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Beating a dead horse? Tuner accuracy....come on!

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Ok, I have read a few posts regarding the tuner and its pretty sad to read that a phenomenal pedalboard like this has such horrible tuning accuracy. I just gave my son the old faithful boss TU-2 tuner and shamefully had to ask to have it back.... Its now on my pedaldoard next to my wireless system.I got it new 20 years ago and its an awesome tuner and still works flawlessly. Considering the bounds and leaps of technology inside the Helix I'm just hoping Line 6 will step up soon and come up with an update for such a simple yet essential part of any guitar player.  

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Just for the record, my Helix tuner is just fine.  As a luthier, and a professional guitar tech, I wouldn't use it for intonation of a guitar I'm setting up for a customer.  I have a special tuner that is accurate to within 1/1000th of a fret for that.  Proper intonation is a necessary foundation for any guitar, but nobody on the planet - I repeat - NOBODY, can physically control their finger pressure to play within that kind of tolerance (1/1000th).   Some of the tolerances of the other tuners that the Helix is being compared to on the other posts are absurd in the sense of actual live play.  Also be aware, you can adjust the Helix tuner to compensate for problem areas or for specialty tunings like the Buzz Feiten system.   All said and done, I suspect the Helix tuner subject is a quality control issue - and maybe I just got lucky - I don't know.

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Just for the record, my Helix tuner is just fine.  As a luthier, and a professional guitar tech, I wouldn't use it for intonation of a guitar I'm setting up for a customer.  I have a special tuner that is accurate to within 1/1000th of a fret for that.  Proper intonation is a necessary foundation for any guitar, but nobody on the planet - I repeat - NOBODY, can physically control their finger pressure to play within that kind of tolerance (1/1000th).   Some of the tolerances of the other tuners that the Helix is being compared to on the other posts are absurd in the sense of actual live play.  Also be aware, you can adjust the Helix tuner to compensate for problem areas or for specialty tunings like the Buzz Feiten system.   All said and done, I suspect the Helix tuner subject is a quality control issue - and maybe I just got lucky - I don't know.

 

JLondon, just for the record you are speaking to a luthier here.....

I have tuned 3 guitars with 2 different Helix processors and compared the result to my Peterson Strobe Tuner and they were all way off. In fact the Boss tuner is almost dead on with the Peterson. I play live at church and when tuning the guitar through the Helix first I never get it close enough to pitch tuning in any string. I am not talking about compensation just a plain open string or an harmonic note at the 12th fret. 

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My observation of the issue as I personally perceive it (and I believe this is shared by quite a number of others): the indicators on the Helix tuner show 'dead on' for much too broad a range. And I'm only holding it up against the various POD in-built tuners, which I've been relying on for years with great results.

 

I do suspect that an overhaul of the tuner will be part of the next firmware release - that's nothing but a hunch, but it's based on the fact that Line 6 does take into account the various reports/feedback given on their products, and reacts accordingly.

I look forward to that revision =]

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Ok, I have read a few posts regarding the tuner and its pretty sad to read that a phenomenal pedalboard like this has such horrible tuning accuracy. I just gave my son the old faithful boss TU-2 tuner and shamefully had to ask to have it back.... Its now on my pedaldoard next to my wireless system.I got it new 20 years ago and its an awesome tuner and still works flawlessly. Considering the bounds and leaps of technology inside the Helix I'm just hoping Line 6 will step up soon and come up with an update for such a simple yet essential part of any guitar player.  

Are you on the last firmware? For me it seems that it has been improved with the last firmware. You could also match your prefered tuner by setting the offsets accordingly or are you talking about the sensibility and the visual granularity?.

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My feeling is that in terms of hardware and ability the Helix' tuner is able to work quite well but the visualization if the tuning/cents is just poor. Means, the red and green blocks appearing on the screen while tuning should be much "finer". Especially when working with low tunings (H, A and even down to G) the tuner is not able to visualize small change within tuning... so I turn the tuner heads leading to changes in tone/tuning but no change appearing on the screen at all.

 

BUT, since all of us are arguing about that since months in this board, I can finally only state:

 

PLEASE ENTER IDEASCALE AND VOTE TO THE NECESSARY CHANGES!!!

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There is definitely something to this.

 

I chained my Sabine Rackmount, Peterson Stobe and the Helix together and ran a signal generated from an online tone generator.

 

The Helix reads > A <  (as in tuned to A from)    439.20Hz  to  440.73Hz   that's 1.53 Hz folks. That's a LOT of slop, and based on what I have read, that's way outside of the intended specs too.   It's also a little inconsistent as you can see I can tune .8 down and .73 up.  Interestingly my probably 15+ year old Sabine Rackmount didn't vary off of  "A" from 439.7  to  440.3 which is only  +/- .6 Hz      

 

1.5 Hz is also WAY OUT OF THE RANGE OF ANY NORMAL PLAYING TECHNIQUE.  I am heavy handed, and after the above results I played a bit and the only way I could get the strobe to drift sharp as much (fast) as it did at 440.73 was to really put a death-grip on the notes.

 

I am VERY disappointed at this, and frankly up until now I had been somewhat ignoring these threads.  I may have even posted some other testing I did which refuted the above...  but there is no room for error here.    FWIW, the difference between 440 and 440.3 I can't hear, but the difference between 440 to 440.73 is clearly audible.

 

FWIW, I have the latest firmware.

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My feeling is that in terms of hardware and ability the Helix' tuner is able to work quite well but the visualization if the tuning/cents is just poor. Means, the red and green blocks appearing on the screen while tuning should be much "finer". Especially when working with low tunings (H, A and even down to G) the tuner is not able to visualize small change within tuning... so I turn the tuner heads leading to changes in tone/tuning but no change appearing on the screen at all.

 

BUT, since all of us are arguing about that since months in this board, I can finally only state:

 

PLEASE ENTER IDEASCALE AND VOTE TO THE NECESSARY CHANGES!!!

I've already voted long time ago. There are numerouse Entries on Ideascale:

http://line6.ideascale.com

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What most bad tuners lack is resolution.  I have never liked the tuners on Line6 pedals for this reason.  They don't have the necessary resolution to tune accurately.

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I too, am disappointed. Any decent "this tuner sucks" thread should have at least one "my ears are better than yours" post. You guys are slackin'...;)

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I don't have any problems using it on gigs, but I agree it is not the most accurate. I think doubling the visual representation would be adequate.

I voted!

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Personally I think the tuner works great. Does that mean if I tuned my guitar using it and then had that tuning analyzed string by string by a high end device typically only used by a luthier (Boss one you mentioned aside) would it pass 100%. Probably not. I'm guessing none of the tuner's I've used in the past 20 years would to be honest. But, I tune with the Helix constantly, have played about 20 gigs with it thus far and not a single audience member seems to have noticed, and any time I've recorded with the thing there's zero issue when the other guitarist, keyboardist or bassist track along with it.

 

Think 'horrible tuning accuracy' is a bit OTT, and all relative I guess to what you are trying to achieve. Playability-wise, it works, quite well. 

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I mentioned this in another Helix Tuner thread also, but I have found that the tuner is worse through the Variax VDI!  Plugging in a 1/4 in cable seems to give me accurate enough results, and then I use my ears to judge.  With a tuner that size of Helix, it should be possible to give more than just the 7 or 9 bars, double it and make us feel like it's more accurate at least!

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I found the tuner very 'blocky' (from a visual perspective) compared to , say, the Line 6 JM4 Looper tuner (which is accurate enough to intonate a guitar) or  my Boss TU3 pedal tuner.

 

I've stuck with the Helix tuner onstage but have to admit I almost went the way of the OP and added the Boss pedal back to my board.

I would love an update that offered a more sensitive looking tuner, ie not the huge blocks that swing from left to right then settle in the middle when the tuning is somewhere near close enough. A Helix weak spot.

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My feeling is that in terms of hardware and ability the Helix' tuner is able to work quite well but the visualization if the tuning/cents is just poor. Means, the red and green blocks appearing on the screen while tuning should be much "finer". Especially when working with low tunings (H, A and even down to G) the tuner is not able to visualize small change within tuning... so I turn the tuner heads leading to changes in tone/tuning but no change appearing on the screen at all.

 

BUT, since all of us are arguing about that since months in this board, I can finally only state:

 

PLEASE ENTER IDEASCALE AND VOTE TO THE NECESSARY CHANGES!!!

You can't possibly expect a commercial tuner to be accurate for an "H" tuning! After all, in western music THERE IS NO $#"@ING "H" !!!! *sheesh* And for the record the Helix tuner works as well as many many many tuners I've owned over the last 36 years. Use your danged ears for the "fine bits". :)
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ITT: No one knows what "accuracy" means.

 

I really don't want to be disrespectful, but as a user of the device I DO CARE about a certain issue that is making the Helix not meeting all of my personal requirements. I neither REALLY CARE about possible reason for it nor have to know what the difference is between resolution, accuracy, etc. to a sophisticated extend as a customer.

 

To cut a long story short: For now I am tuning my guitar (tuned in Bm7) according to the blocks and arrows on the screen. When playing all the strings open, it just sounds like lollipop. It even gets worse when playing in a band with 2 other guitars. That has never been a problem using my Korg Pitchblack+... thats why I keep the Korg.

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After all, in western music THERE IS NO $#"@ING "H" !!!! *sheesh* 

 

In some regions of Europe where classical musicians use the German system, the B natural is indicated with the letter H: in this system, H is Bâ™® (B natural), and B is Bâ™­ (B flat). Just FYI, rgds, Matthias (from GER)

 

 Use your danged ears for the "fine bits". :)

 

Very good proposal when playing live.... Crowd will love it  :P

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I neither REALLY CARE about possible reason for it nor have to know what the difference is between resolution, accuracy, etc. to a sophisticated extend as a customer.

 

You should, because anyone calling Helix's tuner "inaccurate" is spreading misinformation, and that does no one any good. It's now to the point that any time someone uses the word "inaccurate" with regards to Helix's tuner, I'll push TO DO: Increase GRANULARITY of Helix's Tuner down one step in the priority backlog.

 

 

Yes, this horse is dead. Everyone please be patient.

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In some regions of Europe where classical musicians use the German system, the B natural is indicated with the letter H: in this system, H is Bâ™® (B natural), and B is Bâ™­ (B flat). Just FYI, rgds, Matthias (from GER)

 

 

 

Very good proposal when playing live.... Crowd will love it :P

Good homework! This from the guy that wants L6 to build the Helix to his "personal requirements"?

 

Just messin w/ ya! In all seriousness, what do you think all the guitar heroes of the 60's and 70's and maybe even early 80's did on stage in front of an audience? They swapped guitars and a roadie retuned the refuse backstage with a huge stobe tuner for the next swap. NOW think about what they did BEFORE they were famous... You guessed it! They tuned by ear each guitar to each other. Right there on stage in front of dog and everybody! And no muting either! I'd say we modern pantywaists have an enormous advantage with the Helix's "flawed" tuner. Wouldn't you?

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You should, because anyone calling Helix's tuner "inaccurate" is spreading misinformation, and that does no one any good. It's now to the point that any time someone uses the word "inaccurate" with regards to Helix's tuner, I'll push TO DO: Increase GRANULARITY of Helix's Tuner down one step in the priority backlog.

 

Yes, this horse is dead. Everyone please be patient.

As I wrote in my initial post: "... but the visualization if the tuning/cents is just poor. Means, the red and green blocks appearing on the screen while tuning should be much "finer"."

 

This is what you mean with "granularity" I guess?

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As I wrote in my initial post: "... but the visualization if the tuning/cents is just poor. Means, the red and green blocks appearing on the screen while tuning should be much "finer"."

 

This is what you mean with "granularity" I guess?

 

Yep. There's a request in for increasing Helix's Tuner's granularity, which we plan on doing. How soon we get to it appears to be contingent on how few people misuse the term "accurate."  ;)

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This horse will be dead when it gets fixed. This has been the #1 gripe I've seen since the damn thing was released. My snark tuner works better. My mustang amp works better. My boss pedal tuner works better. My old school korg tuner works better. Getting snarky with people who expect their $1500 machine to tune at least as well as a $12 clip on tuner seems like bad business to me. If you want people to stop beating the dead horse, how about giving them a time frame on when it will be fixed! Throw us a freaking bone here. If Line 6 wants to stay tight lipped about their updates that's their prerogative but I'd highly recommend taking a less aggressive and semantically charged approach to dealing with your customers' concerns. It's not like we're just jackasses looking to gripe - we paid a lot of money to be here. 

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You must be new here. >HUGS DREWHERRING12<

 

"The snark shall continue until morale improves."

—Abraham Lincoln

 

Thank you for not using the word "accurate"; therefore, TO DO: Increase granularity of Helix's Tuner remains where it is in the priority backlog (that is, pretty high up and perhaps already developed).

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ITT: No one knows what "accuracy" means.

 

 

 

You should, because anyone calling Helix's tuner "inaccurate" is spreading misinformation, and that does no one any good. It's now to the point that any time someone uses the word "inaccurate" with regards to Helix's tuner, I'll push TO DO: Increase GRANULARITY of Helix's Tuner down one step in the priority backlog.

 

 

Yes, this horse is dead. Everyone please be patient.

 

I don't know which annoys me more - this topic continuously popping up or your nit-picking argumentation regarding the semantics every time it does.

 

I'll quote one of your old posts on this:

 

EDIT TO NOTE: tried to pull in a quote from another thread. Failed. Bolded it instead:

Say you did a search for my house in Google Earth. If Google Earth tells you "Los Angeles," when you wanted a neighborhood or street address, that doesn't mean Google Earth is inaccurate, because I do indeed live in Los Angeles. Google Earth would be inaccurate if it said I lived in San Diego, just like Helix's tuner would be inaccurate if the wrong box was lit.

The problem with your analogy is that tuners don't work like Google Earth. A tuner is like asking Google Earth, "does DI live in Los Angeles"? And Google Earth says, "yep." OK, cool. Sure, it's not as granular as a street address, but it's accurate to say that. Ok, we're on the same page so far.
 
But now we look at some other examples. Let's say you live did that same search for somebody who lives just outside of Los Angeles (Pasadena, for example). And Google says, "yep, that dude lives in Los Angeles". No, wrong, he doesn't.  Maybe it's only a 5 minute drive away, but it's still wrong. It is not accurate.
 
That's more akin to the issue here. That big green light in the middle is lighting up not just for people in LA, but for people in the surrounding suburbs as well, and it's lumping them all together and saying "THEY LIVE IN LOS ANGELES". No. They live near Los Angeles, not in Los Angeles.
 
I know Chicago, not LA, so I'll use an example from there. Somebody who lives in Evanston does not live in Chicago. Somebody who lives in the Loop does. Asking about somebody in the Loop and getting a generic "they live in Chicago" lacks granulariy. Asking about somebody in Evanston and getting "they live in Chicago" lacks accuracy.
 
You ask the Helix, "is this an A?" and Helix says, "yeah, sure, close enough" when many people and/or tuners would say, "nope, that's a bit off." That's not just lacking granularity, it's inaccurate.
 
Full Definition of accuracy
1:  freedom from mistake or error :  correctness
2a :  conformity to truth or to a standard or model :  exactness
2b :  degree of conformity of a measure to a standard or a true value — compare precision
 
The display is part of the tuner. If the granularity shows you as in-tune when a reasonable person (or tuner) would say you're not, then that's a mistake. It is not correct. It does not conform to the standard. It is not exact. It is not precise.
 
Therefor, it is not accurate.
 
Feel free to bump this down a few spots on your priority list. It won't make you right.
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Please call it resolution. (how small a change in frequency it can resolve and display)

 

But "resolution" doesn't sound nearly as sexy as "granularity". A $1500 device needs expensive-sounding jargon...;)

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ITT: No one knows what "accuracy" means.

 

That's why I avoided the word.    Simply put... there's too much wiggle room on each segment of the tuner.   It NEEDS to be more granular.  It's likely accurate as all getout....  we just have NO WAY TO SEE THAT ACCURACY...   I seriously can't believe my 15 year old Sabine is more granular than the Helix.  That's just disappointing and I know that's harsh.  But 1.5 Hz is a BIG spread !!!    In musical terms the difference between 440 and 440.73 is about 2.87 cents sharp.. which isn't a lot and likely not audible.... unless of course the other note being played is 2.8 cents flat.  While you likely can't hear the difference of two notes that are 6 cents apart when played separately, you can definitely hear the warble of two seemingly identical notes that are actually 6 cents apart.    Now add playing technique, ON TOP of that, and your OUT OF TUNE !!! PERIOD.

 

Here is an interesting wiki with a toy at the bottom to play with.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cent_%28music%29

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This is why I'd never want to be a product manager with an ear to my users 

 

'Make it Black'

'Wish it was white'

'I love that it's Black, hope that never changes'

'Will a future update make it white'

'I would buy the thing if it was red'

 

etc etc

 

So here's my thing, I hope to God if they change resolution of the tuner they allow you to keep the current view as an option. I love the bars method of tuning and I love the resolution\granularity as it is today, super easy to see from standing height. I was so happy to see the tuner worked like the Korg Pitchblack aesthetically. Again, I don't mean to be rude but it sounds a bit trainspotter to be so caught up on it. The Helix can tune a guitar to where regular humans hear it in tune, job done. 

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This is why I'd never want to be a product manager with an ear to my users 

 

'Make it Black'

'Wish it was white'

'I love that it's Black, hope that never changes'

'Will a future update make it white'

'I would buy the thing if it was red'

 

etc etc

 

So here's my thing, I hope to God if they change resolution of the tuner they allow you to keep the current view as an option. I love the bars method of tuning and I love the resolution\granularity as it is today, super easy to see from standing height. I was so happy to see the tuner worked like the Korg Pitchblack aesthetically. Again, I don't mean to be rude but it sounds a bit trainspotter to be so caught up on it. The Helix can tune a guitar to where regular humans hear it in tune, job done. 

 

I agree! It's super easy to see which is a massive bonus.   I wouldn't say no to some additional strobe style lines above the bars though.

 

Here's a tip that I do with Helix (and most other tuners) if I want to be more precise.

 

Start with your string flat...

Tune your string up slowly till Helix green bar first comes on -

Remember where your hand is (angle of rotation) - Position A

Then continue to tune up until the green bar goes off and the next red bar comes on.. turn back a smidgin till it goes green again.

Remember where your hand is (angle of rotation) - Position B

Now.. turn back to Position A and then rotate till halfway between position A and position B.

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My experience is 1) it seems accurate enough for tuning a guitar for gigs - I use it a lot and have never noticed it to produce something I'd consider out of tune and 2) its resolution is sufficient to tune a guitar quickly without being so sensitive that you never get there. Could it be improved? I suppose. But its not a problem at all for me. I use it, it tunes a guitar OK, and it tunes it quickly. That's all I'm looking for on a gig.

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My experience is 1) it seems accurate enough for tuning a guitar for gigs - I use it a lot and have never noticed it to produce something I'd consider out of tune and 2) its resolution is sufficient to tune a guitar quickly without being so sensitive that you never get there. Could it be improved? I suppose. But its not a problem at all for me. I use it, it tunes a guitar OK, and it tunes it quickly. That's all I'm looking for on a gig.

 

I'm wondering if there aren't TWO issues.  One is the granularity, discussed... covered..    The other is consistency.  Like you I "thought" mine was fine and it was "ME" who for seem reason couldn't tune a guitar anymore...   The Tuner was show "in tune" but I'd hear the warble of NOT being in tune...   Then this topic came up so I plugged in my trusty crusty Sabine.... and wha-la !!!!   All of a sudden I can tune my guitar.  That's when I broke out the signal gen software and the Petersen and started testing.      I am no beginning to wonder if some units are more granular than others.    Or... maybe that I use fine tuners on my Kahle or the Grovers on my Moser which are pretty fine.    And before anyone makes a comment about one not being fixed bridge...  I don't have problems if I use any OTHER tuner.  WHen the others say it's in tune... I can strum a chord and it sounds like a chord, not a chord with Chorus which is what happens OFTEN with the Helix tuner.  

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I swear by my Peterson VSII and I swear at most other tuners I have tried.  It isn't easy to make a good tuner.  When you pluck a string it starts out sharp and goes flat as it rings out.  It also isn't only vibrating at the fundamental but at all sorts of harmonics.  The tuner has to lock on the fundamental and track it as it changes frequency.  Then you need a display with enough resolution to see what is happening but not so much that it is all over the place as the string changes pitch.

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Well when I consider what the Helix Can do, I find using the built in Tuner is just fine for me.

Its when I am in the Studio that I need my Peterson or Boss.

You can live with the built in tuner pretty well, onstage or messing around, plus you can enter offsets that might be more in line with your preferred tuning.

I doubt too many people even musicians would notice a few cents off here and there.

In the studio we have been using a Kemper Profiling system, that has a good tuner in it but as soon as someone else starts playing a particular guitar, they pretty much would still have to retune the guitar.

We all hold every note in a slightly different way, plus if the room temp changes, so does all your Tuning.

Personally I have never ever been able to keep any guitar right down to 0 cents offset for any time at all, and yes we have some really nice guitars.

Yeah in the studio everyone has got to stay real close,Guitars, Synths even drums but that's one of the reasons, we use vibrato. keeps people's ears guessing  :)

I gotta agree with 

Charlie_Watt

I love my Peterson

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@mileskb

 

FYI, to the best of my knowledge one of those guitars is not a fixed bridge. 

 

Cheers

R

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First off, I love my Helix and like majority of people here I paid about $1500 for it. It is a road worthy unit with enough power and effects to be able to eliminate the use of amps, cabs and even pedals.....at least thats what it is advertised as. Personally I LOVE my Helix. I got rid of a lot of gear to get it and it saves me a lot of time setting up and carrying stuff to gigs. Again, I love it.

 

But like the OP said....oh wait that's me! Anyway, tuning a guitar is not left up to opinion or taste, it is an absolute. I may thing a particular tone sounds like a Marshall or a Fender and to you it doesn't but we will never be able to totally agree since between opinion, hear and settings there's a lot left to agree on.

 

We all know that no guitar is ever perfectly tuned but we get it as close as we can. All I'm saying is that the Helix gives you a green light as soon as you're close enough, sharp or flat but you can never really tell by just looking at the screen if you're dead on or not. Sure, I can usew my ear or even my Boss tuner but all I'm saying is that I expect more/better from this kind of a revolutionary unit.

 

Resolution, accuracy....does it really matter? I just want to play in tune and hope that Line 6 steps up a little and does something to address this.

 

Again, I would still buy the Helix regardless.....

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I did some tests for the other tuner thread:

 

Ok I used an audio function generator inputing a sine wave to the helix.

 

I altered the frequency to get the range that the Helix thought was in tune for a Low E and a High E.

 

Low E - 82.269 hz to 82.551 hz

High E - 329.042 hz to 330.186 hz

 

here are these values in notes/cents:

 

Low E

82.269 hz E2 -2.89 cents

82.551 hz E2 +3.02 cents

 

High E

329.042 hz E4 -3.07 cents

330.186 hz E4 +2.93 cents

 

So the helix has a range of about 6 cents where it thinks the signal is in tune.

 

That is pretty inaccurate.

 

 

It sounds like L6 are going to improve it though from what I read here.

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I did some tests for the other tuner thread:

 

 

It sounds like L6 are going to improve it though from what I read here.

 

Thanks for posting this.  Our results are very similar (mine are posted above) showing roughly the same 6 cents "zone" around A 440.   I know for many it doesn't seem like a big deal, and a "tuner" isn't what the Helix is all about, but for MANY people...  self included...  it's the "little" things that got us on board with the Helix.

 

If I've said it once, I've said it a 1000 times.. there are LOTS of good modelers out there.  It's the "non-modeling" related features that put the Helix over the top.  The controller, the midi, the USB, the routing, the editing, the actual case and YES...  FINALLY a unit with a decent tuner on the floor !!!!     

 

It just adds insult to injury when the average $10 tuner or FREE smartphone app is more useful.

 

And just to be clear... I'm an old-school, old fart who plays 3-piece rock'n roll and most of my guitars have Kahler tremolo systems..  You gots ta know I'm not picky about tuning...  my general line is "close enough for Rock'n Roll," but I generally have my guitar at least in tune with itself !!!  and I can't do consistently with the Helix.

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