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ddargis1208

Should I buy a Floor Helix or the Native Plug In

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I actually bought a Helix Floor unit and am worried it's massive overkill for my abilities, experience, etc.   I've played mostly acoustic guitar and bought a few electrics and now feel like I've fallen down the rabbit hole.   I wouldn't really know how to create tones, but like the idea of being able to purchase/download patches.    I'm a bedroom player, so no gigging application or band application so do I really need a Floor Unit?   Should I have just purchased the Helix Native Plug-In for $400 vs. the Floor for $1400.   

 

If I buy the Native Plug in and return the Floor unit I'll still need to purchase a FocusRite Scarlett (or something like that), plus I'll need a copy of Pro Tools to basically run the thing, right?    Seems like I'm swimming out of my depth, but would appreciate any advice as I'm pretty new to all this amp sim stuff.   Thinking I might just need to swim in shallow waters like Amplitube, Guitar Rig, or Tone Bridge....  but I do really want the high level tonal capabilities of Helix and have hired a guy for lessons who may be able to help me fine tune it.   

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Well you already have it... so if the money isn't an issue, I say keep it. Just because you're not playing with anyone today, doesn't mean that you won't want to at some point down the road. Native won't help you at that point, and you'll be spending more money anyway. It's really intended for recording and re-amping... where you would typically be using one sound at a time... but even if you're just want to play along with songs, you'll need some sort of foot controller to switch patches in Native.

 

And not to go off on a tangent, but when you're a beginner, one of the very best ways to improve is by playing with other people... especially if they're better than you. It might be a little intimidating at first, but it'll serve you well in the long run. 

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Thanks.   Appreciate the response.   I didn't mention that I hired a guitar teacher yesterday and he appears to have experience in the Studio.    If he's ok with helping me spin up the Helix I'll keep it.   Just thought I could save $1K by returning the Helix Floor if honestly I could just use the Native instead.   Sounds like the Native has all the same capabilities... outside of being mobile, which as stated isn't something I foresee needing.   I just wasn't aware of the Helix Native Plug In when I was at Guitar Center.   So, thinking maybe I overly excited by the product in my face and jumped the gun.

 

 I'm 44 with kids and getting out and jamming with friends isn't really going to happen - anytime in the near future.   Just looking to get back into guitar and playing in the basement.   I work from home so there is an hour or so a day I can break away and play.   

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15 minutes ago, ddargis1208 said:

Thanks.   Appreciate the response.   I didn't mention that I hired a guitar teacher yesterday and he appears to have experience in the Studio.    If he's ok with helping me spin up the Helix I'll keep it.   Just thought I could save $1K by returning the Helix Floor if honestly I could just use the Native instead.   Sounds like the Native has all the same capabilities... outside of being mobile, which as stated isn't something I foresee needing.   I just wasn't aware of the Helix Native Plug In when I was at Guitar Center.   So, thinking maybe I overly excited by the product in my face and jumped the gun.

 

 I'm 44 with kids and getting out and jamming with friends isn't really going to happen - anytime in the near future.   Just looking to get back into guitar and playing in the basement.   I work from home so there is an hour or so a day I can break away and play.   

 

For all intents and purposes, they're identical... so Native won't be any easier to wrap your head around than the floor unit. Plus, you're gonna want the expression pedal and footswitches....being stuck unable to switch sounds without taking your hands off the instrument is not fun. Keep what ya got...

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That's an excellent point...  and sounds like I'm going to have to wrestle it through in my mind.   Cost / Benefit analysis...  plus it really depends on if my guitar instructor is comfortable helping me out with it.   Connections, Patches, Tones, etc.   There is a large learning curve and I just can't throw 4-8 hours a day at it.

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18 minutes ago, ddargis1208 said:

That's an excellent point...  and sounds like I'm going to have to wrestle it through in my mind.   Cost / Benefit analysis...  plus it really depends on if my guitar instructor is comfortable helping me out with it.   Connections, Patches, Tones, etc.   There is a large learning curve and I just can't throw 4-8 hours a day at it.

 

Well the learning curve will be the same either way... functionally, they're the identical. Even with the floor unit, it's easier to use HX Edit to build your tones, unless you really enjoy bending down to the floor constantly, lol.... and the Edit software looks exactly the same as the Native plug-in. 

 

Don't get overwhelmed... yes, there's a lot in there, but it's not as difficult as it seems. In a couple of weeks you'll be wondering why you were fussing over it.

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Thanks.    My mindset has been from the start - I'm buying this in lieu of a physical amp, so realistically I'm not spending a lot more than I would have on a decent amp + pedals and I'm getting hundreds of tones.   So I'd prefer to see it through and am kinda praying my guitar instructor can help fill in the knowledge gaps with set up - haha.   Trying not to get overwhelmed.    I think once I get just one good tone dialed in I'll be more than happy with it.   I prob don't need more than a good clean/bluesy tone, dirty bluesy tone, jazz tone, and metal tone for now.    That's not a lot.

 

For sound - do you know if anyone has tried to play a Helix through a Fender Passport mini PA + Speakers vs. just headphones or nice computer speakers?    That's what I'm attempting to do via low impedance XLR cables.   Here's the front face of the Passport.   Should be pretty easy right?

IMG_2518.JPG

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For your purposes, that'll probably be fine... I'd stay away from computer speakers though... they're generally not what you'd call Hi-Fi, and likely have a frequency response that isn't anywhere close to flat.

 

Any decent pair of studio reference monitors is also a good way to go, and won't break the bank. There are a number of options in the $200-$300 range that'll work just fine. And if you ever plan on doing any kind of recording, they're petty much a necessity anyway. Stereo FX through good monitors is glorious, lol...

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Helix Native is really best at recording great guitar tracks in a DAW; playing guitar in your living room whenever you want is not its forte. You have to deal with the computer, the interface, the amplified speakers, etc. Helix Floor (and a PA or powered speaker) are all you need to plug in and get great tones immediately. And, of course, there are some folks selling presets that sound fantastic (on either the software or hardware) to keep you from having to learn how to design presets until you are ready for that. The Helix Floor can be pretty much plug in and turn on once you have it setup. It may look overwhelming and scary, but you don't need to use all the knobs and buttons and bells and whistles when starting out. Plus, you'll sound like a guitar god so will be inspired to keep playing and practicing.

 

If you are only going to play acoustic guitar and you want to be amplified via a pickup, I personally would go with the HX Effects, since you don't need all the amp modeling and the ins/outs of the more expensive Floor. But .... if you think you might have fun with an electric and want to get your ya-yas out someday (and it sounds like you can afford it), the Helix Floor will let you grow into it and blow the walls out after a hard day. And the Helix Floor can also give you the same excellent acoustic guitar tones (assuming you have a good pickup installed in your guitar).

 

My opinion:

Helix Native, if focus is recording great sounding guitar tracks.

Helix Floor (or LT), if focus is learning and playing guitar, and I think I might get into electric as well as acoustic.

HX Effects, if focus is learning and playing only amplified acoustic guitar with effects.

Nothing, if my focus is learning and playing only acoustic guitar.

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Soundog - thanks much!    I am definitely wanting to play electric guitar on the Helix and sound like a guitar god!   So, what I'm hearing is keep the floor model and I can run it through to my Fender Passport.    The Passport comes with two rather large voluminous speakers so that should be interesting - in a good way.

 

In terms of overall setup I could use some more advice.   

 

1)

So I keep the Helix floor - does the Edit - Computer Software package come with it?   

Is it a free download from the Line 6 site, or do I have to buy it?   

 

2)

If I'm not interested in "recording" , I wouldn't need the Helix Native at all then, right?

I'm going to be very interested initially in downloading patches until I'm more up to speed with signal chain...  so:

Is it better to have the Helix Native to manage these patches or just the Edit Software?

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26 minutes ago, ddargis1208 said:

Soundog - thanks much!    I am definitely wanting to play electric guitar on the Helix and sound like a guitar god!   So, what I'm hearing is keep the floor model and I can run it through to my Fender Passport.    The Passport comes with two rather large voluminous speakers so that should be interesting - in a good way.

 

In terms of overall setup I could use some more advice.   

 

1)

So I keep the Helix floor - does the Edit - Computer Software package come with it?   

Is it a free download from the Line 6 site, or do I have to buy it?   

 

2)

If I'm not interested in "recording" , I wouldn't need the Helix Native at all then, right?

I'm going to be very interested initially in downloading patches until I'm more up to speed with signal chain...  so:

Is it better to have the Helix Native to manage these patches or just the Edit Software?

 

HX Edit is a free download, and it's all you need to view, group, arrange, edit,  fold, spindle, or mutilate patches for your floor unit, lol. Native is not necessary at all to do any of that... it's primary function is a recording tool.

 

But like I said before, you might be surprised how your goals change the more you get into it... just because you're not recording your own stuff today, don't write it off as impossible. And since you've already bought the floor unit, once you register it, your price for Native is only $99... you don't have to buy it today, but you never know what you're gonna want to do 6 months or a year from now. 

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Whew - my hair just got blown back... light bulb!   Feeling much much much better about all this.  Ok, so new plan - not returning Helix floor for Helix Native.   Downloading the HX Edit, and continuing to educate myself via YouTube videos for now.      Thanks for all your time & help 

 

Cheers!

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Just a quick note on your guitar teacher.  Not all guitar teachers, and in fact probably MOST guitar teachers have little to no experience with modelers.  They tend to be more amp and pedal guys and might be somewhat dismissive of your modeler since they don't always speak fondly of things they don't understand.  Just be aware of that and I'd still suggest you depend on resources like Jason Sadites YouTube videos as a way to really understand how to get the best out of the unit.  Leave your guitar teacher with just the job of teaching you guitar, and leave the job of teaching you modeling to someone who really knows what they're doing.

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Definitely keep the floor. If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing! :-)

 

Seriously, you'll be set for a long long time for guitar amp and pedal gear, not to mention audio interface for recording when you get around to it. You might just be scratching the surface right now at the moment and you'll be all geared up for whatever you want to do in the future. Now just plan to buy strings and picks. :-)

 

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And, also be aware that Line 6 has run sales on their software. At least, twice in the past 10 months as I recollect. When they did, Helix Native's price for Helix Floor owners was reduced by another 30% bringing the price for Helix Native to $69 for Helix Floor owners. Plus, with the Helix Floor you already have its on-board USB Interface to use with your computer. Should you opt to explore how Helix Native might work for you Helix Native is available on a 15 Day Trial whenever you like. As Helix Native is a plug in (not a stand alone program) it requires a Host DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) program or VST Host. ProTools is not required! And, many of the DAW programs are also available for Free Trial use. There are also free VST Host programs. 

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18 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

Just a quick note on your guitar teacher.  Not all guitar teachers, and in fact probably MOST guitar teachers have little to no experience with modelers.  They tend to be more amp and pedal guys and might be somewhat dismissive of your modeler since they don't always speak fondly of things they don't understand.  Just be aware of that and I'd still suggest you depend on resources like Jason Sadites YouTube videos as a way to really understand how to get the best out of the unit.  Leave your guitar teacher with just the job of teaching you guitar, and leave the job of teaching you modeling to someone who really knows what they're doing.

 

Lol... some of them are rather set in their ways. I studied with a hard core jazz guy years ago. He was a stickler with everything from your posture while practicing, to the kind of picks he wanted me to use. It was like boot camp, lol... but I learned a lot. Pretty sure he'd turn his nose up at Helix (or anything similar) though...

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I don't know if this has been mentioned but I believe you can download and use Helix Native for a month trial before having to pay for it.

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Thanks - I'm not trying to record, so my interest overall was just a savings of the $400 Helix Native price vs. my investment of $1400 for the floor unit.   I've watched a couple more videos, and feeling pretty good after watching Jason Sadites.    Spoke with my new guitar teacher last night for the first time and he's aware of Helix, has some studio experience so I'm guessing between the two of us we can put together a preset template and some snapshots off of that....   

 

I think I'm going to play with Helix, and then maybe down the road install Amplitube 4 at some point.   My brain can only handle one right now....   I like how Helix has the floor unit so I'm not constantly mousing around on my computer to find tones.   I can simply scroll through presets on the floor unit and click on pedals as needed to turn off effects or select snapshots.   Down the road I think I'm going to get more and more value out of it.    I've heard some people say Helix is better than Amplitube, and vice versa.   For me, I'm not an audiophile and likely won't really appreciate the differences.    I also really like that I can download Helix HX Edit and manipulate tones there vs. on the floor unit.   I can also download preset tones from Custom Tone and assign them to my floor units open presets...   

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55 minutes ago, ddargis1208 said:

I've heard some people say Helix is better than Amplitube, and vice versa.   For me, I'm not an audiophile and likely won't really appreciate the differences....

 

Lol... Fear not. Half the folks who proclaim to be "audiophiles" are really just cork-sniffers who'll cling to the "analog is always better" mantra until their last breath, because anything digital is beneath them and their uniquely attuned perceptive capabilities. As a bonus, these folks are usually very fond of declaring that if you can't hear the difference, it's because your ears suck, lol. If you haven't met one of these guys yet, you will, lol... they're everywhere. Take it for what it's worth, which ain't much. 

 

As for any one platform being "better" than another... that's 100% subjective, and is often more a question of "What's better for my needs?" as opposed to "Unit A sucks, but Unit B is awesome". The truth is there are a number of good modelers available now... and with enough tweaking you should be able to get a sound that you like with whatever you choose. Half the time it'll boil down to whether or not you like the UI and the workflow of a given device or plug-in. I was a POD guy for years before I got Helix, and I was able to navigate it just fine after a while... but good Lord it's an abacus compared to Helix, as far "user friendliness" and intuitive operation is concerned. I keep it as a backup though... it'll still give me some pretty good tones in a pinch, in case my Helix craps out.

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Thanks - appreciating your perspective on this as it's my first go at a modeler.    I did check out my brothers set up and he was using Tone Bridge which I personally thought was pretty awful, or at least what I heard but he was using computer speakers.   Not sure why.

 

So if I went with Amplitube, or something like it, I'd need a DAW running in the background, correct?    Just wondering as that's an additional element I'd have to spin myself up on...  and I'm not hearing that a DAW is necessary to run Helix, or HX Edit.

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47 minutes ago, ddargis1208 said:

Thanks - appreciating your perspective on this as it's my first go at a modeler.    I did check out my brothers set up and he was using Tone Bridge which I personally thought was pretty awful, or at least what I heard but he was using computer speakers.   Not sure why.

 

So if I went with Amplitube, or something like it, I'd need a DAW running in the background, correct?    Just wondering as that's an additional element I'd have to spin myself up on...  and I'm not hearing that a DAW is necessary to run Helix, or HX Edit.

 

Computer speakers are almost universally awful, and woefully inadequate for this kind of use... doubt you could make anything sound decent if that's all you've got. 

 

I have very limited experience with amp modeling plugins, but generally speaking they are intended for use in a DAW, yes...the one's I've fiddled with briefly we're always running that way, but I suppose that any or all of them may be capable of functioning independently... can't swear to it either way.

 

You'll always be limited with software based stuff though... there's no easy way to switch sounds on the fly without some sort of foot controller sending MIDI commands... and you might even be able to get Helix to do that... but why bother with extra grunt work?  You've got self-contained hardware already, with enough options to keep you busy until Doomsday, quite frankly.... you'll never use everything that's in there. I'd ignore the various plugins for now...your needs are different, and what you've already got will more than suffice. 

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1 hour ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Lol... some of them are rather set in their ways. I studied with a hard core jazz guy years ago. He was a stickler with everything from your posture while practicing, to the kind of picks he wanted me to use. It was like boot camp, lol... but I learned a lot. Pretty sure he'd turn his nose up at Helix (or anything similar) though...

 

Correct posture (this is an actual book for sale. Lol.):

d045230ad99e5fe309e279cc77a8d6ee.jpg

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7 minutes ago, duncann said:

 

Correct posture (this is an actual book for sale. Lol.):

d045230ad99e5fe309e279cc77a8d6ee.jpg

 

Lol... nice

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 I have been enjoying my Helix Native and the convenience of just dropping a plugin into my various guitar tracks in Logic Pro DAW. I will often have a dozen guitar tracks, sometimes bits and pieces, and love the idea that I can just go in and tweak the tone with the plugin of each track but this brings me to my question: I have a chance to pickup a Helix LT which made me wonder how different it would be to use this hardware version of Helix when it comes to laying down tracks IF I was to no longer use Native. It would seem that I'd have to create each track with the hardware as the input and would not be able to adjust the tone after the fact, like with Native. It has my head spinning a little. I like the idea of the floor unit for the pedal and switching control, etc. that Native lacks but I can't get my head around how to use it as effectively with my DAW as Native, or would I need to use both? Any suggestions sure would be appreciated. 

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37 minutes ago, Petes63Strat said:

 I have been enjoying my Helix Native and the convenience of just dropping a plugin into my various guitar tracks in Logic Pro DAW. I will often have a dozen guitar tracks, sometimes bits and pieces, and love the idea that I can just go in and tweak the tone with the plugin of each track but this brings me to my question: I have a chance to pickup a Helix LT which made me wonder how different it would be to use this hardware version of Helix when it comes to laying down tracks IF I was to no longer use Native. It would seem that I'd have to create each track with the hardware as the input and would not be able to adjust the tone after the fact, like with Native. It has my head spinning a little. I like the idea of the floor unit for the pedal and switching control, etc. that Native lacks but I can't get my head around how to use it as effectively with my DAW as Native works. Any suggestions sure wiuld be appreciated. 

 

Well the most obvious suggestion is to just keep doing everything the way you already are. Why stop? Just because you buy a hardware version, there's nothing compelling you to stop using Native for recording...and not to put too fine a point on it, but recording is what Native is for.

 

The whole reason L6 sells Native for $99 to users who bought the hardware first, is so they can have the same ease of use for recording/re-amping that you already know and like. Tons of us do exactly that. If it ain't broke....

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Good point. Thanks. I really don't have a strong need for the hardware version other than the convenience of pedals, snapshots, etc. I was just unclear about whether the hardware version and its editing software might somehow replace the need for Native. I am new to this so I'm still trying to understand how this works . Did Line 6 design these products to work together? For example will Native recognize the floor version and possibly allow it to change tones or snapshots within the plugin while recording, or is this asking too much? 

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1 hour ago, Petes63Strat said:

 I have been enjoying my Helix Native and the convenience of just dropping a plugin into my various guitar tracks in Logic Pro DAW. I will often have a dozen guitar tracks, sometimes bits and pieces, and love the idea that I can just go in and tweak the tone with the plugin of each track but this brings me to my question: I have a chance to pickup a Helix LT which made me wonder how different it would be to use this hardware version of Helix when it comes to laying down tracks IF I was to no longer use Native. It would seem that I'd have to create each track with the hardware as the input and would not be able to adjust the tone after the fact, like with Native. It has my head spinning a little. I like the idea of the floor unit for the pedal and switching control, etc. that Native lacks but I can't get my head around how to use it as effectively with my DAW as Native works. Any suggestions sure wiuld be appreciated. 

 

Native is easier for recording. With the floor, you have to either record your tone into your DAW exactly as you want it from the get go, or record a purely clean track into your DAW and then RUN IT BACK THROUGH the floor unit with the final tone to get your new take.

 

You can control Native a bit with the floor through midi control.

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Thanks for this. I spent a lot of time trying to configure a variety of different pieces to allow me to change Native snapshots from my Rig Kontrol 3 unit and my Logic Pro DAW. I was able to get it to work most of the time but it was buggy. Line 6 did not design Native snapshots to respond to midi control in a traditional way so I was hoping that Helix floor might address this in some proprietor manner. The volume (expression) pedal on the Rig Kontrol worked fine and I was able to setup other changes within Native but snapshots were challenging so I hoped that Helix floor might have this added benefit for my use.  If not it seems like something that Line 6 should consider.

 

So, if I have both Native and Helix floor and wanted to record I suppose I would use the clean signal from the floor unit to my DAW and use the plugin for my tones . Then consider the Helix floor for use only outside of DAW (guitar amps, PA, etc. which I seldom do anymore ) or to use as you explained above, which doesn't sound ideal. So many toys, so little time. Thanks for weighing in! 

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