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BlueViolince

Thinking of going Helix rack, but a few questions

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I've been using an HD500 for a long time, and it's upgrade time. I play electric violin, and MIDI-controlled Whammy 5 is an integral part of my rig.  I have a Molten Voltage Osmosis, which selects presets, sets Whammy pedal position, and also calls up presets on my Source Audio EQ.  From what I've been reading, I will probably have to keep at least the Whammy, and probably the Osmosis, as well.  Right now, I'm looking to set up the Helix rack in an 8u rack, with drawer-mounted pedals, and probably a rack EQ.  I like having access to a hardware EQ at all times.  

 

My first question: Can the Helix floor/rack floorboard send more than one MIDI command at a time?  Three to five commands would be nice.  If I could leave the Osmosis at home, I might be convinced to get the floor processor instead of the rack version.

 

Second question: Can the floorboards be set up with completely customized layouts?  For example:

 Top row: bank up, preset 1, preset 2, preset 3, looper, snapshot 1

 Bottom row: bank down, MIDI command 1, MIDI command 2, MIDI command 3, snapshot 2, tap/tuner

 

Third question: Can a 3rd party controller(FCB1010, HD500, etc) be set up to access presets, snapshots, send MIDI PC/CC, tempo?  I'm not concerned with changing preset parameters during performance.  If the presets and snapshots are all MIDI accessible, then I will be able to do just about everything I want.  

 

Fourth question: Are there any internal LFO, like the Fractal processors have? 

 

Last question: Is the input impedance seriously topped out at 1 Megohm?  I have a good preamp, but I never had to use it with the HD500.  Not a huge deal, but I was really surprised at that. 

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I've used Helix to change multiple settings at once on the DT-50 series amp head, so yes it can send multiple midi cc messages and their value at a time.

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Question 2- the floorboard is not fully flexible on where you assign bank up/down, presets, and snapshots. There are I think three-four modes you can choose: Stompbox mode, snapshot/stomp (4 snaps, 4 stomps), snapshot only, snapshot/preset mode (4 snaps, 4 presets). You can also choose the left two switches to control bank or preset up/down. 

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...Third question: Can a 3rd party controller(FCB1010, HD500, etc) be set up to access presets, snapshots, send MIDI PC/CC, tempo?  I'm not concerned with changing preset parameters during performance.  If the presets and snapshots are all MIDI accessible, then I will be able to do just about everything I want.  

 

I will just concentrate on this one.

You are a power user. Anything other than Control will frustrate the hell out of you. If you're getting the Rack, get Control. Don't even THINK about not doing that...
 

Last question: Is the input impedance seriously topped out at 1 Megohm?  I have a good preamp, but I never had to use it with the HD500.  Not a huge deal, but I was really surprised at that. 

 

I don't know enough about how you are using Electric Violin, but you have options. use a return jack (I do this successfully with totally passive piezo bridges), use the Aux in (I don't think this is going to work well for you) or use a DI and go into the balanced XLR mic input.

 

I hope we are helping.

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I will just concentrate on this one.

 

You are a power user. Anything other than Control will frustrate the hell out of you. If you're getting the Rack, get Control. Don't even THINK about not doing that...

 

 

I don't know enough about how you are using Electric Violin, but you have options. use a return jack (I do this successfully with totally passive piezo bridges), use the Aux in (I don't think this is going to work well for you) or use a DI and go into the balanced XLR mic input.

 

I hope we are helping.

 

Oh, definitely.  I can probably use my LR Baggs PADI, put its effect send into one of the fx returns on the Helix.  If the control board is really a big difference, then I should just look at the floor version, and save a bunch of money. Either way, my preamp has a 10 Meg ohm input, so I will be using that. The tone difference I get from high-load inputs is too big to ignore.  So I'm back to a floor processor and a pedalboard. I think the jury will be out on whether I need to keep the Osmosis until I actually get the Helix and start programming it. 

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In my non-electric-violin experience, 1 meg is a very typical don't-load-the-preceding-thing value. Anything whose impedence is high enough for that to be a significant load is going to be very detrimentally loaded by any likely length of any likely type of cable, regardless of what you plug it into.

 

That said, use your ears and your experience. If you've had problems with that sort of impedence before, or hear bad things with the helix input, do what you have to do. I wouldn't go buy something for this purpose without knowing for sure if you're fixing a problem you actually have, but that's just me, I'm cheap. If you already have something with higher impedence, you might as well compare with and without it, then you'll know if it matters.

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I've had great experience with the PADI, over the past 16(16???) years of using it with my E-violins.  I used it, got rid of it, got another one, and even with the HD500's 3.5MegOhm load, I noticed a difference in fullness and overall tonal improvement with the preamp in front. 

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We'll there you go, it matters in your case, whether it's about load impedence or not. And it sounds like you've got a good solution, so you're all set.

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