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TheRealTomTom

Is the Helix what I need?

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Hello, 

 

I just saw the Andertons video on the Line 6 Helix HX. 

 

It looks interesting and from the video sounds pretty great. 

 

So I am in the position of having back and sciatica type issues and being in a gigging band.

 

My current set up is a large heavy case and board that contains a Mesa Boogie V-Twin (dist) Boss: Phaser, Chorus Ensemble, Flanger, Tremelo, Tuner, a Cry Baby Wah, Ditto Looper, Behringer Boost pedal, and a cheap APE-5 Delay pedal (I think or something similar) that I got for Xmas one year when I had a limited budget and no idea what I want. With that pedal I can't seem to get a good sound. I also have a Sansom Wireless system on it as well. 

 

I run it all into a Blackstar HT-Stage 100 head and Artisan Cab. 

 

It is all very heavy and takes up most of the stage when you play a pub and small venue. 

 

I am in the quandary of do I use my birthday money to just get a smaller pedaltrain board and just fit everything to that as best I can or do I get a good multi FX unit to replace it all (basically sell the other bit for parts, from what I see most pedals are about £40 and the V-Twin is £250/300 as it is discontinued, although mine has seen better days, works fine but can't ready any of the numbers on the dials any more).

 

I have seen the reviews and it looks great. Will it replace most/all of my pedals? 

 

As I now use a valve amp my need for the valve distortion is reduced and actually what I wanted recently was a few dirty grungy fuzz pedal and neither the amp or the v-twin get the sound I wanted (which was really just for one song!)

 

Is the Helix a good replacement for all this or an expensive option for what I am actually trying to do?

 

Thanks in advance.


Tom

 

(P.S it's the only photo I seem to have of my pedal board is old and changed about since then, some pedals have come and gone but for the idea of size you get the idea. This picture is before the wireless kit. So that now sits where the tremelo and flanger are. The pitch shift pedal (I think was a Boss PS-6) is gone, but actually would like something like that again, which I guess I would need the expression pedal for The delay pedal was my friends that I gave back.)

IMG_0665.JPG

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Can Helix do what you want? Yes. Whether or not you'll like it is another question entirely, and unfortunately there's only one way to find out. Modelers are very different from a tube amp and a bunch of pedals, and many players... probably most... have a rather steep learning curve to overcome at the beginning. Do not expect to pull it out of the box, plug in, and be instantly thrilled with what you hear. It almost never happens. Check out some youtube vids on patch creation... particularly Jason Sadites' channel. It'll very likely take toy a while to wrap your head around what to do, not to do, etc. 

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I think Helix LT would be ideal for you.  You can even use your stomp boxes in the FX loop if you have some you want to keep.

Helix sounds great and is easy to use, has the same processing as the bigger Helix, just fewer connection options (which are still abundant enough for many routing setups).

The effects pedals are effectively indistinguishable from the real thing, and so are the amps.  I have A/B'd some of the amps against Helix and many times could not tell which was which as I switched back and forth.

I have three Helix LT now (two at home and one at my vacation home).

I can freely move my patches from one to another (using HX Edit and a USB stick that came with Helix) so they are all effectively identical.

I still use my tube amps occasionally at my home studio with a UA OX Box, but Helix goes with me wherever I travel and is my primary rig.

You will need at least one solid P/A (FRFR) speaker for mono sound reproduction, two would allow for stereo use or louder sound.  For that I use Yorkville PS12p and PS10p along with the sub (PS18s) and it is just an awesome setup. The PS12P is a really powerful and clean full range speaker suitable for small to medium venues and even works well outdoors with plenty of bass and headroom (1400W program power, for real).

So if  I want to go streamlined and self-sufficient, I only have to carry my guitar, Helix, and one PS12P P/A speaker along with two cables (guitar>Helix and Helix>P/A), a pick, plus one cable for going XLR to FOH if desired.  Easy load in/out and setup/teardown.  The P/A speaker is the heaviest item, obviously but has awesome handles and is easy to carry - also if you are going direct to FOH, you wouldn't even need to bring the P/A speaker unless you want it as a stage monitor.

Hope this helps.

D

 

 

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Hey Tom,

 

Like you, I have to watch my back and have fought sciatica in the past (luckily beaten for now), and am most often playing in a small pub sharing the stage with 5 other musicians, so space is a premium.  My solution has been a Helix, run direct to front of house, with an Alto TS210 for some stage volume.  Like Eschworld said, if you have an excellent stage monitoring solution, a separate PA isn't necessarily, but the monitoring setup at our haunt is fairly limited, and I find I can't hear myself due to their position and the bodies between me and them.

 

My choice of the TS210 came down to one big factor that might also appeal to you: weight.  Alto's T-series seem to weigh much less than other comparable PA speakers. The TS210, for example, is only 22 lbs, while many other 10-inch PAs of similar wattage are closer to or even over 30 lbs, and its handles make it very easy to carry. Is it mind-blowing in terms of sound? Probably not.  But it is a back-pleasing option, and it's not a huge hit to the wallet if you later decide it's not quite good enough sound-wise.  My two cents.

 

For something even lighter... it also might be worth considering an HX Stomp. I haven't used one (wasn't around when I bought the Helix) so I can't say how intuitive it is compared to a Helix (which is really damn intuitive), but you can't get much lighter and smaller than an HX Stomp and 10-inch PA (if necessary).

 

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Thanks for the replies!

 

I was looking more for the Helix HX rather than the LT as I love my amp and even though moddlers are great these days (even though it is heavy) I am not sure I part with my true valves. 

 

It really was about compacting the pedalboard to have one unit that did it all for me. It looks like it would, but with practice. 

 

I think I need to try to get to a store that will let me try one out and see what I think of it. 

 

As a side note, I see it switches amps channels as well. Does anyone know it works with a Blackstar HT Stage?

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My story: I got the Helix LT for many of the reasons that you describe (space and back pain). The first few gigs, I used it simply as a replacement for my pedalboard (in conjunction with a Marshall DSL). Then, I went full modeling (no amp, Helix straight to our Mixer/pa). That was about 2 years ago, and I’m still using the LT straight to the mixer as my live rig. It works for me (remember that tone is very subjective).

 

I share this as food for thought- if you get the HX effects only, you are locked into hauling an amp; if you get an LT, you have choices if your circumstances change. I will say that I am very happy with the effects, and they work well in conjunction with a tube amp, but I am grateful that I have the amp modeling. Good luck with your tone journey! 

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1 hour ago, TheRealTomTom said:

Thanks for the replies!

 

I was looking more for the Helix HX rather than the LT as I love my amp and even though moddlers are great these days (even though it is heavy) I am not sure I part with my true valves. 

 

It really was about compacting the pedalboard to have one unit that did it all for me. It looks like it would, but with practice. 

 

I think I need to try to get to a store that will let me try one out and see what I think of it. 

 

As a side note, I see it switches amps channels as well. Does anyone know it works with a Blackstar HT Stage?

 

I think if you're dead set on keeping your amp setup then the HX Effects would work best for you. It'll be light and breezy lemon squeezy too . . .

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15 hours ago, steelstringer said:

My story: I got the Helix LT for many of the reasons that you describe (space and back pain). The first few gigs, I used it simply as a replacement for my pedalboard (in conjunction with a Marshall DSL). Then, I went full modeling (no amp, Helix straight to our Mixer/pa). That was about 2 years ago, and I’m still using the LT straight to the mixer as my live rig. It works for me (remember that tone is very subjective).

 

I share this as food for thought- if you get the HX effects only, you are locked into hauling an amp; if you get an LT, you have choices if your circumstances change. I will say that I am very happy with the effects, and they work well in conjunction with a tube amp, but I am grateful that I have the amp modeling. Good luck with your tone journey! 

 

 

The problem then is price. £350 vs £800 I just can't stretch that far!

 

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I recently became a Helix convert, sort of by necessity.  I'd been looking at the hardware units as I've had access to the native plugin for my studio for a while now.  Took the plunge and have played a couple of shows already with it.  I also recently had hand surgery on my right hand and cannot lift more than 5 pounds.  My regular amp rig is similar to yours (6 watt VHT tube head, 112 cab--each in their own road cases, a medium sized pedal board, and a case for carrying cables and other accessories, plus 2 guitars in hard cases).  Although the rig itself is "small", it's still quite heavy and unwieldy for me right now.  First gig with the Helix: showed up, plugged the board into power, plugged guitar cable into Helix, put my 2 guitars on a double guitar stand and I was DONE.  It took MAYBE 5 minutes and I could carry it all with one hand, however slow that would be.  I thought I'd miss having an amp behind me.  I don't.  Even without in ear monitors, which I use regularly, I get plenty of what I need from provided floor wedges.  Playing smaller clubs or pubs might be an issue, monitoring-wise, but so far I haven't had a problem.  My first show with it was a large outdoor stage with a huge system.  It sounded great.  The next show was in a smaller, indoor club.  It sounded great there, too.  And exactly the same as the first show.  A big annoyance for me is power variations in different venues creating tone anomalies, especially with pedals.  Doesn't happen with Helix.  Anyway, all this to say, if you don't wanna lug around an amp forever, the LT is probably your better option as you'll be able to phase out the amp in the future.  With the HX, you're stuck with the amp.  I hope this helps you.

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9 hours ago, TheRealTomTom said:

 

 

The problem then is price. £350 vs £800 I just can't stretch that far!

 

That is understandable. I went full blown Helix (bought it when they first came out) into a Blackstar Series One 104EL34 for a long time. And then added an Egnater Vengeance head to the mix to go stereo. It was a phenomenal setup. 80% of the time I used the 6 real tube channels from the heads, but it sure was nice to have the flexibility to add a lot of additional amplifier tones into the mix, such as Matchless, Friedman, Engl, Archon, etc. It just gave me way more flexibility.

 

Now I'm back on bass for gigging and I still use 4CM for my guitar rigs at home although that will change with the DT50 and the new update when it hits. 

 

I may go to gigging bass with the Helix and a EV ZLX112 cab for stage monitoring and see how that flies. It's gonna be hard to not use my Mesa Prodigy/Bergantino NV610 cab though. It sounds so good. But the Helix direct would be SO much easier.

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So I am selling off all my pedals and considering selling my head and cab to get the Helix LT.

 

I am worried about how it will stand up vs drums, bass and a real Marshall stack plus singer through a pub gig PA set up. 

 

I am also keen to see if anyone has used the OwnHammer IR's and what they think. I am (if I get this) going to get the heavy hitter 1 pack as it sounds awesome

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13 minutes ago, TheRealTomTom said:

So I am selling off all my pedals and considering selling my head and cab to get the Helix LT.

 

I am worried about how it will stand up vs drums, bass and a real Marshall stack plus singer through a pub gig PA set up. 

 

I am also keen to see if anyone has used the OwnHammer IR's and what they think. I am (if I get this) going to get the heavy hitter 1 pack as it sounds awesome

 

That depends entirely upon the quality of the amplification you are channeling it through. If you're pushing it through a Logitech S120 stereo speaker it'll sound like lollipop.  

 

OwnHammers are great. 

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2 hours ago, TheRealTomTom said:

So I am selling off all my pedals and considering selling my head and cab to get the Helix LT.

 

I am worried about how it will stand up vs drums, bass and a real Marshall stack plus singer through a pub gig PA set up. 

 

I am also keen to see if anyone has used the OwnHammer IR's and what they think. I am (if I get this) going to get the heavy hitter 1 pack as it sounds awesome

 

Selling off all your gear to finance something entirely different (and make no mistake, modeling is a whole other world) with which  you have little to no experience, is never a good idea... it might not end well.

 

Buy from a place (or perhaps rent one if it's an option) with a decent return policy so you can spend some time with it (a couple of weeks at a minimum, not a day or two) and decide if modeling is for you or not. You can always unload your existing gear after the fact. 

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3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Selling off all your gear to finance something entirely different (and make no mistake, modeling is a whole other world) with which  you have little to no experience, is never a good idea... it might not end well.

 

Buy from a place (or perhaps rent one if it's an option) with a decent return policy so you can spend some time with it (a couple of weeks at a minimum, not a day or two) and decide if modeling is for you or not. You can always unload your existing gear after the fact. 

I do understand this, however I can't afford to do one without the other. 

 

Basically, I'm selling the pedals because in all honesty, I never really used anything more then the chorus and mostly it was just because it read there. 

 

If I can keep the Mesa pedal I will. What I'm going to do is put it on the credit card and try the LT but if I don't like it within the 14 days (use it at practice) I will change it for just the helix HX to replace the pedals which I don't think it too drastic a jump.

 

My problem was the weight of the pedal board and my now very poor back!

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3 hours ago, TheRealTomTom said:

Basically, I'm selling the pedals because in all honesty, I never really used anything more then the chorus and mostly it was just because it read there. 

 

If money is a consideration, and since you aren't actually using much in the way of pedals and effects, you might want to take a look at the HX Stomp instead of the LT or HX Effects.

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I am worried about how it will stand up vs drums, bass and a real Marshall stack plus singer through a pub gig PA set up. 

 

Using stage monitors with individual feeds for each member? Done...

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