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Does anyone else find the Reverbs in Helix really disappointing?

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First and foremost, I read a lot of forums about a lot of kit. Mainly synth and sampler stuff but invariably someone associated with a certain manufacturer (PM or Lead technician etc) will post a response to some critique. Intentionally or not, they either come across as overly defensive and condescending or inversely overly acquiescing and almost unnecessarily apologetic. I'm new to this forum so am not sure if Digital_Igloo works for Line 6 but his post of April 29th 9:12am is one of the best articulated and perfectly crafted answers I've seen on such subjects. Almost every product I own the community can find a weakness or criticism (all good to have and voice) but there's sometimes an assumption that owners of competitors products are to be envied because they don't face similar frustrations. I have yet, in 25 years of owning hoards of products, to find one that didn't have some blemishes that made it through QA or some things it didn't do as well as the competition. There is no silver bullet, there is no perfect product or manufacturer software or hardware wise (at least one that is financially viable), but there is a Sergent Peppers so it's what you do with the tools you have.

 

Reverb-wise, I actually think the Helix does more than well with the basic reverb types you'd use in standard tones (basic room, plate etc) just to fill out a sound, by that I mean I have never loaded a block in and felt it's the weak link. Luckily though the advantage of a software based solution it I guess we are just a release of a new algorithm away from extending out beyond that so no doubt additional options will happen in time.

I do tend to do a lot of ambient stuff but never went into the helix thinking it would replace my Big Sky or H9 but I just throw those in a send\return loop so that's been thought out. But that kind of processing comes at a cost, there's a reason the Strymon is $479 and the H9 $699 (well, my Max was anyway) so 1\3 and 1\2 Helix respectively. 

 

Digital Igloo does indeed work for Line 6. He's the product manager for the Helix line, actually.

 

On a happy note, he just got married this past Saturday, so hopefully we won't be seeing him here this week! :)

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I wish that I could get the versatility and depth of verbs and delays that my Strymon Timeline and Big sky have. I am also disappointed in the Helix in these 2 areas. It seem to me that the Helix time based FX really need to be up dated. I also use an Axe FX and the Axe disappoints me in that it takes forever for me to program it but it does have far better reverb and delay.

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I adore the delays in Helix that I use. Tape Delay, Bucket Brigade, and especially the new Vintage Delay.

Don't know why people don't love those, but hey, we're all different.

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Digital Igloo does indeed work for Line 6. He's the product manager for the Helix line, actually.

 

On a happy note, he just got married this past Saturday, so hopefully we won't be seeing him here this week! :)

Congratulations DI!  :)

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I will agree with the OP and just say that the reverbs in the Helix are not what I was hoping for.  I have had good luck using the plate verb so far when I want to add wetness to a tone, but have not gotten much bang out of any others.  This is one area that they need to improve.  We could use a couple, rich, HD reverbs based on different algorithms.  I have not found the springs in the helix to be useful either, but I run into an old Fender twin with a built in spring reverb that definitely has that 'drip' effect going for it in spades, so have not missed it.  That said, I agree, that it should be there.  Reverb is pretty dang fundamental when it comes to guitar effects.  Like, probably the most fundamental.

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Well, this forum is doing for me what I had hoped. complaints and then some ideas on how to work around and enhance things.

I love the idea of the reverb block before the speaker IR seems like a much better idea, heard no follow up on that anyone get better results??

Just a fact there is no pleasing everyone and no pleasing some people, but in regards to many things its often the fault of the pilot not the plane and complaints of the hammer not working is holding on the wrong end. 

Many of us found with the genius "meambobbo" of the HD fame that one could just turn on various blocks like EQ with no adjustments and it would effect the tone as it ran through them. A lot of tricks and I am sure the Helix is going to be wonderful finding all those little outside the box thinking angles to get things working optimally, many of which the Line6 cats have not discovered. 

 

I listened for ages of users loving the POD then the HD and I finally tried one and pushed the programming as far as it could go, was OK but the models did not really seem anything much other than a pedal mimic of an amp if some were that good.

Terse problems with the unit like the effects loop not being unity (tested -6db on several units) the Niagara Falls noise hiss requiring first in chain noise gating was just terrible and the digital clipping between blocks. Personally if you're using a guitar amp with something like the Helix on that 4CM thing you should rethink your paradigm. 

 

Long story short you could not give me a POD and I so left that behind and I thought Line6 was one of those lines that was a phase for me and moved on. Then I hear and read of the Helix, the steroid modeler that is a ground up rethinking and redo of all the bad POD aspects. And I find they took many of my suggestions in mind with the Helix, coincidence. most likely but just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in. I get my unit later this week and I have the headphones and air tanks ready for deep study and experimentation.

 

Seems to me the various delays and reverbs have to be pretty damn good and certainly better than the POD which its back end effects seemed pretty good really. It's the front end stuff which I never used. Helix seems to have done a component modeling of these pedals which the beloved Klon, and a Trimmy both my requests years back.

Do spend the research time and the engineering issues on the amp/cab arena and the delays and reverbs.

Please no more wasting time on the exact mimic of cheese pedals I would not use if someone gave me one.

I cannot wait to try some routing block ideas to see how they work. Seems to me if something does not work for you or you want super high end studio reverb and what not, pipe it in for gods sake. Concentrate on the best of the best and let cheese pedal lovers or wants of a different delay or reverb loop it in.

The downfall of the POD for me was the low brow sound like this band, and cheese effects which 85% were of no use, maybe for a teenager who lacks ability or an ear for that matter. But you have a hell of a potential unit here do not turn it into a freakin' POD. 

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I will agree with the OP and just say that the reverbs in the Helix are not what I was hoping for.  I have had good luck using the plate verb so far when I want to add wetness to a tone, but have not gotten much bang out of any others.  This is one area that they need to improve.  We could use a couple, rich, HD reverbs based on different algorithms.  I have not found the springs in the helix to be useful either, but I run into an old Fender twin with a built in spring reverb that definitely has that 'drip' effect going for it in spades, so have not missed it.  That said, I agree, that it should be there.  Reverb is pretty dang fundamental when it comes to guitar effects.  Like, probably the most fundamental.

 

I think L6 has acknowledged the reverbs to be one of the areas on the Helix that needs improvement.  I seem to remember that they stated that these reverbs were essentially ported over from the HD500X; among the few, if not the only effects that were not custom designed from the ground up for the Helix. I believe our patience will be rewarded with some new reverbs in the future. It seems as if they made an informed decision that this was the effect category that could most easily be worked on later in the development cycle and would cause the least blowback. I can understand this as reverb is probably one of the things L6 did quite well already in previous hardware. In the meantime the reverbs are quite usable to good and I think we will see substantial improvement in this arena somewhere down the line. On a personal note I would like to get a really big and good arena or stadium type reverb particularly for vintage type guitar sounds and it would probably be great used sparingly on vocals as well.

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Don't know why people don't love those, but hey, we're all different.

 

 

I AM TOO!

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I think L6 has acknowledged the reverbs to be one of the areas on the Helix that needs improvement.  I seem to remember that they stated that these reverbs were essentially ported over from the HD500X; among the few, if not the only effects that were not custom designed from the ground up for the Helix. I believe our patience will be rewarded with some new reverbs in the future. It seems as if they made an informed decision that this was the effect category that could most easily be worked on later in the development cycle and would cause the least blowback. I can understand this as reverb is probably one of the things L6 did quite well already in previous hardware. In the meantime the reverbs are quite usable to good and I think we will see substantial improvement in this arena somewhere down the line. On a personal note I would like to get a really big and good arena or stadium type reverb particularly for vintage type guitar sounds and it would probably be great used sparingly on vocals as well.

Totally agree on the arena reverb, as well as with the OP take on spring reverb.  A nice, drippy, fender reverb would be sweet!

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...

Don't know why people don't love those, but hey, we're all different.

 

 

I AM TOO!

 

Be part of the original crowd!  B)

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I try and be realistic with reverbs.  It is why I kept my H9.  I am not willing to give up an entire path just for reverb, which is probably what would be required to run some of the Strymon and Eventide reverb algorithms.  Give me nice, usable guitar reverbs in the Helix and I am happy (which is what they did).

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I consider myself somewhat picky when it comes to reverb.  Can't stand metallic or grainy sounding reverb algorithms

The Plate works well for me...

Dial in a nice balance of wet vs. clarity... and the reverb doesn't sound bad at all.

It's there... but it doesn't get in the way.

 

For more "wash/ambient" type sounds, I could see wanting higher density reverb.

Something more along the lines of higher end Lexicon units (480/960)

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I think many of the fx in Helix are great, i love the drive pedals the modulations are good the delays are outstanding but the reverbs are not as good and the weakest part of the Helix for me. They are usable for sure and can sound ok when dialed in right but they lack richness compared to other pieces of gear i own. I'm pretty sure we will get an update at some point. My favorite reverb i have is the UAD EMT250  i would love to see a model of the EMT on the Helix

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I love the idea of the reverb block before the speaker IR seems like a much better idea, heard no follow up on that anyone get better results??

Not better....just different.

 

And my simple answer to this thread is;

No. I'm very happy with the reverbs  :)

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The verbs sound ok to me as well, but then Im always for "better". That said, if you want original, go play in a real cave. ;)

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And my simple answer to this thread is;

No. I'm very happy with the reverbs  :)

Yep, me too. Not finding anything missing at all, but I don't use huge washes of ambient effects. I even find the room verb to be perfectly adequate when I just want to add a subtle shimmer to a tone to give it some life...

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So is it that people don't like the quality of the models or which reverbs were modeled?

 

For instance, they modeled a TC Electronics 2290.  So is the Helix 2290 model subpar or are we just wishing for different models?

 

For me, the Helix reverbs are great.  However, I'm very inexperienced with reverbs.

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Most guitar players have significant hearing loss by the time their 40

Reverb smerb

It's all personal taste anyway......and focus on the music and your professional playing ability

And stop stressing about reverb algorithms

The Helix is great...sounds awesome....

Kemper is great it sounds awesome

The Fractal FX2 sounds awesome....

Tc Electronics reverbs are great.

On and on.....

People listen to music because they like the song ...nobody is interested in how it

Was recorded or with what amp, microphone, and all the other crap.

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After having my unit for a few days I really do not get what the complaint is. I am getting some really wicked reverb stuff going after using more than one. I find it to be a subtle OR as overt as one would like. I have no problems at all. I would rather them just continue on with the amp model thing as the backend effects seem fine for me and I am pretty picky. Is it some sort of studio level thing some are taking issue with, I do not see anything wrong with the Helix, pretty damn amazing unit from what I am programming. Having used so much gear over the centuries I am finding the effect quality in the Helix to be on par or better that anything I have or have used pedal or rack plus the routing abilities are ridiculously infinite. So giving the unit a 'meeehh' on reverbs and delays really does a disservice to hopeful buyers, this puppy is killer, get one! 

 

Wondering why one cannot just NOT use a mic thing on a cab, why must we alter the sound with that section?

I notice as you go up the list you go from more open to darker sounding but why not a more basic straight on out of the speaker IR???

Is the 57 supposed to be the more "no" mic setting? I always liked using Speaker Line tap DI's from Radial instead of mics, be nice to have that sort of option without worry about mic distance and what not, and why a 1ft distance min? Most put mics right on the grill distance, that for sure is not 1ft. So that little bit of "studio" yada I find more irritating than useful. Maybe they should leave the reverb and delays alone or just offer new ones now and then. 

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I don't find the reverbs in Helix to be bad but they certainly aren't the best either. I downloaded S-Gear recently and the reverbs included with that are very good. I must admit, going back to the Helix reverbs after using S-Gear does highlight a quality difference. I hope Line 6 upgrade the algorithms to a similar standard before long. Helix is such a great unit it would be a shame not to.

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Congrats DigitalIgloo!

 

I'm wondering... I know convolution reverbs are CPU intensive. But would it help if a short convo verb is used for initial diffusion, followed by a less demanding algorithmic verb to lengthen the tail?

 

I know it's easy to do it yourself on a daw, but not sure if a algo verb designed specifically to complement a short conv verb will yield better results (both sound quality and resource consumption-wise).

 

Can't wait to try out the Helix when it's available in my country

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I know convolution reverbs are CPU intensive. But would it help if a short convo verb is used for initial diffusion, followed by a less demanding algorithmic verb to lengthen the tail?

 

I know it's easy to do it yourself on a daw, but not sure if a algo verb designed specifically to complement a short conv verb will yield better results (both sound quality and resource consumption-wise).

 

That's interesting, and there's nothing that could technically preclude that, but it might only sound authentic with smaller rooms. There's also the issue of users finding an appropriate tail algorithm to match with the impulse. Maybe some sort of matching intelligence is possible.

 

It reminds me of the old Roland D50 synth, which used a PCM sample for the initial transient, and then crossfaded into the synth engine, which provided the sustain. This was when sample memory was prohibitively expensive, so the samples were only a few milliseconds long.

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That's interesting, and there's nothing that could technically preclude that, but it might only sound authentic with smaller rooms. There's also the issue of users finding an appropriate tail algorithm to match with the impulse. Maybe some sort of matching intelligence is possible.

 

It reminds me of the old Roland D50 synth, which used a PCM sample for the initial transient, and then crossfaded into the synth engine, which provided the sustain. This was when sample memory was prohibitively expensive, so the samples were only a few milliseconds long.

Actually, I meant that the conv and algo parts will be combined into a single verb. Users won't need to mix and match, they'll just see 1 composite reverb. The mixing and matching part, that'll be your job  :P

 

Unless you open a branch in Asia, then I could apply...

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I'd like to see 'HX' reverbs added to the existing selection - higher quality reverbs will need more processing power and users could then choose how to use the processing power available to them. Often, I just use minimal effects so I would tend to use the highest quality reverb available most of the time. Modelled versions of Strymon and or Eventide reverbs would be great.

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Convolution is the expensive algorithm. But reverbs create more challenges because you need high-definition samples and long samples to get the richness of reverbs.

 

Perhaps a compromise could be created. Interpolation is a common mathematical and programming approach to reducing samples and simplifying algorithms. A custom IR processor could segment an otherwise long IR into a sequence of short segments, and use simpler 1st order filtering in between them.

 

That might not work for speaker cabinets which have shorter impulse responses, but more rapid transients. But it might work well for reverbs which decay more gradually.

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If you're talking about reverb for live performances, some venues have that on the board. Depending on the room, you may not (as previously mentioned) want to add reverb.

 

If you're talking studio recording, a professional studio will have you covered. If it's home recording, then maybe the external loops will serve you well and you can plug in your 'verb of choice.

 

I wanted the Helix to eliminate my need for my pedals... but some I just want to keep and some I just need.

 

For live though... I really doubt the audience will know the difference... they just want to hear music.

 

Unless you are in a sterile, controlled listening environment... just sayin'

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Interpolation is a common mathematical and programming approach to reducing samples and simplifying algorithms. A custom IR processor could segment an otherwise long IR into a sequence of short segments, and use simpler 1st order filtering in between them.

That might not work for speaker cabinets which have shorter impulse responses, but more rapid transients. But it might work well for reverbs which decay more gradually.

 

That sounds like a great idea, although I'm not sure how interpolation works for DSProcessing. I'm an engineer, but the wrong kind...

 

If you're talking about reverb for live performances, some venues have that on the board. Depending on the room, you may not (as previously mentioned) want to add reverb.

 

If you're talking studio recording, a professional studio will have you covered. If it's home recording, then maybe the external loops will serve you well and you can plug in your 'verb of choice.

 

I wanted the Helix to eliminate my need for my pedals... but some I just want to keep and some I just need.

 

For live though... I really doubt the audience will know the difference... they just want to hear music.

 

Unless you are in a sterile, controlled listening environment... just sayin'

Perfectly justifiable points for your playstyle. But if you're doing stuff where the reverb becomes more of an effect than a stereo widener or to emulate natural hall reverb, then reverb quality matters. Stuff like warm pads, shimmer, ambient leads, synth, etc.

 

Of course the venue matters alot. In an auditorium with treated walls, carpets and cushioned seats, i think the quality of a reverb can be heard for fx-heavy sounds

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I have been playing for several hours my my Helix to try and get a decent acoustic sound (Eastman AC420 with an LR Bags M80 pickup). Unfortunately the reverbs let the Helix down badly, not even coming close to what my TC Helicon Voicelive3 can achieve (which costs about a 3rd of the Helix).

 

To test this I had a look at all the pre and post EQ and preamp settings in the Voicelive Bodyres presets and recreated this as closely as possible in the Helix. The sound is generally pretty close, but the Helix is exhibiting very annoying artefacts, metallic ringings and thumps for some notes, some quite dead sounds for other notes. Its just not consistent. The Voicelive uses the Helix send 1 after just a Volume block and I A/B the outputs on my mixer that feeds into a Behringer DEQ for room compensation (also tried without, same problem) and Mackie MR5 monitors to compare them so the whole chain is completely equal.

 

I also tried an Avian Skylark guitar with a B-band pickup, same problems ...

 

I also noticed very strange changes in sound and levels when adding blocks that are bypassed. Theoretically these should not affect the sound, but they do sometimes do this very noticeably. E.g. the sound changed drastically when I added a cab that I bypassed, compared to the preset without the cab. Sometimes this even happens when adding a block to another path! Is my unit defective?

 

Also, when assigning a controller the lower parameter part of the screen gets garbled up, but this doesn't affect functionality.

 

All in all very disappointing, for a unit that is otherwise an absolute joy to use (except for input block gain settings)! I will probably return the unit and try to get a Ax8.

 

 

EDIT: Kept on playing and trying and discovered some stuff that increased quality and maybe useful. I found out that setting the output volume above 70% created most of my quality problems. That is odd because with volume at 90% when metering the Helix XLR outputs with a mixer and an RTA at the output I left a healthy -6 db margin with respect to line level (at +4 dBu). However, this gave noise, sizzling, and clear clipping artefacts. Can someone explain this when the output is NOT EVEN REACHING line level?

 

Instead I now boosted my input with a volume/gain block, keep all my effects at 0dB and keep the output volume at 70% or lower. The quality is much, much better. There is no graduation on the Volume control, I suppose it is the professional "70% = 0 dB"? Like I said in other posts: METERING is really missing on the Helix, or at least a clip indicator for any processing chain. Would have avoided much grief.

 

Also, some of the effects parameters should be better explained, I know have a more or less correct Hall reverb for the acoustic after much experimentation. Still some way to go with regards to the TC Electronic Hall of Fame though ...

Edited by Ender699

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I think Delays and Reverbs are areas that most FX units should try and shine in.  The Amp and Cab models too, but that only matters to those that don't do 4CM.  The common denominator is Delay and Reverb.  Drive would be another "standard effect" that most care about.  While my Helix arrives tomorrow, I'll surely be interested in the reverbs, coming from an Axe Fx II XL. 

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I think Delays and Reverbs are areas that most FX units should try and shine in.  The Amp and Cab models too, but that only matters to those that don't do 4CM.  The common denominator is Delay and Reverb.  Drive would be another "standard effect" that most care about.  While my Helix arrives tomorrow, I'll surely be interested in the reverbs, coming from an Axe Fx II XL. 

 

Unfortunately L6 still has not updated the Helix with HX reverbs yet so this is not an area where the Helix excels although I find them quite adequate to good. I don't think I am alone when I say a few HX reverbs should be part of the next major update. There is so much else to love about the Helix though that to paraphrase Tom Petty "the waiting really isn't the hardest part".

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To the OP's question: I don't find the reverbs really disappointing

 

It all depends on one's expectations and intended use. But I'm not much of a reverb corksniffer anyway; to me, reverb is OK when it's barely audible and you mostly notice it when you turn it of. Since we're paraphrasing here, I guess I'm more in the gearmanndude camp ("reverb sucks") 😜

 

In my pedalboard days (which I don't consider to be all past, though I've only been using it scarcely since I got Helix), I didn't even have a reverb at all. Now, I mostly use the plate reverb and sometimes the '63 spring reverb. For me they are absolutely usable. I'll trade any HX reverb for a fuzz face model with switchable trannies (Ge) or a Tonebender MkII any time!

 

But as with anything: you can't please them all

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I've almost purchased Strymon products a time or two. Then I watched a few videos showing "Helix versus Strymon" effects on You Tube. 

The differences were there alright, but NOT to the tune of $500.00 a pedal. As always, YMMV.

 

Eating my own hat here- At some point, common sense must kick in even if money shouldn't matter tone wise.  ;)

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I'd like to see 'HX' reverbs added to the existing selection - higher quality reverbs will need more processing power and users could then choose how to use the processing power available to them. Often, I just use minimal effects so I would tend to use the highest quality reverb available most of the time. Modelled versions of Strymon and or Eventide reverbs would be great.

 

Hmm.... Modeled versions of modeled reverbs ;)

 

Sorry, just gave me a bit of a chuckle :)

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I have been playing for several hours my my Helix to try and get a decent acoustic sound (Eastman AC420 with an LR Bags M80 pickup). Unfortunately the reverbs let the Helix down badly, not even coming close to what my TC Helicon Voicelive3 can achieve (which costs about a 3rd of the Helix).

 

To test this I had a look at all the pre and post EQ and preamp settings in the Voicelive Bodyres presets and recreated this as closely as possible in the Helix. The sound is generally pretty close, but the Helix is exhibiting very annoying artefacts, metallic ringings and thumps for some notes, some quite dead sounds for other notes. Its just not consistent. The Voicelive uses the Helix send 1 after just a Volume block and I A/B the outputs on my mixer that feeds into a Behringer DEQ for room compensation (also tried without, same problem) and Mackie MR5 monitors to compare them so the whole chain is completely equal.

 

I also tried an Avian Skylark guitar with a B-band pickup, same problems ...

 

I also noticed very strange changes in sound and levels when adding blocks that are bypassed. Theoretically these should not affect the sound, but they do sometimes do this very noticeably. E.g. the sound changed drastically when I added a cab that I bypassed, compared to the preset without the cab. Sometimes this even happens when adding a block to another path! Is my unit defective?

 

Also, when assigning a controller the lower parameter part of the screen gets garbled up, but this doesn't affect functionality.

 

All in all very disappointing, for a unit that is otherwise an absolute joy to use (except for input block gain settings)! I will probably return the unit and try to get a Ax8.

 

 

EDIT: Kept on playing and trying and discovered some stuff that increased quality and maybe useful. I found out that setting the output volume above 70% created most of my quality problems. That is odd because with volume at 90% when metering the Helix XLR outputs with a mixer and an RTA at the output I left a healthy -6 db margin with respect to line level (at +4 dBu). However, this gave noise, sizzling, and clear clipping artefacts. Can someone explain this when the output is NOT EVEN REACHING line level?

 

Instead I now boosted my input with a volume/gain block, keep all my effects at 0dB and keep the output volume at 70% or lower. The quality is much, much better. There is no graduation on the Volume control, I suppose it is the professional "70% = 0 dB"? Like I said in other posts: METERING is really missing on the Helix, or at least a clip indicator for any processing chain. Would have avoided much grief.

 

Also, some of the effects parameters should be better explained, I know have a more or less correct Hall reverb for the acoustic after much experimentation. Still some way to go with regards to the TC Electronic Hall of Fame though ...

 

One other thing I discovered but haven't entirely wrapped my head around yet that may be affecting you, too.  I was attempting to split a path, to put one cab left and another to the right.  I then placed an effect ahead of the cab on the split path.  I expected, since I placed the effect after the split, it would only affect the one side of the stereo signal.  What I found instead was that it was still applied to both sides of the stereo signal, basically, the signal was going through the split, then backwards through the other side of the split.  I.e. I used the mixer when I brought the paths back together to pan each path left and right.  Then when I set the path with the effect on it to zero, I could still hear the affect on the other path.

 

With further testing, and I've seen other posts on this, splitting paths affects the volume of the whole signal.  Anyway, it sounded to me like this concept might be part of the issues you were hearing....

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I find the helix reverb algorithms are not bad but not fantastic either.  I don't have much experience with Line 6 reverbs in particular.  I have several dedicated rack units that sound better to my ears (I think it is subjective). But when you consider you don't have carry around a rack and deal with the challenges that brings (grounding, signal levels, impedance, midi, RF, setup tear down time, medical expenses from breaking your back etc) that's pretty huge.  Also live you are probably going to apply reverb at the console so the guitar sounds mixed like it is in the "same space" as the rest of the instruments.  For recording you are probably to track the guitar dry for the some of the similar reasons.

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Problem with Helix reverbs is trails are too harsh and, as for basically everything else, they needs to be cut properly through the low/high cuts you have in the reverb block... but I've to say, if you manage to try a BigSky, there is no competition, probably because they have lot of post modulation options to "detach" the trails from the main dry, producing a round tone without flooding the signal as the Helix does. I also find the Helix reverbs are lacking dynamics, they tends to be flat and clamped. I'm confident they'll be improved soon or later.

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