Jump to content
JLEpperson

Is Helix worth buying for just the effects-NO AMPS NEEDED.

Recommended Posts

I am getting ready to purchase a collection of distortion-verb-delay-chorus pedals for my Fender Deluxe 68.  Cost wise by the time I get all of these, if will be in the ballpark of the Helix.   Comparisons and recommendations?

 

PS  I would occasionally run this into the PA Direct with amp modeling but not my focus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I'd suggest checking it out. I'm going to be using it as my gigging pedalboard, and I was previously using some pretty nice effects. The scribble strips make it feel much like using a real pedalboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We designed Helix to also be used as just an effects processor if desired. Both DSPs can be dedicated to effects and only effects (with or without 4 cable method), and without amps and cabs blocks, you might even get as many as 32 simultaneous effects, depending on what models you choose.

 

One of our guys who loves M13 started calling Helix "M32".

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am getting ready to purchase a collection of distortion-verb-delay-chorus pedals for my Fender Deluxe 68.  Cost wise by the time I get all of these, if will be in the ballpark of the Helix.   Comparisons and recommendations?

 

PS  I would occasionally run this into the PA Direct with amp modeling but not my focus.

 

I think I'm in a similar boat as you are. My main application will be to replace my G-System for gigs and practice.  My Helix will assume the duties of pre-gain pedals (wah, drive, boost), post preamp (time domain and mod) as well as control my Boogie Mark V's channel switching.    As a simple 4CM effects and control rig, these are the advantages I'm looking at over the G-System: 

  • No extra dirt pedals!   G-System doesn't have any overdrive or distortion effects.  Generally I try to stick with raw amp tones, using light-gain drive pedals for extra texture and boost. I haven't tried all the dirt-boxes that the Helix models, I'm certain that they'll be more than up to snuff - based on the demo that Sean posted of the Fuzz Factory with it's out-of-control oscillations. I won't be getting rid of my top 5 dirt boxes though.... 
  • Instantaneous Channel Changes (I hope!).   The G-System has REALLY slow relays and I'd be very surprised if Line 6 doesn't outdo 10 year old tech from T.C. 
  • Integrated Foot pedal (x2) - I love that I'll have my volume AND an EXP in one footswitch, for a smaller footprint and less gear to haul
  • Foot-Powered Editing!   Generally I think this will benefit pedals more so than amps. 

 

If all goes well, I'll have less stuff on the floor no more rack, and a more useful rig to use with a backline or into a PA.  I had considered holding out for a Fractal FX-8, but Helix's addition of amp modeling, mic-pre, scribble strips and the audio interface just made the Helix a no-brainer for me.   The G-System is going up on the market, but I'm sure I'll hold onto some other toys including the Nova Drive, Eventide H9, and maybe even my Line 6 M5.   

 

 

 

I'll be sure to post my findings when I get my hands on it. 

 

Dave

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a simple 4CM effects and control rig, these are the advantages I'm looking at over the G-System:

 

I used to have a Boss GT-10 and went to a Digitech GSP1101 for one main reason and this might be something worth considering ... When using a floor controller in the way you described ( with 4CM and as an amp controller ) you will have a TON of cables running back and forth to your amp unless you go with some sort of 1/4 snake. With all that going on you might just consider getting the Helix rack instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'm in a similar boat as you are. My main application will be to replace my G-System for gigs and practice.  My Helix will assume the duties of pre-gain pedals (wah, drive, boost), post preamp (time domain and mod) as well as control my Boogie Mark V's channel switching.    As a simple 4CM effects and control rig, these are the advantages I'm looking at over the G-System: 

  • No extra dirt pedals!   G-System doesn't have any overdrive or distortion effects.  Generally I try to stick with raw amp tones, using light-gain drive pedals for extra texture and boost. I haven't tried all the dirt-boxes that the Helix models, I'm certain that they'll be more than up to snuff - based on the demo that Sean posted of the Fuzz Factory with it's out-of-control oscillations. I won't be getting rid of my top 5 dirt boxes though.... 
  • Instantaneous Channel Changes (I hope!).   The G-System has REALLY slow relays and I'd be very surprised if Line 6 doesn't outdo 10 year old tech from T.C. 
  • Integrated Foot pedal (x2) - I love that I'll have my volume AND an EXP in one footswitch, for a smaller footprint and less gear to haul
  • Foot-Powered Editing!   Generally I think this will benefit pedals more so than amps. 

 

If all goes well, I'll have less stuff on the floor no more rack, and a more useful rig to use with a backline or into a PA.  I had considered holding out for a Fractal FX-8, but Helix's addition of amp modeling, mic-pre, scribble strips and the audio interface just made the Helix a no-brainer for me.   The G-System is going up on the market, but I'm sure I'll hold onto some other toys including the Nova Drive, Eventide H9, and maybe even my Line 6 M5.   

 

 

 

I'll be sure to post my findings when I get my hands on it. 

 

Dave

 

Yeah, same reasons here as well. Already sold the G System. And hopefully L6 will support the Helix a lot more than TC did with the G System....!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here, had the G system for quite a while, good unit apart from the "missing" fx and drives.

 

I then went back to pedals, have a PT3 chock full of Strymons, Fulltones and Xotics etc with a Looper that also does Midi and amp switching.

 

Saw the Helix and could see that it was miles ahead of what the G was (which was the easiest unit set-up wise out of everything) so pre-ordered it early on.

 

It will be used in 4CM into a Bogner Shiva but also thinking the options for runninf a different flavour preamp into the poweramp for a few things and also the big big benefit - no further need for a backup amp at gigs - if the amp goes down I'm planning to have a bunch of backup presets which will allow me to rung direct into PA..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same here, had the G system for quite a while, good unit apart from the "missing" fx and drives.

 

I then went back to pedals, have a PT3 chock full of Strymons, Fulltones and Xotics etc with a Looper that also does Midi and amp switching.

 

Saw the Helix and could see that it was miles ahead of what the G was (which was the easiest unit set-up wise out of everything) so pre-ordered it early on.

 

It will be used in 4CM into a Bogner Shiva but also thinking the options for runninf a different flavour preamp into the poweramp for a few things and also the big big benefit - no further need for a backup amp at gigs - if the amp goes down I'm planning to have a bunch of backup presets which will allow me to rung direct into PA..

 

Sounds like we have the exact same thoughts - I love the fact i can setup a preset for an emergency and just plug into the PA if the worst case happens! Now just need for the actual units to bloody arrive.....!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@FarleyUK

 

Haha, yeah, PMT (where I ordered it from) must be fed up of hearing from me now, I'm like that kid in the back of car asking "are we there yet?"

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, same reasons here as well. Already sold the G System. And hopefully L6 will support the Helix a lot more than TC did with the G System....!

I have a Nova System that will either collect dust or be donated to a young guy at church. The od and distortion were ok but made the thing very noisy. The rest of the effects were very nice. I just will not have a need. I still hope they add a couple phasers to Helix. With everything else one phaser seems piddly. I had a Redwitch Deluxe Moon Phaser that was to die for. I would love a similar one for Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's amazing what technology has done!

I remember back in the 1980's playing with my own cobbled version of a "Bradshaw" rig. I had a mesa boogie studio preamp that ran one side into one of the channels of a SimulClass 295 Mesa Boogie ​tube power amp and then to a 4x12 cab for dry sound. The other side went to my rack of effects and then to a rack mixer and then to the other channel of the Simulclass 295 and into another 4x12 cab for "wet" sound.

Just in the rack of effects I had serious money invested. No "multi-effects" back then. Dedicated delay units, reverb, chorus, and of course a HUSH noise reduction unit.​

That rig sounded GREAT of course.

And now? I bought a Helix for $1499

That's less than a Lexicon digital delay unit back in the day! lol! ​​​​

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you rigged up your set up as you explained above? I pretty much have the same situation. I'm thinking I'm going to get a Mini Amp Gizmo because running all the cables to switch all the options on the Mark would be at least 3 more cables. Any feedback on your experiences would be awesome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am getting ready to purchase a collection of distortion-verb-delay-chorus pedals for my Fender Deluxe 68.  Cost wise by the time I get all of these, if will be in the ballpark of the Helix.   Comparisons and recommendations?

 

PS  I would occasionally run this into the PA Direct with amp modeling but not my focus.

 

In my opinion the Helix could well be the best choice out there for pedals-only use but a few things must be addressed before it becomes a clear winner. These are a few of the things I might consider if I were going to buy the Helix just for the pedals and did not intend to use the amp modeling. I suspect some of the cons will be addressed in future updates.

  1. Many of the existing pedals sound exceptional
  2. There is no global option to turn off the amps. This means that you will have to go in and bypass or delete the amp/cab block(s) on any preset you use. Luckily this is easy to do but still a pain. Let's hope they add a global setting to turn amps/cabs off.
  3. The routing options on the back of the Helix are outstanding and offer a multitude of ways to input/output your signal and four, count 'em four external loops for adding your own pedals into the mix or whatever.
  4. The scribble strips and color customizeable footswitch rings make it incredibly easy to envision the Helix as an analog pedalboard.  You have all your effects with your own customized names extremely visible on scribble strips. In this respect the Helix is head and shoulders above all competition.
  5. There are 10 footswitches available for assigning to different pedals, not to speak of a built in expression pedal.
  6. Footswitches are capable of changing parameters or state of multiple pedals a time. Pedals and presets can be split on top or bottow row as well as a sort of pedals only view of up to 10 pedals.
  7. If you like wahs, there are a ton
  8. Right now the pedal library overall is very lean. Let's hope they add more
  9. There is only one very simple phaser pedal option right now.
  10. Midi switching is implemented in a very easy to use interface.
  11. There is one external amp output for controlling your amp.
  12. Touch sensitive capacitance is a very innovative and convenient method for editing as well as an editing mode that allows all of a pedal's parameters to be edited using nothing but your feet.
  13. Lots more I probably have not considered, definitely take a look at the manual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So did the OP just get on a Helix page asking what to buy instead of a Helix that does the exact same things a Helix does for the exact same amount of money? I'm confused... I don't mean to sound rude, I was just taken aback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am getting ready to purchase a collection of distortion-verb-delay-chorus pedals for my Fender Deluxe 68.  Cost wise by the time I get all of these, if will be in the ballpark of the Helix.   Comparisons and recommendations?

 

PS  I would occasionally run this into the PA Direct with amp modeling but not my focus.

yes....great fx, except the harmonizer thing, which is really weak....also some rc and bb boost missing for me...but it works great for me in 4cm...though it still makes some noise of course...but here again the noise gate works great as well...

 

if the next generation helix is optimized for noise free 4cm the same as the fractal fx8 and also some harmonizer and detune fx are added or improved...this machine is the guitarits´ dream come true!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I primarily bought my Helix to replace my pedalboard of effects.  The Helix UI is ultra flexible for this purpose (movable effects blocks, parallel signal paths, footswitch assigns, etc, etc) and the effects themselves sound great. 

 

Live, i'll use the Helix into my amp (a Fender 59 Bassman), but for recording purposes i'll use the Helix with its amp/cab blocks to record direct into my DAW.

 

The icing on the cake would be for Line 6 to now incorporate some of the effects utilised on previous products (i.e. Reverse delay, Octaver, etc)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The quality in the the helix and the sheer flexibility are certainly up to the task, however I still use my M9 whenever I need a pedalboard in front of an amp. Why? It's smaller, it sounds great and, at least for the moment, features more fx's than the Helix! It only runs 3 fx simultaneously, though -- I believe the M13 does 4. If you need more stuff simultaneously, the HD500 is a great option (for 1/3 of the price of the helix, and it features the same FX as the M13, or very close). A little less flexibility perhaps, but still pretty flexible, smaller (not by a lot) and cheaper than the Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got the helix for exactly that reason, to replace my paddleboard. It does the job more than well, amazing actually. I too considered considered the fractal as an alternative. But I went for the helix, because it has impulse response, more inns and outs, and integrated expression pedal, and a more players approach, whereas the fractal is more scientific in my opinion. Plus the amp models are there as well.

Sound wise I am very positively surprised, when I switch off all FX it's like it weren't there. Sounds like highend analog gear to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We designed the Helix to also be used as just an effects processor if desired.  Both DSPs can be dedicated to effects and only effects (with or without 4 cable method), and without amps and cab blocks, you might even get as many as 32 simultaneous effects, depending on what models you choose.

 

One of our guys who loves the M13 started calling Helix "M32". 

 

So what does the Helix sound like in front of the amp like a traditional pedal board?  Does it suck the tone out of your amp? 

 

I use my both my M13 and M9 in front of my amp like traditional pedal board, and I get to keep the tone of my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.  No tone suck.  I've been hesitant to buy the Helix because I'm afraid that it will suck the tone of my amp.  I bought the HD500 and tried to put it in front of my amp and my amp lost it's punch. The HD500 sucked the tone from my amp.  I was very disappointed and I sold my HD500 

 

I'm not a bedroom player tweaking things to death, or a church musician playing through the PA.  I'm a gigging musician that plays in 2 bands that uses a real cab with an amp head.  I'm in an original band and I also play in a Rage Against the Machine tribute band that plays live shows anywhere from 2 to 3 shows a month.  Don't get me wrong...I love my M13, but it has a switch issue and it's been getting worse and worse.  All the M-series effects have the cheap micro tactile switches.  I bought the FX8 then I saw the ad for the Helix 2 days later and I was excited! 

 

I'll buy the Helix if I can use it in front of my amp with no tone suck.  I'm just waiting to try one out before I buy one. If there is no tone suck then I'll sell my FX8 in a heartbeat!   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what does the Helix sound like in front of the amp like a traditional pedal board?  Does it suck the tone out of your amp? 

 

I use my both my M13 and M9 in front of my amp like traditional pedal board, and I get to keep the tone of my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier.  No tone suck.  I've been hesitant to buy the Helix because I'm afraid that it will suck the tone of my amp.  I bought the HD500 and tried to put it in front of my amp and my amp lost it's punch. The HD500 sucked the tone from my amp.  I was very disappointed and I sold my HD500 

 

I'm not a bedroom player tweaking things to death, or a church musician playing through the PA.  I'm a gigging musician that plays in 2 bands that uses a real cab with an amp head.  I'm in an original band and I also play in a Rage Against the Machine tribute band that plays live shows anywhere from 2 to 3 shows a month.  Don't get me wrong...I love my M13, but it has a switch issue and it's been getting worse and worse.  All the M-series effects have the cheap micro tactile switches.  I bought the FX8 then I saw the ad for the Helix 2 days later and I was excited! 

 

I'll buy the Helix if I can use it in front of my amp with no tone suck.  I'm just waiting to try one out before I buy one. If there is no tone suck then I'll sell my FX8 in a heartbeat!

 

I have not yet hooked my helix up to my dual rec but I will in next few days ( fighting a cold) I will agree with you that mesa's are pedal picky.

Sounds damn good on my power amp and two Marshall 4-12 1960 cabs though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding extra cables for 4cm I'll be getting a pedal snake if 4cm proves useful with my Egnater Tweaker 40.

 

http://www.pedalsnake.com

 

Pedalsnake is awesome.. I have been using it for a few years... lots less noise and you can have lots of lines in one compact snake. I am thinking of sng Helix in the same way... I can possibly get rid of my rack mounted pedals and midi switcher etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what does Helix sound like in front of the amp like a traditional pedal board? Does it suck the tone out of your amp? 

 

I use my both my M13 and M9 in front of my amp like traditional pedal board, and I get to keep the tone of my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. No tone suck.  I've been hesitant to buy Helix because I'm afraid that it will suck the tone of my amp. I bought the HD500 and tried to put it in front of my amp and my amp lost it's punch. The HD500 sucked the tone from my amp. I was very disappointed and I sold my HD500. 

 

I'm not a bedroom player tweaking things to death, or a church musician playing through the PA. I'm a gigging musician that plays in 2 bands that uses a real cab with an amp head. I'm in an original band and I also play in a Rage Against the Machine tribute band that plays live shows anywhere from 2 to 3 shows a month. Don't get me wrong... I love my M13, but it has a switch issue and it's been getting worse and worse. All the M-series effects have the cheap micro tactile switches. I bought the FX8 then I saw the ad for Helix 2 days later and I was excited! 

 

I'll buy Helix if I can use it in front of my amp with no tone suck. I'm just waiting to try one out before I buy one. If there is no tone suck then I'll sell my FX8 in a heartbeat!   

 

Wait... Did you add a "the" before Helix and a superfluous space between sentences to my quote? I was like "Huh? That's something I remember writing but there's no way I wrote it that way!" Just for that, I'm editing your quote as well.  :D

 

I'm obvious biased, but Helix was meticulously engineered to maintain signal integrity all the way through. "Tone suck" is in the ear of the beholder, but we're running the same converters (well, 8-channel versions) as boxes that cost a lot more. Reports from the field in this regard have been overwhelmingly positive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hit the quote button to quote your post, but for some reason it wasn't adding it to my post. I tried to copy and paste, but that wasn't working either. So I had to type out what you said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm obvious biased, but Helix was meticulously engineered to maintain signal integrity all the way through. "Tone suck" is in the ear of the beholder, but we're running the same converters (well, 8-channel versions) as boxes that cost a lot more. Reports from the field in this regard have been overwhelmingly positive.

 

As I understand it, "tone suck" is usually caused by the difference between plugging a cable directly into a guitar, vs into an effects box. When a passive guitar is plugged directly into an amp, the circuit interacts directly with the preamp, so the capacitance of the cable becomes part of the resonant circuit along with the preamp circuit itself, and the passive pickup and volume/tone controls of the guitar. So, any device between the guitar and amp becomes a "tone changer". Devices like HELIX try to compensate by presenting a variable impedance to the guitar, then process the signal, and send the result out the device to the amp, with a low impedance output to stop further coloration. HELIX has a variable impedance input for the guitar, which should mostly compensate for this, assuming the guitarist used the same cable between the guitar and HELIX that he/she would normally use between the guitar and their guitar Amp.

 

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hello is there any way of running the lt model through the effects loop(using the effects only) using just 2 cables ,and plugging my guitar strait into the front of my amp?i was able to do this with the boss gt-100.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.

 

Make sure you set the input to the helix to match the effects send from your amp (line/instrument) and the output of the helix to match your amp return.    It's probably overkill for delays and reverbs.

 

Many of the effects shouldn't be in the effects loop of your amp though, but I will assume you have a handle on that.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...