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JoshBeachel

Helix (Mark 2) ?

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I was wondering if we would be seeing a new Helix(Mark2) ? Anytime soon.Since the release of the new Axe Effects 3. The helix is almost 4 years old now. They have to be brewing up something. The helix is awesome. I've been playing Line 6 gear for almost 15 years. And modeling really came full circle in the recent years. I knew it was a matter of time until the modeling technology caught up to the tube technology. And its great to see line 6 gain even more success for the hard work. And great product. Go Helix....

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Not anytime soon... I believe there are at least several more years in the Helix development cycle.

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Several more years is good to hear. I would be quite happy if we got another good 3 years from now of real support/updates, and more amp/FX models.

Anything more than that I would just consider super extra bonus fun time!

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They're just dropping hints about opening up the software for more updates and functionality, plus the HXFX/STOMP/LT are newer and using the same software, so I imagine they'll want to keep the platform going for awhile. Could see them working on something sort of like the Boss synth stuff, where a separate box has a few Helix FX, but mostly polyphonic synthesizer stuff that works with Variax and hopefully audio, but I doubt we'll see a real Helix replacement any time soon.

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Considering how long it takes to bring something like this to production I wouldn't be surprised if Helix II is in the works now. And I would agree it's likely a few years off at least.

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1 hour ago, JoshBeachel said:

I was wondering if we would be seeing a new Helix(Mark2) ? Anytime soon.Since the release of the new Axe Effects 3. The helix is almost 4 years old now.

 

When the hardware of a unit has been designed as well as the Helix has been... computing power is truly the only limit. The Fractal was behind the Helix in terms of U/I and usability - there was no way that could be updated by software alone. I'm not knocking the Fractal... it's a fabulous machine. But I don't think there are many people out there that believe it was as easy to use, or as nice on the eyes as the Helix is.

 

There are many things Line 6 can still do with the Helix in regards to programming to make it better. Some people want synths, some want polyphonic pitch shifting, some want better phasers, some want better cabinet models, some want nicer amps, etc... etc... Eventually the horsepower will lag behind... and I believe that is about the time you will see the next generation appear. For it to appear when it's needed means it would be in the making (even if just in concept) already. 

 

1 hour ago, JoshBeachel said:

I knew it was a matter of time until the modeling technology caught up to the tube technology

 

This makes me chuckle. I know what you mean (amp feel and tone) but that's not what it says :) 

 

1 hour ago, JoshBeachel said:

modeling really came full circle in the recent years.

 

Yes it has! The Kemper, Fractal and Helix have changed the landscape considerably.

 

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All true. No HX2 needed yet. The original Helix platform can continue to evolve, and be injected into all manor of hardware and software "skins" or form factors. So far we've seen the Floor, Rack, LT, HX FX, Stomp, Native — who knows what else we'll see. And the processing power in these things is sufficient to support more firmware-based goodies over time. I love the updates — its been like getting a new and better unit every time! Me? I'd love to see better polyphonics and pitch-shifting stuff.

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1 hour ago, soundog said:

I'd love to see better polyphonics and pitch-shifting stuff.

 

I'm an "old school" player... not much need for any wild, but I sure would like a reliable... sure fire solution to drop tuning. The Whammy is OK for dropping the guitar a semi-tone, but even then it doesn't feel quite right. There is no way I can drop it a tone if needed. 

 

Aside from that my only wish is a Hiwatt Normal Channel and Hiwatt Jump channel to compliment the Bright channel already there. I'm a simple man :) 

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Essentially Helix + Stomp IS the competitor to Axe 3.  All Axe 3 did was add another processor, not a new processor so adding the stomp would be the same thing.

 

I personally don't see any driving need to attack a new generation of modeler until there is some significant leap in the underlying DSP technology.  Who knows when that will happen, although I'm sure it will at some point.

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I'm getting ready to haul out my HD500 to compensate for processing power limitations.  Aside from that, there is really no need at this point for a Double-Helix.

 

Unless they're adding a salsa dispenser.  That would be awesome.

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1 hour ago, DunedinDragon said:

Essentially Helix + Stomp IS the competitor to Axe 3.  All Axe 3 did was add another processor, not a new processor so adding the stomp would be the same thing.

 

It's new processors.... not an added processor.

 

AXFX 3 runs a pair of Keystones at 1Ghz ea

AXFX 2 ran a pair of TigerSHARC's at 600Mhz ea

Helix runs a pair of SHARC's at 450Mhz ea

 

Processors are only part of the equation so that is meaningless on it's own... but yes, eventually the HELIX will need an upgrade in that department to keep up.

 

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5 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

I'm an "old school" player... not much need for any wild, but I sure would like a reliable... sure fire solution to drop tuning. The Whammy is OK for dropping the guitar a semi-tone, but even then it doesn't feel quite right. There is no way I can drop it a tone if needed. 

 

Aside from that my only wish is a Hiwatt Normal Channel and Hiwatt Jump channel to compliment the Bright channel already there. I'm a simple man :) 

 

If I read you right, this is the same boat I'm in.  I'm in awe when people lay out 13 effects and make some sort of strange cosmic sound that's beautiful and appealing - but it's nothing I would do. Most of the time it's a distortion pedal and reverb, delay, chorus, or phaser on a crazy day  . . . throw in one or two boutique pedals occasionally. That's why the HX Stomp largely fills my needs.

 

BUT the one thing I still really wish it had because I know it's possible is a polyphonic drop tune pedal similar to Digitech's. I keep almost breaking down and buying the bloody thing but then I stop and hold out hope a little longer that Line 6 has one in the works.

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3 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

It's new processors.... not an added processor.

 

AXFX 3 runs a pair of Keystones at 1Ghz ea

AXFX 2 ran a pair of TigerSHARC's at 600Mhz ea

Helix runs a pair of SHARC's at 450Mhz ea

 

Processors are only part of the equation so that is meaningless on it's own... but yes, eventually the HELIX will need an upgrade in that department to keep up.

 

 

So does that mean the AXFX2 has more processing power than the Helix? Seems like an AXFX2 and an HX Effects would be a dream team.

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11 hours ago, optofonik said:

So does that mean the AXFX2 has more processing power than the Helix? Seems like an AXFX2 and an HX Effects would be a dream team.

 

Well... I'll say this again. "Processors are only part of the equation so that is meaningless on it's own... "

 

The difference in processing power between an AXFX2 and a Helix would not be enough of a factor, at least not to me. The units are compatible, but the U/I and features of a Helix set it apart for me. 

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4 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

Well... I'll say this again. "Processors are only part of the equation so that is meaningless on it's own... "

 

The difference in processing power between an AXFX2 and a Helix would not be enough of a factor, at least not to me. The units are compatible, but the U/I and features of a Helix set it apart for me. 

 

A perfect example, to me, is the Boss GT 1000. I believe it's processor eats the Helix processor for breakfast, but I just haven't been very impressed (both in its sound quality and in its functionality).

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11 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

A perfect example, to me, is the Boss GT 1000. I believe it's processor eats the Helix processor for breakfast, but I just haven't been very impressed (both in its sound quality and in its functionality).

 

I've actually not seen any specs on the GT-1000's processor other than it's using a DSP chip developed by Roland. I doubt it's significantly faster than the SHARC chips used in the Helix, though.

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27 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

 

A perfect example, to me, is the Boss GT 1000. I believe it's processor eats the Helix processor for breakfast, but I just haven't been very impressed (both in its sound quality and in its functionality).

I always give Boss a chance because I was a big fan of GT-6/8/10 before I got into the POD HD stuff (the first line 6 modeler I enjoyed playing through), but there was so much work involved with getting a useable live tone (every patch had to start with certain compressor and post-EQ settings to even be useable) even though the FX were awesome. Spent about 30 minutes with a 1000 and I think they improved the feel, but the sounds were still miles behind the other $1k floorboards, even headrush, and all the floor models of that I've tried had performances glitches (frozen screen, weird glitch noises between presets, seemingly non-functional pedals that would register a switch 20 seconds after it was pressed). 

I just don't think Boss has any interest in doing any NEW modeling and the 1000 feels like they just added some extra compression in the amp models to get them to respond a little differently. I do admit the routing capabilities inside the GT-1000 look really sweet and would be a welcome addition to Helix function. 

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1 hour ago, phil_m said:

 

I've actually not seen any specs on the GT-1000's processor other than it's using a DSP chip developed by Roland. I doubt it's significantly faster than the SHARC chips used in the Helix, though.

 

Eh, it's hard to know. Truthfully, you know more about the guts of the Helix than I do, and if there are detailed stats on the Boss GT 1000 I haven't seen them. Plus, as far as I know you can't exactly hook both of them up to a benchmark site and stress test them. However, there are some perceptual things to think of:

 

1. Generally speaking, processors get both cheaper and more powerful by significant amounts over time. The GT 1000 came out over two years after the Helix.

2. I believe the Helix Processor is a dual core and the GT 1000 is a quad core. As a general rule, with exceptions, quad core is more powerful.

3. The GT 1000 brags that it's the first processor with "32-bit AD/DA and 32-bit/96 kHz internal processing." Advertisement after advertisement focuses on how powerful their little engine is. While all companies suffer from hyperbole, generally there are granules of truth to them and so I suspect that Boss made sure they could brag about their processor compared to their rivals.

 

Still, you're right, we just don't really know. I'm just working on a hunch.

 

However, as Apple has consistently demonstrated over the years, programming prowess is far superior to processing power as long as the disparity between the two processors is not light years apart. I believe Line 6 has the Apple edge in this case.

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38 minutes ago, Kilrahi said:

 

Eh, it's hard to know. Truthfully, you know more about the guts of the Helix than I do, and if there are detailed stats on the Boss GT 1000 I haven't seen them. Plus, as far as I know you can't exactly hook both of them up to a benchmark site and stress test them. However, there are some perceptual things to think of:

 

1. Generally speaking, processors get both cheaper and more powerful by significant amounts over time. The GT 1000 came out over two years after the Helix.

2. I believe the Helix Processor is a dual core and the GT 1000 is a quad core. As a general rule, with exceptions, quad core is more powerful.

3. The GT 1000 brags that it's the first processor with "32-bit AD/DA and 32-bit/96 kHz internal processing." Advertisement after advertisement focuses on how powerful their little engine is. While all companies suffer from hyperbole, generally there are granules of truth to them and so I suspect that Boss made sure they could brag about their processor compared to their rivals.

 

Still, you're right, we just don't really know. I'm just working on a hunch.

 

However, as Apple has consistently demonstrated over the years, programming prowess is far superior to processing power as long as the disparity between the two processors is not light years apart. I believe Line 6 has the Apple edge in this case.

Let's hope that L6 doesn't take the Apple edge in pricing: Charging upwards of 3 times for a product that has similar specs/function/quality as it's competitors while constantly losing the stability edge that it is overwhelmingly praised for. ;)

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5 minutes ago, Lachdanan0121 said:

Let's hope that L6 doesn't take the Apple edge in pricing: Charging upwards of 3 times for a product that has similar specs/function/quality as it's competitors while constantly losing the stability edge that it is overwhelmingly praised for. ;)

 

Agreed. As a android and windows user, they've never quite convinced me to make the jump . . .

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Apples haven't been worth the price since they went to Intel chips. The OS isn't as special as a lot of people like to act like it is, its just locked down so you can't screw it up as easily as you can with Windows and because it only runs on their hardware it does come "cleaner" out of the box. As of now they are little more than a lifestyle brand like Bose, or Lexus. The title is mostly what people are buying, and the ability to say "Well, MY Mac..."

 

I don't see that being L6's MO, otherwise we'd see separate peices for the processing, for the outputs, and everything would require proprietary dongles to connect, lol.

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25 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

Apples haven't been worth the price since they went to Intel chips. The OS isn't as special as a lot of people like to act like it is, its just locked down so you can't screw it up as easily as you can with Windows and because it only runs on their hardware it does come "cleaner" out of the box. As of now they are little more than a lifestyle brand like Bose, or Lexus. The title is mostly what people are buying, and the ability to say "Well, MY Mac..."

 

I don't see that being L6's MO, otherwise we'd see separate peices for the processing, for the outputs, and everything would require proprietary dongles to connect, lol.

 

Well, no analogy is ever perfect.

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Actually, the biggest part of the cost of the Helix would probably be in design and development. The processor cost is just a fraction.

 

Regarding the GT1000 comparison: Technical specs don't take into account the biggest factor in sound quality, which is sound design & programming (including the development of a brand new OS). Read: (Californian) man-hours = $$$$$.

 

Which brings us back to the thread topic:

-Line6 has invested a lot in developing the core HX software.

-First, they have to sell enough of HX products to break even on their ROI.

-Second, since the true value of the Helix is in the IP, they would definitely want to maximize utilization of this asset. (Simply put, selling lots of HX stuff)

-They are doing exactly this right now, by releasing offshoots/variants in the HX family to expand their market share. No need to reinvent the very expensive wheel, just customize the package to cater to different target audiences.

 

In short, no, there will likely not be a  Helix Mk2 any time soon.

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Sorry guys notifications was off. Didn't realize that. Just signed up on here.

 

  Anyways. I wasnt talking about a complete new platform. But rather a helix "x"version. Or whatever you wanna call it. Like pod hd 500 and pod hd 500x for example...With updated hardware components ect... Giving it more juice for complex routing. I was thinking the helix is almost 4 years old. And every so many years they will release a updated version of a product. So isn't about time. It has everything there as far as I/O. But if you in corporate that in a live setting and try to utilize helix. You can run short on power. The helix is capable of 4 stereo signal processed outs. If you choose to configure it that way. But it leaves it lacking a little power. Since it's only 2 sharc dsp chips at 450mhz.With Fractual releasing the axe 3. I figured it would be a good time. For Line 6 to release a updated version. You can clearly tell that Fractual got a helix. Checked it out.Then said to themselves what is it missing and how can we incorporate some of this in our product. And as you can see. If you check out there axe 3..They did take some notes. Which is awesome.  That is what drives thing to the next level.At least I would do that if I was in the modeling business(Or Any). After using the native platform for awhile. I really like the helix. I decided it's time to upgrade my older line 6 gear for live use.. I'm concerned about the dsp power. Seems like there should be more head room. I know there are work arounds. As far as differnt ways of utilizing the signal chain. And using both dsp chips. But I would plan on using this for vocals effects to. It's in the unit why not use it. Right. It has some different effects. Compared to my digital mixer.And I wanna be able to still get my own guitar tone but without compromise. Yes I could buy a effects processor for the digital mixer. But before I would do that. I could added that money to what I have saved. And get a axe 3. But I want to keep rocking the "LINE SICK" lollipop. I have been using it this long (15years or so). Loving the modeling idea. Thats what made me jump on board years ago.Waiting for the day the tech and development started to catch up. To tube technology...And its gotten so close. And now it will start to take over. Its already started to.

 

Anyways....So I got the money and the only thing keeping me from pulling the trigger. Beside black Friday and cyber monday being so close.... Damn budget. LOL... Is I'm I going to buy this and in a month or 2 down the road. They release Helix 2...In the past it's been every few years they update the products.. I'm going to end up with something either way. But it did have me thinking. It would be a little upsetting to. Drop 1800 on a rack and controller. For it to drop in value months later. After they release helix version x... and I could use the extra power in the first place. It has the ins and outs. And they will be used... 

 

Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. But it seems like the helix could use more horsepower...

 

And on a side note. How come the native software also limits my routing. I have plenty of cpu power to run way more. But yet I get this feeling like line 6. Didnt want one product to be superior to the other. Or everyone would get native, laptop and a midi controller. ( Yes I understand the helix units can be more reliable than a laptop).Has anyone else took notice to this...? Why the software  limitation.?Besides to protect the actual product. I tried to choose 2 different amps and it was limiting my choices. Is this a limitation from the 15 day trial version. I thought it was a full blown version.

 

Thanks for your time, Josh

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, JoshBeachel said:

Anyways....So I got the money and the only thing keeping me from pulling the trigger. Beside black Friday and cyber monday being so close.... Damn budget. LOL... Is I'm I going to buy this and in a month or 2 down the road. They release Helix 2...In the past it's been every few years they update the products.. I'm going to end up with something either way. But it did have me thinking. It would be a little upsetting to. Drop 1800 on a rack and controller. For it to drop in value months later. After they release helix version x... and I could use the extra power in the first place. It has the ins and outs. And they will be used... 

 

Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. But it seems like the helix could use more horsepower...

 

I can tell you with a lot of certainty there aren't any immediate plans to release an "X" version of the Helix anytime soon. The main reason the HD500X was released was the SHARC processor that it was used was discontinued by the manufacturer. If something like that happens, perhaps Line 6 would have to change their plans, but it's not something that would be done in the span of a few months. It still takes development time to change the hardware. I would still be totally comfortable buying a new Helix right now. As to the horsepower, I've been using the Helix for three years, and there really hardly been any instances where I haven't been able to do what I want to do in a preset. It really only becomes an issue if you want to create a true dual path with amps and cabs in each path...

 

32 minutes ago, JoshBeachel said:

And on a side note. How come the native software also limits my routing. I have plenty of cpu power to run way more. But yet I get this feeling like line 6. Didnt want one product to be superior to the other. Or everyone would get native, laptop and a midi controller. ( Yes I understand the helix units can be more reliable than a laptop).Has anyone else took notice to this...? Why the software  limitation.?Besides to protect the actual product. I tried to choose 2 different amps and it was limiting my choices. Is this a limitation from the 15 day trial version. I thought it was a full blown version.

 

Thanks for your time, Josh

 

It's true that the DSP limit in Native is a false limitation. It's not based on the computing power of your system. The rationale behind it to create cross compatibility between the Floor, LT and Rack presets and Native. Having the DSP limit in Native ensures that any preset you create in Native can be exported to the hardware. They have talked about giving an option to remove that limitation in Native so you could insert whatever blocks you want. There's a simple workaround as it stands right now, though. Simply add as many instances of Native as you want in your DAW track and make things as complex as you want.

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Ultimately what will determine it is the market.  I don't personally see a need for a new model right now (different industry, but cross compare it to Sony's Playstation or Microsoft's XBox One - they were originally released in 2013 and they're only just now starting about new models . . . in like 2021 or 2022), but the market will be a big determiner in what Line 6 does.

 

I assume right now they still show positive year over year sales. As long as that is the case, there isn't a huge drive to put a new model out there because it would start to cannibalize the positive Helix sales, and they're still earning a return on that investment. I also believe that Line 6, when it reviews the competition, still feels like it can compete handily with the Headrush, Axe, Kemper, etc.

 

One thing is certain, the market is heating up over the last few years.  There are more and more competitors entering the market, and if the Helix starts to look like a lame duck (which I'm not saying it does - I just bought the Stomp after all and the thing blows my mind) then Line 6 will certainly get their butts moving on the successor.

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On 11/17/2018 at 11:29 AM, phil_m said:

 

I can tell you with a lot of certainty there aren't any immediate plans to release an "X" version of the Helix anytime soon. The main reason the HD500X was released was the SHARC processor that it was used was discontinued by the manufacturer. If something like that happens, perhaps Line 6 would have to change their plans, but it's not something that would be done in the span of a few months. It still takes development time to change the hardware. I would still be totally comfortable buying a new Helix right now. As to the horsepower, I've been using the Helix for three years, and there really hardly been any instances where I haven't been able to do what I want to do in a preset. It really only becomes an issue if you want to create a true dual path with amps and cabs in each path...

 

 

It's true that the DSP limit in Native is a false limitation. It's not based on the computing power of your system. The rationale behind it to create cross compatibility between the Floor, LT and Rack presets and Native. Having the DSP limit in Native ensures that any preset you create in Native can be exported to the hardware. They have talked about giving an option to remove that limitation in Native so you could insert whatever blocks you want. There's a simple workaround as it stands right now, though. Simply add as many instances of Native as you want in your DAW track and make things as complex as you want.

Awsome thank you... And yes I did take notice to that work around. With multiple native plugins.  

 

Do you know if the rack foot controller will work with native to? I seen it had usb... And a spot for power to..

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Hi:

 

This thread has been quiet for a few months, but I thought I'd throw in my solution to some of the concerns of others over Helix processor power, and also stereo paths.  The design of my studio is to be able to have live playing of the band and simultaneous multi-track recording with low processing latency.  My studio is designed as a hybrid digital/analog layout, with almost all instrument processing performed with outboard hardware before entering the recording/DAW computer as ASE3.  Analog is taken off of the A/D converters of the last instrument processor for each instrument and fed back to a Mackie LM3204 line mixer and on to the musicians monitoring (and a two track practice recording).

 

Here's the layout...   Bass, lead, and rhythm guitars are each connected to Jensen JT-DB-E transformers in homemade direct boxes.  This allows balanced microphone cable to be used over longer distances with minimal signal degradation.  These guitar cables are run into John Hardy microphone pre-amps.  Two channels are dedicated to each guitar for stereo or other use, using a total of six channels of the eight pre-amps I have allocated. The output of these pre-amps go through Jensen JT-11P-1 isolation transformers in an 8-channel rack that I built, and then on to an RME ADI-8 QS AD/DA converter.  The three ASE3 output signals are then run into three individual Helix Racks through the ASE inputs.  This gives each guitar it's own Helix with a stereo path originating from the guitar (there are interesting possibilities feeding stereo from a guitar, but I have a switch on each stereo pair to provide duplicate signals on both channels for a mono feed).  The signal quality entering the Helix is excellent.

 

The three instrument output signals from the three Helix's are taken from the ASE outputs, and then fed into the three individual ASE inputs of three Two-Notes Torpedo Racks.  The Torpedoes can maintain stereo throughout, and ASE is taken from the ASE outputs of the Torpedoes directly to the cards in the computer.  Analog is taken from each torpedo's D/A converter and is sent on to the analog mixer.  This arrangement allows the Helix to be used exclusively for stereo pedal board and amp emulations, with the Torpedo doing the stereo cab, the mic, and the pre-amp emulations, with some post processing available in the Torpedo.  The whole thing is held together with word-clock from a Drammer M-Clock Plus and a Drammer D-Clock distribution system.

 

Off-loading the cabs from the Helix provides some extra processing power to the Helix, and helps accommodate stereo amps.  The Torpedo does an excellent job with 96/24 IR files, and a file can be loaded for each stereo channel, allowing for true stereo cabs.  Both the Helix and the Torpedo are capable of very close emulations, and combining them and allowing each unit to specialize has taken the emulation process to a new level.  Of course, with the Torpedoes selection of internal cabs and the huge selection of third-party cab IR files, accuracy in emulation is just a matter of how much time you have to spend researching and testing.

 

As a sidebar, I share the frustration of those trying to gain-stage or set compressors without instrumentation.  American audio manufactures a rack-mounted stereo LED dBfs meter that they suggest might be used for a light show to dress up a DJ's rack.  However, although far from ideal, I have found that I can put it's two stereo channels on the Helix send 3/4 (or placed individually), and with some calibration of the unit, I can get a feel for the gain at any point in the signal path.

 

Jim

 

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