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amsdenj

Experiences with first live gig using Helix

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Did my first live gig with Helix yesterday. I had a week to get my patches created. My band, No Worries, plays three sets where I play a different instrument in each set: mandolin, acoustic guitar (variax 700 acoustic) and electric (Strat Deluxe). I had been using an HD500X. It was OK, but I spent forever tweaking the patches and never got them just right - they always seemed just one small tweak away, but I could never get there.

 

My experience with Helix was entirely different. First I noticed that all the patches translated well from my music room at home to live outdoors. That wasn't always the case with the HD500X. The tones on all instruments seemed rich and full. Tweaks didn't seem to be needed - you could make them, but the tones seemed pretty good no matter what the settings were, they sounded different, but all sounded pretty good. This is the same experience I had with S-Gear. There are lots of things to tweak, but everything sounds good and inspiring. Its nice to see Helix has gotten there too.

 

I used the Minotaur distortion block on the mandolin for some solos and it was really nice. It fattened up the mandolin and gave it a nice natural and even warm sustain. I play slide mandolin on a couple of songs and the Minotaur made that work very nicely.

 

I've struggled getting a good tone out of the variax 700 acoustic and the HD500X. But it was no problem with Helix. I use a 6dB cut at around 3.6kHz and that's about it. The tone was full and natural, and I really like how the 700 acoustic plays. I'd still like to see an acoustic guitar amp added to helix, something that has tone controls voiced for acoustic instruments.

 

But the Strat was the real eye opener. I'm using a modified version of JazzInc's Two Rock patch and IR. His choice of speaker and mic works very well for the warmer electric tones I need as No Worries transitions from Bluegrass/Americana to more bluesy songs in the third set. It works especially well at lower volumes, keeping a nice warm, fat tone even in quieter settings.

 

So far I am very pleased with Helix. Line 6 seems to have created a really nice product.

 

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Sounds very promising.  :)

I can't wait to get my unit working properly without that black screen so I can use it.

 

I have the same experience with a JTV-69 doing both accoustic and electric patches ... much less tweaking than on the HD500.

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I had pretty much the same experience amsdenj did when I brought mine out with my 80s cover band. I needed a good clean strat sound, a crunchy rock guitar and acoustic.  I use a JTV59 and I was able to dial in my sound needs very quickly by grabbing or using some of the factory sounds and modifying them slightly and by building up from scratch.  I too had the black screen after the latest flash update, but factory resetted and then reloaded my custom set;ist.

 

For my prog band which unfortunately doesn't gig much I was able to build all my presets from scratch by using my HD500X as a template.  Again other than minor problems (primarily just getting used to the interface) I was able to recreate the patches from the HD500X extremely quickly (Much faster than when I did them on the HD500) and with the HELIX amp modeling and effects they sounded much nicer and freaked my prog band out at rehearsal.  My keyboard player who also does our recordings was visibly salivating.

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I still don't like the acoustic sounds on my Variax JTV69 and thought they were weak on my Variax Acoustic 700.  

 

I built a patch on my Helix that sounds amazing with either a piezo acoustic or a piezo bridge on a solidbody.  For an "amp" I use the studio tube preamp model.  No speaker cab.  I downloaded a Taylor 314 IR from a link on The Gear Page and there's your mic and room modeling right there.  Turns a peizo acoustic into a great sounding acoustic.   Turn off the IR with a Variax or Aura system.  Other blocks include the LA Studio Comp, chorus, plate reverb, simple delay, looper...  I'll add a boost and set it up so that I can boost a solo over a looped verse/chorus etc...  Not sure I'd add anything else.

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Tonight I will debut my new Helix live. I had one rehearsal session, where the result was not stellar, due, I believe, to the fact that I had various stereo effects mixed down to mono. The sound was perfect through headphones.

 

I might have to work on "mono" versions of my patches explicitly. It actually makes a lot of sense, since I go mono for about 90% of the times....

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I still don't like the acoustic sounds on my Variax JTV69 and thought they were weak on my Variax Acoustic 700.

 

I built a patch on my Helix that sounds amazing with either a piezo acoustic or a piezo bridge on a solidbody. For an "amp" I use the studio tube preamp model. No speaker cab. I downloaded a Taylor 314 IR from a link on The Gear Page and there's your mic and room modeling right there. Turns a peizo acoustic into a great sounding acoustic. Turn off the IR with a Variax or Aura system. Other blocks include the LA Studio Comp, chorus, plate reverb, simple delay, looper... I'll add a boost and set it up so that I can boost a solo over a looped verse/chorus etc... Not sure I'd add anything else.

I am with you. I just sold the new Variax Standard I had bought. I thought the acoustic sounds were crap. Just not natural. My Babicz sounds nice through the Helix. I had a VG Strat that I sold when I got sick and needed cash for bills. It was head and shoulders above the Variax. That said it too was like a Swiss Army knife. I just do not think guitar modeling is at the level of amp modeling.

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