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Switching over from HD500 to Helix

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I've barely scratched the surface on this thing.  I have yet to go through any of the tutorials and, yes, to paraphrase DI's earlier comment, all factory presets are pretty far to the right on the Suck Curve.

 

I've reviewed this forum, as well as the HD500 forum.  I'm trying to figure out how to export all of my HD500 custom patches in such a fashion that I can manually enter the same values on the Helix.  I'm not looking for a serial transfer, but for a simple, if not easy, way to get my HD settings (parameters, values, etc.) off of the old machine and import it in to the new one.

 

Anybody have any insight as to if this is even possible?  DI?  L6T?  Phil?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Bueller?

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My advice is start from scratch. Or at least you could set in place the basic framework of the patch from the HD, which should be easy enough. The tones I've tried to bring from an HD500X to Helix was more an exercise in frustration. It doesn't translate very well.

 

If you really want to replicate, or improve, a tone from an HD on Helix use your hearing. Set up a clip in a DAW recorded with your HD, then on the same track and timeframe, record using Helix. Easy to toggle between the takes for comparison. Tweak the Helix tone, looking for closeness or improvement, delete the previous take (or keep it) and record another take, etc. You could even use the reamping on Helix to make it easier.

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My advice is start from scratch. 

 

Yup. You can do too much more with Helix; it's a true paradigm shift. Here's how I think about the extra FX slots; they are for redundancy in terms of being able to have multiple groups of drive+delay+whatever assigned to a single switch. Instead of trying to make one delay work and multiple other effects on one switch, with one amp and one drive, you can make three drives with three delays and multiple other fx on on three footswitches play with a pair of amps that you toggle with another FS. And, being able to toggle between patch mode vs stompbox mode is another thing that is set up very well in Glenn's patches. And that feature is not a reality in the HD500 world.

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I get it and very much agree.  However I have hundreds of hours invested in dialing in the tones.  We all know the HD series doesn't sound as good as the higher end stuff.  But after four years of HD futzing, I came real close.  I've got a couple of hundred presets that I've created and/or modded; each with a sound I'm pretty satisfied with.  I'd like to get those over without having both units stacked together while I have the 500's editor up and running.

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I get it and very much agree.  However I have hundreds of hours invested in dialing in the tones.  We all know the HD series doesn't sound as good as the higher end stuff.  But after four years of HD futzing, I came real close.  I've got a couple of hundred presets that I've created and/or modded; each with a sound I'm pretty satisfied with.  I'd like to get those over without having both units stacked together while I have the 500's editor up and running.

 

True, and that is certainly a good place to start! In essence, as I gather with Helix you could literally build one patch that allows you to toggle between variations of two different complete HD500 patches. You can as far as I can tell build two entire HD500 patches into one Helix patch. And your footswitch control is vastly expanded, so the notion of what any one footswitch can do is exponential.

 

Though, if you were to at least bring in the core elements of any given HD500 patch to Helix, then you could expand on the routing and the number of FX, give yourself some additional options for what you do going between preset mode and stompbox mode. That feature is a huge bonus for me. HD500 basically has this, but it cannot be toggled in a performance, and is not stored per preset, it's global. A-B-C-D vs FS1-8. In Helix you get both. And you can determine when in 'preset' mode whether the bank of presets is the top row or bottom row, which is also way cool.

 

If you are in 'full' preset mode, you get 8 switches of 8 presets, vs 4 presets and 4 effects. Then, depending on how you program your patch, when you toggle between preset and stompbox mode, you get all these extra footswitches available. To me, that is some real magic there!

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I get it and very much agree.  However I have hundreds of hours invested in dialing in the tones.  We all know the HD series doesn't sound as good as the higher end stuff.  But after four years of HD futzing, I came real close.  I've got a couple of hundred presets that I've created and/or modded; each with a sound I'm pretty satisfied with.  I'd like to get those over without having both units stacked together while I have the 500's editor up and running.

 

To make things a little easier, and if you don't have the model packs, or if you do and you don't use them, just look at your patches using HD Edit without the HD turned on, while you construct your Helix patches with the same basic framework as the HD patches. Then when your done with that, there's a complete new slew of options available to you to improve things. One thing, even if you set the parameters of the amp the same as what's on the HD, it might not sound the same. In addition to that, the cabs and mics, plus the resonance controls, are quite a bit different in Helix. You can get close though.

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I have manually copied a couple of dozen presets from HD500 to Helix. I had HD500 Edit running, without the HD500 connected. At first it was tedious to navigate through the Edit program and copy all the amp, FX and their settings. But like anything else it got a bit quicker with practice.

 

But I did notice what was mentioned earlier - the sound was different even with all the same settings, and the routing options and extra DSP in Helix gave rise to other options. So I quickly learned to use the HD500 setup as a reference, but didn't bother to copy all settings identically since you need to teak them anyway.

 

And Helix has a great new feature - you can copy and paste FX blocks not only within a preset but across presets. So you can easily set up one or two 'favourites' presets that contains all your favourite FX with their settings and quickly copy them to a new preset.

 

My conclusion: it's not as onerous a procedure as you might think, and in the end Helix delivers superior sound IMHO.

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I tried this once. Didn't like it and found it better and more fun to just start from scratch for the tone difference and one other huge reason.

 

The new layout and workflow make it so that the ways you wanted to work in HD 500 are not the ways you want to work in Helix anyway.

 

That said, I tend to start from a template for how I normally use things. So once I made a patch that really worked in my particular idiom, I just copy it to new locations and dial up new FX and amp and cab models as needed.

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I had a few sounds that I wanted to duplicate, and did find it pretty useful to fire up my HD500(X) editing program and load in my setlist from the backup without the unit hooked up. I do have the model packs on the 500(X), but did not yet have them in use in my preferred patches, so I looked at the values and FX I had set up.

 

It got me to my acoustic 6 and 12 string models sounding good pretty quickly on my Helix -- I had downloaded, then evolved a patch quite a while ago that got me going in the right direction on my HD -- EQ's light chorus, Hall, etc. -- loved the sound of it. Then set it up with the same or equivalent stuff on the Helix, really sped up the process. THEN, I added the second path and put in my favorite electric amp (the bassman) - copied and pasted from my Helix patch for that amp, and assigned the acoustic line to the JTV acoustic model, and assigned the JTV mags to the 2nd path, and the gain fx in front of both, toggled the 2 gains so one turned on when the other turned off, and boom! did away with the need for setting my acoustic patches beside the electric patch. Very handy for songs where I'm playing acoustic rhythm then switch to electric for a lead, etc.

 

The Helix 2-path use has cut down the number of different patches I need by quite a bit. I have done some Distortion/clean patches with differing amounts of distortion variations for songs such as ZZ Top's LaGrange, etc. JCM with a bassman for dist/clean toggle. I didn't really make use of the dual path capability of the HD - I suppose you could do SOME of the same, but the Helix was really very easy to do it, has much more horsepower -- the graphic UI was very useful to keep my head on straight when I did those...

 

Wish they'd have included the "/" symbol in the character assignments, probably something to do with computers not liking those in patch names...

 

Dave

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The new layout and workflow make it so that the ways you wanted to work in HD 500 are not the ways you want to work in Helix anyway.

 

+1 to this! Well said sir! That's what I was trying to get across, but what you said sums it up far more elegantly.

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