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Helix or HD500X

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Hey guys.....Im new to the forums but been using L6 stuff for yrs. My trusty old HD500 gave up and died so its time for something new. Would you guys that have had both recommend the Helix over the 500x? It looks like the Helix is quite a bit easier to edit so that's a big plus since I don't carry my laptop everywhere I go. Ive been reading a lot of posts on both forums but really having a rough time making up my mind! Any insite would be appreciated! Thanks

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If cost isn't an issue the Helix is a no brainer but it is 3-4 times the price.

If it was me I'd pony up the extra for all the flexibility

In fact I did .. :)

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Helix is the first Line6 modeler i like. I have tried all the others including Firehawk and the 500x. The Helix is actually better than both the Kemper and AxeFx imho. If it's worth the money only you can decide, but you wont get disapointed soundwise....

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HD500 user here.  Had a Helix since December.  If the money isn't a deal breaker, Helix is hands-down better sounding and easier to use.  Not even close.

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If you don't mind spending a lot more get the helix. I had the HD500 since it came out and got the Helix in Decenber. Just sold my HD500 a week ago.

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I prefer Helix by far over the HD. But if you were using some of the effects from the HD, such as auto-volume, or its many filters, you may want to re-think. Or if you're a gambler, some or all of the HD-has-them-Helix-doesn't effects may eventually make it to Helix. Some of them already have, like the reverse delay and the wonderful new auto-panner.

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It looks like the Helix is quite a bit easier to edit so that's a big plus since I don't carry my laptop everywhere I go.

If this should be the main reason for a change you should not change to Helix, because editing on the HD500x is no magic if you get some practice. If the Helix would offer A/B comparison, undo and an alias-functionality on modules / presets I would suggest to change to Helix!  

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HD500X I own both. BUT I suggest together with the torpedo studio or cab. That will make a whole new difference.

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Starting in 2004, I have had the progression of the L6 Pod's XTLive, X3Live, HD500, HD500X, and now the Helix. I gig mainly to enjoy,but also to fund my equipment habit... The Helix takes much less time and effort to get very good and useful presets up and going.

 

After having said that, it will come down to what your wants and needs are. If you have presets that you're good with, you can get a 500X, and simply put your backed up sets from your 500 into the new unit and you're done, back up and running.

 

If you're interested in the new territory of the Helix, then that is the route.

 

I have 2 JTV's and so far need to keep my 500(X) around for editing those, until they make add that to the Helix, which at this stage is still a work in progress... If you're not a patient type, I'd get the thing you're comfortable with and wait on the Helix...

 

Just my 2 cents worth...

Dave

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HD500X I own both. BUT I suggest together with the torpedo studio or cab. That will make a whole new difference.

Hi Arislaf...

 

I have a HD500X and am intrigued by the Torpedo Cab. Do you have one? Can you set it up so that when you switch patches on the POD the CAB will automatically switch to the desired IR? I could imagine that I could just find one good IR and stick with it for all patches. Is this what you do? Any other downsides I may not have thought of?

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Hi Arislaf...

 

I have a HD500X and am intrigued by the Torpedo Cab. Do you have one? Can you set it up so that when you switch patches on the POD the CAB will automatically switch to the desired IR? I could imagine that I could just find one good IR and stick with it for all patches. Is this what you do? Any other downsides I may not have thought of?

Don't know if arislaf has one or not. I don't. But quickly looking at it, it has a midi input, so my guess would be yes to answer your question.

 

An upside, if I remember correctly, is that by a firmware change, you could use this device for convolution reverb. Edit: I'm thinking of the Logidy EPSi - http://www.logidy.com/?pid=0

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Long time HD 500 owner (mine is from Sweetwater's very first batch, first day they shipped, still works great).

If you loved the 500 and don't have the money for the Helix, you will be happy with the 500X for a long time. It still sounds great in 2016. Mine is not for sale.

Now...

 

...imagine roughly twice the capability, editing so easy that if you're like me you will misplace the printed manual and won't even bother looking for it, 4 loops instead of 1, and noticeably better tone.

Is that worth 3X the price to you? Only you know the answer. 

 

I had to use my HD 500 for an event last weekend instead of Helix (which was all set up at my church and I wasn't going to have time to tear down and re-set up).

I was not disappointed. It was just peachy. But Helix offers so much more.

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Hey guys.....Im new to the forums but been using L6 stuff for yrs. My trusty old HD500 gave up and died so its time for something new. Would you guys that have had both recommend the Helix over the 500x? It looks like the Helix is quite a bit easier to edit so that's a big plus since I don't carry my laptop everywhere I go. Ive been reading a lot of posts on both forums but really having a rough time making up my mind! Any insite would be appreciated! Thanks

 

Yeah; I 'upgraded' to HD500x when the new model packs were coming out; eventually sold my HD500. Wish I had known about Helix before I bought the 500x, but that being said, kept it when I picked up Helix. Still using the 500x for a soundcard and to route the keyboards (analog) to the PC.

 

Overall, Helix is pretty nice, definitely a sonic improvement over the 500/500x family. If you can afford it, go for it. Or just sign up for a Sweetwater credit card and split it into 36 months of payments. Coming from HD500, 500x won't offer you much of anything new. It's slightly more DSP, you might get an extra effect in here and there. The switches are better, and the platform has likely reached it's apex, so I would imagine you could find one lightly used and get a decent deal.

 

The leap from HD500 to Helix will however, be noticeable. One thing to consider; what kind of amp / speakers are you using? That's going to also make a big difference. Get some sort of decent flat / full range option. Even good studio monitors will do a reasonable job presenting what it can do. Helix handles output different than HD500; there are no 'output modes' on Helix.

 

I really like how Helix is designed, it's easy to use - I really never bonded with the deep editing on the 500/500x. They made some great moves on the Helix that make the experience of using it better; or at least, more control. The toggle between preset and stompbox is not global, you can toggle mid patch while playing. You have more control over the bank layouts; presets on top, fx under, or the opposite. With 500x, you only have a few options, not as much control.

 

The HD500x, at the moment, has more FX and more overall amp models. For now.. I would imagine Helix will get more of both as time passes. If there are any specific fx or amps you used more than others on the HD500, double check if they made it to Helix.. Not a big deal for me, I was happy to start from scratch, I wasn't bonded with any presets on the Hd500 when I got Helix. for others, there are some missing that are a big deal and there isn't a quick workaround yet.

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Don't know if arislaf has one or not. I don't. But quickly looking at it, it has a midi input, so my guess would be yes to answer your question.

 

An upside, if I remember correctly, is that by a firmware change, you could use this device for convolution reverb. Edit: I'm thinking of the Logidy EPSi - http://www.logidy.com/?pid=0

Good info. Thanks!

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Thanks for all the input guys! I have to say that I was never really disappointed with my old HD500, but I was never really happy with the way most of my patches sounded. I mainly used it for playing at church when they said..."No more amps on stage!" A few yrs later I started attending a church that let me use my Marshall and pedal board! I was thrilled to death!! No its back to no more more amps on stage, so I drug my 500 back out. Till it died.....It was still such a pain to get tones I really liked and it just seemed so sterile sounding. Money really isn't the issue, just hoping the Helix will let me dial it in without spending hrs tweeking on it to get a tone I like!! And yes.....the fact that sweetwater has 36mo same as cash makes it even more appealing!

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If you go Helix, you will find that you can make some very not sterile patches.  As always, take the factory presets with a grain of salt...

Some of them are good for starting points, but it's usually better to start with an amp/cab or amp/IR and put it together from there.

Sometimes I'll use a factory preset and mod it if it has the particular effects I'm looking for.

 

I did buy Glenn Delaune's patches and have made my own renditions of those by modding his.  They are a REALLY nice starting point, or at least they were for me!

 

I did the 36 month option awhile back just so I wouldn't have to dump all the cash at once.  Cheap payments!

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Hi Arislaf...

 

I have a HD500X and am intrigued by the Torpedo Cab. Do you have one? Can you set it up so that when you switch patches on the POD the CAB will automatically switch to the desired IR? I could imagine that I could just find one good IR and stick with it for all patches. Is this what you do? Any other downsides I may not have thought of?

Hi Rocco. No, I don't have, never own, just tried i tfor 3 days. Regarding cab switch with pod, yes you can. But there is not 1 good cab. They are all great cabs. I would suggest to go with the default cabs per amp, (e.g. deluxe with jensen) and adjust the mic and room to your desire. Anyway, it is awesome and worth the money, and much more easy than to load a hell of mic positions with a single cab (as I do to helix now till I find a good one). Anyway, hope it helped.

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My experience with the HD500X was that I always felt I was one tweak away from the tone I was looking for, but I could never get there. Endless study, experimenting and tweaking never seemed to reach closure. Then I got S-Gear and had a completely different experience. All the S-Gear amps are different, but they all sounded great on almost any setting. They inspired me to play more because of the incredible tone and feel. This made me realize that the digital domain can actually work.

 

Now Helix came along and provided a form factor that eliminates all the issues with trying to use a computer in live settings. I'm having the same experience with Helix that I had with S-Gear. All the amps sound good, they're different, not better or worse. All the effects are easy to dial in. You spend more time playing music and less with endless tweaking. This isn't just because of the Helix UI, it's also in the models. No, it's still not quite S-Gear level tones and effects, but it sure is close and sure is easy to use. I have not missed the HD500X at all. And I'm no longer motivated to try to make a computer-based solution work live. Helix is really great.

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I agree with amsdenj. I know the HD500x is a great piece of gear, but I could never dial anything that I was truly happy with. I did find it easier to dial in clean tones with great effects to my liking, but I had a hard time getting the right kind of grit that I needed.  Now with my Helix I have many different options for things that I really like.  I can edit on the fly just a couple of minutes before the song and I've found something that I love.  Some of the things that I love on top of the sound is over 1,000 presets, scribble strips, the LCD screen, the extra DSP, the extra effects blocks, and the ease of use.  I loved the idea of my HD500X, but never really liked my tones.  

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It's amazing what you can do with amp model and cab model advanced parameters (sag,mics,etc) to change the tone/behavior of an amp model chain. Can't wait for even more amp models in future firmware or expansion packs!

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There was always a digital sounding Clang in the HD 500 that I could never dial out even in the mid gain models

Really off putting once you noticed it

I went back to the M13 and a decent amp until things improved (which they have now)

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I think amsdenj put it best when he said the HD was always one tweak away from the goal tone. That describes my experience almost exactly. Helix doesn't seem to make the user suffer from this problem, for the most part.

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One other thing I've noticed about the HD and Helix: the change in ear fatigue is significant. With the HD, no matter how I tweaked a patch, ear fatigue almost always quickly set in. Maybe this is the HD or not, it could be me making consistently bad tweaks, but with Helix I really haven't noticed this at all.

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Well I went and did it! I ordered the Helix! Now I just have to learn patience while I wait for them to come in! In the mean time I'll be reading through the manual while I wait and watching all the videos I can find!!Again....I really appreciate all the input guys!

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One other thing I've noticed about the HD and Helix: the change in ear fatigue is significant. With the HD, no matter how I tweaked a patch, ear fatigue almost always quickly set in. Maybe this is the HD or not, it could be me making consistently bad tweaks, but with Helix I really haven't noticed this at all.

Two things contribute to ear fatigue: Volume and duration of exposure. Your ears don't care what the noises are coming out of...run a snowblower long enough, and you'll get ear fatigue.

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Two things contribute to ear fatigue: Volume and duration of exposure. Your ears don't care what the noises are coming out of...run a snowblower long enough, and you'll get ear fatigue.

 

Certain frequencies being accentuated also seems to contribute to ear fatigue, particularly in the higher registers.

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Two things contribute to ear fatigue: Volume and duration of exposure. Your ears don't care what the noises are coming out of...run a snowblower long enough, and you'll get ear fatigue.

 

For some reason, Helix does not induce ear fatigue for me as quickly as the HD did. I have very consistent habits when playing guitar. It's always through headphones, the same overall volume level, and approximately the same length sessions. Another thing that could contribute to ear fatigue is nutritional intake or lack of it. I eat the same things every day (boring! I know). And since I changed to Helix from the HD, none of the above has changed, except the use of Helix.

 

There's probably lots more factors that can contribute to ear fatigue. For one example, when I work on a bass part, I get it quicker. Weird. So like HonestOpinion just said, frequencies can contribute, which could vary from person to person.

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Thanks for all the input guys! I have to say that I was never really disappointed with my old HD500, but I was never really happy with the way most of my patches sounded. I mainly used it for playing at church when they said..."No more amps on stage!" A few yrs later I started attending a church that let me use my Marshall and pedal board! I was thrilled to death!! No its back to no more more amps on stage, so I drug my 500 back out. Till it died.....It was still such a pain to get tones I really liked and it just seemed so sterile sounding. Money really isn't the issue, just hoping the Helix will let me dial it in without spending hrs tweeking on it to get a tone I like!! And yes.....the fact that sweetwater has 36mo same as cash makes it even more appealing!

Identical use and same experience here with the HD series. The Helix is a breath of fresh air. Much easier and sounds fantastic. It has been used every Sunday morning since I got in on the first shipment. When my son plays instead of me he uses it as well.

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When I first got my HD500X, I went through the patches and found maybe four I liked. Once I hooked up my Egnater Tweaker 40 via the 4 Cable Method, I liked the HD500X.

 

When I got my Helix, I ran through all the presets and found maybe four I DIDNT like, and they were all special fx patches. Once I started tweaking it and hooked it up to a Line 6 L2T, I put the Egnater up for sale. There is no comparison. The thing, balls out, rocks. I love the editing, don't even care if they come out with a Mac based editor as I find the on board editing a breeze.

 

Of course, you can get a used 500X for tree fitty, the Helix will cost a bit more. IMHO, it's a no brainier... and zZounds or American Musical will get you an 8 payment plan that makes it a bit easier to swallow.

 

I've been a long time Line 6 user, from the Pod XT to the X3 to the HD500X. Now it's an L6 Relay G70 going into an L6 Helix into an L6 L2T. Later this year the plan is to add an L6 L2m because the only thing better than a Helix is a Helix in stereo!

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To add, if your a fan of TFCM, running the Helix with a tube amp is incredible. I am just finding that I don't need the tubes to get a great sound with the Helix. The Glen Delaune patches help too.

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