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jdag

HX Effects or Helix for 100% Acoustic Player

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My nephew visited last night, and it was the 1st time he's seen my new Helix LT.  Needless to say, he was blown away and wants one of his own.  He loved the delay and reverb capabilities.
 
He has a special event coming up, and my wife and I want to really treat him.  So, she and I spoke about a Helix as a gift last evening.  It is more than we initially planned to spend on the gift, but it is something we'd like to do.
 
He is a 100% an acoustic player.  Currently he plays at home through a Yamaha THR5a as well as headphones.  The thought would be that he'd be able to use the Helix out to the THR5a for home use.  When gigging he currently uses an inexpensive pedal (not sure make/model) to the house PA.
 
So, would the Helix LT or the HX Effects be the better option.  Realizing of course the cost savings, I am hoping the HX Effects is a good solution.
 
Thanks, John
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Well, opinions will vary but if you're sure he's gonna be acoustic only for the foreseeable future I'd go with the HXFX.   Don't really need the amp models - when you think about it, what happens to an acoustic in the studio?  Little compression and EQ - and you got that in spades on the HX.  Heck it even handles IR's, so there's the possibility of loading acoustic impulses to enhance the existing guitar.

 

Just my 2 cents.

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If he only needs the device for guitar effects (such as reverb, delay, etc) and not modeled amps (which necessary or useful for acoustic guitar anyway), the HX Effects would be a great choice. I'm assuming he already has his vocal input and processing covered by something else, assuming he also sings (if he also needed microphone inputs and processing, he would need a full-blown, expensive Helix). But since he is currently gigging with an inexpensive pedal to house PA, the HX Effects would be a huge improvement and I'm sure he would be thrilled.

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Thanks, guys...looks like either would work well.  Since I have the LT, it might be more to his liking.  But maybe I will just simply let him pick.

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38 minutes ago, jdag said:

Thanks, guys...looks like either would work well.  Since I have the LT, it might be more to his liking.  But maybe I will just simply let him pick.

 

Anything but the HX FX is overkill... for someone who doesn't play electric guitar at all, the amp modeling will go unused... why spend the money? 

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FX he can run IRs as well if he wanted to experiment with acoustic guitar IRs. Unless he needs a mic input for vocals, FX should be fine. 

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Another vote for the HX Effects in this instance... the amp models of the Helix would be a complete waste.

That said... two things on the Helix you may (or may not) have to add for the HX Effects is an XLR out (direct box) and if wanted... an expression pedal.  

 

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Decisions decisions!

 

 

HX - smaller, everything he'd need, less costly

LT - amps in the event they are ever needed (whether by him or someone else), graphical display, XLR

 

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To throw an about $200 cheaper spanner in the works... As an acoustic guitarist, vocalist, i'd go the older HD500X that way he can run 2 seperate input paths and effects chains, 1 for the guitar and the other for his mic (non condenser) through the XLR as the input 2. Disable amp modelling. Waaaaayyyy more options, inputs, full looper, and wah/expression pedal, can be used for electric later also. Correct me if I'm wrong but (sound and processing power aside) there'd be nothing the HX Effects or Helix could do that the HD500X couldn't? 

Thats what I'm gonna do, and there is no need for a mixer, straight into the PA.

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7 hours ago, activateclint said:

To throw an about $200 cheaper spanner in the works... As an acoustic guitarist, vocalist, i'd go the older HD500X that way he can run 2 seperate input paths and effects chains, 1 for the guitar and the other for his mic (non condenser) through the XLR as the input 2. Disable amp modelling. Waaaaayyyy more options, inputs, full looper, and wah/expression pedal, can be used for electric later also. Correct me if I'm wrong but (sound and processing power aside) there'd be nothing the HX Effects or Helix could do that the HD500X couldn't? 

Thats what I'm gonna do, and there is no need for a mixer, straight into the PA.

 

This is a great idea. If not for the mic input option alone. I actually have one that I'm not using I could sell. PM me if you're interested.

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8 hours ago, activateclint said:

To throw an about $200 cheaper spanner in the works... As an acoustic guitarist, vocalist, i'd go the older HD500X that way he can run 2 seperate input paths and effects chains, 1 for the guitar and the other for his mic (non condenser) through the XLR as the input 2. Disable amp modelling. Waaaaayyyy more options, inputs, full looper, and wah/expression pedal, can be used for electric later also. Correct me if I'm wrong but (sound and processing power aside) there'd be nothing the HX Effects or Helix could do that the HD500X couldn't? 

Thats what I'm gonna do, and there is no need for a mixer, straight into the PA.

 

The biggest advantage that the Helix and HX offer over the HD500X is the fact that you can load IRs onto them. To me, that's the most useful feature for using them with an acoustic. I wouldn't say the HD500X offers way more options even compared to the HX. Yes, it does have the mic input, so if that's important to you, that's something. You can actually load more blocks on the HX than you can the HD500X, and it has more overall processing power.

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Pardon if someone else mentioned it, long thread, but one of the primary advantages to the Helix for an acoustic guitar in my opinion is the existence of the additional high impedance "Aux" input which is my preferred input for acoustic guitar. This input is not present on the HX although I should point out that some users prefer the "Guitar" or notably the return inputs for acoustic guitar on their Helix. Depending on the pickups/preamp in your acoustic guitar you may prefer the sound of the "Aux" input although the standard "Guitar" input or a return on the HX Effects probably works fine (I don't own an HX Effects so no practical experience with that).

 

I don't think there is a huge advantage to the amps/cabs or IRs on the Helix for acoustic guitar. You can use IRs on the HX if you want anyway. I find I can get good sounds out of my acoustic guitar without them although if they added a couple of acoustic amps and cabs to the Helix I would love to try them. As others have pointed out the additional I/O options(e.g. XLR output on the Helix but not the HX Effects), additional effect loops, the ability to easily add a mic and vocal processing, two guitar inputs including "Aux", built in expression pedal, and a $300 discount on Native are all options I like having on the Helix as I play both acoustic and electric guitar and use Native. I don't consider, however, the lack of any of those features to be a showstopper for opting to use the HX Effects solely for acoustic guitar. I see the main advantages of the HX Effects being its lower cost and smaller footprint. You definitely lose out on some functionality and the large Native discount with the HX Effects so you just need to determine if you will use those features on the Helix and if they are worth the additional cost, extra weight, and larger footprint to you.

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To answer your question, I would go with HX Effects, as anything more would be overkill for acoustic guitar, both in terms of features, cost, and footprint. Personally, for acoustic duo acts, I use a Line6 POD HD Desktop with the small FBV pedal on a semi hollow body acoustic for coloring leads with a bit of drive and spacious triad rhythm accompaniment for another player. He plays through a Fishman ToneDEQ which is perfect for most acoustic guitarists that want simple knobs for compression, EQ, reverb/delay, chorus/vibrato, and Lead Boost and monitor.  We use both units direct to PA.

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On 8/16/2018 at 10:01 PM, brue58ski said:

 

This is a great idea. If not for the mic input option alone. I actually have one that I'm not using I could sell. PM me if you're interested.

Thanks, i picked a HD500 in excellent condition up a couple of days back here in Queensland Australia for $250 (think thats pretty good). Gotta learn how to use it now haha :).

If you know how to still use the physical EQ knobs on the top of the unit (GEQ?) when there is no amp selected ('disabled' for acoustic) let me know!?

I'll have a read of the manual or start a thread if not.

Cheers

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On 8/16/2018 at 11:32 PM, phil_m said:

 

The biggest advantage that the Helix and HX offer over the HD500X is the fact that you can load IRs onto them. To me, that's the most useful feature for using them with an acoustic. I wouldn't say the HD500X offers way more options even compared to the HX. Yes, it does have the mic input, so if that's important to you, that's something. You can actually load more blocks on the HX than you can the HD500X, and it has more overall processing power.

Ok thanks! Ive just had a learn about IR's. Pretty cool! Yea the mic input is important for me so i think the HD500 will work well. Once i learn it lol.

 

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The main reason I would vote for the Helix LT or full Helix would be for the interface. It is truly inspiring. The HX, while awesome, is not as fun to mess around with. And even though your nephew is 100% acoustic now, is there any chance that could change in the future?

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Most acoustic performers I know (myself included) like small footprint stuff. Quick and easy setups for wineries and small venues. I used the Helix Floor at a few gigs and sold it after the HX Effects came out. Didn't need the amps and distortion. Didn't need the bulk and weight. Didn't need all the ins and outs. And .... I think the HX Effects is just as much fun to mess around with, especially for an acoustic player! 

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On 8/22/2018 at 5:06 PM, activateclint said:

Thanks, i picked a HD500 in excellent condition up a couple of days back here in Queensland Australia for $250 (think thats pretty good). Gotta learn how to use it now haha :).

If you know how to still use the physical EQ knobs on the top of the unit (GEQ?) when there is no amp selected ('disabled' for acoustic) let me know!?

I'll have a read of the manual or start a thread if not.

Cheers

 

Keeping in mind it's been over a year since I've even looked at one, I'm pretty sure the knobs only work on the amps. No amp, the knobs do not control anything. I think there is a mic preamp in the HD500 which I used for acoustic. You could use that to get the knobs to work.

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I have Helix and HelixFX. I use Helix routinely for acoustic because I generally play three instruments in an acoustic setting: acoustic guitar (sometimes Variax 700 Acoustic), mandolin and electric guitar. So Helix provides all the inputs I need and tones. 

 

Helix FX is really best used as front of the amp effects for a traditional guitar amp. Either can be used for acoustic guitar because you can include acoustic body IRs which I always use. Looping is also a consideration.

 

Basically its a question of what you need now and what you might need in the future.

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