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twohandband

Helix rack: initial impressions

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It came early yesterday afternoon, along with the controller and a pair of expression pedals. It came with an outdated version of the firmware, so as soon as I had it racked I figured out how to get that updated. Despite the horror stories I had zero issues with this. I plugged in my favorite strat (like all of my guitars a homebuild job with homewound vintage-style single coils) and spent most of the remainder of yesterday working with it. System was rotel home stereo amplifiers pushing a very high-end klipch speaker set; same rig I've been using to dial my POD. My initial thoughts:

1) This thing is almost embarrassingly simple to program. I can't say enough good things about the interface. Coming from the world of old lexicon processors, this is a delight.

2) Snapshots are the best idea ever. I will probably be able to do most shows on a single snapshot.

3) Love the scribble strips.

4) Just once I would like to see a modeler that dials like an amp. In that regard this is very much like the POD; you have to think like an engineer. Compression on both ends of the chain, high and low cut, rapt attention to mic and placement choices. If it wasn't for my background in live sound this would probably be a kind of frustrating experience.

5) Once you get past the above, the sound immediately and obviously superior to the POD... and I was getting good stuff from the POD.

6) Why does everyone hate the stock cabs? I think they're fine and doubt like hell I will bother buying any IRs.

7) The people selling patches are ripping you off. This is far too easy to program to warrant paying someone else to do it.

8) This is so easy to program I am probably taking it to my show tonight. It's a blues gig so I only need a couple of sounds. I'm doing a much more complex show both Friday and Saturday, so unless I get more setup time I will probably take the POD for those. But I look forward to be using the Helix 100% before next weekend.

9) Thus far my favorite amp model is the Cali Texas, but others show promise. For the blues show tonight it'll be that amp for everything.

10) The range of options in here is essentially limitless. I can't imagine running it out of DSP.

11) The tuner stinks. Please fix.

Based on a single day of usage, well done Line 6. Here is a digital rig that I think I can 100% replace my refrigerator rack with no sense of loss.

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7) The people selling patches are ripping you off. This is far too easy to program to warrant paying someone else to do it.

 

And laughing all the way to the bank...there's a reason companies advertise: It has successfully separated people from their money since the first Neanderthal sold a spear to his buddy Gunga in the cave down the road.

 

The demo videos that accompany these mystical portals to tonal nirvana are the music world's equivalent of cosmetics commercials, where they profess that the $12 eyeliner they're hawking will render one indistinguishable from the supermodel with the fake eyelashes and $1K worth of crap on her face...or the $10/ month gym membership that will give you six-pack abs and 2% body fat.

 

Every once in a while I like to grab a bunch of free ones from Customtone, just to remind myself how profoundly useless it is to try and use someone else's patches.

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Different strokes for different folks I guess. I think there are a lot of users who, especially in the early stages, aren't really experienced or comfortable creating their own presets. They see good value in paying a few dollars for some well constructed and great sounding presets created by others. They not only get some immediately useful great tones they also get some good insight into advanced preset creating techniques. I consider myself to be reasonably competent in terms of creating my own presets but I have also learned stuff, and got some great tones, from some preset purchases I have made. I don't feel ripped off at all.

 

And nobody is forcing anyone to buy presets. It's an option. Value is in the eyes of the purchaser. Just because you don't see the value doesn't mean others are being ripped off.

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They not only get some immediately useful great tones

I wish this were the case, but it just isn't. I've made countless attempts...and not a single one was ever "immediately useful"... and the overwhelming majority were in fact, "immediately awful". And not just the Customtone ones uploaded by Joe Average. Mostly out of curiosity, I bought some 3 Sigma IR's that came with a handful of patches, allegedly crafted specifically for the accompanying IR's...all dreadful. The IR's themselves I like, and use a lot. But the patches... comically terrible, and as is par for the course, sounded NOTHING like the video that purported to use them. It's not a surprise...there too many variables to expect continuity from one guy to the next. Anything patch that arrives and is instantly stellar without a single tweak is dumb luck... still waiting for my lucky one.

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Well, maybe I'm just lucky then. I do agree with you about Customtone - in my experience you do need to be struck by lightning to get anything immediately useful there. But paid presets? My experience is exactly opposite from yours. Perhaps your 3Sigma experience may be partly due to the fact that they primarily build IRs and then threw together some bad presets in order to demonstrate the IRs. I find the presets that are built by people whose main interest is the presets themselves are good quality.

 

EDIT: That's not to say that you, me, and many other experienced preset creators can't do the same thing. Just that less experienced users might not be able to right off the bat.

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 Despite the horror stories I had zero issues with this.

 Yeah despite the stories, its not hard to get thru an update at all. Though L6 could def do things to make it easier. I laughed when one user said "clear as mud". That about summed my thoughts as well.

6) Why does everyone hate the stock cabs? I think they're fine and doubt like hell I will bother buying any IRs.

 

No warmth on the bottom end, brittle in the highs. No sense of depth.  Dont want "fine". Want inspirational. Shouldnt need instructional videos on how to get good sounds from the stock cabs that have to do so much explaining they dont pick up a guitar till 6 or 8 min in.

IRs are a faithful recreation of some of the most sought after guitar sounds in history.  Drop one in, done. Its with IRs ive built and heard all the best guitar sounds

4) Just once I would like to see a modeler that dials like an amp. In that regard this is very much like the POD; you have to think like an engineer. Compression on both ends of the chain, high and low cut, rapt attention to mic and placement choices. If it wasn't for my background in live sound this would probably be a kind of frustrating experience.

 

I cant imagine compressing the POD when it's already over compressed. I think youre going to find over time that Helix is a lot better in this regard. AAMOF i think thats why a lot of people are initially let down with helix, because that sense of compression, sustain, that OVER compression that cant be removed, is the very thing that makes those units easy to play, and is gone or has been reduced to a MUCH more tolerable level.. Now i DO find myself needing to add a touch of compression har and thar  :)  so i guess what im saying is...i agree with you completely, i just think youre crazy for  feeling the need to compress a pod  :P

 

 and I was getting good stuff from the POD.

 

Yep. Had no problem with even the 2.0 red bean, but ive always been of the camp that with those modelers and cheaper modelers you're going to get 3 or 4 real good sounds as opposed to Helix where tons and tons.

 

7) The people selling patches are ripping you off. This is far too easy to program to warrant paying someone else to do it.

 

some people just have a hard time building sounds, some already feel overwhelmed enough with the guitar playing aspect and just want to play.

 

 

 . I can't imagine running it out of DSP.

 

I dont even come close. Maybe once in a blue moon i need to use the second path. I think the ones you see rnning out of dsp are trying to something more than build a guitar sound or just dont know how to use it.

 

The tuner stinks. Please fix.

 

Havent had an issue here. Dont worry about getting the top lights "dead on". Just get them close. Try NOT to approach it as "are the lights going where i want them to go"

 

Thus far my favorite amp model is the Cali Crunch

 

No model in helix by that name, so i can only assume you mean the recto. I bet that'll change in moments. That seems to be one of the least used among the users that ive seen, so you should be in bliss over the next couple of years.

 

Respectfully, one day one day isnt enough to tell you squat. Tell me im wrong in a month or two :) Good luck. I look forward to seeing your reaction over the next few months.

  

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Well, maybe I'm just lucky then. I do agree with you about Customtone - in my experience you do need to be struck by lightning to get anything immediately useful there. But paid presets? My experience is exactly opposite from yours. Perhaps your 3Sigma experience may be partly due to the fact that they primarily build IRs and then threw together some bad presets in order to demonstrate the IRs. I find the presets that are built by people whose main interest is the presets themselves are good quality.

 

EDIT: That's not to say that you, me, and many other experienced preset creators can't do the same thing. Just that less experienced users might not be able to right off the bat.

It's not even a question of a patch being "good" or "bad". The videos invariably sound great...and they should, otherwise nobody would purchase the damn things. In the hands of the guy making the patch, with the rest of his gear, and for his needs/ preferences/abilities/ technique/ etc, I'm sure they're perfectly functional. And they are...we have audio/video clips as evidence. But that doesn't mean that its gonna sound the same on my end... and it NEVER does. And sometimes it's so far removed, that I laugh out loud. I wouldn't expect any of my go-to patches that I think are great to fare any better in someone else's hands either...for the exact same reasons.

 

The concept is great on paper. Seems like it would work.... just doesn't.

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No warmth on the bottom end, brittle in the highs. No sense of depth.  Dont want "fine". Want inspirational. Shouldnt need instructional videos on how to get good sounds from the stock cabs that have to do so much explaining they dont pick up a guitar till 6 or 8 min in.

  

 

I'm not getting that... I'm finding the stock cabs to be pretty good sounding with a little tweaking. Maybe the IRs are way better and I'm missing out, but I'd have to find some good free samples before dropping $$$.

 

 

 

Yep. Had no problem with even the 2.0 red bean, but ive always been of the camp that with those modelers and cheaper modelers you're going to get 3 or 4 real good sounds as opposed to Helix where tons and tons.

 

Completely agree with you there. On the POD I found one amp model I'm using for absolutely everything. I think I'll use more of the Helix.

 

 

 

No model in helix by that name, so i can only assume you mean the recto. I bet that'll change in moments. That seems to be one of the least used among the users that ive seen, so you should be in bliss over the next couple of years.

 

Mistyped... I meant the Cali Texas. The Lonestar model.

 

 

 

Respectfully, one day one day isnt enough to tell you squat.

 

I'm sure that's true... these are just first impressions. I'm frankly surprised so many people are having negative first experiences.

 

I will put one qualifier on my comments regarding the preset merchants: most guitarists are not qualified to set up this gear. Part of the reason for this is that idiotic retro craze that hit in the early 90s and sent us right back to the stone age (read: the 1970s) and has never entirely gone away. Honestly, by 1992 the single-function stompbox was completely obsolete and the only place you should see one now is in a museum. Companies like ADA, which should have gone on to dominate the market, were thrust out of business. If the tech had kept progressing in a logical fashion, guitarists would be much more savvy to this stuff.

 

But part of the problem is guitarists themselves, and really musicians in general. If you can't tell the monitor tech what frequencies you want pulled out, if you don't understand the uses and effects of compression and gating, if half a dozen other similar things, your skill set as a live musician is deficient. I encourage everyone who is serious about performing to go work for a local/regional sound production company for six months to a year. Once again: dialing this thing is not like dialing a real amp. It requires some extra skills, but IMO they are skills every live musician ought to have anyway.

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The concept is great on paper. Seems like it would work.... just doesn't.

 My buddy is endorsed by fractal. He does this thing where you send him a DI and he builds and fine tunes patches based on your DI. I thought that was a pretty ingenious idea and really should have a much better chance of being successful in comparison.

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My buddy is endorsed by fractal. He does this thing where you send him a DI and he builds and fine tunes patches based on your DI. I thought that was a pretty ingenious idea and really should have a much better chance of being successful in comparison.

Now THAT'S an idea...at least it eliminates some of the variables, except whatever speakers/ headphones/ monitors are involved on each end... which of course is a big part of the equation. But eliminating the player and the guitar as variables will get you closer, by default.

 

Something like this, I might actually gamble a few bucks on....that is if I had any left after spending Fractal money. 😉

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Now THAT'S an idea...at least it eliminates some of the variables, except whatever speakers/ headphones/ monitors are involved on each end... which of course is a big part of the equation. But eliminating the player and the guitar as variables will get you closer, by default.

 

Something like this, I might actually gamble a few bucks on....that is if I had any left after spending Fractal money.

Im thinking he has a helix too. If you ever want to give it a try i can put you in touch with him. I know he does some artist tones too. Not sure what the price is. Not even sure if he still has a helix but its pretty essential to his set-up so im thinking he does.  We get into some discussions about why he thinks axe is way better lol. In some of his argument he says "well ya know im there with guys like Petrucci and Vai". Not that it has anything to do with sound.  Just found it interesting thats all....as if he could choose anything but plays it because one of the benefits is that the higher end talent gets catered too more, so in that he benefits from it....but yeah i thought it was thinking outside the box some.

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I will put one qualifier on my comments requiring the preset merchants: most guitarists are not qualified to set up this gear. Part of the reason for this is that idiotic retro craze that hit in the early 90s and sent us right back to the stone age (read: the 1970s) and has never entirely gone away. Honestly, by 1992 the single-function stompbox was completely obsolete and the only place you should see one now is in a museum. Companies like ADA, which should have gone on to dominate the market, were thrust out of business. If the tech had kept progressing in a logical fashion, guitarists would be much more savvy to this stuff.

Amen. The retro thing baffled me when it started, and still does...though it's hardly confined to the music industry. Lots of companies have successfully monetized the word "tradition". This is Harley Davidson's bread and butter, but I digress.

 

My absolute favorite is the "relic-ed" instrument market.

1. Build a perfectly good new guitar.

2. Hit it with a bicycle chain, belt sander, or drag behind a pickup truck for 0.6 miles to impart "character".

3. Charge an extra grand for it.

 

A close second is the LP model allegedly constructed with specs culled from a "3D scan" of an instrument that was owned by Les Paul himself... so that every blemish, dent, and scratch is yours to cherish. Price tag? $10K. (But hey, why stop there? Let's get Chanel to create a fragrance so that the guitar case will smell just like old Les'...😂)

 

Comedy gold, all of it...George Carlin wasn't this funny.

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Amen. The retro thing baffled me when it started, and still does...though it's hardly confined to the music industry. Lots of companies have successfully monetized the word "tradition". This is Harley Davidson's bread and butter, but I digress.

 

.

 

 

 

In my very strong opinion, the entire rock star move back towards traditional heads/combos and stompers was entirely driven by endorsements. Equipment manufacturers like to use artists to drive sales, and by 1990 or so you were rapidly reaching a point at which what the artists were using was unapproachable by anyone who wasn't a touring pro. Who else can afford massive racks full of expensive processors and switching apparatus custom-built by guys like Bradshaw? So the pros were steered back towards traditional gear by endorsement money (and  I can tell you firsthand that what you see from the ground is often very different from what's actually being used), and like a bunch of sheep guitar players followed.

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 My buddy is endorsed by fractal. He does this thing where you send him a DI and he builds and fine tunes patches based on your DI. I thought that was a pretty ingenious idea and really should have a much better chance of being successful in comparison.

 

I know some guys who have Fractal stuff, and all of the ones who are getting good tone seem to have paid for help. I'm not afraid of programmable gear; I'm accustomed to Lexicon MPX series stuff which is not the most intuitive thing in the world. But I spent ten minutes futzing around with a friend's AX-FX II and said screw this... aside from a ridiculous menu system, they've gone full-retard on parameters. Fractal does a great job of taking things that really are very simple and making them very complex.

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Fractal does a great job of taking things that really are very simple and making them very complex.

You can charge more money that way. This is why government literature used to refer to a nut...as in the thing that screws onto a bolt...as a "hexaform, rotatable surface compression unit". (Swear to God...this actually required an executive order to undo back in the 90's). 😂

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Greatly enjoyed Twohandband's comments. So much there to agree with. Although per others, I'd say that 'ripping off' is perhaps a bit strong for patch peddlers :D

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I know some guys who have Fractal stuff, and all of the ones who are getting good tone seem to have paid for help. I'm not afraid of programmable gear; I'm accustomed to Lexicon MPX series stuff which is not the most intuitive thing in the world. But I spent ten minutes futzing around with a friend's AX-FX II and said screw this... aside from a ridiculous menu system, they've gone full-retard on parameters. Fractal does a great job of taking things that really are very simple and making them very complex.

Thanks for talking me out of axe fx III :)   I was heavily kicking it around thinking mostly about what may be possible in the future but somehow i really felt your comment there, and it just made me decide it wasnt worth the trouble. Im pretty happy, but greener grass and all..... 

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I know some guys who have Fractal stuff, and all of the ones who are getting good tone seem to have paid for help. I'm not afraid of programmable gear; I'm accustomed to Lexicon MPX series stuff which is not the most intuitive thing in the world. But I spent ten minutes futzing around with a friend's AX-FX II and said screw this... aside from a ridiculous menu system, they've gone full-retard on parameters. Fractal does a great job of taking things that really are very simple and making them very complex.

 

OK, this made me lol... But information overload was kind of my feeling when I briefly had the AX8. I felt like the editor was so ridiculously dense as far as the available parameters and such, that it was a totally different experience than a typical guitar effect. I mean, does anyone need 10 parameters for a wah? Actually this is just the controller... I realize there are some people who are into that sort of deep tweaking, but personally, I think it just pulls further away from the actual act of playing guitar.

 

2-1.png

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OK, this made me lol... But information overload was kind of my feeling when I briefly had the AX8. I felt like the editor was so ridiculously dense as far as the available parameters and such, that it was a totally different experience than a typical guitar effect. I mean, does anyone need 10 parameters for a wah? Actually this is just the controller... I realize there are some people who are into that sort of deep tweaking, but personally, I think it just pulls further away from the actual act of playing guitar.2-1.png

I remember looking at the plate reverb settings and thinking holy hell. BTW I see you are in Minneapolis... I'm just a couple of hours northwest of you.

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Well, here's my editorial comments after two years of using it....we'll see how it compares!!!

 

 

1) This thing is almost embarrassingly simple to program. I can't say enough good things about the interface. Coming from the world of old lexicon processors, this is a delight.

 

Couldn't agree more.  What's even more embarrassing (or should be for Line 6), is that I get more confused trying to modify/program my rhythm player's Spider V.  How can one piece of equipment be so simple and another be so clunky and non-intuitive..hmmmmm???  What does aggravate me somewhat is all the whining about what the HX Edit should do.  In two years the only use I've found for the HXEdit program is saving and restoring presets...and now doing backups for when I update firmware.  It begs the question, what do these people that are so addicted to HXEdit do when they need to change something at the gig?  Are they going to drag they laptop along just to do some edits???

 
2) Snapshots are the best idea ever. I will probably be able to do most shows on a single snapshot.

 

This reminds me of the old saying "when all you know is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail".  I think snapshots are a good idea that has been way overused in many cases.  In over 60 presets I've created I've only come across three situations in which I benefited from using a snapshot.  Most of my more complex transitions are well handled through assignments, which was the traditional way of doing it in the early releases of Helix.  What's interesting to me is how often people have problems with corrupt presets and DSP limitations due generally to the overuse of snapshots.  Maybe I'm just old fashioned and like to follow the Keep It Simple Stupid policy...but it always works and never causes problems.

3) Love the scribble strips.
 

I certainly find them useful, but they were never the big advantage for me that some people make them out to be.  In practice I've found the additional I/O and headphone volume control to be far more useful, at least as far as recording.

 

4) Just once I would like to see a modeler that dials like an amp. In that regard this is very much like the POD; you have to think like an engineer. Compression on both ends of the chain, high and low cut, rapt attention to mic and placement choices. If it wasn't for my background in live sound this would probably be a kind of frustrating experience.

 

To me this is the entire selling point of the Helix or any modern modeler.  I have all of the facilities one would find in a typical professional studio environment packed into a single unit that I can take live so I can provide a polished studio sound in a live environment.  Something I could never do with just a simple amp and stomps.

 

5) Once you get past the above, the sound immediately and obviously superior to the POD... and I was getting good stuff from the POD.

 

I didn't have to get past any of the above because they weren't negatives to me...other than that there's no question it was a huge step forward....IF (a big if) you spend the time and get an understanding of how to use it.

 

6) Why does everyone hate the stock cabs? I think they're fine and doubt like hell I will bother buying any IRs.

 

I don't hate the stock cabs at all, but I still primarily use IRs.  The reason being what would take me several minutes of tweaking in order to get the sound I want which is done in one step with an IR that's been well mixed with the mic's I want, the specific speaker I want, and the placement I want.  It takes a while to figure out the ones that best suit you, but once you've got them it's a HUGE time saver.

 

7) The people selling patches are ripping you off. This is far too easy to program to warrant paying someone else to do it.

 

I don't think they're ripping people off, just taking advantage of people that are too intellectually lazy to learn how to use their Helix.  God help them if they need to make some tweaks to it because they get a new guitar or find themselves playing in a different band or venue that doesn't match up well to their paid for preset.  It's like buying a Ferrari and needing to hire someone to drive it for you.

 

8) This is so easy to program I am probably taking it to my show tonight. It's a blues gig so I only need a couple of sounds. I'm doing a much more complex show both Friday and Saturday, so unless I get more setup time I will probably take the POD for those. But I look forward to be using the Helix 100% before next weekend.

 

I totally see this!!!  When I transitioned from my POD HD500X to the Helix I took a bit over a month getting used to it and dialing things in before I debuted it at a performance.  It's a great piece of gear, but you really need to spend some time to know what you're doing with it.

 

9) Thus far my favorite amp model is the Cali Texas, but others show promise. For the blues show tonight it'll be that amp for everything.

 

If you liked the Cali Texas, you're going to LOVE the Cartographer.  These are the two most versatile amps in the lineup in my opinion, although there's some classics that still rate very high with me.  They may be limited in what they do, but what they do, they do better than anything else.
 

10) The range of options in here is essentially limitless. I can't imagine running it out of DSP.

 

If you continue down the road of an all-encompassing preset using snapshots I fear your day is coming soon....

 

11) The tuner stinks. Please fix.

 

Amazingly enough, for he last two years I've only depended on the Helix tuner for tuning my 3 to 4 guitars I use in my performances...and amazingly enough, they've always been in tune!!!!  There must be some magic incantation they did over my specific Helix unit!!!!!

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System was rotel home stereo amplifiers pushing a very high-end klipch speaker set;

As well as a power amp and cab set up I also use my Rotel RA10 and Bower and Wilkins speakers.. lovely warm sound, great stereo spread and nice separation of sounds and great tight timing and much less trouble with high end harshness compared to PA (supposed) FrFr speakers.

This set up just seems to zone in on making everything sound great and professional. Even the boss gt100 suddenly sounded good years ago when I put it thru this set up, and the helix blossoms thru it.

My only complaint is all the inputs on the Rotel are RCA.... There's no balanced option so I run from the helix 1/4" out to rca input. There is something to be said for a good tuned hifi amp and speakers with helix at home.

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What? What's wrong with the tuner? ;) :D :lol:

 

There is not one in my editor, and before someone says it, Yes there needs to be.  ;)

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OK, this made me lol... But information overload was kind of my feeling when I briefly had the AX8. I felt like the editor was so ridiculously dense as far as the available parameters and such, that it was a totally different experience than a typical guitar effect. I mean, does anyone need 10 parameters for a wah? Actually this is just the controller... I realize there are some people who are into that sort of deep tweaking, but personally, I think it just pulls further away from the actual act of playing guitar.

 

2-1.png

Actually, I've used this before and loved it.  Overly dense? Each to their own and YMMV, but for those that don't know, that is a picture of how Fractal does their software editor settings on the Wah, and its a functional well thought out design, not deep at all, and it works VERY, VERY well! You can adjust the percentage of when the wah turns on from heel to toe down, the actual slope/curve of the wah which effects the travel & sounds from heel to toe, the speed in which auto engage takes place, and basically design it as it suits you. By varying the frequency/pitch of where the wah engages tone wise, means you can have the wah come on "from out of nowhere", and then disappear as if it was never on in the first place. Very Kewl indeed. The Axe FX II was a bit over-kill in areas, but it also had some very good ideas too like heel-down wah-off waaaay before Line-6 came around with their own version in Helix. Fractal also had "scenes" in their software waaay before "Snapshots" and Helix was even released. Love my Helix, but Id ALSO love it if Line-6 incorporated some "more" of these ideas that Fractal software pioneered into their own. :)

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Quick update: took it to the blues gig last night. I used the Cali Texas model with the greenback25 cab for the whole show. A little bit of hair on the amp, a couple of different OD pedals in front. I never use squeaky clean for a blues show, so this was all I needed. A reverb that was always on, delay that was on most of the time, and a few fx on tap.

 

I wound up doing some fast twiddling with my post-cab EQ during soundcheck after hearing what was coming out of the house, but it was pretty minor adjustments. I wasn't crazy about my tone in the monitor, but we were in a feedbacky room with these crappy yamaha wedges that need a lot of frequencies pulled out under the best of circumstances so that was seriously compromising the experience. Every time I walked out front where I could hear the house sound I got happy. I seriously need to invest in a set of IEMs, but never mind...

 

Compared to how long it took to dial stuff I liked in the POD, I can't believe how fast I was able to actually take this to a show, albeit a simple one, and be 100% happy. I stand by what I said before about the stock cabs... granted it took some work with mics and placement but I didn't feel the internal cab model was compromising my tone even a little bit. I got what I wanted. The soundman, whom I've worked with many times before, complemented me on the tone. Not bad for a digital rig I got in the mail only 30 hours or so before showtime!

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Excellent evolving thread - twohandband; I hope you'll continue to update as you move toward using Helix at your gig situation wherein more complexity is required.

Cheers, and congrats.

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and doubt like hell I will bother buying any IRs

 

.

If youre not using IRs in your helix theres really no way of knowing whether or not you are compromising sound or not. To say you are NOT compromising, without even owning or trying IRs is an unfounded opinion, and makes you appear biased or have an agenda...especially after coming back around to beat the drum again.

Trust me when you lock in with the right IRs, you'll know it. Go watch some Pete Thorn videos. he wont lay a finger on those stock cabs. Watch guitarjons vids. He wont touch them. Its no coincidence that the better players tend to gravitate to IRs, or that the better sounds you'll find will be IR driven..

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.... To say you are NOT compromising, without even owning or trying IRs is an unfounded opinion, and makes you appear biased or have an agenda....... Its no coincidence that the better players tend to gravitate to IRs, or that the better sounds you'll find will be IR driven..

 

... and the 'foundation' for your opinion is....?? Careful - you may appear to be biased or have an agenda. ;)

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... and the 'foundation' for your opinion is....?? Careful - you may appear to be biased or have an agenda. ;)

I gave you the foundation for my opinion, or did you not want to read that part? You quoted it.

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If youre not using IRs in your helix theres really no way of knowing whether or not you are compromising sound or not. To say you are NOT compromising, without even owning or trying IRs is an unfounded opinion, and makes you appear biased or have an agenda...especially after coming back around to beat the drum again.

Trust me when you lock in with the right IRs, you'll know it. Go watch some Pete Thorn videos. he wont lay a finger on those stock cabs. Watch guitarjons vids. He wont touch them. Its no coincidence that the better players tend to gravitate to IRs, or that the better sounds you'll find will be IR driven..

 

I think those guys use IRs they're comfortable with, and simply stick with them for the sake of convenience.

 

Personally, I have bought some IRs, and I like them. I've also found when I start A/B-ing things, I can usually get a sound with the stock cabs that's pretty close to what I was getting with an IR. The trickiest thing I've found with IRs is that a lot them aren't labeled in a way that tells you what mics were used, so you're kind of guessing for a starting point with the stock cabs. Or at least I it to a point where even if they sound different, it's hard for me to label one as better.

 

Many IRs I hear tend to sound a bit more lively and hyped to me, and I think that may be one reason why people like them. They don't necessarily sound more realistic to me, though.

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I gave you the foundation for my opinion, or did you not want to read that part? You quoted it.

 

 

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If youre not using IRs in your helix theres really no way of knowing whether or not you are compromising sound or not. To say you are NOT compromising, without even owning or trying IRs is an unfounded opinion, and makes you appear biased or have an agenda...especially after coming back around to beat the drum again.

Trust me when you lock in with the right IRs, you'll know it. Go watch some Pete Thorn videos. he wont lay a finger on those stock cabs. Watch guitarjons vids. He wont touch them. Its no coincidence that the better players tend to gravitate to IRs, or that the better sounds you'll find will be IR driven..

 

There's no foundation. You mention two guys who don't use the stock cabs (I'm sure lots of guys do, including the OP!). Then you make an unfounded claim that 'better' players 'tend to gravitate to IRs', Where's the evidence for that? Then you conclude with the purely subjective opinion that 'better' sounds are IR driven.

 

You chastise someone for offering an unfounded opinion, then you proceed to do exactly the same. Seems like pure bias to me.

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I would say if you're on the fence about IR's, Try the free Allure ones Line 6 offers. I think they sound pretty good. Compare them to the Helix cabs, which is very quick an easy to do. It will at least give you an idea of whether going down the IR rabbit hole is a good idea. Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. You'll either like to use them or not. But I'm going to guess that there are some IR's out there that the stock cabs cannot be made to sound like. Doesn't mean they're better or worse. Just different. It's pretty much a wasted argument to me. But if you don't like them, don't use them. I personally don't really use them that much at all. But I love the fact that the ability to use IR's gives the Helix a practiaclly unlimited sound potential.

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If youre not using IRs in your helix theres really no way of knowing whether or not you are compromising sound or not. To say you are NOT compromising, without even owning or trying IRs is an unfounded opinion, and makes you appear biased or have an agenda...especially after coming back around to beat the drum again.

Trust me when you lock in with the right IRs, you'll know it. Go watch some Pete Thorn videos. he wont lay a finger on those stock cabs. Watch guitarjons vids. He wont touch them. Its no coincidence that the better players tend to gravitate to IRs, or that the better sounds you'll find will be IR driven..

 

Wow... an agenda? What precisely do you think that might be? I keep coming back to it because that's all I kept hearing during the pre-purchase research... that the stock cabinets were crap and I would have to buy IRs. But then I pull up a cab, spend five minutes or so fiddling with mics and maybe tweak the post EQ a hair and presto... I'm getting exactly what I want. When I say I don't feel any compromise I mean that I'm getting a sound I'm happy with... at least as happy as I have been with most physical gear and isn't that the whole point of modeling? If I'm getting sounds that I like as much as I would like a real amp and cab then mission accomplished; do I need to go hunting for more? I have no direct experience with IRs but I'm starting to wonder if people are gravitating towards them because they require less skill and knowledge to use. This would be much harder if I wasn't familiar with most of the modeled mics in real life, and have plenty of experience with how moving them around and blending them affects tone. I've been in and out of recording studios since I was sixteen, and that's probably making a huge difference here.

 

 

I would say if you're on the fence about IR's, Try the free Allure ones Line 6 offers. I think they sound pretty good. Compare them to the Helix cabs, which is very quick an easy to do. It will at least give you an idea of whether going down the IR rabbit hole is a good idea. Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. You'll either like to use them or not. But I'm going to guess that there are some IR's out there that the stock cabs cannot be made to sound like. Doesn't mean they're better or worse. Just different. It's pretty much a wasted argument to me. But if you don't like them, don't use them. I personally don't really use them that much at all. But I love the fact that the ability to use IR's gives the Helix a practiaclly unlimited sound potential.

 

I might do that. I'm happy enough with the stock stuff that I'd need some free samples to see if I'm actually missing anything before I drop $$$.

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>>Many IRs I hear tend to sound a bit more lively and hyped to me, and I think that may be one reason why people like them. They don't necessarily sound more realistic to me, though.

 

^ ^ ^ ^

 

This.

 

>>But then I pull up a cab, spend five minutes or so fiddling with mics and maybe tweak the post EQ a hair and presto... I'm getting exactly what I want.

 

^ ^ ^ ^

 

And this.

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There's no foundation. You mention two guys who don't use the stock cabs (I'm sure lots of guys do, including the OP!). Then you make an unfounded claim that 'better' players 'tend to gravitate to IRs', Where's the evidence for that? Then you conclude with the purely subjective opinion that 'better' sounds are IR driven.

 

You chastise someone for offering an unfounded opinion, then you proceed to do exactly the same. Seems like pure bias to me.

Not sure why you are getting so bitter.  Youre just dead wrong about chastising anyone. I simply point out the discrepancies, and you define it as chastising? I showed you two great players that use IRs, Youve showed nothing. Do you have anything in a similar style? Literally every single player ive let use Helix or i know that owns one, who cares about their tone uses IRs. Proving such to you ranks somewhere down near folding the laundry. When you can fess up some likewise tones in a similar style, then we'll talk. 

 

I think those guys use IRs they're comfortable with, and simply stick with them for the sake of convenience.

 

Yes and great, but saying "you dont understand the big hooey about IRs" and having never owned any, certainly could be called into question no?

 

 

Many IRs I hear tend to sound a bit more lively and hyped to me, and I think that may be one reason why people like them. They don't necessarily sound more realistic to me, though.

 

Everybody has their own take on them. OH's G12M25's are very different than redwirez and the next. Theyre comparative to drum samples in the sense that some are mix ready and some arent. Slate samples are near mix ready and Drumagog samples need some coaxing. Same with IRs. 

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I might do that. I'm happy enough with the stock stuff that I'd need some free samples to see if I'm actually missing anything before I drop $$$.

 

There are a bunch of free IR's out there. Check this thread out. But I would start with the Line 6 allure ones first. I did like them and they sound different than the stock cabs. Not necessarily better, just different.

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/17076-links-for-free-impulse-responses-ir-here/?hl=free

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OK... being new to the Helix and the community here I'm finding the divisiveness over this topic to be a little bit comical. Who knew that preferring IRs to stock cabs or vice versa would be something people had a significant emotional investment in? All I did was relate my experience thus far, with a slight emphasis on an area in which my experience ran counter to what I had been led to expect. I didn't expect people to get pissy about it.

 

I haven't tried any IRs, but I don't feel that I'm unqualified to comment on the stock cabs. I played my first gig in 1989, at age 15. I have made my living playing guitar and sometimes teaching guitar since my early 20s. I have performed uncounted thousands of live shows on stages large and small, and been on hundreds of recording sessions. I've been plugged into more amps and cabinets than I can even remember, and been miced in every conceivable combination with all manner of equipment. For most of this gear I know what the real thing sounds like. So when I tell you that I can dial in sounds without requiring any add-ons that I would happily take in lieu of physical hardware, I think it can be taken at face value. 

 

Maybe the IRs sound way better for some use cases. If they help you get what you're looking for then great. But don't tell me that if I like the stock cabs it's because I'm clueless.

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I wouldn't worry about the pissiness.  Some people kind of get religious about how they do things, but in the end it only matters if you get the sound you want.  Like you I've been a performing musician since the 1970s both live and as studio hired gun, so I'm pretty clear on what I want out of my sound and whatever gets me there is fair game.

 

As I said previously I use IRs almost exclusively, but not because I think the sound is any better than what I can get with stock cabs.  But it is faster since I spent the time to select out key IR's that use the speakers I prefer with the mic's, mic placements and mic mixes I like so it's just a matter of dropping them into my signal chain.  It saves a LOT of steps.  Out of around 60 presets I probably use about 15 IRs consistently among most of them, with a few extras for special purposes.  I also have dialed in a few presets using stock cabs to get a particular sound I was looking for so I'm pretty sure if I wanted to I could survive using stock cabs.  But given I know pretty much what I want most of the time it's just easier to pick an IR and move on to other things in the signal chain.

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I wouldn't worry about the pissiness.  Some people kind of get religious about how they do things, but in the end it only matters if you get the sound you want.  Like you I've been a performing musician since the 1970s both live and as studio hired gun, so I'm pretty clear on what I want out of my sound and whatever gets me there is fair game.

 

As I said previously I use IRs almost exclusively, but not because I think the sound is any better than what I can get with stock cabs.  But it is faster since I spent the time to select out key IR's that use the speakers I prefer with the mic's, mic placements and mic mixes I like so it's just a matter of dropping them into my signal chain.  It saves a LOT of steps.  Out of around 60 presets I probably use about 15 IRs consistently among most of them, with a few extras for special purposes.  I also have dialed in a few presets using stock cabs to get a particular sound I was looking for so I'm pretty sure if I wanted to I could survive using stock cabs.  But given I know pretty much what I want most of the time it's just easier to pick an IR and move on to other things in the signal chain.

 

So you use the IRs because it makes dialing your tones easier for you... that's as good a reason as any. But what you are NOT suggesting is that a player's tone is going to be forever deficient if they keep using the stock cabs. My opinion so far is that the stock cabs are a pretty good representation of the equipment they are actually modeling, and I'm EXTREMELY impressed with the mic models. Those are way better than I was anticipating. 

 

That said, I am going to check out some of the free IRs... just to see what if anything I am missing. I think it's cool that the capability exists, because it allows users to plug in esoteric stuff that might never be one of the stock models.

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That said, I am going to check out some of the free IRs... just to see what if anything I am missing. I think it's cool that the capability exists, because it allows users to plug in esoteric stuff that might never be one of the stock models.

 

I'd encourage you to maybe look at a couple of pro IRs just to get the lay of the land.  In IR land it seems to me that you tend to get what you pay for.

 

Probably my favorite IRs are Celestions, particularly their premixed sets that combine R121 mics and MD421 mics.  I'm particularly happy with the Redbacks, Celestion Blues (Alnico), Creambacks and Vintage 30s...but it's really a matter of taste.  But it's worth seeing the difference between free and production level products.

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