Jump to content

Helix as audio interface


sulkbooth
 Share

Recommended Posts

This from my prior review...

 

Helix performs nearly perfectly as a DAW recording interface. I have noticed a couple of small issues using Mac OS Yosemite and Logic Pro X 10.2. First, Helix outputs via USB to the DAW a signal requiring approximately 6-9 Db of gain over the displayed +/- 0 db of the Multi output section. This, in order to get good recording level and to match the playback of the preexisting tracks already recorded and normalized. There’s no noticeable noise created by Helix with the additional gain however. So, it is just an inconvenience. The second issue I’ve run into is random re-amping of preexisting tracks. Twice I’ve had a single playback track inadvertently begin to run through the preset currently being used for whatever reason without any user change of parameter. First time was on a prerecorded bass audio track. Second instance was on a softsynth/drum machine track. I should note this issue is only on the playback as the track being overdubbed/recorded does not bleed together with the rouge reamped sound. A Helix reboot fixes this issue.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is zero latency if you monitor the sound from Helix's various outputs; xlr, 1/4", spdif, sends.

@Duncann

Yes I know, but how is the actual latency :) 

I think of tests like this: 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/618474-audio-interface-low-latency-performance-data-base.html

 

 

This has with both the quality of the driver from Line6, and the hardware (Helix) 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Duncann

Yes I know, but how is the actual latency :)

I think of tests like this: 

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/618474-audio-interface-low-latency-performance-data-base.html

 

 

This has with both the quality of the driver from Line6, and the hardware (Helix) 

 

Ah, ok. When I get a little more time I might take a look at that RTL utility.

 

I do notice that at least once, usually only once, each session with Helix, I get a complete audio dropout while recording in Reaper. The dropout lasts for less than a second, but the audio I'm recording still records. I monitor using the spdif output. I can't be sure what's causing this, but my HD500X doesn't do this and I suppose Helix's driver could be a culprit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, ok. When I get a little more time I might take a look at that RTL utility.

 

I do notice that at least once, usually only once, each session with Helix, I get a complete audio dropout while recording in Reaper. The dropout lasts for less than a second, but the audio I'm recording still records. I monitor using the spdif output. I can't be sure what's causing this, but my HD500X doesn't do this and I suppose Helix's driver could be a culprit.

I don't know what OS you are on (DPC Latency checker doesn't work well with W8/W10) but I usually check my latency with this tool:

http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

 

This shows if you have drivers or programs which have any issues (typically graphic drivers or wireless lan) 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Duncann. What buffer size do you use when you get a dropout?

 

In a "normal" enviroment, a buffer size of 128 would probably be preferred. Then the latency is quite high, as I can understand. About 19ms RTL.  

I don't have a direct comparison, but I think the X3 was about 15ms. 

 

Please correct me if I'm wrong, anyone  ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Duncann. What buffer size do you use when you get a dropout?

 

In a "normal" enviroment, a buffer size of 128 would probably be preferred. Then the latency is quite high, as I can understand. About 19ms RTL.  

I don't have a direct comparison, but I think the X3 was about 15ms. 

 

Please correct me if I'm wrong, anyone  ;)

 

I've tried it on 256 and 512. I just have to remember to change this setting next time I use Helix. It's easy to forget until the dropout happens (damn, forgot to change it!), at which point it's too late, cause the dropout doesn't usually happen until 1+ hours of use and I'm just about done, until the next session, at which point I forget to change the buffer size, etc. lol.

 

Could be something with the way Reaper interacts with the driver as well, I suppose, as well as who knows what with my system: Win7, z97, i7 4790K, 16GB, GTX 970.

 

Thanks for the link to that LatencyMon program. Looks very helpful in narrowing down the problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have W7 or Xp, you can also use DPC latency checker. This is a smaller, easier program. It only shows you if you have any issues - not what causes it.

 

I think with your computer specs, you should have been able to use at least buffer size 128. Maybe 64.

The Helix might react with your wlan driver, or your GPU. They are the usual suspects :) If Helix is connected through a USB hub, that could also cause issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yea, I've found that DPC latency checker program, which didn't find anything wrong after letting it run for a while. The other program, LatencyMon, sees everything as OK as well, although dxgkrnl.sys (directx graphics kernel, microsoft) is the highest ISR reported, and the highest DPC is nvlddmkm.sys (nvidia).

 

Earlier I've also tried a buffer setting of 128. Still dropped out. I should also mention I never hear any snaps, crackles, or pops at any buffer setting I've tried. I'm skeptical that it's something with my system, because I've used the HD500X without these dropouts. The ASIO driver selected in Reaper is really the only thing that changed. But I'm far from an expert at this, so it could just as easily be something with my system (bios settings?), or even user error.

 

I have yet to try a different output from Helix, currently using spdif for monitoring. I'll try this because when the audio drops out when recording, the audio, at the time of dropout, is actually recorded.

 

I don't have Helix connected through a usb hub. Using a 2.0 port on the back of the computer.

 

Thanks for the suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you set up a blank preset, you can use the pod as a midi controller for amplitude or any other sim that is midi enabled. I have a whole set list set up for just this purpose. You're limited to the 64 pc#s that are sent by default from the pod, but you can control 8 fx and use the pod's exp pedal and toe switch to control wah and other continuous controller fx like using a real effect (on/off with toe switch) which is otherwise difficult to do in sims. There's also a way to mimic two-way communication with the sim, causing the on/off status of the sims fx to be reflected by the pod's LEDs both on load and during operation.

 

I'm on the road till Thursday and typing on my iPhone is annoying, but if you're interested in the how-to let me know and I'll give you the details then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, mine is unusable as an Audio Interface. Clicks and pops to the point of not being able to really use it. If they can't fix it, mines going back. Itunes, any type of media, same issue. Almost sounds like a clock issue, and I've tried many settings, but nothings helped so far. Surprising really given that technology is about as mature as it gets.

 

Latest firm ware, and full update on the MAC.

 

mcoffey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, mine is unusable as an Audio Interface. Clicks and pops to the point of not being able to really use it. If they can't fix it, mines going back. Itunes, any type of media, same issue. Almost sounds like a clock issue, and I've tried many settings, but nothings helped so far. Surprising really given that technology is about as mature as it gets.

 

Latest firm ware, and full update on the MAC.

 

mcoffey

Sorry to hear, that seems really alarming. I know a lot of drivers for interfaces has issues with the latest Mac OS, so it might be related to that? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you set up a blank preset, you can use the pod as a midi controller for amplitude or any other sim that is midi enabled. I have a whole set list set up for just this purpose. You're limited to the 64 pc#s that are sent by default from the pod, but you can control 8 fx and use the pod's exp pedal and toe switch to control wah and other continuous controller fx like using a real effect (on/off with toe switch) which is otherwise difficult to do in sims. There's also a way to mimic two-way communication with the sim, causing the on/off status of the sims fx to be reflected by the pod's LEDs both on load and during operation.

 

I'm on the road till Thursday and typing on my iPhone is annoying, but if you're interested in the how-to let me know and I'll give you the details then.

 

Hmmm. Wasn't really thinking to use amplitude or other sims - when I buy the Helix I hope that the sound is superior to those :) 

 

Regarding amp sims: What I really want is Line6 to make a sim (HelixFarm). For me, it can be integrated/bundled with the Helix HW. So it uses the HW in Helix (saves your CPU) - signal routes through the Helix back and forth. 

 

I think the Eleven rack does this the same way. You use your "amp sim" as a VST, but you are routing the signal through your Eleven. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear, that seems really alarming. I know a lot of drivers for interfaces has issues with the latest Mac OS, so it might be related to that? 

I hope they come up with a fix, because the unit itself is pretty impressive. Not sure if it really is a driver issue though. It uses stock Core Audio without having to install any special drivers, but I might be wrong on how that whole thing works.

 

I really like being able to record in my music room without having to drag my Apollo over there, and the tone is really nice.

 

mcoffey

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, mine is unusable as an Audio Interface. Clicks and pops to the point of not being able to really use it. If they can't fix it, mines going back. Itunes, any type of media, same issue. Almost sounds like a clock issue, and I've tried many settings, but nothings helped so far. Surprising really given that technology is about as mature as it gets.

 

Latest firm ware, and full update on the MAC.

 

mcoffey

 

This is actually listed as a known issue in the release notes for the 1.02.2 firmware. I expect it will be taken care of soon.

 

 
Known Issues
  • While a loop is playing, changing from a preset with the Looper block on Path 1 to one with the Looper block on Path 2 may cause a small portion of the recorded loop to play
  • Minor pops and clicks may be present when Helix is streaming audio from a Mac® running OS X 10.11 (El Capitan)
  • Minor pops and clicks may be present when Helix is streaming audio from an iOS ®device with Apple® Camera Kit
  • Importing a Helix bundle while streaming audio over USB may cause the Helix application to disconnect
  • In rare cases, Amp+Cab or Cab > Dual parameter graphics may overlap the action panel buttons while in Pedal Edit mode
  • A certain rare combination of looper footswitch presses may cause several scribble strip graphics to disappear

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phil_M / DI: The Mac issue is ok, but what about Duncann's? He's on a PC and it seems there are driver issues also.

 

Are there any reported driver issues we should know about? A proper audio device should handle a buffer size of 128 - with his computer specs :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phil_M / DI: The Mac issue is ok, but what about Duncann's? He's on a PC and it seems there are driver issues also.

 

Are there any reported driver issues we should know about? A proper audio device should handle a buffer size of 128 - with his computer specs :)

 

I've slowly been trying to track down what's been causing the dropouts I've been having. I've since tried running with 64 samples, no problems with that, except one dropout yesterday (I only ever got one dropout per session). I've also tried monitoring directly from the headphone jack, instead of spdif. No dropouts. I'm also just about done with 1.5 hour session using 64 samples and spdif, no dropouts.

 

I should mention that just before this session I rechecked the cable going out of Helix's spdif. I also convert the coaxial digital to optical using one those cheap, powered converters you can find for about $20. So I checked the optical cable going from that to my computer. Basically reseated all the connections. So far so good.

 

I really don't think anything is wrong the drivers at this point, at least on windows 7. I'm much more likely to blame the cheap converter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've slowly been trying to track down what's been causing the dropouts I've been having. I've since tried running with 64 samples, no problems with that, except one dropout yesterday (I only ever got one dropout per session). I've also tried monitoring directly from the headphone jack, instead of spdif. No dropouts. I'm also just about done with 1.5 hour session using 64 samples and spdif, no dropouts.

 

I should mention that just before this session I rechecked the cable going out of Helix's spdif. I also convert the coaxial digital to optical using one those cheap, powered converters you can find for about $20. So I checked the optical cable going from that to my computer. Basically reseated all the connections. So far so good.

 

I really don't think anything is wrong the drivers at this point, at least on windows 7. I'm much more likely to blame the cheap converter.

That sounds more like it  B)

64samples would be about 10ms RTL according to your scan with RTL utility. Have you tried without the SPDIF converter at all, and done a new scan with the RTL utility? (don't think it matters thought  :P )

 

So, now I'm looking for a Helix...  :ph34r:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That sounds more like it  B)

64samples would be about 10ms RTL according to your scan with RTL utility. Have you tried without the SPDIF converter at all, and done a new scan with the RTL utility? (don't think it matters thought  :P )

 

So, now I'm looking for a Helix...  :ph34r:

 

You are correct. It wouldn't matter because I'm using the spdif output only for monitoring. Everything takes place over USB and inside the computer.

 

I've been enjoying Helix quite a bit, and don't regret getting one at all, so hopefully you can have a similar experience once you get one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used mine with win10 and PT12 256 samples 96khz/32bit with no issues and had my BR1600CD hooked up to the SPDF to use the drum machine on it, the one thing I did notice was that I had to mute the track my guitar was on ( my 11 rack did that automatically) because it sounded like I had turned on a chorus or a doubler or a little louder or 2 guitars playing the same thing but it didn't effect any of my recordings.

 

My PC: AMD FX 8350 8 core, 32gigs ballistic ram, MSI Mobo, intel 180 gig SSD (for OS) 3TB data HD (where all my sessions record to) ATI R9 270. when I put it together I wanted to make sure I had plenty of power to spare when running PT

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the one thing I did notice was that I had to mute the track my guitar was on ( my 11 rack did that automatically) because it sounded like I had turned on a chorus or a doubler or a little louder or 2 guitars playing the same thing but it didn't effect any of my recordings.

 

My PC: AMD FX 8350 8 core, 32gigs ballistic ram, MSI Mobo, intel 180 gig SSD (for OS) 3TB data HD (where all my sessions record to) ATI R9 270. when I put it together I wanted to make sure I had plenty of power to spare when running PT

 

Can't you just turn off the monitoring in your DAW, Pro Tools? In Reaper, with monitoring on, I also get a doubled signal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used mine with win10 and PT12 256 samples 96khz/32bit with no issues and had my BR1600CD hooked up to the SPDF to use the drum machine on it, the one thing I did notice was that I had to mute the track my guitar was on ( my 11 rack did that automatically) because it sounded like I had turned on a chorus or a doubler or a little louder or 2 guitars playing the same thing but it didn't effect any of my recordings.

 

My PC: AMD FX 8350 8 core, 32gigs ballistic ram, MSI Mobo, intel 180 gig SSD (for OS) 3TB data HD (where all my sessions record to) ATI R9 270. when I put it together I wanted to make sure I had plenty of power to spare when running PT

Your 11r did this automatically because its Avid, and ProTools! the 11r is designed with protools use in mind, but works great in other DAW environments.

 

I have an 11r, and I don't use Pro Tools, I use FL Studio as I like it much better.  I have to manually mute the track that my guitar is on as well. I fully expected to have to mute my guitar tracks in FLS with the Helix once I get the Helix Rack. 

 

Point is 11r only automatically does it with Pro Tools. Its one of the 2 benefits from using the 11r with ProTools (the other is complete rig recall from the session in Pro Tools). Other than those things it works just as well in other DAWs.

 

Its simple just remove the track that the guitar is on from going to the Master track, or just mute the signal after the recording in the signal chain. This is one reason why I really like FLS, the mixer is so flexible its easy to do this many different ways.

 

You already have a monitor within the Helix anyway that doesn't suffer from latency like the one through the DAW most definitely has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't you just turn off the monitoring in your DAW, Pro Tools? In Reaper, with monitoring on, I also get a doubled signal.

I'll have to look for that.... it has "no latency" mode as well in PT but I've never had to use it.

 

Your 11r did this automatically because its Avid, and ProTools! the 11r is designed with protools use in mind, but works great in other DAW environments.

 

I have an 11r, and I don't use Pro Tools, I use FL Studio as I like it much better.  I have to manually mute the track that my guitar is on as well. I fully expected to have to mute my guitar tracks in FLS with the Helix once I get the Helix Rack. 

 

Point is 11r only automatically does it with Pro Tools. Its one of the 2 benefits from using the 11r with ProTools (the other is complete rig recall from the session in Pro Tools). Other than those things it works just as well in other DAWs.

 

Its simple just remove the track that the guitar is on from going to the Master track, or just mute the signal after the recording in the signal chain. This is one reason why I really like FLS, the mixer is so flexible its easy to do this many different ways.

 

You already have a monitor within the Helix anyway that doesn't suffer from latency like the one through the DAW most definitely has.

You are absolutely right about that... I never thought about using FL or if it could even use an interface, the only time I ever use it was a trial several years ago and messed around making some sequences

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

You are absolutely right about that... I never thought about using FL or if it could even use an interface, the only time I ever use it was a trial several years ago and messed around making some sequences

Oh yeah, FLS can use just about any interface you throw at it, its a full fledged DAW as much as Pro Tools, Cubase, or Ableton. The routing within it is so flexible its crazy what you can do in it. Mix that with the routing flexibility that the Helix has, and I will have plenty of luxurious routing options.  ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

It is 2018, XXI century. Still Round Trip Latency RTL is a mystery and hardly interface makers give it as SPEC POSITION. I know it depends on whole lot of factors but:
- there are typical Windows and Apple laptops, desktops - even if one has different machine, results are comparable,
- there are typical audio optimizations for specific operating system,
- there are typical DAW's and audio hosts,

You don't need to rely on software RTL reports or install "RTL utilities". Hooking cable to one input, routing output from DAW track another input (loopback) shows whole RTL for given interface - YES, it is so easy!
Judgment if system is stable and audio artefacts free does not have to be subjective opinion neither.

Line 6 guys - please consider!

Link to comment
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.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...