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At the end of my rope, Helix USB Issues


jbright44
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I'm at the end of my rope here and starting to think the problem is me.  I've had 2 different Helix floor units with the same frustrating USB issues. 

 

My setup is as follows:

 

Helix connected to USB of MacBook pro.

Guitar connected to Helix

Powered PA Speaker Connected to Helix VIA XLR.

Helix Edit running on computer

Chrome Browser running on computer

Listening to audio via chrome browser through helix into my powered speaker so I can practice along with said audio while also using helix edit to build my patches.

 

This setup is core to my workflow for the type of playing that I do and has changed my life in terms of speed and time having to be spent rehearsing.

 

I have the following problems

  • Helix edit randomly fails to recognize helix but computer audio continues to play
  • Helix will stay connected to computer but now computer audio fails to play through the helix.  Helix edit still works
  • Computer will randomly drop connection to the helix all together and stop recognizing it at all

Reboots/restarts of both computer and helix, unplugging and replugging the helix will not get the problem to go away.  It's like I have to restart the computer or helix the magical number of times to get to work again.  I'll be honest, some times it feels like the demons come out whenever I touch the helix or put my foot on it.  It's happened enough times at that exact moments to make me doubt it's coincidence.  Unfortunately, I have the Helix 2nd hand so I have no original purchase receipt and line 6 will not accept a return without one.

 

I've tried 3 different computers (New Surface Book on Win10, Late 2011 MacBook pro on Yosemite, the most reliable, and Older HP on win8 just for giggles) and get the same results. I've tried new and different USB cables and it all seems to turn out the same.  I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling the helix edit and the line 6 updater. I've tried wiping and reflashing the firmware on the helix.  I've tried downgrading to 2.15.  I've tried downgrading to 2.20.  Nothing works.

 

Does ANYONE have any suggestions?  I love the helix. I love the sound.  I love how easy it is to get great tones.  But I'll be honest with you, I'm ready to throw it out the window.  I haven't yet because I know the alternative is an AxeFX or something like that that is not quite as stupid easy to configure and program.

 

Please.... help.

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I had major usb connection issues with my MacBook Pro and the helix. I had to plug helix into an old school Mac keyboard then the keyboard into the MacBook and that fixed it. Nothing else worked. Tried a few different brand new high quality usb cables. The old school keyboard fixed it.

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The problem is not the Helix, it is the Helix Editor application. I don't have luck having audio playing AND using the Editor at the same time, so I just have audio playing (for backing tracks) and edit my presets on the Helix itself. 

 

There is a new editor (completely new software, not just an update) coming out soon. Hang in there and the Editor dropout woes will be remedied soon with the new editor. 

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Listening to audio via chrome browser through helix into my powered speaker so I can practice along with said audio while also using helix edit to build my patches.

 

I am, again, reasonably positive that this is the problem. I don't think that Helix Edit functions properly when Helix is passing audio from the computer and vice versa.

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I have to say I've never had any of these sorts of issue with the editor on Windows 10. I've often had Reaper open along with the editor, and I've not had any issues with the Helix disconnecting. There have been times when I've left the Helix connected and the editor open all day and it's still connected when I come back. So I don't know. I think it's just that every chipset and USB controller handle these things differently.

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I have Win7 and play along to audio through the Helix while my editor is open and I make changes to my patches at the same time. No problem, except a fairly loud noise floor from the computer.

 

 

I think you get lucky. I don't think it's intended to work that way reliably at this time.

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So you have had the EXACT same issues with two different Helix units on all devices? That seems very, very odd considering how many people are doing what you're doing with little to no issues. I know its stupid, and redundant, and I by no means intend to be condescending, but you are 100% sure that your Edit, Drivers, and Firmware are all on the same iteration?

 

Edit: Have you tried a different browser? Chrome hangs/freezes on our work machines ALL THE TIME and eats A LOT of RAM, especially if we're cycling through and opening/closing a bunch of different tabs. Often times it will still appear as the largest resource hog in the control panel for 5-10 minutes after its been shut down, especially if there is any streaming audio/video windows that were used.

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I've uninstalled, reinstalled, unisntalled, registry cleared, REINSTALLED WINDOWS and reinstalled only surface book all to no avail. Line 6 said "oh we've noticed problems with surface products" so I switched to the Mac. Same issues. I've uninstalled and reinstalled numerous times on it as well. Everything is running right revs. I did NOT install the Mac specific drivers because it appeared they were only for a specific use case that didn't apply to me.

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I am, again, reasonably positive that this is the problem. I don't think that Helix Edit functions properly when Helix is passing audio from the computer and vice versa.

 

So does this mean then that reamping with helix doesn't work? I mean listening to playback while tuning the helix.... Unless I guess you're foced to do it via front panel than via editor?

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So does this mean then that reamping with helix doesn't work? I mean listening to playback while tuning the helix.... Unless I guess you're foced to do it via front panel than via editor?

 

I know it doesn't help you at all, but I really don't think the issues you're describing are all that common. I've not had any issue with re-amping with Reaper and having the editor open. Like you said, that is an instance where the USB audio is sending and receiving audio and the editor being open. I've not had any issues with it.

 

I do think it might be worth it to try another browser. I use Firefox, fwiw.

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So does this mean then that reamping with helix doesn't work? I mean listening to playback while tuning the helix.... Unless I guess you're foced to do it via front panel than via editor?

 

 

No, but I'm pretty sure that connecting to Helix with the Editor open WHILE streaming audio has been problematic. I don't do it and can't test till tonight, but I will.

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I'll say it—USB on Macs can be weird. Helix hated my mid-2012 MacBook Pro for a long time and it was the only Mac in the building (out of dozens) that didn't play nice. Likewise, my Apogee Symphony despises my mid-2010 Mac Pro tower and my MacBook Pro and categorically refuses to be updated via either. A good friend can't get his 2014 MacBook Pro to talk to his Focusrite interface (although it talks to mine just fine) and another friend is having issues with a PreSonus box (same).

Sometimes the only way to figure out what's happening is to get the entire rig in house and run our USB sniffer and tools on it. Sometimes it's a conflicting driver, out-of-spec USB cable, wonky USB port, other USB device in the system, bad RAM, inconsistent power, or gremlins. For some reason, Macs seem to be more susceptible to these.

However, we're very close to releasing Helix firmware 2.30 which does include USB improvements as well as HX Edit, which is a new-from-the-ground-up editor. With luck, one or both of these will mitigate your specific issues.

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A couple of the beta firmware updates I tested early on wouldn't work at all from my mid-2012 MacBook Pro (13") but every single regular release has run fine.

I just believed the horror stories about running audio and the editor at the same time enough not to really try it.

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I had better luck with a 2012 MacBook Pro going through a USB 2.0 hub. Also Sierra seems to have fixed some USB issues. My Apogee Gio was very unreliable with that MacBook Pro, but its working nicely since I updated.

 

I TOTALLY forget about this. I went directly from Mavericks to El Crapitan (hated it almost as much as Yosemight) for only about 10 minutes then updated to Sierra and a LOT of USB issues were solved. Sierra is actually the first perfectly great MacOS in a while. I don't know about High Sierra because I can't upgrade yet.

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No problems with High Sierra. But changing from that 2012 MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 to a new 2017 MacBook Pro with only Thunderbolt 3 proved to be quite difficult. One thing to try is to delet all your audio preferences and restart. Sometimes the preferences had parameters that don’t work properly when changing interface technologies. Best to start over. I did this and finally got my Saffire Pro 40 FireWire working again. Wasn’t easy or cheap through.

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I'll say it—USB on Macs can be weird. Helix hated my mid-2012 MacBook Pro for a long time and it was the only Mac in the building (out of dozens) that didn't play nice. Likewise, my Apogee Symphony despises my mid-2010 Mac Pro tower and my MacBook Pro and categorically refuses to be updated via either. A good friend can't get his 2014 MacBook Pro to talk to his Focusrite interface (although it talks to mine just fine) and another friend is having issues with a PreSonus box (same).

Sometimes the only way to figure out what's happening is to get the entire rig in house and run our USB sniffer and tools on it. Sometimes it's a conflicting driver, out-of-spec USB cable, wonky USB port, other USB device in the system, bad RAM, inconsistent power, or gremlins. For some reason, Macs seem to be more susceptible to these.

However, we're very close to releasing Helix firmware 2.30 which does include USB improvements as well as HX Edit, which is a new-from-the-ground-up editor. With luck, one or both of these will mitigate your specific issues.

 

I sure hope so. However the fact that 2 $2,000 laptops have issues like this only with Helix is disturbing. I'll try what folks have suggested, upgrade to Sierra, use a hub and try not to stream/edit at the same time. That last one will be tough because it's exactly that combo which has made the helix so useful. To be able to configure my patches while the reference track is playing and make sure my guitar sounds good in the mix has been a game changer.

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Well, I have moved my Helix and stopped editing with the hardware and moved to the editor and all I get are problems with the helix editor and the helix via usb, this is on a MacPro 12 core trashcan running OS X 10.12.6:

 

1. Helix not found on startup of app: If I look at the usb devices in the OS the helix is there, unplugging it and then plugging it back in it and the editor picks it up.

 

2. Using the editor it disconnects when not using it for a while, helix not found. From this point on helix editor just crashes until you pull the usb lead and connect it again and then it starts up:

 

Thread 0 Crashed:: Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread

0   libusb-1.0.0.dylib             0x0000000102f50f1e do_close + 254
1   libusb-1.0.0.dylib             0x0000000102f51092 libusb_close + 226
2   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f3db0f L6HelixDevice::disconnectHelper() + 239
3   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f2dbb7 L6HelixDevice::disconnect() + 87
4   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f2ecda L6HelixDevice::prepareForDeviceInfo() + 2458
5   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f2d5ab L6HelixDevice::initialize(L6PlatformObject*, bool (*)(L6Variant&)) + 571
6   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f3bd91 L6DeviceCenter_OSX::instanceDevice(L6PlatformObject*) + 145
7   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f3bb2b L6DeviceCenter_OSX::enumerateUsbDevices(bool) + 875
8   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f26d51 L6DeviceCenterBase::initialize(bool, bool (*)(L6Variant&), bool) + 113
9   com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f3b538 L6DeviceCenter_OSX::initialize(bool, bool (*)(L6Variant&)) + 120
10  com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101e4235a DeviceController::initialize() + 490
11  com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101e890be DeviceController* HelixControlLayer::createController<DeviceController>(QString const&) + 254
12  com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101e87e79 HelixControlLayer::HelixControlLayer(NormalizationAlgorithmFactory*, Editor*, FileOpenRequestWatcher*, QObject*) + 1049
13  com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f073b6 Helix::Helix(FileOpenRequestWatcher*, QObject*) + 1334
14  com.line6.helixedit           0x0000000101f1d947 main + 935
15  libdyld.dylib                 0x00007fffd3171235 start + 1
 
 
I am not using the USB audio or midi and have no problems with the large number of other usb devices I have attached to this computer.
 
I have tried different usb cables and different usb ports on hubs as well as direct connection to the computer.
 
Anyone any ideas?
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I'll say it—USB on Macs can be weird.

 

To this I can attest, the Helix works GREAT with my desktop machine, an i7 Hackintosh on 10.11.6, but has never worked reliably on my mid-2008 MacBook that's thoroughly updated.  It seems to work well on my wife's late-2011 MacBook Pro, but I can't get it away from her enough to know for sure.  :lol:

 

I do all my Helix firmware updates on the desktop, as it's the most reliable.  I'm hoping the rackmount Hackintosh I'm building as an exclusive DAW machine will be just as lucky, or the 2.30 build fixes it altogether. 

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My general setup is the same and I generally have chrome, the helix editor and itunes or mediaMonkey (another itunes-like music app) open and I switch and work between them all the time.  I'll play videos or jam tracks off of Chrome, or look up chords or lyrics while playing a tune from itunes and I'll make changes to the presets...    Never had an issue

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SO i tried some of your theories tonight.  Used safari.  Didn't have helix editor open.  Playback from safari was coming through popping and crackling, working for about 5 minutes, playback no longer goes through the helix.  

 

However, the Mac still shows it as connected and still shows it as an audio device under the sound settings.

 

Unplug, plug back in. Computer recognizes it, no audio. Restart the helix.  Computer recognizes it and audio.  5 minutes later, Same results. Then after going through that 4 or 5 times, now everything is stable....

 

 

This is getting infuriating.  I shouldn't have to go buy a hub.  I shouldn't have to wait for the next firmware update.  It should just work like every other damn USB device does.  If 2.3 and HX Edit don't solve this, I'm done with this piece of equipment.

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I've gone through: 4 computers (1 dell desktop, 2 dell laptops and 1 mac mini), at least 10 different USB cables, tried both powered and unpowered USB hubs (2 of each), played the Uninstall/reinstall game over and over, sent my Helix Floor in for its horrible USB connectivity.

 

My Helix will only connect for a few minutes whether I'm trying to record or edit.

 

It's very frustrating, I agree.

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To avoid any pitfalls the following was my setup for a long time:

 

Guitar->Helix->XLR->Powered Monitor(XLR)
             Helix->USB->Computer (to record/helix editor)
Computer->Built-in audiocard->mini-jack out->split to two jack->Powered monitor(jacks)

 

It enables me to play back whatever audio i want from my computer while keeping the editor open at all times.

 

Due to some unwanted side effects like low volume from both sources I adjusted it a tiny bit a while ago. I simply threw in a mixer in the setup and everything is fine now.

 

Guitar->Helix->XLR->Mixer(XLR)
             Helix->USB->Computer (to record/helix editor)

 

Computer->Built-in audiocard->mini-jack out->split to two jack->Mixer(jacks)

 

Mixer->XLR->Powered Monitors.

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I have Win7 and play along to audio through the Helix while my editor is open and I make changes to my patches at the same time. No problem, except a fairly loud noise floor from the computer.

 

Yep, same here.  I use both a 2015 HP Zbook and a 2010 Gigabyte Desktop and never have had an issue with connection; in my typical session I'll be running Windows Media Player, my DAW (Mixcraft), and Helix Edit all at the same time and in concert with each other on Win 7 Pro.  Sorry you're having issues.

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I'm currently using a Lenovo X1 Yogo laptop with Win10. Helix is connected via USB and I'll have Helix editor, Chrome open to YouTube and Reaper at the same time.

I've never had the USB flake out. Nor any issue if I switch to my desktop.

 

*one item of note is my laptop and desktop are clean installs of windows, not out of the box with factory bloatware. Just in case anyone is running their computer that way, know it will be significantly better with a clean install of the OS. Meaning only windows and the apps you need to get the job done.

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What about the editor? Firmware updates? Backups ?

 

 

Agreed, those "should" work and obviously don't.  Eat that sandwich a bite at a time. What I would try- Remove all Line-6 software (drivers, editors, EVERYTHING Line-6), and then just reinstall the editor software and see if it connects and holds that connection. Also be aware that if you have external pedals involved (I do on my rack controller), move them just a little before trying to save the patch. My Helix won't save squat (on a Mac) in the editor when 1st booted up until I move those pedals first FYI. Then try saving the patch. DONT add in the audio interface drivers just yet (if possible)  and see it the editor software is stable.

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Agreed, those "should" work and obviously don't. Eat that sandwich a bite at a time. What I would try- Remove all Line-6 software (drivers, editors, EVERYTHING Line-6), and then just reinstall the editor and see if it connects. Then try the backups. DONT add in the audio interface drivers just yet (if possible) and see it the editor software is stable.

I've tried that a few times. Even tried it again yesterday. It's silly because my HD500X will connect to its editor no problem for great lengths of time

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When I hear about stuff like this I'm TOTALLY mystified.  I connect the Helix to various different Windows 10 computers all the time and I've never had a single failure...ever.  In both cases of my currently active computers (an ASUS Desktop M32CD and a ASUS Laptop G73S) it's never failed to connect, never dropped a connection, DAW (Sonar Platinum) works perfectly with no problems all the time.  The Editor and updates have never given me any problems....so what am I doing wrong???  ;)

 

In both cases the Helix is just connected directly to the computer and the speakers are connected to the Helix which serves as the audio interface.  Maybe that's the problem.  I kept it too simple!!!  That and the version of the Helix editor and PC based software all match my Helix firmware version.

 

Maybe it's the fact that I follow the download directions precisely, step by step, and word for word.....

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win7/64

 

Most of the issues I've had are when audio was actively playing and I switched the playback device to the helix. With or without editor open. If I don't do that then everything works. I usually work with helix as the audio device, helix editor and protools open with no issues. 

What is really weird is every time I hang up a skype call my usb hub resets :/.

 

 

I have all power management off. ( don't forget to open advanced options and ensure harddrive power option is off ( set to zero )

Every time I add a new usb device windows auto sets it to go to sleep and I have to go back through the device manager and all USB

devices to disable power management.

 

My startup process:

Helix editor is pretty much always running. ( I do computer stuff from home )

1. Ensure no youtube videos are open in any browser.

2. Ensure helix editor is connected ( if not then I unplug the usb from the back of the helix and plug it back in )

3. Switch playback device to helix

4. Startup protools ( which is set to use the helix )

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