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funkyou86

How I switched frome AXE FX II to Helix

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Converting from a brand isn’t an easy choice, but do you have the balls to downgrade your gear?
 
For many years my rig was based on a Diezel amp, Mesa 412 cabinet, Strymon Big Sky and a POD500X used via four cable method. After a serious back injury I decided to sell my heavy, 95kg rig and swich for a rack unit, which is easyer to handle and it is also much more versitale.
 
I went with the Axe FX II + FCB 1010 and it was awesome, than came the struggle. 
 
I was not new to programming presets so I jumped right into it. After almost one year my patches were still not finished and I felt like I am unable to dial my old tone back. Sure, this wasn’t axe fx’s fault, but I felt like the too many options are holding me back. I was used to "PODs logicâ€, now the axe gave me too much choices. I have played few gigs with it and it just not sounded how I wanted to.
 
I decided to sell my Axe unit and go back to my roots with Helix. I invested the extra money to a new guitar and a full range RCF speaker. Before the purchase I have read hundreds of reviews, watched all videos on youtube, and here are my toughts on the topic.
 
#1: Organic tone, really?!
Axe users argue that Fractal have much more organic tone than the helix, specially with the high gain amps (which is true in most of the cases). But let me ask you, do you really need an “organic†tone for your distorted sounds? Because I found out that I don’t. So I don’t care that Helix "isn’t that good enough".
 
#2: Usability is everything
Line6 step up in this topic to another level with Helix. With Behringer’s FCB 1010 I had to program everything on the foot controller with (complicated) midi messaging, had a small screen, i could not use the tuner because it is not communicating via MIDI, asigning an exp pedal to a stomp was a pain in the lollipop. I don’t have to explain how Helix fits my needs in this point.
 
#3 Editing SW
I wasn’t really satisfied with axe edit, it was pretty slow IMO. HX edit offers me better speed with better UX. The routing was much more advanced in the Axe, I miss that from Helix.
 
Please do not get me wrong. I am not bashing Fractal. I think that they have made a great product. It just not worked out for me. Thanks to Helixes simplicity I’m on fire again and dialing in new sounds. With a better guitar and better FR speaker my tone has improoved a lot and I can’t wait to play live again.
 
If you're interested, check us out here: Track#6 (cleans via POD500X & Big Sky), Track#1 (all guitars recorded via POD500).
 

 

Cheers! 

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Convertetd from AX8 to Helix LT, not yet completely, but most likely... I aggree with you in all aspects. Plus, I had some noise issues with the AX8 that are now history, even without a gate in the signal path...

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Could not agree more. I converted from AX8 to Helix and I still have my AX8 - want to keep it as spare. but I will sell it to get another Helix.

I do not use the High gain amps  -  more clean and overdriven tones. I am very happy.

Helix Editing is light years ahead of Fractal. I enjoy creating presets and the ease of getting them sounding good and to my "tone in my head".

 

With the fractal I used only the computer interface to create resets - with the Helix I mostly create presets on the Helix. Very easy and straight forward.

 

I love the scribble strips and the big screen.

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I just saw a thread raving about the Archetype lead amp based on the PRS Archon for heavy stuff. Have you tried that amp yet?

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I just saw a thread raving about the Archetype lead amp based on the PRS Archon for heavy stuff. Have you tried that amp yet?

I hear otgher users on Youtube getting a pretty crushing tone with the Archtype.. I have yet to find that tone on my LT ... The setting is there, just having a tough time getting that ferocious agressive yet clear tone (out of the Archtype)  Can get it out of the CaliIV, Engl, and Uber models...

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I hear otgher users on Youtube getting a pretty crushing tone with the Archtype.. I have yet to find that tone on my LT ... The setting is there, just having a tough time getting that agressive yet clear tone (out of the Archtype) Can get it out of the CaliIV, Engl, and Uber models...

Care to post clips and ideally presets of those ferocious tones from the other amps? Not generally my thing exactly, but I'd probably learn Some Stuff.

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I just saw a thread raving about the Archetype lead amp based on the PRS Archon for heavy stuff. Have you tried that amp yet?

 

Yep, with OH IR and my Ibanez M80M it sounds really well! I had to put at least 3 eq's to get rid of the hiss, but I am really satisfied with it :)

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Yep, with OH IR and my Ibanez M80M it sounds really well! I had to put at least 3 eq's to get rid of the hiss, but I am really satisfied with it :)

I am not a Helix programmer by any stretch of the imagination.  I normally use a noise gate to get rid of the hiss.  How does using eq's differ in this

regard.

 

Thank you.

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This was a great read.  Before I bought my Helix, I was looking into the AX8.  Glad I went the Helix route.  With personal EQ adjustments and IR's - I think the Helix sounds just as good as the AX8.  Also, the Line 6 Community was another reason I choose the Helix.  Everyone is here to help and share knowledge, and I would guess the Line 6 Community is much larger than Fractal's. 

 

But I would say that the number one reason I chose the Helix was the integration with amps via 4CM.  I've mostly been a pedalboard and tube amp player - the Helix makes this so much easier and of course, MIDI!!!    

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I am not a Helix programmer by any stretch of the imagination.  I normally use a noise gate to get rid of the hiss.  How does using eq's differ in this

regard.

 

Thank you.

 

With noise gate you attenuate the signal, eliminating background noise. EQing eight strings guitars are a bit different, than six strings, because you have to shape your tone in to your music you're playing. IMO, the sound of the eight strings can be dull and not articulated and this is why you have to EQ it :)

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Also, the Line 6 Community was another reason I choose the Helix.  Everyone is here to help and share knowledge, and I would guess the Line 6 Community is much larger than Fractal's. 

 

Not to offend anybody, but size doesn't always matter. The fractal forum is full of professional musicans with a lot of experience in fractal equipment (by the way, I'm far away from both ;-)). Maybe because fractal equipment is mainly used by professionals? They are very willing to provide great and qualified assistance and share knowledge as well as great recordings. I'm not long enough here to really give a judgement. But I think the fractal forum is far more active and maybe also more qualified. That was also one of the reasons that made me hesitant about the switch to the Helix LT, when I first came here to collect information about the Helx LT. Stil I'm looking foreward to become part of this new community.

 

Regards,

glombi

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Interesting post.

And good to keep it away from product bashing - they both have a good deal of merit.

Is it a "downgrade"? Its less $ but....

 

I still own both (AX-8 and a Helix).

 

#1 "organic" bit of an odd word but if I read realistic or maybe natural I agree the AX-8 still to me sounds "better" (where better = more suited to my playing / ears)

#2 Usability -  Helix wins by a long way (we all know why) and using Behringer’s FCB 1010 is excrutiating ( I sold mine) - its great value for money but..... But I have my AX-8 set just how I like it married to a FC-300 and it does what I want without a fight.

#3 AX Edit works good for me - not sure whats not to like but personal prefs again

 

I have a couple of amps in Helix I use a lot (Badonk, Archon, plus a couple of cleans) adore the recent Cosmos delay and it is an  almost perfect hardware control interface.

 

They are different - but I'll spoil myself and keep both.

But if I had to choose I am still with the sound of the AX-8. But it is getting closer as Helix develops.

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Not to offend anybody, but size doesn't always matter. The fractal forum is full of professional musicans with a lot of experience in fractal equipment (by the way, I'm far away from both ;-)). Maybe because fractal equipment is mainly used by professionals? They are very willing to provide great and qualified assistance and share knowledge as well as great recordings. I'm not long enough here to really give a judgement. But I think the fractal forum is far more active and maybe also more qualified. That was also one of the reasons that made me hesitant about the switch to the Helix LT, when I first came here to collect information about the Helx LT. Stil I'm looking foreward to become part of this new community.

 

Regards,

glombi

Need to join the Facebook group created by Chad Boston...

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For those not opting to use FB, TheGearPage.net Digital and Modeling Forums' Helix Threads are wonderfully useful information resources with an outstanding member base! Everyone is welcome to Browse.

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I watched Fractal for 3 years... waiting.. saving.. and Kemper. I already had a HD500X so I thought that was the end of the road. Somewhere along the line I heard Yamaha bought LIne 6.
My first thought.. Yamaha ain't no joke.. I remember reading the Sound Engineering Handbook by Yamaha when I was learning to record. They KNOW stuff. 
Once I heard Helix was born.. and given the number of options, and connections, and ALL packaged neatly into this little floor board... I was sold. 
But only after trying it out for a few weeks thanks to Sweetwater. I MAY HAVE tried a Fractal.. but at 2300 I wasn't going to take a chance that I could figure it's complexities out within their 14 day trial deal and play the mail back game,, Don Carr {former Oakridge Boys guitarist} at Sweetwater told me I should check it out when I came in looking into Kemper. 
He said at least TRY it...  so I did. I loved the design and everything it offered but was reluctant thinking it would sound right... I was wrong. I took me a few weeks to figure it out really but once I did I A-B compared it to my Boogie and I'm a believer. 
The rest is history
Love it.. can't wait to see how much more awesome Helix becomes.
New CREEP CD will be exclusive Helix guitars and Bass.. and I'm OK with that. 
And thanks Yamaha - Line 6 
 

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Interesting post.

And good to keep it away from product bashing - they both have a good deal of merit.

Is it a "downgrade"? Its less $ but....

 

I still own both (AX-8 and a Helix).

 

#1 "organic" bit of an odd word but if I read realistic or maybe natural I agree the AX-8 still to me sounds "better" (where better = more suited to my playing / ears)

#2 Usability -  Helix wins by a long way (we all know why) and using Behringer’s FCB 1010 is excrutiating ( I sold mine) - its great value for money but..... But I have my AX-8 set just how I like it married to a FC-300 and it does what I want without a fight.

#3 AX Edit works good for me - not sure whats not to like but personal prefs again

 

I have a couple of amps in Helix I use a lot (Badonk, Archon, plus a couple of cleans) adore the recent Cosmos delay and it is an  almost perfect hardware control interface.

 

They are different - but I'll spoil myself and keep both.

But if I had to choose I am still with the sound of the AX-8. But it is getting closer as Helix develops.

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Interesting post.

And good to keep it away from product bashing - they both have a good deal of merit.

Is it a "downgrade"? Its less $ but....

 

I still own both (AX-8 and a Helix).

 

#1 "organic" bit of an odd word but if I read realistic or maybe natural I agree the AX-8 still to me sounds "better" (where better = more suited to my playing / ears)

#2 Usability -  Helix wins by a long way (we all know why) and using Behringer’s FCB 1010 is excrutiating ( I sold mine) - its great value for money but..... But I have my AX-8 set just how I like it married to a FC-300 and it does what I want without a fight.

#3 AX Edit works good for me - not sure whats not to like but personal prefs again

 

I have a couple of amps in Helix I use a lot (Badonk, Archon, plus a couple of cleans) adore the recent Cosmos delay and it is an  almost perfect hardware control interface.

 

They are different - but I'll spoil myself and keep both.

But if I had to choose I am still with the sound of the AX-8. But it is getting closer as Helix develops.... Me too!!!  I have the Helix LT , thought I was missing something, that 3D feel...Got an AX8, and it does sound a little more 3D/natural, etc.. But the Helix looks cool, love the big screen, and to be honest, though it's not quite as 3D as the AX8, it's pretty sweet....Cannot decide, don't know if I can keep both....Ahhhhh!!!

 

 

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As an aside, lots of people complaining about programming their FCB.  

 

I’ve has one for years - uno chipped from the outset to be fair - but I’ve never had a programming problem, basically because I’ve always used a fixed configuration.  You set it up to send programme change 1 on patch 1 and programme change 2 and patch 2 etc, pick a couple of controller numbers for the pedals and do the heavy lifting with a patch map table and controller assignments on the target device.  It can be a bit of a pain with multiple devices for sure but you should never have to touch the thing again.  

 

My JCM midi preamp had a patch map table to select internal programmes and external patches (for my TC GMajor) based on the input programme change message.  Are the midi facilities that bad on the AX that you can’t do this?

Edited by arkieboy
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1 hour ago, arkieboy said:

As an aside, lots of people complaining about programming their FCB.  

 

I’ve has one for years - uno chipped from the outset to be fair - but I’ve never had a programming problem, basically because I’ve always used a fixed configuration.  You set it up to send programme change 1 on patch 1 and programme change 2 and patch 2 etc, pick a couple of controller numbers for the pedals and do the heavy lifting with a patch map table and controller assignments on the target device.  It can be a bit of a pain with multiple devices for sure but you should never have to touch the thing again.  

 

My JCM midi preamp had a patch map table to select internal programmes and external patches (for my TC GMajor) based on the input programme change message.  Are the midi facilities that bad on the AX that you can’t do this?

 

I did not have the UNO patch in my FCB and I had no issues programming the scenes or values to the pedal. Sure, it was pain in the lollipop but still it was possible with a bit of googling. 

 

My negative experience with the Axe + FCB combo comes from the great lag between switching presets. I just hated it. I believe that with the native fractal foot controller the presets are switching smoothly, but hey, that another 1K quid. 

 

Also, the never ending programming just killed my apetite for writing music. My experience with axe was very good for deeper understanding the paramters and values of different effects block so with helix, I'm definitely profiting from it, but I would not go back. My tones are better than ever.

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I converted from Fractal also and I don't miss the Axe Fx nor do the other guys in the band.

BUT, I do miss some of the effects from the Fractal. They are really awesome. 

Mostly the multidelays and some choruses. I can't get the same with the Helix so I am really hoping for some of this in the updates. 

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45 minutes ago, Hammero said:

Mostly the multidelays and some choruses.

 

Multidelays were awesome! I miss them too, but axe is missing some great L6 verbs too, I missed the particular verb so much I bought an M5 :D

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Yes, I agree about the verbs. 

But I actually miss especially the Plex Multidelay so much that I'm thinking hard if I can afford to switch to Axe Fx III just for those... 

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19 minutes ago, Hammero said:

Yes, I agree about the verbs. 

But I actually miss especially the Plex Multidelay so much that I'm thinking hard if I can afford to switch to Axe Fx III just for those... 

 

Show us your patch/sound and we'll do the best to recreate it with helix :)

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