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henryjmillsiii

Using Helix as a stomp box unit

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      I am a guitar player in a cover band and play gigs around town. I am thoroughly impressed with the sounds you can get out of this box. I am a plug and play kind of guy. What I want to know is how to set up helix as a stomp box. What I see about this unit is that it can get sounds but in getting those sounds it is overly complicated and takes time like their HD-500. If you are on a gig you dont have time to tweak all of the knobs and go into deep dive. I would like to generate some discussion on this because I am still on the fence about Helix.

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Hi Henry, I also am in a covers band - and this thing gives me so much more than any rig I had before.  And way more compliments from musos. Firstly, don't think of it as a stomp box.  It can be -  but there are much cheaper options for that.  It's every amp you ever needed to play any song in your band's set list.  And its every speaker box and every mic - and you can change the lot for every song if you like.  You don't plug it into your amp (not if you want the wide range of possibilities). You go direct from the Helix to FOH. A FRFR (full range flat response) self powered cab replaces your amp and can sound like almost anything.  So if you are crazy enough to want a different rig for your verse and chorus and something totally different again for your solo - you can do it.

Now most sane people don't - they set up 4-6 great amp and cab patches and each setup has a nice selection of pedals (your choice).  They might have a few variations on that for specific songs. With that you can do say fender clean funk, Vox chime and Marshall grunt plus a mesa boogie and say a Dr Z.  And each rig has its own virtual pedal board. And once you have got them adjusted just right, they will sound totally convincing.  Feeding that direct to FOH  - in Stereo - you get better sound through the PA than you probably ever had before. Predictably - every night.

Yes, it will take you a few weeks before you are feeling in control - you got to learn the thing - but if you have used a few different amps and a pedal board, it works exactly the same - you just suddenly got a ton more choice.  You plug you guitar in, you connect say a compressor, an overdrive, a stereo chorus an amp, some cabs, a mic, a delay (think like you are in the studio - you can put the delay after the amp and get great delay sounds) and you are done.  It's a produced sound.

If you don't want to think through all that  - definitely don't buy a Helix.

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I am a guitar player in a cover band and play gigs around town. I am thoroughly impressed with the sounds you can get out of this box. I am a plug and play kind of guy. What I want to know is how to set up helix as a stomp box. What I see about this unit is that it can get sounds but in getting those sounds it is overly complicated and takes time like their HD-500. If you are on a gig you dont have time to tweak all of the knobs and go into deep dive. I would like to generate some discussion on this because I am still on the fence about Helix.

Buying Helix just for FX is ignoring 90% of what the unit can do. If that's allyou need, you can spend FAR less money, and be perfectly happy.

 

Also, if "plug and play" is really what you're after, then this box probably isn't for you. You're right when you say that a gig is not the place to experiment, with this or any other piece of gear. You gotta put the time in to create your tones first, and you can expect that to take a while...there are no shortcuts, believe me. The plus side is, you really only have to do it once. After everything is dialed in, only minor tweaking with the global EQ should be necessary from one venue to the next.

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Hi Henry, I also am in a covers band - and this thing gives me so much more than any rig I had before.  And way more compliments from musos. Firstly, don't think of it as a stomp box.  It can be -  but there are much cheaper options for that.  It's every amp you ever needed to play any song in your band's set list.  And its every speaker box and every mic - and you can change the lot for every song if you like.  You don't plug it into your amp (not if you want the wide range of possibilities). You go direct from the Helix to FOH. A FRFR (full range flat response) self powered cab replaces your amp and can sound like almost anything.  So if you are crazy enough to want a different rig for your verse and chorus and something totally different again for your solo - you can do it.

Now most sane people don't - they set up 4-6 great amp and cab patches and each setup has a nice selection of pedals (your choice).  They might have a few variations on that for specific songs. With that you can do say fender clean funk, Vox chime and Marshall grunt plus a mesa boogie and say a Dr Z.  And each rig has its own virtual pedal board. And once you have got them adjusted just right, they will sound totally convincing.  Feeding that direct to FOH  - in Stereo - you get better sound through the PA than you probably ever had before. Predictably - every night.

Yes, it will take you a few weeks before you are feeling in control - you got to learn the thing - but if you have used a few different amps and a pedal board, it works exactly the same - you just suddenly got a ton more choice.  You plug you guitar in, you connect say a compressor, an overdrive, a stereo chorus an amp, some cabs, a mic, a delay (think like you are in the studio - you can put the delay after the amp and get great delay sounds) and you are done.  It's a produced sound.

If you don't want to think through all that  - definitely don't buy a Helix.

 

ditto. Get the Helix. It is the best on the market right now.

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I own the Helix, I use it 100% as a stomp box, and I have to say that it works extremely well in this application.  I am predominately a clean player, rock, funk, jam bandy psychedelic vein, and I played professionally for years before I even thought to add an effect to my rig.  I lack some personality trait that would make maintaining a full pedal board appealing, and have instead opted for all in one effect units.  I owned the Zoom G5 before this, though I have tried digitech, boss, Line 6 and TC Electronic options. Really, all I am after is a decent delay, and expanded reverb, maybe a phaser here and there, and decent lead sustain, all without messing up my essential fender tone.  The Helix has opened my eyes to much more.  Going back to the G5 after a week or so on the helix was a night and day experience.  My old tones just sounded plastic and fabricated, not near as much juice and fidelity.  I even use the helix in my acoustic act, and pipe my vocals into it for compression and very subtle harmony.  It has seriously improved my sound that way as well...

 

As stated, I use Helix as a stomp box.  You can configure it to have 10 stomps, or 9 stomps and a looper if that is your bag.  In addition, you can add 8 snapshots to the exact same patch, which are a footswitch away, and allow you to turn multiple pedals on/off with a single click, plus edit whatever settings within those pedals that you like... all with a single footswitch.  The effects themselves are great.  I'm not an Amp model guy.  I run into a 68' Twin which is warm and pristine.  The Twin amp model in the Helix does not even come close...  Sorry Line 6...  I think you guys are doing great, cutting edge stuff with digital modeling, but I have yet to hear a modeled amp that truly mimics a classic Fender Tube amp, although I am definitely looking forward to the day I do.  (edit:  This likely has everything to do with the fact that post Helix, you are still sending your signal to some sort of amplifier or another, and this is a variable that just cannot be accounted for.  My Twin IS my amplifier, and it is set up with top notch classic components that make it amplify a signal like a 60's Fender Twin.  I don't think it will ever be possible to recreate this tone, running into a tone modeling unit, and from there to the FOH for amplification.  Maybe someone else knows something I don't on the subject.  I am just following logic, and what I hear with my ears.)

 

Now, if you don't use the amp modeling in the helix, you save yourself a hell of a lot of processing power.  In fact, as a result, I wind up typically with more stomps in my patch, than I have footswitches for, so I have to get creative with snapshots to accommodate.  I will just tell you that the Helix is absolutely a very viable stomp box solution.  Others might argue that you are wasting your money only employing it in this way, but the simplicity of editing, the fact that any footswitch can be any effect, or even multiple effects if you like, makes for an addictive experience.  I feel like I could do a lot more with it if I were to invest more time into tweaking with it, but it did not take me very long to develop a single Patch that I use 100% of the time with my electric guitar, and another separate patch for my various acoustic instruments.  They sound great!  I got mine for $1275 with a 15% off guitar center coupon.  They send me these things from time to time, and the timing was killer.  It's a lot of money to throw down for sure, but I have not regretted it.  Hope this helps...

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Buying Helix just for FX is ignoring 90% of what the unit can do. If that's allyou need, you can spend FAR less money, and be perfectly happy.

 

Maybe. I don't use the Helix's amps or cabs, but I do use the effects. I wouldn't have bothered, but the scribble strips put this thing into a category that's super duper unique. 

 

I've been wanting to use the preamps, but haven't had much luck getting them to match my actual amps(Tremoverb, AC15, Twin).

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Interesting - I used to use 2 x AC15s in stereo.  I use the AC15 (Essex A-15) with an IR - (2x blue back celestions with a SM57).  I get a very nice approximation - its not perfect, because it actually covers more territory as I have it in the Helix, so I'm getting a very AC15 sound but a tad more flexible.  I'm actually using 2 the other has green backs for a bit more total complexity.  Love it - its everything the voxes used to be and more (great stereo delay to begin with)

So the question has to be how you are doing it and what you are hoping to achieve.

Firstly, you have to be using an FRFR speaker system for the approach I'm using.  (if you run it into say a vox speaker box you wouldn't use an IR - but then you would have to mic the box with a 57!)  I also have really drastic EQ (global EQ) on the whole thing to keep all the sound in the territory of a celestion speaker - I drop everything below 100Hz drastically and at about 5.7KHz I do the same.  This type of curve is good practice for any FRFR box and feeding to the FOH because that's the type of frequency you expect from a guitar amp.  When set like that. I find I get a very similar response to the voxes including response to the volume knob.

But it is a produced sound - its the sound I want because its a Vox miced with a 57 and well EQ'd - not maybe as cut your head off as standing directly in line with the speaker - but the sound of sitting in the control room listening to the recorded sound.

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What I want to know is how to set up helix as a stomp box.

 

Im thinking that maybe he wanted info on how to set up Helix aux's with his gear?

 

If you have a send return on your amp its easy. Send #1 from Helix to the "return" on your amp. Send from your amp to Return #1 on Helix.

Then just set up the slots in what order you want (send1-slots-return1) within Helix (using the editor or manually), and in the control panel be sure to set up the Send/Return levels (instrument or Line lvl). 

 

Its a lot easier than it sounds or reads once you get "hands on" .

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On 9/30/2016 at 4:52 PM, cruisinon2 said:

Buying Helix just for FX is ignoring 90% of what the unit can do. If that's allyou need, you can spend FAR less money, and be perfectly happy.

This is a big NO in my case. 

I sing (with vocal FX) and play a CGB that produces bass (via SubNÚp octaver) and guitar into 2 amps (bass amp and guitar amp). Before the helix i needed an A/B to split the signal, separate pedal chains for bass sound and CGB plus a vocal FX unit (Voicelive 3). The tiptoing was pretty complicated... 

With the helix i have 3 differenciated signals:

- guitar in - CGB with compressor, fuzz, chorus, delays, whatever - guitar amp out

- guitar in - compressor, loop FX to SubNÚp for octaver (polyphonic) - bass FX (distorsion, etc) - bass amp out 

- vocal mic - loop fx to harmony pedal , vocal fx, delays, occasional pitch, chorus... (the mic pre in Helix is veerrrry good IMHO)

Now i can change all 3 at once with a snapshot. I don´t know how you can be this happy for less money....That´s just for starters, add the less-cabling issues, the audio interface, the fact you have amp sims if you want them... For singer/guitarists that like to experiment with sound it´s a great and managable workflow. 

You´d be right if talking about just using some guitar pedals, in that case an HX effects would be better, but the multiple inputs/outputs and flexible routing is worth every penny.

Just my 2 cents... 

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23 minutes ago, tahiche said:

This is a big NO in my case. 

I sing (with vocal FX) and play a CGB that produces bass (via SubNÚp octaver) and guitar into 2 amps (bass amp and guitar amp). Before the helix i needed an A/B to split the signal, separate pedal chains for bass sound and CGB plus a vocal FX unit (Voicelive 3). The tiptoing was pretty complicated... 

With the helix i have 3 differenciated signals:

- guitar in - CGB with compressor, fuzz, chorus, delays, whatever - guitar amp out

- guitar in - compressor, loop FX to SubNÚp for octaver (polyphonic) - bass FX (distorsion, etc) - bass amp out 

- vocal mic - loop fx to harmony pedal , vocal fx, delays, occasional pitch, chorus... (the mic pre in Helix is veerrrry good IMHO)

Now i can change all 3 at once with a snapshot. I don´t know how you can be this happy for less money....That´s just for starters, add the less-cabling issues, the audio interface, the fact you have amp sims if you want them... For singer/guitarists that like to experiment with sound it´s a great and managable workflow. 

You´d be right if talking about just using some guitar pedals, in that case an HX effects would be better, but the multiple inputs/outputs and flexible routing is worth every penny.

Just my 2 cents... 

 

That's all well and good, but it's a night and day scenario compared to the question that the OP asked... if you're a guitar player who only needs of a handful of FX and isn't interested in amp modeling, then Helix is silly overkill...

Plus, this thread is nearly 3 years old...HX FX didn't exist yet. They released that unit specifically for the OP's needs. Had the HX been released at the time, I'd have told him to get that instead for less than half the cost.

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