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HX Stomp: Are 6 blocks enough? Not really

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I understand the design motivation for limiting HX Stomp to 6 blocks:

  1. Keeping the UI elegant, simple and easy to use
  2. Focus on adding a stomp box in an existing pedalboard to compliment an existing setup with HX capabilities
  3. Consistency between the number of blocks and DSP capacity
  4. Anticipating future blocks that may utilize significantly more DSP resources
  5. Limited number of foot switches to control blocks

Essentially this means HX Stomp is intended to provide Helix capabilities, with minimum footprint, to existing pedalboard and amp setups, not to be all things Helix in a tiny box.

 

I get that, and these are all good design decisions, although these design decisions also  sound appropriate for HX Effects.

 

But let's look at how HX Stomp might be used in a gigging situation by itself to see if 6 blocks is enough. This might be for rehearsal, as a backup to Helix, as a convenient fly rig, or just because something so small is so useful.

 

Consider a typical guitar signal chain that uses front and back of the amp effects (| means or):

Input > Wah > Compressor > Drive > Overdrive > UniVibe | Phasor | Flanger | etc. > Amp > Cab | IR > Chorus > Delay > Reverb > Output

 

This it my typical gigging Helix patch. I use 10 Stomp mode and pretty much stick with the same patch all night, using snapshots for open tunings, acoustic, and Leslie.  This is 10 blocks, and clearly requires more foot switches than HX Stomp can provide. If you need patches like this or more complicated, you need Helix or Helix LT.

 

Trimming this down to 8 blocks, we get something like:

Input > Wah  > Compressor > Overdrive > UniVibe | Phasor | Flanger | etc. > Amp+Cab > Chorus > Delay > Reverb > Output

 

If you leave the Drive, Amp+Cab, Delay and Reverb on all the time, and you have a Line6 Mission pedal (if you don't, get one, it makes HX Stomp is a lot more useful), then you need foot switches to control Wah, Overdrive, UniVib, and Chorus. If you configure FS3 in global settings for Stomp, then you have the four foot switches you need. This seems like an ideal setup for HX Stomp by itself and is something I would be happy to gig with.

 

To trim this down to 6 blocks, we get something like:

Input > Wah  > Drive > Amp+Cab > Chorus > Delay > Reverb > Output

 

This is still pretty good, but looses the front of the amp modulation effect, something I use quite a bit. The work around is to create a patch template that covers the common blocks, then create a different preset for each front of the amp effect you need. That can work since you generally only need one of these at a time. But it means creating and maintaining a lot of patches that differ in only one block, and the potential need to change presets in the middle of a song to get different front of the amp effects. This is probably not practical. 

 

So I vote for 8 blocks, full Helix Path 1 capability, and let us users deal with balancing blocks and DSP capacity, just like we do with Helix. Two more blocks is actually a lot of additional flexibility without much additional complexity.

 

This said, I'm pretty happy with HX Stomp just as it is and would highly recommend one as an entry point into the Helix ecosystem, as a Helix backup, or as a stomp box to add Helix blocks to an existing rig. 

 

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The stomp is designed to go head to head with the extremely popular Eventide H9... and it has the goods to do that... with some extras.

 

It does't matter what a Helix user believes is enough or not.... the Helix user is not the intended market.

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2 hours ago, codamedia said:

The stomp is designed to go head to head with the extremely popular Eventide H9... and it has the goods to do that... with some extras.

 

It does't matter what a Helix user believes is enough or not.... the Helix user is not the intended market.

 

To be fair to the original poster, Line 6 does refer to it as a "travel rig" which is a little vague. Most pro musicians their rig is a travel rig. The connotation here is clear it's more like a travel rig for the guy who likes to practice crap in his hotel room, but I could see someone thinking it could be more than that. 

 

Over all though I think you're right that the marketing clearly focuses on it in two key areas: 1. Expand whatever it is you are currently using. 2. Perfect option for the bedroom guitarist. 

 

I'm excited for mine to arrive this week and get a feel for it. In my case, I fit both of those categories. I want to expand my Firehawk 1500 options and have something small and simple to whip out when I want to jam with headphones. 

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I think the term used was a "fly rig", no necessarily a travel rig.  As such it's a great size for a quick fly out gig where everything but your pedalboard is there.  Personally, I'm not sure i'd ever be interested in investing in the Stomp myself as it's just too limited and I really don't need any expansion ability for my Helix floor.  Even if they expanded the Stomp to 8 blocks I don't think I'd be interested because I prefer to space my blocks across both DSP chips to have room to add things if necessary.  But I don't think I was ever the target for such a thing in the first place.  On the other hand the rhythm guitar player in my group would be an ideal customer as it has more than enough to keep him happy. His needs and demands are much simpler than mine.  Even the bass player might benefit, but his needs are even less.  Someone interested in dipping a toe into the high end modeling waters without making a huge investment, and still be able to capitalize on that smaller investment if he decided to go full bore into modeling I'd say would be the ideal customer for the Stomp.

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I am struggling with the 6 block limitation.  I also found out that the stomp doesn't do so well as an audio interface if you are using native or other vsts (round trip latency is fairly high).

 

My guess is that they will sell tons of these initially but there will be universal pressure to increase the block limit.  

 

Source audio managed to squeeze 2 dsp chips into their ventris reverb pedal.  My guess is that a 2nd stomp pedal will be released in the future.  This is the footprint that people want.  It just needs more processing power.

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If HX Stomp is on a tiny board, you can "offload" some of those functions to other pedals (part of the point).

If you are used to having everything you use in one patch, HX Stomp can't and won't do that.

If I'm playing a "big show" it is simply never going to be enough. But I'd use Rack/Control for those shows anyway.

 

If it's not enough, maybe someday they'll make something bigger with more footswitches and even an EXP maybe... maybe something with two processors...

...add scribble strips and you really got something... wait a minute... this sounds familiar.

Yes, you have to understand its limitations. For some it's perfect, for others, it's just not enough. 

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2 hours ago, PeterHamm said:

If HX Stomp is on a tiny board, you can "offload" some of those functions to other pedals (part of the point).

If you are used to having everything you use in one patch, HX Stomp can't and won't do that.

If I'm playing a "big show" it is simply never going to be enough. But I'd use Rack/Control for those shows anyway.

 

If it's not enough, maybe someday they'll make something bigger with more footswitches and even an EXP maybe... maybe something with two processors...

...add scribble strips and you really got something... wait a minute... this sounds familiar.

Yes, you have to understand its limitations. For some it's perfect, for others, it's just not enough. 

Agree Peter. But my point was that two more blocks, to match a single Helix path, wouldn't make HX Stomp that much more complicated, but would add a lot of flexibility: I could fit in that one extra front of the amp effect, and separate the amp and cab model for example. Big change in tone possibilities without hardly any additional complexity.

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3 hours ago, soundog said:

I run up against the wall of nine blocks in my HX Effects often .... and that's with no amps or cabs! The wall of six is for sure a no-go for me. Love the size, though!

I'm super happy with the Stomp. It's almost everything I've wanted - it didn't have all my wishlist items when we've posted about a mini-Helix in the past (search forum). I was hoping for full dual DSP and full preset compatibility compressed into a small size about the size of the Amplifi TT. For my purposes, that would have been perfect.

 

When the Stomp came out, I bought one immediately since it seemed like it would still work for my purposes, just not quite what I was hoping. But still - I've been very impressed at what I've been able to do in 6 blocks.

 

I think in the Helix, with so many blocks, dual paths, dual DSP power, and so on, I would tend to add things just because. Hey, there's room, why not put 4 different distortions in front of the amp and pick the one I like the best at the time with a button. And heck, why not add an EQ or 3? With the stomp you can't do that, so how that translates for me is that I think I'm making smarter preset choices, but not really compromising much on tone. In fact, since I have less cruft and fluff, one could argue my 3, 4, 5, and occasionally 6-block presets are better.

 

The simplicity is liberating!

 

EDIT: I should add that no way would I trade in my full Helix for a Stomp. The Stomp is an extremely nice accessory for me and solves a specific use-case challenge for me. I hate to say never, but it will be a cold day in hell before I give up my Helix.

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I've never run into any Blocks count blockers with 6 blocks, since I don't really use effects (Comp + OD + Vibe + Trem on cleans, and... that's it. No FX on OD tones).

However, I DO run into DSP constraints on the HX Stomp whenever using two amps (or 2 x (amp + cabs) or (2 x amps) + 1 cab etc...). HX CAN take it, but it ruins any capabilities for effects. on top of it.

 

 

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I've been wondering if it would eventually be possible to change the effect/amp block to a different effect/amp via snapshots within a single preset. Your chorus could change to a univibe with the press of a button. This would make the 6 block limit more palletable to some of those who would prefer more.

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Aren't there presets on this?  Do you need 10 slots for every song?  I can get a lot of mileage from an OD, delay and reverb.

Which on the HX Stomp would be OD > AMP (maybe + CAB) > CAB (if not with amp) > CHORUS > DELAY > REVERB.

I don't need Chorus on every song, in fact the only thing I might need on every song is the amp and cab because depending on the song I may only need DELAY or REVERB.

Point being, I'm sure if I sat down with this I could construct a bunch of great sounding patches that would get me through a gig.

I have the Helix because I want convenience and excess.  But back in the day I gigged a lot with way less.

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Presets are certainly a good solution. No, I don’t need chorus (for example) on every song, nor do I need a lot of modulation effects on at the same time. I have setup presets with the different effects I need and this works fine. But its not that convenient since you have to plan out the songs and patches ahead of time, and we try to keep gigs flexible, playing to the crowd at the moment rather than following rigid set lists. 

 

If you’re using a Mission Line6 pedal to control one of the stomps, then there’s no way to use FS4 or FS5 to control the footswitch mode. So you’d have to bend down to select a different patch. You could use a MIDI controller, but that’s getting pretty complicated, better to just bring the Helix.

 

There will always be a compromise and collaboration between the music demands and hardware capability. This just seems like a case where a couple more blocks adds a lot of musical flexibility with pretty minimal additional hardware complexity.

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Yeah, I was pretty pumped when they announced it thinking I could probably just get a mini EXP pedal and have a decent backup rig for the big Helix without giving up the core sounds, but I either need more blocks, or faster patch switching with trails, so I'm still probably gonna have to grab an LT. 

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I can see where adding Stomp to an existing smaller pedalboard will make that pedalboard a "fly rig" by adding amp/cab/IRs to any pedalboard, plus using whatever you happen to have on your existing pedalboard. The Helix Floor/LT are already a "fly rig". HXFX is a "fly rig" if you have an amp sitting at your destination gig. 

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On 10/20/2018 at 10:22 PM, m0b1liz3 said:

I am struggling with the 6 block limitation.  I also found out that the stomp doesn't do so well as an audio interface if you are using native or other vsts (round trip latency is fairly high).

 

I haven't experienced any issues when using stomp as an interface while running Native or other plugins. 

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I think to really take advantage of it, you need to fully commit to what I assume was always Line 6's intention with the Helix. That is, each song gets its own preset. This is how I have my Helix setup. I have a different setlist for each collection of sounds I might need - for example, one setlist is for one band, another for my other band, a third for generic sounds I might want when writing new songs, and a fourth for recording tones - and inside each of the two I use for the different bands each song gets its own preset. This is really easy to manage since setlists can be rearranged very easily on the Helix itself. In this way, the setlist serves as a literal setlist since I can put an entire set in order for the night.

 

To be honest, the majority of what I play involves an amp, an IR, and a reverb. That's three blocks. For solos, I might add delay and either simply boost the volume (using a snapshot, for example) or I might add a boost pedal or compressor depending on the sound I want. In one instance, I also add a harmonizer. That brings me up to a maximum of 6 blocks in one song. The only issue I might run into is that I might have to divide up some songs where I normally switch between clean and dirty into two presets depending on how I do things (ie do I use two amps or just reduce the gain on one, do I want to use a chorus on cleans, etc). If I needed to, I could get rid of the IR and mess around with the stock cabs more, consolidating the amp and IR to a single amp+cab block.

 

I understand that some people might have more complicated needs, but... that's why the full Helix exists. This is clearly not meant to replace it, but committing to the Line 6 mindset will go a long way toward making it possible.

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All excellent points. But there are also a lot of people who use Helix the same way they would use a pedalboard in front of a traditional guitar amp and cabinet, with some studio effects in the PA. This might be especially true of performers that have a signature tone.

 

Presets are great, and preset per song is certainly a valid way to go. But I don’t work that way. I try to have a signature tone and use a consistent set of effects to augment that tone in different situations. So I tend to use a single, somewhat complex patch that looks a lot like a traditional pedalboard into an amp. This is real easy to use live. I don’t have to hunt around for a special preset if the set list changes, I just play and use the effect I need.

 

The biggest issues with presets are:

  1. Audio gaps and loss of tails when switching presets making
  2. With HX Stomp, likely the need to bend down to change the preset
  3. Redundancy in settings and high overhead for making the same change in all configured presets

Again, the key point is that just two extra blocks goes a long way to enabling HX Stomp to be used this way, without adding much additional complexity. Its that flexibility I’m looking for.

 

Helix allows 16 blocks on Path 1, for path A and B. I’m not looking for that, just 8 total. 

 

Note: one way #3 above could be addressed is if Line6 allowed presets to have block references to blocks in some other patch (or block template). Then a change in that block would be inherited in all presets that reference it. You change the block parameters in one place and it updates all presets. Today you have to do that by editing the JSON files.

 

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The thing is, I totally hear what you're saying.  It all depends on how you use the device.  I don't think anyone is going to say it's anywhere near convenient to go from Helix to HX Stomp.  But the subject line in the thread is the question as to whether or not 6 effects blocks are enough, followed your answer of "Not Really".  And I get that to kick start a discussion a little controversy helps and that a "Not Really" is more provocative than a more subjective "Not for me".  

 

As I said less convenient for sure and I am one of the guys that has a different preset for every song.  But I change my patches from my ipad so it doesn't matter the order of the songs and it doesn't matter if we want to drag a song out that we haven't played for awhile.  I just pull it up on the ipad and I'm ready to go.  In that sense I could set up the stomp to get me through an evening if the Helix ever failed and also control it from my ipad.  I could also easily set up some core tones that would get me through an impromptu jam session.  

 

So my impression, 6 is enough to get through a gig or a jam albeit with some concessions compared to what you're used to with a Helix.  I think it's a useful product with a niche, kind of a pocketknife.  I think for a lot of bass players that aren't too crazy into effects this fits the bill better than Helix or Helix LT which could be overkill.  

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2 hours ago, amsdenj said:

Helix allows 16 blocks on Path 1, for path A and B. I’m not looking for that, just 8 total. 

 

While you can do a lot in 6 blocks, to do completely agree that this would be a great way to extend the block count without any UI compromises - at least as I've listened to DI and others describe that it was designed the way it is for simplicity. As I've been thinking about this myself, I thought the best way to add more blocks was not to further miniaturize the 6-block row length to squeeze in 2 more blocks, but to simply remove the restriction that when you split the path, allow two blocks to sit on top of each other like on the Helix instead of them having to be staggered like on the current Stomp. That way, if you split the path, you'd get 12 blocks total - kind of like the "super serial" template in the Helix.

 

That would solve the block count limitation, IMO, without deviating from the spirit of simplicity that the Line 6 designers wanted to maintain with the Stomp.

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14 hours ago, bsd512 said:

 

While you can do a lot in 6 blocks, to do completely agree that this would be a great way to extend the block count without any UI compromises - at least as I've listened to DI and others describe that it was designed the way it is for simplicity. As I've been thinking about this myself, I thought the best way to add more blocks was not to further miniaturize the 6-block row length to squeeze in 2 more blocks, but to simply remove the restriction that when you split the path, allow two blocks to sit on top of each other like on the Helix instead of them having to be staggered like on the current Stomp. That way, if you split the path, you'd get 12 blocks total - kind of like the "super serial" template in the Helix.

 

That would solve the block count limitation, IMO, without deviating from the spirit of simplicity that the Line 6 designers wanted to maintain with the Stomp.

 

I suspect there are hardware limitations involved here that would prevent such a software update, but if not, I agree it's a great idea.

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I second this post (unsurprisingly to many).

 

For me its about having as much flexibility to choose between my full HELIX Floor  rig and this extremely portable unit depending on circumstances.

At home i'd prefer often to use my HELIX. It allows for so many tonal choices to be chosen via stomps and everything is displayed clearly on scribble strips. This allows for creativity and experimentation. 

Once "on the road" - at tiny venues and mostly wanting to carry just a single guitar case on a bus or in taxi - i'd prefer to use my Stomp for its compactness.  

 

As someone who owns a lot of 3rd party presets that I love and use a lot - I would like to be able to share as many common presets and sounds as possible betweenn both units. I don't ming making the comprises of a single DSP chip limitation and making my HELIX presets fit on only one DSP to do this  but the full capacity of that is being artificially hobbled on Stomp - be it for well intentioned user friendliness reasons etc or not - and so even those patches on the HELIX that can run in a single DSP are still not able to be ported to the Stomp. 

Given the compromises inherent in designing something like the stomp - and given there has always been a number of HELIX users who would benefit from having a much more portable version of the modeller - surely it behoves L6 to at least give us the option to use more blocks - up to the same court as HELIX.   And let us deal with the GUI trade-offs as fit. 

 

I've suggested some ways in which we could have the best of both worlds on IdeaScale.  For example  we could have Stomp presets that are categorised/tagged as "HELIX MODE" - and in this mode - the GUI remains the same - 6 blocks are shown in the screen and can be edited.  But in fact more than 6 blocks can exist for the patch.  In HX Edit the user would be allowed to specify which out of  ALL of the blocks being used in the preset ( where the number exceeds 6 ) are to be visible ( and thus tweak-able ) via the Stomp screen editor.  The remaining blocks would be hidden in the Stomp GUI and only accessible via the HX Edit editor. 

 

So for example  the user could opt to hide such blocks as IRs, Cabinets, Volume/Expression pedals, EQ  etc - and leave just the 6 blocks most likely to need adjusting as visible. 

 

https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/HX-Stomp-allow-more-than-6-blocks-for-IMPORTED-HELIX-presets/940395-23508#idea-tab-comments

 

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for me are 6 blocks enough. i use the HX Stomp as a flyrig and as spare for my amp setup live.

On the other hand i use no effects on my amp so i can work very good with 3 blocks or 4 for a clean sound.

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I would support turning off the artificial limiter, but while I never did very complex stuff anyway, I've found there's a lot of skillful tricks people have come up with that make it even less obvious. 

 

For example, I've taken to attaching an expression pedal to the amp's drive for distortion or volume controls instead of a volume pedal saving blocks. That obviously doesn't work in all cases because sometimes you want your favorite distortion pedal, but still, there's a lot of options.

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On 12/23/2018 at 8:55 AM, Kilrahi said:

For example, I've taken to attaching an expression pedal to the amp's drive for distortion or volume controls instead of a volume pedal saving blocks. That obviously doesn't work in all cases because sometimes you want your favorite distortion pedal, but still, there's a lot of options.

I do the same thing. The exp pedal has two purposes, one is to control the wah (in those patches that have that block) and the other to control max and min drive. This gives me two gain stages with one distortion/overdrive block. This isn't quite a flexible as two distortion blocks because the drive control doesn't have any voicing or tone control to adjust for different levels of distortion. But it works pretty well. 

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Seems like Line 6 could add the capability to run an additional 6 blocks on the second path (Path 1B). If this happens I would buy an HX Stomp in a heartbeat! Make it happen Line 6!

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6 minutes ago, MusicLaw said:

Here's and IdeaScale post from last month suggesting there be 12 Blocks.

Consider voting it up if you are inclined.

https://line6.ideascale.com/a/dtd/HX-Stomp-Allow-12-effects-blocks/944839-23508#idea-tab-details

 

Thank you for the link.  The more and more I use the Stomp the more I just think this makes sense. If something about Helix 3.0 blows the barn door of my brains wide open and I'm like, "Oh, that's why it has to be six" then cool, but until that day it just seems like Line 6 is forcing its toddler to stay in size 6 diapers even though it is ready to #?#@ or get off the pot like its older brothers.

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When I last searched through IdeaScale's HX Stomp Block related posts, there were several posts asking for more. So as many as you can find, feel free to vote them up!

 

As Line 6 reviews all of the IdeaScale posts and votes, it is very likely they see the aggregate momentum that HX Stomp users want more HX Stomp Blocks. Let's hope that future firmware releases expand the number of Blocks. Moreover, as HX Stomp has 1 DSP (i.e One Half of what the full Helix units have) it would seem that HX Stomp should be able to easily provide more than a mere 6 blocks. In fact, the full Helix units have up to four signal paths with up to 8 blocks on each path for a total of 32 blocks (subject to DSP availability). The gap between the HX Stomp's 6 Blocks and the full units' 16 Blocks per DSP Chip looms as a wide gap between the units when it comes to DSP allocation.   

 

Recently, DI posted a reply to a Helix user's Looper time constraint post. He replied that Line 6 had reserved some RAM in the Helix units and now that they have a better idea of how Helix Core is coming along, they may be able to expand the Looper recording length. Perhaps Helix Core's optimizations forthcoming to the entire Helix line, will yield additional improvements to existing features, such as the Blocks in HX Stomp. 

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I'm just gonna have to break down and buy one of these damn things so I can straighten all yall out... 

 

Does it at least have a tuner in its editor? 

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19 minutes ago, spikey said:

I'm just gonna have to break down and buy one of these damn things so I can straighten all yall out... 

 

Does it at least have a tuner in its editor? 

 

 

Hang on in there, spikey. 

It will/may happen!

Delete as appropriate!

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After spending about a week with my new HXS, I love it and find that six blocks is plenty.  A few things that I learned that helps, is that the amp/cab combination does allow for you to change to a different cab/mic etc. than the suggested cab for each preset. The "limitations" are what they are. I work in a music store and love it when people come in asking if there is a pedal that allows you to sound like David Gilmour, fit in your pocket and cost only $100.  Come on folks..."You can't have everything...where would you put it?" -Steven Wright.  Seriously, not enough blocks? Not enough buttons?  Get yourself a Helix LT if those are your concerns. If you want a relatively small rig, get two HX Stomps. Even if you go stereo, with one HXS, a typical preset could be (Overdrive--->Amp---->Stereo Modulation------>Stereo Delay----->Stereo Reverb-----Stereo Cab).  Within a stereo cab block you can actually have two different cabs. I did not realize this at first, but is super cool. If you are running a mono chain, your preset could be (Filter/wah----->Overdrive----->Amp/cab----->Modulation---->Delay----->Reverb).  Plenty of blocks folks.  I don't want to dismiss people's desire for more blocks, I get it. I can easily see eating up blocks especially when you run parallel paths or when you want to intergrate EQ's to fine tune your tone. I have seen Jason Sadities use up quite a bit of blocks to achieve Eric Johnson and Brian May tones.  But remember folks...the six block "limitation" comes into play only in a live setting if at all. For recording, and doing the re-amping thing, you can record dry or relatively dry tracks and add in other things after those tracks are recorded.  These HX Stomps are selling like hot-cakes.  Making it more like a Helix defeats the whole purpose of this pedal at the price point that it is. Line 6 would not want to eat into its Helix and Helix LT market. If anything, owners of Helix and Helix LT are finding the HXS super useful as a travel rig. That form factor... is the first thing I was attracted to when I heard about this pedal.  If the six block "limitation" truly is an issue, then the choice is simple...don't buy it. I would rather firmware updates include new amps and effects than adding more blocks.  

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Isn't all this just a "pipe-dream" anyway?

I mean, even if 6 blocks is not enough, just what exactly can anyone besides maybe Line-6 "do" about it?

 

Might as well ask for a tuner in the editor... 

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On 1/8/2019 at 6:56 PM, datacommando said:

 

 

Hang on in there, spikey. 

It will/may happen!

Delete as appropriate!

I'd have to go over to TGP to ask for that.... ; )

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2 hours ago, evrardmusic said:

After spending about a week with my new HXS, I love it and find that six blocks is plenty.  A few things that I learned that helps, is that the amp/cab combination does allow for you to change to a different cab/mic etc. than the suggested cab for each preset. The "limitations" are what they are. I work in a music store and love it when people come in asking if there is a pedal that allows you to sound like David Gilmour, fit in your pocket and cost only $100.  Come on folks..."You can't have everything...where would you put it?" -Steven Wright.  Seriously, not enough blocks? Not enough buttons?  Get yourself a Helix LT if those are your concerns. If you want a relatively small rig, get two HX Stomps. Even if you go stereo, with one HXS, a typical preset could be (Overdrive--->Amp---->Stereo Modulation------>Stereo Delay----->Stereo Reverb-----Stereo Cab).  Within a stereo cab block you can actually have two different cabs. I did not realize this at first, but is super cool. If you are running a mono chain, your preset could be (Filter/wah----->Overdrive----->Amp/cab----->Modulation---->Delay----->Reverb).  Plenty of blocks folks.  I don't want to dismiss people's desire for more blocks, I get it. I can easily see eating up blocks especially when you run parallel paths or when you want to intergrate EQ's to fine tune your tone. I have seen Jason Sadities use up quite a bit of blocks to achieve Eric Johnson and Brian May tones.  But remember folks...the six block "limitation" comes into play only in a live setting if at all. For recording, and doing the re-amping thing, you can record dry or relatively dry tracks and add in other things after those tracks are recorded.  These HX Stomps are selling like hot-cakes.  Making it more like a Helix defeats the whole purpose of this pedal at the price point that it is. Line 6 would not want to eat into its Helix and Helix LT market. If anything, owners of Helix and Helix LT are finding the HXS super useful as a travel rig. That form factor... is the first thing I was attracted to when I heard about this pedal.  If the six block "limitation" truly is an issue, then the choice is simple...don't buy it. I would rather firmware updates include new amps and effects than adding more blocks.  

 

Arguing, "Yes, Line 6 could easily make it better for no extra cost, but then they wouldn't make as much money off of full Helix sales" really isn't persuasive from a consumer perspective.

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6 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

 

Arguing, "Yes, Line 6 could easily make it better for no extra cost, but then they wouldn't make as much money off of full Helix sales" really isn't persuasive from a consumer perspective.

 

I suspect that the 6 block limit is mostly a UI choice, due to the size of the screen, to keep on-device editing as streamlined as possible.

That being said, I think there are things they could have done to mitigate this without requiring a bigger screen, or smaller UI elements. 

 

For example:

1. Allowing Send/Return to occupy the spaces between blocks, much like if you have a split path.

2. Allow additional blocks on path B.

 

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This question "Are 6 block enough?" will continue to be debated for sure.  I have found that 6 blocks are sufficient.  I did free up some blocks in a sense by inserting an effects loop block and integrated all three of the 500 series from Boss (MD-500, DD-500, RV-500). It really opened things up tremendously. I changed up some presets to the following Phaser------>Overdrive------>Amp----->EQ------->Effects Loop----->Stereo Cabs. I like phasers in front of overdrives and amps.  Another really useful option for me will be Boost or Comp----->Overdrive---->Amp------>EQ------->Effects Loops------>Stereo Cabs.  These types of presets would allow for me to continue to use FS1 aqnd FS2 for more useful things such as bypassing boosts, overdrives or EQ's.  I still think that the HX-Stomp makes for a super great travel, grab and go rig all by itself.  As for more functionality and versatility, adding other effects pedals into the mix makes things even better. I have been using my HXS with a JC-40 to make full use of the stereo imaging. Even without using snapshots, changes that I make to my sounds such as changing from one type of amp to another Different preset) maintains the trails of delay and reverb.   I really do understand the issues people might have with HX-Stomp.  So instead of arguing my point, I'll just say I truly love what the HX-Stomp does. What it does not do, I can combine with other pedals including controller pedals and additional switches. 

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I have helix floor and now stomp - I would say you absolutely don't need more than 6, I can get my self in enough trouble with 3

 

and you can go from preset to preset without bending down.

 

I note the dead sound issue but in a band context its unlikely to be a problem - I would put an el cap after the stomp if it were a problem to me

 

Cheers All 

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Need is such a funny word. Nobody NEEDS more than six blocks - the question is are there times it's nice to have them?

 

The bigger question though is a bit different. Imagine you have always used wired headphones and decide you now want to try Bluetooth - but your phone doesn't allow Bluetooth.  You figure no biggie you didn't buy it for that and so you start researching purchasing a new $800 phone that does - only to find out that your phone has a built in Bluetooth transmitter that would work perfectly well for your new idea but for some reason the company tweaked the software so that it stays off.  Or, imagine you need a car with anti-lock brakes but the car company deactivated them.  Or cruise control! 

 

The frustrating part about the Stomp has nothing to do with its natural parameters EXCEPT for the fact that you realize it actually could be a lot more and you're stuck feeling like there's no reason it can't be.

 

I love my Stomp.  Use it every night.  When I look at it though, it's like having a kid who keeps getting a B in art when you know he's fully capable of getting an A if he'd just put in a little bit of extra work. 

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3 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

Nobody NEEDS more than six blocks -

Well, all we need is air, food, water, shelter, right...?

Sorry, that statement is simply not true. For much of what I do, 6 blocks is not enough, period. (I process 2 and sometimes 3 different sounds simultaneously, from 2 sources, on one instrument.)

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I think Line6 hit a decent happy medium with the Stomp. I like its simplicity. I’ve also freed up a block by sending the output from it to my Strymon Bigsky eliminating the need for an internal reverb. For those with complex internal routing needs, this unit is definitely not for you

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