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Getting started with Helix!

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Good morning all!


Apologies for entering the forum with a post that has probably been repeated many times before but it gives me a chance to introduce myself...


I'm Chris, a predominantly bedroom guitarist who ventures out once a month to a local jam night.


I've taken the plunge and ordered a Helix after finding an amazing deal. I've play with a few demo units in some local stores so don't have any anxiety around navigation of the device, but as someone who mainly just plugs into an amp via a few pedals, I'm a bit uncertain regarding the additional options for listening to the output of the Helix (at home).


I think that the options are largely:


1. Studio monitors

2. Via headphones for near-silent practice

3. FRFR active monitor

4. Amplifier (fx return or front-end)



I'd like your advice mainly about option 1 as this looks like a good link into DAWS and home recording. So....


What's the best way to connect Helix to monitors? XLR or 1/4"?

Do I need to / should I go through an audio interface?


Do I need to hook up to a computer or can I just go directly to the monitors? I currently only have a MacBook Air but will probably buy an iMac later this year. I appreciate that I'll need the computer attached if recording, but as I only have a laptop and use that for work other things, it doesn't have much storage capacity and I like to keep my set-up as simple as possible - i.e. plug and play. 


Thank you in advance! 







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Yeah, there are a TON of posts answering these questions.  Just look through the top three....


Lots of discussions about Headphones.  Helix headphone jack is VERY hot, and can overdrive headphones easily.  I like to put an interface in between when using Headphones, but that's me, others just hook up direct and like it.


Helix is an audio interface itself, so any option you suggested works.  It all depends on what works best for you and makes your setup most flexible.  My Helix travels a lot, so I set up a dedicated interface for my monitors, and connect Helix to my L2t by L6 Link.  For recording I vary between hooking the Helix into the interface (typically S/PDIF) or using it direct to computer by USB.  Depends on how I feel and what color the sky is.


For recording jams and the like, I just picked up a used Zoom R16 for $250 last week.  Works awesome.  It records to SD card so I don't need a computer till I'm ready to mix my tracks down.

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The simplest arrangement is just to have one USB plug from the Helix into your laptop. Everything else (including monitors) is connected to the Helix.   I use Windows and it immediately recognizes and uses the Helix as it's sound card when I plug in, so all of sound from the computer goes through the Helix and the studio monitors.  I don't know if the Mac does the same or if you have to manually select the Helix, but it's still the simplest arrangement.


As far as XLR or 1/4" I just use 1/4" and it works fine, but either one should be adequate.

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For 1/4 in, your best bet is using TRS cables...  the electric in my house is pretty noisy, and I end up with noise with TS cables.  Silent with TRS.


As noted, I hook my monitors through an interface through a computer.  The Focusrite 6i6 only has 1/4 outs, so that's what I use to my monitors

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