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sandman69

Recommendations (Helix vs Dream Rig)

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Looking for some input from y'all here.  I have the dream rig (JTV-59 (LOVE IT), HD500 and a DT25).  I bought the DT25 last and was planning on using it when I jam out with some buddies from time to time.  However, as life will do, we have never really been able to do that.  99.9999% of the time I am just using the HD500 with the Variax or my Les Paul when I am playing at home or when I play at our Church.  I go direct into the board at church so never need the DT25.

 

So seeing this whole Helix movement has me thinking about releasing the GAS building up.  I am debating on selling the HD500 and the DT25 (which is basically new with maybe 1 hour on it at in home hours).  Love the possibilities and sound with it, but I simply never use it.

 

I have been looking at many videos on the Helix and not sure it is worth me going that route or not.  Such a jump in price.

The Helix LT is a bit easier to swallow.  Not sure Scribble Scripts, Rig Control and the different buttons with labels are worth the difference.   Does the Helix LT have the same controls of the Variax as the HD500 does?  It is nice being able to control both guitar models/tuning along with HD Models.

 

If the tonal advancements in the Helix is worth moving from my current setup I might entertain upgrading.  Although, perhaps I should relieve the GAS with another piece of gear.

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As one who owned the HD500x (and a Vetta II, and a AX2.. and a AxSys 212) the Helix and LT are LIGHT YEARS ahead of the HD500x both in terms of sound and ease-of-use. That alone for me was a "no-brainer."

 

I can't speak directly to how the Helix and HD500x differ in handling the Variax (I don't own one), I do know that you can use the Snapshots to change guitars/tunings within a patch with a push of a button. Or, have the Variax magnetic pickups go down one path and the Variax "modeled" sound go down another... each with their own amps/FX etc.

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As one who owned the HD500x (and a Vetta II, and a AX2.. and a AxSys 212) the Helix and LT are LIGHT YEARS ahead of the HD500x both in terms of sound and ease-of-use. That alone for me was a "no-brainer."

 

I can't speak directly to how the Helix and HD500x differ in handling the Variax (I don't own one), I do know that you can use the Snapshots to change guitars/tunings within a patch with a push of a button. Or, have the Variax magnetic pickups go down one path and the Variax "modeled" sound go down another... each with their own amps/FX etc.

 

 

Ok, cool deal.  So it does sound like it manages the Variax settings in a similar way.   I have been looking at how much easier to setup a preset directly form the unit is.  The HD500 takes a lot of jumping through hoops.  I can honestly say I never created a preset from scratch on the unit itself.  I did everything via HD-Edit.

 

Do you have the full Helix?  The Helix LT would be a bit more palatable cost wise and I should be able to get a pretty much close to that if I sell the HD and DT25.  

 

If you have the full Helix are the scribble scripts and the other differences worth it?  Seeing that they have the exact same minus a few niceties such as that and better buttons with preset names on them.  Which is cool, but not sure $500 cool.

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I’ve never owned an HD500, but I do have a Firehawk and now a Helix LT. The Firehawk has many of the same HD amp and effect models that are in the 500, so tone-wise it is roughly equivalent. I agree with cclement that HX modeling and the Helix user interface are revolutionary. A big step up from the Firehawk! Snapshots and IR loading were the main selling points for me and I have not been disappointed at all. Worth every bit of the ten Benjis it set me back!

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I've owned various POD XT/HD models, Vetta II, M series FX etc.

Right now I use a variax 69 for the coverband I'm in and I use one big patch with eight snapshots controlling four amp sounds and Variax: clean tele, clean strat, acoustic, crunch LP junior, crunch strat, lead Les Paul and two weird ambient sounds. Works great. Creating patches couldn't be easier, though programming Helix to control Variax was not the easiest. But it does work and has been reliable so far.

I really like the versatility of Helix to be able to use it in all kinds of situations, before an amp (or in 4CM), direct, frfr, with or without Variax or all of it at the same time. Experimenting is easy, creating a quick and simple patch from scratch is simple too. The effects sound amazing.

In your case it sounds as if Helix LT would be ok for you. You can always try.

 

Good luck with your choice!

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I'm another of the converts from the HD500X to the Helix.  I came over a few months after the initial release of the Helix.  I now actually own two units, one for live performance and one for studio work which also serves as a backup for my live unit.

 

There's a couple of additional considerations between the LT and full Helix worth mentioning depending on your situation.  Everyone focuses on the scribble strips as that's the most visible difference between the two.  What's not as visible but possibly more important depending on your use are some of the physical routing elements such as the Aux input, Studio quality mic input with preamp, additional sends and receives, and the headphone volume control.  Without those pieces it would be much tougher (or even impossible) to do certain things, particularly when it comes to recording, but also in live situations involving multiple instruments such as acoustic guitar, keyboard, or vocals.  Those may or may not be important to you but worth mentioning and knowing about them.  This was the reason I chose to get a second full Helix rather than a Helix LT.

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Helix sounds are really nice, and just closing your eyes and playing amounts to owning every amp/cab it is copying. And the multiple Aux sends are wonderful as Helix can be the "center" of your studio.  OTOH, L6-Link does NOT work "midi control wise" like it does on the HD500 series. Hope this helps a bit more in the decision.

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Don't know if it matters to you, but Helix Native is also way cheaper if you own a full Helix vs an LT.

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Do you have the full Helix?  The Helix LT would be a bit more palatable cost wise and I should be able to get a pretty much close to that if I sell the HD and DT25.  

 

If you have the full Helix are the scribble scripts and the other differences worth it?  Seeing that they have the exact same minus a few niceties such as that and better buttons with preset names on them.  Which is cool, but not sure $500 cool.

 

I do have the full Helix; the LT version wan't around when I got mine.

 

 

There's a couple of additional considerations between the LT and full Helix worth mentioning depending on your situation.  Everyone focuses on the scribble strips as that's the most visible difference between the two.  What's not as visible but possibly more important depending on your use are some of the physical routing elements such as the Aux input, Studio quality mic input with preamp, additional sends and receives, and the headphone volume control.  Without those pieces it would be much tougher (or even impossible) to do certain things, particularly when it comes to recording, but also in live situations involving multiple instruments such as acoustic guitar, keyboard, or vocals.  Those may or may not be important to you but worth mentioning and knowing about them.  This was the reason I chose to get a second full Helix rather than a Helix LT.

 

So much this. You are getting a BUNCH more than just the scribble strips... but they are really nice for live performance ;)

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I have the LT, and I’m totally satisfied in every way. I don’t own a Variax, but I know that the LT will work with one the same as the “full†Helix. I already owned a Boss RC-300 loop station and a Behringer I-channel mixer, so those take care of any additional I/O requirements I have, both live and in the studio. I don’t miss the scribble strips at all, because the “performance†view does a great job of showing me which foot switch does what. I’ve also owned a “dream†rig (1965 Super Reverb), and the Helix LT more than replaces it.

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I've owned various POD XT/HD models, Vetta II, M series FX etc.

Right now I use a variax 69 for the coverband I'm in and I use one big patch with eight snapshots controlling four amp sounds and Variax: clean tele, clean strat, acoustic, crunch LP junior, crunch strat, lead Les Paul and two weird ambient sounds. Works great. Creating patches couldn't be easier, though programming Helix to control Variax was not the easiest. But it does work and has been reliable so far.

I really like the versatility of Helix to be able to use it in all kinds of situations, before an amp (or in 4CM), direct, frfr, with or without Variax or all of it at the same time. Experimenting is easy, creating a quick and simple patch from scratch is simple too. The effects sound amazing.

In your case it sounds as if Helix LT would be ok for you. You can always try.

 

Good luck with your choice!

 

 

Thanks for the information.  I have to do some more researching on all the new terminology like the snapshots.  That sounds like a perfect setup.  I will usually do something similar in a bank on the HD500.  I will set preset 1 up in one manner and then the other two will be similar, but with some changes in the gain, sometimes the tempo especially since we play with a click track.  

 

 

I'm another of the converts from the HD500X to the Helix.  I came over a few months after the initial release of the Helix.  I now actually own two units, one for live performance and one for studio work which also serves as a backup for my live unit.

 

There's a couple of additional considerations between the LT and full Helix worth mentioning depending on your situation.  Everyone focuses on the scribble strips as that's the most visible difference between the two.  What's not as visible but possibly more important depending on your use are some of the physical routing elements such as the Aux input, Studio quality mic input with preamp, additional sends and receives, and the headphone volume control.  Without those pieces it would be much tougher (or even impossible) to do certain things, particularly when it comes to recording, but also in live situations involving multiple instruments such as acoustic guitar, keyboard, or vocals.  Those may or may not be important to you but worth mentioning and knowing about them.  This was the reason I chose to get a second full Helix rather than a Helix LT.

 

I am still not 100% on the whole scribble scripts yet.  I really only recently started looking at the Helix since I have been happy with my setup.  However, as I was practicing and looking over to see the DT25 that I don't use and the fact I haven't relieved any GAS since I got the DT25 about 2 years ago.  Sad I only played with it about an hour.  So the gears started turning and since I recently thought of the HD500X, then realized that wasn't worth the time, however the Helix could be another story.  I will have to look into the Helix and LT to see if it would be worth it.   Though, looking at the price of the Helix should I even entertain an Fractal.  Though, every time I have looked at those, they seem like they are MUCH more complex to get a preset setup.  The few videos I have watched on the Helix that is one thing that it seems to excel at.

 

Are the two Helix units as tough as the HD500?  That thing seems like a tank, minus the stupid dinky power adapter that comes with it.

 

 

Don't know if it matters to you, but Helix Native is also way cheaper if you own a full Helix vs an LT.

 

 

That may be good to know, though if you had the Helix or even the LT, is there a need for Native?  I haven't really looked at the Native.  It is basically a computer plug in of a Helix, correct?

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Helix Floor is built like a tank. LT is pressed sheet metal, so not quite the tank. Native is just a DAW plugin to make recording a little easier so you don't have to use the Helix hardware. 

 

I ditched my amps and pedals about a year ago, and have never been happier. I have Helix Floor. I think I am hooked on the scribble strips. I play with a handful of "core" presets, and the scribble strips are essential to me because I can't really memorize which foot switch is which for all those presets. I like having the description right above the switch. 

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Helix Floor is built like a tank. LT is pressed sheet metal, so not quite the tank. Native is just a DAW plugin to make recording a little easier so you don't have to use the Helix hardware. 

 

I ditched my amps and pedals about a year ago, and have never been happier. I have Helix Floor. I think I am hooked on the scribble strips. I play with a handful of "core" presets, and the scribble strips are essential to me because I can't really memorize which foot switch is which for all those presets. I like having the description right above the switch. 

 

 

Cool, great information.  So they are built with different metals as well?  They look very similar minus the obvious short comings on the LT, I figured the casing itself was the same.  

 

I may seriously entertain going with a Full on Helix.    Though, as I said I gotta look at the Fractal stuff at that point, but I am pretty sure I would be happier with the Helix as the layout looks night and day above the Fractal interface, which to me looks more complicated that a jet liner. I could be wrong on that, but that is just what I gather looking at it in some videos.   All of the Helix videos have made it look so very simple.

 

How does the Helix manage acoustic guitars and even Bass guitars?  That is one thing the HD kind of dropped from the previous models IMHO.

 

I also, like the idea of a name on each pedal and the whole snapshot setup sounds very appealing to me, since I really base most of my HD presets around a couple amp models and just tweak the settings ( Gain, EQ and Effects)

 

Guess Should start taking some photos of my gear and see if I can get any biters on it.   It is a great setup in itself, but hate have about a 1k amp sitting there that I never touch.

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When I use my acoustic guitar (a Cole Clarke Fat Lady) with Helix, I find I don't need a lot. Only a little EQ, the LA2A compressor and some reverb. The preamp in Helix is very good and gives great results, so when you use a path without any amp modeling you're already good to go. The EQ's in Helix are also very suited for acoustic guitars.

 

When playing bass, well, you have the bass amp models and cabs and headroom in Helix is not an issue.

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Cool, great information.  So they are built with different metals as well?  They look very similar minus the obvious short comings on the LT, I figured the casing itself was the same.  

 

 

How does the Helix manage acoustic guitars and even Bass guitars?  That is one thing the HD kind of dropped from the previous models IMHO.

 

The two units mechanically are completely different. The LT is stamped sheet metal. The Floor looks like the main body is made from thick aluminum extrusion with really thick (1/4" or more) aluminum end plates. The expression pedal is one piece aluminium, over 1/4" thick. The Floor is a beast. 

 

If you want to incorporate acoustic and bass, the Floor (or rack) is the way you want to go. Floor/rack have a dedicated guitar input, aux input (for your acoustic) and more send/returns that the LT. I know some guys who have guitar in the guitar input, acoustic in the aux, and bass in one of the returns. All three connected at the same time. 

 

Sounds like you should lean towards the floor or rack/controller options. 

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When I use my acoustic guitar (a Cole Clarke Fat Lady) with Helix, I find I don't need a lot. Only a little EQ, the LA2A compressor and some reverb. The preamp in Helix is very good and gives great results, so when you use a path without any amp modeling you're already good to go. The EQ's in Helix are also very suited for acoustic guitars.

 

When playing bass, well, you have the bass amp models and cabs and headroom in Helix is not an issue.

The two units mechanically are completely different. The LT is stamped sheet metal. The Floor looks like the main body is made from thick aluminum extrusion with really thick (1/4" or more) aluminum end plates. The expression pedal is one piece aluminium, over 1/4" thick. The Floor is a beast. 

 

If you want to incorporate acoustic and bass, the Floor (or rack) is the way you want to go. Floor/rack have a dedicated guitar input, aux input (for your acoustic) and more send/returns that the LT. I know some guys who have guitar in the guitar input, acoustic in the aux, and bass in one of the returns. All three connected at the same time. 

 

Sounds like you should lean towards the floor or rack/controller options. 

 

Great thanks for the input.  Sounds like the floor would be the better option of the two.  Now to start worrying about the funding of "Release the GAS" project.  Guess I will be spending some time reading up on the Helix and learning more about it.

 

Thanks everyone! :)

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I play with a handful of "core" presets, and the scribble strips are essential to me because I can't really memorize which foot switch is which for all those presets. I like having the description right above the switch.

Indeed. It's one of those features that you don't "need" per se, until you try it...then you never wanna go back, lol. Same thing happened first time I got into a car with a heated stearing wheel on an 8° morning...best thing ever. 😨

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