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Sebaileyus

Should I make the move from “real� gear to a Helix?

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Hey guys,

 

TLDR; I’m thinking about moving to a Helix for nearly all my stuff: Looking for advice from those who have them / have used some of the gear I use ATM.

 

Background: younger guy, playing in Church occasionally but mostly at home for my own enjoyment. I really enjoy the music of Rabea massad, that heavier ambient stuff and everything that feeds into it.

 

The gear: I have used pods but found that I couldn’t get enough out of my Hd500X, so I graduated to a real value amp and proper pedalboard etc. Time has passed and I now use a midi-rig consisting of an ES-5, an EQ and the strymon timeline/mobius/big sky pedals. And I really love them. With the 4CM I can do a LOT, and it sounds ace.

 

The problem: it weighs a flipping ton, cabling it up is a pain and I just hate moving it all around. I love versatile setups, and mine can chameleon into a lot of setups. Ambient tones. Rock n roll, metalz, no issue. But I’m conscious that’s the reason a lot of folks own a Helix. However I’m also conscious that the strymon stuff just DOES. It sounds the business and it’s got some effects I don’t think the Helix can reproduce without some serious technical knowhow.

 

HOWEVER: I only have room for 1 rig in my life. If I have both one will just sit unused from month to month. I’m willing to put the elbow grease in to get the mat out of a Helix rig, but at the same time I don’t want to flog my nice gear, put all the hours in and get basically the same result for a couple of KG less.

 

So, guys who own them, use em in Church and haul their own gear, or those who do / have owned the strymon stuff: what’s your take on all this?

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I did the playing at home and hauling my gear to church thing, however not with a couple of strymon pedals, but a boogie combo and a minor rack with fx. Guess it is the same idea in general. Made the move to helix a month ago and have sold off all my stuff.

 

The good: there’s no way I am going back to breaking my back on a rig I used to have. The helix covers almost all my needs and more; great, extremely usable amp models (my needs for church -matchless dc 30- are different from what I play at home -rock in all its beautiful flavours). For church even more important; more effect combinations and rounting than you can imagine etc. Get a lot of positve feedback on my sounds right now. To top it off: I think my sound in church has improved considerably as well, mainly due to the fact that I am not micing up a (great) tube combo with a single SM57 in a busy live setting, which is very sensitive to placement, but use an IR with studio controlled mic placement and a nice blend of different mics. Consitency is king here.

 

Granted: I am missing my old mesa sound a little bit, I have been playing Mesa’s for the better part of this century, so that is only natural. The mark IV model in the Helix however is the best MB Mark emulation I have heared so far and an acceptable replacement.

 

A couple years back I told myself that the Mesa probably would be the last tube amp I had, since the modelling technology was starting to mature really fast. After selling my tube amp ans playing with my helix for a month and a bit I still stand by my analysis; I do not see myself buying a new tube amp (combo or head) in the future.

 

I’d say: take the plunge: the helix is still under development. Hopefully the weakest point (reverbs) will be adressed before not too long, because that is the only minor flaw I can see: the HD reverbs and the lack of a great spring reverb. That however is compensated by other pretty good reverbs.

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Well my rig consists only of a Helix and a Yamaha DXR12, or alternatively a pair of Yamaha HS7 studio monitors for studio work, and can chameleon into Rock, Rockabilly, Metal, Jazz, country chicken pickin, R&B, Funk, ambient...whatever.  But that doesn't always tell the story.  A lot of guys with Helix use a more mixed arrangement like yours with 4CM and external pedals.  It's not the external amps or effects that determine the flexibility of the system, it's all about what kind of sound makes you happy.

 

In my case I've been performing in bands for over 50 years live and in the studio as well as worked as a professional sound man.  My quest has always been about achieving a professional polished studio quality sound both for recording and in live performances in any and all situations.  The icing on the cake is a simple enough rig so that setup is easy and dependable.  Being a sound man I want the sound that I've dialed in on stage to accurately reflect what the audience hears so that the mix of the band on stage and in the FOH is polished and professional.  That's what makes me happy, but that may not be what makes you happy.  That's what you have to discover for yourself based on what you want from your system.

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I think that for some, it takes a little while to get that hang of and determine if the Helix is going to do it for them. As much as most of us here would likely endorse the Helix wholeheartedly, ultimately it will be up to you and your needs. My recommendation is to hang on to your old rig, tolerate the mess for a while until you’re sure you’re about to make the right decision.

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Hey guys,

 

TLDR; I’m thinking about moving to a Helix for nearly all my stuff: Looking for advice from those who have them / have used some of the gear I use ATM.

 

Background: younger guy, playing in Church occasionally but mostly at home for my own enjoyment. I really enjoy the music of Rabea massad, that heavier ambient stuff and everything that feeds into it.

 

The gear: I have used pods but found that I couldn’t get enough out of my Hd500X, so I graduated to a real value amp and proper pedalboard etc. Time has passed and I now use a midi-rig consisting of an ES-5, an EQ and the strymon timeline/mobius/big sky pedals. And I really love them. With the 4CM I can do a LOT, and it sounds ace.

 

The problem: it weighs a flipping ton, cabling it up is a pain and I just hate moving it all around. I love versatile setups, and mine can chameleon into a lot of setups. Ambient tones. Rock n roll, metalz, no issue. But I’m conscious that’s the reason a lot of folks own a Helix. However I’m also conscious that the strymon stuff just DOES. It sounds the business and it’s got some effects I don’t think the Helix can reproduce without some serious technical knowhow.

 

HOWEVER: I only have room for 1 rig in my life. If I have both one will just sit unused from month to month. I’m willing to put the elbow grease in to get the mat out of a Helix rig, but at the same time I don’t want to flog my nice gear, put all the hours in and get basically the same result for a couple of KG less.

 

So, guys who own them, use em in Church and haul their own gear, or those who do / have owned the strymon stuff: what’s your take on all this?

I love my helix but like the old saying if it aint broke dont fix it.Its sound like you have everything you want out of your equipment imo I would just find a great pedal that makes it easy to move your stuff.if you didnt get much out of you hd500and even though the helix is great and better I still would consider trying it out or making sure the place you get it has a good return policy

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I play at church, in a band, and at home.  I have both the Helix floor and have now purchased a Helix LT for backup after selling my Kemper.

I've owned all 3 big dogs, Fractal, Kemper, Line 6, plus other names like Vox Tonelab series, etc...

 

I have probably cut my custom built point to point wired tube amps and pedalboard on 5 or 6 times in 2 years...

 

I don't miss them.  I've owned tons and tons of tube amps over the years, including a Mesa Boogie Road King II head.

 

If you dive deep into Helix, you'll probably never miss the heavy weight rig!  If you want to really have a great stage volume for a band or have a home 

FRFR monitor, I highly recommend the Mission Engineering Gemini 2!!!  My Xitone MBritt is almost as good.

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I have never ever felt so great about a single piece of gear as about the Helix. It also lets you add plugins seamlessly to your sound, both parallel or serial.

Fact is that after almost two years I have rebought a Timeline and am waiting for a BigSky to be delivered, simply because their sound is just amazing. But I’m not using a real amp anymore. And I have been satisfied with Helix Fx almost totally (my Timeline gets most of its use while producing, I’m yet to take it out live, and I’ve already played several gigs since I rebought it)

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I play in many environments. Partyband, church, projects of my own and at home. I didn't get rid of my tube amp/pedals rig but I hardly use it anymore. Helix covers all my needs. I also like ambient stuff and the flexibility of Helix's routing is great for creating new sounds and spheres. But, since Helix was designed also to be a centerpiece, you could also consider buying it without selling the gear you love most. You could start out with Helix, maybe your amp and your Strymons. And you could sell some of your gear, only if you feel that Helix is ready to replace it. More of a modular approach so to speak.

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I have never ever felt so great about a single piece of gear as about the Helix. It also lets you add plugins seamlessly to your sound, both parallel or serial.

Fact is that after almost two years I have rebought a Timeline and am waiting for a BigSky to be delivered, simply because their sound is just amazing. But I’m not using a real amp anymore. And I have been satisfied with Helix Fx almost totally (my Timeline gets most of its use while producing, I’m yet to take it out live, and I’ve already played several gigs since I rebought it)

 

Ditto.  nothing I have bought in the 3+ decades of playing at home and in live bands, has had so much of an impact on me.  if you think your current rig is "flexible", you haven't seen anything yet.  Helix can do things that you simply CAN NOT DO with any other rig.  Instant changing of dozens of parameters with a single footswitch, even parameters like Amp Bias, Microphone placement in front of a cab, internal Dip Switches inside a pedal, Ripple, Hum, Bias X, etc...  things that would require opening up an amp and using tools and meters to perform on "real gear" - a single footstomp.  In normal mode, up to 8 different parameters.  In Snapshot mode, up to 64 different parameters, can all be assigned to ONE FOOTSWITCH.    

 

Up to 1042 different user presets, dozens of factory presets, storage of over 100 IRs, access to so many amps, stomp boxes, cabs, microphones, etc...   and you can change anything you want from song to song, or even within a song, just by pushing a button.    Also, with Foot-Edit mode, if something doesn't sound quite right, you can even make adjustments mid-song with your feet without stopping what you're doing on the guitar.  

 

The flexibility is simply amazing to me.  Other processors can do similar things, but for me, Helix has all the right features in one single processor.  4 FX loops (if you want to integrate other pedals), a built-in Expression Pedal that can be used for multiple functions - all assignable, stereo outs for both XLR and 1/4", headphones, etc... and a screen that allows EASY patch building and adjustments without the need to hook up to a computer (I don't generally use the HX Edit to build patches... it's a great piece of Software, but I like building it on the floor unit itself... can't really do that with AX8 easily).   

 

Just remember that it won't be 100% instant gratification until you get into it for a week or two.  But give yourself plenty of time to play with it, and you'll wonder why you didn't make the move earlier. 

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Ditto.  nothing I have bought in the 3+ decades of playing at home and in live bands, has had so much of an impact on me.  if you think your current rig is "flexible", you haven't seen anything yet.  Helix can do things that you simply CAN NOT DO with any other rig.  Instant changing of dozens of parameters with a single footswitch, even parameters like Amp Bias, Microphone placement in front of a cab, internal Dip Switches inside a pedal, Ripple, Hum, Bias X, etc...  things that would require opening up an amp and using tools and meters to perform on "real gear" - a single footstomp.  In normal mode, up to 8 different parameters.  In Snapshot mode, up to 64 different parameters, can all be assigned to ONE FOOTSWITCH.    

 

Up to 1042 different user presets, dozens of factory presets, storage of over 100 IRs, access to so many amps, stomp boxes, cabs, microphones, etc...   and you can change anything you want from song to song, or even within a song, just by pushing a button.    Also, with Foot-Edit mode, if something doesn't sound quite right, you can even make adjustments mid-song with your feet without stopping what you're doing on the guitar.  

 

The flexibility is simply amazing to me.  Other processors can do similar things, but for me, Helix has all the right features in one single processor.  4 FX loops (if you want to integrate other pedals), a built-in Expression Pedal that can be used for multiple functions - all assignable, stereo outs for both XLR and 1/4", headphones, etc... and a screen that allows EASY patch building and adjustments without the need to hook up to a computer (I don't generally use the HX Edit to build patches... it's a great piece of Software, but I like building it on the floor unit itself... can't really do that with AX8 easily).   

 

Just remember that it won't be 100% instant gratification until you get into it for a week or two.  But give yourself plenty of time to play with it, and you'll wonder why you didn't make the move earlier. 

Pretty much sums it up - saved me a bunch o'typing.  Simply put, the best damn money I've ever spent in the realm of guitar stuff.  And with certain L6 comments over on TGP it looks like the HX reverbs should be out sometime in the next 60 days, so even the Strymon users may be able to put another bit of gear up for sale...

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...

And with certain L6 comments over on TGP it looks like the HX reverbs should be out sometime in the next 60 days, so even the Strymon users may be able to put another bit of gear up for sale...

That would be really great!!

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Sounds fantastic, really flexible and easy to use, looks really cool, fits in a backpack, consistent from gig to gig, week to week, great user base to learn from...  my advice: go for it!

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Merry Christmas first of all!

 

I just posted to the forum about this topic....i have read that lots of people feel the Helix is great as a standalone unit and you can cash in your amp / pedals....simply not true....that said you can justify removing the hassle of setting up a lot of gear for a show, but you will miss the sound you get from your amp(s) and pedals that you know and love....sorry...the amp models / pedal replacements are not nearly as good as the real thing.....especially when you are talking about dynamics and headroom...i do however really like the Helix Bogner Uber and Fender Twin amp models....great overdriven and clean sounds for variety.

 

My cure is a hybrid approach.....first of all consider your packaging needs to make mobility less of an issue....i.e. pedal board in a road case, mobile rack for your rack mount gear, etc...in my case i don't play out much any more....i like writing music and recording in my studio / sharing my music that way.....I use a Mesa Rectifier recording preamp and an  ENGL E530 preamp (both rack mount) for clean to crunch to dirty amp sounds....i run them into the return inputs on my Helix LT...i then run them through the IR cabs from Ownhammer and Redwirez...there are a huge number of great sounding cabs from both....i have about 30 goto IR cabs that i can use for almost any project...they store and load easily on the Helix as presets. I also have a Pod HD Pro X rack unit to interface all my external stereo effects with....i have a preamp switch that runs to the HD Pro X to switch my preamps with. I have a nice mobile rack that all this gear fits in and would be perfect for mobile use if the need arises.

 

You will also want to keep all the pedals you love...in my case, TS808 reissue, Mesa Tone Burst and Wampler Ego II compressor and an Xotic EP booster ( the new Helix EP model sucks compared to the stand alone unit....i had high hopes for that one). I also have a whole pedal board full of Eventide, Digitech, and TC electronic pedals....and lets not forget the Catalinbread Echorec.....soooo sweet....and you will still need your Morley / Crybaby pedals for the sound you need....i think you are getting the point....they are dialed in to perfection and they are just that...no model will ever compete with them....the Helix does however offer new sounds to add to your soundscape to make your sound fresh and even more interesting....in my opinion that is the big reason to get a Helix as well as the preset control and workflow which i really like.....i hope this helps...have fun and bask in knowing the sounds you love are just right!

 

Dan

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I agree with a lot that's been said. But there's really only one way to find out if it's for you & that's to try it of course. 

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Merry Christmas first of all!

 

I just posted to the forum about this topic....i have read that lots of people feel the Helix is great as a standalone unit and you can cash in your amp / pedals....simply not true....that said you can justify removing the hassle of setting up a lot of gear for a show, but you will miss the sound you get from your amp(s) and pedals that you know and love....sorry...the amp models / pedal replacements are not nearly as good as the real thing.....especially when you are talking about dynamics and headroom...i do however really like the Helix Bogner Uber and Fender Twin amp models....great overdriven and clean sounds for variety.

 

My cure is a hybrid approach.....first of all consider your packaging needs to make mobility less of an issue....i.e. pedal board in a road case, mobile rack for your rack mount gear, etc...in my case i don't play out much any more....i like writing music and recording in my studio / sharing my music that way.....I use a Mesa Rectifier recording preamp and an  ENGL E530 preamp (both rack mount) for clean to crunch to dirty amp sounds....i run them into the return inputs on my Helix LT...i then run them through the IR cabs from Ownhammer and Redwirez...there are a huge number of great sounding cabs from both....i have about 30 goto IR cabs that i can use for almost any project...they store and load easily on the Helix as presets. I also have a Pod HD Pro X rack unit to interface all my external stereo effects with....i have a preamp switch that runs to the HD Pro X to switch my preamps with. I have a nice mobile rack that all this gear fits in and would be perfect for mobile use if the need arises.

 

You will also want to keep all the pedals you love...in my case, TS808 reissue, Mesa Tone Burst and Wampler Ego II compressor and an Xotic EP booster ( the new Helix EP model sucks compared to the stand alone unit....i had high hopes for that one). I also have a whole pedal board full of Eventide, Digitech, and TC electronic pedals....and lets not forget the Catalinbread Echorec.....soooo sweet....and you will still need your Morley / Crybaby pedals for the sound you need....i think you are getting the point....they are dialed in to perfection and they are just that...no model will ever compete with them....the Helix does however offer new sounds to add to your soundscape to make your sound fresh and even more interesting....in my opinion that is the big reason to get a Helix as well as the preset control and workflow which i really like.....i hope this helps...have fun and bask in knowing the sounds you love are just right!

 

Dan

 

Saying it's "simply not true" that people can abandon their old gear and use the Helix standalone hardly makes it a valid statement given the MASSIVE number of people that are happily doing it, and have been doing it quite a bit longer than you have based on how long you've owned your Helix.  I've certainly done it, as have many others like myself that have owned and used our Helix units since it's first release both in Studio and Live applications.  In my case I don't feel I've lost anything and have gained tremendously not only in the flexibility the Helix offers, but also in the clarity, articulation and general tone quality of what I'm able to produce both in the studio as well as on stage.

 

If your method satisfies your needs, I'm happy for you.  But that doesn't make it the ONLY way to be successful with the Helix.

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hapily sold all my analog gear, no more noise issues, my tone is just as good maybe better as with my tube amps and effects, never looked back since.

once you got the frfr thing figured out imo there is no better way to run a rig.

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I haven’t owned my Helix LT for very long, but my Mesa 2:Fifty rack tube amp and two Thiele ported 1x12 cabs are going up for sale. For me, the keys were starting from scratch on fresh, non-factory presets and using Celestion impulse responses with an FRFR powered monitor. There is a substantial learning curve and I’m still on it. Part of the transition is training your ears to expect a polished studio sound rather than the “amp in the room†tone that those of us who started playing before modeling existed have come to expect. I’ve been rehearsing and gigging with a Firehawk for a few years, so I believe I made that leap before I got my LT. Your audience doesn’t hear “amp in the room†whether they are on Sound Cloud listening to your recording or in a club listening to FOH. If you are just playing for yourself, do what sounds best to you. With multiple paths, Helix can send a “no-power amp, no cab/IR†signal to your guitar amp AND an FRFR intended signal to a recording desk or mixing board. No need to choose one or the other if you don’t want to.

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I guess some clarifications about myself and my first post would help....I have been playing for over 30 years and have built a semi-professional studio in my home....High quality preamp gear is a requirement (meaning middle of the road Fender or line 6 amps cannot be compared the way i did with my preamps....Mesa, Engl)...i am not using an amp in a room with mics....i am running my preamp outputs straight into my Helix and using IR cabs....then the output of the Helix goes to my audio capture system....i am not new to Line 6 products...i have an HD Pod Pro X I bought 4 years before Helix....i tweaked the @#$% out of it until i finally gave up and bought a Helix with new hopes...tweaked the @#$% out of the Helix (only much faster this time and they definitely sound better than the HD models but not quite good enough) until i went back to my original preamp configurations. My post was for people like me who can hear the difference between real amps / pedals and models....if that is not you...than God bless you....this is a tougher road to be on when only that perfect tone / effect will do.

 

YES!! The IR cabs are much better than the Helix Cabs....they also sound amazing with my preamps....much better than the real speaker cab with mics (by that i mean they sound like cabs with mics in a professional studio setting)

 

One more clarification....some of the HD pedal models are actually better than the HX models.....Stereo Delay and the Analog with Mod (Memory Man) delay models for example sound better ( more like the real pedals) than the HX models do. The HX modeIs sound good, but different....I am enjoying the fact that i can use both my Helix and HD Pod Pro X and choose sounds that are prefect for the project (assuming that one of my external pedals is not already perfect for the project).

 

I also agree that if your sound gives you goose bumps and makes you smile when you hear it...then you have found what you are looking for.... Until the next amazing thing comes along.... :)

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Ah, the curse of having better hearing than everyone who doesn't agree with you :)

 

There are other explanations though, like differences of opinion and personal preference.

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Merry Christmas first of all!

 

I just posted to the forum about this topic....i have read that lots of people feel the Helix is great as a standalone unit and you can cash in your amp / pedals....simply not true....

Ah darn it - now I'm gonna have to go rebuy all the stuff I accumlated over 45 years of playing/touring/studio, and let go of when I got Helix.  And here I thought that I had great sounds, ridiculous portabilty, extreme flexibility all in one little package.  Who knew...? :)  :)  :)

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Ah, the curse of having better hearing than everyone who doesn't agree with you :)

 

There are other explanations though, like differences of opinion and personal preference.

 

Or....obsessing over equipment and cork-sniffing nonsense for 30 years while others have actually been making a living in the business for almost 50 years....   :huh:

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Sebaileyus,

My honest take on this unit is this so take it for what it's worth. First thing, I'm a big fan of the amp modeling stuff, have been for along time and have had my share of them. That said, the Helix is one of the best ones I've had to date not just because of the modeling quality but it just has great flexibility and routing options. It's pretty much my go to board for playing at the church, recording or practicing at home with the headphones on. I'm also fortunate to have a nice pedal board that's cost me 3x that of the Helix and a few decent tube amps. When I get the opportunity to just sit down and get lost in the guitar playing I turn to my pedalboard/amps as there is just something I feel playing them that I just don't get from the Helix (or other's) amp modeling. In my opinion, there is just a warmth or fullness about an amp that I just have not been able to replicate 100% through monitors or PA speakers, it's just that last 5 to 10% that's missing. As previously mentioned, I don't even bother with trying to mic the amps for recording as the Helix just has such good solid amp tones its not even worth the effort. In regards to the strymon question "no" the Helix is not going to have the ability the timeline/big sky etc have. I can get good ambient stuff from the Helix that gets the job done live but in the room or with headphones on it won't be as ambient as the big sky or have all the different delays the timeline has. However, it does have a good selection of delays/reverbs that will more than work for live or recording. One of the biggest advantages I've found in these units is the ability to store patches with different perameters such as (Eq, drive, effects, arrangement etc) and with the snapshot feature the Helix has just can't be accomplished with a pedalboard/loop switcher set up. You mentioned only having one rig set up as one would just sit but if you can afford both I recommend having both. Also, there is the 4 cable method where you could use the Helix to control your amp, looper, strymon stuff etc and then just grab the Helix portion when it's gig time, possibilities are endless. Hope this helps a little.

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There do seem to be a variety of separate camps on what is the "best way" to use Helix in a live situation.    My thoughts:

 

- If you initially try Helix alone and don't quite get to the point where you can build very realistic sounding patches, some will consider abandoning it, and some will consider perhaps it will sound much better through a real guitar cab and power amp.  These folks MAY or MAY not keep working at Helix until they figure it out as a stand-alone solution... perhaps they stick with it as an input into a power amp (or amp fx loop) and a real guitar cab.

 

- Some folks are fully convinced that they will never feel comfortable without a real cab on stage. These most likely won't even try it as a stand-alone solution.  They need a guitar cab and perhaps a tube-amp, but can make use of the Helix as an FX unit or to model preamp tones, etc.   

 

- Others - and I put myself in this category - have never owned more than a couple of amps in my lifetime with an FX loop.  All my amps are vintage or vintage clones, and no way to use Helix through ANY existing equipment.  So in order to try it as a "in front of a guitar amp/cab" solution would require me to buy a power amp, or a new amp with an FX loop.  Too much to buy for me.  Those of us in this category either stick with it long enough to find our tones in Helix to a PA or FRFR or we will abandon and go back to our amps.  

 

- A fourth category are those who have been using Modeling units for a long time and Helix is just the next step in the evolution of their quest. 

 

- One thing that I think fully sets the Helix (and the AX8, Kemper, and other IR - capable modelers) apart from all the other modeling units out there (although more are starting to pop up lately based on the success of these), is the ability to use IRs or to make use of the extensive modeling done in the Helix Cab simulations.  The ability to have a different cab for each patch, or multiple cabs within a single patch is supremely flexible and if you can figure out the secret sauce to Mic position, Hi/Lo Cuts, the right mix of dual cabs / dual mic's, etc.   If you're using a guitar cab and/or a guitar amp/power amp, it seems to me like it will still restrict you to one cab or one type of sound post-preamp - STILL a huge increase in flexibility compared to a standard pedalboard/amp rig, but I would feel that I was only using a fraction of the Helix Capabilities.  

 

My quest was to find a way to get the 90% solution while still being able to completely stop hauling heavy amps, cabs, dozens of cables, tube woes, etc...  so I specifically looked for that route.  I have found that I'm FAR beyond the 90% solution.  I'm at least at the 98% solution for sound quality, once I got my hands around how to build patches properly, and what works for me in the cab simulation and mic positioning realm.  In many cases, I may be BEYOND the 100% solution, because I have found SO MANY tones that I like, that I would have never tried if it required buying and lugging a new amp to a gig.  

 

So, we all have different needs and desires, and that's one of the beauties of this unit - it works for a number of different scenarios and there are so many happy owners who all use it in different ways.  

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Nice to see we have some reasonable people in this forum instead of just Helix Kool-aid drinkers full of hate for those that do not partake.......thanks for the serious feedback and i hope my post is helpful to you in some way....Happy New year to all!

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This is what works for me...perfectly:

 

Helix floor, 2 external expression pedals, Line 6 G10 wireless. Play at church every week. I got rid of all my other gear except for one tube amp. Haven’t turned on the amp in over a year. Helix and wireless in a semi hard case. Just grab that and a couple guitars, and ready to go. 5 minute setup and tear down.

 

Now factor in the ability to have 1024 custom pedal board and amp combinations (presets) at your feet. It is the ultimate in flexibility. Dial up a preset and it sounds exactly the same every time.

 

At church I play direct to FOH and monitor with IEMs. At home I play through two JBL Eon 610s or my IEM connected to Helix.

 

It’s connects easily to your favorite DAW via USB to be your recording interface. You can listen to backing tracks through it via usb for practice.

 

No brainer for me.

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I tend to agree with what most others have already said, but I will add my thoughts as well. I have been something of a tone snob for a while, but always wanted the convenience of modeling gear. I could never justify the expense of Axe FX or Kemper, but the Helix hit a sweet spot and had a lot of really cool features (scribble strips are the greatest invention ever) that enticed me, so I picked it up. I have not used either of my expensive tube amps since. For record, I own both a Rockerverb 100 and a Mesa Roadster. I still own them because I can't bring myself to sell them, but I haven't actually touched them since. The Helix has replaced my entire guitar rig and my entire bass rig (except when I need the bass amp because there are no subs). I have zero regrets. It is the single best gear purchase I have made. I haven't even looked at amps or pedals since I bought it.

 

No, it is not perfect. The fuzz options are still sorely lacking, IMO. But it does everything I need it to do as well as everything I always wanted to be able to do and it sounds really, really good. No, it is not an exact match for my real amp, but, after pitting it against my recorded tone of my real amp, it is practically identical if not actually a little better in some respects. So... I don't think you will regret getting a Helix, but only you can make that decision.

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njglover....you indirectly pointed out something important....tone snobs are going to struggle more with moving over to Helix completely and abandoning their amps/pedals...i am definitely in that category....i worked hard and spent a lot of $$$ to get the  tones / amazing sounds i currently have with my guitars, keyboards, and studio gear....i am all for saving space and integrating at a higher level (eliminating a lot of stuff) but only if the new gear truly replaces the gear i already have meaning it performs at least as well as my current gear and hopefully much better to justify the additional investment...

 

I feel like we are living in a "good enough" era right now where software developers crank something out that they know is buggy, we all accept it and find ways to justify living with it.....and in some cases, begin justifying why we think it is what we really want....not me man....i am old school (meaning i am over 50 years old.. :) My credo is it either works, or it doesn't....and if it doesn't, explain whats missing and what you are going to do about it, not why i should be OK with it....the world is full of slick marketing that makes this all possible....something to be wary of....

 

Don't get me wrong....i think the Helix is a really cool piece of gear, or i would not have bought one....i love the software interface and system control...i just think we are still years away from truly replacing all our other gear for just a Helix....unless of course the convenience outweighs the compromises...and that's cool too....which brings me to my original post...if you can't live with the compromise, then there are other ways to use the Helix that truly add value until they really get it right.....The End.

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Sebaileyus,

My honest take on this unit is this so take it for what it's worth. First thing, I'm a big fan of the amp modeling stuff, have been for along time and have had my share of them. That said, the Helix is one of the best ones I've had to date not just because of the modeling quality but it just has great flexibility and routing options. It's pretty much my go to board for playing at the church, recording or practicing at home with the headphones on. I'm also fortunate to have a nice pedal board that's cost me 3x that of the Helix and a few decent tube amps. When I get the opportunity to just sit down and get lost in the guitar playing I turn to my pedalboard/amps as there is just something I feel playing them that I just don't get from the Helix (or other's) amp modeling. In my opinion, there is just a warmth or fullness about an amp that I just have not been able to replicate 100% through monitors or PA speakers, it's just that last 5 to 10% that's missing. As previously mentioned, I don't even bother with trying to mic the amps for recording as the Helix just has such good solid amp tones its not even worth the effort. In regards to the strymon question "no" the Helix is not going to have the ability the timeline/big sky etc have. I can get good ambient stuff from the Helix that gets the job done live but in the room or with headphones on it won't be as ambient as the big sky or have all the different delays the timeline has. However, it does have a good selection of delays/reverbs that will more than work for live or recording. One of the biggest advantages I've found in these units is the ability to store patches with different perameters such as (Eq, drive, effects, arrangement etc) and with the snapshot feature the Helix has just can't be accomplished with a pedalboard/loop switcher set up. You mentioned only having one rig set up as one would just sit but if you can afford both I recommend having both. Also, there is the 4 cable method where you could use the Helix to control your amp, looper, strymon stuff etc and then just grab the Helix portion when it's gig time, possibilities are endless. Hope this helps a little.

 

The real magic that I've stumbled into recently, is using Helix as pedalboard with my tube amps (not using amp or cab modeling in Helix).

Then running XLR out (with analog cab sim) from amp back to Helix, into path 2B, through stereo delays and reverbs, and then out to FRFR

 

I have been able to get some really cool stuff this way! Plus, while Helix 'direct' (FRFR) is simple and easy, there is something really impressive about using snapshots for pedalboard scenes, and getting the tubes of the amp back into the Helix. You could also achieve this by running a mic on your amp and sending that back to Helix; for me, I'm recording at home with all of this so it makes for an easy closed loop (no bleed) when I want to jam along to drum software or do overdubs without having to use headphones, but also working an amp into the sound.

 

I guess I just like tube amps and Helix plays nice with them so why not! :)

 

quick edit: took some trial and error to make noise go away with 4CM; I am still not able to use the amp switching output from Helix without inducing mad noise, however, I am reasonably happy with an Ebtech hum eliminator gadget between Helix and the amp fx send and return. This thing (HE-2) : http://www.ebtechaudio.com/hedes.html

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Nice to see we have some reasonable people in this forum instead of just Helix Kool-aid drinkers full of hate for those that do not partake.......thanks for the serious feedback and i hope my post is helpful to you in some way....Happy New year to all!

Genuine apologies if my comment came across as hate or disrespect, I meant neither, whether we hear the same things or not.

 

Rock on, however works for you :)

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No problem zooey...thanks for the well wishes, and the same for you....there is a lot passion here for what works for each of us, and that's good for making music... :)

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njglover....you indirectly pointed out something important....tone snobs are going to struggle more with moving over to Helix completely and abandoning their amps/pedals...i am definitely in that category....i worked hard and spent a lot of $$$ to get the  tones / amazing sounds i currently have with my guitars, keyboards, and studio gear....i am all for saving space and integrating at a higher level (eliminating a lot of stuff) but only if the new gear truly replaces the gear i already have meaning it performs at least as well as my current gear and hopefully much better to justify the additional investment...

 

I feel like we are living in a "good enough" era right now where software developers crank something out that they know is buggy, we all accept it and find ways to justify living with it.....and in some cases, begin justifying why we think it is what we really want....not me man....i am old school (meaning i am over 50 years old.. :) My credo is it either works, or it doesn't....and if it doesn't, explain whats missing and what you are going to do about it, not why i should be OK with it....the world is full of slick marketing that makes this all possible....something to be wary of....

 

Don't get me wrong....i think the Helix is a really cool piece of gear, or i would not have bought one....i love the software interface and system control...i just think we are still years away from truly replacing all our other gear for just a Helix....unless of course the convenience outweighs the compromises...and that's cool too....which brings me to my original post...if you can't live with the compromise, then there are other ways to use the Helix that truly add value until they really get it right.....The End.

 

I think you misunderstand me. My point is that even tone snobs will find a lot to love with the Helix and should not find as much trouble moving over. It actually took me less time to dial in the tones I wanted on the Helix than with my real gear. It was months before I finally found the settings I like on the real Roadster. That thing is a complicated amp and very particular about how you set it. By contrast, I had my tones more or less figured out on the Helix within probably a week. Granted I was basically just matching my tube amps, so it was a little easier, but the point I am trying to make is that the Helix is both very easy to use and sounds really good - sometimes better than the real thing. If nothing else, it absolutely trounces real amps for convenience. I will probably not even bother recording with real amps anymore. I literally only have my tube amps because I have an emotional attachment to them, not because I actually need them.

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njglover...thats great.....glad that Helix is everything you hoped it would be. I was not able to get the same results for my Mesa Recto preamp and Engl pre....i like the Bogner Uber and Twin Reverb amp models the best but i can't honestly say that they really sound like those amps since i don't own them to compare...i just like em :)

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I just purchased a Helix and two QSC K10.2 speakers. Having an awful time getting a good sound out of this setup. Sounds fake and brittle, flat, etc...  Was hoping this setup would replace my acoustic, electric and bass rigs. So far I am frustrated and ready to give up.

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I just purchased a Helix and two QSC K10.2 speakers. Having an awful time getting a good sound out of this setup. Sounds fake and brittle, flat, etc...  Was hoping this setup would replace my acoustic, electric and bass rigs. So far I am frustrated and ready to give up.

A lot of that can depend on what mode of operation you're using on the QSC speakers (Monitor, Live, etc.) as well as how you have the speaker setup to listen to it.  Live powered speakers will always sound harsh if you're too close and standing right in front of them since they're made for long throw projection.  If you're setting them on the floor, make sure you set the speakers to Monitor mode and you may also want to enable the High-Pass filter to around 100 hz to trim of low end bass that's not really relevant.  Keep at least six feet of space from you and the speakers to allow the compression driver to mix well with the main speaker.  Depending on the cabs and mics you're using in the setup you may also want to play with High Cuts anywhere from 4kHz to 10kHz to take out some of the brittleness.

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My post was for people like me who can hear the difference between real amps / pedals and models....if that is not you...than God bless you....this is a tougher road to be on when only that perfect tone / effect will do.

 

And there it is. "If you disagree with my assessment, it's because your ears suck, and you couldn't tell the difference between a tube amp and a Cuisinart." Lovely. How wonderful it must be to be you. 😂

 

It's been enlightening. Next...

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So cruisinon2....how many actual amps / pedals do you / have you owned to compare with the sound quality of the Helix system? I stand by my original post....if you can't hear the difference....than God bless you... :)

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So cruisinon2....how many actual amps / pedals do you / have you owned to compare with the sound quality of the Helix system? I stand by my original post....if you can't hear the difference....than God bless you... :)

And I'll stand by mine. Attempts to turn subjective opinion into objective truth, based on nothing more than sanctimonious declarations about your "golden ears", proves nothing to anyone but you. Subsequently dismissing anyone who doesn't clap like a seal at your every utterance, serves no purpose other than to inflate your ego and further justify an opinion which you're already convinced is Gospel. Have a wonderful day.

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Added a couple of Celestion open back IRs to the Helix. They all fixed the problem. Sounds great through everything now!

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I’m a big fan of the Celestion IRs! Especially the Redbacks in 4x12 closed variety on a mid to high gain preset. Alnico Blues in 2x12 open variety sound great for clean tones. If you are having any trouble with digital fizz, give ‘em a try.

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