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Inconsistent and inaccurate Tuner!!!

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The old tuner version wasn't precise enough for me to feel my guitar was properly in tune but the new version is fantastic.We now have the choice to tune to whatever level of precision we wish. Thanks Line 6!

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Hi Everyone. I went ahead and submitted a ticket and got the below anonymous response [2]. My detailed response to them with supporting links is below [1]. I agree with the above suggestions that, if we want progress to be made, we vote on the idea and also create a ticket - http://line6.com/support/tickets/ . I really do think this tuner needs some serious work to a product that is otherwise pretty amazing! -- matt

 

[1] My followup reply:

 

Thank you for the reply. I think that measuring tuner usability issues via the number of CS tickets is not the way to go if you want to capture how your users experience the tuner. This is because most people don't go the extra step to submit a ticket. Instead, they post to the forums and hope that you will pick up on that. Here are the top two threads (~200 and ~100 posts, respectively):

- http://line6.com/support/topic/21074-beating-a-dead-horse-tuner-accuracycome-on/
- http://line6.com/support/topic/20276-inconsistent-and-inaccurate-tuner/

Please read those and see that, while there are happy users, there are many unhappy ones like me. The tuner really does need work.

Here's a video that is representative of how inaccurate and jumpy the tuner is:

- Helix tuner VS Korg DTR 2000 -




Regarding IdeaScale, there are 39 tuner-related entries of which the top three (479, 389, and 148 votes, respectively) related to accuracy/performance are:

- Please make the Helix tuner more precise - https://line6.ideascale.com/a/idea-v2/788762
- Helix: Various Tuner Modes (Strobe!) - https://line6.ideascale.com/a/idea-v2/739898
- Increase granularity potential on tuner and add strobe function - https://line6.ideascale.com/a/idea-v2/805253

If you look at the Popular tab ( https://line6.ideascale.com/a/ideas/top?sortBy=votes&direction=down ) you'll see the tuner is on the first page of results.
 

 

Please, the tuner is an essential feature that is not working well, and it's tarnishing your otherwise stellar product!

 

 

[2] Original Helix ticket reply:

 

I'm sorry you're dissatisfied with the on-board tuner in HELIX. We have not heard back too much in the way of support ticket complaints regarding it's accuracy, but if you'd like for your feedback to reach the right people, we ask that you submit your comments, ideas, and suggestions to our IdeaScale where ideas are voted on, with commentary, sometimes by the Product Managers themselves

 

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Round and round we go... it's like Groundhog Day around here.

 

Hip-hip, GRANULARITY! ;)

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Following up, if those three tuner ideas were combined, this would be the #2 issue for the Helix.

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Following up, if those three tuner ideas were combined, this would be the #2 issue for the Helix.

Two of those ideas were started before the tuner was updated in the 2.0 firmware. Prior to that, people were complaining that the tuner wasn't granular enough.

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Two of those ideas were started before the tuner was updated in the 2.0 firmware. Prior to that, people were complaining that the tuner wasn't granular enough.

 

Hi phil_m. Sorry if I pointed to the wrong ideas. It seems like the same idea covers multiple issues (granularity and jumpiness), plus different ideas cover the same problem. All I'm trying to do is let Line6 know that the tuner still doesn't work well enough for a number of users, and give some references that hopefully help motivate them to continue improving it. They're not there yet - check out this video which demonstrates how poorly it works:

 

> Helix tuner VS Korg DTR 2000 -

 

I know some people like the tuner, but not me and not others. (Chime in if you want to support me!)

 

Here are some comments that sum it up:

 

 

Dave Erickson (@errxndave)

on 24th Apr 2017
 
The tuner's poor tracking is my biggest complaint about the Helix by far. Hopefully this is an issue that can be addressed via firmware update, and not the hardware itself.

 

 

 

Jarick Losey (@jarickl)

on 12th Dec 2016
 
I have the latest firmware installed, and visually the tuner function is fantastic, but it doesn't track the note very well. It jumps around quite a bit unless I switch to the neck pickup and strum directly over the 12th fret to reduce harmonics. Even then my tuning doesn't seem nearly as good as my Polytune Clip, which does an amazing job of tracking the note. Improved tuning would be amazing.

 

Thanks -- matt

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I most deeply and sincerely second your feelings. Prepare to enter the twilight zone though. L6 and affiliates are very sensitive regarding the tuner and will defend it and deny any issue to the point of absurdity regardless that it's a big bunch of us (including professional musicians) who have concrete evidence there is a problem.

 

I love my Helix, but I have been severely let down but L6 and associates unprofessional and occasionally rude way of handling of this specific issue. Still, for what it's worth, let the tuner crusades begin again!

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Point is L6 it's not wasting its time reading forums, so this is the typical case where you need a coordinate action between people, in the form of multiple support ticket requests, all complaining for the tuner, or a massive campaign on ideascale.

 

Problem is sometimes people loves to rant on forums, but it's too lazy to act properly. Works the same in real life.

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Point is L6 it's not wasting its time reading forums, so this is the typical case where you need a coordinate action between people, in the form of multiple support ticket requests, all complaining for the tuner, or a massive campaign on ideascale.

 

Problem is sometimes people loves to rant on forums, but it's too lazy to act properly. Works the same in real life.

Hi Pier,

 

Actually, they do read the forums at least a few of them, and are actually aware of the tuner situation. I may be wrong, but I believe the most active L6 member on the forum is actually product manager for Helix. That is precisely the person we should hope would make a difference, but that is not the case.

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Round and round we go... it's like Groundhog Day around here. 

 

 

That wouldn't happen or even be necessary if someone from Line 6 would just admit that A; Yes, there IS a problem with the tuner, and B; we are going to fix it. Or, A; there IS no problem with the tuner so forget it cause it ain't gonna happen and B; Helix version 2 will have a tuner for the editor... Then, make a sticky and point to this every time someone brings the issue back up.... BTW, if this has already been done (yes, I sleep and work and miss stuff - even here) please disregard.  ;)

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This whole thing stems from the way that vibrating guitar strings REALLY DO vary in pitch constantly within a few cents, and the small upper meter on the Helix tuner is zoomed in enough, and time-responsive enough, to accurately reveal the chaotic physics of the string.

 

Other tuners - including the large lower meter on the Helix tuner - "blur" the overall pitch of the string in order to show a more slow-moving, but less detailed, display.

 

If the small meter moving around is too distracting, see what it's like if you put something over the screen to hide the small meter from view. You might find that it works well to tune using only the big lower one, and can then get used to ignoring the small upper one.

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That wouldn't happen or even be necessary if someone from Line 6 would just admit that A; Yes, there IS a problem with the tuner, and B; we are going to fix it. Or, A; there IS no problem with the tuner so forget it cause it ain't gonna happen and B; Helix version 2 will have a tuner for the editor... Then, make a sticky and point to this every time someone brings the issue back up.... BTW, if this has already been done (yes, I sleep and work and miss stuff - even here) please disregard.  ;)

Agreed, and a few weeks ago created a thread specifically with that purpose in mind. I made sure to ask as politely as I could considering English isn't my first language, still, scroll down to DI's response...

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/27957-line-6-can-we-please-have-your-perspective-concerning-helix-tuner-issues/

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Hi Pier,

 

Actually, they do read the forums at least a few of them, and are actually aware of the tuner situation. I may be wrong, but I believe the most active L6 member on the forum is actually product manager for Helix. That is precisely the person we should hope would make a difference, but that is not the case.

 

Did you read the reply to that support ticket?

 

[2] Original Helix ticket reply:

Quote

I'm sorry you're dissatisfied with the on-board tuner in HELIX. We have not heard back too much in the way of support ticket complaints regarding it's accuracy, but if you'd like for your feedback to reach the right people, we ask that you submit your comments, ideas, and suggestions to our IdeaScale where ideas are voted on, with commentary, sometimes by the Product Managers themselves

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Did you read the reply to that support ticket?

 

[2] Original Helix ticket reply:

Quote

I'm not sure what you are trying to say. You said, "Point is L6 it's not wasting its time reading forums". I said, yes they are, in fact the product manager himself is aware of the problem and the scale of it. He has posted in the massive tuner threads and has chosen to not express his stance regarding a fix or not, although he has been clear about his frustration and reluctance about it.

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I find that my Peterson clip on Strobe Tuner is a lot more frustrating to me than the Helix tuner. The Strobe Tuner never stops moving. I realize it's very accurate, but I need to tune and play. Not tune and retune. The Helix tuner doesn't bother me that much. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't like them to fine tune it some.

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This whole thing is a lot like buying a Lamborghini, then complaining about the shape of the button that locks the doors...

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I find that my Peterson clip on Strobe Tuner is a lot more frustrating to me than the Helix tuner. The Strobe Tuner never stops moving. I realize it's very accurate, but I need to tune and play...

 

 

So, the accuracy of the Peterson is TOO good. A guitar string is not ringing at a given pitch forever, it warbles (based on how old it is, how pitted it is from the strings, etc.) and probably goes down in pitch as time goes on.

 

Guitarists forget this. Sometimes I think they don't want an accurate tuner, they just want a quick tune. I'm sure that's none of YOU guys, though...

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... Sometimes I think they don't want an accurate tuner, they just want a quick tune. ...

Aaagh, being sucked back in to the vortex again. This comment above cuts to the core of it, but actually we want both, accuracy and quickness, just in the right measure. For stage tuning you need a compromise between as much accuracy/granularity as can be provided in the shortest possible amount of time. You need a tuning algorithm that pauses the display long enough to give you a stable reference point. Even if that reference point only reflects one moment of time, or an average, in the vibration of the string being tuned. If the tuner is too granular and accurate in reflecting the string's movements it takes too much time in between songs to tune. So at least for stage tuning it is not about having a perfect picture of what the string is doing and achieving quark level accuracy but instead getting as closely in tune as possible - quickly.

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This whole thing stems from the way that vibrating guitar strings REALLY DO vary in pitch constantly within a few cents, and the small upper meter on the Helix tuner is zoomed in enough, and time-responsive enough, to accurately reveal the chaotic physics of the string.

 

Other tuners - including the large lower meter on the Helix tuner - "blur" the overall pitch of the string in order to show a more slow-moving, but less detailed, display.

 

If the small meter moving around is too distracting, see what it's like if you put something over the screen to hide the small meter from view. You might find that it works well to tune using only the big lower one, and can then get used to ignoring the small upper one.

 

I hear you, but I know how guitar strings work :-) The point is that there are excellent tuners available that manage to balance everything so that you get a very good tuneup with a stable but accurate indicator. The Korg the the video I pointed to, for example. So it *is* a solved problem with other tuners, so either L6 doesn't believe it's a problem, doesn't know how to solve the problem too (unlikely), or doesn't believe it's worth the effort to fix. But you cannot argue that the Helix tuner is as good as other tuners due to physics. I'm sorry if I'm mischaracterizing your points!

 

 

This whole thing is a lot like buying a Lamborghini, then complaining about the shape of the button that locks the doors...

 

No, it's like buying a >$1000 multieffects unit and complaining the tuner is on par with a low-performance $12 clip on tuner :-)

 

 

Aaagh, being sucked back in to the vortex again. This comment above cuts to the core of it, but actually we want both, accuracy and quickness, just in the right measure. For stage tuning you need a compromise between as much accuracy/granularity as can be provided in the shortest possible amount of time. You need a tuning algorithm that pauses the display long enough to give you a stable reference point. Even if that reference point only reflects one moment of time in the vibration of the string being tuned. If the tuner is too granular and accurate in reflecting the string's movements it takes too much time in between songs to tune. So at least for stage tuning it is not about having a perfect picture of what the string is doing and achieving quark level accuracy but instead getting as closely in tune as possible - quickly.

 

Agreed! It's a problem that other tuners have solved, but Helix hasn't yet. See the video! I'm happy that some (or many) users are satisfied with the tuner, but a lot of us are not, and we'd like L6 to make the tuner work as well as top-performing stand-alone tuners. This shouldn't be controversial.

 

Thanks!

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Agreed! It's a problem that other tuners have solved, but Helix hasn't yet. See the video! I'm happy that some (or many) users are satisfied with the tuner, but a lot of us are not, and we'd like L6 to make the tuner work as well as top-performing stand-alone tuners. This shouldn't be controversial.

 

Well, I don't know if controversial is the right word... I don't really think it's all that unusual for there to be a feature in a product that is perfectly acceptable to some users but annoying/unusable to other users. As far as tuners, I have read complaints about tuners on nearly every Line 6 product over the years here. There were always some people who found them perfectly acceptable and others who hated them. Perhaps it's become a little more heated with the Helix because there's a bug colorful display for the tuner, so if people don't like the tuner, they feel more like they being cheated out of something. I don't know... Of all the feature on the Helix, the tuner is probably one of the ones I care about the least to be honest. It's like the cupholder on my car... I suppose if I my cups were always too big the cupholder, I'd be irritated. :)

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I am not a programmer but it seems there would be a way to program it so the granularity/accuracy is variable. That way we can all be happy. BUT, I don't know how easy or hard it would be to program it in. Line 6 has a lot of things going on and if it would take a bunch of time or resources to do then I'm sure it would be put on the back burner. As I recall there was a Line 6 comment that at the very least, it's not being worked on now so I wouldn't count on any fix any time soon. I personally like the accuracy and I use my own mind as a kind of variable granularity if ya know what I mean.

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That way we can all be happy.

This wouldn't happen if Helix came stuffed with $100 bills, and a free lifetime credits at the Bunny Ranch...

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If I've ever said or implied that Helix's tuner's granularity is "good enough," then I apologize. I don't remember ever saying this, but I do remember saying that many people prefer specific types of tuners and we've designed Helix to seamlessly incorporate them. That shouldn't imply any sort of dismissal.

 

Yes, we can provide greater granularity. It's toward the top of our list. Thanks, señor.

 

I just found this. The bold, italics, underline is mine. So they ARE doing something. Just maybe not what some wanted.

 

 

THIS IS WRONG. SEE POST #147.

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This wouldn't happen if Helix came stuffed with $100 bills, and a free lifetime credits at the Bunny Ranch...

 

I'll skip the bunny ranch. I'm allergic to penicillin. Just give me the monetary equivalent!

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I just found this. The bold, italics, underline is mine. So they ARE doing something. Just maybe not what some wanted.

That comment was made prior to the 2.0 update, which made the tuner display more granular.

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@marmatkat you may also post your comment here: https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/helixs-tuner-how-do-you-feel-about-its-stability.1825918/#post-24100035 As you may know, several Line 6 reps participate on TGP.

 

The above notwithstanding, I remain optimistic that after the current priorities of releasing Helix Native and subsequently firmware 2.3 w/ the overhauled Helix Editor, that improved stability of Helix Tuner's display (perhaps w/ some Display Options) may be on Line 6's To Do List for Helix's generation 3 series of Helix Core firmware.

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I hear you, but I know how guitar strings work :-) The point is that there are excellent tuners available that manage to balance everything so that you get a very good tuneup with a stable but accurate indicator. The Korg the the video I pointed to, for example. So it *is* a solved problem with other tuners, so either L6 doesn't believe it's a problem, doesn't know how to solve the problem too (unlikely), or doesn't believe it's worth the effort to fix. But you cannot argue that the Helix tuner is as good as other tuners due to physics. I'm sorry if I'm mischaracterizing your points!

 

 

 

No, it's like buying a >$1000 multieffects unit and complaining the tuner is on par with a low-performance $12 clip on tuner :-)

 

 

 

Agreed! It's a problem that other tuners have solved, but Helix hasn't yet. See the video! I'm happy that some (or many) users are satisfied with the tuner, but a lot of us are not, and we'd like L6 to make the tuner work as well as top-performing stand-alone tuners. This shouldn't be controversial.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Thank you very much for a well-reasoned, clear, and respectful argument. I still don't personally agree that the tuner is a problem because it works fine for me, but you make a lot of fair points.

 

My preference would be that Line 6 put more R&D effort into things like convenience tweaks to the Looper (i.e. press Undo to cancel recording the first loop) and more advanced routing features (i.e. allow sending USB direct to Aux outputs, or mix Aux inputs to outputs, with no A or B path needed); but I could imagine a benefit for a decent number of people if they added a "time smoothing" option to the tuner.

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That comment was made prior to the 2.0 update, which made the tuner display more granular.

 

Whooops. Sorry. I'll fix the post to no one get's excited. But then that means they fixed it to everyone's satisfaction, right? Oh never mind.

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My quick and raw video.

 

Thanks for posting the video Peter. A couple of observations, one regarding rolling off the tone as you recommend. I don't believe you should have to do that to get a solid tuning. Also, if you discount the part of the video that describes your setup, your tuning took almost two and a half minutes. Way too long for stage tuning. The "E" string as you observed, and even the "A" string were a bit difficult to get in tune although to be fair "E" strings and lower can be trickier on many tuners. Additionally you tuned from flat, which is a laboratory condition and not equivalent to what happens in the wild. Strings have to be tuned from sharp as well and usually this is done by down-tuning and bending them and then bringing them up. Most experienced players, particularly rock players who bend strings quite often, will also bend the string during the tuning process to ensure the string returns to tune, and also has not gotten "stuck" in the nut, whammy assembly, or on the machines. None of this can be achieved quickly on the Helix tuner.

 

In general the tuner in your video was pretty jumpy and in no way left me with a warm fuzzy that things were properly in tune. Overall I think your video confirms quite handily what many of us are saying. You need a momentary freeze point that represents an average or single moment in time in the tuning. Getting the strings in relative tune with each other is probably more important than getting them to an exact "A 440". One of the ways a tuner can help you do that is by having an algorithm that roughly pauses/freezes in a similar manner for every string. You need to prioritize speed over accuracy when doing stage tuning while getting as great a level of accuracy/granularity as possible.

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My quick and raw video.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cSRbffNC5wI

I've never in my life plucked a string that many times to tune it. Matter of fact, you usually have to give it a few seconds after you first pluck it to let the string "settle down" from the force of the pick striking it. 

Is that how you have always tuned your guitar? 

 

Because that would be impossible to do with a Floyd and a lock nut. You literally could NOT keep plucking like that and tune the guitar because your picking hand would be on the fine tuner trying to tune.

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...A couple of observations, one regarding rolling off the tone as you recommend. I don't believe you should have to do that to get a solid tuning. Also, if you discount the part of the video that describes your setup, your tuning took almost two and a half minutes....

 

I don't tune between songs in my situation, at least not very often, and when it happens I pretty much know which string is off and concentrate on it, and my Andersons stay in tune well enough that once I tune them and get it right, I don't really have to retune later.

 

If I played 1 hour sets where I needed to touch up tuning, I'd get a my Polytune every time and be done with it. It's a unique product that does that well. Not as accurate (in six-string display mode) but for something real quick? Nothing else will do.

 

When I tune for the first time before a gig starts, I take longer than 2.5 minutes... really.

 

I've never in my life plucked a string that many times to tune it. Matter of fact, you usually have to give it a few seconds after you first pluck it to let the string "settle down" from the force of the pick striking it. 
Is that how you have always tuned your guitar? 

Because that would be impossible to do with a Floyd and a lock nut. You literally could NOT keep plucking like that and tune the guitar because your picking hand would be on the fine tuner trying to tune.

 

One of the reasons I don't use a Floyd. hee hee.

Also, the tone roll-off has helped every tuner I've owned for years, so I just keep doing it, I'm so used to it it's no problem.

But seriously, and I'm not trying to be a lollipop here...

imho, plucking the string and tuning to the attack is the only right way to do it... A few SECONDS...? Don't forget, most of the music you make is at the HEAD end of a note, not the tail. I'd rather tune to the attack (a technique I learned from a high-end guitar builder).

I'd rather have the note trail off flat from an in-tune first few ms than start off sharp and then trail off flat any day.

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I don't tune between songs in my situation, at least not very often, and when it happens I pretty much know which string is off and concentrate on it, and my Andersons stay in tune well enough that once I tune them and get it right, I don't really have to retune later.

 

If I played 1 hour sets where I needed to touch up tuning, I'd get a my Polytune every time and be done with it. It's a unique product that does that well. Not as accurate (in six-string display mode) but for something real quick? Nothing else will do.

 

When I tune for the first time before a gig starts, I take longer than 2.5 minutes... really.

 

 

...

Some guitars definitely stay in tune better than others but short of a guitar with a superbly well setup locking trem, by the time I am done bending strings and working the whammy bar for a number of tunes, I need to tune up. For tuning before the the gig starts and during breaks, like you, I also take my time tuning as long as we have adequate setup time. I still don't want it to take too long however as I usually have at least three guitars with me that all have to get tuned. It is the tunings between songs that are most problematic.

 

The Polytune is a nice product. Would love to see polyphonic tuning on the Helix but certainly not holding my breath on that. The Helix is a wonderful thing with a currently very exacting tuner that is better suited to the studio where its extreme responsiveness and granularity, leave a player with the time to use it, pretty confident that they are in tune. I do think even for studio use it would benefit from a bit more stability.

 

I suspect these tuner threads will persist until L6 finds a way to accommodate a wider range of stage users, many of whom find that it currently takes too much time to use correctly and get in tune. If you will excuse me now I will return to my hamster wheel and hang out with my groundhog buddy as this thread continues to turn over and over.

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A less jumpy tuner is not necessarily a more accurate tuner. Guitar strings don't necessarily vibrate at exactly one frequency. There's lots of things that can make the tuning vary by a small amount, including the vibration of the string itself. Tuners that provide damping make it easier to more quickly zero in on what appears to be in tune, but the string is still jumping around, you just aren't seeing it.

 

The Helix tuner could use a bit more damping, but you can do that pretty well with your eyes. I personally don't have any trouble getting my guitars quickly in tune with the Helix tuner. I simply apply my own damping judgment based on the situation the guitar is in, state of the strings, etc.

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Stop the ride, I'm gonna barf!

 

lhMdSM.gif

 

Sheesh, this thread...

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Sheesh, this thread...

It'll never end. Like terrorism and the abortion debate, this fruitless discussion will go on forever, with each side steadfastly clinging to the notion that they're right, and that anyone who disagrees is insane. They'll be rehashing the same talking points about the damn tuner throughout Helix's product lifecycle, and probably well into the release of the next "flagship" device that will eventually replace it. And in all likelihood, there shall sit the lowly tuner...largely, if not entirely unchanged, as L6's Tuner Division (aka Fred) works tirelessly in a ultimately futile attempt to please a bunch of nutty guitar players...;)

 

"Tuner sucks!"

 

"It works fine for me!"

 

Tastes great/less filling. Round and round we go...a whole lot of wasted energy.

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A less jumpy tuner is not necessarily a more accurate tuner. Guitar strings don't necessarily vibrate at exactly one frequency. There's lots of things that can make the tuning vary by a small amount, including the vibration of the string itself. Tuners that provide damping make it easier to more quickly zero in on what appears to be in tune, but the string is still jumping around, you just aren't seeing it.

 

The Helix tuner could use a bit more damping, but you can do that pretty well with your eyes. I personally don't have any trouble getting my guitars quickly in tune with the Helix tuner. I simply apply my own damping judgment based on the situation the guitar is in, state of the strings, etc.

I'm pretty sure we all understand physics and guitar strings vibrations. 

 

My Boss tuner can tune my guitar perfectly in a few seconds.  My Korg rackmount tuner has the same exact specs as the Helix is supposed to have. 

Guess what...if I line it up with my Boss tuner and hit a string...any string on any guitar I own...both those tuners "grab" that note and display it and they both show it the same in terms of flat, sharp, or in tune.

 

The Helix gets you there too...eventually. 

 

The problem isn't accuracy. And nobody who has played guitar for any length of time is unaware of strings vibrating, etc., etc.

 

The Helix not being able to tune a guitar QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY is not because it's "Better".

Just the opposite.

 

The "Better" tuners get you in tune fast and accurately. Helix is jumpy. And sometimes leaves me wondering IF I really am in tune because it never seems to settle down all the way on all the strings.

 

How many times does this need to be said? If some people are happy and sit at home playing their guitar and don't care how long it takes to tune...that's GREAT!  I'm happy for you.

 

But the Helix is marketed as a PROFESSIONAL piece of gear. And "professional" means making money with it. And a lot of us make money with it playing live in nightclubs doing 3 and 4 sets a night. 

 

That's all I'm saying...the Helix has an awesome display for the tuner. I just want the darn thing to stop jumping all over the place. Don't need a physics "lesson", don't need to be told how to tune my guitar. It's almost insulting to pro players to be talked to like that.

 

Line 6 just needs to fix it. 

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I don't disagree at all. I'm just saying don't let this issue stop you from using the tuner, warts and all.

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