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riksplace

Helix Native vs Helix Floor?

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I play only at home now. Usually thru my Helix which is routed thru an AI into my computer using the powered monitors of my system.

 

Questions is....could I buy and use Helix Native on my computer and do away with my Helix Floor? In my situation and setup will the Helix Native act the same as my Helix Floor for my playing purposes?

 

Helix Native, in itself, looks to be almost like Helix Editor interface for my Helix Floor....is this a correct assumption?

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I think that they SOUND the same. Others disagree. So, the answer is Yes. No. Maybe.

That definitive statement aside, a plugin is NOT the same as analog hardware. Some will say that the "feel" is different.

 

Well, DUH!

 

A plugin will ALWAYS have latency. Anywhere from 4ms to 20 ms or more, depending on how powerful your computer's processor is and how much you spend on your interface.

Helix is a decent interface, but has more latency than my 2nd Gen Scarlett. At a buffer/samples setting of 48/64 (i7 laptop) I get  7.6 ms Round Trip in Reaper with the Scarlett, 12.5ms RT with Helix. Other more expensive interfaces have even less. A more powerful system might allow 32 or even 16 samples, faster yet!

 

Can you feel the difference between 5ms and 12.5ms? Maybe. One thing for sure, it feels different than plugging straight into your amp, and that feels different than plugging into your amp through a Helix (or any other digital effects unit). IIRC, a single AD/DA conversion takes <5ms. Guitar to Helix/Helix to Amp = <5ms. Helix/amp fx loop = <5ms. That's <10ms right there with a Helix and a real amp. Guitar to AI/AI to Amp <5ms, plus whatever time it takes to get from the AI thru the DAW/Plugin (7.6ms Scarlett) = <13.6ms?

 

Can you feel it? I feel it. It's called a HEADACHE!

 

OK everybody, weigh in with your opinions.

 

The point is it's real, it's there, and it bothers some people so much they won't allow any digital stuff into their rigs. I can live with it if I'm on the road with just a laptop, but I prefer using a real Helix at home (currently 4cm with a tube amp or straight to a HR FRFR112) and using Native for re-amping. Going back to a pure analog system is no way worth the hassles involved.

 

The only way to know if it will bother you is to try it.

 

Here's a good article on the subject:

 

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/living-latency

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I'd agree that trying it is a good way to go.

I can't say it causes me any problem, and I rarely connect my Helix floor as it's "good enough".

Now, just so you have the full picture - you do need to run it through a DAW or at least something like Mainstage.

It is almost exactly the same as the Helix Editor.

You also need to treat it like FRFR - so you will need to do high and low cuts - I use the EQ in Mainstage, and it's fine.

I've never tried to get exact matches to my floor sound - I do use a lot of the same patches though.

I listen mostly through Headphones, and as I say, it's good enough to stop me getting out the Floor unit.

At $99 (assume it's still $99 for registered Helix owners) it's worth a try - I think you can even audition it for free?

You just got to have a decent computer and a small degree of computer skill.

Can't say the latency has ever caused me any concern.

(Focusrite Scarlett and iMac i7 - 2014 model)

Don't use the internal speakers!!

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Okay, so if I'm wrong I sure somebody will let me know - but the Helix hardware and Native are exactly the same.  While there may be some latency issues based on an individual's computer power, the only difference I've noticed is due to the fact that that, with Native, you have to introduce another pre-amp (audio interface) to the mix in order to have something to plug your guitar into.  That will undoubtedly color/affect the tone/signal a bit differently in a side by side comparison to the  Helix hardware's pre-amp and how good or bad that is will depend on the quality of said audio interface.  Would be similar to adding a mic pre-amp before your amp mod in a Helix hardware preset.  Seems to me the only way this could be otherwise is if you were using a Helix "rack" as your desktop audio interface (or other Helix hardware which defeats your purpose).  Also, I've not played around with it yet, but I'm not sure how to introduce an expression pedal or wah into the mix with native.  I've read others talking about midi, etc., but I'm wondering what would happen if I just plug into a wah before my audio interface same as if I were going to a traditional amp.  I'm about to find out I guess.

 

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1 minute ago, JLondon said:

Okay, so if I'm wrong I sure somebody will let me know - but the Helix hardware and Native are exactly the same.  While there may be some latency issues based on an individual's computer power, the only difference I've noticed is due to the fact that that, with Native, you have to introduce another pre-amp (audio interface) to the mix in order to have something to plug your guitar into.  That will undoubtedly color/affect the tone/signal a bit differently in a side by side comparison to the  Helix hardware's pre-amp and how good or bad that is will depend on the quality of said audio interface.  Would be similar to adding a mic pre-amp before your amp mod in a Helix hardware preset.  Seems to me the only way this could be otherwise is if you were using a Helix "rack" as your desktop audio interface (or other Helix hardware which defeats your purpose).  Also, I've not played around with it yet, but I'm not sure how to introduce an expression pedal or wah into the mix with native.  I've read others talking about midi, etc., but I'm wondering what would happen if I just plug into a wah before my audio interface same as if I were going to a traditional amp.  I'm about to find out I guess.

 

 

Correct on all counts. Unless you use a REALLY crappy interface, (or you'r a certified tone-sniffer) pre-amp coloration is negligible.

A WAH in front of your interface works fine. Again, quality matters.

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The only difference is how you connect your guitar to get sound going.    That matters.  A lot.

The out come after that is null in void imo. 

If I record a track wet using Helix hardware and send the DI signal through and then insert Native on the DI channel with the patch I was using,  it will sound and feel identical on playback. 

the difference is what you plug your guitar into and how you monitor it and a preference. 

 

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I would always prefer hardware vs software. Just plug the guitar in and jam along. And I like knobs and switches, not clicking around with the mouse.

But I would get/keep both, Helix and Native, just for editing later on the computer.

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Thanks guys for your input.....

 

IF...I go to the Native only I would be plugging into a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and then to my computer. Computer is pretty stout (Intel i7 quad core and 16gb ram) Powered JBL studio monitors or headphones from my Scarlett. I don't really record anything but do have the free Pro Tools (which I know you can't use outside plug-ins).....so unless I go with the purchased ProTools or another route I wouldn't be using a DAW in the chain of things. I'm not worried about minor latency...but if it were too bad it would be an issue of course and not worried about the digital/analog tone thing (you sort of give that up when you go to Helix don't you?)....don't use an amp (I live in an apartment complex and can't get loud anyway).

 

Just wondering if Native can be used as a "stand-alone" in place of Helix Floor......( no need to have a $1500 piece of equipment here if a $400 piece of software will do the same ....minus the physical buttons and switches of course)....for my purposes...not to play out anywhere

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16 minutes ago, riksplace said:

Just wondering if Native can be used as a "stand-alone" in place of Helix Floor......( no need to have a $1500 piece of equipment here if a $400 piece of software will do the same ....minus the physical buttons and switches of course)....for my purposes...not to play out anywhere

 

Nope... it's a plug-in. Without a DAW to run it, it's useless.

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2 hours ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Nope... it's a plug-in. Without a DAW to run it, it's useless.

 

2 hours ago, riksplace said:

 

Just wondering if Native can be used as a "stand-alone" in place of Helix Floor......( no need to have a $1500 piece of equipment here if a $400 piece of software will do the same ....minus the physical buttons and switches of course)....for my purposes...not to play out anywhere

 

I would not, personally, recommend skipping one of the full fledged devices over Native. If you really don't want to spend a lot, and your needs are small, I usually recommend the Stomp. 

 

Still, for some people an argument could be made that you could get by on just Native. YES you need a DAW, but Reaper is only $60 and works great. A person who already has an audio interface could easily drop $460 total and get some great tones for home playing.  

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If recording tunes is not your main application then, yeah, hardware rules. And a real amp and cabinet rules over a sim unless you're the roady.

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Thxagain guys.....as I said, I already have the Helix floor....so I guess I better just keep it for now. I had just run across a Native story and thought it might be a more "stand alone" application...but I guess not. So I'll keep exploring around a bit for a computer based guitar rig, although I doubt there is anywhere out there better than the Helix Floor itself.

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29 minutes ago, riksplace said:

Thximageproxy.php?img=&key=4f3d79318bd3844dagain guys.....as I said, I already have the Helix floor....so I guess I better just keep it for now. I had just run across a Native story and thought it might be a more "stand alone" application...but I guess not. So I'll keep exploring around a bit for a computer based guitar rig, although I doubt there is anywhere out there better than the Helix Floor itself.

 

For a good computer based, stand-alone guitar rig I recommend either Amplitube or THU. Both sound great and work well with MIDI. TH3 plays profiles (Overloud made - can't create them). . 

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...and I'll put in a word for Scuffham's S-Gear (great for old-school, blues, rock, classic traditional stuff). It also runs in stand-alone, with extensive MIDI control if ya need it.

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Just ran across Bias FX also.....anybody tried that?

 

I know these things aren't gonna be 100% as good as my Helix Floor.....but for my present use it might be "good enuf" and I could sell the Floor and have enuf money for a new guitar of some sort.......

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Just now, soundog said:

...and I'll put in a word for Scuffham's S-Gear (great for old-school, blues, rock, classic traditional stuff). It also runs in stand-alone, with extensive MIDI control if ya need it.

 

YES! Don't know how I forgot this. No pre amp effects, but the best sounding amps of the bunch, great MIDI, and great post amp effects (delays, mods, reverbs). Cheapest of the bunch too, with free trial. 

 

The Update will be here any day now, and it'll be GREAT!

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4 minutes ago, riksplace said:

Just ran across Bias FX also.....anybody tried that?

 

I know these things aren't gonna be 100% as good as my Helix Floor.....but for my present use it might be "good enuf" and I could sell the Floor and have enuf money for a new guitar of some sort.......

 

Don't much like it. Expensive (if you want the whole package including the amp designer) and HORRIBLE MIDI! Less than stellar support, too.

 

EDIT: Don't sell your floor. You won't be happy. A false economy in the long run.

 

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Yeah, case in point ... Bias FX got a 3/5 on the review site I linked above. Native and S-Gear get top ratings. You gotta have good MIDI control. (And if it runs in standalone mode, all the better.)

 

 

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