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MarkJarvis

WHY does the harmonizer sound sooo bad?

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1 hour ago, Rocco_Crocco said:

This is a quick demo I just put together. My band plays "Burnin' for You"... Blue Oyster Cult This is the harmonizer preset I use for the song when we play gigs. Would I record with it? Of course not, but for my purpose it's fine.

 

It is a Twin Harmony Block placed between the amp and cab.

 

Helix Harmonizer Quick Demo

It’s not an effect I use much myself so I haven’t really had anything to contribute to this discussion, but from the perspective of this un-biased listener I thought that sounded just fine.

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Sorry to be a little late for the party, and for being a bit on a rant...

 

but I have to agree with the original poster and the few others, the harmonizer in the Helix is really a big fail for a flagship device in 2018. I bought the Helix as a replacement for my 10HE effects rack, and while it does everything else as good as the stuff in my rack (except for the leslie, which is also aweful if used with a real amp and a real cab - the Helix really needs a model of the H&K Rotosphere!) the harmonizer is a joke. I get that they tried to emulate the behaviour of an 80s device, but not offering a modern, well working alternative is... well.

 

The harmonizer kinda works as long as you don't bend. It sounds very artificial and nasal, kind of like autotune on steroids, but it works... more or less. It completely fails if you dare to bend a note, because it cannot decide where to track it. Especially when the harmony note involves a half step - try for yourself: E minor scale, -6th harmony, bend the d (15th fret on 2nd string) to the e. The harmony should follow from an f-sharp to the g. The harmony starts to follow the band, shoots over and goes sharp, and then, when the bend is far enough, steps down to the correct scale note.

 

I play in a cover band where I use a harmonizer on a few tunes. I have a G-Major 2 in my rack for that purpose, which came out what, 10 years ago? It passes with flying colors. Surely Line 6 should be able to match that.

 

Here are three examples (live recordings from my band) that  show how well the GM2 handles harmony stuff (being fed in the FX loop of my amp with a high gain sound, and tracking just fine):

 

Harmony part at the end of the "Hold the Line" Solo

Whitesnake - Is this love harmony guitars

Ufo - Doctor Doctor Twin Guitar Harmony

 

Note how well the harmonizer handles bends and vibrato, follows whammy dives and deals with transitions through non-scale notes.That's a 400 Euro device from ten years ago. Here we're talking about a modern 1.300,- Euro device. So no, the harmonizer in the Helix really doesn't sound fine. It doesn't even sound mediocre. I really really hope the nice people at Line 6 make up their mind and add a harmonizer that's up to par. I'd really hate to carry the GM2 with me just for the harmonizer once I've moved over to the Helix.

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Only way the Harmonizer works with best is

 

use the legacy Smart harmony, Set to 100% wet in front of its own amp block. That will bend and polyphonic all day long and sound awesome..awesomer..:)

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I've tried the legacy one, it sounds marginally better but it's suffering from the same tracking problems. Also, putting the harmony before the amp really is no solution unless you go for a specific effect - I do that with octaver effects and static pitch shifts IF I am going for that intermodulation-ghost-note-effect. If you're going for harmony there is no other way than after the preamp. If I remember correctly, the GSP1101 had a smart solution for that, it could track the input signal at the input while having the processing later in the chain.

 

Also, both the legacy version and the normal harmony block don't really show any difference in tracking behaviour, at least not when I'm playing it.

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Hello all. First time posting, new Helix user here(approaching a month).

 

I have to agree with the consensus that the helix, even after the latest update, does not track chords well, at all. A great example that everyone can try is play the intro to Wish You Were Here. The helix fumbles at replicating that hammer down from open A to 2md feet B while maintaining the G on the 6th string. 

 

Now to reply to someone's comment about how there isn't anything that can track chords... Play the 5 year old Electro Harmonix HOG2. You get full chord articulation, mind you with a slight bit of latency, which I can handle. 

 

The hog2 can even glissando between two chords, freeze chords, pitch shift while freezing a chord, and allows 8 shifts of pitch all at the same time from - 2,-1, 0, +1,5th, +2, 3rd+2, +3, +4. 

 

5. Years. Old. The helix should be more than capable. At the expense of a couple of blocks? Or 5ms or so of latency, sure! I think we can live with that. 

 

Also, I will commend the helix for its low latency processing on pitch shifting. Now let's just see if we can convince line 6 to improve that pitch shifting algorithm. 

Edited by batflash
Added final note relative to original response

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Keep in mind that the Helix has been on the market for 3 years (got mine in the first shipment to Sweetwater Music in Oct. 2015). So it's only a couple of years younger than the HOG2...and it's not a dedicated effect. It's multi-effects plus modeling.

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4 hours ago, batflash said:

Hello all. First time posting, new Helix user here(approaching a month).

 

I have to agree with the consensus that the helix, even after the latest update, does not track chords well, at all. ..

 

Agree it would be great to have a polyphonic harmonizer, synth, whammy, tuner etc. on the Helix You are not generally going to get chords to track well or at all on an effect like a harmonizer for now on the Helix, it is monophonic. We need polyphonic processing to process chords which is hopefully coming to the Helix sometime in the future. There has been some promising discussion of late from Line6 regarding that but who knows what or when. They apparently have some recent hires experienced with polyphonic programming.

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On 7/10/2018 at 8:37 PM, batflash said:

I have to agree with the consensus that the helix, even after the latest update, does not track chords well, at all. A great example that everyone can try is play the intro to Wish You Were Here. The helix fumbles at replicating that hammer down from open A to 2md feet B while maintaining the G on the 6th string. 

 

Baffled by this response.... Are you talking about pitch shifting (as the thread is about) or just an effect with no pitch shifting at all. 

  1. If pitch shifting is involved... the Helix does not do polyphonic pitch shifting at this time. Never has, likely will in a future update... end of story, You will never get two notes to pitch shift at the same time.
  2. If you are suggesting it can't keep up with your playing (especially something like Wish You Were Here) within a normal patch without pitch shifting, then I completely disagree. Yes it can! 

 

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On 7/12/2018 at 6:23 PM, codamedia said:

 

Baffled by this response.... Are you talking about pitch shifting (as the thread is about) or just an effect with no pitch shifting at all. 

  1. If pitch shifting is involved... the Helix does not do polyphonic pitch shifting at this time. Never has, likely will in a future update... end of story, You will never get two notes to pitch shift at the same time.
  2. If you are suggesting it can't keep up with your playing (especially something like Wish You Were Here) within a normal patch without pitch shifting, then I completely disagree. Yes it can! 

 

 

 

1. Yes, I am referring to polyphonic pitch shifting. And yes, I concur, it can not produce chords at other shifted intervals. 

 

2. No, it can not play a hammer-on whilst another note is sustaining. If you can get it to do so, please, post a vid and show us your tricks. 

 

I'm playing a clean P90 pickup into the pitch shifter with nothing in between... Exactly what a pitch shifter should be looking for. 

 

Would love to see line 6 implement polyphonic pitch shifting, at least to a cleaner degree, for my purposes at least. BUUUUUUUT with that said, that's why they've incorporated their very well-thought out I/O, for these very instances where external effects can take the reins on these kinds of tasks. 

 

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