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Can Helix be used as a serious Audio Interface?

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If that's what you need, the Apollo might be the right tool for you.

You could reason it that way I guess, but the fact is it costs more because a "dedicated high-end audio Interface" that does more.

 

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If that's not what I need, the Apollo is just an overpriced interface.

Again, you get what you pay for usually, so will agree to disagree that it's overpriced compared to everything else these days.

 

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But it's not about us, it's about ipran's needs, and I think we already agreed that it would be a waste to trade down from his (her?) UAD.

 

Yea I agree and don't understand why that would happen,  but it is "His" to do what he wishes. Maybe the UAD got watered next to a plant? Who knows LOL. ; )

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I got your point guys, it's not about the superior UAD compare to others units,  I'm talking about the potential of helix sound interface if it has own dedicate  setting software for flexibility reason . I just hands-on the helix unit in days  . I could skip something , to route the sound from the computer ( as backing track ) and guitar I'm playing  and combine them as video demo with screenflow apps on Mac  , even my old focusrite able to do that . I don't care about the the sophisticated result . Just want to backing track them with my helix ( since it can act as sound interface )

 

Regards 

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Global Settings-Ins Outs-USB in 1/2 Destination-Multi (or whichever outs you choose.

With Helix set as your Recording/Playback Default Device in the Sound Panel (if you're using Windows) that should get streaming audio from YouTube, Spotify etc to the Helix and mix it with the processed guitar sound.

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6 hours ago, ipran said:

I got your point guys, it's not about the superior UAD compare to others units,  I'm talking about the potential of helix sound interface if it has own dedicate  setting software for flexibility reason .

 

Fine, and I hope you get to where you want to be with both units. The only reason I actually said anything is because it was stated that the Apollo Interface was basically for rich professionals, and that's just not the case. Best of luck ipran.

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2 hours ago, rd2rk said:

Global Settings-Ins Outs-USB in 1/2 Destination-Multi (or whichever outs you choose.

With Helix set as your Recording/Playback Default Device in the Sound Panel (if you're using Windows) that should get streaming audio from YouTube, Spotify etc to the Helix and mix it with the processed guitar sound.

Absolutely I will try this , thank you 

 

i ve This setting by default , I think This is exactly what you saying right ?

0D4B9D77-2281-49CF-87AF-7A1B97B93F79.jpeg

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Right.
Helix is serious audio interface. AD/DA converters deliver very good sound quality - low distortion and fair S/N ratio. HiZ to amp tests prove it sounds like good analog buffer. The only drawback is high (as for 2015-20 years) latency, but as mentioned - Helix is not marketed as audio interface.

 

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Helix is not marketed as audio interface.

 

Primarily no,  it is not marketed as such much because of its "primary function" which is a great sounding guitar preamp.

 

That does not mean it can't serve you well as an Audio Interface if that's all you want, or need atm for recording Helix with.

 I have not used Helix as an AI because I already have an Apollo, but I'm sure others here can report on how well it does with N.I. or Arturia, or i.K. or etc products.

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So you can report how serious Helix sound quality wise when compared to UA Apollo.
I find Helix superior to Digi002, Mbox1, Behringer UMC202HD and NI Komplete Audio 6.

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Can Helix be used as a serious Audio Interface?

 

No it can't, it has no input gain control ffs

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4 hours ago, vstrattomusic said:

 

No it can't, it has no input gain control ffs

sure it does, add a gain block at the beginning of your chain and you have exactly that.

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25 minutes ago, willjrock said:

sure it does, add a gain block at the beginning of your chain and you have exactly that.

 

Not for DI takes from Out 7, it doesn't. No hardware input gain control knob, every audio interface has one.

 

Guitars, bass, microphones all output different volumes, you have 0 control of that in the helix, then there is no meter in the Helix to tell you when you're clipping if you decide to use a gain block, and by the way how the hell are you going to plug in a regular condenser mic into this if the mic requires 48V phantom power? Even my 150€ Scarlett 2i4 can do that.

 

This is a very good guitar amp/effects processor, but it's no subsitute for a real audio interface unless you like lots of workarounds. If you're gonna record more than just guitars and bass, then get a real audio interface.

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35 minutes ago, vstrattomusic said:

 

Not for DI takes from Out 7, it doesn't. No hardware input gain control knob, every audio interface has one.

 

Guitars, bass, microphones all output different volumes, you have 0 control of that in the helix, then there is no meter in the Helix to tell you when you're clipping if you decide to use a gain block, and by the way how the hell are you going to plug in a regular condenser mic into this if the mic requires 48V phantom power? Even my 150€ Scarlett 2i4 can do that.

 

This is a very good guitar amp/effects processor, but it's no subsitute for a real audio interface unless you like lots of workarounds. If you're gonna record more than just guitars and bass, then get a real audio interface.

 

You typically wouldn't want to do anything with input gain from a guitar or bass if you're just recording the dry signal (that's why it's called a dry signal!). If you want to adjust the gain prior to recording, then don't record the dry signal. Run it through a path and record one of the other USB inputs.

 

As far as phantom power, that can be turned on under Global Settings>Ins/Outs>Mic In 48V Phantom Power. You can also adjust the Mic In gain in the Ins/Outs menu. So, yes, there's no problem plugging a condensor mic into the Helix. At least get your facts straight before you rant.

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For a project or home studio where one guy is recording one instrument at a time, it's a serious solution.

For any studio recording 2 or more instruments simultaneously, it's not the best solution.

It's really that simple: depends on usage, as is usually the case with these discussions.

And any time you need more than one mic, obviously, it's a no go.

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Just now, phil_m said:

As far as phantom power, that can be turned on under Global Settings>Ins/Outs>Mic In 48V Phantom Power. You can also adjust the Mic In gain in the Ins/Outs menu. So, yes, there's no problem plugging a condensor mic into the Helix. At least get your facts straight before you rant.

 

Yeah sorry, I have the LT, didn't know the regular one had that option.

 

2 minutes ago, phil_m said:

You typically wouldn't want to do anything with input gain from a guitar or bass if you're just recording the dry signal (that's what it's called a dry signal!).

 

Yes you do! For me for example it's especially useful to have that feature, my bass has weaker output than my guitars, so on my Focusrite interface when I used it I would use different input gain settings when recording bass compared to electric guitar, and with this it was fine. However when I got the Helix I didn't have this option and my bass sounded very weak when using an amp on it, so eventually I figured out that I could use a Gain block as a workaround, however I still have no reference about how hot the original signal is on a meter, but right now I just thought of something and I'm going to try it next time I'm recording.

 

10 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

For a project or home studio where one guy is recording one instrument at a time, it's a serious solution.

For any studio recording 2 or more instruments simultaneously, it's not the best solution.

It's really that simple: depends on usage, as is usually the case with these discussions.

And any time you need more than one mic, obviously, it's a no go.

 

I've been thinking of something for a while, you are quite knowledgeable with this right? So, if I recorded my DI's with the Scarlett 2i4 for easiness and then reamped with the Helix, how messed up would the result be considering there's inevitably going to be some volume difference between a DI take recorded with the Helix and one recorded with 2i4?

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3 minutes ago, vstrattomusic said:

Yes you do! For me for example it's especially useful to have that feature, my bass has weaker output than my guitars, so on my Focusrite interface when I used it I would use different input gain settings when recording bass compared to electric guitar, and with this it was fine. However when I got the Helix I didn't have this option and my bass sounded very weak when using an amp on it, so eventually I figured out that I could use a Gain block as a workaround, however I still have no reference about how hot the original signal is on a meter, but right now I just thought of something and I'm going to try it next time I'm recording.

 

The whole point of recording a dry track for re-amping is so you have a replica of the original performance, unaltered, straight from the source. If it's a low signal to begin with, that's what you want to leave it at. Otherwise your re-amped track's gain structure will be different and sound different than the original performance. It doesn't matter if it was a low signal to being with. You can compensate for that in the modeling when you re-amp it.

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9 minutes ago, vstrattomusic said:

I've been thinking of something for a while, you are quite knowledgeable with this right? So, if I recorded my DI's with the Scarlett 2i4 for easiness and then reamped with the Helix, how messed up would the result be considering there's inevitably going to be some volume difference between a DI take recorded with the Helix and one recorded with 2i4?

When I had another interface (I now only use Helix, or HX Stomp, for my own recording), I found it too frustrating to get the level perfect for re-amping and having the amp model sound right, whether it be Native or going through Helix.

If I used the guitar input on Helix and used Helix as my USB interface and didn't mess with the level of the dry USB7 track, it was perfect, so I got rid of the other interface. I didn't need it.

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On 1/10/2019 at 4:56 PM, ipran said:

Absolutely I will try this , thank you 

 

i ve This setting by default , I think This is exactly what you saying right ?

0D4B9D77-2281-49CF-87AF-7A1B97B93F79.jpeg

 

As long as you want the streaming audio from your computer on all the outs, that'll work. Don't forget to set the default output device in the Windows sound panel to Helix.

 

Another thing to consider is using a small mixer to make output level matching easier. I use a $50 Behringer Xenix502. I take the 1/4" Outs from Helix to the line inputs on the Xenix, then take the speaker out from the computer to the other set of Line inputs (or the CD/Tape input) on the Xenix, and the speaker outs from the Xenix to my monitors. In the Windows sound panel I leave the Default output device set to the computer's sound card (instead of the Helix). I leave the Big Knob on the Helix maxed (0db), and use the Xenix to control all the levels, including headphones (attached to the Xenix on my desktop). If you use a DAW and VST plugins (Amplitube, etc.) instead of Helix (for processing), the DAW will map to the Helix separately from the streaming signal. You set up a Helix preset without amps/cabs, using whatever pre VST effects you want from the Helix. For instance, S-Gear has no overdrives, so I setup the Helix Plugin preset with a Wah and an overdrive. Just remember to use that preset with DAW/VSTs, or it'll sound awful!

 

That's my simple desktop setup. In my studio I use a Focusrite 18i20 (lots more Ins/Outs) as soundcard AND Mixer, but that's a whole 'nother topic!

 

 

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I cannot recommend the UAD Apollo enough. No, its mic preamps are likely not leaps and bounds better than those on a $500 interface but its ability to let you track through plugins live is a godsend!

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3 hours ago, willjrock said:

sure it does, add a gain block at the beginning of your chain and you have exactly that.

But the most critical point ist BEFORE the AD-conversion (because there you have to deal with clipping and signal noise ratio first).

And unfortunately there the Helix only has a pad switch (GitIn) or a positive gain (Mic).

 

Simon268

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10 minutes ago, Simon268 said:

But the most critical point ist BEFORE the AD-conversion (because there you have to deal with clipping and signal noise ratio first).

And unfortunately there the Helix only has a pad switch (GitIn) or a positive gain (Mic).

 

Simon268

 

You can also use the 1/4" Returns or Aux Ins as inputs if you need to (although they can't be sent to USB 7 or 8), and those can be set to accept line level signals (the Aux In is always set that way). Really, for most sources, there's plenty of opportunities to adjust the gain at the source. Having an input trim for instrument level input isn't something that's all that necessary, imo.

 

The Helix is primarily a guitar processor, that's for sure. It can easily do double-duty as a "serious" interface as long as you're willing to work within its capabilities and not get too hung up on what it can't do.

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When every serious Interface has it and the Helix doesnt, then it's not one of them. ;-)

 

Seriously, why is it important if it counts as 'serious interface'? I think nobody is buying (or even considering) one mainly for this purpose. It's a great guitar effect unit that can also be used for recording guitar (and to some degree vocals or other sources). If one is looking for an allrounder interface for recording arbitrary audio, midi, other digital signals, ... (= a serious interface) there are more fitting products - and that doesnt take away anything off the Helix.

(e.g. I like the light of the Helix's display and footswitches but would never buy it as a 'serious ambient light device')

 

:-)

 

Simon268

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It borders on a stupid argument.

NO serious pro studio would use this as their only interface, and no one would expect them to.

 

And no project or home studio where you only record one or maybe two sources at once would be ill-served by it either.

 

And any time you need to record with more than one mic at a time it's the wrong choice.

So... depends on your definition of "serious"...

I will say this, every source I've recorded with it sounds great.

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So you can report how serious Helix sound quality wise when compared to UA Apollo.

 

My ears would probably not be able to, however where the UA Apollo shines is with options I.E. the multitude of "built-in" wonderful sounding add-ons you can purchase, and the ability to take the FX workload of those add-ons away from the iMac/PC.

 

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So... depends on your definition of "serious"...

 

Exactly. Helix (I'm sure) will serve as a fine USB Audio Interface. I just don't use it in that way. ; )

 

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If one is looking for an allrounder interface for recording arbitrary audio, midi, other digital signals, ... (= a serious interface) there are more fitting products - and that doesnt take away anything off the Helix.

My 2 cents is that Helix can serve this purpose just fine I'm thinking, but I myself wouldn't moth-ball my Apollo Quad to use it. In hindsight, I'd rather that Line-6 used that "space" for more guitar processor stuff (like VU meters for example), but that's a moot point now, as it is what it is... Helix is an awesome guitar processor, which also has a very usable audio interface built into it.

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2 hours ago, PeterHamm said:

It borders on a stupid argument.

NO serious pro studio would use this as their only interface, and no one would expect them to.

And no project or home studio where you only record one or maybe two sources at once would be ill-served by it either.

 

+1.... IMO, that says it all!

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On 1/10/2019 at 12:03 PM, ipran said:

I got your point guys, it's not about the superior UAD compare to others units,  I'm talking about the potential of helix sound interface if it has own dedicate  setting software for flexibility reason . I just hands-on the helix unit in days  . I could skip something , to route the sound from the computer ( as backing track ) and guitar I'm playing  and combine them as video demo with screenflow apps on Mac  , even my old focusrite able to do that . I don't care about the the sophisticated result . Just want to backing track them with my helix ( since it can act as sound interface )

 

Regards 

Yes, you can do that. On your Mac, simply set the input and output sound device to be the Helix, plug headphones into your Helix or your Helix 1/4" or XLR outs into something amplified and jam away. When recording a video, select your "mic" input to be the Helix.

 

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2 hours ago, bsd512 said:

Yes, you can do that. On your Mac, simply set the input and output sound device to be the Helix, plug headphones into your Helix or your Helix 1/4" or XLR outs into something amplified and jam away. When recording a video, select your "mic" input to be the Helix.

 

That will only record what is coming into the Helix inputs, AFAIK.

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I still find the concept of a "serious" interface somewhat funny in this discussion. The fact is that a lot of session guys do their tracking in their home studios today, and they're using all sorts of interfaces to do it. Generally, the quality of interface and converters isn't the bottleneck anymore, and it really hasn't been for quite a while. The Line 6 guys released a podcast last year where they interviewed Peter DiStefano of Porno for Pyros fame, and he's made a career of doing film scores, including some very big-budget films. He's pretty much done all the guitar parts using his UX2 and POD Farm... Is that a serious interface? Maybe not, but it's still plenty capable of getting the job done.

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1 hour ago, gunpointmetal said:

That will only record what is coming into the Helix inputs, AFAIK.

Correct. Helix has a lot of inputs. 

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2 minutes ago, bsd512 said:

Correct. Helix has a lot of inputs. 

Wasn't he trying to record the backing track and Helix into the camera? Setting the Helix as the mic will ONLY record the guitar input, not the track being played through the Helix. I believe he is looking for mixer-type software that will route any input (USB or analog) to the same output (camera), which I don't think is possible with Helix by itself.

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24 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

Wasn't he trying to record the backing track and Helix into the camera? Setting the Helix as the mic will ONLY record the guitar input, not the track being played through the Helix. I believe he is looking for mixer-type software that will route any input (USB or analog) to the same output (camera), which I don't think is possible with Helix by itself.

Ah, yes, I think you're right. I read it too quick, thinking he wanted to play along with backing tracks and (separately) make video using the Helix as audio input directly.

 

There might still be a way but I think the way most folks do that is record the audio into a DAW and video to whatever, then combine the two in video editing software and sync up the audio with the video. I could be wrong, though.

 

But yes, you are right. Setting the computer output to be the Helix comes in USB1/2 which is not recorded along with everything else. Unless there's some global setting to enable it, I haven't looked for that.

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17 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

Wasn't he trying to record the backing track and Helix into the camera? Setting the Helix as the mic will ONLY record the guitar input, not the track being played through the Helix. I believe he is looking for mixer-type software that will route any input (USB or analog) to the same output (camera), which I don't think is possible with Helix by itself.

 

I think all he wanted to do was be able to jam along. Recording streaming audio on a separate track is one of those functions that require a separate AI with additional Line Inputs. There are ways to do it with the Helix alone, but they all require modifying every preset he'd want to use like that.

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On 1/13/2019 at 6:25 AM, spikey said:

My 2 cents is that Helix can serve this purpose just fine I'm thinking, but I myself wouldn't moth-ball my Apollo Quad to use it. In hindsight, I'd rather that Line-6 used that "space" for more guitar processor stuff (like VU meters for example), but that's a moot point now, as it is what it is... Helix is an awesome guitar processor, which also has a very usable audio interface built into it.

 

Agreed.  I would also add that (and I posted this elsewhere before) I wish Line 6 would port the Helix to UAD as a UNISON plugin.  THAT would be killer!

Love my Apollo Quad!

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Anyone who uses a DAW and doesnt use direct monitoring (like in an overdub) will notice that Line 6 helix USB driver isnt great for low latency

In fact Line 6 has Never had a decent low latency USB driver for any product (ASIO ro MAC) All that said if you use the helix and monitor using direct monitor 9ie no dubs no plug-ins) 

you wont notice an issue. ..there are tons of great low latency high quality Audio devices out there..for me i connect Helix via spdif to my focusrite Liquid 56. works swell

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Posted (edited)
On 11/7/2017 at 1:59 PM, ramirezdan said:

I'm trying to figure out this answer.

 

To those saying latency doesn't matter because there's direct monitoring... Some of us use the DAW's effects and loop tracks using the DAW. The only way that works is to monitor through the software. Works great with a real interface, and actually, worked fine for me too with the Helix.

 

I just wish I could route stuff in the DAW without using block paths in the Helix. It sucks losing a block path simply to get a click out to headphones. 

From my own experience trying to record midi drums and vocals (using plugins in DAW; Reaper), the latency with Helix falls short. Some of my vocal tracks have 5-10 plugins and the latency makes it unusable. I have to use my old Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen for vocals. It hinders my workflow.  

 

I'm looking at upgrading to a Focusrite Clarett 4PRE at the moment. With that, I'd be able to leave the Helix plugged into 2 inputs for stereo guitar and bass tracks as well as my mic and e-drums (midi). It sounds high-maintenance, but I when I'm writing and/or recording, I expect to pick an instrument and go rather than fiddle with cables and settings.

 

EDIT: ended up going the with Focusrite Clarett 2PRE. Found one used for $275. My wife helped me realize unplugging/plugging cables isn't worth $400+ lol she's right. 

Edited by ronballllllls
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For the bedroom type players and engineers that only need 1-2 inputs, its an amazing starting audio interface.  Easy to use and good results too. 

its got DI capabilites while monitoring the wet tone.  

I get get some pretty good results out of it.   I would never actually mix a record on it, but for writing and capturing ideas onto simulated DAW tape, its very very good. 

 

 

If your gonna do something professional audio wise, get a professional interface for that, this is not its sole intention. 

 

 

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