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Considering moving from Firehawk FX to Helix


SoCal
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Have been using Firehawk FX for 18 months now.  Gigging weekly.  Direct to Behringer X32/PA.   No amp on stage.  In-ear and no amps on stage. Recently added Variax.  It's been a game changer for me. 

 

I have been reading all the people raving about the Helix.  Has anyone moved from Firehawk to Helix here?  Is it worth the money to upgrade?

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I own and play both Firehawk FX and Helix. Helix is far, far better in all respects: tones, routing flexibility, I/O, audio interface, ease of use and editing. Only you can decide whether it's worth the money.

 

If you are really big on editing with your smartphone or tablet, be aware that Helix does not support that - Helix editing is done on PC/Mac only.

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... and worth adding that editing on the unit itself is marvellously quite effective and intuitive; they've done a LOT with a relatively small bank of controls on the face (enhanced by the capacitive touch feature of the footswitches themselves).

 

I didn't delve into Firehawk FX, but that was ONLY because I was waiting to see what was going to come as the next quantum step in Line 6's modelling evolution.

That said, I was quite impressed with the demonstrations I've seen/heard - I should sit down with one some time.

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As a long time Firehawk user. Firstoff, I loved the Firehawk, as to me it was warmer and more real than the 500, or 500x. When I compared the Helix to the Firehawk, by way of A-B switch after creating patches using exact same value on each, the Helix sounded like my ears had unplugged, or "popped". The only way I can describe it.

 

I thought I would miss the Bluetooth editing functionality of the Firehawk. The PC editor in the Helix is well thought out and really works, copy and paste blocks and patches, very nice. I was afraid it would be like the PC editor from the HD series, cant remember why I wasn't fond of the PC editor for the HD500x. The USB connection to the Helix allows me to listen to playback to the Helix and run the editor, a huge help during rehearsal at home. Buy an Apple USB camera cord, for iPad playback in to the Helix.

The foot operated editor is also huge. Easy to understand and to operate using the stomp switches, oh yeah large screen and scribble strips make for great visibility.

I use 3 different guitars depending. With the Firehawk, they sounded slightly different. With the Helix, the differences are dramatic, much more like a real amp. With previous Pod rigs, I never used the volume control my guitar. With the Helix, rolling back the volume control, really cleans up the tone, even on some fairly driven settings. Once again, it acts like an amp.

 

 The Firehawk was limited by available editable blocks, fine if you only need one of each principal effects, comp, drive, mod, delay, reverb. Helix allows for stacking multiple effects through multiple paths, with almost unlimited signal path selection. I was able to create a patch that toggles a second amp model on and off as an overdrive. This by way of the Snapshot function. I am not sure I can suitably describe Snapshots here. In Snapshot mode, within a patch, you can toggle effects on and off, or change parameters of any effect within a patch. Say you want to push the drive channel of your amp model up for a solo. You can change the drive of the amp and save to a Snapshot. It is like have a switcher on your pedal board, and allows minor changes within a patch without having to reload the patch in another switch. 

 

My experience with Helix on stage, it seems to cut through the mix without being loud. Our sound techs love it. I run 1/4" out mono to a DI box to the board, and use a 15" powered main as a monitor. 

 

I still have my Firehawk as a backup. I have set it up with the Ipad editor next to my Helix PC editor, to recreate patches on to the Helix. Helix has tons of empty slots in User folders to save patches in. They also have a group of Templates that you can copy in to a slot and insert the blocks that you want. This is very useful as the signal paths can get complicated.

 

Good luck, I love mine, am totally glad I made the leap. 

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It's night and day in every way. If you can at all swing it, get the Helix. If you're a live performer, even more so. I wasn't too happy with my Firehawk FX personally, neither FRFR nor 4CM. It was just ok. Eventually I got rid of it, and went back to tubes and pedals. After spending only 2 days with the Helix I'm about ready to get rid of my tube amp and pedals again (save for a few). Almost. Will spend more time with it first.

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I've been thinking about buying a Firehawk Fx to marry up with my Variax guitar I've had a month or so, I'm using an Amplifi 75 atm, and it's been great for my limited abilities.

 

But I can't help thinking I should hold out and put the money towards a Helix?

 

Yes it's a very lot of money to me, and I'm really only just past beginner level ( I think?) So I don't know if it would be completely wasted on me?

 

But then again I'm thinking if I've got the best gear, I know I can't blame my playing on anything else and have any excuses.

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