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First gig with Helix!


billlorentzen
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I've had Helix for a few weeks and finally got enough patches created to cover one of my solo gigs (I play electric with backing tracks on these gigs). For the most part it sounded great, and I really liked the improvements in amp detail and responsiveness over my HD 500. It probably doesn't mean much, but I also made my highest ever solo gig tip money last night (and the wife approved).

 

Besides wanting the better amp and fx modeling, I bought Helix because after several years of steady gigging, my HD500 is getting pretty tired and occasionally unreliable.

 

One area that has me concerned on Helix is the onboard exp pedal. Mine has several problems, and after reading some of the threads here, I know I'm not alone. I think this is something L6 better address ASAP before they put too many more units out there. I'm waiting for Sweetwater to restock so they can swap mine for a new one, but based on the design, I'm not sure a new one will ultimately solve these issues. Mine has three problems: 1) if I set it to a comfortable tension for wah, it won't even stay in the heel back position - it dips forward about 10% from gravity alone, and I think it's gonna really fall on a stage with drums and bass cranking; 2) the friction throughout the throw is inconsistent, with smooth patches and sticky ones; the side is way too close to the top plate and with just a little lateral pressure it rubs. One of these would be a problem, but all three is serious.

 

Pedal aside, I sure do love the /13, the DrZ and the Gibson! Not surprisingly, those were my favorites in the HD as well. I also like all the improved effects. Nice job, guys!

 

PS. Please fix the pan law in the splits!

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Sorry to hear about the expression pedal.  Luckily mine seems smooth through out the sweep.

 

Friday I used my Helix for it's first gig too.  My main clean sound turned out to be muddy in the low end and needs some more dialing, but the other tones worked nicely.  Cover band stuff, the Police preset worked nicely for "Message", the auto wah for the 'What I Am" solo sounded perfect.

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I haven't run into many issues with my expression pedal. It runs fairly smoothly for wah and perfectly for my volume. Although if I find it more comfortable I may run my wah on an external expression pedal in the near future. 

 

I remember the first time I used it live last year and I was constantly tweaking it to mix better with the band I was with. I actually found that my patches sounded way to thin and I ended up pulling my low ends up a lot. Also I had to put my reverb mix up. A lot of those changes had to be made because I was using my powered behrineger speaker as a reference and that didn't really reflect the patches accurately. Now I'm searching for a cheap powered FRFR speaker. 

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I haven't run into many issues with my expression pedal. It runs fairly smoothly for wah and perfectly for my volume. Although if I find it more comfortable I may run my wah on an external expression pedal in the near future. 

 

I remember the first time I used it live last year and I was constantly tweaking it to mix better with the band I was with. I actually found that my patches sounded way to thin and I ended up pulling my low ends up a lot. Also I had to put my reverb mix up. A lot of those changes had to be made because I was using my powered behrineger speaker as a reference and that didn't really reflect the patches accurately. Now I'm searching for a cheap powered FRFR speaker.

 

I'm really happy to hear you aren't having exp ped issues. Hopefully my new one will be perfect too.

 

I tweak with studio monitors that give an accurate picture, so my patches sounded better, if anything, in the PA. Because I was coming from the Pod I started out by emulating the patches I used most, which was helpful. Another thing I do is set levels playing along with real tracks. This lets you get your rhythm levels and lead levels just right so they will work in a mix. Still, I had some patches too loud, but they were really easy to fix on breaks or even between songs. That's one of the great features of helix, having control of the output levels so easily.

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One area that has me concerned on Helix is the onboard exp pedal. Mine has several problems, and after reading some of the threads here, I know I'm not alone. I think this is something L6 better address ASAP before they put too many more units out there. I'm waiting for Sweetwater to restock so they can swap mine for a new one, but based on the design, I'm not sure a new one will ultimately solve these issues. Mine has three problems: 1) if I set it to a comfortable tension for wah, it won't even stay in the heel back position - it dips forward about 10% from gravity alone, and I think it's gonna really fall on a stage with drums and bass cranking; 2) the friction throughout the throw is inconsistent, with smooth patches and sticky ones; the side is way too close to the top plate and with just a little lateral pressure it rubs. One of these would be a problem, but all three is serious.

 

You've probably already read the couple of threads about this since you've mentioned it above here, so you're probably aware of the solutions.

 

What you describe above is almost exactly the problem I was having with it. After lubricating (chapstick) the parts that operate the pedal, I've had no problems for around five months. Still works great.

 

Unless they changed the manufacturing process, you're new one will probably have the same problem. It's a real easy fix though.

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I have about 3/64" (little over 1mm) between pedal and board top.  No rubbing their no matter how hard I press.  Had the same sticky.  Lubbed rubber gasket inside.  I used silicone based lube, doesn't attack rubber, paint, or plastic.

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I have about 3/64" (little over 1mm) between pedal and board top.  No rubbing their no matter how hard I press.  Had the same sticky.  Lubbed rubber gasket inside.  I used silicone based lube, doesn't attack rubber, paint, or plastic.

Mine is about 1/32, so a little closer. It definitely can rub, I'm afraid. I also wish it was a lighter piece of metal. I prefer a light feel in my wah. With the extended throw of the pedal and the weight it's a bit of a chore to play a whole tune on wah. Being a guitarist is so hard. ;-( I got a blister on my little finger, too.

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I'm really happy to hear you aren't having exp ped issues. Hopefully my new one will be perfect too.

 

I tweak with studio monitors that give an accurate picture, so my patches sounded better, if anything, in the PA. Because I was coming from the Pod I started out by emulating the patches I used most, which was helpful. Another thing I do is set levels playing along with real tracks. This lets you get your rhythm levels and lead levels just right so they will work in a mix. Still, I had some patches too loud, but they were really easy to fix on breaks or even between songs. That's one of the great features of helix, having control of the output levels so easily.

 

Yeah. Even though I was constantly adjusting stuff It was really really easy to adjust with the helix. The edit mode was everything I ever would dream it to be. 

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I haven't had any technical issues at all with the expression pedal on the unit, but it is the one sole piece I am not a huge fan of. Think it was a little over engineered unnecessarily. It feels bulky and a little odd to get just right with resistance (I much prefer the one on the Amplifi FX100 just simple central connection) and that sponged top is just a filth fest in the making. Although to me, and this is down to the individual I guess) the feel I want from a wah and the feel I want from a volume pedal are different.

 

Clever Line 6 though in designing this gave enough options with the two external slots. I personally run two Boss FV-500 pedals into Exp 2 \ 3. The one in 2 automatically rakes the place of EXP2 on all presets so is my volume, and the second FV-500 I map out to any wah I throw in a preset. I then just map EXP1 (on board one) to any odd modulation I may want to control like rotary speeds etc. I guess the added bonus is if something is going to go on the helix in time, with constant use its going to be that pedal. Rather use it sparingly.

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I haven't had any technical issues at all with the expression pedal on the unit, but it is the one sole piece I am not a huge fan of. Think it was a little over engineered unnecessarily. It feels bulky and a little odd to get just right with resistance (I much prefer the one on the Amplifi FX100 just simple central connection) and that sponged top is just a filth fest in the making. Although to me, and this is down to the individual I guess) the feel I want from a wah and the feel I want from a volume pedal are different.

 

Clever Line 6 though in designing this gave enough options with the two external slots. I personally run two Boss FV-500 pedals into Exp 2 \ 3. The one in 2 automatically rakes the place of EXP2 on all presets so is my volume, and the second FV-500 I map out to any wah I throw in a preset. I then just map EXP1 (on board one) to any odd modulation I may want to control like rotary speeds etc. I guess the added bonus is if something is going to go on the helix in time, with constant use its going to be that pedal. Rather use it sparingly.

I agree, the exp ped does not seem a great design. Mine is defective, right from the factory - no amount of lubrication is going to stop it from rubbing on the face plate. IMHO it seems to have too much mass, especially for wah. I got used to the long throw on wah several modelers ago, but the weight of this one is not helpful for the slinky, subtle stuff. Maybe when I get one that works properly I'll feel differently.

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