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SaschaFranck

FR: Librarian/Controller for Mobile Devices

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Hi,

 

I think it'd be tremendous if Line6 would add something like that to their portfolio.

I'll try to elaborate a bit.

 

1) Librarian

 

Why would you need it?

Well, as we all know, unlike, say, the Kemper and the Headrush, the Helix doesn't feature an option to connect a USB stick/drive to manage your patches and IRs. I also don't think this will ever happen as I doubt the USB port on the Helix would be able to serve as a host (the used USB type B socket might be a good indicator). But then, the Helix is capable to communicate through USB just fine. And I would say that most (if not all) users own a mobile device being able to work as a USB host (iOS users need a camera connection kit, for Android it's a USB OTG adapter).
As a result of that, it would likely be a not too tough challenge to code an app serving as a librarian.

We all know that there's a certain chance of the Helix acting up in a way forcing you to restore everything to the factory defaults. Should that happen on a gig - well, good luck. As is, you would have to have a laptop with you to restore your patches. Personally, I almost never carry my laptop to gigs. But I always have my smartphone with me (just as everybody, right?). With a librarian, you would simply connect it to the Helix, restore your patches and be done.

Further things a librarian would/could offer:

- Downloading Helix patches (and IRs) straight on your mobile device and transferring them to your Helix.

- Managing IRs (we all know that 128 isn't enough in some scenarios).

- Managing (and likely renaming) patches  and setlists.

 

I'll continue with the controller in the next post.

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2) Controller

 

Ok, we're all old men in white suits. So we don't want to crawl around on dirty stages, destroying our backs and contaminating our pants.

Don't get me wrong, the Helix is incredibly easy to adjust with the capacitve switches and the clever navigation options. But apart from the possible uncoolness coming along with stage crawling, nothing beats a properly laid out touchscreen for parameter adjustments. And most of us have one of those with us all the time. So why not make use of them?

Please note: I am *not* talking about an editor for mobile OSes here. I don't think it's required, either. I mean, you will very likely craft your precious patches at home, using all the comfort of HX Edit on a real computer.

But you may want more and easier control while playing (or while setting the Helix up). Without the stage crawling.

So, what such a controller should do is to allow for a user defined amount of parameters to be controlled through a user defined amount of virtual faders, switches and maybe XY-controllers (think along the lines of, say, a Kaos Pad).

 

Now, there's generic MIDI controller apps which could be used for similar things. But they're coming with serious issues:

 

- On Android, the amount and functionality of those controllers are abysmally bad.

 

- Once you use snapshots (an who wouldn't?), things get pretty messy with the Helix, see this thread for further information:

 

- There's no feedback between whatever apps and the Helix. Which means, when you change a parameter on the Helix, it won't be reflected in the app. The same goes for switching patches, the changes of whatever parameters won't be reflected in the app.

 

So, IMO it'd be just great if Line6 offered such a controller app. To give you an (extremely) rough taste of what such an app might be able to do (among plenty of other things), I created a very rough mockup (first attempt got hosed because the Helix acted up, see thread linked above). Please ignore my voice, my english, my playing and the video quality.

 

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