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Future Helix 2


mikefstewart
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Fwiw, in case Line 6 wanted to peak my interest in a follow up of the Helix (which I guess is completely irrelevant to them as I'm defenitely not a typical target user), it would have to feature these:

- Professional hardware. The current HX line is flawed with too many things that were simply chosen to save some bucks (in case someone's interested, I'd elaborate).

- Any kind of a "global block" functionality. It's one of the main reasons why I will likely switch to another modeler at one point in time.

- A mobile editing option. Crawling on the floor to adjust things simply s***s and I don't want to carry around a laptop all the time. I have at least one mobile device with me all the time anyway, so it's about time. At least give us an option to connect whatever apps. Fwiw, for me it'd likely be fine if such an option required a USB connection, but BT/Wifi would be welcomed.

 

It'd further be tempting if it had these:

- More options to achieve a bit more than bog standard guitar equipment modeling. Envelopes, LFOs, other modulation sources (especially input level), some more synth-alike blocks (at least a bunch of decent filters).
- Reverb IR loading. It completely escapes me why none of the top modelers allows for that, expecially given that even on my aging 2008 Macbook I can run a whole bunch of them simultaneously. Reverb IRs can be an endless source of joy in terms of sound design, especially in case you roll your own (which I happen to do a lot).

 

These things might take whatever sucessor to another level. Just more "accurate" amps and what not would be completely boring to me, and especially in case the hardware isn't improved, I wouldn't even be remotely interested.

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8 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

- Professional hardware. The current HX line is flawed with too many things that were simply chosen to save some bucks (in case someone's interested, I'd elaborate).

- Any kind of a "global block" functionality. It's one of the main reasons why I will likely switch to another modeler at one point in time.

- A mobile editing option. Crawling on the floor to adjust things simply s***s and I don't want to carry around a laptop all the time. I have at least one mobile device with me all the time anyway, so it's about time. At least give us an option to connect whatever apps. Fwiw, for me it'd likely be fine if such an option required a USB connection, but BT/Wifi would be welcomed.

Wow, I'm bypassing some of your post to focus on this.

1. How the heck is HX stuff not pro hardware? (I'm kinda calling BS on this)
2. "Favorites" isn't good enough to achieve this? What does it better? (I'm generally curious on this one)
3. It has been discussed to death why this isn't happening... (And neither Kemper nor Fractal nor QC has this, right?)

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1 hour ago, PeterHamm said:

1. How the heck is HX stuff not pro hardware? (I'm kinda calling BS on this)

 

- The XLR out can't deal with phantom power. Pathetic. No other unit in my arsenal (not even the <100 Zoom G3) has any such issues.

 

- Visibility under critical lightning conditions is absolutely horrible. Regarding that aspect, the Helix is the worst floor unit I've ever seen. It has clearly never been properly tested under any such conditions (or the outcome of those tests have been ignored, pick your poison).

 

- The switches aren't road ready. Countless reports of replacements. Same goes for the joystick (which, btw, serves no purpose anyway, joysticks are needed to allow for diagonal movements, for anything else 4 arrow buttons would be just as fast - the joystick is offering movements in 7 directions, which is like asking for things to break, unless it's military grade, which it clearly isn't). Out of 7 Helix user I know personally (ok, make that 3, the other 4 are ex Helix users), 6 had to have their units serviced, myself included (Tap Tempo switch broken), Line 6 support in Europe is downright horrible (one guy I know waited for 2 months).

 

- The EXP pedal, while rugged, is a really critical thing (let alone an entire LT production run with pretty much 100% broken pedals). The toe switch on mine requires massive pressing by now and you can't recalibrate it (which is great on Boss units - and yes, it includes the switch sensivity).

In a nutshell, all moving parts aren't built to last.

 

- The mic preamp often breaks in case you are lucky enough to reach for the wrong combination of plugging a mic in and activating phantom power (it's even reported somewhere here).

 

- The audio interface performs worse than a 50 bucks Behringer. No way you could ever do software monitoring through it at latencies of 15+ ms.

 

- Apparently, the little plastic piece in the middle of the USB port often comes off (also reported in this forum).

 

But hey, keep calling BS (and I might've even forgotten some parts).

 

1 hour ago, PeterHamm said:

2. "Favorites" isn't good enough to achieve this? What does it better? (I'm generally curious on this one)

 

You have been asking this before and I have explained it in great detail already. "Favourites" and "global blocks" are almost fundamentally different. In a nutshell, I want to change whatever parameter in one patch and see this reflected in all other patches using the same "globalized" block. Doing this via favourites would take ages whereas with global blocks it requires adjusting whatever parameter once.

 

1 hour ago, PeterHamm said:

3. It has been discussed to death why this isn't happening... (And neither Kemper nor Fractal nor QC has this, right?)

 

And my personal outcome of any of these discussions has always been that it's just Line 6 being stubborn. Others not having it isn't an excuse. Besides, for the Fractal units there's FracPad.

Fwiw, I can almost "hack" myself a sufficient mobile editor by connecting a smartphone or tablet via USB and adjusting things via MIDI (using an appropriate app). But that's completely pointless because each parameter controlled by MIDI becomes a "victim" of snapshots. Which is simply stupid (no way to call it any different as it serves absolutely no purpose others than getting in the way).

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14 minutes ago, PierM said:

OMG. I pop here every now and then, and every time I find the same redundant and verbose rants from the same people, again and again and again.... What a pain in the a....

 

Pro tip: Just stop popping in every now and then. You can thank me later.

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1 hour ago, SaschaFranck said:

And fwiw, in case you were refering to my "rant" (which it actually isn't, but let's not get into that), for obvious reasons this should be repeated - it's the only way Line 6 might one day respond (or not, but in that case it's obvious what their preferences are).

 

I get that, and you are not, imho, anywhere near 100% off base.

EXP Pedal? It's why I have the rack (which is, imho, the true "pro" solution anyway), so I can choose my own.

Phantom Power? I think that everyone in a live environment should be using the 1/4" out to a DI anyway, solves more than just phantom power issues. But I'll bet money that problem goes away the next time around in some form or fashion.

iOS or Android editor? Nah. Just another platform for them to support. BT was too slow when it was being developed, and I bet few enough users want or need this to make it worth upping the price of the unit to support it. WiFi? Yeah, probably, I could see that.

Global Blocks? EXCELLENT idea. They should incorporate this if they can. But I know I'll never use it, because I don't ever want all my presets to change automatically, but I can see this as super useful.

We need cantankerous souls like you to think of the stuff that we all want but don't know it yet, so keep on keepin' on.

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12 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

EXP Pedal? It's why I have the rack (which is, imho, the true "pro" solution anyway), so I can choose my own.

 

Other modelers don't have that issue. And I'm using the Floor due to "professional" reasons, if you will (better transportability = better job flexibility).

Regardless, in case there's an onboard EXP pedal, it should work just fine, especially on a 1.5k unit. The ones of my decades old GT-5 and GT-10 still work perfectly fine.

 

13 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

Phantom Power? I think that everyone in a live environment should be using the 1/4" out to a DI anyway, solves more than just phantom power issues. But I'll bet money that problem goes away the next time around in some form or fashion.

 

Well, usually balanced XLR outs are there just for that purpose, to save you from using extra DI boxes. At least that's what most people usually use them for. And they should not have issues with phantom power, regardless of what you use them for.

 

20 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

iOS or Android editor? Nah. Just another platform for them to support.

 

They'd only have to publish a common communication protocol. 3rd party editors would follow (look at the inofficial Zoom editors). Besides, Boss is doing fine in case of mobile support.

 

23 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

But I know I'll never use it, because I don't ever want all my presets to change automatically, but I can see this as super useful.

 

Fwiw, they would not change automatically. They would only change all at once in case you've decided to set a block to "global" in multiple patches. And quite obviously, you'd still be able to use the same block in a normal non-global fashion. Again the way Boss does it is excellent.

 

22 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

We need cantankerous souls like you to think of the stuff that we all want but don't know it yet, so keep on keepin' on.

 

No worries, I will.

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10 minutes ago, mtyrrell1982 said:

Why is this? I XLR out to the desk, am I doing it wrong?

 

No, you're not. It's the basic purpose of balanced XLR outs on all units I know. Just that the Helix XLR out can't deal with phantom power, which might become a big problem in case it can't be turned off per channel on the receiving console (many smaller ones only allow for global PP switching).

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13 minutes ago, mtyrrell1982 said:

Why is this? I XLR out to the desk, am I doing it wrong?

Wrong? No.

BUT... if you aren't sure what the sound guy is doing, or if they know what they are doing, and it's an unfamiliar room, you can easily have problems with phantom power, impedance, and level that the sound guy can't figure out (because he doesn't know about the mic/line switch, the pad, or maybe the desk has mic-only inputs, there are tons of things that can go wonky.

All of that is basically mitigated or eliminated by going 1/4" out to a quality DI, and you will sound just as good.

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16 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

Reverb IR loading. It completely escapes me why none of the top modelers allows for that, expecially given that even on my aging 2008 Macbook I can run a whole bunch of them simultaneously.

 

The amount of memory needed for reverb is far more than a cabinet (especially if you want decent high-frequency response). I make my own reverb impulses; a 4-second tail requires about 170,000 samples. Several of my impulses use 300,000 to 400,000 samples. Perhaps manufacturers think not enough people would use this feature to justify the cost of additional memory, especially if a device already includes multiple algorithmic reverbs.

 

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7 minutes ago, Anderton said:

The amount of memory needed for reverb is far more than a cabinet (especially if you want decent high-frequency response). I make my own reverb impulses; a 4-second tail requires about 170,000 samples. Several of my impulses use 300,000 to 400,000 samples.

 

I'm aware of all that. But when you think about it, those are still neglectable amounts in terms of size. I mean, these days we're talking several GBs on even the cheapest computers. And IMO it'd be fine if you could always only load one longer IR at a time, the rest could sit on whatever cheaper flash memory.
And fwiw, there's already been the now discontinued Logidy Epsi, allowing for a maximum IR length of 5 seconds in a 200 bucks device - so it should be pretty much doable.

 

12 minutes ago, Anderton said:

Perhaps manufacturers think not enough people would use this feature to justify the cost of additional memory, especially if a device already includes multiple algorithmic reverbs.

 

Unfortunately. I've got some IRs that simply can't even remotely be reverse engineered (if you will) by algorithmic reverbs. Just recently I started creating some from blending various shepard tone alike samples - pretty astounding (if you haven't already, check that out - a nice plugin to create shepard tone-ish things would be Corkscrew from Anarchy Effects, it's free). I also got incredibly great IRs from frogs I recorded. And from a crumbled plastic liquorice bag (could post sound examples, it's quite astounding, doesn't sound as one probably would expect).
Whatever, these are just a few MBs, so even in case some highly specialized RAM is used, it shouldn't add too much to the overall cost.

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32 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

All of that is basically mitigated or eliminated by going 1/4" out to a quality DI, and you will sound just as good.

 

Err, you could run into the same leveling issues as on the XLR out and there's no risk of impedance mismatching when using the XLR outs, either. They're really nothing else but a built in DI - just with added phantom power issues.

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1 hour ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Err, you could run into the same leveling issues as on the XLR out and there's no risk of impedance mismatching when using the XLR outs, either. They're really nothing else but a built in DI - just with added phantom power issues.

Disagree.

In my experiences connecting Helix to a PA, sometimes with XLR out, other times with a DI, I have had to futz and take up more of the sound guy's time than I wanted to connecting XLR every single time. With the DI, he just gets the level he's looking for, and I've literally never had an issue.

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9 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

In my experiences connecting Helix to a PA, sometimes with XLR out, other times with a DI, I have had to futz and take up more of the sound guy's time than I wanted to connecting XLR every single time.

 

Others than the phantom power issue, there's not exactly a logical explanation for that. Having said that, as soon as I knew it'd be safe to use the XLR out (after ensuring there's no PP running), I never even once had a problem with the XLR outs.

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3 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Others than the phantom power issue, there's not exactly a logical explanation for that. Having said that, as soon as I knew it'd be safe to use the XLR out (after ensuring there's no PP running), I never even once had a problem with the XLR outs.

Sure there is, the signal coming from my DI is a totally different kind of signal than what comes from those balanced outputs. 

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1 hour ago, SaschaFranck said:

And fwiw, there's already been the now discontinued Logidy Epsi, allowing for a maximum IR length of 5 seconds in a 200 bucks device - so it should be pretty much doable.

 

Just about anything is doable, but the question is whether something is worth doing from a market demand/cost/tradeoff standpoint. I doubt the Epsi would have been discontinued if there had been demand from people to add long IRs to their pedalboard setup, and if they considered it so important they were willing to pay $200 for a device that did only that.

 

With Helix, any RAM used by longer IR samples means that memory couldn't be used for functionality that end users might prefer compared to loading long IRs.

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1 minute ago, Anderton said:

Just about anything is doable, but the question is whether something is worth doing from a market demand/cost/tradeoff standpoint. I doubt the Epsi would have been discontinued if there had been demand from people to add long IRs to their pedalboard setup, and if they considered it so important they were willing to pay $200 for a device that did only that.

 

I think the Logidy's marketing was pretty bad. I mean, back a few years I was actively looking for such a unit, couldn't even find it through a normal search, took a hint from a forum.

Apart from that, I think you really need to demonstrate what IRs can do properly. There's so much more to them but the plain old boring hyperrealistic reverbs - just that very little folks seem to know about.

 

3 minutes ago, Anderton said:

With Helix, any RAM used by longer IR samples means that memory couldn't be used for functionality that end users might prefer compared to loading long IRs.

 

Sure, with the current HX hardware, it'd be no option at all. But we're talking about a future incarnation here. Adding some more RAM should be a rather trivial thing (adding some storage space for unused IRs should be even more trivial).

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20 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Different as in? Please elaborate.

The level/impedance are lower enough that I have never had a problem plugging into any mixer this way (I use a pair of Whirlwind IMP2 passive DI).

I can't say the same for the XLR outs, regardless of Line/Mic setting.

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45 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

I don't have time for that kind of thing when I find something that always works I just kinda stick with it.

 

Let me quickly recap that: You're making a statement about there being a very noticeable difference in terms of impendances, possibly even leading to "impedance mismatching" when using the XLR outs of the Helix - without even knowing the impedance? Awsome! Let me just quote what you wrote when you jumped into this discussion (and on me):
 

12 hours ago, PeterHamm said:

(I'm kinda calling BS on this)

 

Yeah well...

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13 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

Fwiw, this is precisely how myths spread.

all due respect, I don't measure crap like that, but you are not arguing with my opinion on this, you are arguing with my experience. And, it's not only mine, as I've learned. Others have tried both, too.

 

I shared my experience, and in my experience, there is a difference, and in my experience, the 1/4" -> DI solution has worked in environments where going XLR direct was problematic. Probably a half-dozen to a dozen environments where I've been able to test

That's my experience. Maybe not yours. But you can't say my experience didn't happen.

And less than 2 weeks before Christmas, (I work in a church) I am neither setting all this crap up to measure, nor am I engaging this thread anymore... just don't have the time.

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15 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

you are arguing with my experience.

 

No, I'm not. I'm arguing with your statements. Posting something about impedance mismatching (which, for whatever it might be worth, is very unlikely to be the reason of your experiences, unless you're constantliy gigging through whatever ancient and esoteric consoles) and not exactly knowing anything about any values involved - well, sorry, but that's pure speculation, nothing else. And that's not helping anyone.


I have done quite some tests (I do have regular access to quite some consoles, one of my rehearsal room mates does live mixing and keeps his stuff in that very rehearsal room, I also own 3 smaller mixers myself) and my findings were that the XLR outs are just fine and that I could absolutely stop using any kind of DI boxes (I own quite some of them). If it wasn't for the phantom power issue.
 

Based on my personal findings, anything else (apart from flakey cables, stageboxes and whatever there might be) is almost exclusively related to levels - and fwiw, this is where I'm even with you, at least to a certain extent. Most DI boxes offer some attenuation (the Klotz one I use the most even has two attenuation options), which occasionally comes in very handy. And apart from me getting tired of asking the sound guys to look out for phantom power and switch it off (which they sometimes forget, I even had it with a digital console that it was turned back on after a power on/off cycle that happened just before the gig...), that very attenuation option is precisely what speaks in favour of a DI box, simply because the differences between line and mic level on the Helix are pretty huge (and I reserve the big volume knob for my monitor level), sometimes so much the FOH guy might struggle to get the level just right (on paper, it shouldn't be an issue, but oh well, that's on paper...). So I usually start with line level and no attenuation. In case the level is too hot, I've got two attenuation levels, so far these have always brought me in the "perfect" ballpark.

In a nutshell: Most of the times I'm actually running my Helix exactly like you do - but that's got nothing to do with impedance mismatching, it's simply a result of a mix between the phantom power issue and ease of leveling. In case phantom power was no issue, I'd possibly kick the DI box out and do the leveling on my output block (I'm never switching patches live, apart from the occasional gig when I also bring an acoustic).

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Fwiw, something I'd really like to see is a direct communication between the Hardware and the native version. Should obviously be bidirectional, so any changes made on either side would automatically be reflected on the other side. You could as well just save the always open HX Edit (at least I have it opened all the time). All hardware options could be hidden in the plugin until you actually engage such a "link" mode (should only be available for one plugin instance at a time to avoid confusion).
That'd likely be the most comfortable recording and reamping setup ever.

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Interesting topic. It wouldn't surprise me at all if someone's experience was that going into an XLR input seemed to present more variables than going into line-level ins. Not all XLR inputs are the same. Some use transformers, some are active. If they use transformers, there are additional variables (transformer quality, input impedance, capacitances within the windings and from inputs to ground, and non-linearity at different frequencies). There's far less variability among 1/4" line-level mixer inputs, although I doubt impedance is the main culprit with XLR inputs. Level issues are far more likely.

 

This isn't to say anyone is "wrong" or "right." It reminds me of a heated discussion between two musicians at a studio. One said cables made a huge difference in the sound. The other said they didn't - wire is wire. I said to them "I've been hearing your argument. You play guitar (pointing at the guy who said cables affected the sound)...and you play keyboards (pointing at the guy who said they didn't make a difference)...right?" They were amazed. "How did you know"? :)

 

Let's get back to Helix. There's a mic in and a 10-band EQ. How about a vocoder in Helix 2?

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15 minutes ago, Anderton said:

It wouldn't surprise me at all if someone's experience was that going into an XLR input seemed to present more variables than going into line-level ins.

 

Yeah, but the point is, when running a DI box, you're usually feeding an XLR in as well. Alternatively, you're feeding a stagebox - and on the console end the signal could be routed into whatever inputs. But then, the very same is true for the XLR outs.

17 minutes ago, Anderton said:

There's a mic in and a 10-band EQ. How about a vocoder in Helix 2?

 

Sure. I'm all for it. I'd rather prefer some other synth-ish options to be added before that, though (already mentioned them, decent filters and all sorts of modulators being the most important things).

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  • 1 month later...

One thing I'd love to see in a Helix 2 is, instead of one Hi-Z input and one line level input, two individually switchable inputs. This would greatly increase the flexibility of the Helix:

1) You could have two guitars connected at the same time

2) You could use it with the Rick-O-Sound feature on Rickenbacker instruments. *

2) You could re-amp two individual guitar tracks (or a stereo track) simultaneously.


* For those who aren't familiar with Rico-O-Sound. It is the capability of sending the bridge and neck pickups to two amplifiers (or two models in the Helix) independently.

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2 hours ago, Svenisak said:

One thing I'd love to see in a Helix 2 is, instead of one Hi-Z input and one line level input, two individually switchable inputs.

 

It already exists, it's just not "labeled" as such.  You can use any one of the RETURNS on a Helix as an input... each can be set as Instrument or Line level... along with a little fine tuning of each. 

 

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11 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

It already exists, it's just not "labeled" as such.  You can use any one of the RETURNS on a Helix as an input... each can be set as Instrument or Line level... along with a little fine tuning of each. 

 

Yes, and I do this with my 2-voice guitars... BUT... you can't use the Auto-Z feature on a Return input, AND... you can't use the tuner if the instrument you are tuning is only connected there.

I think this is a great idea!

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11 hours ago, codamedia said:

 

It already exists, it's just not "labeled" as such.  You can use any one of the RETURNS on a Helix as an input... each can be set as Instrument or Line level... along with a little fine tuning of each. 

 

Yes, you can. But, appart from PeterHamm's points, you loose one (or more) FX loops(s). Having one dedicated Hi-Z  input and one dedicated Line level input, makes no sense to me. This is an uneccessary limitation. Having indepentently switchable (between Hi-Z and Line level) inputs, would be a much better option. At least, in my opinion.

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7 minutes ago, PeterHamm said:

BUT... you can't use the Auto-Z feature on a Return input, AND... you can't use the tuner if the instrument you are tuning is only connected there.

 

Correct about the Auto-Z... I tend to forget about that because I don't use it :)

As for tuning... Returns aren't included when "multi" is chosen but they can be assigned - which means they are connected. Inconvenience maybe (you do need to bend over), but it's still possible. 

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On 12/15/2021 at 5:47 PM, SaschaFranck said:

...

- Reverb IR loading. It completely escapes me why none of the top modelers allows for that, expecially given that even on my aging 2008 Macbook I can run a whole bunch of them simultaneously. Reverb IRs can be an endless source of joy in terms of sound design, especially in case you roll your own (which I happen to do a lot). ...

 

Would love to see the capacity to load large Reverb IRs!

 

On 12/16/2021 at 10:10 AM, Anderton said:

 

The amount of memory needed for reverb is far more than a cabinet (especially if you want decent high-frequency response). I make my own reverb impulses; a 4-second tail requires about 170,000 samples. Several of my impulses use 300,000 to 400,000 samples. Perhaps manufacturers think not enough people would use this feature to justify the cost of additional memory, especially if a device already includes multiple algorithmic reverbs.

 

 

It is interesting that in the modeling world we readily accept and embrace the idea that the unit we purchase today may/will receive firmware/software updates to increase its functionality and performance but the notion of a modeler that allows hardware upgrades still for the most part is rejected as heresy.

 

It would be great to see a top tier modeling company at least attempt an offering of a modeler that takes a modular approach, where a user can upgrade the parts in addition to the firmware. Add more or faster RAM and DSP, or a daughterboard if you need/want more capability, leave it stock if you don't. The same approach PC's have been taking for decades. Eventually, even with swapping in more/faster memory, DSP, etc., your modeler might become outdated or obsolete but in the meantime you would have greater flexibility to add the capacity for more hardware intensive processing - features other players might not be interested in, for example loading larger IRs, addition of polyphonic blocks without compromising what can fit in a preset ,  additional banks of presets or IRs, less latency, additional or alternate I/O options, etc.. Ultimately you might be swapping out even the mainboard to take advantage of a manufacturers next generation of modeling. Still probably less expensive than buying a whole new device.

 

The modeler's developers would be able to take advantage of the beefed-up hardware by designing more advanced features for the segment of their user base with the upgraded hardware to enable it. Just the way other types of computer based software work ok on a basic hardware platform but execute more rapidly or have more capability on upgraded hardware. You would be able to tack on a few years of usability and increased capability to your modeler. Same way you can keep a PC chugging along for a bit longer by upgrading the parts.

 

Once you have found the hardware chassis with the types of switches, buttons, lights, display, durability, form factor, etc. that you like, why not be able to swap out the guts periodically and keep it current? I suppose one hurdle would be ensuring that the system was flexible enough to take advantage of the upgraded hardware. A huge drawback and disincentive for modeler companies would also be the potential for third party manufacturers to undercut their prices for part upgrades. Or worse yet, provide an entirely different main board with all of the attendant support issues that might instigate. Third-party RAM or DSP offerings that were incompatible would provide a similar challenge. I can see the potential for this being a support nightmare, especially in the early days. Still, I think eventually someone will attempt this approach and if they get it right it might have quite a futureproofing appeal to musicians.

 

I don't think this is a unique or original concept, it must have been batted around in a few design meetings by now. Anyway, that is quite enough for tonight's episode of 'Mystery Science Theater'.

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On 1/20/2022 at 3:51 AM, HonestOpinion said:

It is interesting that in the modeling world we readily accept and embrace the idea that the unit we purchase today may/will receive firmware/software updates to increase its functionality and performance but the notion of a modeler that allows hardware upgrades still for the most part is rejected as heresy.

 

Interestingly, Helix was deliberately overdesigned, with a lot of memory that was unused initially. It put the unit at a price disadvantage when it was introduced, but that's also the reason why Line 6 can keep updating it. So I guess it qualifies as a gamble that paid off.

 

There have been memory expansions and ROM updates for synthesizers over the years, but computer-based devices are becoming less modular in general. The soldered-in RAM in the Mac M1 laptops isn't just to encourage you to buy more RAM initially, it also improves performance. System-on-Chip (SoC)-based devices integrate what used to be disparate elements into a single piece of silicon. Although many Android phones allow for memory upgrades using SD cards, those are really just holding tanks for data, they're not tightly integrated with the phone. 

 

Another consideration is that including something like multi-pin connectors to accept a daughterboard, more chips, etc. is not trivial or inexpensive. So, that would raise the price with no perceived benefit until the unit offered hardware updates. Also, remember that Apple makes its own silicon, and Microsoft works closely with Intel. I don't know how much leverage a company like Line 6 would have with a company like Analog Devices to be privy to future plans, or be given priority in terms of expansion options. And you're right on target that it could be a support nightmare!

 

Windows desktop machines are still pretty modular, but becoming less so in terms of being able to mix and match disparate components. I'm not saying upgradable hardware is impossible by any means, just that it's gotten more complicated than when you could add a Radias board and FireWire ports to a Korg M3 :) It also may be a problem in a market that has become so price-sensitive. So I think those may be some of the reasons why companies are reluctant to get into hardware upgrades. 

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On 1/20/2022 at 4:51 AM, HonestOpinion said:

It is interesting that in the modeling world we readily accept and embrace the idea that the unit we purchase today may/will receive firmware/software updates to increase its functionality and performance but the notion of a modeler that allows hardware upgrades still for the most part is rejected as heresy.

 

 

 

I wouldn't call it heresy... but it would almost certainly be a logistical nightmare. Who would actually be doing these hardware upgrades, and at what cost?... surely not the end user. Hell, there's a sizeable contingent for whom successfully navigating a completely non-invasive firmware update is a bridge too far, because on a good day they can't find their own a$$ with both hands and a hunting dog.... and now we're handing them a Phillips head and a soldering iron? What could go wrong? ;)

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3 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

I wouldn't call it heresy... but it would almost certainly be a logistical nightmare. Who would actually be doing these hardware upgrades, and at what cost?... surely not the end user. Hell, there's a sizeable contingent for whom successfully navigating a completely non-invasive firmware update is a bridge too far, because on a good day they can't find their own a$$ with both hands and a hunting dog.... and now we're handing them a Phillips head and a soldering iron? What could go wrong? ;)

 

LOL, indisputable, yet somehow the PC industry has made it work. Not however without many a CPU returned or trashed for bent pins on installation, "bricked" computers that were nothing more than poorly seated RAM, etc.. Definitely plenty of room for user error with this model. I would say that for many guitarists who are not that facile with updates, they are however good with their hands and might find seating a couple of parts considerably easier than, for example, an early days Line6 firmware upgrade. Please, no soldering, down that road lies madness.

 

Still, the capacity for hardware upgrades incorporated into modelers has a certain appeal. One alternative approach to this, particularly rack-mount friendly, might be a "universal" chassis with standardized modular seating for parts with a dead-simple slip in module approach like the Synergy amp in the link below. No disassembly or soldering required. If you really want to get far out, cross manufacturer offerings - a modeler that is a Helix today, a Fractal next month, a Quad Cortex the month after that, and then back to the Helix. Almost certainly never going to happen but if there is any place to speculate on next-next gen modelers the Helix 2 topic seems like it.

 

Synergy SYN-50 50-watt 4-channel Tube Head | Sweetwater

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