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unperfectcircle

Helix as MIDI controller: any limitations?

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Hi guys,

I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on a Helix Floor pedalboard in order to take advance of the extended i/o and scribble scripts and also use it as a MIDI controller for a bigger setup.

 

My main doubt is: is it fully customizable in that scenario or does it have some limitations as the POD HD does (fixed PC messages on preset change and stuff like that)?

 

Thanks a lot!

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You can turn off the automatic send of a fixed PC on preset change in global settings.

 

Then in command center, there are a number of options.  You can attach 6 MIDI messages that send via preset or snapshot changes.  You can select to send MIDI via switches, exp pedals, or even Variax knobs if you have a Variax connected via VDI cable.

 

Does it have limitations? Of course, I haven't seen a MIDI controller that doesn't.  There are certainly high-end MIDI controllers, like RJM and LiquidFoot, that can do much more.  On a flexibility scale I give it 7 out of 10.  If the Helix floor is the centerpiece of your rig, it certainly gives you a lot of options for controlling other MIDI gear in your rig.  If you want ultimate control, I would recommend the Helix Rack and a high end MIDI controller, of course for more $$.

 

Here is the doc page where it goes into what you can do with MIDI in the Command Center:

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/973310/Line-6-Helix.html?page=38

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Thanks a lot for your reply.

Does it mean that I can also choose which PC command to send on preset load, or do I only have the other option of disabling PC altogether?

 

Besides I was reading another thread about MIDI where the user was talking about the Helix automatically sending CCs messages on preset load.

How does that work?

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I would be interested in hearing what people might like Helix's Command Center to accomplish that it currently doesn't. My personal wish list is dozens of items long; just trying to rationalize them to the team...

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Yes, you can choose which PC message to send on preset load.  In fact, you have six slots, so you can send up to 6 PC messages on preset load, all of them configurable to whichever one you want.  Even better, you can put a different message into each of the six slots PER SNAPSHOT.  So, you can have the Helix send PC messages within a preset when you change snapshots.

 

So once you load a preset, you can configure the switches to also send MIDI messages of various types.  One of the types is a CC Toggle message.  For this type of message, the switch will send a CC message with one value when you hit it, and the switch will light up.  Then when you hit the switch again, it sends a message with a different value, and it goes dim.

 

The CC Toggle message is usually used for turning on/off certain effects within a patch.  Say for instance, you are using an external FX unit controlled by MIDI, like an Eventide rack unit.  When you select a preset, it sends a PC message to the rack unit to select a patch on it.  Now, we might have a switch to turn on/off the reverb on the rack unit, using CC messages.

 

When you save this Helix preset, it will remember whether you had the Reverb on or off (switch lit or unlit).  Then when you select the preset, after sending the PC message to the rack unit, it will send the appropriate CC message to turn the Reverb on or off (and light or un-light the switch).  This is how almost everyone wants it to work, one guy on here had a very special need to not want the Helix to send the CC message and set the Reverb to the default.

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Thanks a lot for the detailed reply!

It seems like a hell of a pedalboard in terms of midi!

 

What I'm still trying to figure out is: let's say I want to use the Helix for fx and an external rack unit for amp modeling (I already have other gear and I'm trying to figure out if they could work together in an extended rig setup).

 

Considering that the external unit also has onboard fx that can be recalled via MIDI, does it mean that - for example - if I use a switch on the Helix to turn on/off an Helix fx, would it also automatically send a CC message to the external unit, whether I want it or not?

 

If it works like that, it could be a problem because - following the previous example - if I activate let's say a phaser on the Helix, it could turn on/off another completely different fx on the external unit, let's say a distortion pedal.

That would mess things up, but I'm more inclined to think that it doesn't work like that and this scenario could be avoided somehow.

 

If you could please help me on that, it would be great. I'm really looking into the Helix floor, almost convinced to buy it...I just need to figure out if it could work the way I want with the gear I already have.

 

Thanks a lot, all the best!

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You can program a switch to turn on/off a Helix effect, or to send any MIDI CC message, or both.  None of the switch control of Helix "Blocks", like turning them on/off or adjusting parameters within them, relies on any internal MIDI CC numbers. 

 

Well, it's a pretty good pedalboard in terms of midi.  I have a lot of MIDI footswtiches, and by far the BEST is the Gordius Little Giant.  It was made by a guy in Belgium, his website is still there but I don't know if he is still selling them.  You can assign ANY sequence of MIDI messages to any switches, plus a lot other Gordius Commands.  For instance, you can assign a series of Note On / Note Off messages interspersed with delays and have it actually be a rudimentary sequencer.  You can have certain switches be global and others be per patch.  You can define individual switches to either be Toggling Stomp, Momentary Stomp, or Preset switches, you don't have to have 4 of one type on one row and 4 of the bottom type on another row.  And of course, I got him to modify one for me so the bank down swtich isn't on the bottom row, which drives me crazy.  I've looked at the RJM and LiquidFoot switches, they seem pretty nice and I will probably get an RJM within the next few months.

 

But the Helix does have everything most folks would need, along with the effects loops, to successfully integrate 3rd party midi devices with the Helix.

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Imperfect -

 

There is a lot of flexibility in how you set up MIDi on the Helix. In the specific scenario you mention, you could have it my way you like:

- stomp on the Helix only toggles an effect (actually, could toggle multiple) on the Helix

- stomp on Helix only sends MIDI command(s) to other gear

- stomp on Helix does both

 

And, you can vary the configuration from preset to preset.

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I would be interested in hearing what people might like Helix's Command Center to accomplish that it currently doesn't. My personal wish list is dozens of items long; just trying to rationalize them to the team...

Hi

The ability to decide if the control messages are at patch or at snapshot...... currently at snapshot level only!

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Hi

The ability to decide if the control messages are at patch or at snapshot...... currently at snapshot level only!

 

Not sure I understand what you mean by this... Could you elaborate a little?

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Not sure I understand what you mean by this... Could you elaborate a little?

 

Before snapshots control messages were only sent when  you would change patch. When snapshots came along control messages are now send every time there is a snapshot change.

I would like to be able to decide if the control message is sent when i change the patch or when I change the snapshot

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