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Helix-vs-HD500 comparison: Do it yourself…


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Part3 of the helix-vs-hd500 is now uploaded.

This time a new "revolutionary" approach is followed: instead of postin ONLY the final wet sound, the guitar dry riff is also provided 2gether with the hd500 patch plus THE HELIX REFERENCE SOUND.


So everyone can download the dry riff + the patch, everyone can compare his own modeller vs helix by himself!


Taking this opportunity, a wide invitation towards every other owner of ANY other modeller is addressed 2 provide this forum with his best sounding comparison-patch, based on this dry guitar riff.  Owners of HD, X3, XT, etc r most welcome.


In this way, we will (hopefully?) have adequate sound samples 2 compare with the sweetwater helix sound demo (which btw is the ONLY sound demo posted so far!).


Especially owners of kemper - axeII  r kindly requested 2 post their best comparison-patches, since up 2day nobody has responded 2 previous invitations uploaded here, on this L6 forum.


Many credits must b given 2 DeanDinosaur, who first invited Kemper or AXE II owners months ago:



Here's a quick Scientific challenge to prove that the POD HD is just as capable as Kemper or AXE II


and No it's not a challenge of playing Skills either.


Anyone who's reading this thread who has an AXE FX or Kemper can post  a downloadable link to two small files of MP3 quality of 160kbps or above of a short performance using their favorite patch in that device (Kemper or AXE II). The two tracks should be of the same performance, one of them is a DI track,  so I, or any POD HD owners, will re-amp that track using the POD HD  to "Tone Match" or "Profile" the wet track using only the POD HD and human ears




I personally guarantee that I will get you a sound that will be very close and if not identical it might be better and I will post the HD 500 Patch. If you keep posting different sounds, I will keep posting corresponding  patches using HD500 until you have enough to consider whether you want to keep your Kemper or AXE. If you're interested  that  we get closer patches, it would be nice to give little information about the amp or pedals used.

Fair enough?  I think it's more that fair and it's the only way that will give an accurate representation of what each unit can do.


Any other approach involving two different performances by two different players will be skewed for very obvious reasons (more skilled player will sound better regardless) . Anyone who has a Kemper or AXE II should be able to provide a direct track fairly easy, but I have a feeling that no one will provide direct tracks because sadly people in general don't like to face reality head on. I don't think someone who spent 2500 or more on AXEII is interested in having his direct track Re-amped using the POD HD coming out sounding the same and better. Make no mistake about it, it will sound just as good or better using the POD HD.



1. Since this post is related with a wide "target group", it might b  simultaneously posted on multiple fora of the L6 community, so pls accept apologies if u r double/multi-reading it.


2. Free download the dry guitar riff here.

Pls note the worn-out condition of the guitar strings, it is clearly audible.  With fresh strings, 10's instead of 9's, o different dry guitar riff wld b produced.


3. Son of Helix patch here.


4. Use the dry guitar riff n' compare by urself!


5. Finally, a message 2 our good friend Sean Halley: when u will upload the next helix vid with demo sounds, pls also provide us with the dry guitar riffs – tks in advance :)

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Jandrio - you are sooooooo close... but there is an extra something to the Helix tone that I have never pulled off with the HD.  Can't you hear it? 


Not saying it alone is the holy grail or worth upgrading, but that subtle difference is there, no doubt.  Combined with all the other things that were fixed from the HD and the dual processors, it's a go for me...


Excellent job by the way!

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... but there is an extra something to the Helix tone that I have never pulled off with the HD. Can't you hear it?

tks radatas.


yes of course i hear it :) .


but how r u sure this extra something is bcause of helix, or bcause of the guitar, or the diff string gauge, or the string bad condition on the korean jtv, or the vdi (no input z), or bcause of Sean's excellent technique? :unsure:


the only way 2 answer this is Dean's method:

take a common dry riff; feed it first in2 helix; then feed it in2 hd500; all tech dtails (inputs, signal routin, fx settings, etc,etc, etc) must b well known 'n this way ALL other params r wiped off n' so we will hear the hx/hd sound diff.


otherwise, one cld get this hd500 sound in the studio 'n quite easily shape/eq it so it sounds EXACTLY ...helix-like.



when u finally get ur helix, pls take some time n' post a simple dry guitar riff, the helix sound n' complete patch dtls...


btw, i find nico's patch super (dare i say better sounding than the helix mix?)

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I am sure the HD tones are great, I love mine too.  However, I hear something in the Helix I can't duplicate and I hope it is the Helix that gets it.  Of course it fixes so many other things that bug me with the HD too.  I will post what your asking when I get mine. 


But I do think that there is an awful lot of skepticism towards the Helix from our own crowd.  Not quite sure what to make of it...  Was it the same thing when the HD500 came out and folks loved their XT and X3 boards?

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I'm quite sure that who obtained poor results with what had at disposal until now, will not get significantly better results with the new device ..



HAHAHAHA! that is the absolute truth there my friend... :P

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So it sounds like this has been going on for a little while now, I, obviously unaware think it's a good idea for some folks. Sure, let's say the helix comes out and you can reproduce the sound you hear on your device. But at what cost to DSP?


Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing this and I totally think it's an awesome idea, but even say for instance, Joe and his extensive knowledge on how to dial in a tone on an HD could recreate an HX tone, but Pete with the HX might just one-up him until Joes out of DSP. Then Pete can throw an impulse in and now Joes eating dust. Joe adds some eq to make it sound more alive and hits the DSP ceiling and has to sacrifice elsewhere. Meanwhile Pete adds effects to make this simple rhythm patch a sweet lead tone with his feet and Joes all hunched over failing.


Sure Joe can save $1500 and keep with the HD but when the wrong drunk at a gig kicks his wall wart and extension cable and rips the power port out, or when he's in his home studio and his bass player steps on his USB cable and his pod shorts out, and the service center would take weeks just to get the device on their table, when he's got a gig in two weeks, Do you think he's going to go out and buy a new HD?


I hope someone can see my point here, and doesn't just take this as "being on the HX team" thing. I love my 500x and I've never had a better tone with the little effort I've had to put into it, but things get outdated. Welcome to the digital age :D.


No hate,


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I really like the design of the Helix, it is a worthy upgrade and I can see it getting plenty of respect from Pro Audio community as well as Professional guitarists.


I would like one very much and as such will have to return to giging to justify purchasing it. LOL.


A little part of me doesnt want to hear a marginal difference in sound quality from the Helix compared to the justify not getting one for a while.


If the consensus upon release is there is a vast tonal improvement , Then I'll just have to make it happen a little sooner.

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From what I can tell, the Helix is Line 6's first attempt at the high-end market for multi FX, and the POD HD would be mid-market.

I might be wrong, but I don't see the Helix replacing the POD series, and there as a high-end option ? Maybe Line 6 will use the

Helix architecture/platform on smaller lower priced versions ? Not exactly sure what this means for their future product structuring.

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so let us agree that sound-wise hx is not far away from hd (at least from what have heard so far), but from the ui+routin+gadget point of view it is certainly targeting the high-end market.

since every pro always evaluates the "value-4-money" bfore investing in a new tool, it remains 4 helix 2 prove it's strengths in the field after official launching....

btw, i agree with nucleux, i do not c how helix will replace the POD series, unless L6 releases a POD HX series of products.

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DI has already said that Helix doesn't replace HD at least "Not at Lauch"!


The price difference is just too big and it is all about having the right sort of product at the right price; that is why we lost the HD300 and HD400 - the price saving for the lower in the range models once the HD prices had settled down was so small that most buyers were going that little bit further and getting the HD500X.


Might we see a Half Helix with a single DSP and limited IO and routing options? Possibly.  But that doesn't replace the HD500X in terms of what it can do at the just a bit under $500 price point


We might also see a Double Helix with 4 DSP chips and a higher price point, but only if people are complaining a lot about how they can't configure a virtual rig as they want it.  Of course you can do a Double Helix when they launch with a Floor Board and Rack connected together digitally.


Personally I see the HD500X being pulled only when L6 have a Helix version at $500 or if HD500X sales drop to very low levels

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I've seen many examples where a company will produce a flagship device first off, and then subsequently

release the cheaper less capable models later, but based on the same architecture as the flagship model.

I'm not going to speculate wether or not this might affect the POD series, but it wouldn't be a surprise to me.

Interesting times, guess we'll have to wait for Line 6 to unveil those kind of particulars when they see fit.

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I think many of you are forgetting something ---- 


If no one rushes right out to buy the Helix, by Christmas places like Guitar Center will be blowing them out at $800.  



Here's another thing to consider: 

Who is the market for this? 

Ferrari does not make 3,000,000 cars each year. Cazal is not a household name. Beluga is only available in certain markets. They aren't targeting the commoner.

I can't picture a 14 year old kid jamming in his bedroom with a Helix. Can you? The guys that work construction during the week and then 'jam' with a couple bros on the weekend. I don't know why they would need one, but I also don't know if they would spend the money for one. 


Me, a musician, I could certainly benefit from having 'the latest and greatest'. But if I needed all of that jazz, would I have bought an L6 to begin with?


The point being --- 

of course they are going to continue to make cheaper products to sell to 'regular folk'. Whether they be a Helix-mini or the HD505, that is up to them. But they will lose a significant portion of their market if they drop the cheap stuff. 






For the record. I like my HD500. When I called it 'cheap stuff', it wasn't meant as an insult. 

Edited by pianoguyy
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