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LeeWalker

Help Me Choose

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Hi All

With Christmas round the corner i fancy getting myself some new gear and was wondering if anyone had any advice.

 

I do the majority of my playing at home on my Mac (High Sierra was it has and will not go any higher). I started of Line 6 with the Guitarport and upgraded that to a UX1 and now an Amplifi desktop which works quite well. I also own an X3 Live and a Variax 300. 

 

Due to High Sierra being a bit difficult to connect to with the X3 Live, this is used predominantly as a live unit and thats all. If i do gig (unlikely) i will use this solution.

 

A couple of options i have are

 

1. POD HD500X - not too sure if this is supported in High Sierra as its getting a bit old

2. Helix HX Effects - this one looks good and could use the outputs to go to my speakers on my desktop

3. Helix Plug In - interested in this one quite a bit as has everything BUT i wouldn't have a guitar input and would have to buy something 

 

HX Effects looks like the best solution i think, just wondering what everyone else thinks and whether they have the same set up

 

L

 

 

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2 hours ago, LeeWalker said:

1. POD HD500X - not too sure if this is supported in High Sierra as its getting a bit old

2. Helix HX Effects - this one looks good and could use the outputs to go to my speakers on my desktop

3. Helix Plug In - interested in this one quite a bit as has everything BUT i wouldn't have a guitar input and would have to buy something 

 

HX Effects looks like the best solution i think, just wondering what everyone else thinks...

 

 

 

 

 

1) The 500X is an aging platform. It's not a bad unit...I used it for years, but at this point it is what it is. I wouldn't expect any updates, or further development at this point. Getting older stuff to work with newer OS is sometimes problematic... not sure if there's an issue with High Sierra or not, as I haven't touched the POD since I got Helix. 

 

2) HX FX is a fine unit,  but it is effects only...there's no amp modeling in there, so you'd need something else to get your amp tones.

 

3) Yes, you would need an interface to use Helix Native... works great for recording, which is what it's designed for... but you would be entirely tethered to a computer. I know you mostly play at home, but if you did want to use it anywhere else,  it's easier said than done without dedicated hardware. Really just depends on your needs. 

 

What's your budget? The Helix Stomp might be an option for you... by the time you buy Native, plus an interface, you'll be spending about the same amount of money. 

 

 

 

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IMO: Option 4, which you seemed to have missed :)

The HX Stomp which includes all Helix amp models as well as effects and also works as an audio interface. It's about the same cost as the HX Effects but seems to be a better fit for what you are after. 

 

2 hours ago, LeeWalker said:

HX Effects looks like the best solution

 

No amp models, and it won't work as an audio interface like the X3, HD500 or HELIX will. 

 

30 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

3) Yes, you would need an interface to use Helix Native...

 

It should be noted that you also need a DAW.... although there may be a free platform or two that may work. 

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4 minutes ago, codamedia said:

It should be noted that you also need a DAW.... although there may be a free platform or two that will work. 

 

 

 

 

 

Seems he's got a pretty recent Mac, which means he has Garage Band... not the most sophisticated DAW out there, but it's not a toy either. I think it's actually a very good entry-level environment....one could be as dumb as a bag of hammers, and still figure it out. ;)

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Just for jamming, Native is not a great choice because it does not have a standalone program. I really wish it did, but it only exists as a plugin for a DAW. With that in mind, it is most useful as a recording tool. In my band, we've recently decided to basically stop playing shows and focus on writing and recording, so a lot of what we do is going to be done independently. My bandmates can record their DI signal and send me their Helix patch and now I have everything I need to process their sound, but I still have flexibility to tweak it to fit (without having to rely on EQ, etc). So it's really great for remote collaboration.

 

If you are okay with it being plugin only, also keep in mind that you will want a reasonably nice interface and a good computer because you need low latency. Native sounds great, but even with only like 20 ms round-trip latency is feels off to me. So for my own use, I will still be using my Helix Floor to create patches and monitor while recording (even though I will probably just record the DI and reamp it with Native). From that standpoint, HX Stomp is probably the best low-cost solution since you get no latency for monitoring purposes and you can still reamp later if you want.

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47 minutes ago, njglover said:

Native sounds great, but even with only like 20 ms round-trip latency is feels off to me.

 

20ms would feel off to anybody... that's closing in on slap-back echo territory. Something is out of whack if your latency is that bad. Never bothered to measure it myself, but I'm confident that it's nowhere near 20ms...I would find that unusable. 

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Native plugin latency (16 samples in Pro Tools) is lost in driver buffer so it does not add any latency. Modern audio interfaces are capable of going down to 3-7ms Round Trip Latency range. Even Helix hardware induces 1,8ms latency from analog in to analog out. 

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Winner: Helix Stomp.

Pros

amp modeling (a must), which rules out HX FX

can use an guitar interface for recording/playing into Mac/GarageBand (or other)

can use with a stereo, or small amp

if you get a small amp, you can be portable and jam with friends

its got footswitches

good resale power/value

Con

limited blocks so limited effects at one time

no expression/wah/volume pedal (but you could add a cheap one)

 

Helix Native

Pros

not limited much for effects blocks at same time

can use Helix patches

could use with GarageBand

Cons

difficult to set up for spontaneous, "live" playing

you'll want external MIDI footswitches (more expense) for real-time (not DAW automation) playing

ditto for wah/expression pedal

got to boot up everything to play

not-as-good resale power/value

you need a decent interface for you guitar (more expense)

 

Con for both

no VDI Variax, Variax control -- have to use your Variax via 1/4" git cord

 

BTW, Native has low latency (<10ms) , but only if you aren't running a bunch of other plug-ins and have your buffer set low

 

Or a Helix if you want luxury and can afford it.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, zolko60 said:

Native plugin latency (16 samples in Pro Tools) is lost in driver buffer so it does not add any latency. Modern audio interfaces are capable of going down to 3-7ms Round Trip Latency range. Even Helix hardware induces 1,8ms latency from analog in to analog out. 

 

This depends entirely on your setup. In my case, using the Helix Floor as my USB interface I typically set the buffer size to 128-256 samples to avoid any clicks/pops. This might be a little overkill, but since I haven't typically needed low latency, that's what I use. That's with an i7 and 32 GB of RAM. I suspect many people are less well-equipped with their computers and will not be setting the buffer to 16 samples without significant problems. So the point is that yes, it is theoretically possible to get low latency, but realistically it can be a factor for many people. To be clear, I was never talking about latency added by Native, I was talking about the computer and interface.

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Sorry to read that. The mobile 2nd gen i3 CPU, 4GB RAM should be fine on 128 buffer on decent modern interface with 3-7 latency. If it is not either hardware or driver sucks.

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1 hour ago, zolko60 said:

Sorry to read that. The mobile 2nd gen i3 CPU, 4GB RAM should be fine on 128 buffer on decent modern interface with 3-7 latency. If it is not either hardware or driver sucks.

 

Maybe I'm just too stuck in the early 2000s where 256 samples was on a good day :p I will have to experiment and see what I can do. I do know that I get pops and clicks trying to record on my Surface Pro with an i3 if I try to do anything less than 256, so that's probably why I set it there.

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HX Stomp is a compelling way to go as it includes a great USB interface, and all the Helix Amps, Cabs, and FX. Otherwise, Helix Native would be great. Unfortunately, the Line 6 30% software discount promotion ended last night. There's no knowing when they will again put it on sale, but it is very likely they will again in time.

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Thanks guys, really appreciate your help here on this one. I do agree that the HX Stomp is the way to go, i do have a Roland expression pedal which will probably do the trick. I dont use that many effects at once to be fair and the HX Stomp looks like it will fit the bill.

 

Ultimately i might end up getting a new Variax at some point which would save on loads of cables etc.

 

Question though, can you download presets etc like you could on Gearbox. I totally love doing that. I am assuming that if you can there is a half decent Gearbox type editor that can be used (is it HD Edit?). Looking on youtube at some of the effects, there is one called Harmony Delay which sounds amazing.

 

Lee

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1 hour ago, LeeWalker said:

 

Question though, can you download presets etc like you could on Gearbox. I totally love doing that. I am assuming that if you can there is a half decent Gearbox type editor that can be used (is it HD Edit?). Looking on youtube at some of the effects, there is one called Harmony Delay which sounds amazing.

 

Lee

 

You can download presets from Line 6's Customtone facility.  However you would have to make sure they're for the Stomp since full Helix presets won't work.  The editor for the Stomp is the HXEdit application which you download from Line 6.

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If you needed to know- High Sierra OS is the highest my late 2009 can use as well, and FYI it runs Native, Helix Editor, and most DAWs just fine. Getting Stomp I agree is the way to go, and I would own one too if not for owning Helix already. Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

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6 hours ago, LeeWalker said:

Ultimately i might end up getting a new Variax at some point which would save on loads of cables etc.

 

Just a reminder... the Stomp does not have a VDI port... only the full size Helix units do.

You would need to connect the Variax with a standard guitar cable.

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