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Helix vs Headrush - Patch Switching

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I'm honestly just more curious than anything. The headrush seems to be able to switch between patches without any latency, and effects spillover between patches. I know you can accomplish something similar with Helix if you're using snapshots liberally. I'm curious, though. What technically limits Helix from being able to do the same thing? It seems like the DSP in Helix is much more powerful, so I don't get why there has to be such a noticeable delay when switching patches.

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It doesn't matter if the Helix's processor is more powerful. If its modeling technology is more detailed than the Headrush, that will add to the latency. If the Headrush could be made to run the Helix's software and model amps the way the Helix does, I wonder how much slower its patch switching would be. I suspect that the Headrush is not modeling amp with the same level of detail that the Helix is.

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Because nothing comes for free.  There's always a trade-off.

 

In order to provide the capability of multiple signal paths with the variety of blocks and the detailed adjustments that can be made to those blocks, there's going to be a cost in loading a new preset.  This is the same reason a Ferrari will never get 40 miles to the gallon.  It was never designed or nor meant to do that.

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The Headrush's processor also is completely taxed when you load two 2048 IR files in it (meaning you can't load anything else in the preset). So I'm not sure exactly how they're allocating DSP resources, but it could be that they're holding back some of them for the express purpose of serving as a spillover buffer.

 

Technically, yes,  Line 6 could have designed the Helix to have spillover, but it would have meant limiting it in other ways. So it's just a design choice. Personally, I'd rather have the ability to create more complex presets than have gapless switching.

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Technically, yes,  Line 6 could have designed the Helix to have spillover, but it would have meant limiting it in other ways. So it's just a design choice. Personally, I'd rather have the ability to create more complex presets than have gapless switching.

 

 

Yup. Me too, and according to Line 6's market research, virtually everybody else...

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From what I saw the flexibility to load blocks on the Headrush is much more limited. I believe there is a maximum of 11 spaces available for effects and amps/cabs. So in return for far less flexibility and what looks to be less blocks allowed in a preset you get gapless preset switching. I don't pretend to know the internals on the Headrush but perhaps what they did was dedicate two of the four cores on their four-core DSP processor to switching and two to the signal path. Helix went the other way and dedicated both DSP chips to allowing a more complex signal path and perhaps more DSP dedicated to amp and effect models. Very different approaches. I prefer the Helix approach, particularly since the addition of snapshots, but I look forward to modeler designs in the future with cheaper more powerful multi-core DSP chips that may be able to provide a compromise that offers more flexible signal chains, high-res complex modeling, and also gapless switching. However, there will probably always be room in the market-place for throwing all the DSP power at flexibility and pushing the limits of resolution and complexity on amps/cabs and effects; much as the Helix is currently designed. I know it has proven to be an unpopular idea on the forum but I would still love to see future generations of the Helix include a touchscreen. 

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I have this theory, but I'd have to actually have some hands-on to actually test this, and I'm not all that motivated to do so =]

But anyway; HeadRush is explained as having the first quad-core processing power - fair enough.

Hands-on reports popped up a number of places where some interestingly complex patch creation has run into the wall seemingly quite 'early' in the game.

I submit that a massive percentage of the processing - theoretically near enough to half (after allowing for the OS/housekeeping of the system itself) is actually dedicated to the job of 'redundancy' - so, rather than the DSP having to unload the current processes, then load up the new ones, I suspect the HR system loads in the 'empty' half (quicker as a result), gets that running, allows spillover because the previous patch is actually still there with all input cut-off the moment the preset button was engaged... then does the housekeeping of clearing/unloading the other 'half' of the DSP capacity in the background, readying it for the next swap.

DSP pool A -> DSP pool B -> A -> B  etc...

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But anyway; HeadRush is explained as having the first quad-core processing power - fair enough.

 

 

Actually this makes me wonder what they're using for the processor.  Quad-core as in Intel chips like those used in a computer?  Do they mention a DSP chip at all?  Two very different animals there.

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Actually this makes me wonder what they're using for the processor.  Quad-core as in Intel chips like those used in a computer?  Do they mention a DSP chip at all?  Two very different animals there.

....I just did a perfunctory search for the specifics of the Quad core DSP in HeadrUsh and came up pretty empty, the closest I got was on their site saying it was..."purpose-built", no mention anywhere of manufacturer, or specs of any kind.....This whole rollout seems to me,..a bit ........dare I say...hinky..?

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behind all the technical details we will see in later hand on's, tests and comparisons, the headrush seems to be an pretty interesting thing. The touchscreen is one more detail to make Helix usability still better. About the sounds - we will see.

 

But: Even if i would like some things different in the Helix - they defintivly spendet a lot of time, work and brain in the usability concept wich i've never seen before in a unit like this.

Did'nt nobody notice that in the main aspects, the headrush seems just to copiey the Helix? I tend to support the inventors, not the copyshop people ;)

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....I just did a perfunctory search for the specifics of the Quad core DSP in HeadrUsh and came up pretty empty, the closest I got was on their site saying it was..."purpose-built", no mention anywhere of manufacturer, or specs of any kind.....This whole rollout seems to me,..a bit ........dare I say...hinky..?

My understanding (and it may be wrong) was the Headrush was just a repackaging of the Eleven rack.  Undoubtedly the Eleven rack wasn't using the current generation of DSP chip.

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My understanding (and it may be wrong) was the Headrush was just a repackaging of the Eleven rack.  Undoubtedly the Eleven rack wasn't using the current generation of DSP chip.

The guys on the Andertons YouTube channel reviewed it and, somewhere toward the beginning, mentioned that Eleven Rack gave or licensed their code to the owner of Headrush. The way they explained their interaction with the owner made it sound like Headrush is a one-off entity with just the one product.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k1EbdNmD4Q&t=1028s

My interpretation was that it was someone with a software license who built a hardware solution to sell it in. But that may just be confirmation bias on my part, because this would explain why it seems to be such a Helix clone.

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The guys on the Andertons YouTube channel reviewed it and, somewhere toward the beginning, mentioned that Eleven Rack gave or licensed their code to the owner of Headrush. The way they explained their interaction with the owner made it sound like Headrush is a one-off entity with just the one product.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k1EbdNmD4Q&t=1028s

My interpretation was that it was someone with a software license who built a hardware solution to sell it in. But that may just be confirmation bias on my part, because this would explain why it seems to be such a Helix clone.

 

InMusic is the company that owns Headrush... Headrush is an inMusic brand, just like Akai, M-Audio, Numark, Rane, Alto, etc. In 2012, I believe, inMusic purchased M-Audio in 2012 (http://cdm.link/2012/07/avid-sells-off-consumer-side-numark-avid-akai-m-audio-becomes-new-giant/). When inMusic made that acquisition, they got the source code for 11 Rack. So there is no licensing or anything. inMusic owns that code. But the original 11 Rack team, the programmers from Avid, have nothing to do with Headrush. You can actually still buy a new 11 Rack from retailers, and that is an Avid product.

 

inMusic was smart, in some sense, to capitalize on the 11 Rack name, but I also feel that they're being slightly deceptive in their marketing. This isn't so much an evolution of 11 Rack as much as it is a repackaging with some minor changes - the ability to split the amp and cab and load IRs being the main ones. Also, the Headrush doesn't have the variable input Z like the original 11 Rack did.

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Actually this makes me wonder what they're using for the processor.  Quad-core as in Intel chips like those used in a computer?  Do they mention a DSP chip at all?  Two very different animals there.

 

There are multi-core DSP chips but until someone opens up a Headrush or the company provided more details on what chip they used I will remain curious as to what is inside the box.

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Gapless patch changes is a ludicrous issue to fixate upon. People complaining about that are going about programming in the wrong way. Snapshots are nice, but I've used an HD500X for years and I never needed those. Just about anything I've ever wanted to do in a song I've been able to program in a single patch, with a single move if necessary; unlimited parameter values can be freely stacked to EXP1&2 sweeps, ie. modulating an amp's gain while a chorus/rev/delay/pitch blends in and out, inverted cross-amp volume sweeps, etc. The venerable GT10 did all of that for me 10 years ago.  
 
1t0k5h.jpg

I'm in the process of acquiring a Helix and I understand it also allows endless parameters to be stacked and assigned to a single footswitch. Again, snapshots are a great alternative but I rather program. So the Headrush does gapless patch changes, but it only allocates 11 blocks per patch? seems silly compared to the Helix. I'm curious to know: does it offer four loaded path-chains with full spill-over and zero latency when merging or hopping from path to path in real time? does it stack endless parameters and MIDI signals on a single FS/EXP like the Helix? I'm failing to see where the Headrush exceeds the Helix.

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There is merit to gapless patch changes.  My Boss GT-Pro is a pretty nifty device and it does the job very well, so it CAN be done, despite the BS I've seen floated about.  If Boss FX sounded as nice as Line6 FX, I would not have bought a Helix.  (If Line6 did not have snapshots and other ways to alleviate it's gap problem, I wouldn't  have bought it either :) )

 

What about musicians in jam bands?  They often do three or more songs without stopping, and do improvisational parts where they might want sounds in the middle of a jam that they couldn't know they wanted before the jam?  I've seen some of them play for an hour without stopping.  You gonna do all that on ONE patch?

 

Also, a lot of folks would prefer to do this:  I will put my favorite clean funk patch on switch 1, I will put my favorite dirty blues patch on switch 2,  I will put this metal patch that works well for this song on switch 3,  and my favorite wah-lead on switch 4.  It would be a helluva lot easier than having to program a patch for the song and create these different sounds within the patch.  Especially for folks that aren't great with programming.  You could program up 10 or 15 patches, then use them for all of your songs, only occasionally creating a special patch for songs that need it. 

 

And we are not talking processor power, we are talking memory.  All the patches are held on some sort of flash storage, and when you select a patch, it is loaded into the RAM.  That time to load the patch into RAM is your gap.  With extra RAM, you could load the new patch into a new piece of RAM, and then move your processor pointers to this new RAM address - BOOM - gapless patch changes!

 

But RAM is expensive.

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There is merit to gapless patch changes.  My Boss GT-Pro is a pretty nifty device and it does the job very well, so it CAN be done, despite the BS I've seen floated about.  If Boss FX sounded as nice as Line6 FX, I would not have bought a Helix.  (If Line6 did not have snapshots and other ways to alleviate it's gap problem, I wouldn't  have bought it either :) )

 

What about musicians in jam bands?  They often do three or more songs without stopping, and do improvisational parts where they might want sounds in the middle of a jam that they couldn't know they wanted before the jam?  I've seen some of them play for an hour without stopping.  You gonna do all that on ONE patch?

 

Also, a lot of folks would prefer to do this:  I will put my favorite clean funk patch on switch 1, I will put my favorite dirty blues patch on switch 2,  I will put this metal patch that works well for this song on switch 3,  and my favorite wah-lead on switch 4.  It would be a helluva lot easier than having to program a patch for the song and create these different sounds within the patch.  Especially for folks that aren't great with programming.  You could program up 10 or 15 patches, then use them for all of your songs, only occasionally creating a special patch for songs that need it. 

 

And we are not talking processor power, we are talking memory.  All the patches are held on some sort of flash storage, and when you select a patch, it is loaded into the RAM.  That time to load the patch into RAM is your gap.  With extra RAM, you could load the new patch into a new piece of RAM, and then move your processor pointers to this new RAM address - BOOM - gapless patch changes!

 

But RAM is expensive.

 

I agree with much of this regarding the fact that there is appeal, and for some the requirement for, getting as close as possible to gapless preset switching. The technical challenge as I have heard it explained is that the problem with gapless switching does not reside in loading the RAM but in loading the DSP chips. The gap occurs due to reloading the DSP. Some modeler manufacturers have opted to devote half their processing power to switching. It appears, at least for right now, that the choice is either between max flexibility, quality, and available DSP for your signal path, or - gapless preset switching, or perhaps some compromise like snapshots between the two. Not my area of expertise though and I am just going on what I have seen posted.

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I agree with much of this regarding the fact that there is appeal, and for some the requirement for, getting as close to possible to gapless preset switching. The technical challenge as I have heard it explained is that the problem with gapless switching does not reside in loading the RAM but in loading the DSP chips. The gap occurs due to reloading the DSP. Some modeler manufacturers have opted to devote half their processing power to switching. It appears, at least for right now, that the choice is either between max flexibility, quality, and available DSP for your signal path, or - gapless preset switching, or perhaps some compromise like snapshots between the two. Not my area of expertise though and I am just going on what I have seen posted.

 

I think phil_m's response early on in this thread lays it out very clearly what the trade-offs were and why the design decision was to support more complexity in the patches than provide for gapless switching.  The key to his response does mirror what you're alluding to in terms of DSP.  Specifically he talks about the allocation  of DSP resources and the necessity to hold some in reserve in order to achieve gapless transitions via a spillover buffer which would then limit the flexibility and capability in ALL patches.

 

Personally I think any other decision than the one they made would have placed the Helix at risk of just being another POD HD unit rather than one that could effectively compete in the premiere tier of modeling units in the marketplace.

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I'm really looking forward to finally hear all the great live performances and awesome music how they were meant to be, after this patch change lag will finally be fixed once and for all, the day we get it will be a great moment for humankind.

 

I really don't understand how we got so far in music history without it.

 

:huh:

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I'm really looking forward to finally hear all the great live performances and awesome music how they were meant to be, after this patch change lag will finally be fixed once and for all, the day we get it will be a great moment for humankind.

 

I really don't understand how we got so far in music history without it.

 

:huh:

 

Add another holiday to the calendar I say....Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Helix No Lag Patch Day!!!!!  ;)

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I change patches mid song sometimes, but I find a place musically where it is appropriate to implement (yes, with the 500 ms gap). That's what we have to do as musicians...find a way to make music with the tools we have with the capabilities that they have. If you can't find a 500ms gap musically to change patches, then don't change patches mid song. If you are letting the inability to change patches mid song squash your musical creativity, then maybe you need to venture outside the box a little more. 

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What about musicians in jam bands? They often do three or more songs without stopping, and do improvisational parts where they might want sounds in the middle of a jam that they couldn't know they wanted before the jam? I've seen some of them play for an hour without stopping. You gonna do all that on ONE patch?

 

Why not? There was a time when all anyone had on stage was one amp that MAYBE had 2 channels, and a stomp box or two. Suited some of the world's most well known players quite well for decades.

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Ok, I might be wrong about the DSP chips having to be loaded.  But then, we have one DSP chip for the upper routes, and one for the lower routes.  I am sure you can see where I am going - a global option to only have one route per patch, and you get gapless patch changes.  The tradeoff, put into the hands of the customer.

 

Don't get me wrong, I am not bucking for this change.  I am a programmer, I am pretty good with MIDI, and I can get what I need out of the Helix as is.  I put in two ideas into the ideascape for features I'd much rather have.

 

I just don't agree that gapless patch changes are not possible, or not desired. 

 

If I really wanted them, I could have them.  I have a SoundSculpture Switchblade and a Gordius Little Giant MIDI foot controller.  I could use two Helix's identically programmed, with outputs connected the SoundScupture, and then out to amps/board.  I could program the Gordius keep a variable for which of the two Helix's was "On Deck".  When I hit a foot switch, it would send a patch change to the On Deck Helix, wait 500ms, send a command to the SoundSculpture to route that Helix to the output, and then change it's variable to the indicate the other Helix is now On Deck.

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HeadRush is explained as having the first quad-core processing power - fair enough.

From what I understand (that is, I may be totally wrong), it's an off-the-shelf ARM-based processor/memory/touchscreen package typically found in affordable tablets—likely the very same found in their impressive Akai MPC Live sampler. This is VERY different from embedded DSPs like SHARCs.

"Only 2 SHARCs? Quad-core is two more, innit?!"

I change patches mid song sometimes, but I find a place musically where it is appropriate to implement (yes, with the 500 ms gap).

Screen redraws may obfuscate the actual gap, but depending on preset complexity, switching should be between 40 and 120ms—maybe 150-160ms with obnoxiously large presets. If you've actually measured a 500ms audio gap, something's wrong and I recommend emailing the offending presets to Line 6 CS for our engineers to take a look.

And yes, Snapshots were designed to provide seamless switching without the pain of having to constantly manage (and level) multiple presets for a single song. We chose Snapshots because we spend a lot of time attempting to understand the underlying problem instead of checking boxes.

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There is merit to gapless patch changes.  My Boss GT-Pro is a pretty nifty device and it does the job very well, so it CAN be done, despite the BS I've seen floated about.  If Boss FX sounded as nice as Line6 FX, I would not have bought a Helix.  (If Line6 did not have snapshots and other ways to alleviate it's gap problem, I wouldn't  have bought it either :) )

What about musicians in jam bands?  They often do three or more songs without stopping, and do improvisational parts where they might want sounds in the middle of a jam that they couldn't know they wanted before the jam?  I've seen some of them play for an hour without stopping.  You gonna do all that on ONE patch?

 

 

DBCrocky, funny that you mention the GTpro, it did 11 years ago what the Helix is doing now: dual DSP (like having two GT8 in tandem) and 15 FX blocks. I skipped on it for the GT10 which had dual chain paths and 10 discreet blocks. I would rather go back to a GT10 than a Headrush. The Helix vast-routing 4-chain / 32-blocks is what got me excited in the first place.

 

it seems naive to mention jam bands. Please name a classic jam band who goes through more than 2 amps or 3 pedals in a half-hour set. Monster shoegaze hoarders like Kevin Shields who have 40-stompbox pedalboards are never using more than a few at a time during any given song. It seems to me that snapshots pretty much debunked the issue of gapless patch changes for you and everyone else and yet here we are. I suppose it isn't without merit to fantasize about having 20 DSP chips inside a single unit and a hundred FX blocks, a "Super-Helix" that cost 10 grand! I can imagine people complaining about that too: "darn you Line6 you snobs catering to the rich and elite!". 

 

 

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Screen redraws may obfuscate the actual gap, but depending on preset complexity, switching should be between 40 and 120ms—maybe 150-160ms with obnoxiously large presets. If you've actually measured a 500ms audio gap, something's wrong and I recommend emailing the offending presets to Line 6 CS for our engineers to take a look.

 

No measurement, just a padded guesstimation. I am experiencing less than a half second on my large presets, so I just round up to a 500ms as my worst case. In any case, I can still find room musically to change presets if necessary. 

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it seems naive to mention jam bands. Please name a classic jam band who goes through more than 2 amps or 3 pedals in a half-hour set.

 

moe.org

 

 

 

 

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No measurement, just a padded guesstimation. I am experiencing less than a half second on my large presets, so I just round up to a 500ms as my worst case. In any case, I can still find room musically to change presets if necessary.

Yup...just as we've all had to do for years on end with the vast majority of modelers, or preamp/multi-fx units under the sun. Is it perfect? No...but find me something that is. Truth is, the gap is more than manageable with even a little forethought and practical experience.

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moe.org

yeah well, nope. Both of their rigs could be emulated and loaded simultaneously on a single Helix, on a single patch. They each play about 10 pedals and two amps. Applying snapshots to that patch along with deep-programming opens switching and tone-shaping posibilites that neither of them can replicate with their analog rigs.

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Enough of this.  I would like to have gapless patch changes, and so would others, and they are possible.  I'm not holding my breath.  That's my position, sorry you feel like you have to correct me, but too bad.

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It's a forum thread, arguments and preferences are discussed rationally, isn't that the point? I respect your desire for gapless patch switching, but I refuted the arguments with facts and better alternatives. Otherwise you're simply looking for confirmation bias. Helix Snapshots debunked the need for gapless patch switching for "folks that aren't great with programming", and deep parameter tweaking is absolutely sufficient to the savvy patch programmer. If that's the only advantage of the Headrush then it offers no advantages at all.

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To me the argument about whether or not there is a need for gapless switches gets kind of ridiculous. Some players/bands need them, some don't. Some songs require them, some don't. It just seems pointless to argue about or worse yet insist on what another guitarist's requirements are. The question is what are your top priorities and how you get there. As the equipment gets faster and better, and the implementations get more sophisticated, the compromises required get smaller in my opinion. Currently this is the way I look at it. This may change as new equipment comes on the market

If your top priorities are sound quality and the potential for maximum model complexity, maximum route flexibility, and maximum number of effect blocks - get something like the Helix where all of the DSP available on the device can be devoted to a single preset.

If your top priority is gapless switching to the exclusion of all else you may be happy with something like the Headrush knowing that a certain percentage, perhaps up to half, of your DSP processing power will be dedicated to gapless switching. This means less DSP for sound quality, modeling complexity, route flexibility, and/or less amp and effect blocks in a preset. However, if gapless switching is your top priority you may prefer a Headrush or the Digitech GSP1101 or the like which keep a substantial portion of processing power in reserve only for gapless switching.

If you want a compromise between the two approaches above, snapshots on the Helix will offer many users a way to still construct a top quality preset utilizing every bit of DSP onboard with a lot of flexibility, a lot of amp/effect blocks, and also provide spillover and gapless switching.

I do like the suggestion someone made here about having a hybrid setting where a per preset setting set one way might give you a "lower resolution" preset with fewer available blocks but allow gapless switches; as long as you were switching to another "low res" preset. Set the other way it would operate as the Helix does now. Also, as Zooey once pointed out, when you use a single preset on the Helix to put one signal chain on the top route (uses the first DSP chip) and one on the bottom route (uses the second DSP chip) you are in essence doing what the "gapless" switching devices are doing by splitting their DSP chips or "cores" between signal path and gapless switching. Using this method on the Helix gives you gapless switching from within a preset. The net result is so similar that it becomes more about getting over the psychological barrier that you are switching within a preset instead of between presets.

The benefit to the Helix approach is that when you want the kitchen sink and all the resources onboard available for a single preset, you have the option. Other devices out now tend to achieve gapless switching by essentially limiting dramatically the capabilities or the sound quality of a preset. At some point though I believe gapless switching will become the norm. It may be because the technology changes in unanticipated ways. Perhaps the quality of the presets and number of blocks available within a preset on units using half their processing power for gapless switches will get so high that sound quality improvements become inaudible with a surplus of available effect and amp blocks. If this comes to pass perhaps no one but the most exacting studio user will opt for a unit without gapless switching just to have extra processing power available for a preset.

 

If gapless switching becomes the norm I could imagine hearing this argument shift 180 degrees with people saying, "Every device has gapless switching. Who would want to sacrifice gapless switching in exchange for all that additional processing power for 'extra' quality/flexibility when I already have great complex tones, a 100 blocks available for amps/effects, and gapless switching?". We are just not there yet and until then, according to my priorities, the Helix has the best approach. With that said, how about we adjust the catalytic converter on the Helix and get that gapless preset switching working! ;)

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If your top priority is gapless switching to the exclusion of all else you may be happy with something like the Headrush knowing that a certain percentage, perhaps up to half, of your DSP processing power will be dedicated to gapless switching. This means less DSP for sound quality, modeling complexity, route flexibility, and/or less amp and effect blocks in a preset. However, if gapless switching is your top priority you may prefer a Headrush or the Digitech GSP1101 or the like which keep a substantial portion of processing power in reserve only for gapless switching.

Sounds reasonable, I can finally see how some people would prefer the Headrush and value a distinctly simpler and effective offering. I'm guessing that Line6 tacked-on the concept of Snapshots after release (not so much to solve a shortcoming but) as a means to rethink switching in a clever and equally effective way —and also to steer people away from changing patches. 

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If I wasn't a guitarist I'd be thinking

 

"Bloody guitarists, can't even keep quiet for 150mS" :-)

 

Craig

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Sounds reasonable, I can finally see how some people would prefer the Headrush and value a distinctly simpler and effective offering. I'm guessing that Line6 tacked-on the concept of Snapshots after release (not so much to solve a shortcoming but) as a means to rethink switching in a clever and equally effective way —and also to steer people away from changing patches. 

 

Actually, as I understand it.  Snapshots were supposed to be a part of the initial Helix offering as it's a competitive feature to what is on the AxeFx, but they ran out of time.  These two features (from the Helix and the Axe) work in a very similar way with the same limitations.  That's expected given the design concepts between the two units are so similar as it pertains to signal chain routing and complexity.

 

Technically speaking the feature has always been present on the Helix since day one using multiple assignments (or even toggles) on a footswitch.  It's just packaged better with snapshots.  In effect no-gap transitioning between significantly different sounds within a song has been in Helix since day one, and I've used it considerably myself in many of my patches.

 

The Headrush is really just a basic repackaging of the Eleven Rack, which is a considerably older technology.  That doesn't make it bad as that may be sufficient for many people.  But it is what it is.....

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...

 

The Headrush is really just a basic repackaging of the Eleven Rack, which is a considerably older technology. That doesn't make it bad as that may be sufficient for many people. But it is what it is.....

I have been reading a lot of comments both on and outside this forum that echo your comment here but I have found it difficult to find any links that have amounted to more than speculation as to the programming guts of the Headrush and if this is really true. I still don't feel like the jury is completely in on this. I would like more details on the Headrush before closing the book on it. There have been a fair number of people who made the that same type of assumption that the Helix was just a souped up HD500X which was in most ways inaccurate. Not saying that will be the case with the Headrush, just not sure yet. What I do know is that they may have used a less than impressive processor and that they have a limited number of blocks that can be used in a preset as well as a lack of in-depth parameters and fewer amps, cabs, and effects.

 

They got some things right though too IMHO. I like the touchscreen, the true concept of setlists divorced from preset locations, and of course gapless preset switching. At what cost to other operations though? I don't know how the tones differ in quality from the Helix LT as I have not compared the two or even heard a Headrush. My overall impression is the Headrush probably cannot equal the sound quality of the Helix LT, and the flexibility and depth of parameters and configuration choices clearly don't compare. I also suspect the analog and digital I/O connections are not as high quality due to the lack of literature or specs on them. Otherwise I might have tried one out by now. As you say though, "it is what it is". What that is I am not quite sure yet.

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It's kind of interesting that in this whole conversation about gapless switching, people are ignoring the other aspect of it. Regardless of whether there's spillover between presets, it still takes time to load the new preset. From this thread on TGP, it looks like the time the HR takes to load the new preset is actually relatively long - https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/24563595/

 

So while it may have spillover, if the load time is long enough to cause a disruption in your playing (in that you're waiting for the new sound to load completely before you can start playing), it may not actually help that much. IMO, this is why the snapshot route is probably more useful. It provides spillover and immediate loading of the new sound.

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Heh, I didn't intend for this to become a holy war about whether or not gapless switching was a worthwhile feature or not. The main point was when I first bought my Helix (pre-snapshots), there was a very audible delay switching patches. I called Line 6 about this and the answer I got was, "Every modeling device behaves this way." Seeing a competitor advertise that their device was different, I simply wondered if they had solved the holy grail of modeling problems, or if this was just a marketing gimmick. Definitely seems like the latter. At the end of the day, snapshots are a fine solution, and actually one I prefer at this point since it actually gives me more flexibility than a traditional rig would.

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Sounds reasonable, I can finally see how some people would prefer the Headrush and value a distinctly simpler and effective offering. I'm guessing that Line6 tacked-on the concept of Snapshots after release (not so much to solve a shortcoming but) as a means to rethink switching in a clever and equally effective way —and also to steer people away from changing patches. 

 

Snapshots were always in the plan. They were not tacked on.

 

In fact, the reason we haven't yet implemented certain features—or more to the point, the reason why Helix does certain things in a certain way—is all because of future plans. We're very careful to not design ourselves into a corner.

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