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Just got my Helix, unboxed it and listened to the presets.

This can't be how it really sounds.

Went to Line 6 and updated to the new firmware.

Listened to the presets again.

Not so good.

 

I chose the Helix over Fractal and Kemper, because of reviews and price.

 

The layout and UI of the Helix is wonderful.

Seems to be an amazing/groundbreaking product.

 

I can't believe it is supposed to sound like this.

 

I'm assuming the presets reflect the best of what the Helix can do.

 

Nothing sounded great or felt good to play.

 

No slam intended.

 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

 

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What speakers and amp are you using? Have you played a modeler through them before? If this is your first time with a modeler and/or an FRFR speaker setup, it can take some getting used to.

 

If you're not using an FRFR rig, I'd recommend it. Helix is really designed to deliver fully produced sounds, you just need to amplify it into the room, not alter it further by sending it through another layer of processing like a guitar amp.

 

If you're using it only as an effects pedal, playing through a guitar amp, then you may want to bypass the amp and cab in Helix, since you're already going through that stuff in real life.

 

Anyway, don't worry about the factory presets. Play with the controls, adjust things til you like it. That's the bottom line, what you like, in your playback and musical environment.

 

All of that said, what are you hearing that you don't like?

 

FWIW, personally, I love it. Took a while to get comfortable, but like most (but not all) folks here, I really like the sounds I'm getting, and the ease of use and flexibility are game changers. Give it time, explore, take nothing for granted, I bet you'll find your happy place(s) in there :)

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It's highly dependent on what you are playing it through. The Helix is definitely not plug and play into any amplification system. A good set of headphones will be a more true representative of the actual sound. I use the headphone monitor as a baseline, then adjust to whatever FOH I am playing through. 

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Just got my Helix, unboxed it and listened to the presets.

This can't be how it really sounds.

Went to Line 6 and updated to the new firmware.

Listened to the presets again.

Not so good.

 

I chose the Helix over Fractal and Kemper, because of reviews and price.

 

The layout and UI of the Helix is wonderful.

Seems to be an amazing/groundbreaking product.

 

I can't believe it is supposed to sound like this.

 

I'm assuming the presets reflect the best of what the Helix can do.

 

Nothing sounded great or felt good to play.

 

No slam intended.

 

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Could really use more information on how you are using Helix. I will give you my opinions based on plugging it directly into a soundcard.

From an amp tone perspective, it really has not been a great sounding unit. The cabs and mic modelling are VERY poor IMO and without going out and spending more money on products from other companies, such as cab impulses from redwirez, i have seen few happy users and have heard none good guitar sounds. ( im listening for sounds similar to Cantrell, STP, Pornograffitti, Pyromania, or heavier)

 

Buying redwirez cab IR library (or whichever one you prefer) will get you A LOT more from Helix, but then you are mostly using Helix as a distortion device at that point, and thats not really a tough job for a preamp, a pedal, or a computer for that matter. 

 

I agree that the presets should do a better job. There is no point in filling up 2 entire banks worth otherwise, but still then, making your own presets, your best amp/cab combinations fully EQ'd, are hardly a faithful recreation of the amps they were modeled after. 

 

If you are dead set on not spending any money and continuing to use the native helix cabs, your best is to low pass the highs, try some of the cabs you would never expect, (i think i have an OK heavy tone from one of the 1x12 cabs) use the sum of two cabs, to achieve a sound, instead of just one.

 

Good luck. Looking forward to hearing where this goes for you.

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I'm not sure what you're expecting, as is everyone else here.

 

Clearly what you're hearing is a function of how you hooked things up as there are plenty of folks here that use the Helix quite successfully in both live and studio applications.

 

If you really want some help you need to be a bit more explicit in how you hooked things up (inputs and outputs).  Any advice we give you at this point would be a waste of time only knowing you have a Helix.

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Start slow and build up your own exploratory Presets. It's easy to do and a great learning process.

 

In addition to what has already been suggested, try using any of the empty "New Presets" in the Templates bank. Create one Amp+Cab Block. Using this, step through each of the combo amps offered in the Helix. The last Parameter page of each Amp Model allows you to change the associated Cab to hear the differences. Alternatively, create two Blocks: One an Amp Block, One a Cab Block. This will allow you to vary each to hear the differences amongst the choices and combinations.

 

Regardless of what speakers or headsets you use, once you get familiar with how they represent the Helix's Amp and Cab models, you can begin exploring other Block Level adjustments, EQ Blocks, FX Blocks, etc.

 

Regardless if your guitar has active pickups, there's no harm trying the Helix's Aux Guitar 1/4" input, or enabling the primary Guitar Input's Guitar Pad, or trying Input Impedance adjustments (in Global Settings > I/O).

 

Hope this helps get you going.

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Not sure what style you are playing, HX Cabs for mid to high gain sounds aren't great OOTB. They almost made me want to return Helix when I first got it.  Try throwing parametric EQ between the amp and cab blocks, boost 110Hz +4db and cut 500Hz -3db to better simulate real cab resonance.  Many IR's do this themselves if you want to try a few of those.

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Wow!  I'm knocked out by all of the helpful replies.

Many thanks!

Just knowing that there is a friendly, generous community of Helixers, makes me think I should keep the box and figure it out.

 

I should have explained more about my set up in my first post, but it already felt long winded.

 

My intention is to use the Helix in the studio only....  hoping for a Swiss Army Knife of great sounds.

I have it plugged in to 2 channels (flat EQ) of a good mixing board and am monitoring on high quality studio monitors.

Plugging a PRS and then a Strat in to the guitar input.

Presets sound not so good...  the clean patches are anemic and the OD patches sound buzzy and phony.

I have used numerous modeling processors and amps over the years dating back to the original Pod, so I'm experienced in that sense.

 

The general consensus seems to say that I should abandon the presets and dive in to programming my own sounds.

It also seems that most folks agree that third party IR's and or patches are necessary for getting the best out of the Helix.

 

Can you point me to come essential ones, so I can load them before I start doing my own programming?

I'd be happy to spend the money if it would transform the potential of the box.

 

I have 28 days left to figure out if the Helix is a keeper.

 

Thanks for your insight and kind assistance.

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My first question is about the gain staging of the inputs into your mixing board.  Are you coming into the board via XLR or 1/4 inch and are those outputs set to line or mic?  When you solo or PFL that input line what kind of signal strength are you getting?

 

The presets that come with the unit aren't horrible, and you can probably build better presets.  However they should still be decent enough to determine where the problem lies.  Obviously none of us would be using the Helix if it produced the sounds you describe.  If you want to get a feel for the basic sound of the Helix just select any empty preset, and load any of the amp+cab blocks.  That's all you need to hear the basic modeling sounds of each of the amps.

 

The first thing I would do is plug your studio monitors directly into the Helix outputs and see what you get.  This will help determine if the problem is on the Helix end or somewhere in your mixing board/DAW signal chain.  Use the global settings and ensure you have outputs set to line when you do this.  You can also try using a pair of headphones and see what things sound like from that end.

 

Things like creating presets and IR's and such are improvements to the sound.  What you seem to be describing are much worse than that.

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Wow!  I'm knocked out by all of the helpful replies.

Many thanks!

Just knowing that there is a friendly, generous community of Helixers, makes me think I should keep the box and figure it out.

[...]

 

Yep, and this forum has a search function, too ;)

Using this

http://line6.com/support/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMainBar=1

 

I found that (for example)

http://line6.com/support/topic/24408-how-do-you-design-a-preset-from-scratch

http://line6.com/support/topic/24445-difficulty-getting-usable-sounds

http://line6.com/support/topic/19313-man-this-thing-sounds-bad-am-i-the-crazy-one

 

Cheers!

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The general consensus seems to say that I should abandon the presets and dive in to programming my own sounds.

It also seems that most folks agree that third party IR's and or patches are necessary for getting the best out of the Helix.

 

Can you point me to come essential ones, so I can load them before I start doing my own programming?

I'd be happy to spend the money if it would transform the potential of the box.

 

 

You need to worry more about abandoning the cabs, than the preset. Presets are bad 90% because they have a helix cab attached to them. Load up a preset, switch the cab out with an IR that sounds good to you, tweak a bit, and THEN decide.

 

Try some free IRs from Ownhammer, then maybe some smaller IR packs, of cabs you KNOW you like. Knowing what speaker you like is also a HUGE help.

 

Nobody can tell you which IRs to get. It would be like me telling you what kind of cabinet to buy ala hardware.

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While I do use IRs sometimes, I use the built in cabs too, and FWIW I don't agree that IRs are required for good sounds. That said, try some of the free ones, at least, why not?

 

Try stuff! If you hear too little warmth etc, dial in more.

 

Everyone's environment, instrument(s), playing, taste, and musical context are different. Presets for any device often s*ck because of that.

 

At least you CAN try lots of stuff without buying all those amps, cabs, stomps, and rack FX :)

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I'm assuming the presets reflect the best of what the Helix can do.

 

Nothing could be further from the truth...for this or any other modeler in the universe. Why? There are a number of reasons:

 

First and foremost, the presets were created with a different guitar, a diffrent monitoring method (amp/cab, headphones, studio monitors, FRFR speaker) than whatever you're using, and by somebody with a diffrent definition of what sounds "good". Expect little to no continuity between what it sounded like to the guy who created it, and what it will end up sounding like on your end. There are simply too many variables. For proof, I invite you to download anything from Customtone, and tell me if it sounds anything like it's description. 98% of them won't.

 

A modeler is not an amp. You can't approach dialing in your tones the same way you would just plugging into the front end of an amp with a few pedals...especially if you're playing through headphones, studio monitors, or anything that approaches an FRFR set-up. The frequency response of a typical guitar cabinet it narrower in range and anything but flat, by comparison. You can expect to hear more highs and lows than you would normally get from a "real" amp...often described as "fizz" and/or "boominess". The trick is learning to dial out the frequencies you DON'T want to hear, as opposed to adding those you perceive to be missing...that'll just make things worse.

 

There a tends to be a rather steep learning curve with these things. Instant gratification doesn't happen much (if ever), and it's highly unlikely that you'd have a much diffrent experience with either Kemper or Fractal.

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Broken record time:

  • Your playback system is at least 50% of your tone, which we have zero control over
  • Modelers represent a recorded tone, not a live amp-in-the-room tone
  • Modelers can be hooked up in many, many different ways and when used and A/Bed in the proper context, are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing
  • If the Global Settings aren't set up properly for your instruments and playback system, you're gonna have a bad time
  • All Presets Suck©®TM
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If you only have a few days to decide and not much time to spend tweaking go and spend $19 on Glenn delaunes boutique amp pack volume one. Grab the 1959 Marshall and the fender blackface low cut the ir at 90 hi cut at 7000 dial in some mids, a little extra delay on the lead, plug in a hum bucker in bridge position and play directly through a ten inch FRFR.....heaven

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Ps. All the talk here about poor quality hi gain sounds is nonsense imho. Just have to understand you are listening to a recorded tone. It doesn't feel like you are standing next to an overdriven fire breathing noisy temperamental one dimensional expensive tube amp (of which I own many) , it's a different experience altogether. A naturally aspirated v8 muscle car compared to a super quick turbocharged v6 that will leave you in awe once you adjust your beliefs about what good looks like.....

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Thanks for all of the kind replies.

 

The Helix is a wonderful box.

I salute Line Six

 

It is an incredible pedal for live use and integration with live rigs.

 

That being said, I'm thinking it is not the best solution for me.

 

I'm looking for a studio guitar box that sounds great and feels natural to play.

 

I've gone to the basics and listened to the raw amps and cabs.

 

I purchased some of the recommended patches and the result is still disappointing.

 

That being said, if I add effects, it can be fun.

 

Helix is great, but not the solution I was seeking.

 

Thanks for all of the kind replies.

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I purchased some of the recommended patches and the result is still disappointing.

 

Yup...and that approach is almost guaranteed to end in disappointment. It's like trying to stuff your feet into shoes that are 3 sizes too small.

 

Trying to use someone else's tones with ANY modeler will likely end exactly the same way. Don't return it until you've tried creating some of your own tones. If you still don't like it at that point that's fine...there are other choices. But forget the presets, and don't bother paying for someone else's patches.

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Don't give up yet, I have used Line 6 products since the Inception, and I never use preset material. My custom patches always sound better. When I bought the helix I was underwhelmed at first, thought about sending back about 5 days into it, but three months later I have tons that will knock your socks off. Once you learn the depth of the parameters, I guarantee you can find what you need. Granted there is a slight learning curve but once you get the hang of it the quickness of editing is like nothing else out there. Keep playing for a few days and don't make a rash decision. For what it's worth I am an into the amp guy, my patches sound horrible into headphones or a PA. But marvelous through my system. It is all in how you approach it because all the tools are there

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Don't give up yet, I have used Line 6 products since the Inception, and I never use preset material. My custom patches always sound better. When I bought the helix I was underwhelmed at first, thought about sending back about 5 days into it, but three months later I have tons that will knock your socks off. Once you learn the depth of the parameters, I guarantee you can find what you need. Granted there is a slight learning curve but once you get the hang of it the quickness of editing is like nothing else out there. Keep playing for a few days and don't make a rash decision. For what it's worth I am an into the amp guy, my patches sound horrible into headphones or a PA. But marvelous through my system. It is all in how you approach it because all the tools are there

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IMHO, you have to create your own patches, for a few reasons. With a device as capable as the Helix, you can tailor each patch to sound however you prefer to have your guitar(s) sound. With the Helix, I can significantly change the way the guitar's attack sounds just by changing picks so how can a patch created by someone else who will invariably has a different picking style and uses different picks than you create a patch that would satisfy you? As an example, I believe Mr. DeLaune uses thumb picks which do sound different than a flat pick. Lastly, how can you learn more about the Helix if you don't learn to create your own sounds on it?

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The sound of any given preset is often highly contingent on your guitar, the equipment you are using to amplify your Helix, and your playing style. That is why there is no way for preset sellers to provide custom presets or for Line6 to provide Factory presets that will work for everyone and with all equipment. It is impossible to predict all the factors in your unique setup.  That is why you will see DI periodically joke that "all pre-made presets suck".

 

Ultimately I think regardless of the source, Factory, purchased, CustomTone,  unless you get lucky you are going to need to modify other peoples' presets to fit your setup and style. Those required modifications may be minor or major depending on your setup. This does not mean you may not find presets that work perfectly right off the bat now and then, you may. Some setups and styles are a bit more 'universal' in this respect. One of the premier benefits of OP (other peoples') presets is you can learn a lot about preset design from other people. Ultimately though there is no short cut or quick fix for every preset. You need to learn to EQ, tweak settings, and route things properly for YOUR setup.

 

There is no way around putting the work in, you either have to spend time sorting though many presets to find the few that will work perfectly straight 'off the shelf' with your system (a rare occurrence in my experience), or you need to learn how to adapt other's presets to your system, or better yet design your own. If you don't have the time, experience, or inclination to design presets from scratch or are simply looking for new methods you would never have conceived of or employed on your own, modifying other's presets may be your favorite way to go. With few exceptions all of my favorite presets are ones I have created from scratch because they fit my needs perfectly and have been adjusted to sound ideal on my rig and cater to the way I attack and play the guitar.

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Nothing to add, just echoing other's sentiments that presets generally suck. I learned this early on with some of the first Line 6 products. There's gold in them thar hills, but you're going to have to dig deep. More gold than ever with Helix, but you'll still have to do some digging, just not as much as with previous products. Combine different amp models, cab and mic sims and twist those knobs. Personally, I don't think there's much it can't do!

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I actually have no problem coaxing amp I the room tone out of my 15" coaxial powered monitor... Does well with my Kemper, too.

 

Either build your own preset or be prepared to eq someone else's to your tastes. Like others have said, it's all according to what you plug into, but you have to eq to your monitors and guitars.

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  • 1 month later...

I think the Helix is an amazing and groundbreaking platform.

 

Flawless design and huge capability for state of the art connectivity.

It is already great and I'm sure it will only get better over time.

 

In my case, I was seeking a studio unit with sounds that I could use for recording.

Obviously, the Helix has an infinite universe of sounds.

 

I'm sad to say that I returned the Helix.

I loved the external construction and software capability.

It could serve as a studio hub and Line 6 is a great company.

The only downside for me was the sound.

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I think the Helix is an amazing and groundbreaking platform.

 

Flawless design and huge capability for state of the art connectivity.

It is already great and I'm sure it will only get better over time.

 

In my case, I was seeking a studio unit with sounds that I could use for recording.

Obviously, the Helix has an infinite universe of sounds.

 

I'm sad to say that I returned the Helix.

I loved the external construction and software capability.

It could serve as a studio hub and Line 6 is a great company.

The only downside for me was the sound.

So interesting. For me, the Helix is sonically more than just head and shoulders above all the other modelers I've ever owned. It's an entire body above them in terms of superiority.

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For me, it took nearly a year to come to grip with the changes. 

 

Threse are different contexts in which I needed a different approach.

 

1- 4CM - tube power amp - guitar cabs

2- SS power amp - guitar cabs

3- HELIX - out to headphone

4- HELIX - FRFR Live

5 -HELIX - Recording

 

Starting from 1- I got great results. Next I tried SS power amp and really liked what I got=>simpler setup to carry around. The #3 for headphone was my first venture with simulated cabs. Had a hard times finding a cab  I liked. Hashness was difficult to avoid. I finaly settled on ribon mic and dual cabs. Really like what I have now. Could not find a third party IR that I liked either. Then I bougth a cheap Alto TS210. Now I can pretty much use any IR or cabs. In all much more versatile. The harshness is much less present in general.Real space has this ability to smooth things up compared to headphone smack in your ears. And finaly #5 is the ability for the guitar to live in the mix and the ease of using the HEL>IX as an interface.  Here I'm also very happy. My Roland QUAD-CAPTURE interface has been discarded on the heap as so many other thing ...

 

Should have posted this somewhere else probably.

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