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MarkJarvis

Helix vs AXFX 3, seriously...

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There will always be somebody better, faster. meaner, leaner with a bigger wein-errrrr anyway lol just spank the plank as Billy says. 

 

 

Quote

 

and I do like the idea of 'instant gratification' rather than have to tweek to get to that result. 

 


 

I do believe in options and so this isn't really a negative per se, but I have to ask... Why in the world would you buy an Axe FX then if you wanted instant gratification? That was one BIG reason I sold both the Ultra and FXII+XL, once you got there they sounded good. But I could never play anything without spending more time tweaking thousands of settings in the patch first. 

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My 2 cents towards your fractal purchase: 
I tried a friend's AXE II about a year ago. I had it at home for two weeks or so, making patches for him. I didn't really know the AXE and at first I didn't like how it reacted.
My closest tonal references at that moment were my Helix rig, my TriAxis rig and my tube amps, because that's what I was playing 95% of the time, and coming from that, I couldn't get the AXE to sound "right" (whatever that means for me) but then it clicked and I found my way around it. I came to like the tones I was creating, and my friend has been using them since, with some tweaks to adapt them to his playing and guitars.
In the end I liked it, it made a good impression on me. Did I feel like I was missing something not getting an AXE? Nope...
Let's call this friend A.
Enter friend B (more a colleague than a friend, though). He's back from trying every kind of amp and/or processor under the Sun... or so he sort of prides himself of. 
Always buying and selling gear, looking for the holy grail.
After having plexis, AC30s, 800s, 900s, Stiletto, several Fenders and many others from brands like H&K, Orange, Peavey or Laney, he swears by his Koch Twintone II for a long while.
Then he sells it and all his remaining pedals and buys an AXE I (the last iteration of version 1, I think). He keeps the AXE but buys a Laney Cub that he wants just for home but ends up buying pedals again and giging the Cub. Sells everything again, including the axe, and buys the last AXE II version (XL something). After a year of repeating that he doesn't miss real amps and whatnot, he's gonna buy an amp again, and a pedalboard... I just sit and watch... and play my Helix. and TriAxis... and... :-D
He always sounds good to my ears. I don't sound (or feel) good with his setups, his presets or his guitars.
He doesn't really sound or feel really good with my gear either, but once we tested my Helix with my mosvalve power amp and his Blackstar v30 artisan 4x12, he started tweaking the Helix and getting tones he felt good with. Same when he first tried my Helix here at home. He didn't like it at first, but was sounding better by the minute.

Friend B is not fully satisfied with AXE. He claims to be, but his deeds show otherwise. Although I don't ask him about it, everytime we talk about real amps or the tube preamps I've been getting for myself (Mesa Studio Pre, Marshall, ADA, Carvin, Digitech...) the conversation ends with him saying how satisfied he is with the AXE and how he doesn't miss the real amps a bit.
But he's getting an amp soon... And pedals.

Friend A is satisfied with AXE. Although he also has other stuff he likes to use. AXE is for convenience, he says.

Me, I'm satisfied with Helix. It doesn't feel 100% like the real stuff, but the difference is negligible once you know how to find the tones that compliment your playing.
I also use other stuff, pedals, rack stuff, heads, combos... I have no need for another brand of modeller, though.
I'm not buying an AXE III, or IV, or version N anytime soon... not because of FOMO anyway, I don't have FOMO. If I ever get one, I'm sure I'll make it sound right for me. 

Bottom line: There is great gear out there. At the point where modelling is now, it's hard to choose by raw "quality", but if you feel the AXE is the right thing for you, go ahead and buy it..
Best of luck. I sincerely wish it satisfies your needs and wants.

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Fear of missing out. FOMO.

 

LOL, I'm old school and had to look it up... Ya know, searching for the Holy grail of Tone may be justification for this. ; )

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On 2/14/2019 at 1:52 PM, phil_m said:

 

Well, that's good because I have no plans on buying an Axe FX III... :-) I actually think the confirmation bias goes the other way, too, though. The Axe FX III is billed as a premium product, so it has to be better, right? How many could pick out clips from each device if they weren't labeled accordingly?

 

Seriously, I have briefly considered selling some other stuff I have and picking up an Axe FX III, but I simply wouldn't use it enough. I wouldn't gig with it because I don't really want to go down the road of having a rack-based rig, and, well, I'm perfectly fine gigging with my HX Effects board and an amp or my Helix board alone. If I owned a studio, I would probably have an Axe FX III, a Kemper, and a Helix Rack and find uses for them all... Although, I have to say that I think sometimes we suffer from having too many options in front of us. Purposely limiting your options is sometimes a necessary step for being creative.

 

On 2/16/2019 at 5:52 AM, MLSoundLab said:

I use the Axe-Fx III, Helix LT and also the Kemper pretty much every day for tweaking guitar tones so I would say that I have a good sense of what they are capable of. Here's a comparison of the same exact guitar tones recreated based on a real tube amp on the Helix:

 

 

And the same done one an Axe-Fx III:

 

 

So ultimately in some cases "you can" make them perform in a very similar way. I think you would have a hard time saying which is which in a blindfold situation. The way real tube amps are tweaked is very different to how some of the "older" modelers are tweaked. It's not just about bass, middle, treble and gain. The amount of master, drive and saturation highly affects the overall brightness of all of these things and on certain master settings you'll find that bass, middle and treble don't do anything at all. This is realistic and I think both the Fractal and Helix work this way. Tweaking these modelers is not as simple as a result. So yes, having 5 times more amp models is definitely an advantage but there's a lot of versatility in every single amp model especially with Fractal and all the advanced controls. The advanced controls that I use the most on the Fractal are the graphic equalizers and low and high cuts inside the amp block. You can essentially do this with a Helix and EQ blocks but sure it would look nicer if it was all done inside the amp section. :) In the right hands you should easily pass as a real tube amp using either of these modelers.

 


I've got a Helix floor, Helix LT, and a  Axe FX III.

I have no problem getting great tones out of either brand.  I used to own a Kemper a few years ago as well.

This is far from my first rodeo with modelers.  I will say that two custom built tube amps I kept rarely get fired up for more than 10 minutes before I get tired of them and the pedals and go running back to my magic machines!

 

I'll give Axe III the sheer power and bells and whistles edge. However, nothing more powerful and better sounding than a Helix that fits in one backpack and is an ultra light rig with a single or dual guitar backpack case!

 

I really enjoy having all three units... If you can't get great tone out of any of them, you probably need to take up bass, drums, or keyboards... LoL!!!

 

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1 hour ago, spikey said:

Fear of missing out. FOMO.

 

LOL, I'm old school and had to look it up... Ya know, searching for the Holy grail of Tone may be justification for this. ; )

Nah, don't feel bad. I get the feeling you are around twice my age, and I didn't know what it mean't until you posted it.  Not that I really gave a damn, but that is a side point lol. 

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Being new to the world of amp modeling, it's good to see that the Helix, Fractal, Kemper, etc. crowd argues about the same stupid stuff as the Marshall, Fender, Mesa crowd.  

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I'd like to add another "perspective" to this debate. These modelers are tools and ultimately in the right hands I believe you can get amazing results with both. At the same time in the wrong hands you can make the most powerful units sound really bad as well. I don't understand these posts from some people in here containing a long video of using just one modeler and then saying "I can't get these sounds from the Helix". No offence but chances are that you couldn't get them from the Fractal either. I believe that a big part of the learning curve in every modeler is that guitarists are now forced to learn how to tweak good guitar tones or purchase tone packs.

 

I don't think it's a debate of "which one sounds better". If both can sound like real tube amps then there's no other comparison besides specifications and features and how they fit the specific user's needs.

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7 minutes ago, MLSoundLab said:

I don't understand these posts from some people in here containing a long video of using just one modeler and then saying "I can't get these sounds from the Helix". No offence but chances are that you couldn't get them from the Fractal either. I believe that a big part of the learning curve in every modeler is that guitarists are now forced to learn how to tweak good guitar tones or purchase tone packs.

 

I don't think it's a debate of "which one sounds better". If both can sound like real tube amps then there's no other comparison besides specifications and features and how they fit the specific user's needs.

I've seen SO many people over the last 10 years of using modelers buy one, click through presets and then be disheartened when it doesn't sound exactly like the artist they saw using the gear, or the YouTube demo video or whatever. They're just tools. Very, very, very advanced tools with lots of parameters and settings that need to be adjusted for every nuance of each individual player, just like an amp and individual pedals. Nobody just plugs into a Diezel with the settings wherever they are at random and achieves tonal nirvana, why would you expect to do that with a modeler. That's why people can make money selling artist packs and tone packs, because its easier for someone else to do the work.

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1 hour ago, gunpointmetal said:

I've seen SO many people over the last 10 years of using modelers buy one, click through presets and then be disheartened when it doesn't sound exactly like the artist they saw using the gear, or the YouTube demo video or whatever. They're just tools. Very, very, very advanced tools with lots of parameters and settings that need to be adjusted for every nuance of each individual player, just like an amp and individual pedals. Nobody just plugs into a Diezel with the settings wherever they are at random and achieves tonal nirvana, why would you expect to do that with a modeler. That's why people can make money selling artist packs and tone packs, because its easier for someone else to do the work.

This!

I wasn't thrilled with Helix when I first got it, but it didn't take me long to get past the hurdle. I didn't even bother with presets though. I basically powered through creating my own, and learning how to do that well on the Helix.  It wasn't instant as it was different than any other modeler I used, and parameters affected each other much more too. Now I am able to dial in tones that *I think* are really cool, and especially nice in tandem with other plugins. 

 

The closest I have come to buying presets is buying about a dozen cab IRs from 3sigma (which I am quite happy with). I still entertain the thought of buying the Helix preset pack from 3sigma, but that really isn't for the preset, its more for the "exclusive IRs made for Helix" that come with those presets. I might grab them during some holiday sale event like 4th July etc. 

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That's exactly it. There really wouldn't be a market for "presets" or "IR's" and so on if people didn't feel they were getting better results with them. I know I use my huge IR collection as a quick fix all the time. I don't really have to tweak for more than 2-3 minutes to get a realistic amp sound no matter what the modeler is. Also things don't have to be so complicated as I see some people even create tutorials on YouTube about how to create a good guitar sound with the Helix and using over a dozen blocks to get this one awesome sound. It definitely does not have to be that complicated. Just look at this video that I shot today and I'm only using the amp block with my own IR's:

 

 

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Oh...don't worry about me.  I'm just checking in to catch up on the drama going on in this thread.  I gotta fill my time somehow until the final season of 'Game of Thrones' starts later this year.....

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On 2/14/2019 at 1:02 PM, MarkJarvis said:

Hi All

Not trying to start trouble...I have been a very long time Line 6 user (POD 500 and Helix owner) but just listening to the 'stock' Fractal AXFX 3 sounds (263 amps) this thing kills...I just dont think there is any real comparison..maybe Line 6 can update Helix..and maybe its just me but damm I dont get that feeling listeing to the stock patches of helix or third party or my custom presets..

 

What do you guys thinK?

DEMO of Fractal AXFX 3 presets

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEPZIQ6Yqzk

No comparison? I get killer tones with my Helix. I'm addicted to gear and always want more and I find the helix quite satisfying. 

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8 hours ago, silverhead said:

Thanks for your generosity in making these available for free.

No worries. I want everyone to get a taste of how good your modeler "can be". And also to show you that it doesn't require a super complicated preset. I was able to get the sound by boosting the bass and mids and tweaking the sag and master. After all it's pretty simple but you just have to understand what all of these knobs do. I don't think these are the same revision Rectifier but you can make it sound like an old Recto like mine is.

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On 2/16/2019 at 12:36 AM, Kilrahi said:

What's next? Baby wipes?

 

Lmao...

 

This thread, in a nutshell: 

 

"If they're not Huggies baby wipes, they're crap... and I demand that you all prove me wrong!"

 

;)

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I own a helix,  and thinking I need to unload it.  I liked the video and sounds.  

I would avoid Line 6 products

beware buying these. I found out today as a registered owner of Helix LT, Helix Native will cost me $399 instead of the advertised $99. I alerted Line 6 customer service and they said there is nothing they can do.  My advice, don't even download the trial it will need to be uninstalled. 

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34 minutes ago, wismanus said:

I own a helix,  and thinking I need to unload it.  I liked the video and sounds.  

I would avoid Line 6 products

beware buying these. I found out today as a registered owner of Helix LT, Helix Native will cost me $399 instead of the advertised $99. I alerted Line 6 customer service and they said there is nothing they can do.  My advice, don't even download the trial it will need to be uninstalled. 


I assume you bought your unit used? Because, yes, if you did, and the original owner bought Native with the discount, then you aren’t eligible for the discount.

 

If you are talking about that was sold to you as new from a dealer, then you would still be eligible for the discount.

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Honestly, this thread is a stupid comparison.  

 

Helix - $1600 - includes everything you need

AXIII $2000 PLUS $150 for expression pedal PLUS $700 for the FC-12

 

For $2850 vs $1600, that AXIII should absolutely sound better.  

 

It's like comparing a Ford Mustang V6 to a Ford Mustang Cobra.  They will both get you from A to B, but one is more in price due to better components under the hood.  And by the way, no other listeners besides guitarists will be able to tell the difference.  

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On 9/16/2020 at 6:04 PM, wismanus said:

I own a helix,  and thinking I need to unload it.  I liked the video and sounds.  

I would avoid Line 6 products

beware buying these. I found out today as a registered owner of Helix LT, Helix Native will cost me $399 instead of the advertised $99. I alerted Line 6 customer service and they said there is nothing they can do.  My advice, don't even download the trial it will need to be uninstalled. 

Of course.  Makes perfect sense.  Avoid line6 products because you expected to get $300 dollars off a software product that was only on sale for those who bought the Helix new, with the unregistered software version of the product.  You expected the company to gift you something, and blame them when you made the mistake.

 

What gives you some special privilege?  Why should they give the deal on the software TWICE - losing $600 total, just because you think you deserve it, and then think the company is in some way at fault?

 

The sense of entitlement of some people.

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Well....

I sold my Helix and  got the axe FX 3 for about a year now. Yes, it kills Helix stock presets.... HOWEVER. I am still using my Native plugin and if you combine it with some good IRs from OH MLSL or other.... man ... this thing can sound soooo good. For me, axe3 is cool sounding with all its options, but its not as much comfortable to use as helix native is. Reamping with native is sooo easy and saves a lot of time. PLUS I canforce Helix native to sound exactly as Fractal AXE FX 3 unit. There is no difference in sound, native can produce exactly the same sounds if you know how to dial your tone. Honestly, AXE FX 3 has so many options etc, but 99% of the time I wont touch much settings. They are overwhelming at least. I have spend some days in the past turning the knobs on Axe3, but I ended up creating as much simple presets as I can. I wish that Fractal guys could brought their product as a VST plugin like Native, because atm I enjoy recording with NATIVE over the AXE FX 3.

 

COMPARING SOTCK PRESETS is very unfair. AXE FX3 uses IRs in stock presets and Helix uses its own kinda lollipop sounding simulation of an IR. If you spend like 12 hours messing with stock cabs on Helix, than maybe you will get some decent sounds....maybe....  But load some cool IRs into Helix or Native and...... It can be on pair with Axe3.

For me NATIVE is a winner in terms of price, easy of use and can sound like Axe FX 3. PERIOD.

Native and Axe FX 3 as well, both can sound exactly like Neural dsp. Comparing the freedom that native has and the price point....

But people who don't know how to dial the sound they want will choose the neural dsp, because it sounds good straigh out of the box and they don't mind the limitations or obvious cash grabs with archetypes.... I do like how they sound but I have done a comparition and  like I wrote before, both Helix and Axe 3 can sound exactly as Nolly's deafult preset.... The Neural DSP has this almost postproduction quality achieved by compressions and EQ within the signal chain, while both AXE and Native focus on delivering authenticity, which later can be processed to anyones likings.

 

ALL OF THIS is my honest opinion. I own AXE FX 3 as on the picture below, I had Helix Floor and I am using Helix native with Focusrite interface.

IMO Native is better than floor unit if you unlock its power by disabling the compatibility mode in options and combine it with a quality audio interface.

With Native all you record is actually a DI, which can be modulated with native via FX block on your trac which is so easy and comformtable to do.

With Axe3 on the other hand when you reamp you need to re-record the trac over and over again, after you made some changes, which is also nice option to have, but can take a lot of time if you are searching for the right tones......

 

The reason I sold Helix was that at that time I had no idea how to dial a good tone.... SAD BUT TRUE. So I went for AXE FX3. But now, after years of learning and experimenting I PROMICE TO YOU, if you know how to dial a tone you can get some crisp nice tones out of your old sneekers.

 

So all comes down to what is more comfortable for you.

 

I Paid for my axe fx 3 about  £2.4k form G66 website in Europe,  which is a rediculous price anyway....  For the helix native I have paid around £70 as a Helix floor user. I bought Helix floor for £1.2k and sold it for £900.... but anyway, giving that price difference between Native and AXE FX 3 and in the end they sound exactly the same while using same IRS.....  well... Just think about it.... If you compare sotck presets, than obviously Axe is a winner. If you really want to nail something, like the difference between helix and axe3.... you will finaly do it. Axe might be the better product overall, as it has more IR memory, more presets, has more effects, can deliver more. But it is pricey. AND TO BE HONEST, within a mix content you will hear NO DIFFERENCE. If you can afford AXE than do it, why not. If you are clever and have no money (which is odd) but anyway can happen, (we have some extreemly lazy people out there ;d) than Helix Native is all you need. For its easy of use, flexibility, IRS and superb sound quality. Its the best VST out there, because it can replicate the sound of NeuralDSP, Bias2, Amplitube and most satisfactionary a real amp..... while being very flexible...

 

I am not a fanboy of any of those products, I just simply tell my honest opionion based on my experience with recent technology.

For a short time in the past  I would call mysel Fractal fanboy, but later I realised If I am a fanboy, than definately I am a fanboy of current technology, because it saves me a lot of money, space and time by letting me use amp simulators and multieffects, which in the end sound as good or sometimes better than real rig and are joy to work with and record my guitars.

 

I HOPE this will help many of you to make a decision.

 

EDIT:

Here are some YT comparision and sound examples, so PLEASE don't tell me that Helix sucks, because literally it means that you suck at dialing your tones.

 

 

 

WhatsApp Image 2020-10-26 at 12.26.58.jpeg

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I got Helix because it's cheaper, familiar to me after coming from firehawk, interfaces with my Variax, had multiple reviews saying the UI was the easiest to use, and my band mate has one and honestly it's easier to have someone to share presets and tips with.

 

It wasn't even a debate for me.

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On 9/16/2020 at 9:04 PM, wismanus said:

I own a helix,  and thinking I need to unload it.  I liked the video and sounds.  

I would avoid Line 6 products

beware buying these. I found out today as a registered owner of Helix LT, Helix Native will cost me $399 instead of the advertised $99. I alerted Line 6 customer service and they said there is nothing they can do.  My advice, don't even download the trial it will need to be uninstalled. 

 

On 9/16/2020 at 9:38 PM, phil_m said:


I assume you bought your unit used? Because, yes, if you did, and the original owner bought Native with the discount, then you aren’t eligible for the discount.

 

If you are talking about that was sold to you as new from a dealer, then you would still be eligible for the discount.

 

I know this post is a bit old now but have a question for phil_m. Is it possible to transfer a Native license to a different user? I read through Line6's "Helix Native Terms and Conditions" license discount but could not find anything regarding license transfer.  Maybe I missed it.

 

To @wismanus - It sounds like you already contacted Line6 support and they may have already answered these questions but if it is possible for the person who sold you the LT to transfer their Native license to you the easiest path might be to contact them and offer them the discounted price they paid for Native to transfer the license(if they are willing).

 

If you have already attempted to negotiate with the original buyer or a transfer is not allowed I certainly understand your frustration @wismanus and sympathize but do not agree with warning other users to "avoid Line6 products".  The best thing that can be conveyed to other potential buyers for a used HX device is that if you anticipate using Native make sure to ask the seller if they already used the Native discount and act accordingly. I don't think Line6 is behaving poorly here as this is pretty much what I would expect of any company if a discount on an additional product has already been used by the original purchaser. Line6 licensing practices seem to generally be eminently reasonable and better and easier to navigate than many other companies I have dealt with. However as an assist to prospective used HX device buyers, "have you already used the Native discount?",  is definitely one of the questions they need to ask of the original owner before buying as it may justifiably figure into the price they are willing to pay if they plan to use Native. 

 

I realize this info may not be much use to you after the fact and a bit of a bitter pill.  If it's any consolation we've all been late(or early) to the party on a variety of products/services/companies and ended up missing out on some promotion.  As an earlier adopter I'm still waiting(and doubtless will be for eternity :-) for the free backpack that some later purchasers were lucky enough to get a bundled deal on. If you ended up keeping it the LT is still an amazing device  :-)

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@Vwuchykey  I generally don't expect the Helix to compete in every area to a device that costs way more but I have to admit I get a kick out of hearing that Native compares so favorably to the AXE FX3 in the sound department. Nice writeup!

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Yeah, all true, but also dont forget production costs arent really the same for Fractal and Yamaha/Line6. Price delta doesnt translate completely to a quality delta. This applies to everyhing in whatever industry.

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On 2/21/2019 at 1:43 PM, MLSoundLab said:

Here's a FREE PRESET AND IR to make your Helix sound like my real Dual Recto. In the video you'll hear a comparison between Helix and Axe-Fx III. I can definitely get them both sounding just like my Recto:

 

I just wanted to point out how tiny the kemper file is!  The cab model is roughly 50ish kB for both helix and axe (they should be similar, same concept).  The kemper which is the cab AND amp all rolled into one model made using their built in system is really tiny!  Very very interesting.... how the heck do they make their files so small?  It's the same sort of concept as making a cab model for helix or axe, after all... fundamentally...

 

just a "hmmm" point of interest observation by me, not a real discussion question.  I haven't bothered looking into how kemper saves it's files, or the specifics of the file data.  I would though presume that there is far less time, (fewer samples) in the kemper model compared to the cab models for axe and helix.  Just a guess though. Kempers tend to sound amazing, so it's not limiting anything...

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