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Question on footswitch settings and assignments

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Still rather new to the Helix and coming at this from my experiences using an AX8, which I've had longer and I am more familiar with.  I'm comparing the two to decide which to keep, but that's a thread for a different day.

 

So my questions.  

 

1) I've gathered that the footswitch layouts are limited to a set of predefined options, which is kind of a bummer for me.  The closest to what I want is the snap/stomp option.  However, what if a preset only has 2-3 snapshots as is often the case for mine?  The 3rd/4th snapshot is still displayed and its footswitch still "active" even through the snapshot isn't set up.  Is there any way to disable or reassign these unused snapshot footswitches?

 

2) With the AX8 I use what's called Control Switches as a sort of lead boost that can be activated on any scene (the AX8 equivalent of snapshots).  On the Helix I think it's pretty similar with the Controller Assignment but haven't worked it all out yet.  On the AX8 I set a footswitch to control/adjust multiple blocks and various parameters across blocks.  Typically I engage an EQ block, add a little dB boost, and also bump the input gain on the amp.  I haven't tried yet but I'm assuming I can do the same on the Helix, engage a block and adjust a couple parameters all with a single footswitch and one that will be available across all snapshots in a preset?

 

Number 1 is still a bit of a shortcoming, at least with how I set up my presets.  Now if only they Helix would allow full flexibility in footswitch assignments similar to the AX8, that would be a very nice feature add.

 

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Still rather new to the Helix and coming at this from my experiences using an AX8, which I've had longer and I am more familiar with.  I'm comparing the two to decide which to keep, but that's a thread for a different day.

 

So my questions.  

 

1) I've gathered that the footswitch layouts are limited to a set of predefined options, which is kind of a bummer for me.  The closest to what I want is the snap/stomp option.  However, what if a preset only has 2-3 snapshots as is often the case for mine?  The 3rd/4th snapshot is still displayed and its footswitch still "active" even through the snapshot isn't set up.  Is there any way to disable or reassign these unused snapshot footswitches?

 

2) With the AX8 I use what's called Control Switches as a sort of lead boost that can be activated on any scene (the AX8 equivalent of snapshots).  On the Helix I think it's pretty similar with the Controller Assignment but haven't worked it all out yet.  On the AX8 I set a footswitch to control/adjust multiple blocks and various parameters across blocks.  Typically I engage an EQ block, add a little dB boost, and also bump the input gain on the amp.  I haven't tried yet but I'm assuming I can do the same on the Helix, engage a block and adjust a couple parameters all with a single footswitch and one that will be available across all snapshots in a preset?

 

Number 1 is still a bit of a shortcoming, at least with how I set up my presets.  Now if only they Helix would allow full flexibility in footswitch assignments similar to the AX8, that would be a very nice feature add.

 

1) Correct. You can, however, connect a MIDI cable between Helix's MIDI OUT and MIDI IN and use Command Center messages to freely assign whatever you want. Snapshot recalls are CC69, values 0 ~ 7. You can also repurpose FS1/FS7 to act as Snapshot Up/Down; just press and hold both one or more times until they read SNAPSHOT ^ and SNAPSHOT v.

2) You can assign parameter control to a footswitch or a snapshot.

 

To assign a parameter to a footswitch:

  1. Press and hold the parameter knob. Helix jumps to the Controller Assign screen.
  2. Press Knob 6 (Learn Controller) and then the desired switch. Set the Min and Max values if desired and press HOME to exit. You'll see the parameter's value appear white and in brackets.

To assign a parameter to Snapshot control:

  1. Press and turn the parameter knob. The value appears white and in brackets, indicating it's assigned a controller (in this case, the Snapshots controller).

When a parameter is assigned to a Snapshot, its value is remembered for each Snapshot; so each snapshot could have a different lead boost value. Just select the Snapshot and turn the knob.

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1) I've gathered that the footswitch layouts are limited to a set of predefined options, which is kind of a bummer for me.  The closest to what I want is the snap/stomp option.  However, what if a preset only has 2-3 snapshots as is often the case for mine?  The 3rd/4th snapshot is still displayed and its footswitch still "active" even through the snapshot isn't set up.  Is there any way to disable or reassign these unused snapshot footswitches?

 

Number 1 is still a bit of a shortcoming, at least with how I set up my presets.  Now if only they Helix would allow full flexibility in footswitch assignments similar to the AX8, that would be a very nice feature add.

I take advantage of what you are describing as a shortcoming. I used to find myself using only 2 snapshots, mostly for clean and crunch. I then made use of the additional two snaps and made clean/wet and crunch/wet. That gave me clean dry, crunch dry, clean wet, and crunch wet. I then had 4 stomps available for turning on/off additional blocks, or for doing whatever. There is a lot of functionality in a single stomp if you assign more than one parameter to it. I usually have one stomp assigned to multiple reverbs/delays and call it "ambient" to make it sopping wet and lingering. 

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I take advantage of what you are describing as a shortcoming. I used to find myself using only 2 snapshots, mostly for clean and crunch. I then made use of the additional two snaps and made clean/wet and crunch/wet. That gave me clean dry, crunch dry, clean wet, and crunch wet. I then had 4 stomps available for turning on/off additional blocks, or for doing whatever. There is a lot of functionality in a single stomp if you assign more than one parameter to it. I usually have one stomp assigned to multiple reverbs/delays and call it "ambient" to make it sopping wet and lingering. 

 

It's still a shortcoming to me, and while your use is interesting it doesn't really suit my needs.  With all the flexibility and power the Helix offers I'm surprised something as (seemingly) basic as footswitch assignments are limited to a pre-defined set of options.  I hope this will be addressed with future firmware and full open assignment options will be supported :)

 

So I think the answer is yes I can assign multiple parameters as well as multiple fx/blocks any way I want to a single footswitch that will be available across all snapshots i.e. to be used as a lead boost I can kick on for any snapshot.  That sounds liek exactly what you're doing with your ambient footswitch.

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So I think the answer is yes I can assign multiple parameters as well as multiple fx/blocks any way I want to a single footswitch that will be available across all snapshots i.e. to be used as a lead boost I can kick on for any snapshot.  That sounds liek exactly what you're doing with your ambient footswitch.

Yes, I have used a single stomp to simultaneously turn on an EQ block, turn on a +4dB gain block for a lead type boost.

 

On some of my presets, I am using an external expression pedal to do the following at the same time. You just have to assign the low/high set points appropriately for what you want to achieve:

 

1. turn up/down amp (or OD/distortion block) gain

2. turn down/up amp (or OD/distortion block) master volume to compensate for gain adjustment

3. Decrease compression as gain increases, or increase compression as gain decreases. 

4. Adjust any EQ block parameter as needed when moving through the full range of the expression pedal. 

 

So you could also use the expression as an analog control (not just on/off) going from a rhythm type tone to a lead type tone. There are so many ways of achieving so many different goals. Lots of fun!

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If you are only using snapshots 1 and 2, you could make snapshots 3 and 4 duplicates of 1 and 2 and leave them flexible. Even if you display snapshots by default, you can still have all 10 buttons assigned to stompboxes, you just need to hit the MODE button (FS6, I think) to display them all. So, before a song, you could engage snapshot 3, hit MODE, hit any of your stompboxes, hit MODE again, and go back to snapshot 1. Now, snapshot 3 is essentially just one more footswitch for snapshot 1. And second of all....

 

...wait. Wait a minute...

 

1) Correct. You can, however, connect a MIDI cable between Helix's MIDI OUT and MIDI IN and use Command Center messages to freely assign whatever you want. Snapshot recalls are CC69, values 0 ~ 7. [...]

 

So wait, are you telling me I can set the footswitch display to 10 stompbox layout, then have Helix MIDI itself, so that one or more of the footswitches is a secret snapshot button? When were you planning on announcing this to the world? It should be like bullet point 2 on the website. Or is this just something MIDI people are supposed to already know?

Line 6 marketing: "Yeah, there are some limitations in footswitch layout...it's too bad nothing can be done about it."

Skeptic customer: "What if I own a short length of wire?"

Line 6 marketing: "Well, there is also Do Whatever the F You Want Mode, but who would ever use that?"

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I must admit that since snapshots, I never use stomp mode.

Now there are a few reasons for that - any combination of stomp boxes (and any modification of their settings) can be set up as a snapshot.

secondly, I use a brand new patch for each song - I don't try to set the thing up like a pedalboard and not use many patches. So I never run out of Snapshots. Well in fact, I have a number of patches that do a number of songs - like a good classic rock sound with a few levels of gain and delay. - that does about 8 songs so well I don't really see the point in changing it.

But I also like to use dramatically different sounds - so I've got some funk patches that use amp and pedal combos that are at the opposite end of the spectrum from that rock sound.

I think that you are either willing to look at the device in front of you and say - "how can I use this thing to give me all I need to play the music I want?"

Or - you can say - "my mind works this way - I want the technology to feel like it reads my mind".

All perfectly fair I guess, but I suspect that most people think in a certain way about effects and amps because they had to adapt to a particular path at some point - and it's being able to see the potential of another viewpoint that gets in their way. In the end I suspect that's as likely as anything else to influence the technology we buy.

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So wait, are you telling me I can set the footswitch display to 10 stompbox layout, then have Helix MIDI itself, so that one or more of the footswitches is a secret snapshot button? When were you planning on announcing this to the world? It should be like bullet point 2 on the website. Or is this just something MIDI people are supposed to already know?

The latter, to be honest, and we don't advertise it because there's power in simplicity. I used to do power user MIDI loopback stuff like this all the time with keyboard workstations.

Just make sure you turn Global Settings > MIDI/Tempo > MIDI Thru, Send MIDI Clock, and MIDI PC Send off.

 

I think that you are either willing to look at the device in front of you and say - "how can I use this thing to give me all I need to play the music I want?" Or - you can say - "my mind works this way - I want the technology to feel like it reads my mind". All perfectly fair I guess, but I suspect that most people think in a certain way about effects and amps because they had to adapt to a particular path at some point - and it's being able to see the potential of another viewpoint that gets in their way. In the end I suspect that's as likely as anything else to influence the technology we buy.

 

Any feature request that appears to come from the mindset of "my Fractal or Kemper box did it this way, so Helix should do it this way too" automatically loses a few points. We try to toe the line between ease of use/elegance and flexibility, and user reactions to features dictate where that line should be, not competitors. If more people actually read the manual and inquiries started getting deep and compelling, we'd likely move the line.

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I'm a potential customer and am very interested in the Helix LT. For my application, I would like to know if the amp/cab modeling could be assigned to a foot switch to be enabled dynamically in stomp mode? 

I'd likely use the Helix LT in front of a clean tube amp and use the amp modeling as a higher gain setting. Can this be done? 

 

Thank you! 

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The latter, to be honest, and we don't advertise it because there's power in simplicity. I used to do power user MIDI loopback stuff like this all the time with keyboard workstations.

Just make sure you turn Global Settings > MIDI/Tempo > MIDI Thru, Send MIDI Clock, and MIDI PC Send off.

[...]

Thanks for the tip. If you turn MIDI PC Send off, can you still use Helix Editor and Variax Workbench? 

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I'm a potential customer and am very interested in the Helix LT. For my application, I would like to know if the amp/cab modeling could be assigned to a foot switch to be enabled dynamically in stomp mode? 

 

I'd likely use the Helix LT in front of a clean tube amp and use the amp modeling as a higher gain setting. Can this be done? 

 

Thank you! 

Definitely can be done. If I'm understanding your question correctly, it would just involve assigning the amp block (or both an amp block and cab block) to a footswitch. It works the same as assigning any other stompbox to a footswitch. I'm guessing you'd have to turn the modeled amp block volume way down, but I'm not sure about that, and it shouldn't be a problem if you do. It seems like a lot of people's complaints about it sounding "harsh" or "muddy" in this configuration are cleared up once they tame the amp model to compensate for the fact that they essentially have an amp going into an amp.

There are also about a hundred other things you could do with that. You could assign a footswitch to turn up the gain on the amp model, or change its eq settings. The same footswitch could also reduce the master volume so that the extra gain doesn't overdrive your tube amp more than you want. If your tube amp has multiple footswitchable channels, Helix can send that signal with a footswitch as well.

You could also just use the preamp model of whatever amp model you like, rather than the full amp. I think this is the main way a lot of people use it when they run through a tube amp. So it sounds like you are talking about a core capability of the Helix. 

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Thanks for the tip. If you turn MIDI PC Send off, can you still use Helix Editor and Variax Workbench? 

 

Yes.

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Definitely can be done. If I'm understanding your question correctly, it would just involve assigning the amp block (or both an amp block and cab block) to a footswitch. It works the same as assigning any other stompbox to a footswitch. I'm guessing you'd have to turn the modeled amp block volume way down, but I'm not sure about that, and it shouldn't be a problem if you do. It seems like a lot of people's complaints about it sounding "harsh" or "muddy" in this configuration are cleared up once they tame the amp model to compensate for the fact that they essentially have an amp going into an amp.

There are also about a hundred other things you could do with that. You could assign a footswitch to turn up the gain on the amp model, or change its eq settings. The same footswitch could also reduce the master volume so that the extra gain doesn't overdrive your tube amp more than you want. If your tube amp has multiple footswitchable channels, Helix can send that signal with a footswitch as well.

You could also just use the preamp model of whatever amp model you like, rather than the full amp. I think this is the main way a lot of people use it when they run through a tube amp. So it sounds like you are talking about a core capability of the Helix.

 

Sounds great!

Thank you.

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I just learned an incredible amount from reading this thread. So many interesting ways of setting up the Helix that I've never thought of. Off to tinker some more!

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Yes.

I tried the MIDI-to-self trick this morning, and it is a very cool technique. I hope I don't sound like that noob that breaks into the room in a huff with, "Ohmygoshguys, did you know about these things called power chords??!!!!"  But I don't claim to be a MIDI expert, and I'd just never heard of doing this before. Anyway, I thought I'd share a few pro amateur tips for any novices like me who want to try it.

1. Follow DI's instructions at post #2 exactly.

2. If you have other MIDI devices in the chain, make sure they are set to something like MIDI Through = ON.

3. It looks like Helix is MIDI channel 1 by default, because I've never changed mine. (I don't know whether you can also use the "base" channel because I tried that before I solved the problem in no. 2, above, and never tested it on base channel after that. I'm guessing you can, and that this is the better option to avoid having to update all your patches in case you ever change Helix's default channel, so maybe someone can correct me.)

4. Don't try to get cute by thinking you can use CC Toggle in the Command Center to double the number of Snapshots you can access per button this way. Unless there is an update in the future to change this, once you save a CC Toggle command for this parameter, those are the only two Snapshots you can access, and even the Snapshots view is effectively disabled. I guess you could just want those two snapshots and nine stompboxes, but it would probably be better just to use the Snapshot /\ - Snapshot \/ function and find a way to be happy with only eight stompboxes in that case.

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If you are looking to go between two or three amp/drive settings and not swapping out a bunch of FX on/off with a snapshot, there's a better way withOUT snapshots imho.

 

I, for instance, generally have one foot switch that changes my amp settings from clean/edge of breakup (depending on whether my guitar volume is on 7 or 10) and dirty. That snapshot changes Drive, Master, and tone controls. Then I have another one (or two) foot switches for drive pedals I can stack on that (Minotaur and Timmy are my choices). Between those two, I can get any amp sound I need, seriously... and then turn FX on and off as needed.

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