Jump to content
DarthHollis

Two questions before I buy a Helix

Recommended Posts

Hello, and thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

 

I am selling all of my pedals for the purchase of a Helix but there are two questions that I cannot find the answer to on forums or in the user manual.

 

1. Does the Helix do the drop tuning thing?  I want to be able to drop my guitar down at least a 1/2 step like the Digitech Drop pedal can do.  I saw the video of Glen DuLaune where he had a button he hit for "Eb" tuning.  Looking in the manual the Helix can do harmony stuff, but it is really intended for drop tuning and does it track as good as the Digitech pedal?

 

2. Does the Helix save global presets for FX and amps?  For example, if I set the phaser a specific way I like it, can I set it globally so that whenever I pick that phaser on another patch it comes up exactly how I like it?  Pete Thorn mentioned something about this in his demo of the Helix but I did not see how to do it in the Manual.  I would also like it to do this for the amp settings.

 

These too things are kind of important. I will probably get the Helix no matter what, but for the price the FX8 is looking pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Helix has a pitch shifter FX that you can use to achieve the drop tuning. I don't know how it compares to the Digitech in terms of polyphonic note tracking.

 

2) You can create custom settings for any amp/FX and save them in what you could consider a default or template preset. Helix allows you to copy any amp/FX block between presets. So having created your custom default settings you can copy that amp/FX block to any preset you are creating. It achieves what you want but you can't actually overwrite the factory default settings. The mechanism for selecting your custom default settings is different, namely copying and pasting from another preset rather than factory FX block selection using the menus and joystick.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I haven't tried it myself, I believe that you could do downtuning with the whammy and not have any tracking issues, especially if your only going down a half or whole step.

 

In regards to saving global effect presets, that is not possible but I believe I've seen an idea scale on it. On the plus side though, you can copy and paste blocks between presets, so once you've got it set up it is easy to duplicate that setting to your other presets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the responses.  It really helps.  I've been using the Whammy DT for tuning down for certain songs and it has been pretty flawless.  

 

Although it's not the same as having global amp settings, being able to copy and past blocks is pretty awesome.

 

Hopefully my pedals will sell fast.  I'm about halfway there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If drop tuning is important to you I would try a Helix first if I was you. I think the Pitch FX units in the Helix sound absolutely terrible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, It means I will need to buy a Drop pedal or just bring a 3rd guitar that is specially set up and tuned for Drop C. Ugh.  Don't want to have to do either of those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... or get a Variax. It's simple to do with Alternate Tuning and you can save a different alternate tuning with every preset.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do this on my Helix a lot. If you use the "simple pitch" effect, you can tune down 1/2 or even a whole step. Rather than hit a button like Glen does I just created a whole new patch so that I could eq the patch a bit more. It can get a pinch muddy but you can easily brighten it up with some tinkering to more than compensate. Prior to this I used the Pitch Fork and I think the Helix sounds better for when I need to do a half step or whole step down song. I used it live two weeks ago and got lots of compliments on specific songs that I down tune for. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The polyphonic pitch effects from Helix are not as smooth as my EHX HOG. I'm talking about playing chords and sweeping pitch with the exp pedal etc, that type of thing. It's okay, but a little glitchy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The polyphonic pitch effects from Helix are not as smooth as my EHX HOG. I'm talking about playing chords and sweeping pitch with the exp pedal etc, that type of thing. It's okay, but a little glitchy.

Polyphonic? I think that helix has only monophonic pitchers.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Polyphonic? I think that helix has only monophonic pitchers.

If that's the case, then it's a step backwards from the PODs...I've fiddled with it on the 500X, and it works for the most part, for 1/2 step down anyway. The bigger the drop, chords start getting messy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If that's the case, then it's a step backwards from the PODs...I've fiddled with it on the 500X, and it works for the most part, for 1/2 step down anyway. The bigger the drop, chords start getting messy.

 

None of the PODs have had polyphonic pitch shifting. They seem to work OK for half-step shifts for chords, and this is the same with the Helix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, and thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

 

I am selling all of my pedals for the purchase of a Helix but there are two questions that I cannot find the answer to on forums or in the user manual.

 

1. Does the Helix do the drop tuning thing?  I want to be able to drop my guitar down at least a 1/2 step like the Digitech Drop pedal can do.  I saw the video of Glen DuLaune where he had a button he hit for "Eb" tuning.  Looking in the manual the Helix can do harmony stuff, but it is really intended for drop tuning and does it track as good as the Digitech pedal?

 

2. Does the Helix save global presets for FX and amps?  For example, if I set the phaser a specific way I like it, can I set it globally so that whenever I pick that phaser on another patch it comes up exactly how I like it?  Pete Thorn mentioned something about this in his demo of the Helix but I did not see how to do it in the Manual.  I would also like it to do this for the amp settings.

 

These too things are kind of important. I will probably get the Helix no matter what, but for the price the FX8 is looking pretty good.

 

1. It depends on the user. Some find a 1/2 or whole step drop tune with the pitch shifting in Helix (or HD 500 for that matter) to be okay. I find it unacceptable, myself for any real-world music-making. ymmv. The Variax, however, did this AMAZINGLY well, but that would mean another purchase in addition to helix.

 

2. although you can't set global presets for FX and amps, you can copy a whole block from one patch to another. This is new from the HD 500 and has REALLY made my life way easier. I love it. That said, I wish you could dial up a phaser and then select one of 3 or 4 (or heck, even just one) "default state". But it doesn't work that way at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again everyone.  I love the guitars I have and I don't need or want a Variax.

 

The Whammy DT works very well but takes up a lot of space on the floor.  I'm looking to only have the Helix on the floor, nothing else.  I plan on having my wireless on top of the amp and have a 30' cable run to the Helix just so it looks cleaner and I don't need a separate pedalboard.  Luckily I have 3 good guitars so I will be able to compensate.  We only have about 5-6 songs that are in drop C or standard D but they don't sound good up at Drop Db/Eb standard.  I play everything else in Eb and use a D-Tuna.  I have used the POD HD 500 to tune for songs that are a little off, like some Black Sabbath and AC/DC stuff for practicing but I would never use that live.  Way too glitchy.  So although the Helix is not a solution it's not a breaking point for me.

 

Being able to copy blocks will make life much easier.  I plan on having 20 preset or more for live setting using the 4CM and then copying those presets and adding amp modelling for practicing with headphones at home.  Not having to individually set up amplifiers for 20+ presets will make things much faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

None of the PODs have had polyphonic pitch shifting. They seem to work OK for half-step shifts for chords, and this is the same with the Helix.

It either works, or it doesn't. If it works for chords, as we've established, then that is polyphonic pitch shifting. Might get dicey if you're aiming for huge interval shifts, but then again so do a lot of the other "polyphonic" pedals out there.

 

It also might not track as well as a Variax, but that's completely different animal anyway. More than one note at a time = "poly". Don't care what the spec sheet says.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried the Helix pitch shifters and the Digitech drop. Digitech drop wins.

On lower power chords the Helix does fine but on higher strings, there are artifacts that you get when harmonics between the two strings aren't perfect. Thesee harmonics sound very unnatural in the Helix. The Drop handles imperfections better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got my Helix last night and it does do Drop and more.  There is a new Pitch shift called Simple Pitch that was not in the original firmware.  It works great for drop tuning, or even fixing to tuning with something that is just a few cents off.  I will be using it live.

 

Awesome!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use caution with drop tuning. It might sound ok, but your guitar interacts physically in a feedback loop between the strings and the speaker. If the sound from the speaker is a different pitch then the string, then you'll get lots of cancellation and the guitar won't feel or resonate the same, especially at higher volumes. Also physically tuning the strings changes the tension which is part of the purpose of drop turnings. Sometime physical just better than virtual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own a Tyler Variax and and older one too. Both do Alternate tunings (drop and otherwise) very very well. Id go that route with Helix for a no hassle experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Digitech drop.... its much better using digitech than the whammy in Helix.. especially when u strum..

 

However... send/return can only be used once.. meaning.. if u have 2 parallel path, 1 and 2... only one path get to use the digitech signal.... wish Line 6 can change that in future...

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Digitech drop.... its much better using digitech than the whammy in Helix.. especially when u strum..

 

However... send/return can only be used once.. meaning.. if u have 2 parallel path, 1 and 2... only one path get to use the digitech signal.... wish Line 6 can change that in future...

 

How? Laws of physics. If you want two different signals to go through one effect and back and stay discreet. That is physically impossible. You'd need two Digitech Drops.

  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love my Helix, but if I need to use alternate tunings I use my JTV. Like another user said I noticed these harmonic artifacts while playing. I wasn't sure if it was just the pitch effect, but it seems others in here agree that they're not the best. I'm glad it's working for you however.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter,

 

I agree with you.. that was my point. We can't use the same external effect on both path... so rendered the digitech drop useless in 2 separate paths situation.

 

Have to comprise and make a single super path

Share this post


Link to post
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.


×
×
  • Create New...