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Why Helix Native Needs a Standalone App


soundog
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When running Native as a plug-in within a large DAW recording project, there's often a trade-off between monitoring through the plug-in/DAW vs latency (delay between playing the guitar and hearing the guitar through the software/hardware). In Logic, I often have to set my buffer up pretty high in order to prevent audio glitches if I want to monitor through Helix Native when recording a new guitar track. For me, its important to hear the sound of a guitar modeler and its effects in order to get the mojo of the track while recording. Yeah, I can use a guitar modeler in my Apollo Twin DSP, and monitor that in real-time, but its not the same. It's workable but not ideal. That's a big trade-off.

 

I recently bought a copy of S-Gear (another popular amp/cabinet and effects modeler). Its not as extensive as Helix Native, but for the included amps I actually prefer its tone and response. But the HUGE benefit is that the software includes a stand-alone application identical to the DAW plug-in. Now I can set up routing through my audio interface so that I can monitor the sound of the S-Gear amps and effects through the standalone app with very low latency (8.5 ms), while recording the guitar along with my existing Logic tracks. I can leave my Logic buffer set high for large track and virtual instrument counts, and still have low latency when monitoring my amped guitar. Its delicious. And, like Native, I can choose to record the raw track, or the S-Gear processed track.

 

Sadly, Helix Native does not include a standalone app. If there was one (and it would need to be a low-latency application), users would be able to 1) monitor their guitar modeling with near zero latency when recording tracks and 2) play through the app without having to fire up their DAW, load the plug-in, etc.

 

P.S. There are standalone apps that will host plug-ins out there. That might work for this usage, but I haven't tested it. Worth a try!

 

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On 7/13/2019 at 1:59 AM, soundog said:

When running Native as a plug-in within a large DAW recording project, there's often a trade-off between monitoring through the plug-in/DAW vs latency

Really? I have not notice any benefit latency wise by using standalone "plugins" vs DAW/Host hosted. Pro Tools may be the exception with its CPU heavy engine.
Third party hosting is also beneficial. You can workaround all HxN limitations and integrate it with the best in their class plugins.
So for me there are two possible reasons of making stand alone plugins.
The first is a convienience for unexperienced users not using DAWs.
The second is full controll meant by two way MIDI or whatever other communication protocol. It is easy to control HxN by the controller but it is not easy to control the controller. When you change preset or snapshot you may eg. expect the software to send at least CCs that illuminate controller switches. As far as I know there are no plans to make Native compete the hardware Hx versions in live usage.

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The method I'm using is beneficial because the buffer (and, hence, latency) is set independently in the standalone app (S-Gear) and the DAW. To further explain: I'm currently recording a large project in Logic Pro that requires a lot of horsepower, so I have my buffer set high (1028) to accomodate virtual instruments and plugs. Of course, if I try to record a HXN guitar track with software monitoring on, the latency is unacceptable. So, I'm  using the S-Gear (git modeling) standalone app concurrently, with its buffer low (32), so getting minimal latency while playing. I monitor the guitar through S-Gear, while recording the raw track in Logic (using the S-Gear plug-in later, while mixing). This is all achieved via Apollo Twin console I/O routing.

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14 hours ago, soundog said:

the buffer (and, hence, latency) is set independently in the standalone app (S-Gear) and the DAW

You mean OSX? I have never seen independently set buffers for ASIO drivers on Windows. All my interfaces have common buffer setting for all ASIO clients. Is this specific for Apollo Core Audio OSX driver?

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OSX CoreAudio must be multiclient, so multiple CoreAudio hosts can communicate with HW at the same time. In this case, the S-Gear app and the Logic app buffers can be set independently. There is no buffer setting in the Apollo driver to my knowledge (at least in my Thunderbolt rig); it uses dynamic buffering.

 

So maybe my method mentioned here is only good for Mac users?

 

 

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  • 9 months later...

There are a bunch of non-DAW vst hosts for this very purpose.  I've got no real experience with them, but google "vst host" and you'll find a bunch, including free ones, for mac, windows and linux.

 

If you don't want to google, check out https://hiphopmakers.com/best-free-vst-host-applications, or https://www.kvraudio.com/plugins/windows/macosx/linux/vst-plugins/vst3-plugins/audio-units/aax-plugins/rack-extensions/hosts/free/most-popular.

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  • 10 months later...

Hi all,

sorry for necroing this thread but before spamming a new one here we go:

i too would love to use Helix Native in standalone mode (given it runs on the dsp's on my hardware). Just bought it today and love it soundwise. But recording in an "advanced" Cubase-Project with a lot of mixwork already done requires me to turn off some of the Plug-ins. Especially the Steinberg Multiband Compressor. I get around 116ms of (Channel-)latency from this bad boy. No recording possible without searching through the inserts (or displaying the channel latency) and turning the culprits off.

I'm waiting for the Registration process for Line6-ideas to finish to vote on this. But i couldnt wait to give my 2 cents here. Lets get it done.

For now i'll stick to Podfarm for Recording(+feedback) and later use Helix Native in the Mix on the clean signal. Kind of a shame because Helix Native sounds THAT good.

For good measure my specs:

I5 6600 / 16GB Ram / Windows 10 Pro / Line6 KB37 / Steinberg URC22 / Cubase 10

Have a good one

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It needs to be said, that there needs to be a stand-alone version of Helix Native.

 

There is just too many options and great sounds in Helix, to have to be messing around with a DAW open all the time too. It is far easier to deal directly with just Helix for programming a preset, or just jamming/practicing with it.

 

Amp sims/companies with a stand-alone:

Positive Grid - Bias Amp 2, FX 2, & Pedal 

Peavey ReValver

Overloud/TH-U 

Waves GTR3.5

Mercuriall

Kuassa (all, singles and together)

Audiority

 BBE 

Scuffham S-Gear

Blue Cat Axiom

IK Multimedia Amplitube

Audiffex AmpLion Pro

Nembrini (all in a host)

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Well, the price is right if it works! I use Gig Performer for hosting plug-ins (which is very evolved and advanced), but Element is surely a lot more affordable if you just need to host Helix Native (for example).

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
4 hours ago, timchandler1 said:

I vote YES PLEASE for a standalone for the Helix Native.

 

The way to vote is through Ideascale as noted above. Did you vote there? Your ‘vote’ here is no vote at all.

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  • 1 month later...

Would be nice to have indeed. I use Ableton rather than Logic on a mac M1. I don't do anything crazy like lot's of CPU heavy plugins so can run HXN with low enough latency. Same is true for Mainstage which also works great with HXN. 

 

Perhaps an option (workaround) is to disengage your CPU heavy plugins when recording your guitar tracks and only use a high buffer size in the mixing stage. In Ableton there is a "Freeze" option that you can use, not sure if anything similar is available in Logic. It essentially produces a temporary wave-file from the tracks with your plugins so that they don't eat away your available CPU. Although at present I din't need it that also works great. Alternatively, why not use one of the built-in amps in Logic when recording? They may not sound as good as HXN, but once you have recorded the guitar DI signal it's pretty easy to replace the Logic amp with the Helix amp.

 

just some thoughts .. hope it helps

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Yes, there is also a Freeze function in Logic. Its a bit of a PITA workaround, but it does work in a pinch. And your suggestion to use one of Logic's built in amps is a good one. Still, I am so used to using other amp sim plug-ins (Neural DSP, S-Gear, etc) that have a Standalone mode that I surely do miss Native not having the same.

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