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Will line 6 continue to improve modeling

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Will line 6 continue to improve on its currently modeled amps and cabs in the Helix, and then update them, if and when something better comes along?

 

...and then, will line 6 add a larger selection of amps to Helix over time? 

 

Not that im dissatisfied, but would hate to see a product with such potential left "as is"

 

Newer Helix customer here, and just wondering if Line 6 has given any indications over the years, to how they may make advancements on Helix. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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The Vetta and Vetta II were "Flagship" Products from Line 6. They were eventually left as is, and in not updated or added to. Same thing happens to most products over time, for companies trying to stay productive and make a profit. My point is, don't worry about it. The Helix will at some point, just like the Vetta, be left behind for a better, faster kewler, one horse pony. Until then, enjoy the Helix as I will.  :D

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The Vetta and Vetta II were "Flagship" Products from Line 6. They were eventually left as is, and in not updated or added to. Same thing happens to most products over time, for companies trying to stay productive and make a profit. My point is, don't worry about it. The Helix will at some point, just like the Vetta, be left behind for a better, faster kewler, one horse pony. Until then, enjoy the Helix as I will.  :D

Thanks man. After doing my first firmware update today, the answer is simply "yes". Line 6 DOES provide more modeling options in this latest firmware update, than it did in earlier versions,for Helix.  More amps, more cabs, more FX, ect.....= more value and more flexibility.

 

Done spending money on products that are simply going to be left in the dust.  That is so analog  :D

 

Having all of the capabilities of today, its nice to see products being updated, and made even better than the day we purchased them. Continuing to improve a product means A LOT to me as a customer.

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......

 

Done spending money on products that are simply going to be left in the dust. That is so analog :D

 

...

I expect Helix will continue to receive updates for several years and will remain a supported product long after that. However, at some point the next generation of product will be released and Helix development will stop. That doesn't mean your Helix will suddenly stop working. It just means it will no longer represent the state-of-the-art. Inevitably something better will replace it.

 

Your dusty old analog gear still works, too, and still does what it was designed to do. In its time it was state-of-the-art. Time marches on and technology will continue to improve. Helix will someday succumb to that reality as well.

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I expect Helix will continue to receive updates for several years and will remain a supported product long after that. However, at some point the next generation of product will be released and Helix development will stop. That doesn't mean your Helix will suddenly stop working. It just means it will no longer represent the state-of-the-art. Inevitably something better will replace it.

 

Your dusty old analog gear still works, too, and still does what it was designed to do. In its time it was state-of-the-art. Time marches on and technology will continue to improve. Helix will someday succumb to that reality as well.

Yeah, of course youre spot on, but most digital products can be improved up or even changed. Analog can really only be whatever it was, without swapping hardware.

 

My bigger point is that some will often NOT make adjustments to their programs, no matter how badly needed. Even with the capabilities.

 

Im finding  some conflicting information on Helix here and there, so things that may seem elementary to you "line 6 old skoolers" dont make perfect sense to me instantly. Little stuff most, and things that become clear eventually, but still conflicting never the less.

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The amps that are in the Helix now are really useful to me. If they "improve them" and it ends up changing the sound of them much, I might not be real happy. If they add more, obviously we all will be happy.

 

So, it's a complicated dance I guess.

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The amps that are in the Helix now are really useful to me. If they "improve them" and it ends up changing the sound of them much, I might not be real happy. If they add more, obviously we all will be happy.

 

So, it's a complicated dance I guess.

I know just what youre saying dude. When its working, its working. Doesnt matter if its the "best or worst" sound in the world. Subjectivity. Go ahead and expand, but try not to alter.

 

Really lovin the new Matchstick which was NOT part of my original firmware. Great update there.

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Line 6 historically hasn't obsessively tweaked existing models in the same way Fractal does, at least not in a public way. They do make improvements, but most of the time, these are simply listed as "miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements" on the release notes. Cliff at Fractal, on the other hand, gives details as to every improvement he's making. Cliff kind of reminds me of the guy who keep a bunch of muscle cars in his cars and is constantly tweaking them. Not that it's a bad thing, per se. At some point, though, it seems there's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to tweaking the modeling itself. I can think of a dozen other things I'd rather have than changes to the amp modeling.

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Line 6 historically hasn't obsessively tweaked existing models in the same way Fractal does, at least not in a public way. They do make improvements, but most of the time, these are simply listed as "miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements" on the release notes. Cliff at Fractal, on the other hand, gives details as to every improvement he's making. Cliff kind of reminds me of the guy who keep a bunch of muscle cars in his cars and is constantly tweaking them. Not that it's a bad thing, per se. At some point, though, it seems there's a point of diminishing returns when it comes to tweaking the modeling itself. I can think of a dozen other things I'd rather have than changes to the amp modeling.

 

But... I need to know that if I upgrade my firmware, I don't have to re-write patches to play at my church services that weekend because they've been tweaked under the hood. I want them to be right from the get go and mostly left alone (talking models, not factory patches, which I ignore anyway). Honestly, the sheer volume of firmware updates that Fractal does turns me off and would be a motivator for me to avoid those products. Not saying they don't sound great, but at some point I want ya to leave it be and let me play. (But give me NEW models, hellz yah!)

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Save them, and reload them Hamm. Unless something was way off to begin with nothing tone raise should change much...

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If L6 was me, I'd make backwards compatibility a 100% requirement, so the max I'd do to existing models is add additional parameters and fix bugs.

 

Adding new models has no such concern, just go for it.

 

There are a number of amps and pedals I'd love to see in Helix, in fact that's one of my main concerns coming from Amplitube and Scuffham ITB, there's so much variety there. Never in a million years could I afford all that in hardware, not to mention that lots of it is discontinued and rare, I wouldn't have any place to put it, and vastly prefer the setup of a minimal rig anyway.

 

But once they've sold Helix to everyone who's interested, what's their incentive to add more to it? To maintain its rep, sure, but that doesn't directly pay the bills and fund further development. Only real answer is paid add-ons. I'd resent that on one level, especially if it happened right after it came out, but if it keeps new stuff coming for another x years, I'm in.

 

What'd be even more awesome is if a whole third-party ecosystem grew up around this hardware, UI, and firmware OS. There would have to be docs and developer tools and all the things that make developing software possible on a platform. I'd love to see what some of the great ITB sim companies could do. If there was a PC in this form factor, I'd be on that faster than a Helix, just because there's already so much software available, and more coming all the time. Hmmm, do I want to cannibalize a Helix to build one for myself? Unlikely...

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Or, make (as others have already suggested) a dumb Firehawk 1500 like add-on (or something less perhaps) specifically designed for Helix. I know it was said that the cost difference between not having effects and amps in the FH 1500 versus having them was minimal, but in a year or two that might change. Also, (as Zooey said too) add the ability to install L6 & 3rd party Amps and Cabs like Fractal and Kemper has done. This means there will be no shortage of tones for years to come. So even if it's not supported after 4 or 5 years there will be other add-ons available for Helix to stay fresh longer.

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Save them, and reload them Hamm. Unless something was way off to begin with nothing tone raise should change much...

 

But there's been plenty of stories about Fractal firmware updates that changed the tone of the amp models enough that people had to adjust their patches. I don't want to take time for that.

...Only real answer is paid add-ons. I'd resent that on one level, especially if it happened right after it came out, but if it keeps new stuff coming for another x years, I'm in...

 

Totally agree. LOVED the almost-5-year-in updates that came out for the HD 500. The Vintage Model Pack was really worth the money and yes, in 5 years if they do something similar for Helix, they'll probably have my money.

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...Also, (as Zooey said too) add the ability to install L6 & 3rd party Amps and Cabs like Fractal and Kemper has done...

 

There are no 3rd party amp models, just IRs in Fractal (you still need them to make your amp model - no problem, there are tons...) and amp profiling (not the same as modeling) in the Kemper, though.

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But there's been plenty of stories about Fractal firmware updates that changed the tone of the amp models enough that people had to adjust their patches. I don't want to take time for that.

 

Totally agree. LOVED the almost-5-year-in updates that came out for the HD 500. The Vintage Model Pack was really worth the money and yes, in 5 years if they do something similar for Helix, they'll probably have my money.

Never fear Hamm. 98% of the time when Fractal updated the firmware I always thought (and I was not alone by a mile) the tones got better, not worse.

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There are no 3rd party amp models, just IRs in Fractal (you still need them to make your amp model - no problem, there are tons...) and amp profiling (not the same as modeling) in the Kemper, though.

Pardon- Cabs for Fractal, but many many amps for Kemper. In fact the Kemper amp tones are one of the reasons why I sold my Axe FX II a while back. Kemper tones IMO are just to die for!

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Pardon- Cabs for Fractal, but many many amps for Kemper. In fact the Kemper amp tones are one of the reasons why I sold my Axe FX II a while back. Kemper tones IMO are just to die for!

 

Well, yes, technically the Kemper can profile and amp and mic combination you feed it. But that's not really the same thing as a full amp model. There's limited tweaking that can be done with a profile after the fact. I've actually read that the Kemper patent spells out that it uses 7 reference amp models to accomplish all of its profiling, which is actually quite remarkable, in a sense. On the other hand, I think it just goes to show that even though there's tons of amps out there that can be modeled, there is a ton of tonal overlap in those models, and that even a relative small handful of very good models can provide a ton of flexibility.

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I see people keep throwing around the term "amp modeling" with the Helix.    It's my understanding that they model components, so I don't really see a 3rd party being given access to the code to accomplish this.  On the up side, there is PLENTY of room to add more of these component modeled amps to the Helix so as long as they can find people to give them amps, and allow them to take them apart and put them back together again, I think they will keep adding to the catalog.

 

Someone mentioned how Kemper uses several basic amp models to "Profile" new models.  I think Helix has taken this a step farther.  When it comes down to it, there really are only a few amp designs, especially when you come to Tube amps.  Once you have those down to component level, you should be able to come close to creating just about any sound.   

 

AxeFX is popular with touring musicians, but I think Helix is now starting to give them some friendly competition.     

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Currently there are user made 7736 "Rigs" available for download for Kemper, not to mention the hundreds of 3rd party ones. Now not all of them are worthy of a 5 star rating. But I would suggest that thousands are good enough to gig with and record with. We don't know exactly whats involved or how deep the rabbit hole goes, but as mileskb stated, getting access to Line 6 code to allow 3rd parties to create new amps (or components) may be difficult, if not impossible. I assume all that depends on what Yamaha/ Line 6 wish to do. I'll tell you this much as far as I see it. Allowing (or designing into your device) 3rd parties to make quality amps/IR's/Rigs for other Guitar Processor Makers resulted in a huge market full of stuff for us, the guitar player while it also promoted the reason for more sales of that processor. Lets see what happens!  :D

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I'll be honest, I'd just like Line 6 to do a series of excellent patches with logical and useful pedal layouts so those of us without endless hours could just load up a great Bogner like tone with a flange, phaser, chorus and distortion pedal already programmed on the bottom row.

 

I've gotten some of Glenn DeLaunes and they are excellent but would like Line 6 to do some that intricate to download. Most of the user created Helix tones on this website aren't very good. The difference between a generic Helix tone/chain and the super intricate stuff is huge.

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FWIW...

 

- Personally, I'd rather not wait 5 years for additional amp and stomp models. If paid ones from L6 showed up before then, I'd be pleased :)

 

- The third-party amps and stomps universe really could have two levels: Stuff built from the existing components built into Helix, and new components. My guess is that modeling many amps accurately would require custom transformer models at least, unless the existing models have enough flexibility to cover at lot of transformers that are different in the real world. Supporting third-party development on either or ideally both levels would be truly awesome.

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I'll be honest, I'd just like Line 6 to do a series of excellent patches with logical and useful pedal layouts so those of us without endless hours could just load up a great Bogner like tone with a flange, phaser, chorus and distortion pedal already programmed on the bottom row.

 

I've gotten some of Glenn DeLaunes and they are excellent but would like Line 6 to do some that intricate to download. Most of the user created Helix tones on this website aren't very good. The difference between a generic Helix tone/chain and the super intricate stuff is huge.

 

Have to disagree with you on this...one of the Helix's strengths, IMHO, is it puts out damn nice tones without having to get super intricate...have just about all of Glenn's patches, and really like them, however my favorite patches have nothing more than a Dr Z Rte 66 with a LA compressor, either a Minotaur or Timmy drive, a delay and/or verb into a dual cab....no fancy routing and playing through a good FRFR amp....even a hobbyist like me can get great tones out of Helix in a short time, then spend a lot of time playing....could a pro do better, yep, but guessing the differences would take hours and be a small percentage....I'd rather play as I don't make a living entertaining so don't need that little extra tone, which is subjective at the end of the day any way.

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flexibility and orientation:

 

not everyone wants to play hendrix nor slipknot

 

it's all a matter of orientation

 

what's the best trademark for high gain tones? 

 

which processor produces the best clean tones?

 

I find very pleasent the high gain tones from the original models in the PODXT family but the cleans are not as amazing as the HELIX...

 

I prefer original LINE6 models (new ones, not from the POD family) to add the Helix than more ordinary amps

 

and more flexibility to tweak those tones as if they were just real amps; more parameters, more interaction between guitar and amp's eq etc...

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what's the best trademark for high gain tones? 

 

which processor produces the best clean tones?...

 

The answer is clearly yes.

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It's a generational thing too though

Older obstinate burgers like me will always get Dewey eyed at the memory of the days when you had a roadie lug around a Marshall stack for you and you basically dined it and melted the paint off the walls

There are now a couple of generations where their first 'amp' was a POD and the noise it made to them is the norm

Soon they will have no desire to replicate the sound and feel of a 60s AC30 top boost because there will be no context for them to know what that amp is like to play (I'm seeing a fair bit of this already)

Most of the kids will want sparkly clean, crunchy, distorted, metal and a ton of Delays reverbs and filters. They won't much care about accurately modelling gear of the past

Until it comes back in a super cool retro fad ...

It's all cyclical

I've already been through two periods of 'the death of valve amps' and yet you can pick up a decent one for a couple of hundred quid

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amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing responses guys. Thanks so much for contributing. Please dont stop on that note ;)

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Very simple answer to this: if you pay a limited amount of money, you will get a limited amount of support.

It's either that or pay-per-amp or a "pay to get updates subscription".

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I think Line 6 will indeed find ways to "improve the breed". IMHO, the Helix is the finest product they've ever released and any improvements to its sound and or capabilities will only spur on more sales. Death to the little glowing glass bottles!

Just kidding.

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I think Line 6 will indeed find ways to "improve the breed". IMHO, the Helix is the finest product they've ever released and any improvements to its sound and or capabilities will only spur on more sales. Death to the little glowing glass bottles!

Just kidding.

lol, I own a Helix and think it's fantastic..little glowing glass bottles still rule.

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Very simple answer to this: if you pay a limited amount of money, you will get a limited amount of support.

 

I dont know man. In my experience it varies from developer to developer. Ive spent small amounts of money and got massive support and spent lager amounts and got poor support, so IMO it come down to how ambitious the company is and how much importance they place on customer service.

 

It's either that or pay-per-amp or a "pay to get updates subscription".

 

Not sure about this either. Line 6 has already added modeling and not charged a penny. The better they make the product, the more buyers they attract.  Maybe the price increases a bit because of demand, but Us who are on board as "early supporters" reap the benefits, and rightly so.

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lol, I own a Helix and think it's fantastic..little glowing glass bottles still rule.

Sometimes... But not consistently so. Therein lies the problem.

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I dont know man. In my experience it varies from developer to developer. Ive spent small amounts of money and got massive support and spent lager amounts and got poor support, so IMO it come down to how ambitious the company is and how much importance they place on customer service.

 

Well yes but in the end the company is expending resources based on income. Some may choose to dig into their profit more in the sake of support but in the end that resource is finite, it *will* end at some point.

 

It seems that Fractal may have a middle ground where every unit is so expensive that they have enough overhead to do a huge amount of development. But then I have no idea of their unit economics so that interpretation could be way off.

 

Not sure about this either. Line 6 has already added modeling and not charged a penny. The better they make the product, the more buyers they attract.  Maybe the price increases a bit because of demand, but Us who are on board as "early supporters" reap the benefits, and rightly so.

 

I believe they have also in the past done things like paid amp packs. Anyway, let's hope they keep adding stuff and making the Helix even more awesome. :)

 

The Digitech GSP1101 is a great example by the way. The life cycle of that unit was extended insanely. It was released almost 10 years ago and is still a great choice for many setups. I actually bought a Pod HD rack to replace the GSP and flipped it because it simply didn't win. 

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Well yes but in the end the company is expending resources based on income. Some may choose to dig into their profit more in the sake of support but in the end that resource is finite, it *will* end at some point.

 

It seems that Fractal may have a middle ground where every unit is so expensive that they have enough overhead to do a huge amount of development. But then I have no idea of their unit economics so that interpretation could be way off.

 

 

I believe they have also in the past done things like paid amp packs. Anyway, let's hope they keep adding stuff and making the Helix even more awesome. :)

 

The Digitech GSP1101 is a great example by the way. The life cycle of that unit was extended insanely. It was released almost 10 years ago and is still a great choice for many setups. I actually bought a Pod HD rack to replace the GSP and flipped it because it simply didn't win. 

 

For the 1300-1500 street price of the Helix floorboard, don't think anyone should expect unlimited free upgrades for the life of their unit....that's just not realistic IMO.  If Line 6 upgrades this unit for a year, maybe two, then charges their normally nominal amounts for amp/effects packs, I'll buy them all day long.  It costs a LOT of money to maintain a large IT shop, I'll show you my books if you don't believe it, so Line 6 isn't gong to be able to support freebies forever on nothing but the back of new Helix sales.  I WANT long term support/upgrades and am willing to pay a reasonable amount to get it.  If the price moves beyond what I consider reasonable,then I'll keep what I've got and still be a happy camper....

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The Digitech GSP1101 is a great example by the way. The life cycle of that unit was extended insanely. It was released almost 10 years ago and is still a great choice for many setups. I actually bought a Pod HD rack to replace the GSP and flipped it because it simply didn't win. 

 

The GSP1101 is the opposite of a good example, imo. Digitech only supported it for a few years years with firmware updates. I believe the official firmware versions stopped at 2.0. The additional firmware that was available that allowed for IR loading (truncated to 128 samples, fwiw) was released as an unsupported beta by Digitech employees, on their own time and dollar.

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It costs a LOT of money to maintain a large IT shop, I'll show you my books if you don't believe it

 

I know. Show me yours, I'll show you mine haha ;) 

 

The GSP1101 is the opposite of a good example, imo. Digitech only supported it for a few years years with firmware updates. I believe the official firmware versions stopped at 2.0. The additional firmware that was available that allowed for IR loading (truncated to 128 samples, fwiw) was released as an unsupported beta by Digitech employees, on their own time and dollar.

 

Yeah, I didn't mean as an example of a business decision but rather what continued development can do for a unit. The additional firmware does a ton more than just IRs, there are lot's of tweaks, fixes and features all over the place, even adding a new way to navigate that is way quicker and more intuitive. It's sad that Digitech didn't see the value in it. :(

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For the 1300-1500 street price of the Helix floorboard, don't think anyone should expect unlimited free upgrades for the life of their unit....that's just not realistic IMO.  If Line 6 upgrades this unit for a year, maybe two, then charges their normally nominal amounts for amp/effects packs, I'll buy them all day long.  It costs a LOT of money to maintain a large IT shop, I'll show you my books if you don't believe it, so Line 6 isn't gong to be able to support freebies forever on nothing but the back of new Helix sales.  I WANT long term support/upgrades and am willing to pay a reasonable amount to get it.  If the price moves beyond what I consider reasonable,then I'll keep what I've got and still be a happy camper....

For $1500 I disagree.

If this was a $500-600 board paid updates would be ok.

 

I think this is the best unit line 6 has put out. I can see them using the same tones for awhile and just upgrading the hardware when it's needed.

 

If paid updates come I'll just get an AX8 as I don't think fractal charges for updates and has a huge selection of everything.

 

Don't get me wrong, I really like my helix and hope that it grows into something amazing.

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Fractal doesn't charge for updates, and adds amps and stuff as well on some of those updates. But The AX8 can't do dual amps (much less 4) at once can it? Even so Im thinking those futuristic paid updates will cost you a WHOLE LOT less than an AX8 will. As always YMMV... :D

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For $1500 I disagree.

If this was a $500-600 board paid updates would be ok.

 

I think this is the best unit line 6 has put out. I can see them using the same tones for awhile and just upgrading the hardware when it's needed.

 

If paid updates come I'll just get an AX8 as I don't think fractal charges for updates and has a huge selection of everything.

 

Don't get me wrong, I really like my helix and hope that it grows into something amazing.

 

Do you expect free upgrades for life from Apple or Microsoft for your computer too?  As far as the Axe8, haven't seen any promises of updates for life there either and Fractal is going to be in the same position Line 6 is....we aren't talking about units that cost 200 to produce with the Helix or Axe8, these are probably closer to 800 to produce so both companies are going to need revenue sources at some point to justify upgrades down the road...there is something called payroll they have to meet.  No such thing as free anything....

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Fractal doesn't charge for updates, and adds amps and stuff as well on some of those updates. But The AX8 can't do dual amps (much less 4) at once can it? Even so Im thinking those futuristic paid updates will cost you a WHOLE LOT less than an AX8 will. As always YMMV... :D

 

Not a Fractal user, so do they still provide free upgrades for all their older units or at a certain point does the older gear no longer run the newer engine releases?  

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For $1500 I disagree.

If this was a $500-600 board paid updates would be ok.

 

I don't see how that makes any difference. It's not like they released a HD500 for $1500, they made something way better and priced it to match... The margins are probably in the same ballpark.

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