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katerlouis

Helix or new Spider V 240 Head?

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Without much knowledge, just fiddling around, I get very interesting and nice sounding clean and especially acoustic sounds out of my 240 head.

 

But although I irrationally defended the word all over the web, that the Spider V high gain sounds feel forced and sound digital, like a plugin, I have to give in and say I'm not satisfied so far aswell. I hoped the baby speakers are the reason for my dissatisfaction, but played in rehearsal over the PA left the results unchanged.

 

Now I'm flirting with the Helix, in hope it would be better. Pros use it, right? And it's thrice the price! So it's gotta be better.

Scratching the web's articles and video comparisons of the 4 big players (I suppose) Kemper, AxeFX and Biashead, all said the same for the Helix, just like with the Spider V; High Gains aren't as good as one wishes.

 

So, .. I'm thinking: but maybe the "not so great" Helix distortion sounds are still better than the Spider V's?

 

That brings me to the question:

Is the Helix even better than Spider V?

 

I'd love to get some insights on why I should pick a Helix over the new Spider V 240 head.

(So far only hard fact I have is a disadvantage: No relay g10 transmitter in the Helix)

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

kater louis

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I own the Spider V 120 (not the 240) and even though I think it sounds great, the Helix sounds better, to me.  I've setup the same patch (or as close as I could come) in both Helix and my Spider V and Helix sounds a bit richer.  I believe the Helix sounds better because it has more EQ options than the Spider V.  There are no options for IRs with Spider V either.  Of course sound is very subjective.  So take all this with a grain of salt.

 

Other things that aren't subjective are features.  Scenes are probably the most important feature in Helix, for me.  Helix is also more flexible in building tones.  You can add as many blocks as you want, providing you don't run out of DSP, which I never do.  You can also arrange those blocks in any order you want.  The makes the tone combinations in Helix virtually endless.  With my Spider V 120, I'm confined to 6 blocks I can swap out for other blocks and 4 blocks which I can only change the parameters.

 

I think the biggest difference, for me, is that I can edit anything in Helix with my foot or by simply bending down.  With Spider V, I'm tethered to the amp with tablet to make quick adjustments.  

 

If you're playing one style of music that doesn't require a lot of changes/different sounds within a song, I think Spider V is great.  If you want a built in wireless transmitter, Spider V provides that as well.  I do not have a floor controller for Spider V, so I do not know what kind of latency there is, if any, when switching between patches.  If you require more flexibility, Helix is the way to go.

 

I play weekly in a venue where I have to wear IEMs.  There are no stage amps or monitor wedges.  So Helix is the right solution for me.  The Spider V simply allows me to jam at home.  I also connect my Helix to it to dial in patches, since the Spider V has a FR speaker.  I'll eventually get a set of nice FRFR monitors for this function.  

 

This is all just my opinion, which is shaped from what my needs are.  I'm sure others will chime in as well with a different perspective. 

 

Cheers!

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Thanks for the insight–

 

Funny how one single feature prevents me from buying the Helix.

Maybe it is a principle thing... I just don't understand why Line6's flagship guitar processor does not feature a built in wireless receiver...

Do you know why?

 

And is there any chance the Helix gets a new version / update in near future (12 months?) adding a receiver?

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First off...I think it's time to get past the juvenile nonsense of tone trivia and web reviews.  There are plenty of folks out there that own or have owned Kemper, Axe and Helix and have opted to use the Helix.  Generally speaking it has nothing to do with getting better tone out of one or another of the units.  Most of that is trivial and has no effect on why they chose to use the Helix over the others.  Those are all subjective opinions from people that may or may not actually have the qualifications to offer an opinion that's meaningful.  After all, ANYONE can post a review of something on the internet regardless of their technical depth of knowledge, or lack thereof,  Likewise, when and what did they review? At best you can only review a tiny slice of what these units do because they are constantly changing with new updates and/or new models.  It's a black hole of internet nonsense that produces no viable results.  All three units have the capability of delivering convincing results in any form of music with the right hands at the controls.  So maybe you'd be better served moving beyond this and understanding what differentiates Helix from the rest of the market.

 

Secondly, the reason said folks who have all three units have opted to use the Helix do so because of objective observations that make a difference in the real-life, day to day use of a unit.  None of the other units come close to competing with the Helix as far as ease of use and flexibility of how it can integrate in different ways to different jobs whether that be in the recording studio, on stage, or even in the bedroom.  Increasingly it's becoming painfully obvious to the competitors that the modular design of the underlying HX engine is providing Line 6 with a way to rapidly expand the capabilities both in quality and level of models and effects, but also to house all of those same capabilities in a wide array of physical forms be it the full Helix, Helix LT or Helix Native plug-in...all of them consistent and compatible...and all produced roughly within 2 years of the initial introduction of the unit...and all the while continuing to expand the capabilities of the core engine.  Imagine where this Helix landscape will be in three or four years.

 

So you see, you mentioned the term "professionals", but the things I mentioned above are the things real professionals concern themselves with.  Not the tone comparison trivia game.  That's for garage band players who don't see the big picture of having a performance environment that can be adapted to your needs in a convenient and serviceable way.  I can develop a patch and record a song, then take that same patch and apply it to my live rig for rehearsal or performance.  I can use the same unit to perform in a large venue or a more intimate environment with no changes except where I might plug in the unit and what kind of guitar and mic I might plug into it.  Professionals want a system that can grow and adapt to their needs.  That's far more important than the subjective characterizations and comparisons of tones in a single genre of music.

 

Will Line 6 choose to offer a style of Helix with a built-in wireless connection someday?  Possibly.  But at least something like that is a real possibility and will be compatible with whatever work you put into some other form of Helix you used.

 

Sorry if my response seems a bit terse, but I can't help but be bored to tears with the constant minutiae of high gain tone comparisons when the picture is so much broader than that. 

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I see what you are aiming at; thing is: I am not a professional; I didn't study music theory and honestly struggle really hard with understanding tone. "Capable hands" may get the same out of all of these devices. In this case I absolutely agree with you, Helix is king. But looking at my Spider V 240 head; just playing around with clean tones and especially acoustic, I get really beautiful sounds, that please me very much, whereas the distortion sounds bother my "layman-ears", no matter how long I tweak them. This dissatisfaction does not come from youtube reviews I heard over my MacBook speakers.

 

So you see "how easy the device makes it for me to get nice-sounding high gains" is a factor for me.

 

But back to topic :) – I fell in love with the Helix already and the main question in the room for me is:

Helix or Spider V 240HC

 

I'd like to get your opinion on this, @DunedinDragon 

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Actually the Spider series was one of the first hardware based modelers I was exposed to at any great length.  I was curious when the Spider V came out and went to the store to play with one.  The modeling isn't horrible and in some cases it seemed better than the Spider IV.  Granted I didn't have much time with it, but if I needed something around the house play and practice on, I'd probably go with it for convenience.

 

And I have definately seen people use the larger systems for live shows.  It's absolutely decent enough that most people are going to be happy with what they hear.  As far as the distortion sounds it's pretty decent, but then I'm no real connoisseur of such things.  I do my share of harder rock like Queen and AC/DC but I don't get into the Djent stuff.

 

I will say, however, there are some key distinguishing factors when comparing the Spider V, or any of the amp based units to an upper end unit like the Helix.  And that really has to do with your control over the tone.  The Spider is pretty much a "packaged" system.  You can put some pieces together like amps, cabs, effects...so forth, and do it pretty easily without having to have a great base of knowlege.  You can kind of do the same with a Helix, but you have much more control and precision over the way you craft your sound.  That's a double-edged sword by the way.  Because in order to do that you need to have a fair amount of knowledge and understanding about amps and parameters and signal routing and live output devices to do that effectively and efficiently.

 

One of the ways I tend to describe this is that the Helix is almost like a full recording studio environment in a box (minus the actual recording device).  What I mean by this is that the sound you capture for a professional recording comes down to more than just the amp.  It's often a combination of amp, amp parameters like eq, bias, or sag, speaker, type of mic, mic placement, and possibly combinations of multiple amps, speakers, mics, ambient room mics, etc.  Not only this but also effects and where they're placed in the signal chain have impact on the sound.  For example, a compressor has a very different effect on the sound depending on whether it's placed at the beginning or end of the signal chain.  Likewise harshness in a given patch can be addressed in mulitple ways such as with a parametric EQ, or by simply running different cabinets and mic combinations in parallel and mixing the level of signal each one receives.  All of those capabilities are what you have boxed up inside the Helix and available for you to use in building a sound.

 

It's not necessary that you use all of these capabilities to get a decent sound, but the more you know and understand the more precisely you can achieve the exact sound you want.  In my case the patches I create now look very little like the patches I was building initially on the Helix.  I very often find myself re-tweeking older patches with things I've learned over the course of time as I prepare them for a performance.

 

So really the big difference between the Spider and the Helix is the depth of capabilities you have in producing the tones you want.  That means the question for you is, does this sound like something you want to invest your time in learning?  I don't necessarily mean right now, but rather over time?  In the same way that you grow and get better on guitar the more you practice, the better you get at crafting sounds on the Helix the more you delve into it.  To me that has been the most exciting aspect of this product because it's something I can grow with.  But I have the time to do such things, you may not...so that puts the ball in your court on this one.

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The reason there isn't a wireless receiver in the Helix in a very simple one IMO. Create a modeler that competes on the AXE/Kemper level of dynamic range and tone quality at a price point that is lower, but in that same boutique range. Line 6 would have had to compromise some place else to keep it at the same price point if a wireless receiver had been the priority. IOW, the Helix would have been something more like an HD with a wireless if that had been the priority. Maybe Helix would not have -123 db of dynamic range with a digital wireless receiver making it even harder to keep the digital and analog stuff properly isolated...Not that it would be impossible, but at Helix level of quality and miniaturized for the form factor it could add nearly $1000 to the cost because there would be extra engineering cost to hit that audio quality target. Not to mention that the power supply current would need to be several amps larger.

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Okay, okay! I got it :D –

Helix no wireless :) – I made my piece with it

 

I'm still struggling with the decision wether the Helix is (for my use) actually worth the extra 1.000bugs over the 240hc.

I guess it comes down to just testing it out–

 

Do you guys think it would be enough to use my home cinema Hifi speakers with the Helix? 

Important for me is, that I can work at home on the sounds and get an at least close representation of the sound in rehearsal or even live. 

(Oh boi, I'm afraid this will make things even more complicated :'( )

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Do you guys think it would be enough to use my home cinema Hifi speakers with the Helix? 

Important for me is, that I can work at home on the sounds and get an at least close representation of the sound in rehearsal or even live. 

(Oh boi, I'm afraid this will make things even more complicated :'( )

 

May I suggest that you read this thread (link below), which was started by someone who plugged their Helix into a Home Cinema HiFi system and was less that impressed.

Clue in the name - Home!

The speakers are "voiced' in a different way to handle all those action movie explosions, etc.

You really are not going to get what you want this way.

Beside that, what would you intend to play through at rehearsal or a live gig?

This has got to be a joke?

If not, and you are serious, then consider investing in a FRFR rig or some powered studio reference monitors.

 

Please check this - especially the comments from "silverhead and "Digital Igloo", a Line 6 Product Manager:

http://line6.com/support/topic/26426-first-steps-with-the-helix-seem-a-bit-disappointing/

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I suggest you try to get a hands on with a Helix and see for yourself it is what you are looking for.  The new Helix LT may be just the ticket for you at a better price point too.  Try one of the big box retailers on a payment plan.  If you don't like it, send it back and you are out shipping costs at most.  Personally, I would take the Helix over the Spider any day of the week, hands down.  That shouldn't mean squat to you though.  It's your ears that need to be pleased.  I wasn't happy trying to run my Helix or any modeler through my home stereo.  Just isn't a good solution in my opinion.  For home use you would probably need a decent set of studio monitors with at least 5" speakers.  You would be able to build tones that translate nicely to bigger systems with minimal tweaking.  Global EQ is great for that.  Hope that helps...

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No, that wasn't a joke. I figured it's completely nuts, but gave it a shot anyways. 

I hoped the investment (and research) for proper monitors / cab could wait a lil longer.

 

In rehearsal and for gigs my band has a decent and robust PA, that's what I play on every thursday :)

 

Just to lollipop you off a little bit more: How about proper headphone usage until I have time to dig into monitors etc.? ;) I have an AKG k240 Mark II :

 

(Forgive me the mocking; I'm just weighing my options here)

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No, that wasn't a joke. I figured it's completely nuts, but gave it a shot anyways. 

I hoped the investment (and research) for proper monitors / cab could wait a lil longer.

 

In rehearsal and for gigs my band has a decent and robust PA, that's what I play on every thursday :)

 

Just to lollipop you off a little bit more: How about proper headphone usage until I have time to dig into monitors etc.? ;) I have an AKG k240 Mark II :

 

(Forgive me the mocking; I'm just weighing my options here)

 

Completely nuts? Yeah well at least you gave it a try.

Using you band's PA system should be just fine though - I can't see a problem there.

As for headphones - well that's a whole different set of issues. This forum is littered with discussions about headphone usage - just do a search.

The AKG K240 Mark II should be just fine too, a nice flat response across the frequency range. Just don't expect a tone created with cans to sound as good/the same when coming through the PA.

I find I use various sets of headphones for different jobs. I usually choose closed back Sennheiser and Audio-Technica ATH-M50x when tracking to avoid spill. I also use some extremely cheap, but good, semi open backed like your K240s, for long mixing sessions with the Tannoys switched off.

Weigh away - they are all tools to do the job.

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Since no one mentioned it, I feel obligated to say "Fletcher/Munson"...carry on... ;)

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The reason there isn't a wireless receiver in the Helix in a very simple one IMO. Create a modeler that competes on the AXE/Kemper level of dynamic range and tone quality at a price point that is lower, but in that same boutique range. Line 6 would have had to compromise some place else to keep it at the same price point if a wireless receiver had been the priority. IOW, the Helix would have been something more like an HD with a wireless if that had been the priority. Maybe Helix would not have -123 db of dynamic range with a digital wireless receiver making it even harder to keep the digital and analog stuff properly isolated...Not that it would be impossible, but at Helix level of quality and miniaturized for the form factor it could add nearly $1000 to the cost because there would be extra engineering cost to hit that audio quality target. Not to mention that the power supply current would need to be several amps larger.

 

And not only is it added cost... Helix is a looonnnggg term product.  Why would I want to restrict myself to this year's wireless unit from a single vendor?  Which product would I integrate with Helix? 

 

Helix is meant to be the center of my rig.  I now can go out and buy any wireless system and integrate it with Helix.  And when a better one comes out next year, I can get that one.  Nope, don't want it.

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I have an old pair of original 240s. I'm quite used to listening to music on them, and they sound good for that.

 

I spent my first months of modeling using them with Amplitube and Scuffham, then Helix. Took a while to get dialed in, but all those were very cool in that environment.

 

When I finally got an FRFR setup, 2 Alesis 112s, all the patchesi built in the 240s sounded like complete dung through them. I've since spent lots of Helix time through those, and I'm happy again, but they're not at all the same as the 240s.

 

Moral of the story I think is that nothing is the same as anything else. Build patches using the playback setup you're going to use in real life, at realistic volumes​. Make sure you're not too close to the speakers, especially if they have a separate tweeter/horn.

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here are plenty of folks out there that own or have owned Kemper, Axe and Helix and have opted to use the Helix.  

 

 

 

Heyyy I know one of those fella's !  ;)

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For those who care :)

I got my hands on a Helix and there is absolutely no discussion for me anymore.

 

The flexibility is insane.. right out of the batch I got so much better distorted results.

I am simply blown away by the customization possibilities. Such a great concept–

 

I'm a designer / concepter and therefore my brain is doomed to wanting to improve everything. Very rare that I am this satisfied with a user interface. 

 

I wouldn't be suprised if I found out I could compute Footswitch 4 to call 911 :D

 

The Helix takes a lot of haziness away from the whole tone-building thing. Hard- and Software are so crystal clear that my mind can fully concentrate on the sound I want. The combination with Helix editor is another huge workflow improvement. 

 

 

Only thing that doesn't stop to bother me: 

The preset knob feels exactly the same as the joystick-knob. When I use the preset knob I almost always end up using it like a joystick. 

I don't say it should be a joystick, but then the UI should at least offer a way to go back from the right window (presets) to the left window (folders / sets) without needing to switch my hand to the joystick knob.

 

Besides that, almost every other big question mark painted on my forhead vanished by just using the Helix and trying out things (like: What are the square-brackets on some values? What's the difference between bypass and controller assignment?) – That's the hardest task of every UI, and Line6 did an excellent job on this one. I just love the details and the versatility; so many paths to Rome!

 

Often it's easier and more comfortable to use the hardware on your table to setup the sounds, rather than Helix Editor; Wow!

Super duper nice: Double tapping SAVE saves it instantaneously! No Need to press the lil knob far away on the bottom right!

 

 

I'm thrilled to see where this will go in the future. Although I made my peace with almost everything that kinda bugs me, there is still room for improvement (like everywhere in life). But as the snapshot-update shows, Line6 is motivated to get this thing perfect :>

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Is it possible to connect the Helix to the Spider V 240HC you have?, have you tried it? how does it sound just through the head speakers?, they are suppose to be FR speakers. Thanks

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I have already given back the Spider V Head and didn't use the baby-speakers with the helix, sorry!

As for the speakers amplified by the Spider V itself, I was both disappointed and suprised at the same time. I didn't expect them to be able to get so loud and with the preset adjusted they sounded better than expected. But my main goal using them was to prepare sounds for rehearsal; But both sounded so different that all the work at home was worthless on the PA; maybe with more skill and experience a thing easy to adjust on the fly on location? Maybe not– I couldn't do it.

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