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MIDI SYNC is a MUST

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I bought a Helix last month and love the sounds and intuitive interface. However, I was sold one from Sweetwater on the promise that it would seamlessly integrate with other pieces of hardware and software via midi. My show is run through ableton, and I was told that it could do everything I needed. It  could even program ableton to send midi messages to change my presets, blocks, settings etc. How great! Less time hopping around and more time performing and interacting with the audience. Once I got the unit, before setting up any complicated midi configuration, I simply wanted the unit to read tempos from ableton, so that all of my delays, trems, etc could be synced up without having to awkwardly tap tempo every song.  If the helix could change presets and settings based on midi, I assumed this would be an obvious part of it's capabilities.  It was not.  

 

I called Sweetwater and Line 6 customer service, both of whom seemed equally surprised by my complaint and needed to put me on hold to double check.  Both came back with an apologetic tone about how this isn't a feature, but should be. 

 

More and more acts are running hybrid sets leveraging ableton, and midi sync needs to be addressed immediately. If it is not, I will be selling my unit and making sure to steer other musicians away.  

 

Please address! 

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I think it's only a matter of time before it's there, but as far as the timing, I couldn't say. The thing about these MIDI features is that they are really important to the people they're important to, but the perhaps unfortunate reality is that it seems to be something that the vast majority of users don't really ever use.

 

Anyway, one work around in the meantime is something like this: http://www.moltenvoltage.com/products/SIXY_by_PedalSync_Line_6_Tempo_Control_by_Molten_Voltage.html

 

I realize it's not ideal to buy another product, but it's a viable solution.

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MIDI Clock support would certainly tie some stuff together.  Be sure and vote it up on ideascale

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Please.

Just such a significant backward step from the Pods and even if only for a minority it really should be capable of receiving MIDI clock by default.

 

Any time soon?

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I've run plenty of shows with tracks, and have never seen a need for this. Although, that may be because I have only prerecorded tracks, use one preset per song, and don't change tempos during a song.

 

Are you using Live's actual *live* functionality, like recording new loops and warping audio, or is it just a playback device for pre-recorded tracks? If the former, I can see running into dealbreaker issues without sync, but if the latter, you might try one or more of these approaches:

 

- Send a few Tap Tempo MIDI CC messages in the correct tempo at or before the beginning of each song / tempo change

- Include a Tap Tempo MIDI message on every beat of parts of the DAW project that have live tempo changes, if any

- Use Tempo Per Snapshot in the new 2.0 firmware, and switch snapshots with MIDI sent by the DAW

- If 8 tempos are not enough for one preset, then between songs or musical phrases, use MIDI Program Change messages to change patches to an otherwise-identical tone

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I've run plenty of shows with tracks, and have never seen a need for this. Although, that may be because I have only prerecorded tracks, use one preset per song, and don't change tempos during a song.

 

Are you using Live's actual *live* functionality, like recording new loops and warping audio, or is it just a playback device for pre-recorded tracks? If the former, I can see running into dealbreaker issues without sync, but if the latter, you might try one or more of these approaches:

 

- Send a few Tap Tempo MIDI CC messages in the correct tempo at or before the beginning of each song / tempo change

- Include a Tap Tempo MIDI message on every beat of parts of the DAW project that have live tempo changes, if any

- Use Tempo Per Snapshot in the new 2.0 firmware, and switch snapshots with MIDI sent by the DAW

- If 8 tempos are not enough for one preset, then between songs or musical phrases, use MIDI Program Change messages to change patches to an otherwise-identical tone

 

To be honest the MIDI clock sync is often (as implemented in other products - e.g.synths) not enough as it only includes syncing the tempo value, not the cycle start. Which is fine for delay FX, but not enough for modulation (tremolo, flanger...). There you really need to resort to sending tap tempo MIDI messages manually, as noted here by mdmayfield. Which you can do from Ableton... So that's fine.

 

I used to do this with POD HD Pro and it worked fine. However with Helix I still haven't succeeded:

1) First I found the MIDI tap tempo message described in the manual doesn't work - I reported that to the support who acknowledged it and it was fixed in 1.12 update, I think.

2) It seems there is a problem perhaps in Helix MIDI driver because when I try to send Tap Tempo MIDI command from Cubase to Helix over USB, Cubase crashes. I still haven't got enough time to investigate this. Perhaps it's because I had Helix editor running at the same time... 

 

Has anybody tried to send Tap Tempo MIDI to Helix? Either over MIDI cable or preferably over USB? From Cubase or another DAW? Results?

 

Thanks for any info. I'm planning to look into this but currently busy finishing album demo...

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I do agree that this feature would only really be something select folks would care about, but I would certainly be one. Not just because of using Ableton as a master tempo (and just relying on a matched bpms is touch because I've never found kit that doesn't drift unless slaving to a master clock) but also for keeping any advanced time based stomps in the send\return loops in check. I currently have a timeline, h9 and big sky that for one reason or another I still keep in my rig with helix. As of now all those units can sync to a midi master and I use either Ableton or a Disaster Area Smartclock to keep all in check. If there ever comes a day that Helix can be included in that chain from a clock perspective, I may marry the thing.

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I'm set up to have Logic do all my switching for me and it's the best thing that's ever happened to our live show. I can run around anywhere and not have to worry about tapping on anything at all. It feels so free :) That being said, I have set up my presets with their own tempo that matches the song it is for, so it doesn't need to read the midi clock from the DAW at all. I think the 2.0 update allows for the MIDI sync, but I'm not gonna do that update till the update issue is fixed and I have time to rebuild whatever tones it breaks.

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Yes, MIDI sync is a must-have feature. I'm surprised this wasn't in from the get-go.

 

I've got a Ditto X4, which can sync to a MIDI clock (plus accept CC and other MIDI commands). This is really important, as it overcomes the tempo creep that happens with loopers. By syncing the Ditto with the Helix I could make sure that the loop stays in time with the tap.

 

It would also be nice to quantize the tap on the Helix so that you can get it in the ball park without having to be precise to the millisecond.

 

At the very least, the Helix should be able to accept MIDI clock data, even if it couldn't generate it.

 

As we all know, if the drummer is not rock-solid, tempos can change. Also, adrenaline can make things speed up, with can throw a lot of things off. (I remember seeing Focus perform Hocus Pocus live. They were going so fast it changed the song from an interestingly unhinged feel to a totally psychotic vibe.)

 

Helix needs this soon. (Next week would be nice.)

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I don't know how often Line 6 folk peruse the forums, but there are other ways to promote the addition of MIDI sync, such as opening a support ticket and asking how to sync via MIDI (to put this within the purvey of technical support) and if it can't be done, ask when will this be added.

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I was so hopeful with the 2.1 update that we would finally get this. I don't know how anyone using a rack delay or modulation is not completely frustrated by this. I can't just tap the tempo on the helix instead I have go to the rack and tap it there in multiple places. Sucks when you are trying to change tempo on the fly.

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Agreed - MIDI sync is needed!!

 

And looking forward - is there anyway Ableton Link can be implemented? Maybe Helix V2 hardware could aim in that direction.

 

Edit - on the Midi front I'd like to say that I highly approve of the learn mode on 2.1. Thanks :-)

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MIDI sync is indeed needed.

 

Question for you guys: How important is it to be able to manually disable SPP reception and just have Helix freewheel? Is it acceptable to always respond to SPP and therefore, lock mod blocks' LFOs to the downbeat, even if sending multiple play messages might make the LFOs glitch when re-syncing?

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Its OK with me to always respond to SPP. My current timing sync needs are simple ---- send musical time sync (tempo) to the Helix via MIDI from my DAW for tempo information. I need this to sync to DAW tempo, with Helix as a simple slave.

 

Even at a very basic level of support, if the Helix received tempo and then freewheeled, any time-synced effects (eg delay, modulation) would be good enough for me.

 

Others may want critical start/stop stuff if they want to use Helix looper as a master, but I wonder how many actually use the looper as in performance vs just messing around with it or using it to tweak presets and tones.

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Most urgent thing for me is syncing rhythmic fx (modulations, filters and reverse delay) to the beat, be it a sequence or a click..

To record and for live shows

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Most urgent thing for me is syncing rhythmic fx (modulations, filters and reverse delay) to the beat, be it a sequence or a click..

To record and for live shows

 

Same here for recording. What you can do is from your DAW, send Helix two CC69s (snapshots) on whatever beat, or division of a beat, at the beginning of recording. The first CC69 doesn't matter as far as timing, just so long as it's something other than the snapshot you want. The timing for the second CC69 should be placed precisely and be the snapshot you want when you start playing. It usually works satisfactorily and is mostly reproducible. Sometimes the timing is off. I'm not sure if two snapshots are necessarily needed, or in other words I'm not sure if sending Helix the correct snapshot while Helix is 'on' the correct snapshot already resets any modulated effects. It just seems to work better when two snapshots are used.

 

Make sure the preset has the appropriate BPM, and that the global setting 'Tempo Select' is set to per snapshot.

 

There might be other ways to do this too, such as switching presets.

 

By the way, what filters in Helix would this be important for?

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Same here for recording. What you can do is from your DAW, send Helix two CC69s (snapshots) on whatever beat, or division of a beat, at the beginning of recording. The first CC69 doesn't matter as far as timing, just so long as it's something other than the snapshot you want. The timing for the second CC69 should be placed precisely and be the snapshot you want when you start playing. It usually works satisfactorily and is mostly reproducible. Sometimes the timing is off. I'm not sure if two snapshots are necessarily needed, or in other words I'm not sure if sending Helix the correct snapshot while Helix is 'on' the correct snapshot already resets any modulated effects. It just seems to work better when two snapshots are used.

 

Make sure the preset has the appropriate BPM, and that the global setting 'Tempo Select' is set to per snapshot.

 

There might be other ways to do this too, such as switching presets.

 

By the way, what filters in Helix would this be important for?

I'll try that, thanks!! Actually no filter, I was daydreaming of having modulated filters, someday :)

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I'll try that, thanks!! Actually no filter, I was daydreaming of having modulated filters, someday :)

 

Hopefully soon they'll start filling in the empty hole of the filter category, and an autovolume.

 

For now though, you might be able to get some modulation on the current filters by using a parallel path and placing whatever modulation effect after the filter block.

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MIDI sync is indeed needed.

 

Question for you guys: How important is it to be able to manually disable SPP reception and just have Helix freewheel? Is it acceptable to always respond to SPP and therefore, lock mod blocks' LFOs to the downbeat, even if sending multiple play messages might make the LFOs glitch when re-syncing?

 

 

DI when would multiple play messages get sent?  Could something like that happen if a new tap tempo was tapped in? If this is the sort of thing you mean I guess a glitch of some sort might be expected if tempo is changing.  It would be nice if things like that at tempo changes could be seamless, but sometimes people like the weird sonic artifacts and glitches anyway :)

 

On another note I was briefly testing out the "Loopy" app on my iPhone using a Camera Connection Kit i borrowed today, and I was trying to get Helix's tap tempo footswitch to send tap tempo messages via USB MIDI to Loopy - but I couldn't make it work.

Is it possible to do this? Did I just have a setting wrong somewhere? 

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To be honest the MIDI clock sync is often (as implemented in other products - e.g.synths) not enough as it only includes syncing the tempo value, not the cycle start. Which is fine for delay FX, but not enough for modulation (tremolo, flanger...). There you really need to resort to sending tap tempo MIDI messages manually, as noted here by mdmayfield. Which you can do from Ableton... So that's fine.

 

I used to do this with POD HD Pro and it worked fine. However with Helix I still haven't succeeded:

1) First I found the MIDI tap tempo message described in the manual doesn't work - I reported that to the support who acknowledged it and it was fixed in 1.12 update, I think.

2) It seems there is a problem perhaps in Helix MIDI driver because when I try to send Tap Tempo MIDI command from Cubase to Helix over USB, Cubase crashes. I still haven't got enough time to investigate this. Perhaps it's because I had Helix editor running at the same time...

 

Has anybody tried to send Tap Tempo MIDI to Helix? Either over MIDI cable or preferably over USB? From Cubase or another DAW? Results?

 

Thanks for any info. I'm planning to look into this but currently busy finishing album demo...

.

 

I really want midi sync as well. Currently sending sync from maschine to mastermind GT, helix, 2 pod hds, 2 axe fx, adrenalinn, echolution, mobius, big sky and H9. Also have another helix receiving midi and sync for another player.

 

Honestly until they add more effects like seeker, pattern trem etc, I am not missing midi sync as much as I thought. Al beat synced effects are on other boxes. With delays, just saving tempo with preset is close enough for rock and roll.

 

I have not tested yet but have heard hitting tap button once will start the sequence. Once I start doing songs where the sequencers on the PODs are more critical I will see if sending a single tap every 4 or 8 bars does it.

 

I would love some cool new beat synced type effects in helix. Even just the m13 effects ported would be great.

 

LFOs and sequencers would take Helix to whole new level. I dream of sequencers changing variax string tunings. Lol

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I do agree that this feature would only really be something select folks would care about, but I would certainly be one. Not just because of using Ableton as a master tempo (and just relying on a matched bpms is touch because I've never found kit that doesn't drift unless slaving to a master clock) but also for keeping any advanced time based stomps in the send\return loops in check. I currently have a timeline, h9 and big sky that for one reason or another I still keep in my rig with helix. As of now all those units can sync to a midi master and I use either Ableton or a Disaster Area Smartclock to keep all in check. If there ever comes a day that Helix can be included in that chain from a clock perspective, I may marry the thing.

Well at least for now helix passes the clock through to any downstream devices.

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I was ready to pull the trigger on the Soundtoys 5 plug-in pack until I experimented using the Helix as a hardware insert for my DAW. I'm now using the Helix, in addition to its intended purpose as a guitar stompbox modeler thing, as a processor for various DAW tracks. It does a darned good job for keyboards, vocals, etc, but really needs MIDI sync to make it even useful for the task.

 

Perhaps someday when Line 6 finishes the essential list of guitar-related features, they could dabble into supporting a full list of Sountoys'like "plug-ins". I'd much rather take my DSP processing offline to my Helix than do it all with CPU-intensive plugins.

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I was ready to pull the trigger on the Soundtoys 5 plug-in pack until I experimented using the Helix as a hardware insert for my DAW. I'm now using the Helix, in addition to its intended purpose as a guitar stompbox modeler thing, as a processor for various DAW tracks. It does a darned good job for keyboards, vocals, etc, but really needs MIDI sync to make it even useful for the task.

 

Perhaps someday when Line 6 finishes the essential list of guitar-related features, they could dabble into supporting a full list of Sountoys'like "plug-ins". I'd much rather take my DSP processing offline to my Helix than do it all with CPU-intensive plugins.

 

I am a huge proponent of midi sync but which effects would you sync to midi? I find that setting delays and mods to correct tempo works ok. IMHO Helix doesn't really have effects that would benefit from midi sync yet.

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Actually, there are at least 35 time-based effects in Helix (delays rotaries, flanges, phasors, choruses, tremelos, ring mod, etc) that would benefit from MIDI sync. You'd be surprised! I rarely use a steady/click tempo in my DAW recordings, so simply setting a tempo for an effect isn't ideal.

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I am a huge proponent of midi sync but which effects would you sync to midi? I find that setting delays and mods to correct tempo works ok. IMHO Helix doesn't really have effects that would benefit from midi sync yet.

Not sure how you can be a big proponent of MIDI sync, yet ask which effects would you sync to MIDI? To me that's kind of like saying I'm a big proponent of something I don't really understand. For me the big Issue is having the Helix send OUT MIDI clock information to outboard effects.

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Yes, I for sure see the need for Helix sending out midi beat clock to outboard effects (Helix as master); as well as the need for Helix receiving external midi beat clock (Helix as slave).

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It shouldn't even be that hard to implement.

MIDI sync IN for delay times.

MIDI sync OUT for whatever we want to do with it.

 

MIDI sync IN for THE LOOPER...

The Looper which, IMO, should be syncable to tempo and have lockable configurations per patch for beats/bars length. Which also shouldn't hard, scripting-wise.

 

While I'm at it, I'm not sure MMC is working properly.

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I just got the Helix Rack and Control last week and found this thread because i could not figure out how to get Ableton (or any DAW) to send the Helix a tempo sync message.

 

If Line 6 recognizes that modulation and delay parameters should have both ms and BPM options, then they must also recognize the necessity of these parameters changing when you open a different session so as to keep the timing proportionate to the change in BPM and the feel of the preset the same between songs.

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I just got the Helix Rack and Control last week and found this thread because i could not figure out how to get Ableton (or any DAW) to send the Helix a tempo sync message.

 

If Line 6 recognizes that modulation and delay parameters should have both ms and BPM options, then they must also recognize the necessity of these parameters changing when you open a different session so as to keep the timing proportionate to the change in BPM and the feel of the preset the same between songs.

 

Will be here in a few weeks.

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/25218-preview%E2%80%94helix-fw-220-the-get-low-update/

 

New Features
- Global Settings > MIDI/Tempo > Send MIDI Clock—Helix can now transmit MIDI clock to synchronize the tempo of external pedals, rack gear, and software. Select “Off†(Helix does not transmit clock), “MIDI†(Helix transmits clock from only the MIDI OUT jack), “USB†(Helix transmits clock only via USB), or “MIDI+USB†(Helix transmits clock from both MIDI and USB)
- Global Settings > MIDI/Tempo > Receive MIDI Clock—Helix can now synchronize its time-based effects (such as delay and modulation) to incoming MIDI clock from external DAW software, drum machines, keyboard workstations, or other modelers. Select “Off†(Helix ignores MIDI clock), “MIDI†(Helix responds to clock received at its MIDI IN jack), “USB†(Helix responds to clock received via USB), or “Auto†(Helix uses its internal tempo generator until receiving clock from either MIDI or USB)

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I realize many people don't give a crap about the looper but for those of us that really do want an all-in-one live looping capable solution, could someone in the know at Line 6 PLEASE advise if it is or is not technically possible for Line 6 to enhance the looper with midi clock sync via firmware update? The forthcoming update adds this for time based effects which is great but says nothing about the looper. Just want to know if I should forget about it ever happening.

 

Secondarily, if it will never happen, I'd also like to know if it is or not technically possible to at least firmware enhance the looper controls to control an external looper that IS capable of midi sync..

 

Thanks in advance for a true technical ruling on EACH of these so I can move on or keep waiting in the hopes that it's just a matter of prioritization for these features.  

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On 2/13/2017 at 11:24 AM, Jakeallen said:

I realize many people don't give a crap about the looper but for those of us that really do want an all-in-one live looping capable solution, could someone in the know at Line 6 PLEASE advise if it is or is not technically possible for Line 6 to enhance the looper with midi clock sync via firmware update? The forthcoming update adds this for time based effects which is great but says nothing about the looper. Just want to know if I should forget about it ever happening.

 

Secondarily, if it will never happen, I'd also like to know if it is or not technically possible to at least firmware enhance the looper controls to control an external looper that IS capable of midi sync..

 

Thanks in advance for a true technical ruling on EACH of these so I can move on or keep waiting in the hopes that it's just a matter of prioritization for these features.  

 

 

Late starter to the party but did the Midi and Looper question above ever get addressed or resolved?

 

I'm keen for the helix and/or looper to control time of a drum machine and if possible start and stop too.

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