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All right guys,

 

There are a couple of pictures and diagrams floating around that show the Helix connected via MIDI to a keyboard. Just because I'm the kind of guy who has to test the limits of things, could you actually fudge a working keyboard/synth sound with the Helix? Obviously you'd be able to use the keyboard to have a bunch of MIDI presets on recall real quickly (one per key on the keyboard), which is helpful. But how far down that rabbit hole could you go? Could I lean over mid-set and whip out some mad synth lines? 

 

Because, at least the way I see things, any chance I have to not travel with a keys player is a chance worth taking :P

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If you are willing to lean over mid song to play a synth line on a keyboard, why would the keyboard need to go through the Helix? I mean, if the keyboard has. Good synth patch, use it!

 

But apart from that, any parameter on any block on the Helix can be controlled through MIDI. You could, for example, use keyboard to control the note parameters on a 4 Note OSC block. Which would be the way I'd approach using a keyboard to play a synth line on a Helix. (But I always come back to thinking that's what a keyboard is meant to do, why does the Helix need to be involved?)

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May be midi connection is useful for midi clock ? I used to feed it to my pod hd500x, to get guitar delays and mods in sync with keyboard sequences and arpeggiators... one time I also added my old echoplex looper to have real time looping in perfect sync with guitar effects and keyboard stuff 😉 ... not tried yet with helix...

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As far as the linked diagram is concerned, I'm sure it's just an example.  The only thing you could really do with a keyboard controller is parameter control with sliders and encoders, if the controller were so equipped.  If it were a pure MIDI controller, and not USB, you could use Helix as an interface to pass the commands to a computer for soft synth control, though I'm not sure of too many controllers that aren't USB already.  A lot of them are USB only in fact. 

 

My Minilogue synth is tied into my Helix, but more so to control the Minilogue with the Helix, rather than the opposite.  The preset on Helix sends the program change for the Minilogue, and for some presets the footswitches are configured to send Note on/off messages similar to a bass pedal controller (at least until I get my hands on a PK-5 or MPC-130 at a decent price, and yes I am a Rush fan, lol).  The Helix is also sending MIDI clock, but in the case of my rig, the clock is set by preset or tap tempo, then sent to a MOTU MIDI Timepiece, which then forwards its own clock signal to all my MIDI-capable gear connected to it.  Whether I'm controlling accompaniment with the Helix or lead lines on the keys, the audio from the Minilogue passes through the Helix via the aux in jack for effects if necessary, then out with the rest of my signal. 

 

From time to time I've also used the Helix to change parameters on the Minilogue while I'm playing, whether it's a single shot with a footswitch, or a sweep with an expression pedal, but I prefer to do that with automation when I can.  Either way, the Helix is better suited to controlling outboard MIDI gear, rather than trying to produce sounds from scratch using external MIDI controllers. 

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I use Helix with my Roland FA-06 keyboard. Also with bass and mandolin, no guitar :).

To change FA presets the Helix is OK, but the resources inside FA06 are much better. No point at least for me.

You can use the keyboard to launch synth sounds in the Helix. Again no point for me, the internal synth in the FA is much better (to begin, it is velocity sensitive).

My idea about using Helix with FA was to control the FA synth engine with Helix MIDI commands: Use some footswitches to "play" FA sounds, and also send controllers to FA06. This works perfectly as predicted. I also tried to use the Helix controllers to avoid carrying my 3 synth pedals (expression, sustain and "S1" normally used to control rotary speaker simulation). Again it works... but not very practical: My 3 "hardware" pedals send commands to ALL MIDI channels where they are enabled. The helix sends MIDI commands just to ONE MIDI channel of my choice. My FA06 patches are not organized to use just only ONE MIDI channel with control pedals, sometimes I use 3...8 channels to layer sounds or just to switch sounds live inside the same preset. I don't wanna do things in a way that I MUST use the Helix for any gig where I need just keyboards. Then I found another reason not to keep trying: Reliability. I just changed the 3 synth pedals for something more practical.

Another reason is that stage spaces are limited, if Helix "synth pedals" are in the ideal place, then they are not accesible when playing bass or vice-versa. And... I play keyboards stand-up!

In summary, I'd use the link Helix--> Roland FA06 only to play limited synth sounds with my feet (No velocity!) in very special occassions while I play bass (a la Geedy Lee) or other instruments. FOr example playing mandolin and drones at a time in Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore". But I'll always keep some synth inside Helix to avoid dependence on complicated stuff. I already have a path in the Helix called "Evermore" that does this. :)

One caveat: When "tap dancing" over "momentary" controls in the Helix with moderate activity, SOMETIMES the control becomes latching (obvious bug, I think it has to do with firmware timing). I saw this bug reported somewhere in this forum.

What I do with the helix is to route and mix the keyboards to my local power amp without an additional mixer. It is safe, convenient and simple. I saved one rack mixer and moved the power amp to a small light rack without any cable inside. But it's nothing to write home about. I am considering to use this mixing and routing capability to provide 2 outputs to general PA, one for "basses" (either from FA06 or real bass) and the other for "typical keyboards". But... I am lazy.

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This piece doesn't really have any "mad synth lines", but I created this with my Minilogue connected to my Helix awhile ago. I connected the Minilogue to the Helix via MIDI and sent MIDI Note messages to the Minilogue with the Helix footswitches. I had an arpeggiator running on the Minilogue to fill the sound out. I believe I ran the audio from the ML through the Helix as well here and added a little delay and reverb. The guitar and the synth were played and recorded simultaneously. It was more a proof of concept than anything.

 

https://soundcloud.com/phil-miller-20/minilogue-helix

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I am setting up my keyboards in Mainstage 3 and using my Helix floor as the audio interface. This is a very powerful solution as I sold my MOTU interface and my rig is MUCH smaller now. With that, I play my bass through the Helix and it is stellar! 

I'm glad the other instruments are getting some attention as well. 

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I have my midi bass pedals routed through my Helix to MainStage and use the Helix as the audio interface.  My VG99 comes in through the return for acoustic guitars and COSM synths.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 11.45.16.png

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I was very excited to go down this rabbit hole with my Nord Stage but the sustain pedal of all keyboards sends in CC #64 and that's locked to tap tempo on the helix, which really screws a lot of things up. So until I have a way around that I can't do midi. 

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MIDI has 16 different channels... CC#64 on one selected channel will control tap tempo that leaves you 15 other channels :)

Just change the default channel on Helix and CC#64 on channel 1 will be free for control purposes.

I have connected my Motif to my Helix a few times and used it for patch control and occasionally triggering pads/effects when my hands are on the guitar.

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Actually, this didn't work. I think the problem is that I want both program changes AND no tap tempo on CC 64. With my Nord stage, whatever channel I have set as the transmit channel is where the program changes get sent. On the Helix, whatever channel the receiving channel is set to is where the tap tempo messages get received. So, I can't have both unfortunately. It's a shame because I REALLY want this to work! It's annoying to change patches on the keyboard and the helix when they both have midi.

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How is your MIDI cabling arrangement? If you use a MIDI interface, you should be able to program it to filter out the unwanted CC64s. If you're just using straight cabling, pick up a small interface (http://motu.com/products/midi/lite e.g.)

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Thanks, I hadn't thought of doing that. I really have no desire to bring another box around with me to filter out certain midi CC numbers though, it's annoying that this is necessary! As the Helix is a guitar tool, I don't expect this to ever be addressed, but it would be nice! You can upvote it if you'd like: https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Midi-tap-tempo-on-off/919545-23508#idea-tab-comments

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I believe the picture is showing a midi controller keyboard into the helix - helix is class compliant so you an attach an ios device via usb and play anything from that to any out put

 

I tried this the other week with my ipad and after a bit off messing about I could play any ipad app no problem - garage band instruments - my favourite animoog - thousand of synth apps available

 

Also use it to put up to 4 synths and modules through various effects paths - tap tempo different trem/delay patterns to work over different synth sound for epic soundscapes - snaps shots to mute if needed - no need for a mixer

 

completely change that set up on another patch

 

or midi note to fire off ext synth arps and process that sound via effects

 

a tiny midi keyboard and external synth module can bring so much to a live situation and that could be played by anyone in the band, whilst you play guitar/bass/whatever

 

Cheap Volca units can sound immense if you add some sub and reverb

 

So much to do

 

 

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