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Does Helix have latency when switching patches?


JamieCrain
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16 minutes ago, phil_m said:

 

I actually think that setting up snapshots is way more convenient than having to worry about separate presets for different sounds. The thing is that if you want to use the same amp model across different presets, it becomes a pain in the butt if you decide you want to make changes to the amp block.

 

Precisely. And it's absolutely as much of a pain in the butt with the Helix. And while snapshots are fantastic, they aren't really a solution, simply because I have to stuff so much things into one preset that there's no room for some fun stuff anymore. If they added a global blocks functionality, all that would be adressed just fine.

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29 minutes ago, phil_m said:

 

I actually think that setting up snapshots is way more convenient than having to worry about separate presets for different sounds. The thing is that if you want to use the same amp model across different presets, it becomes a pain in the butt if you decide you want to make changes to the amp block. Then you have to go and make that change in every preset you use that amp in... I used to have to do this with previous processors, and, honestly, it was one reason I didn't use them live nearly as much as I've used my Helix. With snapshots, it very much more like you have a rig, so when you make changes within that rig, you generally just have to do it once. It has saved me so much time.

 

Definitely agree that snapshots is a fantastic feature and I would not want to replace it with gapless preset switching. Having both would be optimal. Being limited to only one or the other is the compromise I was referring to.

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OK, so after nearly three years since my original post :) , I have learned the following about Helix:

  • There is latency between patches on Helix, except when using Snapshots.
  • Snapshots are limited though, so you don't really have total ability to use any pre-set tone and then use Snapshots to change to a completely different tone.
  • There is still no delay/echo/reverb trails feature in Helix (a major shortfall, trails makes a massive difference to the audio experience in a live environment)
  • DSP resources are still undercooked on Helix and L6 products more generally. I still don't understand why this is the case. How hard can it be to increase DSP by say 20%/30%/50% to handle the above given the availability of relatively cheap hardware these days.

I love the individual tones I get out my L6 gear, but for me the above issues are still big ones. Apple eventually realised that gapless music on the iPod was a must, especially if you listened to an album where songs blended into each other. This is no different.

 

Thanks for all the info! 

 

Jamie

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7 minutes ago, JamieCrain said:

OK, so after nearly three years since my original post :) , I have learned the following about Helix:

  • There is latency between patches on Helix, except when using Snapshots.
  • Snapshots are limited though, so you don't really have total ability to use any pre-set tone and then use Snapshots to change to a completely different tone.
  • There is still no delay/echo/reverb trails feature in Helix (a major shortfall, trails makes a massive difference to the audio experience in a live environment)
  • DSP resources are still undercooked on Helix and L6 products more generally. I still don't understand why this is the case. How hard can it be to increase DSP by say 20%/30%/50% to handle the above given the availability of relatively cheap hardware these days.

I love the individual tones I get out my L6 gear, but for me the above issues are still big ones. Apple eventually realised that gapless music on the iPod was a must, especially if you listened to an album where songs blended into each other. This is no different.

 

Thanks for all the info! 

 

Jamie

 

There are trails between snapshots, just not between presets.

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14 minutes ago, JamieCrain said:

OK, so after nearly three years since my original post :) , I have learned the following about Helix:

  • ...

 

Your post inspired me to go back and read the whole thread and it is amazing how little the conversation has changed and mostly between the same parties with which it started. Getting off my hamster wheel now :-)

 

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1 hour ago, JamieCrain said:

DSP resources are still undercooked on Helix and L6 products more generally. I still don't understand why this is the case. How hard can it be to increase DSP by say 20%/30%/50% to handle the above given the availability of relatively cheap hardware these days.

 

When the Helix was developed, they used the most powerful SHARC chip available (450 MHz). There was the TigerSHARC that Axe FX II used, but that was discontinued (the whole TigerSHARC line was). So in the sense of these purpose-built chips designed specifically for processing audio, the Helix was maxing out. They could have added more parallel processors, but that gives rise to a whole other host issues, mainly heat-related. But there's also the fact that every time the signal jumps between processors, there is additional latency.

 

There are newer 500 MHz SHARC chips available now, and they're dual core, so it would allow them to do a little more. There's still the issue of parallel processing, though.

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1 hour ago, JamieCrain said:
  • Snapshots are limited though, so you don't really have total ability to use any pre-set tone and then use Snapshots to change to a completely different tone.

 

Ok.

See, I *perfectly* get what you're saying. I also think there could probably be ways to gaplessly (and with delay/reverb trails) switch between patches in case they were pretty similar (was like that on older Boss GT models), kinda like a group of patches working as "snapshot supersets" or whatever. Also, as I have mentioned before, if there was something like a global block functionality (read: basically, blocks tagged as "global" would stay the same when you switch presets), quite some of these things would not be relevant anymore, as you could simply have a group of patches using the same "basic ingredients" but offering "different spices", so to say. In that case, one could arrange anything demanding quick switches (and/or FX trails) within one patch (most typical scenario: one patch per song), while still being able to manage and finetune multiple patches with ease (I'm sure we all know how unpleasant it is to even just dial in proper levels for a bunch of patches using more than one amp). Global blocks would also serve some other purposes just nicely.

Anyway, that's not exactly what I wanted to say, but: I'm not sure how much you have explored the layout options for patches along with snapshots and nicely assigned switches, along with the various options to switch between modes. I'm usually playing gigs demanding a certain bandwidth of sounds. And so far, I have managed to get through each and every of these gigs using exactly one single patch all throughout the event.

Usually, in most of my patches, there's two amp blocks, one IR block, two delay blocks, two reverb blocks, various drive blocks (2-4), some comp block(s), some EQ blocks (2-3), a wah block, a gate block. And most often, there's still enough space/juice for the occasional modulation block and a looper.

The tones I can get within such a single patch can be *very* different, ranging from super clean to fullblown drive - with anything inbetween, so I can usually vary the clean amp from funky clean to thick jazzy leads or the driven one from mellow, just above breakup, to full riffing.

Apart from the big Axe FX, I wouldn't happen to know of any modeler allowing me to do that.

As said, with other modelers (especially with the GT-1000) there's different (and perhaps more effective or easier) ways to skin this cat, but the amount of things you can do within one patch on a Helix is still quite mindblowing. Fwiw, the fact that this is so has been the reason for me to go for a Helix instead of a GT-1000. In case I had to switch patches all the time because I would feel too limited otherwise, I would've bought a GT.

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So much wrong with this post that I couldn't help myself.....

 

5 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

There is latency between patches on Helix, except when using Snapshots.

 

No exceptions.  There is latency when switching between patches, period.  Patches vs Snapshots....there is a difference.

 

5 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

Snapshots are limited though, so you don't really have total ability to use any pre-set tone and then use Snapshots to change to a completely different tone.

 

Sometimes you got to conform to the product's design instead of wishing it worked your way.  You do have the ability to place two amps within a patch and have different states and parameters via snapshots, which would give you two completely different tones inside of one patch.

 

5 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

There is still no delay/echo/reverb trails feature in Helix (a major shortfall, trails makes a massive difference to the audio experience in a live environment)

 

There are trails that spillover across one patch per snapshot.

 

5 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

DSP resources are still undercooked on Helix and L6 products more generally. I still don't understand why this is the case. How hard can it be to increase DSP by say 20%/30%/50% to handle the above given the availability of relatively cheap hardware these days.

 

How hard can it be?  There would have to be a hardware upgrade.  So we're talking a redesign of Helix to accommodate the additional chips.  Don't forget the cost of retooling and reprogramming the production facility that's going to produce the hardware.  Now we're gonna need software written/re-written to take advantage of the extra DSP.  Then Line 6 has to sell enough of these newer models to (at the very least) recoup R&D, production, marketing, and whatever else is involved bringing a newer product to market.  And these are only the things that come to the top of my head and I'm probably missing a ton more details.  At this point, may as well come out with a new product instead of a half-baked upgrade.

 

5 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

I love the individual tones I get out my L6 gear, but for me the above issues are still big ones. Apple eventually realised that gapless music on the iPod was a must, especially if you listened to an album where songs blended into each other. This is no different.

 

But there is a difference.  Apple's solution was a software update.  Points 1, 2, 4, & 5 require hardware upgrades and point 3 isn't an issue if you're using snapshots.

 

Sometimes I think we concentrate too much on the gear and not enough on the quality of music we are producing.  

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thanks Lungho

 

So yes there is latency. Got it. 
 

Snapshots is cool but I use approx 16 main patches on my current rig. Every single patch uses a different amp combo so Snapshots is limited for me. 
 

Trails in snapshots? Tick. 
 

Working around the limitation of the gear would be fine if we knew it wasn’t possible to achieve what I’m looking for. But we know it does exist on other brands. 
 

Hardware update to improve DSP performance? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. But they should have done it from the outset. 
 

As for concentrating too much on the gear, I don’t agree. As a friend of mine said to me after showing him my L6 gear, the gear is as much the instrument as the guitar. 
 

Anyways, Helix is an amazing product, and I may get one when the next version comes out. I just wish it worked as seamlessly as my old Boss ME unit. 

 

cheers, J

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2 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

Hardware update to improve DSP performance? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. But they should have done it from the outset.

 

Well, I think phil_m has already sufficiently illustrated why that wasn't the case. To get around this, the Helix either would have to deal with certain issues related to slapping in more CPUs (heat, possibly latency) or some of the functionality would have to be compromised (routing less flexible, less blocks per patch to save CPU cycles for gapless switching, etc.).

Whatever, I don't know of any scenario where you'd need more than what could be done within one patch for one single song, even in case I try to imagine some highly complexed music.

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9 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

Hardware update to improve DSP performance? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. But they should have done it from the outset. 

 

There is no crystal ball to work with... you can only build using the technology available at the time. More power require a new piece of hardware... and I'm sure at some point, that will come. But it's important to realize that even that "new device" will be constrained to the technology limitations of it's date of production and within a year or so this entire "not enough power" discussion comes right back into focus. 

 

That is part of this game that will never, ever end! It is best not to let your mind get preoccupied with it. 

 

9 hours ago, JamieCrain said:

Snapshots is cool but I use approx 16 main patches on my current rig. Every single patch uses a different amp combo so Snapshots is limited for me. 

 

Don't worry about how many sounds you need in a night.... worry about how many sounds you need in a song. Try to solve the song with snapshots, not the entire night.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, codamedia said:

Don't worry about how many sounds you need in a night.... worry about how many sounds you need in a song. Try to solve the song with snapshots, not the entire night.

 

 

 

This. You can have up to 8 snapshots per patch...I don't think the song has been written that would require more than 8 distinct tone/FX combinations.

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7 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

This. You can have up to 8 snapshots per patch...I don't think the song has been written that would require more than 8 distinct tone/FX combinations.


I don’t know... There’s that one Twelve Foot Ninja song where Stevic uses like 23 different Variax settings or something like that... :-)

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41 minutes ago, phil_m said:


I don’t know... There’s that one Twelve Foot Ninja song where Stevic uses like 23 different Variax settings or something like that... :-)

 

A conundrum for anyone in a TFN tribute band, then... but the rest of the guitar playing world will remain relatively unscathed, I should think...;)

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