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Some questions from a possible buyer


tridyed
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Hello all, thanks for any info.

 

I am not trying to troll anyone or start a flame war. I am about to join a band and many of our gigs will be casino's and places where you can NOT use stage amps. I am needing info on ways to see if the Helix can do hat I need. Some of these question are about posts I have seen here and I wanted to clarify some answers. I am used to playing through a vintage Boogie Mark III right now.

 

1) I have seen quite a few people who are not happy with the reverb sounds.

            ->  Is there any news of a patch that may add a better reverb system?

            ->  I have an awesome TC Elect HOF reverb usit, can I put that in the external loop and still access & Assign it inside the system as if it were part of the unit?

 

2) I have to cover a wide range of styles with this project: If I understand right .... I can pick and amp, a cab, the mic being used and side chain effects like modulation and delay and reverb correct?

 

3) Do most of you feel like the Helix responds to the way you pick ?  ie softer touch responds the way it would on a real tube amp? (nothing against line 6 but the spider amps and such just sound the same no matter what I do)

 

That is all I have right now, I am look at all the top end digital systems and I don't see any need for a $ 3000 system if this unit can do what I need.

 

Thanks all for any feedback.

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1) I have seen quite a few people who are not happy with the reverb sounds.

            ->  Is there any news of a patch that may add a better reverb system?

            ->  I have an awesome TC Elect HOF reverb usit, can I put that in the external loop and still access & Assign it inside the system as if it were part of the unit?

 

2) I have to cover a wide range of styles with this project: If I understand right .... I can pick and amp, a cab, the mic being used and side chain effects like modulation and delay and reverb correct?

 

3) Do most of you feel like the Helix responds to the way you pick?  ie softer touch responds the way it would on a real tube amp? (nothing against line 6 but the spider amps and such just sound the same no matter what I do)

 

1) Helix will be getting better reverbs. Yes, you can insert your HOF into one (or two, for stereo) effects loops. It can be placed anywhere on one of Helix's four signal paths, assigned to a footswitch, custom labeled, and the LED custom colored to make it seem like it's built in.

2) Depends on what you mean by "sidechain." Yes, a lot of effects can be placed wherever you want, but there's no sidechain in the way that a compressor's detector circuit can be side chained from a different input or something.

3) I'm biased here, so I'll defer to other users.

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1) I find the reverbs to be fine, particularly compared to a HOF (although Mash is super cool). If you've made a Big Sky a major part of your sound, you might be disappointed. Either way though, you can definitely put the HOF in an effects loop and use it instead of the stock presets if you just can't get the sound you want. So no issue either way.

 

2) Yes, you can do that. And much more. If you've been using a standard Amp and Pedal Board set up, then you can do everything and more with a Helix. You'd have to have a pretty bonkers set up to have something the helix couldn't handle from a routing standpoint. (With DI's response, I'm assuming you just mean run a parallel path) 

 

3) Yes. It responds well to pick dynamics and your guitars volume knob. I've been pretty happy with the "feel" of the unit. 

 

I'm a relatively recent Helix user, so i have some additional thoughts: 

 

First, the Helix is crazy easy to use while still being ridiculously powerful. I looked at a Fractal AX8 and the thought of having to use a computer or that terrible green screen for editing was what finally drove me to Helix. It's so easy to use without sacrificing the power. That's a huge benefit for the unit. 

 

Second, it's not an amp in a room; it's a model of a mic'ed amp in another room. Getting comfortable with that idea will make getting used to Helix or any modeler much easier. It's something that a lot of guitarists aren't used to. And if you get it and aren't happy with the sounds, check all your global settings. Mine sounded like lacking until I took the guitar input pad off. 

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I did not make the question about side chains very clear. What I was meaning to ask :

 

I have some pedals in front of my Mark III and a few through the effects loops (Dly, Mod and reverb). I am guessing I can set up patches like that?

 

Also do I get to pick what mic is being used or is it preset to a certain mic on a certain cab ? (solved, I just found the answer to this in the docs)

 

Thanks for both answers !

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Hello all, thanks for any info.

 

I am not trying to troll anyone or start a flame war. I am about to join a band and many of our gigs will be casino's and places where you can NOT use stage amps. I am needing info on ways to see if the Helix can do hat I need. Some of these question are about posts I have seen here and I wanted to clarify some answers. I am used to playing through a vintage Boogie Mark III right now.

 

1) I have seen quite a few people who are not happy with the reverb sounds.

-> Is there any news of a patch that may add a better reverb system?

-> I have an awesome TC Elect HOF reverb usit, can I put that in the external loop and still access & Assign it inside the system as if it were part of the unit?

 

2) I have to cover a wide range of styles with this project: If I understand right .... I can pick and amp, a cab, the mic being used and side chain effects like modulation and delay and reverb correct?

 

3) Do most of you feel like the Helix responds to the way you pick ? ie softer touch responds the way it would on a real tube amp? (nothing against line 6 but the spider amps and such just sound the same no matter what I do)

 

That is all I have right now, I am look at all the top end digital systems and I don't see any need for a $ 3000 system if this unit can do what I need.

 

Thanks all for any feedback.

1) You can put anything you want in the FX loop

 

2) Yes.

 

3) Depends on how much of a tube snob you are...;). Seriously tho, I think Helix is excellent at responding to playing dynamics...better than most other modelers I've used. But if you've been a tube amp devotee for 40 years, I won't swear that you won't feel a difference...I suppose it'll depend on your individual technique, and the style(s) of music in question.

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Yes I am a 40+ year tube amp guy but, I am never closed off to the new technology. Many of the casino's and such will not let you have amps or real drums on stage. I may not agree but I know how well they pay around here so I am open to looking at the digital options. I wont be selling my tube amps but there is no reason I can't keep my feet in both worlds.

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I have some pedals in front of my Mark III and a few through the effects loops (Dly, Mod and reverb). I am guessing I can set up patches like that?

 

Also do I get to pick what mic is being used or is it preset to a certain mic on a certain cab ?

Ah, yes. Helix will do 4-Cable Method, 7-Cable Method (2 amps in stereo), 10-Cable Method (Wet-Dry-Wet), and even 13-Cable Method (why not?). 8 TEMPLATES > 02A 4-Cable Method is set up for this automatically.

Each of the stock Cab blocks (or the Cab portion of an Amp+Cab block) can have the mic, mic, distance, and Early Reflections tweaked, even in real time.

Yossarian1156's comment about amp-in-the-room is really important tho'. If Helix doesn't sound like you expect through PA speakers, there's a 90% chance it's... the fact that you're using PA speakers. FRFR can never nail the feel of a roaring tube amp, but that's due to physics, not technology. Helix has zero control over the playback system one uses to hear it, and therefore, should never be blamed for not sounding like a real amp in the room.

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Totally understand. even a real tube amp in a room never sounds the same through the PA due to a lets say 57 or other mics. They are only seeing/hearing a small area of the speaker they are in front of. Especially close mic'ing never captures the room tonality.

 

I would probably mic up my Mark III well and listen through headphones and then work the Helix till they start sounding closer to each other. That is probably as close as I could get I am guessing. I am still reading all the web pages here to learn more on the unit.

 

Thank you for the reply!

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I have some pedals in front of my Mark III and a few through the effects loops (Dly, Mod and reverb). I am guessing I can set up patches like that?

 

 

Yes. You can put effects before your amp model and then more between your amp model and speaker cab, which is essentially the same as putting it in the effects loop of a real amp. You can then put some after the speaker cab as well, which would be like effects on your mixing board. That's all super easy to do. 

 

You can also get crazy and have thing split of to new signal chains so that your reverb goes to a different cab than your delay, you have two amps running dirty and clean at the same time and merging together at the end for an EQ, that you use a crossover to route anything below 110hz (low A) to a different effects chain that uses an octave down to give you some bass register while still playing the guitar through the main signal chain. You've got more control than you'll ever need if you're used to pedals, preamp, pedals, poweramp. 

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I just want to add an answer to no. 1 and 3.

1. the verbs in Helix work very well in the house and in the mix. I like stacking a couple for special FX, and I like the spring verbs a lot.

 

3. Helix responds to my picking dynamics as well as any amps I've owned, and that was a lot of amps.

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1) Yes, you can put your HOF in a loop and control it just like all the other on board effects. 

 

2) You can go from metal to bluegrass to jazz to blues to whatever... It will cover whatever you want to play. There is a wide range of amp/cab models. 

 

3) for my playing style, I cannot tell the difference between Helix and tube/analog amps. 

 

I don't play real amps any more. Helix and a couple of JBL Eons. It is PERFECT for my needs. 

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I don't think the reverbs are all bad. The Plate reverb is pretty nice and one of the 2 spring reverbs sounds pretty close to a good spring reverb in an amp.

 

I had a Boogie Mark III combo and a Mark IIc as well. They were pretty similiar except the Mark III was a little brighter sounding. They're very nice amps, but the fact that the two channels shared the same EQ was what began my quest for finding a more versatile rig. It was a long journey through lots of gear and I ended up with the Helix. I don't own any tube amps anymore, though I'll admit that I regret letting some of them go; one of them was the Mark IIc. In the band I tour with, I use rented Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifiers with a Line 6 M13; so I still get to have the tube amp experience. It's cool, but digital modeling has come a long way and I don't really prefer tubes anymore.

 

The picking dynamics in Helix are very much like a tube amp. Some amp models are more responsive than others, but they're all pretty good like that unless you're using mondo gain of course.

 

In one band I play with, the leader doesn't allow amps onstage anymore; makes him feel that the volume won't get out of control. In that band, my Helix goes direct into the mixing board and everybody in the band uses in-ear monitors. Mine are Shure SE535s with custom molded sleeves; I think they sound great, but they're not cheap. I don't know how my Helix is sounding in FOH, but we've had a handful of soundmen run the board at different gigs and nobody has complained (my experience with soundmen after playing guitar professionally for almost 40 years is that they rarely keeps their opinions to themselves). Of course the overall volume of that band is probably pretty polite; it might be different with a loud band; Fletcher Munson curve figures prominently. I do gigs in Vegas at least once a year and though I've never played at a casino there, I have noticed that most bands play at a very polite volume at them.

 

When I play in small to medium sized clubs with some other bands I use a powered FRFR speaker. I made different patches for that situation; the ones that I made for my in-ears tend to have a bit too much bass and treble for that speaker, especially at a certain volume. But the cab models have hi and low cut filters and with the additional EQ models, it's pretty easy to dial in just about any tone you can imagine.

 

I think you'll like (and perhaps love) the Helix!

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Thanks for the feedback !    I am not into mondo gain so that wont be an issue for me. The band I may join does a lot of dance material so it's an easier gig playing wise.

 

Like you I always have some side projects going but even those never need a big gain/overdrive factor.

 

I have EV and JBL powered speakers if I want to have a speaker cab and they have onboard EQ as well so I think I can get a sound that would work for a stage volume I can use if needed.

 

We will also be using in ears for most shows as well.

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