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dkerwood

Considering moving my entire rig to Helix - Have questions

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I'm a gigging musician, looking to simplify my rig without losing functionality (and maybe gaining more).  Right now, I have thirteen pedals on a huge board with an unwieldy custom case.  I use all of the pedals, including 9 different settings on an M9 (with two expression pedals).  Between church, my rock band, and several other freelance projects that come up, I'm finding this setup really tough to deal with.  So I'm thinking of going Helix, but haven't been able to figure out the following:

 

1) How are the fuzzes on the Helix?  I went through a dozen fuzz pedals before settling on the Twosome and Mini Foot.  I especially love the Twosome's low gain fuzz - a very non-tube analog sounding breakup.  Can the Helix hang in with these pedals, or would I have to keep one or both?

 

2) Can I tie three effect blocks to one footswitch?  On my M9, I run 3 effects together as a preset, and would love to have that as a standalone effect.

 

3) Similarly, can I use a single footswitch to toggle between blocks?  I'm thinking of using the 4-cable method and toggling between my amp's preamp and a completely different Helix preamp.

 

4) Does anyone use the effect loops for pedals?  I have an EHX Freeze that I know I'd have to keep and plug into the Helix.  I'm concerned that if I have a Helix, a Freeze, the power supply for the Freeze, and an extra expression pedal, I might have to mount all of that to a board... and then am I really better off than I am right now?

 

5) How does the onboard expression pedal feel?  Does it work well for wah?  I don't currently use a volume pedal - I prefer to use the guitar knob for that - but I use wah constantly as a manual filter.  I'm hoping the wah models are pretty good.

 

6) The external expression pedal cannot use the "toe switch," if I understand correctly.  Does Mission make one without the toe switch?

 

7) The Helix can be used in 10-stomp mode, correct?  So we get 10 switches controlling blocks and controller data?

 

8) Speaking of which, has anyone tried the idea of sending MIDI data from a single footswitch through the MIDI out, back into the MIDI in, and triggering a snapshot?  In essence, putting a single snapshot into 10-stomp mode?

 

9) Regarding snapshots, can they be used to adjust specific parameters but ignore others?  For example, can I have a snapshot adjust the mix on Particle Verb from 100% down to 50%, regardless of whether an overdrive is on or off?  In essence, can I use snapshots like a "preset" expression pedal (that's how I do it on my M9)?  Or would I have to make several nearly identical snapshots with every variation I might need (OD on with 100% wet, OD off with 100% wet, OD on with 50% wet, etc)?

 

10) Will it fry the Helix if it's accidentally plugged into phantom power?  Or should I always plan to use a DI box to keep it safe?

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1. Sound pretty good to me, though I’m no connoisseur. The Zvex Fuzz Factory model actually self-oscillates! I was especially impressed by the OCD and Timmy models, and this convinced me to go Helix instead of continuing with my old pedal board (haven’t tossed it yet, though...)

 

2. & 3. Yes and Yes.

 

4. Yes, I tried this feature out. It’s killer to be able to swap pedal order programatically. Killer.

 

5. I like it. Had to loosen the nut a bit to suit my preference, and the toe switch is very stiff, but I’ve come to like it.

 

6. Yes.

 

7. Yes.

 

9. Yes.

 

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Just chiming in on #5, as all other questions seem to be straight forward.

 

Some people like using the built in pedal for wah and some don't.  I'm one of those who don't.  If you are used to using a regular wah pedal, you may find the built in pedal as too long of a throw for your liking.  

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6) The Helix Rack version with Helix Foot Controller supports more Expression Pedal options. You may wish to give that a consideration. 

 

9) Snapshots support, if I recollect correctly, up to 64 Parameters. You may also define numerous parameters to have Min and Max values so that you control one or more simultaneously via the Expression Pedal. Some may ascend in value while others decrease in value when the Expression Pedal moves. These parameter assignments may also be changed for each Snapshot within a Preset. There is also Pedal Edit Mode that provides access to hands free changing of any amp's or FX's parameter values.

 

10) No. However connecting to a board's phantom power enabled XLR input will affect the audio making it sound harsh. Best to use an Inline XLR Phantom Power Filter or dedicated DI.

 

Overall, most vendors have a reasonable satisfaction duration. You could grab a Helix Floor or Helix Rack w/ Controller to give them a try versus your preferred FX pedals and configurations. If it doesn't suit your needs, simply return it.

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If you have a few "must have" analog pedals, you have plenty of loops available in Helix to still use those. 

 

Sweetwater has a 30 day return policy, give it a try. 

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OP here. Buying before selling my old stuff is definitely not an option, as I need to sell in order to afford the Helix. Don't think I could even sell my wife on a payment plan, not on a $1500 piece of gear.

 

For those who use pedals in the loop, how do you transport the Helix? I'm concerned that I'll still have to haul around a large pedalboard. It would certainly be more flexible than my current setup, but still large. For reference, my current board is slightly larger than PT-PRO specs. I had to get a custom case built for it because the board builder made the deck the size of the PT-PRO (as I requested) but then there was a little more width and depth beyond that.  Wouldn't fit in PT-PRO cases. I have about $500 tied up in board and case.

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I first purchased my Helix Floor, then sold all the rest of my gear. Wifey was ok with that. I didn't have nearly the number of pedals you have, but now I have only a couple of external expression pedals, and am selling my last real amp this weekend. I was able to fully fund the Helix selling the pedals I had and one of my combo amps. I do have a couple of JBL EONs 610s that I play though at home. 

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