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Disparate, unpredictable expression pedal behaviour on Helix (& HD500X) 0%-100%-0% forward-backward glitch fix

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"auto-calibration" doesn't work at all. I read somewhere that manual calibration was removed at some point early in the firmware lifecycle, a glaring mistake in my opinion. The Helix doesn't give me consistent EXP operation. I have four pedals: Roland EV5, Yamaha EP1, Ensoniq CVP1 and EHX Next Step EXP —none of them work, all of them are inconsistent. The Roland only covered a span of 50% at the full heel to toe range. the Yamaha goes from 0% to 100% to 11%, the Ensoniq goes from 0 to 100% to 0% in a single sweep.

 

I went and researched how these pots work to try and hypothesise why the Helix glitched with TRS pedals of varied brands. I own a BOSS GT8 and it simply works with all of them. What bothers me the most is that the Ensoniq and Yamaha did work properly on the HD500X. One of the reasons I upgraded to the Helix was the possibility of using two external expression pedals, hence the disappointment when they didn't work. The EHX EXP pedal I mentioned didn't work with either the Pod or Helix. 
 

EDIT: I avoided expensive and heavy iron cast pedals like the Mission Engineering EP1, or the Ernie Ball that use a fragile cord to crank the pot. I purposely use plastic options because they are lightweight. EHX released a conventional passive expression pedal this past July and M-Audio sell the EX-P pedal which offers a linear and CW/CCW switch that make it compatible. scroll down for a practical solution to avoid modding to use on the Helix and fix the dreaded forward-backward glitch.

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If your expression pedal is compatible with the Helix, you can set the range of the pedal - and it will stay set.

Could this be part of your problem?
Also, you do need to set the range - if you want 0-100% you need to set that up.

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The auto-calibration works just fine if your expression pedal is compatible with the Helix.

 

Unfortunately by the behavior you describe, it doesn't sound like your are compatible. They may be able to be re-wired see this post here:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/15999-external-expression-pedal-calibration/

 

There is alot of information about how the pedal needs to be wired.

 

I used this post here to mod my crybaby into a compatible expression pedal:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/21821-modding-a-cry-baby-to-make-an-expression-pedal/

 

The pedal works perfectly.

 

Perhaps you can mod a couple of your pedals to work properly with the Helix.

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Is there another solution? and no, I don't want heavy iron cast pedals like the Mission Engineering or Earnie Ball. I purposely use plastic options because they are lightweight. 

I use the cheap old Line 6 EXP1 pedals. They work great, no issues. 

 

Silly question: are you using a TRS cable and not TS?

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If your expression pedal is compatible with the Helix, you can set the range of the pedal - and it will stay set.

Could this be part of your problem?

thanks for the tip, not what I needed but I'll keep it in mind for another purpose.

The auto-calibration works just fine if your expression pedal is compatible with the Helix. Perhaps you can mod a couple of your pedals to work properly with the Helix.

Very informative, I did search the forum before posting but I didn't stumble upon those threads. Neat stuff, I didn't know a TRS operated in the Helix as CW and CCW simultaneously via sleeve & ring (I don't see the point of that behavior but that's how it is) explains why the signal goes from 0 to 100 and back to 0.

I use the cheap old Line 6 EXP1 pedals. They work great, no issues. Silly question: are you using a TRS cable and not TS?

glad you asked, your question got me thinking, all these plastic pedals are TRS, what if I plug the EXP into an ABY with a TS patch cable at the output end? turns out that fixes the problem with no need to desolder and exchange the cable jack. Both a Radial bypass and a DIY patchbay did the trick without modding. Either ring or sleeve needs to be merged or subtracted (without jumping prongs and cables inside) for the signal to be linear and compliant with the Helix:E43o3ln.jpg

h73Hkpxg.jpg

maybe this works too?

zzVnxUf.jpg

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Silly question: are you using a TRS cable and not TS?

 

 

 

I'm using a TRS cable from my Ernie Ball pedal for volume control into the Helix Controller, and it works just fine (as it should). The controller 1/4" port won't see the "center" part of a TRS cable because the ground is most likely touching it higher up on the shaft (as most 1/4" connectors ports of that kind do). Even if it gets into the (center) middle part of the TRS cable its not being used, so it shouldn't matter.

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I'm using a TRS cable from my Ernie Ball pedal for volume control into the Helix Controller, and it works just fine (as it should). The controller 1/4" port won't see the "center" part of a TRS cable because the ground is most likely touching it higher up on the shaft (as most 1/4" connectors ports of that kind do). Even if it gets into the (center) middle part of the TRS cable its not being used, so it shouldn't matter.

 

 

it did matter since the Helix does in fact reads both CW and CCW (ring and sleeve), hence why my pedals where going backwards to 0% in a single sweep. I'm guessing maybe the Earnie Ball has a lift/iso switch or some other functionality that makes it more versatile and compatible with the Helix. using a TRS-to-TS converter did the trick for me without modding any of my pedals.

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Helix is only reading the "Tip and Sleeve", and not the center ring (on a TRS cable or TS cable). I know this because Mission pedals designed for Helix (like the EP1-L6 and Sp1-L6) are using Tip and sleeve only I.E. 2 connections. Others like Kemper and Axe FX II use Tip, ring and Sleeve connections, but not Helix. I'm pretty certain I'm right on this.   :)

 

 

using a TRS-to-TS converter did the trick for me without modding any of my pedals.

 

 

Good deal, and what your converter did there was change the cable configuration from Tip/ring/sleeve to Tip and Sleeve.  ;)

 

 

Here is a good page for reading about all this with some mods that might help too.

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/17480-best-external-expression-pedal-for-use-with-helix/

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Helix is only reading the "Tip and Sleeve", and not the center ring (on a TRS cable or TS cable). I know this because Mission pedals designed for Helix (like the EP1-L6 and Sp1-L6) are using Tip and sleeve only I.E. 2 connections. Others like Kemper and Axe FX II use Tip, ring and Sleeve connections, but not Helix. I'm pretty certain I'm right on this. :)

Your pedal is probably jumped inside, you might be using a TRS cable but the ring and sleeve are most likely linear: CW--Sleeve, Wiper-Tip, CCW--Tip (that, or one of them isn't soldered at all), that's why it makes no difference to you weather you use a TS or TRS. That is not my case. The problem a lot of us encounter using other pedal brands is due to a different soldering configuration: CW--Sleeve, Wiper-Tip, CCW--Ring (or inverted). That's why they go clockwise and then counterclockwise in a single sweep on the Helix. You said earlier "middle part of the TRS cable its not being used, so it shouldn't matter." Well, it does matter because every Helix jack is TRS. For some unknown reason the firmware is sensing both ring and sleeve signals to yield the completely undesirable effect of forward-backwards sensing.

 

Helix should play nice with any expression pedal, not just Mission Engineering's (which Line6 endorses in some way). This is a minor complain but some users have ditched their old pedals for no good reason (I was so frustrated at one point I considered buying an EP1 –until I realized those extra 4 pounds would cost me $100 in excess baggage fees with the airline.) BOSS GT processors work with any expression pedal you throw at them. Line6 should address the issue with a firmware update, otherwise, an inexpensive TRS-to-TS converter (or cable splitter) makes modding utterly unnecessary (Left for CW and Right for CCW)

 

in other words: Too much [modding] and not enough music-making... :lol:

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I have a couple Moog EP3 pedals and they work fine with the included cheap TRS cables. I think industry standardization would be a big help..Funny how we all have different wants though. While the Moog pedals work perfectly with my AX8 and Helix I only got them because I couldn't afford two heavier pedals at the time. I greatly prefer the heavier, sturdier Mission pedals. I love me Mission Engineering pedal for my Helix. It doesn't slide, get knocked over, plus it supports  my fat a@@ (not that I stand on it mind you). I forget my model but it has the Line 6 logo on it. It will not work on tube AX8 (why I grabbed two Moog for less than one ME). It has zero sweep on Fractal.

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You said earlier "middle part of the TRS cable its not being used, so it shouldn't matter.Well, it does matter because every Helix jack is TRS

 

That may be, but the ring (middle part) of the connector is not used in most of Helix.

 

 

Your pedal is probably jumped inside, you might be using a TRS cable but the ring and sleeve are most likely linear:

 

https://missionengineering.com/shop-2/products/expression/specific-use-exp/sp1-l6h/?v=7516fd43adaa

 

The Mission page link above talks about using "TS" cables for Helix. Not TRS cables. These pedals are indeed Jumpered are inside on the pot, and "designed" for Helix, because it uses a Tip and Sleeve only. I know cause I've had them apart. Let me restate this, they are "designed" for Helix. Mission also makes pedals for Fractal Audio, and they ARE TRS cables because the Axe FX hardware uses TRS connections and are "wired" that way inside. AFAIK, Helix, for the most part, does not use the ring, even if they used TRS hardware (except for the amp channel control).

 

Here are the pics of an "Unmodified" EP1-L6 Mission pedal wired directly from the factory using "Tip" and "Sleeve" connection only. These are "designed" to work with Helix.

 

Notice that there is no "third" wire on the output connector. "That" is why you can use a TRS cable as it makes no difference here.

 

XsPxBs6.jpg

 

 

hjIWjuq.jpg

 

 

Once again, I think the reason TRS cables work in TS ports on Helix is that the "sleeve" side of the connector inside is touching the sleeve of the cable, and it doesn't use or touch the ring part.

 

 

Helix should play nice with any expression pedal, not just Mission Engineering's (which Line6 unsurprisingly endorses). 

 

 

 

We all fall into the "I bought this so it should work with anything" mindset at times. I've done this myself. Fact is it just doesn't always work out that way once the unit is shipped out the door. 

 

 

Line6 should address the issue with a firmware update

 

 

Once shipped, you can not change hardware design and wiring connections on a switch with a firmware update unless it was designed that way from the factory. Case in point- The L6-Link port on Helix... Looks and named the same as the port on the HD-500, but it doesn't act the same... sigh...

 

And that was "Too much measuring", not modding.  ;)

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 It doesn't slide, get knocked over, plus it supports  my fat a@@ (not that I stand on it mind you). I forget my model but it has the Line 6 logo on it. It will not work on tube AX8 (why I grabbed two Moog for less than one ME). It has zero sweep on Fractal.

 

I can see why a sturdier chassis would come in handy, it's nigh impossible to avoid leaning on them, specially when jumping around and spazzing loco on stage —I used to worry but so far, these plastic pedals have withstood the abuse too well. Despite that, I would not trust plastic if I needed a toe-switch pedal, the sheer force required to engage those would destroy ABS in no time, too bad the Mission Engineering SP1 is only compatible with the Helix Rack, oh well!

 

We all fall into the "I bought this so it should work with anything" mindset at times. I've done this myself. Fact is it just doesn't always work out that way once the unit is shipped out the door.

Once shipped, you can not change hardware design and wiring connections on a switch with a firmware update unless it was designed that way from the factory. Case in point- The L6-Link port

on Helix... Looks and named the same as the port on the HD-500, but it doesn't act the same... sigh... 

And that was "Too much measuring", not modding.  ;)

 

I wasn't expecting the EP1 to be that basic! geez, $130 for that chunk of iron, really?! EHX recently released a (presumed "military-grade") polymer pedal with a mechanical reverse button, CW/CCW inversion and sweep range, for $50 bucks!

qDtVmdT.jpg

Too much measuring, indeed! LOL if I'd known a $1 splitter/converter would make EVERY expression pedal compatible with the Helix, I wouldn't have hassled myself tinkering to begin with.

post-2301825-0-50499800-1504652195_thumb.jpg

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I can see why a sturdier chassis would come in handy, it's nigh impossible to avoid leaning on them, specially when jumping around and spazzing loco on stage —I used to worry but so far, these plastic pedals have withstood the abuse too well. Despite that, I would not trust plastic if I needed a toe-switch pedal, the sheer force required to engage those would destroy ABS in no time, too bad the Mission Engineering SP1 is only compatible with the Helix Rack, oh well!

 

 

I wasn't expecting the EP1 to be that basic! geez, $130 for that chunk of iron, really?! EHX recently released a (presumed "military-grade") polymer pedal with a mechanical reverse button, CW/CCW inversion and sweep range, for $50 bucks!

attachicon.gifJul17_LNU_EHX_Expression_WEB.jpg

Too much measuring, indeed! LOL if I'd known a $1 splitter/converter would make EVERY expression pedal compatible with the Helix, I wouldn't have hassled myself tinkering to begin with.

 

I totally agree about the toe switch part. I have not seen a plastic expression pedal with one but I am sure they are out there. My fat self might crush a plastic one. Its funny but I think this thread jinxed me. My Moog was not working right with my Helix yesterday. I don't need more than one external so I just hooked up my good Line 6 Mission Engineering model. 

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I totally agree about the toe switch part. I have not seen a plastic expression pedal with one but I am sure they are out there. My fat self might crush a plastic one. Its funny but I think this thread jinxed me. My Moog was not working right with my Helix yesterday. I don't need more than one external so I just hooked up my good Line 6 Mission Engineering model. 

 

how did your Moog pedal misbehave? 

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It took my cookies..

 

It was really odd. It was like it kept switching polarity. Full volume was up one second, down the next..

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BigRalphN

try plugging a mono patch cable, if instead of a jack it has a nonremovable TRS cable, try one of these, each end should work a different polarity.

0pOrugS.jpg

Rocco_Crocco

Thanks but I've found too many reports of string breakage, seems like that cord offers no advantage over pot and gear. While it's a lighter and better alternative to the Mission EP1, it's still heavier than my Ensoniq CVP1 and Boss EV5 combined. 

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I screwed up and bought 2 Moog expression pedals to use with my Helix w/o any research - of course the Guitar Center guy is going to say they'll work w/o a problem.  So if I use a regular patch cable, they don't do anything.  If I use the TRS that came with the pedal and the pedal is set to standard, heel down = 0, about halfway thru is 100, and toe down down is back to zero.  If I switch the pedal to "Other,"  it works backward, but I get the full range  of 100 to zero from the pedal.  If I change minimum to 100 and max to zero, it cures that, but nothing changes until the pedal is about 3/4 of the way toe down, and then it jumps and fluctuates between 68 or 72.  If I use the Learn, it just switches me back so that the pedal is backward.  I am not up for opening the pedal and soldering things, so, am I completely hosed?

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Man, all this trouble and my super cheap M-Audio expression pedal works great with the Helix out of the box (had to set it to "inverted"). :shrug:

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I screwed up and bought 2 Moog expression pedals to use with my Helix w/o any research - of course the Guitar Center guy is going to say they'll work w/o a problem.  So if I use a regular patch cable, they don't do anything.  If I use the TRS that came with the pedal and the pedal is set to standard, heel down = 0, about halfway thru is 100, and toe down down is back to zero.  If I switch the pedal to "Other,"  it works backward, but I get the full range  of 100 to zero from the pedal.  If I change minimum to 100 and max to zero, it cures that, but nothing changes until the pedal is about 3/4 of the way toe down, and then it jumps and fluctuates between 68 or 72.  If I use the Learn, it just switches me back so that the pedal is backward.  I am not up for opening the pedal and soldering things, so, am I completely hosed?

Return them. 

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skipsnips

You didn't screw up, it wasn't Guitar Center's fault, and I don't think you need to return them. line6 have never officially stated that the Helix is designed to work only with linear expression pedals with a TS cable and be incompatible with the great majority of TRS expression pedals out there (despite the fact the the EXP2 EXP3 inputs are both TRS jacks). That means a linear signal from a two-filament pot to a TS output. Line6 is only concerned with endorsing the Mission Engineering EP1 pedal which works, but is too expensive, too heavy and too limited an option. The manual also fails to explain that three-filament pots and TRS jack/cable expression pedals yield the wonky undesirable effect of 0-100-0 or 100-0-100 sweeps. What the TRS does is receive a clockwise signal (CW) on the ring and a counterclockwise (CCW) signal on the sleeve (or inverted), hence the forward-backward polarity run of the toe-heel span. if your Moog expression pedal has a TRS jack, try using a splitter Y cable such as any of this:

QZpDcUx.jpg

one end should give you a forward polarity and the other a backwards polarity, no need to open the pedal or mod in any way. Give it a try and report.

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skipsnips

You didn't screw up, it wasn't Guitar Center's fault, and I don't think you need to return them. line6 have never officially stated that the Helix is designed to work only with linear expression pedals with a TS cable and be incompatible with the great majority of TRS expression pedals out there (despite the fact the the EXP2 EXP3 inputs are both TRS jacks). That means a linear signal from a two-filament pot to a TS output. Line6 is only concerned with endorsing the Mission Engineering EP1 pedal which works, but is too expensive, too heavy and too limited an option. The manual also fails to explain that three-filament pots and TRS jack/cable expression pedals yield the wonky undesirable effect of 0-100-0 or 100-0-100 sweeps. What the TRS does is receive a clockwise signal (CW) on the ring and a counterclockwise (CCW) signal on the sleeve (or inverted), hence the forward-backward polarity run of the toe-heel span. if your Moog expression pedal has a TRS jack, try using a splitter Y cable such as any of this:

QZpDcUx.jpg

one end should give you a forward polarity and the other a backwards polarity, no need to open the pedal or mod in any way. Give it a try and report.

 

 

It has nothing to do with Line 6 wanting to endorse the ME pedal. ME just happens to make a compatible pedal. Line 6 has always used the TS configuration for their expression pedals jacks, ever since they came out with the 4-button stomps like 17 years ago. And, GC should know this...

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Thank you both for such quick responses!  I wanna make sure I get this right: I use the TRS cable that came with the EP3 to go into a y-cord with a female TRS input and 2 male TS outputs and see which one works, or just a y-cord that's a male TRS on one end and 2 male TS's on the other?  I bet I've got it wrong, otherwise a cable that's TRS on one end and TS on the other would do the trick.  

 

And as an old, cynical video editor, I know that Adobe only releases info to a couple of plug-in designers, who then charge ridiculous yearly fees - in other words, I wouldn't be stunned if Line 6 has an arrangement with ME.  Again, thank you for helping a neophyte...

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skipsnips

yes, both options are viable, I would suggest you use a TRS-to-TS Y-cable directly to avoid the converter:

pfGlDMr.jpg

 

 

 

phil_m

you may be right about Line6 using TS for 17 years, however neither the Pod nor the Helix state that fact on their respective manuals. If they had, I wouldn't have wasted hours researching and modding my pedals (as have other users starting threads on this topic). By the way, both the Ensoniq and Yamaha worked fine on the HD500X but were glitchy on the Helix, evidence that Line6 has not standardized EXP input jack behavior after all, watch the video I posted below for a demonstration. I've also read about people ditching their old pedals and buying ME ones because retailers like Musiciansfriend conspicuously suggest them —not that there's anything wrong with sponsored ads anyways.

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It has nothing to do with Line 6 wanting to endorse the ME pedal. ME just happens to make a compatible pedal. Line 6 has always used the TS configuration for their expression pedals jacks, ever since they came out with the 4-button stomps like 17 years ago. And, GC should know this...

 

 

^^^  Thanks Phil   ;)

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I know it's not glamorous, but seriously, as I said above, this pedal works great out of the box and it's under $30. https://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-EX-P-Expression-Pedal/dp/B000NLRWEI Set the switch on the pedal to "M-audio" not "other" and invert the polarity on the Helix or you get backwards sweep.

 

those work great, yeah, EHX used to bundle them with the HOG pedal in 2011, it's universally compatible, I think it's the only pedal on the market that has a linear and CW/CCW circuit switch. It was regrettable when Electro Harmonix broke off that deal by the time of the HOG2 release, in favor of the proprietary abomination that was the Next Step Expression Pedal.

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Thanks for the y-cord info, but of course I've got a new problem - the sweep of the pedal only works from about 25% to 75%.  In other words, heel down to the pedal about 25% forward does nothing, and it hits 100 with the toe about 25% from being all the way down.  The pedal has to be set to "other" to work at all, and can only use the red (tip?) part of the y.  I can use the pedal's volume knob to make it better at the end of the sweep, but than I can never got to zero; and if Learn Controller is doing anything, I can't tell.  If this is as good as it gets and I have to buy a couple of ME's, I will...

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If I switch the pedal to "Other,"  it works backward, but I get the full range  of 100 to zero from the pedal. 

Wait a minute, I missed this bit on your first post. You mean the pedal did work when you set it to "other", but backwards? if that's the case do not attempt to invert polarity in the pedal, remove the Y-cable and go back to the TRS, set it to work and then go into the Helix global settings and invert the polarity, watch the first youtube video posted in the thread for instrunctions on how to do that.

 

Just so you know, the purpose of the "learn Controller" button is to auto assign block parameters to the exp/fs, it does not calibrate or invert polarity. ignore it.

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Since there is no user "calibration" function on Helix for the midi controller pedals we all use can you change the topic wording on the OP, please? Why? It's not broken if it's purposely not there (I wish it was there too but it's not), and stating its useless is just an opinion (like mine) that I believe is unfair, and misleading to the new users. Not to mention my Mission pedals work great with Helix because they were "designed" for using with that unit. Don't put a square peg in a round hold and expect it to fit in other words.

 

 

Thanks  :)

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I use the Ernie ball vpjr vol pedal. no mod necessary, just make sure you plug it into the pedal out jack using only a ts cable.

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Sorry, I'm not expressing myself very well... 

 

With the TRS-TRS cable the Moog came with and its switch set to Standard, the pedal goes from 0 to 100 to 0 again (or the opposite if I reverse Helix's Controller Assign); if I switch the Moog to Other and keep the Helix swapped, it works, but the pedal has to be rocked almost halfway for anything to happen.

 

With a TRS-TS Y-cord using the gray (ground?) plug, the Moog set to Standard, and the Helix back to 0-100/Min-Max, even with the heel all the way down the volume doesn't go all the way off, and the Position indicator won't go below 20% or so; with the Moog set to Other, it goes the other way - it goes to 0 but maxes out at 20% according to the Position indicator.  (And I am making sure to set the Controller Assign to 0 and 100.)  

 

Lastly, with the red (hot?) plug of the Y-cord and the Moog on Standard, nada.  Setting the Moog to Other gets the best results, but that means the pedal is only responding from 25% to 75% of the sweep, and we're back, and we're back to the end of the last email.

 

At this point, it's kinda turning into a malignant brain teaser.  If you have any neurons to spare, I'm open to suggestions; otherwise, thanks for your help...

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skipsnips

reasonable, I just changed it, hope that helps.

skipsnips

Too bad. The Y-cable converter worked both for my Ensoniq and Yamaha brands. I only have one splitter so I used it on the Yamaha, I tried another trick on the Ensoniq which involves no pedal modding, but you do have to slice open a little segment of a TRS cable with a blade to cut off two filaments and weave two others, it took me 15 minutes. Let me know if you're up to that, otherwise your only option left is exchange. Technically, the Moog pedal should work exactly the same as the M-Audio, which also features an identical 2-way switch (Other/standard), and is verified to work. No idea why the Moog failed. The M-Audio or Line6 EX1 work and are lightweight. I´m not 100% sure about the recently released EHX classic EXP but that's the one I'll buy next time I´m out for a new pedal, if you'd like to try that one at the store and report back to us, it'd be great (make sure you try TS/TRS/Ysplitter at the store). Otherwise, If you want heavy iron cast pedals, you can opt for the Ernie Ball VPjr suggested eariler or the ME EP1, but I would not pay more than 95 bucks for any expression pedal. 

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i have two EV-5 and they both have the same issue. when i go up, sometimes they stay on 100%, but other times on 99 or 98. Back down, sometimes 0%, sometimes 1 or 2...

anyone with same issue?

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i have two EV-5 and they both have the same issue. when i go up, sometimes they stay on 100%, but other times on 99 or 98. Back down, sometimes 0%, sometimes 1 or 2...

anyone with same issue?

Are you using the rack and controller, or the floor version?

With the rack it has been advised to use the exp pedal Jack's on the back of the rack if you experiencing these kind of problems when connected to the exp Jack's on the controller.... it solved it most of the time for me.

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I'm using the floor version. I noticed when i unplug it and plug it again it gets a little better, but never totally

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pmrm87
I discovered that bad solder joints sometimes yield bad readings. When you unplug the jack and plug it back in it fixes itself temporarily because the HELIX self-calibrates, but a defective jack could be throwing off the calibration. You could try taping the jack/cable tightly to the backplate of the Helix, or using a cable extension or angle converter and maybe that fixes the issue:
 f2Yg367.jpg
otherwise, you'd have to open the EV5 and slightly roll back or forward the pot while disengaging the crank to increase (or decrease) the coiling travel.

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