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Helix without IR?

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Okay - thinking about taking the plunge.

 

Haven't owned or used a Line 6 product since the XT Live. Tried a few other things out (Vox Tonelab, Zoom G5n, amplitube) - so I'm ready for something new.

 

My situation however is that I currently use a real stereo 4x12 cab (celestions) driven by a pair of valve power amps - basically this works fine for me. Solid volume, good power, pushes a lot of air etc. Plus we often play venues with no PA, so we rely on vocal PA only and backline, so we need some volume and monitoring...plus...I'm a bit old fashioned i guess and have gotten used to having control over my own sound on stage and not being completely at the mercy of the sound guys idea of a foldback mix (I have some horror stories for sure).

 

So...I only really need good preamp/poweramp voicings - I am using real cab and speakers so no requirement to emulate there. I want the basic tone, the effects, the signal paths etc, but the whole IR thing (as great as it sounds) is largely unnecessary.

 

Finally a question - is the Helix without IR still a better device than a POD HD500x (without cab emulations)?

 

They must share a lot of DNA. I have seen one demo of the HD500 with a third party IR loader alongside a Helix using the same IRs and they are pretty damn close!

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Helix has preamp models. So you just use preamps/effects into your power amps and you would be golden. You just leave out the cab/IR. 

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I know it can do it - but is it worth twice the price of a HD500x if I'm not using IRs?

Only you can make that call. Depends on your personal budget and needs/wants. 

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I have a similar setup with a Koch stereo power amp into a 2x12 stereo cab.

I have some presets with IR's because they sound really good or have some additional tuning capability.

It can be interesting to force the tonality of one speaker cab and mike setup onto a different

physical cab and see what tones emerge.

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Finally a question - is the Helix without IR still a better device than a POD HD500x (without cab emulations)?

 

 

Absolutely positively.

 

Helix is a completely different sound engine and workflow and is vastly superior in every possible way.

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Helix is a definite step up from the HD500x. Helix was built completely from the ground up so they don't really share any "DNA". You'll find a lot of the same classic gear modeled in both, but the Helix models aren't related to previous models beyond that. 

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I grew to hate my HD500X - I jumped straight there from an X3 Live which I loved but outgrew - and the Helix for me is night and day in one unit compared to HD500X.

 

I have to admit though that I don't use it in the same way that you would. That said I am 100% happy with Helix and it can only get better with every revision (or goody bundle as I like to think of them haha)

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... and is vastly superior in every possible way.

 

With the exception of the omission of the Dimension Mod based on the Roland Dimension D.  :mellow:

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They must share a lot of DNA. I have seen one demo of the HD500 with a third party IR loader alongside a Helix using the same IRs and they are pretty damn close!

 

In the modeling world, a much larger percentage of the tone comes from the IR/cab sound as opposed to the hardware setup where its closer* to 50/50. In the modeling world i can pretty much make an Engl sound like a Marshall. Much much tougher to achieve with hardware.

I know it can do it - but is it worth twice the price of a HD500x if I'm not using IRs?

 

 

If you have something that works for you, you are probably not going to see a major improvement in tone. What you will see are a greater number of good tones and far better capabilities.. 

 

Think about it. POD was on major recordings and tour so obviously the sounds on it are good enough. Helix has been out for a couple of years or whatever. I still havent heard any guitar tones that are WAY better or even much better than the guitar tones of 2 years ago, and if Helix sounded way better the way some people say it does, should be a cinch right?

 

Im going to say you are not going to see the benefit of Helix with your setup....but then you never know how your needs may change, and the software is ever evolving.

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With the exception of the omission of the Dimension Mod based on the Roland Dimension D.  :mellow:

 

And sadly the control part of L6-Link. The HD series has the upper hand there. But Helix has the better tone and aux ports out the kazoo!

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I know it can do it - but is it worth twice the price of a HD500x if I'm not using IRs?

 

 

I can get a Marshall "Code" head that is supposed to emulate many classic Marshall amps, for around $350.00 new.

 

Versus buying a single DSL-100 head for over $800.00 new. Why buy a single DSL-100 amp sound when I could have a room full of tones using the Code series?

 

Because I wanted to... I hope that answers your question...  ;)

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Thanks for the replies - I'll probably go with the full Helix experience, I'll only wonder what I'm missing otherwise.

 

I do wonder if Line 6 are partly in the snake oil business though.

 

They seem to have a very prolific R+D department with new models coming out all the time, I doubt they are reworking them all from scratch tbh, that would be a crazy expensive way to run the business. I think the products are evolutions rather than revolutions. They change the shape and they look like brand new products, but how much software is changing?

 

Pod XT -> PodX3 = pathing improvements

Pod X3 -> PodHD = new amp models and chips

Pod XT -> Amplifi = new OS

Amplifi -> Firehawk = new form factor and HD amps from 500

PodHD -> Helix = PodHD+built-in OS from Firehawk + IR?

Helix -> Helix 2.0 = ?

 

I'm not saying Helix is basically a PodXT in disguise - there are probably a lot of tweaks and improvements added along the way and they probably had to update the code base at some point...but there almost certainly is some legacy DNA in there?

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Thanks for the replies - I'll probably go with the full Helix experience, I'll only wonder what I'm missing otherwise.

 

I do wonder if Line 6 are partly in the snake oil business though.

 

They seem to have a very prolific R+D department with new models coming out all the time, I doubt they are reworking them all from scratch tbh, that would be a crazy expensive way to run the business. I think the products are evolutions rather than revolutions. They change the shape and they look like brand new products, but how much software is changing?

 

Pod XT -> PodX3 = pathing improvements

Pod X3 -> PodHD = new amp models and chips

Pod XT -> Amplifi = new OS

Amplifi -> Firehawk = new form factor and HD amps from 500

PodHD -> Helix = PodHD+built-in OS from Firehawk + IR?

Helix -> Helix 2.0 = ?

 

I'm not saying Helix is basically a PodXT in disguise - there are probably a lot of tweaks and improvements added along the way and they probably had to update the code base at some point...but there almost certainly is some legacy DNA in there?

 

There's certainly some legacy in what they've learned through their years of experience in modeling.  But it's less about OS and more about hardware DSP when it comes to the Helix.  Clearly when you incorporate a newer hardware component (not to mention a DUAL hardware component) you have to re-write things to take advantage of the expanded capabilities.  I'm getting the sense that, in the case of the Helix, it's as much architecture improvement as it is expanded processing capabilities.  This is the reason they've been able to offer the Helix engine in so many different forms so quickly (Helix, LT, and soon Native).  The legacy DNA in there is more likely knowledge about how to best model electronic components as everything has to be brought over to the new architecture and hardware, but the knowledge of how to best do that is corporate knowledge.

 

In terms of your original question, I think even without using IRs there's more value.  There's certainly more value than someone that simply uses the Helix as a multi-effects processor, but maybe less value than someone that uses ALL of the features including preamps, amps, cab/IRs and all the effects.  But you're certainly gaining the benefit of the new architecture as well as the more advanced DSP capabilities and all of the expanded routing and connection capabilities.

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my understanding is that with helix they've modelled all the elements in the signal pathway so that they all interact as in the original hardware whereas with previous pods they were just going for an 'overall' sound modelling process.. i may be wrong tho.. whatever it is, there's a lot more detail and feel now

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Thanks for the replies - I'll probably go with the full Helix experience, I'll only wonder what I'm missing otherwise.

 

I do wonder if Line 6 are partly in the snake oil business though.

 

They seem to have a very prolific R+D department with new models coming out all the time, I doubt they are reworking them all from scratch tbh, that would be a crazy expensive way to run the business. I think the products are evolutions rather than revolutions. They change the shape and they look like brand new products, but how much software is changing?

 

Pod XT -> PodX3 = pathing improvements

Pod X3 -> PodHD = new amp models and chips

Pod XT -> Amplifi = new OS

Amplifi -> Firehawk = new form factor and HD amps from 500

PodHD -> Helix = PodHD+built-in OS from Firehawk + IR?

Helix -> Helix 2.0 = ?

 

I'm not saying Helix is basically a PodXT in disguise - there are probably a lot of tweaks and improvements added along the way and they probably had to update the code base at some point...but there almost certainly is some legacy DNA in there?

 

 

The good news is, your understanding of what Helix is is completely incorrect, as others have pointed out.

 

The way that Helix operates, the way it responds to your guitar, the way the amp models work, is far far more amp-like than any to the others. I've used every generation of POD, and can attest to the USER experience being completely different.

 

There is zero POD HD technology from POD HD in Helix and the OS has no connection to Firehawk whatsoever.

 

It is truly new from the ground up.

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There is zero POD HD technology from POD HD in Helix and the OS has no connection to Firehawk whatsoever.

 

It is truly new from the ground up.

 

Exactly, the Helix models are all built completely from the ground up. No rehashes of old models, no "legacy DNA". These are far more nuanced and deeper than previous models L6 has made.

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Exactly, the Helix models are all built completely from the ground up. No rehashes of old models, no "legacy DNA". These are far more nuanced and deeper than previous models L6 has made.

 

...although... HD 500/400/300/Bean/Pro were also new from the ground up. There was zero correlation between them and previous models.

 

In Helix, there are SOME FX models that have been ported from HD500/M13 series. There was not one single stitch of ANYTHING in HD 500 that came from X3. HD 500 had all new amp modeling and instead of the previous X3/XT FX, featured the M-series FX.

 

So... this is not the first time they've created something totally new.

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There is a lot of love for the Helix out there (not just on these forums) - I need to get my hands on one to see for myself.

 

Super hard to evaluate this kind of thing in a store though - even if you have all day and some very patient staff!

 

30 day returns I guess

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30 day returns I guess

Yep, buy from Sweetwater. I've had mine about a year, and I am still finding new things to improve my sound.

 

Find someone in your area that you know that may be willing to sit down with you and play with theirs. I did that recently at home with a guy at church that is interested. It helped him out greatly having me show him around on it. 

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I went through Pod XT, Pod HD500 and Pod HT plus DT 25.  All sounded good to me, and gave plenty of options on how to interface with a PA for the sound guy.

 

Only your ears and hands will tell you whether the sound and feel is better - but the display, scribble strips, capacitive footswitches and the rest make for a hugely different experience.  So intuitive and easy to program.

 

Personally, I think the sound is much better too, but I may be biased having made the investment.

 

Evolution or revolution doesn't matter - that's Line6's problem.  Yours is whether you like Helix enough to buy - I'm happy that I did.

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