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Things I worry about


regalpierot
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Because what's life without some first world anxieties, so rant of sorts in C minor

 

I mean I love the Helix, it represents a lot I had wished for in a single unit and made me sell off a massive maze of pedals on a board, but there's some things that I would be lying if I said I didn't miss about individual stomps and don't sit easy with me, and I guess a good few of these would apply to any single high end solution

 

- The Helix is essentially a computer with fit for purpose tactile controls, inputs\outputs and a display. Computers have shelf lives that are just a lot frailer than a stomp box. I have had 25 year old boss pedals that have never given me a days problem, I'd be shocked if any computer properly works, or works to any acceptable performance level, in half that time.

 

- With that computer in mind, I'm still ever so nervous with the Helix at gigs. While the majority of my freezing issues have been the known problem when the Editor is connected, I've had one or two 'force reboots' when just using the thing unconnected to a computer. When a pedal goes south, typically true bypass will mean the only thing I'm without is that effect till I resolve the issue, not so obviously now that I've centralized all my eggs into a single basket

 

- I kinda get nervous when I see people complain about the following

     - Scribble strips developing a line of pixels

     - Foot switches becoming non responsive

As I type this my macbook has a few dead pixels, the display on the Helix is sure to get these at some stage. And computer based components, the more clever they are, the more prone they can be to error. Worried that after the 2 year warranty if any of the above issues show up it'll depress me.

 

Weird post I know, to have such an amazing tool as the Helix at our disposal is something not to be critical of. I guess I am just realizing that the one thing I never spent much time being concerned about in the stomp box world was inevitable wear and tear effecting the entire thing as a whole, and the general acceptance that I now have a bespoke computer as the heart of my performance and sound.

 

 

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The worst of those sort of concerns for me is worry that in some single digit number of years you probably won't be able to get parts or service. Of course Helix could be the exception, but that's how such things typically go.

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Fortunately, as computers go, Helix is a relatively simple one.  No need to worry about exotic video graphic drivers or high end sound cards.  Just fairly simple computational stuff for the most part.  The mechanical stuff...well that's always a risk.  But when it comes to digital equipment, it's always been FAR more reliable than analog stuff in my 40+ years of experience.  One wrong bump in the road and there goes a tube or a reverb.  Most digital stuff I've had seems to not be as affected by such things and have been workhorses.

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The longevity for the mechanical stuff is certainly a long-term concern. Good reason for using the editor. It would be interesting to know some details/results about the endurance testing done on the switches and buttons. Done either by Line 6 or the component manufacturers. But it's highly unlikely to find anything out about that. And for all the screens, I would assume the backlighting is done by LEDs? Probably no need to worry. Long-term, if something were to cause a catastrophic kaput, one of the first things might be a component with the power supply. Or possibly some flash memory?

 

But even a device like Helix could be considered disposable after a time.

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Fortunately, as computers go, Helix is a relatively simple one.  No need to worry about exotic video graphic drivers or high end sound cards.  Just fairly simple computational stuff for the most part.  The mechanical stuff...well that's always a risk.  But when it comes to digital equipment, it's always been FAR more reliable than analog stuff in my 40+ years of experience.  One wrong bump in the road and there goes a tube or a reverb.  Most digital stuff I've had seems to not be as affected by such things and have been workhorses.

 

 I agree with DD on this.   While I can't argue with the true-bypass aspect, I had a Lexicon MPX-1 that after 20 years just needed a new CMOS battery where all my Rockman gear from that time needed to be re-Cap'd as MOST pedals and analog devices of the 80's and early 90's as electrolytic caps from that time, unless they are kept in use, fail.  (wow that was a run-on sentence) In fact the inherit nature of capacitors and the way their discharge pattern changes over time means that likely whatever 20+ year old pedal you have, doesn't sound like it did back then.  It may still sound great...  but the same would be a rarity indeed.

 

Satellites in the hashness of space stay working just fine too.   Things like switches and scribble strips, jacks and knobs are easy repairs if needed, and on the whole, the most used and most common parts to find.   Hopefully the components of the Helix are common as well.  I needed to replace the IC's in the Rockman Headphone amp and can still get replacements because they were such a common IC there are still new ones available.

 

Anyway...  other than the true-bypass, I don't really see any advantage to pedals anymore unless it's just a sound that I need.  I even learned from the video I posted in another thread that with the Helix we can change parameters of a pedal while still standing up.  So that puts another plus in the Helix column.

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I have had 25 year old boss pedals that have never given me a days problem, I'd be shocked if any computer properly works,

 

...honestly, the first bricket that drove me crazy years ago was a b o s s pedal that seemed to have its own 'life': It was like playing the lottery at many gigs... Will it work? Should I tap on it? Will it fume again?

 

 

Weird post I know, to have such an amazing tool as the Helix at our disposal is something not to be critical of.

 

Well...

 

Helix is a tool. Simply use it  - and stomp it to death  :P  Feels better than worrying about - what?!

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There are two facets of this discussion - the physical and conceptual longevity of devices like Helix. 

 

From the physical perspective, I have an old Fender Showman amp I bought in'67. It has lots of problems although I've re-cap'd the power supply and replaced the tubes. Talk about obsolesce, its getting harder and harder to get good tubes at a reasonable price. Obsolesce happens, its not necessarily a bad thing. The good news is there's nothing in it I can't easily fix myself. I doubt that's the case with Helix.

 

From a conceptual perspective, I have a Les Paul I bought in '68 and still use it on gigs. I've modified it a few times, but its a vintage instrument that is impossible to describe in how it feels and sounds. I really doubt my 3 Variax guitars will ever have any vintage appeal. Perhaps the same with Helix, after all its modeling existing amplifiers, not designing that many new amplifiers.

 

But I'm ok with this. Helix is a great tool for what I need it to do. It makes rehearsals and gigging so much easier and flexible than the past. No it doesn't sound as good as an great tube amp and real guitar speakers. No a variax guitar isn't really all that close in playability or tone to the real thing. But its good enough for the gigs I do and very convenient and usable. 

 

It its absolute in 5-8 years, like all the other Line6 products I've bought, then I feel like I would have gotten my value out of it and be ready to try the new thing. That's a part of change I like.

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Yes, I fear Helix failure.

Things go wrong.  I'm not even interested in the analog V Digital conversation - but I am really interested in a fall back position for if my Helix fails.  I'm in Australia - I'm betting if it fails I'm going to be some time without it.  Short of having a spare Helix.................  Any cost effective fall back solutions - Sansamp fly rig?....Amplifi FX100.

Something that can plug into my FRFR system and quickly produce an acceptable sound??

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Everything eventually breaks...if you gig, you need a backup. End of story. Worrying about it is a waste of time though. My car might die on the way to work tomorrow, but I'm not gonna lay awake tonight wringing my hands over it.

 

Besides, with the pace that technology evolves, you're far more likely to lose interest in a unit in favor of the "next big thing", long before it craps out on you...just play the damn thing.

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Yes, I fear Helix failure.

Things go wrong.  I'm not even interested in the analog V Digital conversation - but I am really interested in a fall back position for if my Helix fails.  I'm in Australia - I'm betting if it fails I'm going to be some time without it.  Short of having a spare Helix.................  Any cost effective fall back solutions - Sansamp fly rig?....Amplifi FX100.

Something that can plug into my FRFR system and quickly produce an acceptable sound??

 

I have said this before... if failure really isn't an option, likely if I was gigging... I would have a second Helix.  It's that simple.  I might get a rack unit so it could "fly" with everything else in a fairly safe and secure manner.  I'd ensure I could select pre-sets with MIDI so I could use whatever MIDI midi pedal I could store cheaply and didn't care about. My FCB1010 comes to mind and it could serve as a backup for other midi controls if needed.  In fact, the rack-based Helix could be used by others if necessary if something like a reverb or delay goes south... it wouldn't have to be just "my" backup piece.

 

As I write this...  thinking about "backup"....  wow..   Think of the band situation...  just having a helix rack as backup...   a guitar amp dies... covered... an effect unit fails... covered...  recording interface fails, but you still have a laptop...  covered..   need an EQ somewhere, or a gate...    I mean it wouldn't be pretty, but failures on the fly rarely are.   When I think about the 10-space rack of gear and small carry case I bring to gigs when I run front of house...  "just in case"...  as long as I didn't need more than two pieces... most if not all of it is in the Helix...   Interesting.....  ANd.... frankly... ONE Helix is worth a lot less than all that outboard gear that will likely get damaged or just fie of old age before it actually gets used.   Again.. it's mostly for "just in case."  

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I get your anxiety and I too get the fever when I think one of my switches might be on the crap out. And yes indeed computers die bad deaths.

I also worry over the spinning knob wearing out contacts. To me its more of a pain to hook up the PC editor and I just do it when I want to do a backup or the other day I redid my 2.01 load and reset the Globals as computers need a complete reset once in a while.

 

That being said, I too made the mistake at least three times selling off my pedals for the latest greatest multi unit. And I regretted it every single time and ended up redoing my board and leaving the multi unit behind. I thought the Helix would be different and I kept several of my pedals and only wished I would have kept all of them. Like my Whammy V as I mistakenly  though the Helix would have that covered, not. I find several monophonic tracking copy mimics of pedals I would never use to begin with. The tuner is dreadful but I kept my Gold Korg Pitchblacks. Don't get me wrong, I love the Helix but not for the effects.

 

Let's face it there is NO Strymon level reverb or delay in there. And I appreciate the effort to HX component model pedals but really that is no Klon and that is no Timmy. The TS is pretty good but really I have not desired to have a TS OD in years. I see more and more wants and requests to load up the Helix with all the POD and M series crap yada effects which again makes me regret I went in this direction.

 

I try to forget the Helix really has effects except for a few I find workable but more and more copy mimics of crap fest pedals of old school tech I have no use. The notion of using the most advanced HX component modeling to match and duplicate some 3rd rate two decade out of tech pedal makes me wonder if the Engineers have any sense as clearly most guitarists do not. 

 

I would love to have a Helix version that just had expanded modeling and IR with all the routing and loops and no effects at all. Making this unit another POD version for those who want a self contained master unit just makes it obvious many do not know just how bad the POD and M stuff really is.

Just no way anything ever done will be better than having Strymon pedals, nice high end overdrives like PettyJohn and so on. I left Boss pedals behind years and years back so far gone I cannot recall the last time I used Boss. Just so many better lines, better circuits and so forth. Using some of the stuff in the Helix is like having that glitch-master Whammy I version or that crappy Boss octaver, why? This is the most advanced modeler at @$1500 I could have had an array of the best effects possible. Sure I went for the modeling but I am building back my board piece by piece as I do not imagine the effect level is ever going to come to par. 

As I redo many pedals I will just phase out the effects one by one. Makes we wonder if I sent the Atomic Amp back too soon as its effects were even worse and few of them. When I heard an annoying digital click tick on the delays it went back. Now I wish I would have just used it for the models, but the Helix does have vastly superior routing switching and loop ability. But that is where I am, I want a Strymon or a Nemesis Delays and reverbs. and the drives I have are light years better.

 

As long as this continual nostalgia exists to just use the most advanced modeling technology to perform like half century old tech. modeling will never reach its potential which is the future of the guitar. Old vintage is dinosaur it is on its way to extinction. in a few years with idiots ruining the planet there will be no wood to make guitars so other methods and materials must be developed and that was not in 1959. This is going on 2017 the future is not behind us. 

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Everything eventually breaks...if you gig, you need a backup. End of story. Worrying about it is a waste of time though. My car might die on the way to work tomorrow, but I'm not gonna lay awake tonight wringing my hands over it.

 

Besides, with the pace that technology evolves, you're far more likely to lose interest in a unit in favor of the "next big thing", long before it craps out on you...just play the damn thing.

 

Totally agree.

Otherwise go ahead, polish your Helix and lock it in a shrine.

Don't forget an alarm system and pray for its preservation! ;)

Besides: What can we do if there should ever happen a

power blackout?!

giphy.gif

 

You won't see the colored knobs anymore!

That's my personal nightmare... :(

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Like Spikey, my Line 6 Vetta is still working after 14 years as well and it's basically just a computer with speakers. I haven't even had to replace the battery. It's power amp blew once, but the guy at the shop had a spare handy and I got it back the next day. I haven't used it much in the past 2 years, but trust me, it has logged in countless hours in the trenches. Parts are going to be hard to impossible to replace now that they discontinued it a few years back, but then again, the technology has moved forward and it's not as amazing to me as is once was. The same will be true for the Helix down the road. Worrying about it now would be what my mother would've called "borrowing trouble." Why would you want to do that?!

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Just to be clear, I'm not losing sleep over it any more than I lose sleep over the fact that the Microwave might stop working tomorrow. I own lots of synths and samplers and invariably they start to get their functional quirks. I've also owned a few multi units in the past (TC G System, BOSS ME systems) without being too focused on when a footswitch or button would act up without warning. I guess I just think of the Helix as having some rather high end and relatively fragile components (that screen, those touch sensitive buttons,numerous scribble strip displays, multi color footswitch lights) and how I bought the thing before anyone really knows what the longevity of all those parts are, especially with the constant use it gets.

 

It'll happen some day, that control stick will be less responsive, I'll press a footwswitch and nothing will happen, it's inevitable. Just saying more than any gear I think I've owned this is something in the back of my mind the more I use the unit. Odd I know.

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This concerns me too. Thankfully Line 6 have been excellent at getting issues sorted every time I've read of a failure. To be honest though, with such an expensive unit i'd be much happier with a 5 year warranty like boss stuff. 

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If I paid $1400 for our microwave I might worry more about its possible demise. Buying a Helix wasn't easy for me, borderline irresponsible maybe even, I'd like not to have to do that again even slightly soon.

 

OTOH, my first-version CyberTwin is still doing fine, more than I can say for some of my all-analog gear. Doesn't get used much since Helix, but anyway...

 

And bottom line, unless you can predict that magical moment when there's a cooler replacement you can afford but before a Helix becomes worthless to sell (neat trick that), and before yours actually dies, the time to make a decision based on reasons like this is before you buy, and I'm in.

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Insurance! Insure it!

for assurance I'd find a glass screen protector that would fit it. Even a plastic one meanwhile for scratches.

 

I imagine in the Mad Max future the Helix will be kept alive with bits and pieces from other computers! LOL

 

As you said you have had gear for decades and still going well so it is not like your accident prone and things fall apart around you!

Car manufacturers are well aware of this and have to proof their cars against such.

 

Hopefully electronically HeliX is too!

 

Being a pedal board it might accidentally be treated like one but if it is considered and treated like a computer it should last.

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I still have the GSP 21 Legend I bought new over twenty years ago, and it's still fully functional-and that's after about four years of a very busy gigging schedule (over 150 gigs a year) back in the day.  I don't really worry about what will happen down the road with Helix.

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So no one looking for a cost effective backup just in case??

If you system dies 10 mins into a gig, you can't just say to the audience - oh well, it had to fail one day.  So you can all go home now - these things just happen....................  I think you say sorry small technical malfunction - and cover for a minute while you plug something else in and they barely notice!

Would anyone like to suggest a backup plan/unit?  

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This hasn't really been the what's-your-realistic-backup-strategy thread so far (there are other threads that are), more like a the-sky-might-fall-some-day-and-I-wouldn't-like-that one :) It's about worries, not practical solutions should your Helix die on a gig.

 

I don't think folks are going to suddenly come up with radically new backup rig ideas, they're the kinds of choices you know -- another modeler, an actual amp you like, with a companion pedal board or mfx if it doesn't have (enough) effects, that sort of thing. Depending on your priorities, resources, and use cases, size, weight, cost, and whether you already have one are big factors.

 

If you're well-healed enough to have one of the major Helix alternatives like a Fractal, or Kemper, not just for backup but to play, then it's obvious, especially if you play it a lot currently, and have it set up comfortably. If you already have an earlier-gen L6 pedal and liked it back then, that's another obvious choice. Some (at least somewhat) less expensive options that look maybe good to me but I haven't tried are the Amplifier, or even better Amplifire 12, one of the Tech 21 Fly Rig pedals, and the BluGuitar Amp1. I hear good things about the new Boss Katana amps, and Blackstar, Vox, Marshall, and others all have smallish modeling amps that could maybe cover the wide range of tones Helix does.

 

I'm not really gigging, so I don't need a real solution, but I have a Blackstar ID60 and a CyberTwin that theoretically could work. Thing is though, while I liked those amps at the time, I haven't played either one for a fair while now, and I'd really be on Mars without a Helix and my current patches.

 

So the least disruptive option, the one a pro would pick, is another Helix or two of course! Which for me just isn't going to happen. If I was going to spend anywhere near that much, which I'm not, I'd do a Fractal or or Amplifire, just to check it out for real.

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So no one looking for a cost effective backup just in case??

If you system dies 10 mins into a gig, you can't just say to the audience - oh well, it had to fail one day. So you can all go home now - these things just happen.................... I think you say sorry small technical malfunction - and cover for a minute while you plug something else in and they barely notice!

Would anyone like to suggest a backup plan/unit?

500X...

 

But really, the answer is the same that's it's always been: anything that works and gets you through the gig. Tonal nirvana is not the goal of a back-up rig.

 

The concept of having a backup is nothing new. If you gig regularly, you need a plan B, because sooner or later, something will go south on you...and if you think that analog gear can't fail, guess again. It's usually the power sections that go. I've had 2 tube power amps crap out on me on stage, plus a JCM800 head that decided it would rather play the role of "fog machine" on that particular evening. Damn thing nearly caught fire.

 

I always had something else just in case. For a long time it was an old Peavy Bandit 1x12 combo. I was a rack guy for a long time, and that little thing had an FX loop, and it was loud. I could always run whatever preamp/fx unit(s) I had into the FX return, and retain the basic functionality of the rig. Was it ideal? Far from it, but that's not the point. A back-up need only be functional for one night.

 

If you're the kind of guy who can't bear the thought of changing gears completely on a moment's notice, then pony up for a spare Helix...otherwise just accept the fact that gigging is unpredictable, and stuff breaks. Sometimes you just have to make do with what's available.

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OK, let me ask my question another way. I started my first post with a few backup rig suggestions and what I was hoping was to get some feedback on those and/or another suggestion I was not considering.

Some guide lines-

I run a stereo pair of FRFR speakers, so I'm happy that in that area the worst I will get is mono if one of them goes down.

And size is a second factor. I'd like some thing small that can feed the FRFR boxes.

So I suggested Amplifi FX100 or sans amp fly rig.

Either of those sound like a "lite" version of my Helix rig. The Blu amp someone suggested wouldn't work as its a 100w amp, it's not really designed to feed FRFR speakers.

I have been following with some concern some threads on the Amplifi having too many issues for live, but it is difficult to tell as you generally only hear the bad stuff on these forums, and being comfortable with the Helix, I realise how much of the forum problem posts are user error or at least naivety.

I'm never going to lug a second amp again! So please think Helix replacement/backup, not a whole different solution.

Anyone got something to say on those choices given that clarification?

Helpful solutions aporeciated.

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Yeah, my original thinking wasn't so much the ghastly 'fails at the worst possible time' but more the gut wrenching feeling of components no longer functioning as expected.

 

I did however put quite a bit of thought into a proper backup plan for myself. Didn't want to carry a HD or the likes to every gig, or even set up a few stomps etc and hope if I had to use them in a flash that all settings on them would be as I expected. So after a lot of trial and error here's what I run. I have an A\B switch (use the excellent MXR 196), my guitar runs into it and output A goes to the helix. I have my iPad mounted on my mic stand (for a few songs I use it for chord charts, memory aint what it used to be). Running from it I have an IK Powerbridge (so I don't rely on iPad battery) and that feeds into an IK Multimedia iRig HD 2 (which uses thunderbolt connection so digital quality, it's actually really nice). I use an IK blueboard that's mapped to four 'favorite' presets in IOS Amplitube that are get out of jail really, Clean tone, Vibe\Chorus tone, Overdriven tone and heavier Distortion.

Now don't get me wrong, I am no IK fanboy, I think they time again find ways to extract as much money as they can from customers, but their stuff is quality especially on the hardware front.

 

I have practiced many many times quickly kicking over from one rig to the next. Worst case for me is if I am in an overdriven part of a song and have to kick over to the clean sound, but just a tap away from getting the right favorite in place. It's not transparent, but it's also not sitting there for anything more than 15 seconds before being back up and running. I could pretty much do the gig on the Amplitube and I doubte anyone would be too upset, and the thoughts of even a reboot of the Helix not getting me back up and running bothers me (as anyone who has ever felt like a tool for more than 5 minutes on a stage while the band proceed and you fiddle with gear and get nowhere).

 

Thing I like is that iPad and accessories I mentioned all add next to no weight or space requirements to what I need to carry, and truth be known I am spending more and more time sitting outside my studio and practicing parts using Amplitube and accessories. Had a really nice multitrack function and can downspeed but pitch keep iTunes library songs.

 

just my 2 cents.

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OK, let me ask my question another way. I started my first post with a few backup rig suggestions and what I was hoping was to get some feedback on those and/or another suggestion I was not considering.

Some guide lines-

I run a stereo pair of FRFR speakers, so I'm happy that in that area the worst I will get is mono if one of them goes down.

And size is a second factor. I'd like some thing small that can feed the FRFR boxes.

So I suggested Amplifi FX100 or sans amp fly rig.

Either of those sound like a "lite" version of my Helix rig. The Blu amp someone suggested wouldn't work as its a 100w amp, it's not really designed to feed FRFR speakers.

I have been following with some concern some threads on the Amplifi having too many issues for live, but it is difficult to tell as you generally only hear the bad stuff on these forums, and being comfortable with the Helix, I realise how much of the forum problem posts are user error or at least naivety.

I'm never going to lug a second amp again! So please think Helix replacement/backup, not a whole different solution.

Anyone got something to say on those choices given that clarification?

Helpful solutions aporeciated.

Same answer...the 500X. You're already running an FRFR rig, so another modeler is your best choice. And the 500X is the best bang for the buck. The Amplifi stuff is geared more towards Bluetooth connectivity, app-driven editing, and "insta-tone" searches, none of which I see as being particularly useful in a live setting. But the 500X can give you great tones, and wouldn't require anything more than what you already own. You can grab a used one for $200-$300...for a back-up, there aren't too many other options in that price range that will sound as good, or be as versatile. And it's what, an extra 4 or 5 lbs to drag around?

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Thanks Guys,

Regalpierot, you got me thinking there - I'm sometimes using Mainstage on my laptop - the extra flexibility of the iPad solution is interesting. Sounds like a nice practice solution anyhow.

Cruisinon2 - I've never even tried the 500X - I guess it's time I did. The picture I get of the Amplifi is its for hobby players - so taking it live is probably asking too much.

I still want to give the FlyRig a go though as its still the really simple fix if it works - its like Regalpierot's 4 get out of jail free sounds with no fuss.  And if I got a 500X, I'd have to use it mostly that way anyhow, because I could never find my way around a full show worth of sounds like I've got on the Helix now.  But I'll give one a try, as it is possibly a more flexible and cost effective solution if its not too big a step down from the Helix.

Thanks everyone - any other practical suggestions taken gladly - small and compact - can just go in the same case as the Helix would be great!

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OK, let me ask my question another way. I started my first post with a few backup rig suggestions and what I was hoping was to get some feedback on those and/or another suggestion I was not considering.

Some guide lines-

I run a stereo pair of FRFR speakers, so I'm happy that in that area the worst I will get is mono if one of them goes down.

And size is a second factor. I'd like some thing small that can feed the FRFR boxes.

So I suggested Amplifi FX100 or sans amp fly rig.

Either of those sound like a "lite" version of my Helix rig. The Blu amp someone suggested wouldn't work as its a 100w amp, it's not really designed to feed FRFR speakers.

I have been following with some concern some threads on the Amplifi having too many issues for live, but it is difficult to tell as you generally only hear the bad stuff on these forums, and being comfortable with the Helix, I realise how much of the forum problem posts are user error or at least naivety.

I'm never going to lug a second amp again! So please think Helix replacement/backup, not a whole different solution.

Anyone got something to say on those choices given that clarification?

Helpful solutions aporeciated.

 

So after your clarification, I initially recommended a Helix rack... but based on your update, I'd say a second Helix in a nice gig case.  Easy to carry, great backup of more than just your gear, no loss of quality or performance.  You can alternate them and it's one helluva insurance policy and they are small enough.   And, as I said... if someone elses gear fails, you can likely help them out quick enough.  

 

Short of a Helix, an HD500 Pod would work well and can be had for around $250 for a used one.  You should be able to program it with what you would need in a pinch and again...  it's the type of unit that could be backup for more than just you.  I don't think you can come up with any other solution for under $300 and if you keep it up to date...  you could swap it in as fast as you could get your hands on it and do the cable swap.

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PODs are also really nice if you attach a hook and use it for a boat anchor. 

 

Hard to go wrong with Tech21, very underrated stuff. I used a PSA 1.1 preamp for years and god do I miss that thing, analog that sounds and feels like tubes. Pretty amazing really. If they weren't so much and I was so stuck with the Helix I would not have gone this route. I have no use for a POD as I do not own a boat. 

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@rvroberts

 

Yeah, believe me I've tried my iPad a few different times for guitar practice tool even and it always came up short. The analog interfaces (that is the ones that use the 1\8th inch jack) were just poor quality. Very 'tinny' sound and anything slightly overdriven created way too much noise.

The best solution I'd found to date software-wise was Positive Grid's BIAS.

 

Have to say though, the thunderbolt connected IRIG HD 2 is stellar, no D\A conversion so the sound is really quality, it also has a dedicated AMP output distinct from the headphone jack. Amplitube has also come on ten fold (hard to say whether it or Bias sound better, but IK one has a built in 8 track DAW that's really impressive, looping of iTune track parts and speed adjustment for practice, a really intuitive looper, channel master FX and a mixing console. My one main gripe with the app not being universal is now gone as any in-app purchases are now shared across devices (actually transferred al my presets to iPhone 6s and it sounds just as good, which is not my practice set up). Worth a play with.

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This concerns me too. Thankfully Line 6 have been excellent at getting issues sorted every time I've read of a failure. To be honest though, with such an expensive unit i'd be much happier with a 5 year warranty like boss stuff.

A 5 Year Warranty is a reassuring indication by a manufacturer that they are confident in the longevity of their product! Such a warranty precludes a customer having to incur repair costs should component failure occur within the coverage duration. Particularly for rotary joystick encoder contacts, other knob controls, footswitches, scribble strips, the main display, etc., the first Helix units are now reaching expiration of their 1 Year Warranty coverage. It will be interesting to see how many begin suffering component failure and what repair service fees and parts will cost.
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Well, the warranty for anything is what it is, but its also people who act like gorillas with a large 3 Lb hammers that make or break their confidence  and the item. Thats not to say that gear doesn't break on its own due to poor workmanship, a Friday before a Holiday,  or by using cheap parts. Component failures happen for many reasons including both the part itself, and the person operating it. If you are careful with your item, chances are it will last longer says Mr. Obvious. For example, I have a Line 6 Vetta II combo that runs like a champ every time I fire it up. It's warranty went out a decade ago. So, my point is that sometimes its not the length of the warranty that tells you how good or bad the product is. 

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So, my point is that sometimes its not the length of the warranty that tells you how good or bad the product is.

Lengthy warranty periods generally only exist for products that are practically indestructible. Why? Because the company has little to lose...if it's a product that you basically have to try to destroy, there won't be many warranty claims anyway, so they can warranty it forever with little financial impact. Plus, then they get to say: "Check out how we stand behind our products, ain't we swell?".

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