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nolasludge

Thinking about buying a Firehawk

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I am considering purchasing a Firehawk, but I have a few questions. 

 

First, I will describe what my intentions are.  I play in 2 bands.  A metal/hardcore original music band, and an 80s glam metal cover band. I plan on using the Firehawk as my main rig for the hardcore/metal band utilizing the modeling software.  For the cover band, I play a 6505+ and plan on using the Firehawk as an effects processor only.  My tone will come from my amp and cab, but I will be using patches and stomp modes for my leads and other various needed effects for different songs.  Additionally, I would like to use the Firehawk as a backup to my amp. 

 

My main question is whether or not the lag between switching patches has been fixed.  I don't want there to be a noticeable gap between my base tone (amp's tone with a patch containing chorus and reverb) and my lead tone (patch with a boost, and a delay). Is the lag still an issue?

 

Also, is the Firehawk practical for what I want it for, or am I better off getting the HD500X instead? From what i understand the HD500X does not have a lag issue between patches. 

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I think the Firehawk is practical for what you want, but I don't think it's designed for what you want.

 

There is a delay between presets. It wasn't designed to switch presets in seconds to go between a lead or rhythm, or high gain and low gain - it was designed to mimic a simple pedal board where you might engage an overdrive pedal to go from clean to distortion, or turn on a compressor to get your lead tone to cut through the mix. It has a little more flexibility than a simple pedal board because you can tie effects settings to the expression pedal - or attach another expression peal so that two different areas can be tweaked at once (for example, you can tie one expression pedal to the gain on a compressor, and another expression pedal to the amount of delay in the mix) - but whatever you do is done on a single chain.  If you switch presets, it's in between songs, not mid song. 

 

While I personally think the HD500x is a more powerful device and can come closer to what you want, to be clear, in my opinion none of Line6's devices are designed to have preset switching be the way to go. Not even the mighty Helix. Preset switching is done in between songs when the small but still noticeable delay exists. Then within the song you have a single chain that you modify as you go, with the most versatile being the Helix and it's huge chain possibilities, especially when you take into account the power of snapshots. 

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23 hours ago, Kilrahi said:

I think the Firehawk is practical for what you want, but I don't think it's designed for what you want.

 

There is a delay between presets. It wasn't designed to switch presets in seconds to go between a lead or rhythm, or high gain and low gain - it was designed to mimic a simple pedal board where you might engage an overdrive pedal to go from clean to distortion, or turn on a compressor to get your lead tone to cut through the mix. It has a little more flexibility than a simple pedal board because you can tie effects settings to the expression pedal - or attach another expression peal so that two different areas can be tweaked at once (for example, you can tie one expression pedal to the gain on a compressor, and another expression pedal to the amount of delay in the mix) - but whatever you do is done on a single chain.  If you switch presets, it's in between songs, not mid song. 

 

While I personally think the HD500x is a more powerful device and can come closer to what you want, to be clear, in my opinion none of Line6's devices are designed to have preset switching be the way to go. Not even the mighty Helix. Preset switching is done in between songs when the small but still noticeable delay exists. Then within the song you have a single chain that you modify as you go, with the most versatile being the Helix and it's huge chain possibilities, especially when you take into account the power of snapshots. 

Thank you for the reply.  I have to admit, I'm a little put off by this.  It seems like a major oversight to not have the capability to do what every other multi-effect can do.  The whole point in getting a multi-effects unit is to avoid the stompbox tap dance when you want to turn on multiple effects at the same time.  If none of Line 6's products can activate multiple effects at the same time without noticeable lag, then I will probably be looking elsewhere.  Even the crappiest Digitech effects processors can switch without lag.  

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7 minutes ago, nolasludge said:

Thank you for the reply.  I have to admit, I'm a little put off by this.  It seems like a major oversight to not have the capability to do what every other multi-effect can do.  The whole point in getting a multi-effects unit is to avoid the stompbox tap dance when you want to turn on multiple effects at the same time.  If none of Line 6's products can activate multiple effects at the same time without noticeable lag, then I will probably be looking elsewhere.  Even the crappiest Digitech effects processors can switch without lag.  

 

I disagree that's "the whole point."

 

I'll put the snapshots of Helix up against any rig anywhere anytime, and the Firehawk FX remains exactly what it claims a simple, but powerful, multi effects unit.

 

Still, that's the great the about a huge market of choice. If you have to have one way of doing things, well, someone out there probably does it.

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11 minutes ago, nolasludge said:

Thank you for the reply.  I have to admit, I'm a little put off by this.  It seems like a major oversight to not have the capability to do what every other multi-effect can do.  The whole point in getting a multi-effects unit is to avoid the stompbox tap dance when you want to turn on multiple effects at the same time.  If none of Line 6's products can activate multiple effects at the same time without noticeable lag, then I will probably be looking elsewhere.  Even the crappiest Digitech effects processors can switch without lag.  

 

The Pod HD and Helix series of Line 6 products can turn multiple FX on/off simultaneously without any lag.

 

Firehawk can do it with individual foot stomps (one footswitch per FX block - not multiple at once) without lag. The lag with Firehawk (and most processors from anhy manufacturer) happens when you switch presets, not within a preset.

 

Virtually all effects processors have some lag when switching between presets (not individual FX within a preset). In most cases the lag is  very brief and easy to work around imho. The only way to have absolutely no lag is to have completely separate and duplicate DSP processors of which only one is used at a time. That means that at all times half of the device's resources are idle. I don't know if Digitech does this but most manufacturers value having twice as much processing processing power with a very small preset-switching lag over having half the processing power and absolutely no lag.

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So to be clear, as I don't own this unit nor the 500X, when I say patch, it is because it was my understanding that multiple effects have to be put in a patch. I don't plan on trying to go from Triple Rectifier distortion to Fender cleans using different amp models in one song.  What I want to do is be able to go from using effects without modeling into my amp and be able to have a chorus and reverb on, and when it is time to do a lead, hit a single button to switch the effects to a boost and a delay without lag.  This is simple that even my old crappy Digitech unit could do with no problem.  It has been my understanding (which is why I came here to ask these specific questions) that in order to activate multiple effects, or deactivate multiple effects at the same time, you have to set them up in a patch.  It has also been my understanding that there is significant lag (more than the 500X) in the Firehawk when switching between patches.  That is why I'm here.  I just want to know if the issue has been fixed.  I've seen videos on YouTube of the issue, and it was at an unacceptable level. Now if there is a different way to accomplish this without the lag, that would be good to know. Thank you all for the help. 

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2 hours ago, nolasludge said:

....  What I want to do is be able to go from using effects without modeling into my amp and be able to have a chorus and reverb on, and when it is time to do a lead, hit a single button to switch the effects to a boost and a delay without lag.  .... 

 

You can do this with the POD or Helix devices with a single stomp on one button/footswitch. With Firehawk you need to stomp on a different button/footswitch for each FX - so four stomps to do what you describe (chorus off, reverb off, boost on, delay on). Neither device has any lag for these operations, which occur within a single patch.

 

You are correct - Firehawk has a more noticeable lag than either the POD or Helix devices when switching patches.

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2 hours ago, silverhead said:

 

You can do this with the POD or Helix devices with a single stomp on one button/footswitch. With Firehawk you need to stomp on a different button/footswitch for each FX - so four stomps to do what you describe (chorus off, reverb off, boost on, delay on). Neither device has any lag for these operations, which occur within a single patch.

 

You are correct - Firehawk has a more noticeable lag than either the POD or Helix devices when switching patches.

Awesome. Thank you for clarifying. I had an opportunity to purchase a Firehawk, but I think I will hold out for the POD. 

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Just an afterthought....... I can't confirm this because I don't have my Firehawk at hand right now but....

 

I remember noticing a longer lag with the Firehawk than with the POD/Helix when switching patches. But it just occurred to me that Firehawk often uses the cloud to retrieve its patches via the Bluetooth connecte mobile app/device. That would certainly explain the lag. However if you're playing live you wouldn't do this  - you'd have all the patches you plan to use already loaded on the Firehawk device. I never did any testing for, nor do I have any memory of, any difference in the lag when loading patches already stored on the Firehawk/POD/Helix device. It would certainly be less lag then when retrieving the patch from the cloud and then loading it. 

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I am in bit similar situation as thread starter, considering to get Firehawk FX or some other product which supports Variax.

Is there difference in lag depending on what kind of changes are done? If patches are pretty similar, will the lag still be similar regardless of what ever the patches are?

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The lag does not depend on any difference or similarity in the structure of the presets. It is caused by the processing time required to copy the patch definition from one memory location (permanent storage or cloud) to another (the Edit buffer where the current patch is overwritten). No sound is heard during this process; only after the new patch is loaded can the DSP engine process it and produce sound again. 

 

A patch definition is likely a fixed block of memory (a fixed block size is more time-efficient than managing the permanent memory dynamically). It's a specific number of bits/bytes - whether it is 'empty' or 'full' of amp/FX blocks.  The minimum lag time is defined by the processor speed and the patch memory size plus any overhead of starting the DSP engine again.

 

The lag time will be increased by an unspecified amount (depends on internet connection speed and reliability) when the patch definition needs to be retrieved from the cloud rather than the Firehawk's permanent storage before being loaded into the edit buffer.

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Just forget it and get an old intellifex unit and plug it into the effects send return.

 

It will be a much better quality sound than either Firehawk or GT100 Boss.

 

I have given up trying to get these things to work for me and went back to old school and happier for the experience. Also you might like to try a properly set up pedal board with a boost pedal, tuner and better quality separate effects units, Strymon etc.

 

As always just another opinion from another guitarist.

 

Edited by Geetarhed
incorrect spelling

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On 6/20/2019 at 1:10 PM, silverhead said:

The lag does not depend on any difference or similarity in the structure of the presets. It is caused by the processing time required to copy the patch definition from one memory location (permanent storage or cloud) to another (the Edit buffer where the current patch is overwritten). No sound is heard during this process; only after the new patch is loaded can the DSP engine process it and produce sound again. 

 

A patch definition is likely a fixed block of memory (a fixed block size is more time-efficient than managing the permanent memory dynamically). It's a specific number of bits/bytes - whether it is 'empty' or 'full' of amp/FX blocks.  The minimum lag time is defined by the processor speed and the patch memory size plus any overhead of starting the DSP engine again.

Ok, so how long is that silence if using in Firehawk FX local memory patch? Retrieving patch from cloud in live gig sounds like no-no thing to me :-)

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I don't know exactly how long the lag is in terms of milliseconds, but it's long enough to be noticeable. Avoid doing it in the middle of a song, or do it at a point in the song where it will not be out of place (e.g. when other band members are backfilling the sound as you prepare to launch into a lead solo).

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I'm a little late to this party, but I just got my FHFX last week and have had a little time to play with presets. for a somewhat tangible answer, the preset switching gap (while not on cloud) is about as long as it takes you to lift your foot off the button after switching. In reality it's about 100ms, maybe.

 

I had a peavey valveking in the early 2000's that had similar lag when switching from clean to dirty. and that's mechanical relay switching.

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On 7/16/2019 at 9:07 PM, goldstarGtr said:

I'm a little late to this party, but I just got my FHFX last week and have had a little time to play with presets. for a somewhat tangible answer, the preset switching gap (while not on cloud) is about as long as it takes you to lift your foot off the button after switching. In reality it's about 100ms, maybe.

 

I had a peavey valveking in the early 2000's that had similar lag when switching from clean to dirty. and that's mechanical relay switching.

Not late at all, I am still considering. Thanks for your comment!

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Searching in youtube found this. Yeah, definitely not sounding nice if you have strings rinning when you change, but I don't regard this as a show stopper.

 

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I'd agree the gap is about 100ms, if you're running the firehawk in the effects loop of a real amp then switching patches wouldn't completely cut the sound and so would be almost unnoticeable in my opinion. I use the amp models and effects and I make about 5 patch switches per song with no problem, but yeah if you switch while ringing out notes it will obviously sound obvious if nothing else is playing, it's worth noting that if you're connected to a tablet or phone via Bluetooth the switch times are noticeably longer so I always make sure my Bluetooth is off when playing a gig

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