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MarkJarvis

Helix, AXE FX II, do you hear a big difference?

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Hello All

Sorry to bring this up if its already been discussed in detail.

 

Helix, AXE FX II, do you hear a big difference? 

 

The reason i ask this recently I was playing listening to Helix while another person was playing AXE FX II

and while both sound great, the AXE FX II seemed to have a sonic quality that I was not hearing in Helix.

I thought well maybe its the pre amps I am using (focusrite and prosonos) but still its really on the high end

and depth the AXE FX seems to be far more clear over the helix which seemed far more harsh, No I am not using global eq

although I tried that too. Helix at its base patches seems thinner...custom patches Helix on its own sounds great until AXE FX

playing in the same mix.

 

Dunno, I might be crazy would be interested in your thoughts.

 

NOTE This is not to bash Helix or Line 6, I have been Line 6 customer for many many years

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I've seen all sorts of comparison videos, and while there will always be some differences in sound between any two devices, I've not heard anything that I'd call night and day, especially if people are using tones with the same IRs. I had the AX8 for a little while, and my general feeling with it is that the defaults seemed more polished than the Helix. What I mean by that is that what you get with the Helix is something more like a photo with no editing or anything applied to it. What Fractal is trying to give you is something more akin to a photo that's been edited, had filters applied to it, etc. To get the same sort of experiences with the Helix, you have to be willing to put the work in to get where you want. I actually think the Helix paradigm is more flexible in the end, because it allows to sculpt things how you want, not the way someone else engineered them to be.

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I've heard two Helices in a band playing together, and they sounded completely different. Same too for a band with two Fractals, two distinctly different sounds and "quality". It's all in the hands and mind of the user, and the perception of the audience listening. 

 

One players "tone of dreams" is another players "tone of crap". All of todays modelers/profilers are capable of making just about any tone with superior quality. Again, it's all in the hands and mind of the user, and the perception of the audience listening. 

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Hello All

Sorry to bring this up if its already been discussed in detail.

 

Ad nauseam...in thread after thread.

 

"Better" has no meaningful definition here, as it is ENTIRELY subjective. ANY of the current modelers can be made to sound "good". They can also be made to sound like crap...whatever those terms mean to you. It boils down to whether or not the pilot knows what he's doing. A/B comparisons are useless.

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So, assuming here that I have fair skills and good ears as well as being a recording engineer for a long time what I am talking inst really 'subjective' its based on

an overall sound quality, where the AXE FX sits in the mix from a position of EQ. The unit seems harsher in the high end (Helix) which translates into a harsher feel. I know that i can get a good or bad patch on both so i really not talking about the patches.

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So, assuming here that I have fair skills and good ears as well as being a recording engineer for a long time what I am talking inst really 'subjective' its based on

an overall sound quality, where the AXE FX sits in the mix from a position of EQ. The unit seems harsher in the high end (Helix) which translates into a harsher feel. I know that i can get a good or bad patch on both so i really not talking about the patches.

 

Which is why so many people stick and EQ at the end of their presets in Helix and set cuts at around 90 - 120 and 6K - 10K.  Apparently that's built into Axe (out of the user's control?).

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So, assuming here that I have fair skills and good ears as well as being a recording engineer for a long time what I am talking inst really 'subjective' its based on

an overall sound quality, where the AXE FX sits in the mix from a position of EQ. The unit seems harsher in the high end (Helix) which translates into a harsher feel. I know that i can get a good or bad patch on both so i really not talking about the patches.

 

I don't believe it's possible to make any sort of sweeping generalizations like that. It all depends in how the units are dialed in. So much depends on the specific IR being used and how the cab models are dialed in on the Helix...

 

Have you seen this? This is the same song recorded once with Helix Native and then with the Axe FX II. They aren't quite identical, and he wasn't trying to make them, but they both sound pretty much equally good, imo. It really just comes down to what the player/engineer wants.

 

 

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... where the AXE FX sits in the mix from a position of EQ. The unit seems harsher in the high end (Helix) which translates into a harsher feel. I know that i can get a good or bad patch on both so i really not talking about the patches.

Exactly. The user has FULL control of the overall EQ, in every position of the signal path if desired. So, it still goes back to who is programming the units. 

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...what I am talking inst really 'subjective'...

.

 

Yes it is. All of it, all day long. You might decide that you prefer one unit over the other, for any one of a thousand reasons. That however, does not "prove" that one unit is inherently "better" than the other. They're both good. Excellent results can be achieved with either one. Getting a tone to sit well in a mix is a matter of knowledge, experience, and not being deaf...and it makes no difference if you're using a modeler or micing a "real" amp. Any modeler will need tweaking in that regard. Since you claim to have all of those bases covered, there's no reason you can't get tones you like with either unit. But trying to apply some objective standard that will determine a "winner" is a ridiculous waste of time. There's nothing to measure, and no "right" or "wrong". You'll either like it, or you won't. Try them both. Buy the one that suits you better.

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A Vox AC30, Fender Super Reverb and Marshall all sound different too. So do all the different boost, overdrive and distortion pedals on the market. And how these amps take pedals is also entirely different.

 

Differences are good, they give us choice, variety and different sounds that inspire creativity in performers and interest for listeners. Helix meets my needs, and that's great. But I also celebrate the AX8, Kemper, AmpliFire, and S-Gear options. Its wonder that we have so many great options to choose from and use to make music.

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Helix, AXE FX II, do you hear a big difference? 

 

 

 

To me- (notice I said ME), Where the AXE FX shines is in its metal/hard rock tones, its wah editing, and especially it's "on board effects". Very well known players busy playing at sold out concerts use the AXE FX for its effects on their guitar systems. That says a LOT. Not that Helix can't sound very good at Metal or Hard Rock too. But where Helix just kills the Axe FX II (for ME) is with the breakup tones thru a Bluesbreaker or Fender amp. I never could get the Axe FX II to sound right for those tones, and believe me i tried. 

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I thought well maybe its the pre amps I am using (focusrite and prosonos) but still its really on the high end

and depth the AXE FX seems to be far more clear over the helix which seemed far more harsh, 

 

Have you adjusted the hi cut in your cab block/IR, or used an eq to remove the harshness? If not, I suggest reducing the hi cut in the cab/IR block to 7.0 as a starting point. Adjust up or down to taste from there.

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Maybe you just like the way the Axe-FX user had his tones tweaked and didn't like the Helix user's settings. The real test would be to set both up to sound as close as possible. Then you can make an informed decision.

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Recommend using an EQ block at the end of the chain.  The high and low cuts on the IR's are not as steep in slope as those in the EQ block, so you have to user a higher/lower cut to get a similar effect.  Currently you can't adjust the slope on the cuts in the IR's or most of the EQ's.  I can't remember what the slopes are on each.  You can adjust the Q on the parametric EQ, which should, I think affect the slope on a low cut there.  But I'm no expert.

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