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Helix True Bypass?


blitzt29
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I've been using the M13 for 5...6 years now. The thing I like most about the M13 is that I can run my effects in front of the amp like a traditional pedal board.  I like the fact that my M13 is a TRUE BYPASS unit.  

 

I also have the HD500.  My only complaint about the HD500 was that it wasn't a TRUE BYPASS.  I'm not interested in the amp modeling like some guitarists are.  I just want to use the effects only without the HD500 coloring my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier's tone.  So I never used it in a live gig.  I only used my HD500 to jam at home, or I took it to band rehearsal when I didn't feel like carrying my amp around.  That's the only time I ever used it for amp modeling.    

 

So I only have one question about the Helix.  Is the Line 6 Helix a TRUE BYPASS unit like the M13?  

 

I want to be able to have the choice to use the Helix in TRUE BYPASS mode when I'm playing live.  With that said I would also use the full features of the Helix (amp modeling with effects) in the recording studio.  :)  

 

TRUE BYPASS?  Yes?  No?  

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It's not true bypass. The rack version does have an analog dry out that you could conceivably use as a bypass signal if you wanted. The bypass is very transparent to my ears, though. If you set the 1/4" outs to instrument level and turn the master volume knob to max, you're at unity gain. Frankly, if you're going straight into Helix with your guitar and then into your amp, you probably wouldn't want it to be true bypass. That would mean you're actually hearing all the losses from your cable runs. A well-designed buffer is a much better solution in that situation.

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>That would mean you're actually hearing all the losses from your cable runs....<

 

there shouldn´t be so much cable runs, when i decide to go with helix...

 

> A well-designed buffer is a much better solution in that situation....<

 

that´s always the companies` argument ...in fact it´s a cost factor, and that´s a pitty...i´m pretty disappointed that the pre-amp path has not got a true bypass option...also the post-fx-path would be great with an anolog dry through!...as many professional units these days have...

 

the unit seems to be the guitarists´ dream come true...for me it would have been perfect with these options...so we have to wait for the one perfect solution...;-)

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True bypass makes sense in something like M13 where there are 4 simultaneous effects and it's only one effect per switch. Turn four switches off—done. It also makes sense when chaining multiple single stomps, obviously.

 

But a product like Helix? I mean, what are you going to do when 18 of 27 blocks are assigned to 10 switches, some in opposite bypass states? Turn as many off with the switches as you can, and then manually select each of the remaining blocks and press the BYPASS button? 

 

Cost has nothing to do with it.

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there shouldn´t be so much cable runs, when i decide to go with helix...

 

 

Well, if I'd probably be using a 20' cable to go into the Helix, and then a 20' or more cable going from the Helix to the amp. That would be like using a 40 or 50' cable to go straight into the amp. You would definitely be losing a lot of the high end of the guitar.

 

This video is a good example of what was talking about. Where true bypass makes sense is if you have a long line of pedals. It usually is smart to have a good buffered pedal as the first in the chain, and then have true bypass down the line.

 

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I don't think a product like this can or should be true bypass.  What is important is whether or not there is ANY tone suck when it is on with no effects or amp blocks activated.  If the tone is perfectly passed to your amp, true bypass is irrelevant.  I would hope at this price they have top notch A/D converters and true high fidelity components throughout the entire audio path.  This is not the unit to pinch pennies on at the component level...

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sorry...don´t agree...i like the signal to be very pure...

 

i want to use the unit mainly as an fx-board in 4CM. most of the time i don´t want any pedal, nor even of course some AD/DA conversion in front of my amp...at the moment, i´m running an M5 in front of my amp f.e. - 95% of the time i don´t use it, and it´s true bypassed...for sure i wouldnt have it in my chain, if my signal went through AD/DA conversion all of the time!!!

 

also for the post fx...most of the time just a hair of reverb or delay..i want this path as well to have an analog dry through...there´s been units 20 years ago, that were able to do so...!!! (lexicon mpx g2 f.e....)

 

so i want to have the 4CM hooked up and for the sounds i play really most of the time pure amp tone with just a hair of delay or reverb, and this only about 20-30% going through AD/DA conversion in the fx loop...ok? ;-) this would tonewise make this unit a dream come true for all guitarists...

 

and concerning the buffer...yes - i´d like a buffer...an analog pedal - without AD/DA conversion!...ask pete thorn, why he´s using a musicom lab looper and if he would love to pass some AD/DA conversion in front of his amps...

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Well, if I'd probably be using a 20' cable to go into the Helix, and then a 20' or more cable going from the Helix to the amp. That would be like using a 40 or 50' cable to go straight into the amp. You would definitely be losing a lot of the high end of the guitar.

 

This video is a good example of what was talking about. Where true bypass makes sense is if you have a long line of pedals. It usually is smart to have a good buffered pedal as the first in the chain, and then have true bypass down the line.

 

of course you´re right...that´s been a silly argumet of mine...;-)!...but also buffers definitely do sound different... (i´ve got one built in my g lab gsc5 and though i´m using a custom built buffer pedal, just because it does sound a little better...) and i don´t want to go to a digital unit through AD/DA conversion, just to use a buffer...!

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ok, no true bypass, but is it analog thru, so when no fx are on, the signal doesn't go thru the a/d converters?

 

 

Analog through is a must! As others said analog buffering is no prob. One of the big reasons people don't like the 4 cable method is because of the AD/DA convertion of the dry signal, which is not even close to being transparent especially with highr gain settings.

 

What is interesting the TC Electronics G Major rack unit also doesn't have analog through, everything is sent to the AD/DA converters and many people don't like running it in serial lopps because of this. The high gain channels don't sound good. But all of the TC Electronics pedals are Analog dry through and sound great, and TC Electronics realy pushes the analog dry through.

 

 

What is interesting back in the late 80's and early to mid 90's most high end rack gear were all analog dry through because they didn't have enough processing power to run everthing through. Those units sound better frpm the dry signal point of view than most of the mid range gear today.

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I don't think a product like this can or should be true bypass.  What is important is whether or not there is ANY tone suck when it is on with no effects or amp blocks activated.  If the tone is perfectly passed to your amp, true bypass is irrelevant.  I would hope at this price they have top notch A/D converters and true high fidelity components throughout the entire audio path.  This is not the unit to pinch pennies on at the component level...

 

 

Tone sucking comes from several situations.

 

1. When using most typical tube amplifiers, the Effects loop send is about +4 dB wich is line level signal, most guitar pedals are designed  for -10 dB. The amps "hot" signal overloads the pedal input casing tone sucking. Some pedals are designed to take the hotter signal but most are not.

 

2. Poorly designed FX loops in tube amps. Many tube amps go the cheap route and the amp builder/designer is an idiot (many high end botiques fall into this category). The effercts send is not buffered (attenuated down to -10 db and the impedance is low to drive the effects) This is the majority of the  cause of the Tone sucking experience people have. An FX loop is an Audio 101 device, very simple. The job is to attenuated the signal going out and drive it at a low impedance, and then amplify the signal back up on the return. This is very easy to do, but it blows my mind on how many amp makes don't do this correctly. Why? Well most amp makes simply copy designs and vary things a tad and through their name and paint on it,

 

3. And the last reason, running the dry signal through AD/DA converters. If you think about it, it is not the dry signal anymore.

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And the last reason, running the dry signal through AD/DA converters. If you think about it, it is not the dry signal anymore.

 

all good points.  All I am saying is the only time this unit could be true bypass is if you were not using anything in it.  In that case I don't understand why you would want to spend that kind of money for this piece of gear.  True bypass only makes sense to me for single effects so that when you turn them off, the signal bypasses rather than still going through the off circuits.  The signal has to go through at least two AD converters to use any part of Helix so as I said above, the real question is whether the unit introduces any tone suck when connected.

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all good points.  All I am saying is the only time this unit could be true bypass is if you were not using anything in it.  In that case I don't understand why you would want to spend that kind of money for this piece of gear.  True bypass only makes sense to me for single effects so that when you turn them off, the signal bypasses rather than still going through the off circuits.  The signal has to go through at least two AD converters to use any part of Helix so as I said above, the real question is whether the unit introduces any tone suck when connected.

no...the true bypass is important for the "pre-amp"-path of the 4CM only...cause as i said - most of the time i don´t use any pedal in front of the amp...

for the amps fx-loop-path, it´s important that the unit had an analog dry through...that means that only the amount of signal that is ment to be wet really goes through AD/DA conversion...me f.e. - most of the time i only use some delay or reverb to my ampsound within the fx loop...and that only about 20% wet...with an analog dry through that means only these 20% of the signal is going through AD/DA conversion, while 80% stays analog...

 

so this way i could have my mostly used sounds without any AD/DA conversion in front of the amp, and only about 20-50% in my fx-loop converted...reality with this unit in 4CM is though, the guitar signal goes through full AD/DA conversion in front of the amp, even if i don´t use any fx in front of the amp...and also a second time in the fx loop...that really is a pitty...

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is there any other MultiFX unit that does it the way you describe?  interesting...

sure...

 

true bypass:

line6 M5/9/13

fractal audio fx8 and many others

 

analog dry through:  ( http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-is-analog-dry-through/ )

rocktron units (20 years old) intellifex and also the newer xpression (and many more)

lexicon mpx units

korg sdd3000 delay

tc electronic triple delay and flashback x4 and i´m sure many others

strymon pedals ( http://www.strymon.net/support/faqs/does-flint-have-an-analog-dry-path/ )

seymour duncan deja vu

boss DD2-5

ibanez DDL/DML/10/20

damage control timeline

mad professor deep blue delay

t rex replica

DLS echo tap

wampler faux tape echo and the faux analog echo delay pedals

dr scientist sunny day delay

providence delay pedals

free the tone flight time

and many, many more...;-)

 

so that´s the reason for me to play a line6 m5 in front of my amp now (because most of the time it is not engaged and true bypass) and a korg sdd3000 delay pedal in my fx loop (with analog dry through) so most of the time there´s only about 20-40% of my wet fx-loop signal passing through AD/DA converters, the rest stays analog...and i´m sure, that´s why it sounds and feels great...and that´s what i expected for the one and only unit to use...

 

so when i saw helix first time, i really thought it´s got everything to make any guitarists dream come true...now i got to say - if it would have got these options it even could have become many tone nerds`s dream come true...;-)

 

though i got to say - this unit really looks amazing, amazing, amazing!!! nearly everything seems perfect!!! ...nearly...;-)

 

is there any chance this could be implemented in the future...?

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I feel exactly the same way as you... but at least we still have the opportunity to use the pre FX section in the loop of for example an Axess GRX4, and the post FX section in a suhr MiniMix. That would be a workaround. The Axess is midicontrollable, so you could save it's loop status in a preset, and the MiniMix has a controll in jack, which allows you to kill it's dry path, if you for example need some 100% wet sounds from the Helix, like Amp Models or a Whammy... I guess we'll just have to see how much it actually colours the dry signal or not.

If it does, but the FX sound great, I'll just use my MiniMix with it, and have it in the Loop of my Friedman - as a start ;)

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True bypass makes sense in something like M13 where there are 4 simultaneous effects and it's only one effect per switch. Turn four switches off—done. It also makes sense when chaining multiple single stomps, obviously.

 

But a product like Helix? I mean, what are you going to do when 18 of 27 blocks are assigned to 10 switches, some in opposite bypass states? Turn as many off with the switches as you can, and then manually select each of the remaining blocks and press the BYPASS button? 

 

Cost has nothing to do with it.

i don´t really get what you´re saying here and i´ve also got no idea how this is technically done, but what  i want is a true bypass from the first main input to the amp send...the fractal audio fx8 has got this feature, maybe ask there...?  

post-49760-0-62579700-1434464544_thumb.jpg

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i don´t really get what you´re saying here and i´ve also got no idea how this is technically done, but what i want is a true bypass from the first main input to the amp send...the fractal audio fx8 has got this feature, maybe ask there...?

Zwischenablage02.jpg

It says right in the blurb there "the buffered signal". Sounds like it's a buffered path that merely avoids the DSP portion of it, but is still buffered, not true bypass. Some pretty good word wizardry there though, hoping folks don't catch the word "buffered".
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It says right in the blurb there "the buffered signal". Sounds like it's a buffered path that merely avoids the DSP portion of it, but is still buffered, not true bypass. Some pretty good word wizardry there though, hoping folks don't catch the word "buffered".

the point is not the buffer...nothing against a buffer, if it sounds good...it´s AD/DA conversion!! 

post-49760-0-62621400-1434532736_thumb.jpg

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No. You said true bypass. Can't change now and say buffered is ok. Not the same. Don't tout the fx8 as true bypass when it's buffered. Can't have it both ways. But I understand what you are saying. The less signal change the better.

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oh yes, i can...;-)...i´ve read the manual and it says "true bypass"...if you say, it´s not...o.k. - no idea why they can say so, when it´s not...really interesting...didn´t anybody on the fractal forum ask them...?...but i think the more important part here is AD/DA conversion..., isn´t it...?

what does the line6 management think, Digital_Igloo...?

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Buffered bypass and true bypass are definitely not the same thing, but buffered bypass doesn't mean there's an AD/DA conversion either. According to the manual excerpt above, there's a buffered analog path and a DSP path with relays switching between them. This actually isn't too different than how the M13 works, except the the M13's analog path isn't buffered - it's really true bypass. The way to test whether something is buffered or true bypass is to see if it passes audio while powered off. If it does, then it's true bypass.

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oh yes, i can...;-)...i´ve read the manual and it says "true bypass"...if you say, it´s not...o.k. - no idea why they can say so, when it´s not...really interesting...didn´t anybody on the fractal forum ask them...?...but i think the more important part here is AD/DA conversion..., isn´t it...?

what does the line6 management think, Digital_Igloo...?

It's capitalized, which leads me to believe it's a trademarked phrase. I don't care enough about it to ask anyone at fractal though :) I'm fine with buffered, true bypass, or tin cans and string as long as it sounds good. Just didn't want something misrepresented and used as a knock against a product that isn't even out yet and may or may not cause a tone issue.

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Buffered bypass and true bypass are definitely not the same thing, but buffered bypass doesn't mean there's an AD/DA conversion either. According to the manual excerpt above, there's a buffered analog path and a DSP path with relays switching between them. This actually isn't too different than how the M13 works, except the the M13's analog path isn't buffered - it's really true bypass. The way to test whether something is buffered or true bypass is to see if it passes audio while powered off. If it does, then it's true bypass.

any chances sthg like that could be achieved in the helix...?

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any chances sthg like that could be achieved in the helix...?

 

Nope, that's a hardware thing... Pretty hard to install relays and an extra analog signal path via a USB connection... :)

 

Anyway, I suspect the reason that the Fractal unit isn't really true bypass has to do with the issue I mentioned earlier. True bypass can be worse for tone loss if the only thing you have in your signal chain is a true bypass pedal. And with a device like the FX8 (and the Helix), there's a good chance that people will use it like that.

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Helix is absolutely not the type of product where true bypass would ever apply. Its routing flexibility is closer to that of a DAW than it is an M13 (which indeed has true bypass). Would you expect true bypass from Cubase or ProTools?

 

For single stomps, M-class processors, or other effects-only one-block-per-switch devices, true bypass makes perfect sense. But for something as advanced as Helix (or AxeFX), it simply doesn't compute.

 

Besides, all but the very cheapest modern A/D/As sound really good. We have to provide modeled cable tone for our wireless devices, because they have a more accurate high-end response than a guitar cable of any significant length! It's not like 15 years ago, when you pretty much had to buy an expensive Apogee or Prism rack A/D/A to get ultra-transparent passthrough.

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Pretty much any wireless system going back to the older analogue ones has a brighter response because you only use 12 to 18" of cable from guitar to transmitter and when you roll off the volume there is no treble loss because there is no capacitance on that limited cable length.  Adding the modelled cable tone to your units made them respond much more like real cables so you can be consistent.

 

Still waiting for simulated treble bleed cap on the JTV though - I like having a brighter response when I turn the volume down (the tone knob is there if needed)

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Still waiting for simulated treble bleed cap on the JTV though - I like having a brighter response when I turn the volume down (the tone knob is there if needed)

 

Do you have POD HD500X/500/ProX/Pro? You could map the volume knob to bring up an amp block's treble parameter (or EQ band). Just swap the min and max values on the controller assign page.

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On fractal audio true bypass, this might be what they're hanging their hat on...

 

"All Fractal Audio products use full-differential analog processing which is expensive. I can almost guarantee that the Helix will be a single-ended design as all their previous products are single-ended. We also use premium op-amps and film caps whereas competitors use cheap TL07x op-amps and electrolytic caps. The results of this philosophy are manifested in the FX-8. It is the first all-digital effects processor that has zero "tone suck". No one else was able to do it until now. But it wasn't cheap to do that. It requires expensive components and careful design."

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On fractal audio true bypass, this might be what they're hanging their hat on...

 

"All Fractal Audio products use full-differential analog processing which is expensive. I can almost guarantee that the Helix will be a single-ended design as all their previous products are single-ended. We also use premium op-amps and film caps whereas competitors use cheap TL07x op-amps and electrolytic caps. The results of this philosophy are manifested in the FX-8. It is the first all-digital effects processor that has zero "tone suck". No one else was able to do it until now. But it wasn't cheap to do that. It requires expensive components and careful design."

 

Ok, so if no one else is going to outright ask...

 

Helix:

  1. full-differential analog processing or single-ended design? (single ended being only A/D/A conversion only?)
  2. premium op-amps and film caps or cheap TL07x op-amps and electrolytic caps?
  3. Zero tone suck?

I still like my DTs and 500X even though they may have come with single-ended design and cheap TL07x op-amps and electrolytic caps. I have to say I think I got my money's worth. 

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Helix is absolutely not the type of product where true bypass would ever apply. Its routing flexibility is closer to that of a DAW than it is an M13 (which indeed has true bypass). Would you expect true bypass from Cubase or ProTools?

 

For single stomps, M-class processors, or other effects-only one-block-per-switch devices, true bypass makes perfect sense. But for something as advanced as Helix (or AxeFX), it simply doesn't compute.

 

Besides, all but the very cheapest modern A/D/As sound really good. We have to provide modeled cable tone for our wireless devices, because they have a more accurate high-end response than a guitar cable of any significant length! It's not like 15 years ago, when you pretty much had to buy an expensive Apogee or Prism rack A/D/A to get ultra-transparent passthrough.

sorry...but i think you´re still ignoring my point:

most guitarists only use maybe a little reverb or delay 95% of the time...me, like others including the very best professional guitarists know - we don´t need to discuss this - nothing beats the sound of a short cable going directly into a tube amp. so the goal is to get as close as possible to a short cable directly into the amp! - again: no discussion!!!

so me, like others that spent very much money and  time to build pedalboards incl. switchers etc. to get as close to that pure tone as possible (true bypass, analog dry through!), are really willing to replace our big and heavy, but very, very good sounding boards...(here´s mine f.e.)

post-49760-0-42760700-1434608076_thumb.jpg

...by helix.

so yes - of course - our goal is not having a board that´s more a DAW than an M13, but it is to ...i´ve said it before...

and...i don´t need 17 fx at the same time...adrian belew might need that, ok, but as i said - most guitarists need maybe 2 or 3 fx at a time - and that in the fx loop for 95% of the time!

 

seems the guys from fractal began to understand this after many, many discussions on their forums as well...

 

and just the fact that there´s no loss of highs, that doesn´t mean the tone stays as good as plugged directly to the amp!!!

 

so for me it´s very clear...the very best all in one solution (of course i´m talking about still with amp and 4CM!), like helix wants to be it - it should have both: true bypass or at least analog buffered bypass without AD/DA conversion for the pre-fx and analog dry through for the post fx...then i´d totally freak out - believe me!

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our goal is not having a board that´s more a DAW than an M13... and...i don't need 17 fx at the same time...adrian belew might need that, ok, but as i said - most guitarists need maybe 2 or 3 fx at a time

 

I totally get that. But why would anyone who only needs two or three effects at a time and cares so much about true bypass be interested in something like Helix, a box with up to 4 amps, up to 32 effects, up to 4 cabs, up to 4 IRs, up to 4 stereo paths, 10 ins/12 outs (many of which are digital), and 8x8 USB audio? It's like questioning why AVID doesn't make ProTools behave more like a 4-track reel-to-reel. Sure, some people believe that analog tape sounds better (which is up for debate), but that's obviously not what ProTools is, ya' know?

 

Besides, we already make two boxes that do 3 or 4 effects at a time, have true bypass, and are more affordable: M9 and M13. If what you're asking for is a Helix-type product that behaves more like M9 or M13, then IdeaScale is your best bet.

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spaceatl, on 18 Jun 2015 - 1:29 PM, said:snapback.png

What has really got me peeved is after all these years there is still no slot for my PopTart....So I still have to carry a toaster around on my pedalboard...  :blink:

 

Not at launch.   ;)

 

 

So what your saying is, there is a chance... 

 

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It's capitalized, which leads me to believe it's a trademarked phrase. I don't care enough about it to ask anyone at fractal though :) I'm fine with buffered, true bypass, or tin cans and string as long as it sounds good. Just didn't want something misrepresented and used as a knock against a product that isn't even out yet and may or may not cause a tone issue.

 

Amen...

 

Not at launch.  ;)

 

Lunch, then?

 

For 1500 bucks, we should at least get a sandwich with it... :P

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Must be frustrating for Line 6 to spend 6 years and countless resources into creating a device like Helix that competes at the highest level for a more affordable price than the competition - only to have someone's primary concern to be whether than can bypass the unit as if it didn't exists LOL.  

 

Irony.

 

I don't mean to offend or poke fun but it is funny when you think about it.

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I totally get that. But why would anyone who only needs two or three effects at a time and cares so much about true bypass be interested in something like Helix, a box with up to 4 amps, up to 32 effects, up to 4 cabs, up to 4 IRs, up to 4 stereo paths, 10 ins/12 outs (many of which are digital), and 8x8 USB audio? It's like questioning why AVID doesn't make ProTools behave more like a 4-track reel-to-reel. Sure, some people believe that analog tape sounds better (which is up for debate), but that's obviously not what ProTools is, ya' know?

 

Besides, we already make two boxes that do 3 or 4 effects at a time, have true bypass, and are more affordable: M9 and M13. If what you're asking for is a Helix-type product that behaves more like M9 or M13, then IdeaScale is your best bet.

ok, seems you don´t want to understand that there are guys running a setup like this:

rjm mastermind or another expensive midi board

switchblade or other switchers

many fx pedals in front of the amp

tube amp

one or another rack fx for post fx

incl. line mixer

power amp and

real cabs

...and that they would really love to get rid of parts of their really heavy, big, professional gear and buy a helix instead...and that they could propably live with helix´s fx quality, they´d really be happy about some extra features like the amp sims etc...really happy about the very good midi board...very happy, that helix offers 4 loops, and they´d be incredibly happy if only helix would offer the same signal quality as their setup incl. soundsculpture switchblade and line mixers...

can you imagine that it´s not enough for them if you say "you could buy an M13..."

does it really need so much fantasy for that...?

 

if it does: here it is once again: me and many friends and colleges of mine (incl. many pros...this seems to be very important for some guys here....) have been very excited, when we saw the helix presentation...and we said "sh..., that´s exactly what we´ve been waiting for...and it looks just perfect!"...we´d really love to buy exactly helix with the addition of true bypass for pre fx and analog dry through for post fx...ok?

 

is it ok for you to stop wondering why i want helix and tell me about other gear, because i propably know about every alternitive on the market...i´ve owned a switchblade, but it simply is too big and heavy for me...i own an M5 and M9 and use it just for pre fx, because it has true bypass!

maybe this would also reduce many very, very funny comics and other answers here on the forum, which only lead to wast of time...

thanks

p.s.: i´ve already started an ideascale request

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