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BigRalphN

Time to step it up Line 6

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Great write-up and I wholly agree with the bulk of it! I hesitate to even comment further because as I stated initially I am fairly confident that there is great stuff coming and don't have any desire to belabor this point. But anyway, here goes.

... the speed of development is FAR more complex than just a function of quality and quantity of manpower. Those are two factors, but at some point quantity of manpower begins to produce diminishing returns as you can only reasonably partition out responsibilities so far before they begin to interfere with each other due to critical path dependencies and/or team coordination issues. ...

Absolutely true, and an important qualification of my original statement.

 

...
What you want to do is minimize the number of releases so you don't aggravate customers by piecemealing out bug fixes. ...


Not aggravating customers by piecemealing out constant bugfixes is unarguably a good general guideline but when you have a major bug like tap tempo failing or total system lockups, particularly when the Editor is not involved meaning it can happen live, then a quick fix can be just the ticket as the bug is already more "aggravating" to your customers than the fix will be.

 

...The process of bug releases is no different than an initial product release. It has to be rock solid and NOT introduce new bugs into the system. Therefore it has to be bench tested, unit tested, and system tested as each bug is fixed. In fact, the testing cycle alone in a case like this needs to be far more robust than the development cycle because the worst possible scenario would be to have to recall a release because it introduced a worse bug than what you were trying to fix. ...

I only bring this up because I hope people will cut L6 some slack on this. I would rather wait a bit for a rock solid update release than get it sooner and be frustrated by either them not fixing a bug I'm depending on, or introducing a less than stable release.


I have found that the process of bug releases can be very different from the initial product release. I do agree heartily that one important objective is not to introduce a new bug into the system in the process. That is essentially what has happened however already with the new firmware releases. To some extent it is inevitable in a system this complex and I am not trying to find fault with L6. However, the timeliness with which it is addressed can be somewhat dependent on the depth and complexity of the bug. Some bugs are just the product of a very simple mistake or are located in a module or area of the code that is isolated and highly unlikely to reintroduce a new bug. These simple or isolated bugs can change the risk/benefit equation, only take a few minutes to fix, and be eminently worthy of pushing out quickly. Additionally, if you have a well constructed and comprehensive automated test harness, sometimes you can do a fairly extensive retest and QA of your code in short order. I guess what I am trying to say is that in my experience, there are a number of variables that drive how quickly a fix can and should be released, dependent on the bug's severity, complexity, and the amount of risk involved, as well as the sophistication and automation of the test process.

A large system of code can be somewhat like a piece of art. The developer(s) like the artist rarely or never truly feels it is finished or flawless. At some point though you have to fix the major issues as quickly as possible, add the enhancements that resources and ROI allow, and just get on with it. At some point you have to deliver. I do agree though that it is critical to strike a balance between the pace of development and the stability of the product and you should not allow pressure from the users to drive you to deliver an inferior product.

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Great write-up and I wholly agree with the bulk of it! I hesitate to even comment further because as I stated initially I am fairly confident that there is great stuff coming and don't have any desire to belabor this point. But anyway, here goes.

Absolutely true, and an important qualification of my original statement.

 

Not aggravating customers by piecemealing out constant bugfixes is unarguably a good general guideline but when you have a major bug like tap tempo failing or total system lockups, particularly when the Editor is not involved meaning it can happen live, then a quick fix can be just the ticket as the bug is already more "aggravating" to your customers than the fix will be.

 

I have found that the process of bug releases can be very different from the initial product release. I do agree heartily that one important objective is not to introduce a new bug into the system in the process. That is essentially what has happened however already with the new firmware releases. To some extent it is inevitable in a system this complex and I am not trying to find fault with L6. However, the timeliness with which it is addressed can be somewhat dependent on the depth and complexity of the bug. Some bugs are just the product of a very simple mistake or are located in a module or area of the code that is isolated and highly unlikely to reintroduce a new bug. These simple or isolated bugs can change the risk/benefit equation, only take a few minutes to fix, and be eminently worthy of pushing out quickly. Additionally, if you have a well constructed and comprehensive automated test harness, sometimes you can do a fairly extensive retest and QA of your code in short order. I guess what I am trying to say is that in my experience, there are a number of variables that drive how quickly a fix can and should be released, dependent on the bug's severity, complexity, and the amount of risk involved, as well as the sophistication and automation of the test process.

 

A large system of code can be somewhat like a piece of art. The developer(s) like the artist rarely or never truly feels it is finished or flawless. At some point though you have to fix the major issues as quickly as possible, add the enhancements that resources and ROI allow, and just get on with it. At some point you have to deliver. I do agree though that it is critical to strike a balance between the pace of development and the stability of the product and you should not allow pressure from the users to drive you to deliver an inferior product.

 

What you say appears to be more true in corporate development than in commercial release operations.  I would agree that in the case of critical operational bugs with no workaround you may be forced to issue an intermittent release, and increasingly in commercial systems this is becoming much more commonplace because it can be fairly transparent such as in the case of Windows update or even Android updates.  Unfortunately that same kind of more or less constant internet infrastructure and background processes to support it aren't available on something like a dedicated hardware box like a Helix, and aren't likely to be due to the real-time response nature of the hardware.  So you're more or less stuck with a more invasive updating process that requires some human involvement, which makes it much more of a problem.  Not to say you shouldn't ever do it.  Sometimes the nature of the bug, such as a system lockup given a high frequency of occurrence simply requires it.  I can't say whether these bugs are invasive enough to require it because I haven't had my system long enough to encounter them.  I might feel differently if I begin to encounter it more often.

 

There are certainly tools like test harnesses that can be useful at the bench, unit, and sometimes stress level testing, but those aren't typically the areas that take the most time.  System tests and integration test by their nature pretty much demand human interaction not only for configuration and input but for analysis of adequate completion.  Testing is just a heavy process in the commercial environment.  In our case for every 1 developer we averaged 3 testers.  It's just the nature of the business.

 

I'm sure they will eventually get to a point of general stability that will allow them to lock down the code base and begin working on enhancements, but we're talking about a system that's still in it's first year of release.  I'm not going to personally get too excited about thinking we'll see much in the way of enhancements until things get a lot more stable.

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....

 

I'm sure they will eventually get to a point of general stability that will allow them to lock down the code base and begin working on enhancements, but we're talking about a system that's still in it's first year of release.  I'm not going to personally get too excited about thinking we'll see much in the way of enhancements until things get a lot more stable.

 

I also intend to exercise patience and recognize that working on stability and bug fixes will largely precede enhancements.  With that said, the two somewhat conflicting priorities can be dual tracked to some extent, and I am sure that is what they are doing. One also can't forget the ever present tension which I have mentioned on the forum previously between Line6's particularly broad, innovative, and aggressive product release schedule and the perhaps resultant shortened maintenance and enhancement window for the current product line. If things take too long, significant pressure may  develop within the company to simply move on to the latest new devices despite their commitment to the Helix right now.

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Moving on is what companies do, to survive. We all (should have) bought Helix for what it is, not what it will be someday. Yes updates and add ons are always welcome for Helix, but don't hold your breath about them sticking with Helix forever, or even by this time next year. There are NO promises. Helix will be abandoned (like the Vetta II was) at some point, as there will always be something else on the drawing board to take the place of the current Flagship.

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Honestly on number of amp models... I think the Helix needs more than it has, but honestly not much more. A final count of 60-70ish amps including Bogner XTC, Mesa Mk4 or 5, another Engl amp. I would be completely content... given ample time of course. 

 

That, and HX reverbs. These are my main wants out of it. Anything else would be a bonus. 

 

Nothing wrong with having 200 amp models, but I have come to find I will use prolly around 10-20 different ones for the most part. (and I am a studio musician doing all sorts of styles of music) That doesn't matter if it is from a total of 60 amps, or 200 amps.  

 

I hope, feel, and think the Helix will be supported by Line 6 for some time to come, I mean they can barely keep the thing in stock in a lot of places. 

 

If the USB routing wasn't crucial I might be more inclined to check out the AX8.  But Nothing can do what Helix can with that routing in its class, and UI/UX.

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Moving on is what companies do, to survive. We all (should have) bought Helix for what it is, not what it will be someday. Yes updates and add ons are always welcome for Helix, but don't hold your breath about them sticking with Helix forever, or even by this time next year. There are NO promises. Helix will be abandoned (like the Vetta II was) at some point, as there will always be something else on the drawing board to take the place of the current Flagship.

Agrre we most likely will se a Helix II or whatever they will call it within 2 to 3 years

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Honestly on number of amp models... I think the Helix needs more than it has, but honestly not much more. A final count of 60-70ish amps including Bogner XTC, Mesa Mk4 or 5, another Engl amp. I would be completely content... given ample time of course. 

 

That, and HX reverbs. These are my main wants out of it. Anything else would be a bonus. 

 

Nothing wrong with having 200 amp models, but I have come to find I will use prolly around 10-20 different ones for the most part. (and I am a studio musician doing all sorts of styles of music) That doesn't matter if it is from a total of 60 amps, or 200 amps.  

 

I hope, feel, and think the Helix will be supported by Line 6 for some time to come, I mean they can barely keep the thing in stock in a lot of places. 

 

If the USB routing wasn't crucial I might be more inclined to check out the AX8.  But Nothing can do what Helix can with that routing in its class, and UI/UX.

For me only a few more amps is needed like Mesa MK2C also some rewriting in code for the ones that is already there (make the digital high fizz dissapear) i would like to see more and better effects especially timebased effects

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I agree with Quality over Quantity. I rather like 10 amps in the highes possible quality than 200 in an OK quality.

I'm using only 4-5 amps most of the time anyway.

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Agrre we most likely will se a Helix II or whatever they will call it within 2 to 3 years

 

Hopefully not ;)

Helix hasn't reached its potential of software developing yet -

and look at the ideascale list for this version!

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Hopefully not ;)

Helix hasn't reached its potential of software developing yet -

and look at the ideascale list for this version!

 

HD 500 -> Helix was 5 years.

 

So, figure 2020 maybe...? In the meantime, Helix Jr. or Helix Mega 2000 might be possibilities (half a helix or two helixes in one box), but I doubt even that.

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Line 6 unveiled Helix in June 2015. Released Helix some time later in that year.

Bug fixes aside. (bugs should be fix ASAP)

Are people really serious in complaining that 40+ amp models aren't enough?

 

If you can't get a great sound out of 40 amps and ALL of the other things that Helix offers, what is having another 40 amp models going to do but give those people who want 86 different amp models something to complain about.

 

I'm still rocking the POD HD 500, and I find something new every time I sit and experiment with it.

 

It's like we got the corvette for a birthday gift but complain that it's not the Z06.

 

Updates and new models will come when they come. Let's focus on what's in front us. Dig deep into all that Helix offers. If you are STILL bored and needing something new, something other, then I'll be glad to take that useless piece of gear off you hands whil you spen $$$$$ on the new and improved Megalomaniac Azteca Riffmaster Pro X complete with 50,000 amp models!

 

Something tells me that someone out there is going to want 50,001.

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Something tells me that someone out there is going to want 50,001.

And an apology...after all, that extra one should have been there in the first place. ;)

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Hmmm... Need vs. Want

 

Third Party IRs...

 

No one device will be perfect, in part due to intellectual property laws, so no one manufacturer can just copy and paste the best aspects of other companies' products into their own. It would be nice if licensing agreements could be in place to allow this.

 

Personally, I can extrapolate what I need with what the Helix has to offer. And I know, "More will be revealed." That doesn't mean you should be satisfied, however.

 

I'll just go stand in front of my microwave and shout, "Hurry up!"  :)))

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Personally, I can extrapolate what I need with what the Helix has to offer. And I know, "More will be revealed." That doesn't mean you should be satisfied, however.

??? Not sure what you mean by this.

 

Either you are saying that:

 

You indeed can get what you need from what Helix has to offer, but it doesn't mean you should be satisfied with that?

 

or

 

You know that Line 6 will reveal more with Helix but that is not something one should be satisfied with?

 

So you like what you get from Helix but you are not satisfied and you know that more is coming and you are not satisfied?

 

hmmm,

 

Would 50,002 work?

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??? Not sure what you mean by this.

 

Either you are saying that:

 

You indeed can get what you need from what Helix has to offer, but it doesn't mean you should be satisfied with that?

 

or

 

You know that Line 6 will reveal more with Helix but that is not something one should be satisfied with?

 

So you like what you get from Helix but you are not satisfied and you know that more is coming and you are not satisfied?

 

hmmm,

 

Would 50,002 work?

Ummm... what I said was that I'm able to get what I need. Just because I'm able to do that doesn't mean that you're getting the things out of Helix that you need. I also said that Helix will be receiving more upgrades. I don't see how that implies any level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It is what it is. I think you're overthinking this.

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I think there is too much whining and not enough praise for Line 6 and what they have accomplished.

I tip my hat (not actually wearing one but lets call it a virtual hat) to all involved at Line 6 for making the Helix.

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Oh goody, another I love the Helix but here is what is wrong with it thread that will never.... ever.... ever go away.

 

I'm not dogging anyone just seems like the last one of these lasted WAYYYYYYYY too long.

 

And I just contributed to it..... damn me to Hades.

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Simply put, one should not buy Helix if the number of amps is a priority. 

Sweetwater rep was kind enough to point this out to me as i was kicking around between an ax, kemper, and helix.. i really had no idea what i was getting into with the helix. I just knew i clicked with line6 products......and that dialing one or two great tones was more important to me than a bunch of options.

 

I remember a time when we'd pay 1000-1500-$2000 for one great tone in a JCM 800 or whatever, so i figure if i get two or three sounds im really in love with, im ahead of the game. 

 

My opinion is that id rather see line 6 take everything that is already on board helix, to the next level. The cabs are my only majorish dissatisfaction, but yes there is some overlap between the modeled amps that is not present real world.

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200 amp models?  Meh.  After a while you can have too many choices.  I don't really want the Helix to become as bewildering as Costco for amp sims.

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Ummm... what I said was that I'm able to get what I need. Just because I'm able to do that doesn't mean that you're getting the things out of Helix that you need. I also said that Helix will be receiving more upgrades. I don't see how that implies any level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It is what it is. I think you're overthinking this.

Yep! definitely overthinking it! 

Point of clarification, There is no implication. I only mentioned "satisfaction" because you mentioned "satisfaction" and I wasn't sure what you meant.

 

clear as mud now!

 

50,003?

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Sweetwater rep was kind enough to point this out to me as i was kicking around between an ax, kemper, and helix.. i really had no idea what i was getting into with the helix. I just knew i clicked with line6 products......and that dialing one or two great tones was more important to me than a bunch of options.

 

I remember a time when we'd pay 1000-1500-$2000 for one great tone in a JCM 800 or whatever, so i figure if i get two or three sounds im really in love with, im ahead of the game. 

 

My opinion is that id rather see line 6 take everything that is already on board helix, to the next level. The cabs are my only majorish dissatisfaction, but yes there is some overlap between the modeled amps that is not present real world.

 

I remember a time also, 80s, when all you had was basically one tone, that's it. Make it work or fake it or whatever, fck it. I was never one to collect mega amounts of pedals either so I just had to make do. Besides, all those pedals gets expensive. Easily more than Helix costs today. Having a Helix back then would have seemed like magic.

 

I hope they fill in some of the holes for effects. Mostly filters. Definitely an auto volume. No more amps.

 

And like others have mentioned, adding to the functionality of Helix would be great. A couple of examples would be scenes and the ability to apply a tweakable modifier/controller to any other block.

 

Beyond that, I don't see how much more they can really add to significantly improve Helix from what it already is. Which might be when the extraneous amps start showing up.

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200 amp models? Meh. After a while you can have too many choices. I don't really want the Helix to become as bewildering as Costco for amp sims.

Lmao! Post of the Day!!!! ;)

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Yep! definitely overthinking it!

Point of clarification, There is no implication. I only mentioned "satisfaction" because you mentioned "satisfaction" and I wasn't sure what you meant.

 

clear as mud now!

 

50,003?

First runner-up for Post of the Day, lol.

 

Personally, I'll take a good laugh over an extra 160 amp models. ;)

 

Rave on, folks!

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If we just stick to facts and what we all heard in the last few months. From knowledgeable sources it was mentionned that after years of work they had to make the call and put it out there. 

 

By itself it explains the rought edges and the few features we are missing. Think about the lad who needs to sync MIDI BPM or the complex effect control with on/off thresholds and all. Not insignificant functionnality. They do market it as the central peice of gear to control your rig, right. As far as I know it's not deep enough to control my JVM the way I would like, but we all have different gears...

 

Once the most importants missing tricks are implemented for the majority of people "that you are targeting" it would be alright to call it a day and start working for a few years on the next best thing called HELIX II.

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...

 

Once the most importants missing tricks are implemented for the majority of people "that you are targeting" it would be alright to call it a day and start working for a few years on the next best thing called HELIX II.

 

I still prefer "Double Helix", its a genetics thang  :D

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I've been using Line 6 gear for my sound since 2000 I do believe... I'm a POD user right from then - started with a POD 2.x (marvellous!)

I've swung from branch to branch along the way, having chip upgraded the POD 2.x to what became the final firmware version for that original iteration (non-FBV) 2.3 - that was an amazing update too...

PODxt - refinements galore, deeper modelling results... awesome.

PODX3 - more refinements, struck me as a very souped-up XT - also awesome. (Still have that one attached to my repair bench.)

PODhd - WOW! Major developments... more and more refinements and options for routing etc. Exceptional.

I've gigged my HD a bunch - I purchased a second one so that I could keep one 'packed up' in the go bag along with its FBV and expression pedal goodies, AND keep one mounted on a mic stand at the computer.

Of course still have those both - it's my 'yardstick' plus I am not quite to the point of comfort I need to have for gigging;

(I would have purchased a PODhdx had that come out in bean format, which I vastly prefer over the floors (see below), but I think they must have literally run out of room to work in that form factor).

 

Enter Helix - not a POD, but the next step in the evolution of pro audio devices.

Unreal; not only a whole new quantum leap forward in the depth of modelling accuracy and nuances, but also an audio routing wonder, AND built to by a performance-oriented beast as well.

All of the above are what brought me to Helix - the closest to this kind of access to features by remote was having my Midi-enabled PODs hooked to my Rocktron/Bradshaw unit along with expression pedals...

It's made very much with performance in mind; once we learn the methodology, we're presented with immense amounts of control over the resources it has on tap.

Yes, there are some warts; and doubtless, the L6 crew are busy ironing those out.

 

The fact that there are expansion possibilities is quite exciting; similarly, the facility to load in IRs is remarkable - I look forward to test-driving some of the 3 Sigma IRs that I've seen demonstrated to such great effect.

I opted for the rack unit; I dislike the idea of having audio paths and power lines coming out to the floor and back, having come to favour keeping everything at the backline except the controller and my expression pedal coupled to that.

So I'm working with the rack plus rack control, with two Mission expression pedals - one toe switch one, one regular.

 

I guess I'm poking into this thread just to essentially give my shout-out to the good people at Line 6 for delivering a remarkable feat of both hardware and software - I'm enjoying digging into this unit to see what sounds it can give me (and WOW on that...) plus leveraging the performance aspects to do my bidding =] (WOW on that too of course...)

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"juststarting"  said what i wanted to. but i started with the x3 and every upgrade has been great. when i ran out of dsp on the hd, i got an m13 and used midi for effects and tap tempo. my issue then was using other pedals that i loved. when the Helix came...i was so excited to finally be able to use all my other favorite pedals using the ins/outs. i was able to shelve my m13 and add the eventide H9 max along with my electro harmonix epitome. i use the 2 extra expression pedals to further contrlo the effects. my signal goes to my personal mixer where i can see the levels of every patch. or see if i am sending signal to the front of the house. plus i have added a trio so that i can practice when i am alone....overall, thanks Line 6 for an awesome product. not perfect, but i guess that i am loyal to the brand. i also want to say thank you for picking my name out of the hat and  winning a relay G70 just because i atended a tone class...i love it...now i can just walk around the church and hear what is coming out of the front house speakers and make more adjustments to my sound. plus to be free to move when i do not have to change patches. all i need now is a wireless in ear system and i am completely free to move during a service or some other venue. again thanks Line 6 :D

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I agree with Quality over Quantity. I rather like 10 amps in the highes possible quality than 200 in an OK quality.

I'm using only 4-5 amps most of the time anyway.

Easy enough. Comparing Helix with X3 you have bout 100 amps less and 50 effects less. I suspect that helix 3 will be an amp and a wah :P

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I agree with Quality over Quantity. I rather like 10 amps in the highes possible quality than 200 in an OK quality.

 

 

+1000

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when Line 6 made the X3L, there were quite a few people who made statements to the point of, "I don't need all these amp models - I just need a few really good ones". 

 And in fact i'd rather see a feature added that allows me to **hide**  those amp and effect models I'm unlikely to ever use in creating new patches.  

 

I really find these days that limiting one's choices not only helps avoid the sheer hassle of navigating thru huge lists but also helps creativity. 

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