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MolchMon

Anyone Else Underwhelmed?

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Anything that sounds tinny or harsh is the result of an incorrect setting or switch. When set up right there is nothing even remotely tinny or harsh and therefore there shouldn't be any crazy tweaking and additional effects set up to get rid of the unfavorable sound in the first place. It's cabling or a global output setting or something not set correctly (sorry, don't know what specifically though). I've ran it straight to a PA using 1/4" out and straight to an L2T using the Link and it's amazing. I do have nice tube amps and nice pedals, so I have something to compare it to, although I have not ran the Helix into any form of amp.

 

Same with the HD500, never had a problem with tones. In fact, a guy on Craigslist here had an ad to help him get tones out of his HD500, I answered and he came over and we dialed it up exactly like my settings and Viola, instant happiness. Of course we have patches we can swap, but it seems the problems might be settings "outside" of patches.

 

Just my two cents. This thing is killer and it's too bad that people think about sending them back when it's most likely a user error in the way it's set up.

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This thing is killer and it's too bad that people think about sending them back when it's most likely a user error in the way it's set up.

Blasphemer!!!!! ;)

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After 3 hours with the Helix I was a bit underwhelmed too, a week in and I'm blown away by it.  As a regular gigging guitarist I can see this replacing everything I've got and pretty much stop me from buying anthing ever again (OK maybe not;))

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I totally sympathize with the OP. I had a similar reaction to the OP with Helix coming from a tube rig. Nothing sounded "right" or "good" to me and I quickly got the sick buyer's remorse feeling that all of us dread. I was judging Helix with Sennheiser HD280 headphones and a pair of M-Audio BX-5's and comparing to my Mesa head and 212.

In hindsight and lessons learned, the advice and options I would give someone new to Helix and current gen modellers and coming from a traditional guitar rig is...

Home use:
1) Record your old rig mic'd they way you like it if you can to give you a baseline, or listen to old recordings of your rig that you like, to get your ear used to its studio sound and understand what it took to get it there (amps, cabs/mics/positions, effects, drives, eq, compression, etc.). This is the sound Helix is going to deliver when adjusted to your liking with similar blocks and settings. Of course, Helix can deliver much more than this...but you may not be ready for that yet.
2) Find cabs and/or IR's that are close to your old rig (or make your own from your old rig) to lower the initial sound/feel shock, then start expanding.  Use dual cabs/IR's even of the same cab with different mics to give you more of the physical cab's actual range and fullness.  Lower the high cut on the cabs/IR's to 5-10kHz if needed.
3) Get good studio monitors or FRFR, headphones are okay but you don't get the same room feel. I didn't grin ear-to-ear until I got out of the headphones.


Live use:
1) Use Helix amp models (no cabs and not just the preamps) into your existing amp's effect return if you don't have FRFR, and use the tube amp Presence knob to tame it. 4CM with your amp's preamp in still play gives you more options, but may not be necessary in your initial exploration of Helix.
2) Get a true guitar FRFR rig or PA speakers with 10" or 12" speakers and a 1" horn (15" are too boomy), it doesn't even have to be super expensive to get you inspired and productive. Even Helix through a bass rig with 10" or 12" speakers and a horn is usable with the right Global EQ and High/Low cut adjustments.
3) Use the Global EQ to flatten out and high/low cut your rig if needed.

Unfortunately, Helix was not plug and play for me. It was one of those "you don't know what you don't know" experiences about sound and studio engineering for me. Guys with recording and DAW experience seem to do better with it to me in general. I was mostly a live player and others had always setup the live and recording hookup and settings. Luckily, I think I've come out of it better than I went into it and feel it was worth it. I have certainly learned a lot.

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I also sympathize with the OP, I didn't find hardly any preset usable "out of the box." But I have yet to experience the harshness and tinnyness people mention with the Helix or HD500. I did have that experience with a Boss GT-8, but managed to eek out some decent patches using the 4CM with that though. If every single patch sounds bad, then it's a connection or setting that is bad, not the unit.

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You're overblowing my statements into "ridiculous demands", that doesn't exactly help create a constructive discussion. I stated exactly what would satisfy me: about half the latency would be acceptable. Still not super awesome but fine considering the other advantages that Helix brings over the alternatives.

I sent my Helix back (I wasn't kidding, it was unworkable :( ) so I can't test the snapshots at the moment. That said: I use 3, maybe 4 different sounds in many songs, so keeping that within one preset feels very limited (since DSP runs out quick when you want to use multiple amps). I don't think snapshots would fix my problem because it still assumes that everything can be built in a preset and doesn't expand the available DSP (obviously).

t

 

Yeah I guess I exaggerated a little bit I was just funning around with you on that though but if you do happen to get a chance to mess with one you can get 4 Amps in one preset but you don't have much DSP left for much else so if you went with two really good amps and then change the settings on them you could have a pretty good selection for wide range of tones.

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Anything that sounds tinny or harsh is the result of an incorrect setting or switch. When set up right there is nothing even remotely tinny or harsh and therefore there shouldn't be any crazy tweaking and additional effects set up to get rid of the unfavorable sound in the first place. It's cabling or a global output setting or something not set correctly (sorry, don't know what specifically though). I've ran it straight to a PA using 1/4" out and straight to an L2T using the Link and it's amazing. I do have nice tube amps and nice pedals, so I have something to compare it to, although I have not ran the Helix into any form of amp.

 

Same with the HD500, never had a problem with tones. In fact, a guy on Craigslist here had an ad to help him get tones out of his HD500, I answered and he came over and we dialed it up exactly like my settings and Viola, instant happiness. Of course we have patches we can swap, but it seems the problems might be settings "outside" of patches.

 

Just my two cents. This thing is killer and it's too bad that people think about sending them back when it's most likely a user error in the way it's set up.

 

I'm absolutely with you on this.

 

I find it unimaginable that some people seem to struggle so hard to get a patch that's useable.  I'll admit I had to do some significant adjustments sometimes with the HD500X to get a useable basic tone, but that completely changed from moment one with the Helix.

 

In fact, what I found on the Helix is that most of the default settings on the various amps, cabinets and effects are pretty darn close to what I typically need (which was not the case with the HD500X).  The globals were pretty much on target as well.  I think the only thing I tweaked at all were sometimes the high pass and low pass filters, but typically I could often address some of those things with a change in the cabinet or a change in the mic.

 

The only thing that seems to jump out at me as a reason some people have problems is

 

1) No clear idea of how they're going to output the signal (FRFR speaker, 4CM with an amp, direct to PA, etc.)  Therefore without a stable output mechanism, they're adjusting two things at once.

 

2) They start adjusting too much stuff rather than start very simply and work up from there.  In effect, working in too much complexity all at once and not knowing what thing is affecting some other thing in the signal chain.

 

With a good, stable, and predictable output mechanism I can select an appropriate amp/cab combo and with minor tweaking of simple EQ, drive and maybe mic/cab adjustments I'm typically 80% there for what I want from a patch.  That's why it's so hard to understand why someone is struggling so much.

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Anything that sounds tinny or harsh is the result of an incorrect setting or switch. When set up right there is nothing even remotely tinny or harsh and therefore there shouldn't be any crazy tweaking and additional effects set up to get rid of the unfavorable sound in the first place. It's cabling or a global output setting or something not set correctly (sorry, don't know what specifically though). I've ran it straight to a PA using 1/4" out and straight to an L2T using the Link and it's amazing. I do have nice tube amps and nice pedals, so I have something to compare it to, although I have not ran the Helix into any form of amp.

 

....

Just my two cents. This thing is killer and it's too bad that people think about sending them back when it's most likely a user error in the way it's set up.

 

This is probably true with many pieces of equipment but not every system sounds great "out of the box" without some EQ adjustment on the Helix, even when you get the settings, cabling and output levels right. It is definitely the right place to start though and for many people may be all they need to do.

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Gotta use a twin reverb to get that Jerry tone for Shakedown. That was always the foundation of his sound... vintage twin reverb and jbl speakers... i am just thrilled there are other dead enthusiasts on these boards. The fact that we have a mutron model is one of the selling points for me with the helix. My two biggest influences, Jerry and Jj Cale.

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Gotta use a twin reverb to get that Jerry tone for Shakedown. That was always the foundation of his sound... vintage twin reverb and jbl speakers... i am just thrilled there are other dead enthusiasts on these boards. The fact that we have a mutron model is one of the selling points for me with the helix. My two biggest influences, Jerry and Jj Cale.

I got a pretty good Shakedown preset using the Deluxe but I will switch it up as you suggest. Funny you mention. JJ Cale, was listening to him yesterday on my commute home and thinking we need to add After Midnight to our list for an upcoming gig.

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To the OP.  If you would like to exchange your Helix for POD 500X I'd be more than happy to do so.  I'll throw in a couple of bucks.

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LOL jpjr50 I'll match your offer and throw in a set of slightly used strings!  :lol:

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Gotta use a twin reverb to get that Jerry tone for Shakedown. That was always the foundation of his sound... vintage twin reverb and jbl speakers... i am just thrilled there are other dead enthusiasts on these boards. The fact that we have a mutron model is one of the selling points for me with the helix. My two biggest influences, Jerry and Jj Cale.

 

Nothing sounds as good to me for envelope filter/touch wah as the original Mutron III.  I was super psyched to see it on the Helix. Oh, and R.I.P. Jerry!

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I know..  And I must say, I think they did a pretty dang good job.  I've never owned a Mutron to compare to, but I am pretty pleased with the results I am getting via helix.

 

For what it is worth to the OP, I sat on the fence regarding this unit myself for a good few weeks after I bought it.  It is not perfect, though it is better than any other modeler I have played, and I have played a lot (never played into Kempler or Fractal products though).  I just was not sure if it was $1,000 bucks better.

 

Well, a few days back I did a side by side comparison with my old zoom g5, and the helix blew it out of the water.  It wasn't even a fair comparison.  The zoom was like a toy or something.  I sat there wondering how I was ever satisfied with the tone I used to get out of it, and then I realized I was really only using compression, delay, verb and tube screamer.  Still, no comparison.

 

So, that decided me.  Plus, I am happy with the fact that Line 6 seems to be steadily improving the product, which means it will probably get much better.  There are a few things I would desperately like to see them improve which I have mentioned in other posts, but even without those, what we have here is a pro piece of gear.  I am happy with my purchase.

 

I have my first gig tonight with it.  Looking forward to a live experience!

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I find the amp models, most- but not all, are almost decent by themselves. But anything requiring overdrive or distortion is awful. Also the effects offering is rather limited for the price tag and difficult to understand the terms used to describe parameters.

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I find the amp models, most- but not all, are almost decent by themselves. But anything requiring overdrive or distortion is awful. Also the effects offering is rather limited for the price tag and difficult to understand the terms used to describe parameters.

 

I would venture to guess that you're not setting up something correctly if you think the overdrive or distortion sounds are awful... There are literally hundreds of examples of great distorted tones from the Helix out there.

 

In what way do you think the effects selection is limited?

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I think if you are listening to the presets, you will be Un-Impressed.    I was....

 

But when you start making your own patches and messing with IRs  (check the Allure Pack) you will be blown away.

 

I purchased some patches from a guy named Glenn Dulane.  Those are awesome...  His 1959SLP alone is worth the price of the Helix.

 

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far from underwhelmed... sometimes i get option paralysis.... overwhelmed with too many choices and options... 

just a flip side of the coin. 

I can easily get something useful out of everything available, but would be easier if it just showed  my favorites. :)

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I would venture to guess that you're not setting up something correctly if you think the overdrive or distortion sounds are awful... There are literally hundreds of examples of great distorted tones from the Helix out there.

 

In what way do you think the effects selection is limited

 

 

That's the million dollar question. In my Area , everyone has the same experience. To even get a good sound at all we have to use send return into the power amp of a combo amp. Going into the front end is awful. If there are settings required to that extent, Line 6 hasn' made any effort to offer up suggestions. Ive heard those demos and most of them are high gain. even on high gain settings the result is harsh painful od/distorton sounds. I would like very much to be directed to the secret. after a full week- still no luck. 

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That's the million dollar question. In my Area , everyone has the same experience. To even get a good sound at all we have to use send return into the power amp of a combo amp. Going into the front end is awful. If there are settings required to that extent, Line 6 hasn' made any effort to offer up suggestions. Ive heard those demos and most of them are high gain. even on high gain settings the result is harsh painful od/distorton sounds. I would like very much to be directed to the secret. after a full week- still no luck. 

 

When you say "going into the front end is awful", if you mean plugging into the guitar input jack on an amp, yes, that will most likely sound awful if you leave the Helix's amp/cab modeling on. If you use the Helix for effects only in that scenario, it works very well.

 

Really, if you want to use the amp and cab modeling, you need a decent FRFR speaker. Ideally, you want something that doesn't color the tone much and something with a lot of clean headroom.

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You may want to be more specific than awful, harsh, painful, etc... Also, what guitars you are using, your amplification, what type of tones you are trying to achieve, etc...

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That's the million dollar question. In my Area , everyone has the same experience. To even get a good sound at all we have to use send return into the power amp of a combo amp. Going into the front end is awful. If there are settings required to that extent, Line 6 hasn' made any effort to offer up suggestions. Ive heard those demos and most of them are high gain. even on high gain settings the result is harsh painful od/distorton sounds. I would like very much to be directed to the secret. after a full week- still no luck. 

 

What, exactly, are you running your Helix into?

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When you say "going into the front end is awful", if you mean plugging into the guitar input jack on an amp, yes, that will most likely sound awful if you leave the Helix's amp/cab modeling on. If you use the Helix for effects only in that scenario, it works very well.

 

Really, if you want to use the amp and cab modeling, you need a decent FRFR speaker. Ideally, you want something that doesn't color the tone much and something with a lot of clean headroom.

I will try it with the effects only and see how that fairs out. But that sort of defeats the purpose for the helix. I have had slight success turning the speaker sims off. but , like i said, turnning up gain or adding od/dist doesnt pan out. But I will try the effects only. I will see about renting an FRFR to see if this works . If it does, great.

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I will try it with the effects only and see how that fairs out. But that sort of defeats the purpose for the helix. I have had slight success turning the speaker sims off. but , like i said, turnning up gain or adding od/dist doesnt pan out. But I will try the effects only. I will see about renting an FRFR to see if this works . If it does, great.

 

Can you just describe - in detail, stage by stage - exactly how you are set up. Starting with the main guitar you use, (pickups) and going all the way through to the speaker(s) you are playing through.

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If you're trying to plug Helix into the front of an amp and change the sound of that amp so it sounds more like a model in Helix... that will disappoint nearly every time.

If you are using Helix as FX only into the front end of an amp it might be fun, but even then, I think it's way overkill and there are better choices.

4 cable method or FRFR are a different story.

And, also, it's not the best choice for everyone!

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Can you just describe - in detail, stage by stage - exactly how you are set up. Starting with the main guitar you use, (pickups) and going all the way through to the speaker(s) you are playing through.

Used both Les Paul Classic and Fender Stratocaster Professional . Guitar inot helix, Send output to the power amp in on the Hot Rod Deluxe. Guitar Pad on and off. Send set to instrument. Have to use amp only most of the time or the sound is worse.

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Helix can be used in different ways:

 

1. Directly into the front of an amp, effects only no amp or cab models. 

2. 4 cable method with an amp that has an effects loop. You can use the guitar preamp or bypass and use Helix PREAMP models to the guitar power amp. 

3. Helix to FRFR. This is using models for the entire signal chain (effect, amp, and cabinet models). 

 

If you are trying to use the 4 cable method and use the full amp models and/or cabinet models, then it may sound like poop. You are sending a guitar amp model into a cab model into a real guitar amp into a real cabinet. 

 

Your signal chain should always be guitar>effects>preamp>effects>amp>cabinet, no matter if any of those are real or modeled. You are duplicating the amp and cabinet by using both modeled and real amp and cab at the same time. 

 

Keep in mind that there are no power amp models in Helix. Here are preamp models (which you should use with 4CM) and full amp models. 

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Used both Les Paul Classic and Fender Stratocaster Professional . Guitar inot helix, Send output to the power amp in on the Hot Rod Deluxe. Guitar Pad on and off. Send set to instrument. Have to use amp only most of the time or the sound is worse.

 

For the setup you described here, definitely use the preamp models instead of the amp models, as described in jbuhajla's post above.

And if you're just trying to get a feel for how all modeled amps and cabs sound with Helix, you don't necessarily need to rent an FRFR. A good set of studio headphones should at least give you a good impression of what you'd be hearing through an FRFR. 

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Used both Les Paul Classic and Fender Stratocaster Professional . Guitar inot helix, Send output to the power amp in on the Hot Rod Deluxe. Guitar Pad on and off. Send set to instrument. Have to use amp only most of the time or the sound is worse.

 

I wonder if your Helix output is a bit too hot. Assuming that you are running the Helix 1/4" LEFT/MONO output into the Power Amp In on the HR Deluxe... what is the Volume on the Helix set to? And what is the Ch Vol on the Helix amp block in your patch set to?

 

If either or both are high, turn them down and see if this helps clear up the nasty harshness.

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For the setup you described here, definitely use the preamp models instead of the amp models, as described in jbuhajla's post above.

 

 

It does depend a bit on how hard ddmilne is pushing the power stage on his HR Deluxe. If not much, he might want to use the full amp model on Helix to get *its* power stage distortion into his tone. Or he might still find he's sounding a bit thin and scratchy.

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It does depend a bit on how hard ddmilne is pushing the power stage on his HR Deluxe. If not much, he might want to use the full amp model on Helix to get *its* power stage distortion into his tone. Or he might still find he's sounding a bit thin and scratchy.

True, it is a relatively clean amp, all things considered, so there could be some use for the full amp models if leveled appropriately. So the better advise would be to either (1) use the preamp models, (2) lower the Helix output to the HR Delux input or return, or (3) lower the HR Delux gain, or any combination thereof, until it sounds best to the user. 

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Molch!! I was unimpressed with the unit myself, to the point of returning it; however, I tried it one more time just from the bigening and the results were oustanding. All I did was to cancel the cabinet modeling block to sound through my MARSHALL JVM410HJS and JC120 stereo and the result was amaizing!!! I’m keeping it man!! No need to use BS cabinet modekoing if you have the cream of the crop... trie it... it will work wonders for you

!I I’m a KEEPER!!

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Remember, plugging your Helix into the front end of a guitar amp, only using the amp sim preamps, would be like taking one guitar amp and plugging its FX send into the front end of another amp. It doesn't surprise me at all that you wouldn't get good results from that. AND, as was stated before, using the 4 cable method means you should only use the amp sim preamp. Otherwise you're doubling up on the power amp.

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[...] All I did was to cancel the cabinet modeling block to sound through my MARSHALL JVM410HJS and JC120 stereo and the result was amaizing!!! [...]

200w.gif

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AND, as was stated before, using the 4 cable method means you should only use the amp sim preamp. Otherwise you're doubling up on the power amp.

I don’t think that doubling up on the power amps is necessarily a bad thing. Real tube amps have to get fairly loud to get to the power tubes’ sweet spot. Using the Helix’s power tube emulation can mitigate this and you can have that feel at any volume. That’s a plus, I’d say.

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I don’t think that doubling up on the power amps is necessarily a bad thing. Real tube amps have to get fairly loud to get to the power tubes’ sweet spot. Using the Helix’s power tube emulation can mitigate this and you can have that feel at any volume. That’s a plus, I’d say.

I wasn't so much saying it was a bad thing although I can see how you'd think that. I'm definitely from the if it works for you, use it school. I was just trying to show a perspective that I didn't get first. Hey, if plugging your amp into a Variac and lowering the voltage works, who am I to say anything.

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Just curious, since I saw quite a few (about fifty) glowing five star reviews about the joys and wonders of Helix on Sweetwater's website, is anyone else here as unimpressed and underwhelmed with the Helix as I am? If this unit were half as much $ as it is, I'd be inclined to tweak a little further and suffer through the seemingly never ending list of mediocre sounding amps, cabs, etc. But for the price, it seems to be quite the toil and not even slightly worth the enormous effort one must put forth for zero pay off.

Am I alone on this?

 

 

Yes, you seem to be alone ..... And should probably devote more time to simplifying your patches and exploring the Helix in depth.

 

 

I own the helix rack, native and helix floor, and it is because of the build quality, functionality and features that I committed to all three units live and in the studio. I don't have any plans to purchase the floor controller for the rack, because I use midi extensively in the studio (Sorry Line6).

 

Every time someone asks me how I get my sound, I simply point to my helix floor (If I'm live) and because the presets can be shared across platforms, that sound is consistent no matter what situation I'm playing in.

 

Helix floor\Rack\Native is the way to go for me and I am impressed.

 

I should also add that I have a $1700 pedal board with top of the line pedals, that is now collecting dust because of Helix. ;) But I'm not disappointed in the least,

 

Regards

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Yes, you seem to be alone ..... And should probably devote more time to simplifying your patches and exploring the Helix in depth.

 

 

I own the helix rack, native and helix floor, and it is because of the build quality, functionality and features that I committed to all three units live and in the studio. I don't have any plans to purchase the floor controller for the rack, because I use midi extensively in the studio (Sorry Line6).

 

Every time someone asks me how I get my sound, I simply point to my helix floor (If I'm live) and because the presets can be shared across platforms, that sound is consistent no matter what situation I'm playing in.

 

Helix floor\Rack\Native is the way to go for me and I am impressed.

 

I should also add that I have a $1700 pedal board with top of the line pedals, that is now collecting dust because of Helix. ;) But I'm not disappointed in the least,

 

Regards

 

Dumb question: why the floor for live use and not the rack?

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Dumb question: why the floor for live use and not the rack?

 

Mainly because I don't have the floor controller for the rack, and don't have any plans to purchase. And because I have the Helix floor which is sturdier and easier to setup quick.

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Mainly because I don't have the floor controller for the rack, and don't have any plans to purchase. And because I have the Helix floor which is sturdier and easier to setup quick.

You don't worry about damage down front of stage? I knew a guy that bought the Fractal floor thingy and the first night he used it a drunk chick spilled beer on it. I bought the rack specifically for live use, partially for that reason and partly so I could use a good rackmount power conditioner and also not have a long audio cable from my wireless receiver.

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