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mjorden

Noticeable delay when switching patches

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I picked up a Helix a couple days ago and am loving it. Been using a Kemper for a while but that will more than likely be sold soon. One glitch I am running into that I can't find on the forum... There is a noticeable drop out when I change patches. Has this been identified by anyone else yet ? I updated to the latest firmware but am still getting the delay. Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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OK, I found some older threads on this.  Saw where the latest Firmware was supposed to fix this, but it still seems to be a real issue.  Hoping there is a fix soon, because I'm not sure this will be cool in a live situation.  I love the Helix, otherwise. 

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This is the only real issue I'm seeing. Some users were reporting an actual "ramp up" in volume when switching patches.  Not very professional during a show....

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Yes this is the case, Pretty much stuck with one Preset pre song! Sad but true! Make sure to vote on this issue in ideascale!

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This is the only real issue I'm seeing. Some users were reporting an actual "ramp up" in volume when switching patches.  Not very professional during a show....

 

I can't say I've noticed it with any of my patches. I've only really tried to isolate it once, though. I tried recording a patch change transition in Reaper to see how long the delay was, and playing it back, I don't hear a volume bump.

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I've made a few presets with multiple amps and paths and some different ways of switching them. if you check my post history I have shared them here you may or may not like them but they might give you some ideas on how to deal with this until the problem is dealt with

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I don't own a Helix, but it seems like this is the intended (or rather, unavoidable) behavior. 

 

For it to be able to seamlessly load between complex patches, it would have to have AT LEAST double the memory/CPU. And that's only if it knows what you're next preset is. For it to arbitrarily switch between any two presets instantly is fundamentally impossible. If it had that additional power, there are much better things it could use it on, since switching presets mid song is a very niche thing to want to do, especially while switching stomp boxes is made so simple and can be used to solve the problem with nearly the same results. 

 

The workaround is to do your switching WITHIN a single preset. For instance, start with a clean preset and use a stomp box to introduce dirt, rather than a complete preset switch. Sure, this limits your abilities to some extent, but if you're crafty, you should be able to find equivalents to everything you were already doing. 

 

Expecting it to switch presets mid-song without delay is just asking way too much. 

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I don't own a Helix, but it seems like this is the intended (or rather, unavoidable) behavior. 

 

For it to be able to seamlessly load between complex patches, it would have to have AT LEAST double the memory/CPU. And that's only if it knows what you're next preset is. For it to arbitrarily switch between any two presets instantly is fundamentally impossible. If it had that additional power, there are much better things it could use it on, since switching presets mid song is a very niche thing to want to do, especially while switching stomp boxes is made so simple and can be used to solve the problem with nearly the same results. 

 

The workaround is to do your switching WITHIN a single preset. For instance, start with a clean preset and use a stomp box to introduce dirt, rather than a complete preset switch. Sure, this limits your abilities to some extent, but if you're crafty, you should be able to find equivalents to everything you were already doing. 

 

Expecting it to switch presets mid-song without delay is just asking way too much.

 

+1 here. Plus Glenn is using different amps (sometimes multiple amps) in patches. It is like switching from a Fender Champ to a Hughes Ketner and expecting a seamless transition in volume and tone. It isn't going to happen. A normalization circuit would seriously suck any tone you had.

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Guys yes there is a lag when switching patches but in the last 2 weeks I have palyed with 3 different bands. That's about 120 different songs. I can do all of those gigs with a total of 6 patches. With the DSP power you have in the Helix you can go into manual mode and in one patch you can have a clean amp, a gainier amp, two dirt stomps, compressor, noise gate, reverb, several delays, Lead Boost, univibe, tremolo, Octaver, Phaser, Fuzz stomp. On top of that all of the switches can be programed to control several things at once so it makes having to switch between presets a thing of the past. This is the kind of control Line6 has been missing but now we have it. You are only limited by your imagination.

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Guys yes there is a lag when switching patches but in the last 2 weeks I have palyed with 3 different bands. That's about 120 different songs. I can do all of those gigs with a total of 6 patches. With the DSP power you have in the Helix you can go into manual mode and in one patch you can have a clean amp, a gainier amp, two dirt stomps, compressor, noise gate, reverb, several delays, Lead Boost, univibe, tremolo, Octaver, Phaser, Fuzz stomp. On top of that all of the switches can be programed to control several things at once so it makes having to switch between presets a thing of the past. This is the kind of control Line6 has been missing but now we have it. You are only limited by your imagination.

All in all this is true, but it sure was a come down from the picture I had in my mind when I first got the helix.

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I don't own a Helix, but it seems like this is the intended (or rather, unavoidable) behavior. 

 

For it to be able to seamlessly load between complex patches, it would have to have AT LEAST double the memory/CPU. And that's only if it knows what you're next preset is. For it to arbitrarily switch between any two presets instantly is fundamentally impossible. If it had that additional power, there are much better things it could use it on, since switching presets mid song is a very niche thing to want to do, especially while switching stomp boxes is made so simple and can be used to solve the problem with nearly the same results. 

 

The workaround is to do your switching WITHIN a single preset. For instance, start with a clean preset and use a stomp box to introduce dirt, rather than a complete preset switch. Sure, this limits your abilities to some extent, but if you're crafty, you should be able to find equivalents to everything you were already doing. 

 

Expecting it to switch presets mid-song without delay is just asking way too much. 

 

I don't see why. My zoom G3 has pretty much instantaneous switching between patches and that's with the dsp maxed on each patch.

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My friends Kemper has no delay. The cool thing with the Kemper is it slightly fades out the first patch into the second. Seemless. I'm reconsidering my purchase. Like the poster before line 6 seems to not get this. My amplify is horrible in time it takes to switch, my hd500x was just ok. Helix slower than my hd. What gives.

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Don't get me wrong, the helix is a a great unit. But for those who like to have a great clean sound, then there dist is made from a different amp cab block etc, and maybe someother patch the song my dictate. The preset switching is slow and no subtle spillover between patches. This might be something firmware updates can't fix due to the way the patches run thru the helix circuitry, otherwise why didn't they fix the slow switching on other units. but, I hope I'm wrong.

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Expecting it to switch presets mid-song without delay is just asking way too much. 

No, it's not. Part of the draw of a a MFX board is that you have a virtually unlimited array of "rigs" at your disposal that should be useable in ANY context. If I want my verses on a song to be a twin with a comp, two delays, a reverb, some light dirt, and phaser on one side, and a tremolo on the other and the chorus needs a Mesa/5150 mixed rhythm tone with a comp, a boost, two gates, a delay, a reverb, probably an IR or two, and some EQ, I should be able to do that. Especially considering that a "lesser" unit can do this between patches with a limited delay. Cramming all your crap onto one patch and having to make compromises on which effects are available are the pretty much the EXACT reason a lot of us prefer MFX over pedals/amps. We don't want to be stuck to only this chorus, these two delays, this boost, and these two amp sounds, even for the 3 minutes it takes to play a song. I want to be able to create lush recording patches using everything available on the board, then tweak them for live so I'm getting the same sounds, but if the patch switching is too slow, I have to do "dumbed down" versions of my patches to make everything fit in a single preset, which again, kinda negates one of the main reasons for owning a MFX.

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No, it's not. Part of the draw of a a MFX board is that you have a virtually unlimited array of "rigs" at your disposal that should be useable in ANY context. If I want my verses on a song to be a twin with a comp, two delays, a reverb, some light dirt, and phaser on one side, and a tremolo on the other and the chorus needs a Mesa/5150 mixed rhythm tone with a comp, a boost, two gates, a delay, a reverb, probably an IR or two, and some EQ, I should be able to do that. Especially considering that a "lesser" unit can do this between patches with a limited delay. Cramming all your crap onto one patch and having to make compromises on which effects are available are the pretty much the EXACT reason a lot of us prefer MFX over pedals/amps. We don't want to be stuck to only this chorus, these two delays, this boost, and these two amp sounds, even for the 3 minutes it takes to play a song. I want to be able to create lush recording patches using everything available on the board, then tweak them for live so I'm getting the same sounds, but if the patch switching is too slow, I have to do "dumbed down" versions of my patches to make everything fit in a single preset, which again, kinda negates one of the main reasons for owning a MFX.

+1 Totally agree! Some people will use an MFX board within a preset and some need to switch between presets. It depends on your particular situation, preferences, and requirements. This has been a discussion that has been raging for a while and I don't understand why people are so adamant about insisting that users who need to switch between presets can get everything they want within a single preset. That is simply not the case for what may well be a considerable(?) number of users, at least enough to merit addressing. As has been mentioned elsewhere, there is not yet scene functionality (ability to assign the same block or parameter to multiple footswitches). This lack of scene functionality substantially limits what you can do within one preset. I am hardly what I would characterize as a "power" user and I have already hit the wall on what I can do without within a single preset without scenes on a couple of occasions. When I can't do everything I need within a preset I switch between presets. I personally find that switching between presets usually does not create an issue for me, I usually have enough time between rhythm and lead. A full band jamming behind me helps cover up a lot as well. However, any substantial audible switching delay coupled with lack of spillover can potentially be problematic.

 

I don't see the harm in encouraging L6 to do whatever they can to minimize these challenges. I know they have already mentioned that they have some ideas on how to deal with spillover and I would imagine they will continue to do whatever they can to minimize the latency between preset switches. I for one give them my enthusiastic support in those endeavors. I think many users will appreciate the flexibility down the line to be able to use one preset for a song or to be able to jump between multiple presets without compromising their sound. The Helix is a beautiful new MFX sports car, nobody, including L6 wants to tell you that you can only turn right in it. For those who are happy simply living within a single preset per song, more power to you. The variety and quality of sounds that the Helix offers within one preset is already amazing but there is definitely room to improve (Scenes!! sorry had to mention it again). Go L6, make this board as great as you can for as many users as possible, l can't wait to see how you deal with spillover and latency. The Helix is already my favorite MFX and if I have to wait for the next generation to see these issues resolved or minimized I am willing, but I hope I don't have to.

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Hello again. I am the OP. I made the video because I opened a service ticket and Line 6 asked me to send a video. They have told me that the delay is normal and there is nothing they can do about it. This was the final response I got today after I questioned this answer:

 

"The sound drop while switching between patches is normal and is going to happen when coming out of a digital processor. It's not just with the Helix; I assure you that any digital processing unit out on the market right now will do the same thing."

 

I agree with many posters that you can indeed get away with building patches that have everything you need all in one. I just don't think that should be the only solution. I have never had this issue before be so clearly audible with any modeler and I have owned a ton of them. Here was my final reply before I closed the ticket:

 

'I have owned almost every Line 6 modeler from the very first one. I also own a Kemper and owned a Fractal. I have never had an issue this noticeable. Fact. I love Line 6 and will make it work but if you want to compete with the big boys this needs to be addressed. Every one of my musician friends agree. They are now waiting for the AX8."

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Totally agree.

 

If L6 sorts this out and makes spillover work I will buy a Helix right away and so will many others I'm sure.  They will sell like hot cakes!

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The switching delay is not acceptable with a unit of this price. Playing live you have to quickly mute strings change presets, Then start playing again it's a lot to think about in a split second. If your a bedroom player maybe not so much. I'm just about out!

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I know it's not a long term solution but have you guys tried to make a patch with 2 different sounds on different paths and assign them to the Expression Pedal?

I'm doing this on my HD500 and works very well. So I can blend from a clean sound to a distorted sound without delay.

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I'm wondering if this delay could be addressed if the switches between patches activated at release instead of at press.  My TC Nova System does this.  You could press the switch for the next patch seconds before switching if you wished which would allow time for the unit to "load up" before release.  The lag between patches is currently unusable.

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I don't find this to be problematic. I create song-specific presets. Depending on the song, I'll set up one amp configuration on one of the 2 available DSP paths, and a second amp setup on the second path. Both paths have what additional fx are needed to support that path. I'll setup a single foot switch to toggle between which amp setup is active and which is bypassed. Other foot switches may be assigned to manage fx in either signal chain.

 

The other added benefit of this approach is that I name my presets by the song name along with including the key signature in the name. I can then assemble a set list of "songs" knowing that when I hit the foot switch for that song, everything I need is immediately under my feet (including having the appropriate BPM tempo loaded given the number of songs we play that utilize click tracks and loops).

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I know it's not a long term solution but have you guys tried to make a patch with 2 different sounds on different paths and assign them to the Expression Pedal?

I'm doing this on my HD500 and works very well. So I can blend from a clean sound to a distorted sound without delay.

 

This is an amazing way to create a patch that "does everything" for you, imho. I've done it, too, with HD 500, and I have messed around with it with Helix, too.

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Can I get through a set one preset per song? Yes!

Am I satisfied with this? NO!

Does this limit us? Immensely!

Yes, I've found ways to work around this issue, but that's it, it's an issue, kinda gets old having people with less complex signal paths explain that this isn't an issue, it is!!! Do love my helix though!

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Can I get through a set one preset per song? Yes!

Am I satisfied with this? NO!

Does this limit us? Immensely!

Yes, I've found ways to work around this issue, but that's it, it's an issue, kinda gets old having people with less complex signal paths explain that this isn't an issue, it is!!! Do love my helix though!

You might want to be careful in assuming that the approach I outlined is only suitable for "less complex" signal paths.

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You might want to be careful in assuming that the approach I outlined is only suitable for "less complex" signal paths.

 

Guess you're right, all I know for sure is I can play a song with one patch, just still having to tap dance through the song, witch I'm pretty used to, just tired of doing it, and thought I would be able to quit doing funny dances for everyone just trying to accomplish the various effects switches, and looper functions I want to pull off. Have to admit I'm able to accomplish more with less effort with helix, just envisioned something more, and be live it's possible, that's all.

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Ok. I stand corrected. Yes, there is a delay between presets, but as Glenn and others have said you can have everything you need for a song or even a couple of like songs within one preset. Seemless that way.

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I would be fine with it if the variax model could be changed within a preset

As it stands I HAVE to change presets if I want to change models with the noticeable drop out that entails

Give me foot switch control of the models knob of the variax and I'll be fine

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Ok. I stand corrected. Yes, there is a delay between presets, but as Glenn and others have said you can have everything you need for a song or even a couple of like songs within one preset. Seemless that way.

Maybe you and Glenn can fit everything on one patch. I'm having to compromise greatly on which effects are available and adding more stomps to get there Helix-recreations of clean/dirty changes that I would have had on individual presets that I switch between on my HD500X when I'm playing live. I have to use simplified delays/chorus/etc because I have to have both my clean and dirty amps loaded in a patch to have seamless in-song switching. It's a "useable" workaround to load everything in a single patch, but I'd prefer to just switch presets.

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... It's a "useable" workaround to load everything in a single patch, but I'd prefer to just switch presets.

 

Me too, I prefer and expected to be able to have the choice between the two methods!  It would be interesting to know what the major source of the latency is - the code, the memory speed, the DSP processor? If the code still has room to be optimized and is the major culprit, maybe there is a way to minimize latency with the existing hardware. And I do think there is a way to preload/anticipate at least the presets showing on the selected  bank if there is enough memory. This would at least give people 4 presets that could be switched to quickly.

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Here's what I don't understand

How come we can have the looper that works between patches but not a delay?

A lot of this would go away if we just had the scenario where the same delay in the same position on two patches persisted when the patch was switched

That wouldn't take 'double the dsp' would it?

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Here's what I don't understand

How come we can have the looper that works between patches but not a delay?

A lot of this would go away if we just had the scenario where the same delay in the same position on two patches persisted when the patch was switched

That wouldn't take 'double the dsp' would it?

I think we may see some progress on this down the line. DI hinted that they had some ideas that might enable spillover, and who knows, maybe help a bit with latency as well. I think other manufacturers have figured out how to leave some code loaded such that switching a preset that uses for instance the same delay and settings does not require the entirety of the new preset to be reloaded into memory. With reuse and less to reload you get spillover and maybe less latency. At least I think that is how it works? Anyone know how the other guys are pulling it off? If they are indeed pulling it off?

 

I've done a bit of web page and database development and I know that we would reduce page load time by essentially sticking things like pulldown menus and static parts of the page up in memory so that only the dynamic, changeable parts of the page had to reload. Using preloaded memory caches with algorithms that made a best guess as to what the user would look at next (such as the 4 presets on a selected bank) also helped to speed things up. I know the Helix is an infinitely more complex programming challenge with hardware cost constraints but it seems as if the same concepts would apply. It still seems like scene functionality would be the most easily attainable and huge improvement to the Helix. Perhaps as the editor progresses this functionality will come as well. As usual I suspect L6 has the programming talent but not always the programming time and unlimited hardware budget to make this stuff happen at a palatable consumer price point.

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I was excited when the new 1.04.03 firmware was released and was hoping they'd included scenes or spillover.  Imagine my disappointment when I'd read right to the end of the update notes to find it hadn't be addressed yet.

 

I'd love to own a Helix especially for it's lovely control surface - but after checking out the new Fractal FX8 update which gives much better assignability of footswitches and a few new FX models I'm getting tempted to go in that direction.

 

Please hurry Line 6 if you want my custom!

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Yup it's a shame! Looking forward to the quad DSP upgrade for helix!

We'd just make the models that much better and the lag would be the same.

 

The reason something like a Zoom G3 can switch super fast is because it's running a relatively simple fixed signal flow with relatively tiny models with relatively few parameters. It's kind of like asking:

 

"Why does it take four days for The Anaheim Convention Center to get everyone's NAMM booths out and swapped for the next convention when it took my buddy and I an afternoon to swap out his entertainment center?"

The amount of data that Helix needs to remove and then add when switching patches is potentially gargantuan—upwards of a thousand values or more. Regardless, there are always things we can do to improve things. Helix is far from baked.

 

Also, don't forget about 8 TEMPLATES > 02C TwoTones A-B that lets you instantly switch between two tones with zero gap and spillover delay+reverb, 8 TEMPLATES > 02D TwoTones Blend that lets you manually crossfade between two tones with the expression pedal, or 8 TEMPLATES > 03D 4 Tone Switcher that lets you turn four completely discrete serial tones on and off with zero gap.

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We'd just make the models that much better and the lag would be the same.

....

Helix is far from baked.

You are right in that the envelope will always be pushed by even more sophisticated modeling that requires ever more processing power and memory. But along the way there are paradigm shifts. Latency slips below a perceptible level. Hardware speed and capacity increase by an order of magnitude as cost goes down. I remember the early graphics programs on primitive hardware. Rendering a simple graphic would take many hours or even days. This would be executed on a piece of hardware with less processing power than your alarm clock now possesses and at a cost that rivaled a home mortgage. Along the way there were, to be redundant, major paradigm shifts where rendering moved from days to mere minutes or even [milli]seconds (assuming you weren't George Lucas doing things on the bleeding edge with Industrial Light & Magic; and let's face it, most of us are not that). This shift from things taking seconds to render instead of days completely changed computer graphics artists' workflow in a multitude of ways. All of a sudden you could experiment with 50 different visual outcomes in minutes instead of having to painstakingly plan every step because it would be 12 hours before you could see the result. I know this is a rough analogy but the same applies to the audio workflow of for instance having to plan and design how to do everything within one preset versus just switching instantly to another.

 

I believe the same will apply to sound processing. In many ways we are just moving out of the infancy of this technology. A technology largely advanced by L6 (let's not forget the Vetta). I firmly believe future programming techniques and cheaper, faster hardware will make things like perceptible lags a forgotten issue of the past. We will get to a point where enhancements to modeling will essentially be only perceptible to the theoretical nerd and not detectable by most, or any, human ears. Latency will slip below the levels it can be noticed and sound quality will be in the stratosphere. We are approaching that point already. I accept the limitations imposed by the current state of the art programming and the cost restraints of today's hardware but in no way do I think compromises like latency and spillover versus sound quality versus cost will be issues we have to contend with in the relatively near future; at least not at the levels we do now. In the meantime I have a huge appreciation for the big brains at shops like L6 that are doing incredible things while managing a technical balancing act and public relations challenge with the material, manpower, and knowledge they have at their disposal while persevering to satisfy an ever more savvy and demanding user base, and at a price point that is actually within reach.

 

Even though I understand the current challenges, like many other performing musicians, I still can't help wishing for and encouraging the best possible sound and technology for making it, with maximum flexibility and ease of use. As a pragmatist I also accept "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you find, you get what you need".

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We'd just make the models that much better and the lag would be the same.

 

The reason something like a Zoom G3 can switch super fast is because it's running a relatively simple fixed signal flow with relatively tiny models with relatively few parameters. It's kind of like asking:

 

 

 

"Why does it take four days for The Anaheim Convention Center to get everyone's NAMM booths out and swapped for the next convention when it took my buddy and I an afternoon to swap out his entertainment center?"

The amount of data that Helix needs to remove and then add when switching patches is potentially gargantuan—upwards of a thousand values or more. Regardless, there are always things we can do to improve things. Helix is far from baked.

 

Also, don't forget about 8 TEMPLATES > 02C TwoTones A-B that lets you instantly switch between two tones with zero gap and spillover delay+reverb, 8 TEMPLATES > 02D TwoTones Blend that lets you manually crossfade between two tones with the expression pedal, or 8 TEMPLATES > 03D 4 Tone Switcher that lets you turn four completely discrete serial tones on and off with zero gap.

Add the ability to switch the Variax in then! It's the only reason I have to change preset

Or preserve the delay while switching the rest

 

Are neither of these things possible within the constraints of reasonable use ?

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I've been using Helix for a while and I don't find the patch change time to be any kind of a significant limitation.  If anything I've found the very brief fade-out-fade-in that it does helps make jarring timbre changes slide together better.  

 

If that's not fast enough for you, any changes within a patch are to my ear, instantaneous.  And I have yet to max out the capacity of a patch.

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I've been using Helix for a while and I don't find the patch change time to be any kind of a significant limitation. If anything I've found the very brief fade-out-fade-in that it does helps make jarring timbre changes slide together better.

 

If that's not fast enough for you, any changes within a patch are to my ear, instantaneous. And I have yet to max out the capacity of a patch.

Really not my experience at all

Click the footswitch

Everything drops

New preset loads

No fade in fade out here ?

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There is a fade in and fade out when you go to a new preset. It's just really fast. But if it wasn't there, you would most likely hear an audible pop when changing presets.

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