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MikeDV1

Pedals with Helix

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Anyone using their favorite pedals with Helix, esp. in 4CM?

 

I like some of the choices in the Helix, but also like the ones I already have.

 

Just wondering if anyone else is going that way too.  BTW, I also prefer my amp's preamp section, so the Helix is mainly for fx.  My main goal is not portability right now, so I guess I'm using the Helix as a new and improved version of the G-s*stem.

 

Having said all that, for portability purposes (sometimes that is desired), I plan on making presets that mimic the above.  Not (to my ear, and that's the bottom line for all of us) an exact replica (if that were the case, then why use all of the outboard stuff), but good enough when going light is the purpose at the expense of the "exact" tone I want.  I really try to get "that" sound using only the Helix, and will continue to do so, but pretty satisfied with the sound of the mass of wires and crap.

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I've got a pedaltrain board full of effects over in the corner gathering dust.  Even when I went to the HD500X I was perfectly happy using those effects once I got them dialed in.  I suppose if some effect that was really unique came my way that I couldn't emulate I might try it, but otherwise it's just added complexity and more things to go wrong.  But it's better to have the capability and not use it, than to not have it and need it I suppose.

 

It's not like ANY effect is ever going to make you a better guitarist.  I'll still have the same skills regardless of the effect....

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When I first got Helix, I wasn't ready to let go of my Mesa Triaxis preamp, Marshall JMP-1 preamp, Mesa V-Twin pedal, and wah.  My vision was to only use Helix for rig control and effects.  I put the Triaxis in Send/Return 1, JMP-1 in Send/Return 2, the V-Twin in front and used the Helix to switch Bypass & Blues/Lead on it, wah in front, then ran Helix L/R 1/4" out to my Mesa Simul 2:90 and cab.  I reduced my 8 rackspace rig down to 4 spaces and finally had the full MIDI control I always wanted, albeit with a lot of cables.  I was starting to consider some sort of signal/MIDI/power snake.  But mission accomplished and vision achieved.

 

Then I finally sat down with Helix amps and found equivalent, sometimes better sounds, with configuration and control achieved much more simply and cleanly.  Now it's just Helix into tube power amps.  Should have started with Helix.  Funny how gear visions change.

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When I first got Helix, I wasn't ready to let go of my Mesa Triaxis preamp, Marshall JMP-1 preamp, Mesa V-Twin pedal, and wah.  My vision was to only use Helix for rig control and effects.  I put the Triaxis in Send/Return 1, JMP-1 in Send/Return 2, the V-Twin in front and used the Helix to switch Bypass & Blues/Lead on it, wah in front, then ran Helix L/R 1/4" out to my Mesa Simul 2:90 and cab.  I reduced my 8 rackspace rig down to 4 spaces and finally had the full MIDI control I always wanted, albeit with a lot of cables.  I was starting to consider some sort of signal/MIDI/power snake.  But mission accomplished and vision achieved.

 

Then I finally sat down with Helix amps and found equivalent, sometimes better sounds, with configuration and control achieved much more simply and cleanly.  Now it's just Helix into tube power amps.  Should have started with Helix.  Funny how gear visions change.

 

Maybe I'll have the same epiphany with Helix's amps as you at some stage - but right now I'm loving using Helix with two of my combos as a stereo rig - with both combos preamps connected into the Send/Return loops so I can choose between them - and MIDI and channel switching.   I have a 4 channel snake going to each amp, so there's only actually 2 cables to run off from the Helix (plus the power cables) - albeit with plenty of jacks to plug in.

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Having said all that, for portability purposes (sometimes that is desired), I plan on making presets that mimic the above.  Not (to my ear, and that's the bottom line for all of us) an exact replica (if that were the case, then why use all of the outboard stuff), but good enough when going light is the purpose at the expense of the "exact" tone I want.  I really try to get "that" sound using only the Helix, and will continue to do so, but pretty satisfied with the sound of the mass of wires and crap.

 

I have managed to dial in Helix amps to mimic my tube combos preamps very closely indeed - so that you could hardly tell the difference.  What I have found however is that once you have done this and got a very good mimic set up, the Helix amps do not respond in the same way as the real tube preamp would to pedals in front - specifically overdrive pedals (I am talking Helix OD's here - but I assume a real OD would be similar).   You need to alter the settings on the OD pedal when using the Helix amp to get the same effect as you do with the real tube preamp.

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Glad to see the varied responses, similar to various locations on my journey.  So far, the Helix is like my other experiences with the modeling world.  For me - in low and medium volume level scenarios, I can get any/all sounds out there of all the rock/blues standard bearers, and my own sound, esp. in stereo.  But whenever I would play in context of the musicians, and had to compete with drums volume levels, I was constantly finding something missing.  More gain, less gain, EQ, mono or stereo, in our out of the PA - nothing to dial in or out would ever seem to cut it for me.  When I return to my conventional setup, the missing piece, whatever the hell that is, was there.  The irony is I really like the sound and ability to shape and manipulate digital effects, requiring A/D and D/A conversions - making my beloved old-school stuff digitized - I struggle with that piece, so what am I hearing, or what do I think I'm hearing?  IR's and FRFR, or into PA only, literally unlimited amp flavor choices or....  Like many, I spent years and have piles of stuff I went through chasing the coolest gear, and was very successful at  getting what I like, and is part of my musical journey - seems the IR and output choices are more of the same, just in the digital sphere.  Gigging is rare, so carrying stuff is only a minor concern.  And the difference between two minute, two cord setup and 30 minute, six cord setup is - only one or maybe two beers - it's part of the fun for me - I can spend the cost of those two beers "paying" a friend to hump little boxes.  Still, Helix very cool all the way around, will continue to experiment with the various possibilities in the ways Pete Thorn did in his demo video (with a slightly different combination of notes and picking and riffs and stuff).  Looking for that implanted, bluetooth chip.  Headphone size cord from guitar to a iPod sized send unit, broadcasts directly into my brain, and out to a receiver on the PA or straight into the internet for real-time jam sessions with - anyone in the universe.  C'mon, LIne6, how hard can that be?  Heading over to the Idea thingy right now....

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I'm loving the Helix both in 2 and 4 cable mode. It's far easier to use and far more practical than my FX II, however I still need some rich ambient sounds so I've added an H9 in 2 send and returns for full stereo when desires. A trusty old ADA midi controller is changing presets for now. I also use 3 various gain pedals for tone. With the exception of only one (48 volts) I don't think I need the others. The gains on the Helix have surpassed the FX II by a mile in my opinion. Now to go play...

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