and 8 are dedicated for dry, unprocessed outputs (USB out 7's fed directly from the Guitar In, and USB out 8's fed directly from the Mic In, but these can be globally changed). Record two tracks in your DAW—one set to input 1/2 for stereo processing and another set to input 7 for dry, unprocessed guitar. Route this dry track back through Helix for re-amping.

 

Helix will have re-amping templates set up and ready to go.

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One more question please!

You've mentioned somewhere that the most of effects including distortions will include MIX parameter

I'm as bass player very interested in clean blend!

But all the videos that I've seen shows no such parameter on Drives =(

Where's the truth?

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One more question please!

You've mentioned somewhere that the most of effects including distortions will include MIX parameter

I'm as bass player very interested in clean blend!

But all the videos that I've seen shows no such parameter on Drives =(

Where's the truth?

They were saying that the Distortions/overdrives don't have clean blend, but that the architecture of Helix makes it easy to instantly create dual paths, one clean and one with a OD inline. Be that as it may, I would love it if the clean blend was just kind of 'there' all the time as a parameter.

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OK, got it.

So, how many splits and merges I can put within one audio path?

One pair like in HD500 or as many sa I want?

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They were saying that the Distortions/overdrives don't have clean blend, but that the architecture of Helix makes it easy to instantly create dual paths, one clean and one with a OD inline. Be that as it may, I would love it if the clean blend was just kind of 'there' all the time as a parameter.

Yes, please! It would seem simple enough to code it. There's no reason to stick with characteristics of the original modeled units that limit their use in a modeling device. For instance, there is no reason the chorus effect should give a volume boost (assuming the original did this). This sort of duplication does no one any good.

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So, how many splits and merges I can put within one audio path?

 

One split per path, but you can route Path 1A (and/or 1B) to both Paths 2A and 2B, so one might consider this a third split.

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Hi. can I use the Helix like a pedalboard in my amp's effects loop? If so, how would one do this? I have not seen this question asked before. Thanks!

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Also, when can we expect to hear sound samples outside of the Plexi model?  Before Sweetwater's 24-month financing ends?

 

Does Sweetwater's 24-month financing ever end?  I've seen it jump up to 36 a few times a year and then it drops back to 24.

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