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jame61

New to Helix-where do I start?

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I've heard many good things about the Helix.  I went to my local Guitar Center the other day and with the help of two sales associates spend 30 minutes learning how to use it.  Line 6 claims this product is intuitive and the operation manual is not needed.  That statement is untrue.  After 30 minutes we gave up and I left frustrated.  Most of the videos on Line 6's website are either outdated or just too advanced for a novice to understand.  I've spent time on Youtube but just can't find any videos other than Jeremy Varaos' that are a good starting point.  I can only imagine how many of these units are returned out of frustration.  I understand there is a learning curve but a "where to start" after the unit is taken out of the box is sorely needed.         

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A great resource is Jason Sadites’ YouTube channel. Lots of good stuff there! It does take some effort to learn the workflow, but it’s definitely worth it. After you get past the initial learning curve, you’ll eventually be able to set up a decent preset from scratch in a few minutes.

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Hey man, don't get discouraged, just like any floorboard, it takes time.  You can def plug in chug and get some decent sounds, but probably not the ones you are looking for! This was my experience.  I like rock / metal / heavy tones with really full lead tones.  I didn't get that out of the box, but I did get interesting tones that I still use though.  I used this as an emulation guide:

 

http://dshowmusic.com/line-6-helix-amp-models/

 

This shows what gear line 6 is modeling after.  

 

Depending on what tone / artist your trying to sound like, you may need Impulse responses.  I got my best results with IR's.  Which if you do enough web searching you will probably find what you are looking for.

 

Otherwise, I suggest patch artists like Freman: fremenpresets.com/downloads/category/line6-helix/

 

Best of luck 

 

Edit:  Line 6 Custom Tone may also be a good starting point for you.  Check it out!

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I'm going to say the opposite to those above - if the Helix frustrates you, don't go down the modeller path - well at least anything that doesn't just come with a ton of presets. (you did try the presets?)

Firstly, you have to have had experience of a number of amps and had a pedal board that you understood - if not, you won't understand what it is trying to model.

And yes, you got to be prepared to spend a week with the thing even then before you start to get the thing working for you.

If any of that is not you - don't do it! 

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I think the answer to "where do I start" reallly depends a lot on where you are at.  In essence, how long have you played guitar?  How familiar are you with different amps?  How much have you played live or recorded?  What is your intended purpose for the Helix?

 

The answers to all of the above will determine where you start.

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Read the manual its really that simple,once you see what all the dials and buttons do then its a matter of time to discover the sounds you like,also this is the guy to watch after you figure out the the knobs and buttons,if you don't find him helpful then you can forget using it.Sorry but if you can use a smartpohone you can figure this out,getting the right tone is a matter of time and patience.

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On 8/25/2018 at 3:29 PM, jame61 said:

I've heard many good things about the Helix.  I went to my local Guitar Center the other day and with the help of two sales associates spend 30 minutes learning how to use it.  Line 6 claims this product is intuitive and the operation manual is not needed.  That statement is untrue.  After 30 minutes we gave up and I left frustrated.  Most of the videos on Line 6's website are either outdated or just too advanced for a novice to understand.  I've spent time on Youtube but just can't find any videos other than Jeremy Varaos' that are a good starting point.  I can only imagine how many of these units are returned out of frustration.  I understand there is a learning curve but a "where to start" after the unit is taken out of the box is sorely needed.         

 

First of all, expecting genuine help from a music store jockey is like asking the local butcher to remove your appendix....lots of confused shrugging, then he'll throw up his hands in defeat, and you'll leave with the same problem you had when you walked in the door... and that's all you need to know about the typical music retail "sales associate". They're supposed to know how to use the stuff they're selling before a customer asks for help. Trying to figure it out themselves, while you're standing there, is comical...but I digress. 

 

Now then, the Helix UI is about as simple as it gets, and a great deal more user friendly and intuitive than some other modelers out there, including some older L6 platforms... provided of course, that you understand what it's designed to do. It's modeling the signal chain you would have in a recording studio...a mic-ed amp and cabinet, plus any FX you choose to add... some of which will be placed before the amp, and some after, just as you would with a physical amp and analog pedals. Assuming that you have at least a basic understanding of how to set up a typical guitar amplifier and some analog pedals, then there's no reason you can't understand Helix. Set up your signal chain in the same order. That's the easy part... finding a sound you're happy with is another pursuit altogether. It will require A LOT of time, and trial and error,  experimenting with different amp/cab/mic combinations, fx, etc. And honestly, spending a half hour fiddling with it in a music store is essentially worthless, even if the staff wasn't clueless about how it works...but that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the device. You just have to learn how to use it. It's like that for everyone at the beginning. We all went through it. 

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30 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

First of all, expecting genuine help from a music store jockey is like asking the local butcher to remove your appendix....

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If You don't have a lot of experience with these types of multifx then I would start very simply. Start with an empty patch and just start going thru amps until you find something you like. Make a few presets with that amp. Find another amp you like and do the same thing. You will be calibrating your ears to the sound of Helix amps. After that, add a reverb or delay after the amp. Put an overdrive in front of the amp. Experiment!

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I'm a new Helix (rack) user also, having come over from the Kemper.  Had it a couple of weeks and am running it through a couple of DXR10s, have to say i've not had any problem setting it up at all and finding it very user friendly, updated the fimware to latest version and getting some great sounds from it. Just bought the Fremen Big Pack and downloaded a few from Customtone couldn't be happier.  

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It reminds me something..... :)

When i decided to change my boss ME-25, i wanted to buy a line6 Firehawk, that i did.

I remember that the seller took it out of the box and plugged it directly into a tube amp and let me tried it alone.

I found the volume very loud (the output was turn on "line") , so i played one hour very shyly in the shop and tried a lot of patches. The Firehawk has only a bluetooth interface so i couldn't tweak a lot and thought, i will be able to have a better sound after.

The way to proceed was really not the best one (i would say that it is the worse one).

That proves me one thing, the seller likes/loves  old gear (amp tubes, custom shop guitars , analog pedals), but i believe that modelers is like an alien device for them.

On the other hand, DJ's shops don't know exactly the guitarists' world. 

 

The Firehawk made me know the way to chain my effects, the placement of each one, The EQ, that if you have an amp/cab modeler, you have to go on a FRFR speaker.....

This is really another way to think your rig. It needs some work.

 

When i decided to buy the helix, i had this knowledge, so i was less impressed...

But i can understand that the amount of possibilities is so important that it can bring some apprehension. You can eventually start with simple parches.

 

If you're disappointed, the first thing is to see your Devices and your cabling.

After, what are your goals and the way to reach that ?

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On ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 6:14 PM, Cerrucho said:

If You don't have a lot of experience with these types of multifx then I would start very simply. Start with an empty patch and just start going thru amps until you find something you like. Make a few presets with that amp. Find another amp you like and do the same thing. You will be calibrating your ears to the sound of Helix amps. After that, add a reverb or delay after the amp. Put an overdrive in front of the amp. Experiment!

Good advice. Download/print the manual (at least the first few pages) & refer to it often. One thing I did was to create a "test" preset so you can't screw it up. Do a whole bunch of things then undo and redo until you're comfortable.

 

One thing you didn't say is what type of amp/daw/pc/speakers etc are you using? Sounds are much different depending on whether you're going straight into an amp of to FOH (FRFR) speakers etc.  

 

You'll find a wealth if info here, and yes it can be quite daunting but don't get discouraged- it's really a very useful tool, just gotta get your hands dirty.

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Ignore the music store guy,  he has to know 1% of 800 different things, which makes him largely useless.

 

I just got my Helix and PC+ 2 days ago.  I started reading the manual and quickly set it aside.  It comes with a big "cheat sheet" that tells you what all the buttons do, use that for reference at first.

 

It comes with like 200+ factory presets.  I suggest that you explore those.  Eventually, you'll find one that you like, but maybe you wish it had less distortion.  Now you have a reason and a goal to learn how to find the distortion block and adjust it.  Or you wish it had less treble, now you have a reason to figure out how to find and and adjust an EQ.  Want reverb?  Now you have a reason to explore the many reverb options.  If you're a computer guy, download HX Edit and do all this on the computer screen.  You need to be the boss, not the other way around or you'll get frustrated.

 

You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.

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