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Helix - the missing manual

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The Helix manual  contains some information about receiving MIDI plus the list of CCs and whatever. What it does not cover is how to program the Helix to set up MIDI for controlling other devices. There are all sorts of features and controls that are not even mentioned in the manual.

 

People who are into MIDI in a very big way are used to building elaborate and complex systems that, once the fiddly work is done, are easy to use and make a huge impression on the audience. We are eager to incorporate the Helix in to our setups - taking it from being a cool and fancy FX device to the level of being a key part of the MIDI system.

 

I saw a YouTube video about how use the Helix to switch channels in a lunchbox amp, but I haven't found much more. If there is someone out there (preferably a techie from Line 6) who could put together a couple of pages on this, I am certain that most of us could make good use of it and would be most appreciative.

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Did you see the section in the manual about the Command Center (pages 45-47)? That explains how to use the types of commands you're talking about. There's also an explanation of how the Command Center works with snapshots on page 37.

 

I guess beyond that, it would be hard to write a comprehensive MIDI manual that can go into example rigs and all that. MIDI is such a broad subject, and it really requires people to have a basic understanding of the concepts. Every MIDI-based rig is kind of an ad-hoc solution using the basic building blocks of the protocol.

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There are all sorts of features and controls that are not even mentioned in the manual.

 

No there aren't.

 

Proof: I wrote the manual.

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No there aren't.

 

Proof: I wrote the manual.

 

 I guess I am thinking about context more than anything else. I've been a regularly published reviewer and tech columnist - using a pseudonym - for some 15 years, including software that would retail at up to $8K a pop. The best documentation I ever saw was a pair of manuals for Macromedia Director (the 800 pound gorilla cousin of Flash). One manual was pretty much like the Helix manual - how to set this and that. The second manual for Director was for the scripting language, but it went beyond the what and how, and provided a lot of support for the why; providing the context in the form of a number of real-world examples of how to use the script to do various things and the reasons why you would want do this.

 

Many people are strongly left-brained, including classical musicians, as well as most programmers and system engineers, but most non-classical musicians tend to be very right-brained and can be very adventurous in their thinking. With the right kind of information and with a thorough mastery of context within complex systems, many among the right-brained will find that they can take things far beyond what the designers intended. For people such as this, the context is the thing that turns on the lights and makes it possible to bring out the best in themselves and in the tools they use.

 

Will Line 6 move a half million Helixes? Sounds great to me. If the sales figures for this device were to hit such a level that it would pay for the time and effort required, it might be very well worth it to produce such a supplementary guide.

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If we sell half a million Helices, I'll write a supplemental guide with my own blood.  :D

 

Phil's right—there are a billion ways to use Helix, and it's impossible to cover even 1% of them in 1000 pages. I suppose we could meticulously wax poetic over every parameter in every model (which would simply echo what's already been written dozens of times about the original amp or pedal), but the number one goal of any technical writer is to create something that people will actually read. The more succinct a manual is, the more likely someone will actually go to the trouble of absorbing it. It's not laziness on our part; brevity was by design.

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If we sell half a million Helices, I'll write a supplemental guide with my own blood. :D

 

Phil's right—there are a billion ways to use Helix, and it's impossible to cover even 1% of them in 1000 pages. I suppose we could meticulously wax poetic over every parameter in every model (which would simply echo what's already been written dozens of times about the original amp or pedal), but the number one goal of any technical writer is to create something that people will actually read. The more succinct a manual is, the more likely someone will actually go to the trouble of absorbing it. It's not laziness on our part; brevity was by design.

I had a G-System for years. The manual was actual garbage. One of the most important things I've ever read that has put me in good stead for understand most of the equipment I have had since was Laird William's "White Paper" on the G-System.

 

He was a TC forum regular and obviously had a bad case of OCD and had decided to write his own manual. It really was quite brilliant. I often wonder what he is doing now.

 

I would recommend anyone to give it a read even if they aren't familiar with the G-System as many parts of it will be directly transferable to a 4cm Helix

 

Edit: I'm sure it's just a "Laird Williams white Paper" google search away

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If we sell half a million Helices, I'll write a supplemental guide with my own blood.  :D

 

Phil's right—there are a billion ways to use Helix, and it's impossible to cover even 1% of them in 1000 pages. I suppose we could meticulously wax poetic over every parameter in every model (which would simply echo what's already been written dozens of times about the original amp or pedal), but the number one goal of any technical writer is to create something that people will actually read. The more succinct a manual is, the more likely someone will actually go to the trouble of absorbing it. It's not laziness on our part; brevity was by design.

 

 

Unfortunately, I may only be able to buy one Helix, but my enthusiasm is such that I immediately began planning supplemental purchases - a proper road case, a pair of EP3s, which meant a larger road case, cables, cable storage, an ever-expanding herd of speakers and monitors, plus systems for connecting everything but my grandmother's pet poodle. And this was within one day of unboxing. And this was followed by thoughts of what I could put on eBay, whether my wife could ask for a raise at work, and how much I could get for a used poodle.

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DI, I think the manual is great, and I've read and referenced it a number of times. Thanks for a quality product.

 

 

I use to have a setup with the POD HD500X as a front of the amp pedalboard into Apple MainStage using S-Gear amp models. This gave me a longer looper, and amp models that were a lot better then the HD500.

 

I couldn't reproduce this with Helix because of missing MIDI features (Looper switches didn't send MIDI CC, and MIDI couldn't control block states). I think all these issues have been addressed and I could probably recreate that configuration. But Helix is so much better than the HD500 that I'm no longer motivated to bother. I still love S-Gear, and still use it for recording, but Helix is really quite a product in every way.

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Unfortunately, I may only be able to buy one Helix, but my enthusiasm is such that I immediately began planning supplemental purchases - a proper road case, a pair of EP3s, which meant a larger road case, cables, cable storage, an ever-expanding herd of speakers and monitors, plus systems for connecting everything but my grandmother's pet poodle. And this was within one day of unboxing. And this was followed by thoughts of what I could put on eBay, whether my wife could ask for a raise at work, and how much I could get for a used poodle.

What color's the poodle?  How much does it weigh?

 

Is it all original?

 

Does it bite; does it chew it?

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What color's the poodle?  How much does it weigh?

 

Is it all original?

 

Does it bite; does it chew it?

 

All I know is that is must be expensive. It's a silver poodle.

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What color's the poodle?  How much does it weigh?

 

Is it all original?

 

Does it bite; does it chew it?

 

LMAO!

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I have to second the vote on the Helix manual that it's very well done.  That being said I think there is room for improvement in some detail on the amps and effects side.  A supplemental reference manual outlining the characteristics and operations of the amps and effects could save an awful lot of time in experimenting with different parameters and would be a handy thing to have around when tweaking/developing presets.

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Title of the thread is misleading.

The manuals (for Vers 2) are well done, I suppose.

 

[...] there are a billion ways to use Helix, and it's impossible to cover even 1% of them in 1000 pages. I suppose we could meticulously wax poetic over every parameter in every model [...]

 

Has anyone counted the number of pages of this forum?!

You can ask for help here (with any half of the brain) ;)

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The manual is a great well layed out reference. Looking at web references on the modelled item or a clone of said item sends you in the right direction for settings.

 

I do like books though and if the Helix manual was a tome I would dig in so DI if you fancy burning the midnight oil then fire on...but make sure you drop some random stuff in there to give us a laugh!

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No there aren't.

 

Proof: I wrote the manual.

LoL .. Great to hear D I makes me feel so much better and more at ease!  :P

 

By the way D I after this last update (2.10) Helix sounds so much better to me. The amp models ie  the Brit Plexi the Marshal 2204 the new Litigator/ S D-1 overdrive to name a few and the cabs as well sound amazing.. I can keep going but nevertheless great work  D I, Ben and staff! ....

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It would be great if the manual went into detail about the different parameters on the FX. It would kill the time spent with a lot of the experimenting needed! The compressors are particularly confusing, to me at least 😳

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It would be great if the manual went into detail about the different parameters on the FX. It would kill the time spent with a lot of the experimenting needed! The compressors are particularly confusing, to me at least

There's a whole other world of documentation about these things. They're not Line 6 specific and the best place to learn about them is from the manufacturer of the amp/FX being modelled. It would be a massive redundant effort for Line 6 to attempt to do this any sort of justice. But a couple of users here have done some great work in that respect.

 

For instance, there's a Helix Help website that contains links to the original device descriptions. Many thanks to user jshimkoski for this.

http://helixhelp.com/pmwiki.php

 

There's also one of the best and most comprehensive descriptions I've ever seen of using compressors from user HonestOpinion in a thread here. Many thanks to him. See post#2 in this thread:

http://line6.com/support/topic/23488-compressors-explained/

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What color's the poodle?  How much does it weigh?

 

Is it all original?

 

Does it bite; does it chew it?

 

C'mon Frenchie! Snap it!

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