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HD500X to HELIX Effects Worth It?

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I just purchased two Alto TS212 powered speakers and I'm running a HD500X into them via the 1/4 outputs from the HD500X and it sounds amazing to me. I also have a Marshall DSL100H and two 4x12 cabinets and use the HD500X via 4 cable method for the effects from the HD500X and that sounds great too. My question is if I upgrade to a HELIX (regular or LT) what will I gain or lose from an effects standpoint?

I really like the sound of the effects (OD, reverbs and delays) from the HD500X and the JCM800 model and 1960A cab sim sound very good through the Alto TS212 speakers as do the Fender amps and related cab sims. And running 4 cable method through my DSL100H the effects from the HD500X are stellar. I don't see how the effects in the HELIX can be that much improved over the HD500X but I assume it's possible.

Has anyone here gone through something similar upgrading from HD500X to HELIX for 4 primarily the effects upgrades?

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This whole thing is subjective, but for the most part, the effects in Helix are generally quite good. The delays I feel are noticeably better. The reverbs are currently fine, and are actually the same ones from the HD, ported from the HD. The modulations feel more dynamic and organic in Helix. Most of the wahs are ported from the HD; there have been a couple of new HX ones added throughout the updates.

 

There are places where things are still lacking, the most noticeable is filters. If you use any of the wonderful and more obscure filters from the HD, plan on keeping your HD around, as there are only three filters on Helix, all basically a variation of an autowah. But the ones there are good. The other weak point is the pitch shifting, which I think most would agree it could be improved to track quite a bit better.

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I went from HD 500 to Helix almost two years ago.

Amp/Cab simulation is miles better on Helix, but very good on HD

Delays are (now) better on Helix. Some stuff that has been added since it was released made it this way. Before that they were the same.

Drives are miles better in Helix and much more responsive, although the Valve Driver in HD 500 was peachy to me.

Verbs are about the same, but in the new year there are 3 new HX verbs coming, so who knows.

 

All imho of course.

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If it ain't broke don't fix it!!!! You mentioned so many things you like about your hd500 and everything you use it on so I would see if you can try a helix out first. I have a pod he bean bit it was lacking a bit to me. I heard the helix on you tube videos and for me it was enough to go ahead and buy one. U love it and I played my pod once and it was imo a bug difference so I'm happy with the helix.

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what will I gain or lose from an effects standpoint?

 

Snapshots! I just started using my Helix as a 4-cable method pedalboard (for FX only) with my tube amp, and it's main upgrade to me over the HD500x (I had the HD500, then the 500x; kept them for a while after I got Helix, but sold both eventually) is the FUNCTION.

 

By that, I am mainly referring to the snapshots, and the scribble strips. The ability to control, tweak, and manipulate the FX is miles and miles and miles better than pretty much anything else out there. The FX, as noted, are some new, some old, and some yet to be..

 

Also, additional stuff like the extra FX loops; XLR input (which is the same Burr / TI preamp as used in the M20d, so that's a substantial upgrade over the HD500/x series!)

 

But yeah: SnapShots.

 

Think about changing presets on the HD500x. Silent dropout, no delay spillover, reverb cuts off, etc.

 

Now - Helix does the same thing when chaning presets - HOWEVER - Helix added (with a firmware update) the SnapShots function, which much like a pedalboard preset; in which many things can change on/off status, volume changes, settings changes on any parameter for anything. Plus expression pedal inputs for two outboard pedals. And auto-engage wah, so you can use the toe switch for something other than turning the wah on and off, and you don't have to max the volume pedal to turn on the wah.. Little stuff like that. AND you get delay and reverb spillover and NO dropout when changing snapshots (though if you assign a lot of parameters to change they might not all change at once, and you may notice some interesting overlap between two settings for a moment) but no dropout. And spillover!!! Which makes the snapshots perfect for stuff like, "clean", "crunch", "gain", and "lead" in which the snapshots alter the amp model settings, or change FX on/off or whatever; turn on a second delay or turn up reverb mix for a lead patch, whatver... Then go back to the 'clean' or 'rhythm' snapshot and have full spillover from the end of your lead / solo, etc.

 

Scribble strips - once you have the names of everything in front of you, and have those names change on the fly to correspond to what you are doing with them - which includes changing your actual amp channel (depending on your amp; does TS and TRS..) which is also really cool with 4 cable method; though then it's 5 cable method I guess?

 

FX comparisons; as noted; still some things on HD series that are not in Helix. Same could be said for FX in the X3Live that didn't ever make it to the HD series..

 

Amp modeling, worlds better.

Cab modeling, way betteer.

Also adds IR capability; which is worlds beyond galaxies better than the HD.

 

There are probably a load of other things that I don't even know about, that's just skimming the surface. 

 

I suppose it's worth comparing what you gain doing full Helix (scribble strips and more FX loops) over the LT.

 

The LT not having the strips is a big downgrade for me, since I really like the functionality it brings to the table of not needing to remember what you programmed a certain switch to do!

 

Plus, it would change per preset, so you can get really creative with how you lay out your controls. 8 switch or 10 switch in stompbox mode is killer; esp. for 4CM to amp, not using amp modeling and wanting to max out FX on/off options.

 

The snapshots apply to both LT and full Helix, and can be VERY powerful. You could assign certain FX to turn on or off and change parameters only when toggled with the snapshot; not given individual toggle control.

 

SO you can (when not using amp and cab modeling which frees up a lot of DSP) have multiple instances of certain FX, that turn on or off or change settings based on which snapshot controls them. Total control over all parameters (or near total...) and mostly very very easy to interface with; computer or not. Which compared to the HD500, which was a bit tedious without the PC editor.

 

Stuff like, select an effect, hold the footswitch you want to assign that effect to, and say yes when it asks. Hold two footswitches that you want to swap the assignment between.

Really cool, intuitive interface. Makes accessing and using the FX that much better, which in turn makes the FX better, even those that were ported from the HD series.

 

The new 'HX' drive models are stellar. Timmy, OCD, Klon; I've been loving those stacked into my amp (Friedman Runt).

 

Anyway, that's enough blithering from me. Get your ears on one and give it a try with your rig! If you can float the credit buy one online with the intent of returning it; keep an eye for some Black Friday sales; it's been out long enough they can really do deals by now I would guess...

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I went from AxSys 212, to AX2 (AxSys 212 chip upgrade and new front panel sticker), to Vetta II, to HD500x, to finally the Helix... a long tone journey.

 

The FX in the Helix are (more or less) the same as the HD500X - with a few of the odd/fun filter FX missing as others have pointed out. But what they Helix gives you is SO MUCH more than the HD500X could ever do... it's almost a no-brainer:

 

More Amps

Insane routing capabilites

Snapshots!

Super-easy interface even without hooked up to a computer

IR loading

Fresh pine scent

 

Don't look at it as just "better" FX on one or the other... look at it as a complete upgrade to your rig.

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The FX in the Helix are (more or less) the same as the HD500X - with a few of the odd/fun filter FX missing as others have pointed out. But what they Helix gives you is SO MUCH more than the HD500X could ever do... it's almost a no-brainer:

 

More Amps

Insane routing capabilites

Snapshots!

Super-easy interface even without hooked up to a computer

IR loading

Fresh pine scent

 

Don't look at it as just "better" FX on one or the other... look at it as a complete upgrade to your rig.

 

I was also unsure whether to move from the HD500X to Helix, but having done so in March this year I totally agree with cclement and am very pleased I upgraded.  Although I'm going to contact Line 6 regarding my unit lacking the "Fresh pine scent" mentioned above.  :(  :)

 

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I agree with other say...tone is subjective. But for me the upgrade to the Helix from the POD was a no brainer. I definitely think the amp modelling is superior and I have been using my L2Ts as the main output for both. I didn't notice a huge difference in all of the effects. but the ability to use IRs is what changed the game for me.

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For me the Helix doesn't just sound better, playing wise, it just feels better.

 

Absolutely right.  The way it responds to your playing is unlike anything I've ever experienced before, honestly, it's brought me to tears(of ecstasy) on a few occasions. 

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I had and still have an HD500 (before they came out with the X) and I thought it sounded pretty decent with my Line 6 DT 25 amp. But when one of the bands I'm in decided to go without amps on stage and I had go direct with the HD500, I was pretty unhappy with my tones. The Helix changed all that; amp and cab models are infinitely better! Direct or with my Alto TS212, it's by far the best DMA (digital modeling amp) I've ever had the pleasure of playing through! And it's faster and easier to tweak than any previous Line 6 modeler.

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Feels and sounds much better.  The active preamp (output volume stage not emulation)in the HD500 was trash and always noticeable.  I ended up selling mine for a M13 as the 13 felt way less compressed than the HD500 though i missed the extra 4 effects (I sold it after it rebooted mid-set and dumped all my presets).  The helix smokes both in every way possible and the options for routing and multi effect assigning make it a no brainer.  This is before you add in snapshots.

I'm the rare user here that actually barely touches the amp models.  I use the model of my amp (hiwatt dr103) with my cab and the mic I usually use in the studio(57 or a 421).  I just use it to sound like my rig when writing patches for the band.  I really only use it for effects and as the brain of my rig.

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