Jump to content

Helix with Boss SY-300 tips


Recommended Posts

I know synths have been discussed here and there on this site, but I'm specifically interested on what tips and tricks you other Helix owners have used with the Boss SY-300 synth in the helix loop. I seem to have settled in to putting the Helix loop block after the cab (not between the amp and cab). I primarily use the Fender amp types. I've also used various complementary Helix mod blocks or the fantastic Tile Reverb in the chain to accent the stereo spread. I dedicate one full patch to the SY-300, but can switch to 7 other Helix clean or driven amp patches on the fly, love it! What successes have you other SY-300 had with the Helix? (What I do know is that it's addictive, and now I'm full time tweek boy with both units!  You can deep dive yourself into a black hole where nothing escapes, including time, light, and sanity).   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Addictive is right. Here are some of my favorite uses, in no particular order:

1. I usually loop it in right in front of the amp block. It is actually always in the mix because my Loop 1 goes to my volume pedal and SY-300. I use MIDI controls from the Helix to toggle the SY-300 bypass.

2. By far, the majority of my use is of the treble boost and the blues driver effect. I found it is nice to have that one overdrive pedal you can always hit regardless of what preset or snapshot you are in. I usually set it via MIDI as normally bypassed and use it like a stomp box. You can also program the individual effect blocks on the SY-300 to turn on and off via the right three footswitches.

3. I used to utilize the second output, I think it is the sub out, and run it to an open Loop return on the Helix. On the Boss I would send the synth to the output and the through signal to the sub out, or vice versa. then you can send both signals to different paths in the Helix and blend a normal guitar signal with a synth signal. If you put some thick reverb and delay on the synth signal, I can create a pad sound.

4. The most useful synth application for me has been an organ-type sound. But that's because the majority of my gigs are at church on Sunday mornings. Next would be pad sounds. I haven't really tried lead sounds yet outside of practicing in my bedroom.

5. You can add more dimension to any synth sound by sending it through the octo reverb.

6.  I have a couple presets dedicated to the SY-300, but I find the most useful is to have a snapshot set up to send a program change MIDI signal to the unit to turn on a synth preset (as opposed to one used for stompboxes) and turn off the amp and cab blocks in the Helix. 

7. I haven't really had a problem where I've run out of DSP power on the Helix and wanted another delay or reverb, but I've experimented with using the SY-300 reverbs and delays in case I needed to save Helix DSP.

I'm sure I could think of a few more, I'll try to remember to edit this post if I do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the main way I'm using the SY-300. This happens to be a dual-amp patch, but that part doesn't matter. See the image:




The very first send block is two sends, Send 1/2 - one sending to the SY-300 input, the other to my Mel9 input. My SY-300 dry-out is feeding a Trio+. Their outputs are not used in the guitar signal chain at all - they are not brought back in until Path 2b at the very bottom which has no Helix effect processing.


The Trio comes in on the first block of Path 2b which is mono Return 1 (drums and bass). The Mel9 comes in on the second block on Path 2b which is mono Return 2.


And the SY-300 L/R stereo out comes back in on the third block of Path 2b which is stereo Return 3/4 which converts the rest of the path to stereo for a nice full stereo sound that the SY-300 is capable of.


I've found this to be a good setup for ambients and other synth patches that mix well with the guitar processing above it in Paths 1a, 1b, and 2a.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

I'm going to take it a little further as the Boss SY-300 is one of two indispensable pedals I now use with the Helix and I doubt I will ever need any more effects. Seriously....

The other pedal I use in conjunction is the Eventide H9. If there is something the line 6 can do, which isn't very much, then the H9 will cover it. It's the most comprehensive set of effects in a small box.   Both pedals are really good at mangling the sound or as a doubler effect that is part guitar and part synth.


I have this set up so that if I use my feet, I can get different synth or h9 patches recalled with each Snap shot, so I 've greatly enhanced the number of different sounds I can get in a single set list. I have both stompboxes running with stereo outs in the chain and I drag the placement of the pedals around for different effects.

I can easily change parameters in either box , tied to the expression/foot-pedal that's included on the Helix. I made one spaced out strange wah patch using 3 signal paths, each with different wah and different settings , all triggered at the same time, as well as using the pedal to sweep across the filter cut on a synth sound, so it's a very strange and only possible with the Helix sound.

Lastly, I have learned how to use ableton live to automatically switch patches on the Helix, which in turn switch the patches of the other two pedals, to have electronic dance music that I perform live, with several different sounds and patches automatically triggered, no matter where I am on stage. Since guitar is practically a dirty word in Dance music, I have the ability to bring virtuosity to a dance music performance instead of a guy just standing there on a keyboard and can keep the actual guitar sounds to a minimum or nicely blended, while giving the audience the ability to watch my fingers play many main parts in real time, as well as really spacy sound effects. I've done this for psy trance and house, the latter allowing more funk based guitar sounds.

This could open up guitar players to playing in dance projects and not having to sit on the side quietly most of the time, the way Ronnie James Dio used keyboard players in his band....keyboard hardly ever playing and out of sight the whole gig.

For my rock band I just use the sy-300 for more subtle sounds, but I have a nice palette for intros and breakdown and people always ask me where the keyboardist is hiding, after a show.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...