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Alternatives To The Footswitch For the Helix Rack Unit


Fulcrum
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How does the Helix receive preset changes? The cost of the foot switcher alone is ridiculous so in order to switch the rack remotely, I'd like to know if a MIDI or other type of foot switcher can be used to switch between presets and banks.

 

Up here in Canada the rack with footswitch is over $2000.00! - EDIT - MY BAD... Canadian pricing would be $2499.98 for both units.

That massive 15+ lb. floor wart is not an option. And where would my Relay G50 receiver sit on the Helix? Oh right, I just run a cable to the unit from the wireless. Doh!

 

At that price, there are other tried and tested digital modelling options.

 

I'd be happy with Line6 releasing a simple $200.00 switcher that comes with a roll of masking tape.

 

Come on Line6. $500.00 ($700 Canadian) for just the foot controller?

Can it be used in combination with another Helix to enable switching presets for two or more Helixes, Helixi, Helixez, in a live situation?

No?

WTF?

For $700 it can only control one unit?

Masking tape and a marker costs about $3. You can even get multi coloured masking tape!

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The Helix is fully controllable via MIDI, so if you want to use another controller, it's certainly an option. You just won't have the scribble strips, capacative touch, or pedal edit mode features.

 

I actually don't think $500 is too bad for a heavy duty controller. The Fractal foot controller, the MFC-101, goes for $750 new, and it only has one display. The Helix Control has 13 displays.

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Using Fractals hi way robbery prices/features as a comparison is disingenuous. And LIne6 using Fractals pricing as an upper measure for their own pricing is also disingenuous.

 

It comes down to this:

Is it worth paying $700 Canadian for scribble strips. capacitive touch, and a pedal edit mode feature?

I am not seeing the balance in price for features here.

 

How come you didn't address using the stand alone footswitch to control multiple Helix units or other amps/devices in a live situation?

The value in that feature might almost make it worth while. Almost.

 

And you didn't address the wireless connection to the floor wart. I'll have to have something else on the floor beside the tank?

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You actually could use the Helix Control to control other units via MIDI, it's just that what you'd really be doing is controlling the other units from the Helix itself. All the MIDI programming would reside in the Helix. The Helix control is just a "dumb" controller in a sense. It has no internal programming of its own. As far as the scribble strips, I think you're highly underestimating their usefulness. Again, like I said, though, there are plenty of options when it comes to MIDI foot controllers. I don't see what good coming here and being combative is going to do.

 

As far as the wireless, that's always going to be something to deal with if you use a floor-based modeler or multi-effects unit. But it's the same if you use a traditional pedalboard. You have to choose where the best place to put the receiver is

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I think Pod user still think of this as the next POD and expect prices to be similar. But pod was not even close to Axefx or Kemper. This is not meant as disrespect to Line 6. They produced a very nice modeling effect for the masses. With Helix they have entered the realm of modeling for the professional and serious enthusiast. And despite what some are saying, it is coming out at a price point lower than its competitors. If this is as good as the videos they could easily have added $200 to $300 and pitted it directly against Kemper. Fractal gets their price because they were the only game in town at their level. They may need to rethink their prices but with acts like Brit Floyd among others using Axfx they have a foothold.

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I guess my anger here is in response to how Line6 has priced the units. I have no issue with the pricing of the floorboard. I just don't want the brains of my operation sitting on the floor and having to deal with multiple cable runs/snakes.

 

I bought a Line6 wireless to avoid exactly that!

 

The floorboard is MASSIVE. They couldn't find enough clear space to sit their wireless receivers? Even the new smaller ones?

This tells me know body thought of how to use the wireless unit with the floor unit.

 

I don't know what goes into building a rack unit but the rack unit alone is the same price as the floorboard? From my perspective, that's insane.

Can someone justify the rack unit pricing? I simply don't know enough about the subject.

 

The pricing should go like this (Canadian pricing):

Floorwart: $1700.00

Rack Unit alone: $1000.00

Rack Unit with Helix control: $1700.00

Helix Control: $700.00

 

My guess is that Line6 knows the floor board WILL NOT SELL if the rack unit is cheaper.

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Combative... Hmm. I guess so.

 

phil_m, I was upset about you comparing the Helix against something Line6 users generally agree is overpriced, as a justification for Line6's pricing. The Fractal floor board is an expensive joke.

 

In regards to the wireless issue...

I avoid any crap on the floor and have NEVER used a floor wart. One reasonably sized controller with a single small taped down cable leading to the PHD and done.

 

But thank you for the reply.

 

I humbly apologize for jumping all over your attempt to clarify my concerns. I will do better.

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I think Pod user still think of this as the next POD and expect prices to be similar. But pod was not even close to Axefx or Kemper. This is not meant as disrespect to Line 6. They produced a very nice modeling effect for the masses. With Helix they have entered the realm of modeling for the professional and serious enthusiast. And despite what some are saying, it is coming out at a price point lower than its competitors. If this is as good as the videos they could easily have added $200 to $300 and pitted it directly against Kemper. Fractal gets their price because they were the only game in town at their level. They may need to rethink their prices but with acts like Brit Floyd among others using Axfx they have a foothold.

 

I have no problem with the pricing. It's HOW they've priced the items.

 

I await justification from Line6 on the rack pricing. Or does adding a word clock, minor silk screening, and a button really cost $500(US)?

 

Yes, there is more material used. Then add maybe $100 to the overall rack/control price above that of the floor wart.

Or If you buy the rack and control at the same time, sell it for the same as the floor wart, but full price separately.

 

I think they are just making sure that the floor wart sells. I would love to see sales stats of the individual devices six months on.

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I have no problem with the pricing. It's HOW they've priced the items.

 

I await justification from Line6 on the rack pricing. Or does adding a word clock, minor silk screening, and a button really cost $500(US)?

 

Yes, there is more material used. Then add maybe $100 to the overall rack/control price above that of the floor wart.

Or If you buy the rack and control at the same time, sell it for the same as the floor wart, but full price separately.

 

I think they are just making sure that the floor wart sells. I would love to see sales stats of the individual devices six months on.

 

First off, why do you continually use the term "floor wart"? Is that something you made up?

 

It's not really about the cost of the materials as much as it is the economy of scale. I imagine that Line 6 will sell 10 times as many floor units as rack units. Rack units are not really a popular format outside of studios and large touring bands. Most users don't want to lug a rack around with them. Some of the most substantial costs in production involve setting up new lines. The unit price goes down as quantity goes up, generally speaking.

 

Historically, the Line 6 rack units have actually sold for more than the floor units. The HD Pro X is $200 more than the 500X.

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It's not really about the cost of the materials as much as it is the economy of scale. I imagine that Line 6 will sell 10 times as many floor units as rack units. Rack units are not really a popular format outside of studios and large touring bands. Most users don't want to lug a rack around with them. Some of the most substantial costs in production involve setting up new lines. The unit price goes down as quantity goes up, generally speaking.

 

Historically, the Line 6 rack units have actually sold for more than the floor units. The HD Pro X is $200 more than the 500X.

 

Yep, Phil nailed it on the head.

 

At the risk of sounding like a salesman, Helix Rack without Helix Control is going to be way slower to get around. A ton of work has gone into making sure they work together in the exact same capacity as Helix floor (touch select, touch assign, pedal edit mode, a metric ton of customizable feedback, duplicate last-one-wins expression jacks, etc.). In fact, the single Helix Rack/Control Cheat Sheet and Owner's Manual assumes you're using both of them together.

 

If you have a third-party MIDI remote sitting around, go ahead and use it, but spending more than a couple hundred on an alternate MIDI controller is a huge waste of money, IMO.

 

Seriously. You'd be missing out on 80% of what makes Helix so fast and easy to use.

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My preference is for the floor unit, as the rack unit with the floor controller (that doesn't have the expression pedal built in) is a whole step up in cost, then add an external expression pedal on top of that, then place it on the floor eating up nearly the same amount of real estate on the stage and in harm's way, just like the floor unit. I've been gigging with the XTL, X3L, 500, and the 500X since about 2005, then other floor midi switchers and such for many years before that without drunks getting to it. Of course, I'm 6' 6" and kind of scary looking (to people who don't know me), so that helps.... ;) I have a vocal monitor in front of it, as well... I just prefer the all in one solution, no rack or rack case to schlepp around and run cabling to other than the amp, mixing board, and VDI cable.

 

BTW, THANK YOU for getting rid of the wall wart and the DC jack on the Helix (plus the switch). The standard IEC power cord will be much more robust. That was the cause of death of my XTL....

 

Dave

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I dislike having sensitive computer equipment sitting on the floor. That's may main reason for avoiding this format in the past.

 

Has Line6 publicly released the actual weight and dimensions of the floor and rack (how deep) yet?

Now that the helpful responses have chimed in, it looks like the floor wart, oops, lets avoid any tears... looks like the Helix is the way to go.

Solid construction required to protect that sensitive computer equipment on the floor. That's one concern answered.

 

At that size and weight, is the Helix wieldy?

Maybe indents on the angled sides or grippy areas to prevent slippage while handling it?

Will it come with a bag or some such to carry around?

Will some type of travel bag/case be offered as an option?

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I dislike having sensitive computer equipment sitting on the floor. That's may main reason for avoiding this format in the past.

 

Has Line6 publicly released the actual weight and dimensions of the floor and rack (how deep) yet?

Now that the helpful responses have chimed in, it looks like the floor wart, oops, lets avoid any tears... looks like the Helix is the way to go.

Solid construction required to protect that sensitive computer equipment on the floor. That's one concern answered.

 

At that size and weight, is the Helix wieldy?

Maybe indents on the angled sides or grippy areas to prevent slippage while handling it?

Will it come with a bag or some such to carry around?

Will some type of travel bag/case be offered as an option?

 

From the FAQ thread: http://line6.com/support/topic/14264-helix-faq/

 

Dimensions? Weight?

Helix—22.05 x 11.85 x 3.6 inches; 14.6 lbs.

Helix Rack—19 x 5.25 x 9.5 inches; 9.3 lbs.

Helix Control—17.2 x 9.4 x 2.5 inches; 7.2 lbs.

 

The floor unit is a very substantial piece of equipment. The housing almost all aluminum, and it's very rugged all around. They are going to be releasing a padded backpack for the floorboard.

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Helix Rack

I want to assure "Fulcrum" who wanted to know if an alternate floorboard could be used to provide simple channel switching that the Behringer FCB1010 works for every processor that I have ever owned. It's rugged & inexpensive @ around $150 to $200.

 

Did the design engineers forget to add a 1/4" guitar input on the Floor Controller for Helix Rack system? Seems to me that by having the guitar input there it would make perfect sense rather than running an additional cable back to the rack mount rig. Now if the guitarist is using a wireless system then the signal would be sent directly to the Helix Rack system rather than the floor board.

 

The Helix rack mount has 4 - 1/4" jacks described as 3 dedicated to expression pedals and 1 (selectable) as a CV or expression combo output. I'd like clarification on these jacks to see if they could all be programmed as CV outputs & provide me the connectivity to control channel and effects switching on my Mesa Boogie Lonestar amp.

 

My biggest fear is the clean sound won't be as convincing as playing through an amp. Mitch Gallagher made a comment on the Sweetwater video claiming the distorted sounds on the current processors available on the marketplace today all seem to get a convincing distorted sound such as a Marshall 800 but fall short in achieving a clean usable guitar sound. I've never found one processor including the Kemper to provide a true replication of a clean sound without any so called "HAIR" as referred to by Mitch Gallagher in his assessment of the Helix. I owned the Kemper for three months and found all of the sounds to be very similar in sound quality with a very sterile quality to them. I have never had the opportunity to try the Fractal Axe FX 11 but all the videos I have watched to date seem to have an excellent clean sound regardless of the guitar being used in the demo.

 

I've ordered the Helix rack from Long & McQuade in Canada and basing my purchase on Mitch Gallagher's assessment of the clean sounds. I am looking forward to working with the Helix rack & the floorboard & will report back when I have the unit & let everyone know what it sounds like.

 

Cheers to everyone!

Tele'

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I have just ordered the HELIX from Long & McQuade. Enough talk talk.

 

I do have some more questions for those in the know here.

 

How long is the power cord?

For anyone who has used the HD3/4/500, Firehawk, etc., how many cables do you have running from your units in live situations?

How long in general are the cable runs in those live situations?

 

Thank you Tele', for your input. Thank you to everyone for your contributions.

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Well, I have just ordered the HELIX from Long & McQuade. Enough talk talk.

 

I do have some more questions for those in the know here.

 

How long is the power cord?

For anyone who has used the HD3/4/500, Firehawk, etc., how many cables do you have running from your units in live situations?

How long in general are the cable runs in those live situations?

 

Thank you Tele', for your input. Thank you to everyone for your contributions.

 

Hmmm... I think the power cord is 6' or 8'. Not super long, but it's a standard IEC connection, so you could get any length you want really easily. As far as audio connections, I think all of my audio cables are 20' or 25'.

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I have the Helix and it's pretty nice.

If I had the rack mount I would want the helix floor board.

 

It's called marketing... But saving half price on some other floor board that will not do the things that the Helix's board will do isn't the best call. When your allready spending the money on the rack mount.

 

Having to use masking tape and a marker would make me spend out the full price for the floor controller.

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Personally, I would have loved to go with the rack, but for two things: 

1) I'd have liked the remote to include an expression pedal 

2) I didn't want to wait! :)

 

I'm using an 18" PedalSnake right now.  These days none of my gigs are on a stage big enough for that, but it is nice to have one thick cable that I can just loop the excess slack up behind the amp without making a tangled mess.   https://www.pedalsnake.com/osCommerce/catalog/index.php?cPath=22 It still is a little messy with all those 5 pin DIN connectors though, so I'm upgrading... 

 

Any day now though, my custom Lava Power Tube snake (hehe) should arrive in the mail - which also includes an AC line to plug into the back of the Helix - this should make for a much tidier setup.    http://www.lavacable.com/index.php?id=150

 

As for having sensitive gear on the floor I don't think it's such a big deal... I've had all kinds of pedals, processors and what not on the floor, and it really just depends on the build quality of the units.  Amongst the worst - the Roger Andrenalin, the Apex Aural Exciter and the Yamaha DG Stomp.   I've had the Nova System, G-System, Eventide H9 and my old Digitech 2120 on stage, sometimes in the rain even, and they've all done fine.   I'd put the Helix build quality up there with the best of the bunch, but not quite at the top - only time will tell.  If it does break down mid set, I'll just make sure to have my amp's foot controller handy, and wing it the old-school way.   In life, inevitably, lollipop happens - be prepared ;)

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  • 10 months later...

Hello,

I'm new, so first of all my best regards to all here. 

 

I'm one click away from getting the rack version and I have a TC Electronic G-System. The plan is to use both at the same time, with G-sys contributing with what it has, especially spillover, and also behaving as a midi foot controler. Has anyone been using a G-sys in connection with the Helix rack? What was the experience like? 

 

Thanks very much for any wisdom on the subject.

 

Tom

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Hello,

I'm new, so first of all my best regards to all here. 

 

I'm one click away from getting the rack version and I have a TC Electronic G-System. The plan is to use both at the same time, with G-sys contributing with what it has, especially spillover, and also behaving as a midi foot controler. Has anyone been using a G-sys in connection with the Helix rack? What was the experience like? 

 

Thanks very much for any wisdom on the subject.

 

Tom

 

 

The G-System is outstanding when paired with a traditional amp, but its MIDI functionality is pretty limiting as far as using it as a controller is concerned.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 year later...

I am one of those people who use rack systems live. After having stage mishaps break those little controller knobs on two different all in one line 6 processors and having to send them out for repair, I now prefer a more damage proof controller (one with just foot switches) coupled with a rack unit that is protected for transit. I also use a rack wireless and rack power amp. Higher cost to startup, but a worry free and quick setup.

 

Also having multiple expression pedals that you won't get with a simple midi controller with the flexibility of use makes it worthwhile IMO.

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