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Laroosey

Bedroom/Home player considering switching to Helix

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Hello all,

 

I know this topic has probably been covered, but I couldn't find all the answers I was looking for.  First, I am strictly an at home hobbyist with no gigging aspirations in the near or distant future yet. I have not been playing guitar very long, but I was looking to upgrade my amp and stumbled upon the helix route.  It intrigues me because I feel I can get more tones at lower volumes than a tube amp. Also, I like to play a lot of different styles (John Mayer all the way to high gain stuff Killswitch, Tool ect), so the amp/cab simulation might be a better route than having multiple amps and pedals. So I have a couple questions. 

 

1. Stomp, LT, or Floor? Is the Stomp too limiting with 6 blocks? Will I be looking to upgrade to a bigger model in a year as my effects and playing knowledge increases, or is it perfect for my situation? For a regular Joe schmo, is the floor worth the extra money over the LT? (I am in no rush to buy right away, I want to do my research, and will save the money to buy what's best for my situation.) Also, any disadvantages to buying used when it comes to software/registering the unit?

 

2. For my situation, do I get studio monitors or a FRFR PA like the headrush units. I want to be able to play/ practice without having to wear headphones all of the time. What would sound best for all genres at moderate volumes? Any brands or suggestions (Moderately priced)

 

3. What's the deal with a headphone amp? Saw someone say the LT does not have a headphone amp and that they would need a separate one. Do I need one to use headphones in my scenario?

 

4. Last one, a lot of people say you will not get the "amp in the room sound" and will sound like a amp micced up through a PA. What exactly does that mean. For me, the new inexperienced player, will I even be able decipher the difference because my ear isn't trained? I've never micced the amp I have now.

 

I know to some, these questions may seem elementary, but I'm ignorant in the multi effects realm and still green in the amp/pedal/gear world. I was just looking to avoid playing the tone chasing GAS game if the Helix can cover a lot of the ground.  I also know a lot of people will tell me that I have to try them. I respect that, but I want your guys advice because I am so Uneducated in the area of multieffects, I'm not even sure I could make that decision solely off 30 minutes to an hour of noodling around with a unit in a store.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks

 

 

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1) If you can afford it, I would go with the LT. The floor unit is VERY robust so for your situation I would save my money and get the LT. It has all of the modelling capabilities of the floor Helix. Just not as many connection options and not as robust. For example the floor unit has 4 FX sends and returns but the LT only 2.

 

2) Get the best monitors you can afford. If you want the "amp in the room" experience, consider something in the Line 6 Power cab line. The people that have them seem to like them. I think the Headrush monitors have gotten mostly good reviews for the price. Having said all of that you can just run through whatever stereo you have at home. In fact, if your car stereo has an aux 1/8" input, you could play it through your car stereo. You'd need some adapters but it can be done.

 

3)The LT has a headphone output jack so that someone was wrong.

 

4) Here's the best way to answer this. You need to look at amp modelling a little differently than using a real amp. What amp modelling actually simulates is a miced amp in a studio with  you isolated, listening to the amp in a control room through the control room speakers. That's essentially what you will hear. It will not sound like what an amp sounds like with you standing next to or near it. Think of the Helix as a virtual studio and your bedroom/home is your studio control room. So you're actually looking for good speakers for monitoring mixes and stuff like that. The Line 6 Power Cab is something I've never tried but many people say it works for them in recreating the "amp in a room" experience. That's what it's designed to do. Also, try and buy from somewhere with a 30 day money back, no questions asked, guarantee. That will be enough time for you to decide, so yes, 30 minutes in a music store is not enough time.

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9 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

Here's the best way to answer this. You need to look at amp modelling a little differently than using a real amp. What amp modelling actually simulates is a miced amp in a studio with  you isolated, listening to the amp in a control room through the control room speakers. That's essentially what you will hear. It will not sound like what an amp sounds like with you standing next to or near it.

 

9 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

The Line 6 Power Cab is something I've never tried but many people say it works for them in recreating the "amp in a room" experience.

 

First, thank you for taking the time to reply,

 

I'm not as much worried about having the amp in the room experience. I really wanted an explanation of the difference that I kept seeing people talk about and you gave that, so thank you. I think Monitors might be fine then. My understanding is that it will sound different than an amp in the room but still will sound good for average playing/practicing?  I will definitely look at the Line 6 powercab.

 

Is using headphones with the helix going to be a similar sound to using headphones with an amp with an emulated output?

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4. The Helix Floor can sound just like a real, vintage tube amp, by using amp emulation only (no speaker cab), then taking output from the helix into a simple power amp, then into a guitar speaker cabinet. You don't need anything fancy--I have built several 200w power amps from components available online for under $100. They sound great at home and on stage.

 

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2 minutes ago, aaronlyon said:

The Helix Floor can sound just like a real, vintage tube amp, by using amp emulation only (no speaker cab), then taking output from the helix into a simple power amp, then into a guitar speaker cabinet.

Is this similar to using the helix through the 4 cable method with a tube amp through the effects loop? Does the guitar speaker cabinet color the tone too much?  Correct me if I'm wrong. Like I said in the grand scheme of things I don't know anything.

 

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As mentioned above I would go with the LT.  The Helix floor has a little more capability for recording, plus the extra loops, however, amps, effects, processing is exactly the same.  The floor has scribble scripts (a little display above each footswitch), where the LT lists them in the display.  I have the LT and am perfectly happy with the presets, effects, etc. shown in the display.

 

I came from the M13 and quickly ran into the limitations of only having 4 effects active at once.  Moving to the Stomp with only 6 was not an option for me.  And I'm not one who uses a ton of effects or complex routing.  Where the extra blocks come into play for me is using snapshots.  Also, with the LT you can have up to 8 snapshots and the Stomp is limited to 3.

 

The LT has a headphone amp so you shouldn't have any problem driving higher impedance headphones.  I use the Sony MDR-7506 that are rated at 63 ohms and they sound really good.  However, others on this site use much higher impedance headphones without issue.

 

I don't fully understand the Amp in A Room vs. real amp, but I'm really happy with how my setup sounds and I have three different configurations.  With the Helix LT connect in 4CM to my Marshall DSL40C:

  • I have some patches that I use the DSL for tone (preamp and power amp) and the Helix for effects only (drives in front of the amp, time based in the loop).  
  • On some other patches I use a preamp in the Helix and then route the signal direct to the Effects Return of my amp so now the Helix is my preamp and effects and my DSL is just the poweramp and speaker.
  • And then for recording direct, or headphone playing I have some patches that are all Helix: amps, cabs/IR's, effects, etc.

All of this is done through the setup/routing in the Helix and I don't have to change any cables at all.  It's an incredibly versatile unit.

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 I personally like playing through "regular" speakers so monitors will be fine. And as I implied before. Just plug it in to your home stereo. See how that sounds before you pony up for some new monitors. It will definitely sound good for average playing/practicing and yes, it will sound different than an amp in the room. One of the things modelling is missing is the interaction between you and your amp. It doesn't have that, for lack of a better word "rubbery" feeling where you can kind of coax stuff out of your amp by changing where your standing or just vibrating the string a certain way. It's something that only the guitar player can "hear/feel" but I know what it is and modelling doesn't really have it. Doesn't mean you won't like what you hear, just know it will be very different.

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12 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

4) Here's the best way to answer this. You need to look at amp modelling a little differently than using a real amp. What amp modelling actually simulates is a miced amp in a studio with  you isolated, listening to the amp in a control room through the control room speakers. That's essentially what you will hear. It will not sound like what an amp sounds like with you standing next to or near it. Think of the Helix as a virtual studio and your bedroom/home is your studio control room. So you're actually looking for good speakers for monitoring mixes and stuff like that.

 

The sound that most new players are trying to get is the sound that they hear on the record - the sound of a mic'd amp in a studio - or what they hear in a concert - a mic'd amp through a PA. If you've spent years playing in bands standing next to loud amps, then you may be addicted to that Amp in the Room sound/feel. If not, you may be completely happy with the modeled sound and FRFR. I'm currently using a 15watt-112 tube amp with Helix for AITR, combined with a HR FRFR112 for a bigger sound and stereo. Best of both worlds.

 

8 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

My understanding is that it will sound different than an amp in the room but still will sound good for average playing/practicing?

 

1 minute ago, Laroosey said:

Is this similar to using the helix through the 4 cable method with a tube amp through the effects loop? Does the guitar speaker cabinet color the tone too much?  Correct me if I'm wrong. Like I said in the grand scheme of things I don't know anything.

 

 

A decent set of studio monitors, sized appropriately to the room (small room, 5" min, bigger room, bigger monitors) are fine at your level.

If you've got a nice home stereo, try that. I use a Sony 3 speaker (6"x6" plus 10" sub) in the office and it sounds great.

There's any number of free amp sims (computer based - Amplitube for instance) that, used with an inexpensive audio interface (Focusrite Scarlett Solo 2nd or 3rd gen for instance, around $100) that you can use to get your feet wet and try different playback solutions with.

 

4cm into a guitar amp is AITR. Studio monitors are FRFR (more or less). Different animals.

 

A guitar cabinet sounds like a guitar cabinet and the speakers that are in it. Yes, it will color the sound. Too much? Only you can decide that.

Powercab (I haven't tried one) tries to be the be-all end-all to your question. FRFR AND simple speaker for AITR. YMMV.

 

18 minutes ago, aaronlyon said:

4. The Helix Floor can sound just like a real, vintage tube amp, by using amp emulation only (no speaker cab), then taking output from the helix into a simple power amp, then into a guitar speaker cabinet. You don't need anything fancy--I have built several 200w power amps from components available online for under $100. They sound great at home and on stage.

 

 

If you're not already addicted to tube amps, this works too. I have an EHX 44 magnum (44 watt SS pedalboard amp) that I've tried through my combo's speaker, sounds great, but feels a little different. You likely wouldn't know the difference.

 

 

 

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1)  Personally, for a new person getting into modeling I think it might be counterproductive to go with an HX Stomp simply due to the fact that the majority of video tutorials and presets you can buy or get free are going to be for the larger units and wouldn't work correctly on the HX Stomp.  The most important functional differences in my opinion between the LT and the full floor unit comes down to two things:  Durability and Flexibility.  The Floor is built like a tank, but that may not be important if it's going to sit in the house.  The additional inputs on the Floor are useful especially when it comes to recording or using external effects or additional inputs.  If you don't see those things as important to you then the LT is the answer.

2) As far as output, be aware that you tend to get what you pay for in this area.  I think it's silly to spend the kind of money one spends on a Helix and then attach the cheapest outputs you can buy because no matter how good the Helix is, it will always be limited by the quality of the output device.  This goes for headphones as well.  Probably the most often recommended heaphones among Helix users are the Beyerdynamic DT770 in the higher ohm configurations as they tend to be more consistent with what you get from good quality monitors.  I personally own the 80 ohm version but many go higher that than.  I own quite a number of different headphones but the DT770's are the only ones I use with the Helix.  Given your situation you could go with studio monitors or live powered speakers.  The real gotcha here is that in order to get the best representation of the sound out of the Helix with live powered speakers you really need to be playing close to or at performance level volumes due to the fact that's what they're designed to do and tend to be more affected by the way we hear things known as the Fletcher-Munson curve.  If you do go with studio monitors there's a WORLD of difference between cheaper speakers and higher quality speakers in this area.  Personally I have several different live speakers that I use.  Mostly I depend on my Yamaha DXR12, but I've also used my QSC CP8 as well as my Electro Voice ZLX-12P.  As far as studio monitors I use Yamaha HS-7's and have for many, many years.

3) The only real use for a headphone amp would be if you were to choose a very high impedance pair of headphones as the higher the impedance the lower the output.


4) Personally I think the whole "amp in the room" thing is way overstated.  The fact is, the amp in the room experience is only heard by the person standing near a traditional amp and cab.  Once you mic that amp and cab and send it through a PA or record it with a mic, you have the same situation as you have with the Helix.  Audiences rarely experience the amp in the room sound.  What is also a fact with traditional speakers is the sound varies greatly depending on where you're standing relative to the speaker simply due to the way they work.  This is the reason why so much attention is given both in live performances and in the studio to what mic's are used and how they're placed on the cabinet....the same way it's done in the Helix when working with studio monitors or live powered monitors.  What you're hearing using good headphones, studio monitors or live powered speakers is the sound you would hear on a production recording that you've been listening to your whole life or in every concert you've ever attended.  The amp in the room only relates to what a musician hears standing near a cabinet.  Even in concerts nowaday the artist rarely hears the amp in a room effect because they're hearing the mic'd up version of the sound through their in ears.
 

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26 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

Is this similar to using the helix through the 4 cable method with a tube amp through the effects loop? Does the guitar speaker cabinet color the tone too much?  Correct me if I'm wrong. Like I said in the grand scheme of things I don't know anything.

 

The amp and speaker(s) will change the tone to some degree, but that's no different than if you plugged your amp head into a different cab.  Same thing with cabs and IR's in the Helix - you're going to get those nuances that a Greenback 25 gives compared to a V30, for example.  An FRFR speaker is designed to be flat response so pretty much all your tone/characteristics comes from the Helix.  

 

I have a G12M-65 Creamback in my amp and a 1x12 closed back cab with a G12T-75 and really like the tones I get out of it with my Helix patches.  However, if I'm using the JCM800 amp model, for example, it will sound somewhat different through my amp than it does with headphones, but that's because the speakers I'm using I'm my amp versus the cab/IR's I have in the Helix.  Neither one is better or worse, they're just different.

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18 minutes ago, kraftybob said:

I don't fully understand the Amp in A Room vs. real amp, but I'm really happy with how my setup sounds and I have three different configurations.  With the Helix LT connect in 4CM to my Marshall DSL40C:

  • I have some patches that I use the DSL for tone (preamp and power amp) and the Helix for effects only (drives in front of the amp, time based in the loop).  
  • On some other patches I use a preamp in the Helix and then route the signal direct to the Effects Return of my amp so now the Helix is my preamp and effects and my DSL is just the poweramp and speaker.
  • And then for recording direct, or headphone playing I have some patches that are all Helix: amps, cabs/IR's, effects, etc.

I have a Blackstar HT5R, which has an effects loop, so I did think about going this route. But I know a bunch of users will say that this will defeat the purpose of amp modeling. Glad to see that you have patches that seem to work

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13 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

he real gotcha here is that in order to get the best representation of the sound out of the Helix with live powered speakers you really need to be playing close to or at performance level volumes due to the fact that's what they're designed to do and tend to be more affected by the way we hear things known as the Fletcher-Munson curve

Yeah this is how I got into this whole rabbit hole. I was going to upgrade to a higher quality tube amp, but 1. Tube amps love to be cranked, and I live in an environment where that is not always possible.   2. They are a little more limiting than the amp modeling route. For example I want the fender clean feel, but also the marshall and mesa crunch and gain feels. So I don't want to spend any money before I explore all options.

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17 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

The real gotcha here is that in order to get the best representation of the sound out of the Helix with live powered speakers you really need to be playing close to or at performance level volumes due to the fact that's what they're designed to do and tend to be more affected by the way we hear things known as the Fletcher-Munson curve.

 So if I'm understanding you correctly, Studio monitors (around 5") and/or a nice set of headphones are what suit my situation best?

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21 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

A decent set of studio monitors, sized appropriately to the room (small room, 5" min, bigger room, bigger monitors) are fine at your level.

If you've got a nice home stereo, try that. I use a Sony 3 speaker (6"x6" plus 10" sub) in the office and it sounds great.

Probably a really stupid question but I'm going to ask anyways because I have no shame, The only stereo type system I have at home is a TV sound bar and subwoofer. Not going to be ideal for this correct? 

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22 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

I have a Blackstar HT5R, which has an effects loop, so I did think about going this route. But I know a bunch of users will say that this will defeat the purpose of amp modeling.

There are a lot of guys that either run their Helix into the effects loop of an amp, or use something like a Seymour Duncan Power Stage into a guitar cab.  You're still using the amp models in the helix (I use the preamp model in this case) so you're really not defeating anything.  you're just powering it using a different source.

 

You should at least try you Blackstar as while 5w is still pretty loud, you might be pleasantly surprised by how it sounds.  Won't cost you anything.

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16 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

Probably a really stupid question but I'm going to ask anyways because I have no shame, The only stereo type system I have at home is a TV sound bar and subwoofer. Not going to be ideal for this correct? 

 

Ideal? No. Will you hear something? Yes. Will it be good enough for now. That's up to you. One fun thing about using modelers like this is stereo. Try stereo effects, even through your TV. Chorus and Ping Pong delay are two that floats my boat. Add some reverb and pull up some NASA videos to watch while you play.

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9 minutes ago, kraftybob said:

There are a lot of guys that either run their Helix into the effects loop of an amp, or use something like a Seymour Duncan Power Stage into a guitar cab.  You're still using the amp models in the helix (I use the preamp model in this case) so you're really not defeating anything.  you're just powering it using a different source. 

 

You should at least try you Blackstar as while 5w is still pretty loud, you might be pleasantly surprised by how it sounds.  Won't cost you anything. 

Yeah I think, I'm leaning towards this plus headphones to start. One question,  Can you manage the volume of your higher gain tones better through the helix? Like you said 5 watts is still pretty loud. Also, do you ever use regular pedals with your helix through the amp?

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7 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

Yeah I think, I'm leaning towards this plus headphones to start. One question,  Can you manage the volume of your higher gain tones better through the helix? Like you said 5 watts is still pretty loud. Also, do you ever use regular pedals with your helix through the amp?

 

In a volume limited environment, how good it sounds is somewhat dependent on the Fletcher-Munson curve, which describes how our ears perceive sound at different volume levels. At lower volume levels the Low and High frequencies are attenuated. You may need to use an EQ to compensate. At lower levels, FRFR generally sounds better than a guitar speaker.

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1 hour ago, Laroosey said:

Probably a really stupid question but I'm going to ask anyways because I have no shame, The only stereo type system I have at home is a TV sound bar and subwoofer. Not going to be ideal for this correct? 

Could you get by with it?  Possibly.  But it's going to be deceptive because consumer electronics tend to focus more on trendy sound profiles sucjh as heavier bass and accentuated mids that accurate representation of the frequencies.  If the idea is that you want to be able to learn how to dial in decent tones on your Helix, you're going to lose a lot of definition and accuracy if you use consumer grade equipment.

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7 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

Can you manage the volume of your higher gain tones better through the helix? Like you said 5 watts is still pretty loud. Also, do you ever use regular pedals with your helix through the amp?

The Helix amp models have gain, channel volume and master volume (assuming the original amp is setup that way) so you can get some nice overdriven tones at pretty low volumes.  A lot of amps these days - including your Blackstar and my Marshall, get their OD from the preamp, not power amp.  Yes, they tend to sound better when the volume gets to a certain level, but it's not a requirement like it was with some of the non-master volume amps of the past.  

 

I sold what few pedals I had when I got the M13.  So at this point I'm only using what's in Helix.  Again, I'm not a big effects user so it's not like I have to have that certain pedal that's not included with the Helix.  If you want to add pedals with the Helix you certainly have that option - either before or after the Helix, or within one of the loops.  There are others on here that can provide better information on how to set this up.

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56 minutes ago, Laroosey said:

Yeah I think, I'm leaning towards this plus headphones to start. One question,  Can you manage the volume of your higher gain tones better through the helix? Like you said 5 watts is still pretty loud. Also, do you ever use regular pedals with your helix through the amp?

 

Bear in mind the signal going through a traditional amp and cabinet will be different than the one you listen to through headphones.  The reason being you'll be able to use different amps models, but you won't need a Helix cab model or IR going into a real guitar amp and cab because it would only further change the natural sound of the cabinet.  Whereas there is no cabinet on the headphones so you would have to enable the cab or IR there or it would be too harsh.

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1 hour ago, Laroosey said:

 So if I'm understanding you correctly, Studio monitors (around 5") and/or a nice set of headphones are what suit my situation best?

 

It's not so much a factor of size of the main speaker as it is the design of the speaker cabinet and the way it's placed in the room, but generally I would say you'd probably get the most natural representation of the sound being produced by the Helix without needing to compensate for other factors of your output device.

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5 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

 

Bear in mind the signal going through a traditional amp and cabinet will be different than the one you listen to through headphones.  The reason being you'll be able to use different amps models, but you won't need a Helix cab model or IR going into a real guitar amp and cab because it would only further change the natural sound of the cabinet.  Whereas there is no cabinet on the headphones so you would have to enable the cab or IR there or it would be too harsh.

Got it 

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My ideal setup:

  1. A desk with a desktop or laptop computer.
  2. The Helix is connected (via USB) to the computer.
  3. A pair of good studio monitors connected to the Helix.

This setup takes up minimal space and will sound good at all volume levels.  Your computer will use the Helix as its sound card for playback (backing tracks!).  You can even get into recording.  Add to that easy access to tabs and tutorial videos from the computer and it's the perfect practice space.

 

Notes:

  • Studio monitors are "near field" speakers.  You will want to be close to them unlike the PA type FRFR monitors (like Headrush).
  • You can add an audio interface to the setup so that you can use your studio monitors with or without the Helix.
  • If money isn't an issue, don't get rid of your tube amp.  When I can be loud I still fire up my tube amps just for fun.

Starting out like your, I would have had a hard time deciding between the LT and the Stomp but others have made a pretty strong case for the LT.  All I can say is I have the LT and there is no way the Stomp would be enough for me now.

 

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1 hour ago, rd2rk said:

 

In a volume limited environment, how good it sounds is somewhat dependent on the Fletcher-Munson curve, which describes how our ears perceive sound at different volume levels. At lower volume levels the Low and High frequencies are attenuated. You may need to use an EQ to compensate. At lower levels, FRFR generally sounds better than a guitar speaker.

That makes sense. Thank you

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21 minutes ago, jonandtice said:

My ideal setup:

  1. A desk with a desktop or laptop computer.
  2. The Helix is connected (via USB) to the computer.
  3. A pair of good studio monitors connected to the Helix.

This setup takes up minimal space and will sound good at all volume levels.  Your computer will use the Helix as its sound card for playback (backing tracks!).  You can even get into recording.  Add to that easy access to tabs and tutorial videos from the computer and it's the perfect practice space.

 

Notes:

  • Studio monitors are "near field" speakers.  You will want to be close to them unlike the PA type FRFR monitors (like Headrush).
  • You can add an audio interface to the setup so that you can use your studio monitors with or without the Helix.
  • If money isn't an issue, don't get rid of your tube amp.  When I can be loud I still fire up my tube amps just for fun.

Starting out like your, I would have had a hard time deciding between the LT and the Stomp but others have made a pretty strong case for the LT.  All I can say is I have the LT and there is no way the Stomp would be enough for me now.

 

Yeah I like this set up. I definitely plan on keeping my amp at least for a while. The stomp seems like a good start but I just have a feeling I’ll be upgrading in a year or so as I start exploring modeling more

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Don't bother with a headphone amp.  As others have mentioned, you shouldn't need one.  I have a pair of openback headphones with mid-high impedance (sennheiser hd 650 / 300 ohms), if I played with the headphone volume all the way up, I would damage my ears.  I.e. it gets plenty loud.

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23 minutes ago, chasingMango said:

Don't bother with a headphone amp.  As others have mentioned, you shouldn't need one.  I have a pair of openback headphones with mid-high impedance (sennheiser hd 650 / 300 ohms), if I played with the headphone volume all the way up, I would damage my ears.  I.e. it gets plenty loud.

thanks!

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I'm not sure what your budget is and I'm not sure if you are interested in recording or have a computer setup.  Looks like you've gotten a lot of feedback so my 2 cents may be a repeat.  A) Regardless of what equipment you buy, if you're going 'too' cheap - don't bother.  You'll hate it.   B) Studio speakers or PA/Headrush/etc?  "IF" you're interested in having stereo and/or recording - then go with a couple of Yamaha HS8s or equivalent.  That will be very capable for in-home play.  If not stereo - then I can't stress, or recommend, highly enough - a single 112 Powercab Plus which will take care of the "cab in the room" thing you were referring to.  C) Floor/LT/etc? - well...IF you ARE  interested in recording and thinking of going the computer interface route, then you may be overlooking Helix 'Native' plug-in as an option, in which case you wouldn't need anything else other than an inexpensive hardware computer connection and most basic of recording software that typically is free with purchase of the hardware device.  This would be the least expensive route without sacrificing quality in my opinion - and opens up a lot of other possibilities as well.  D)  AGAIN - since it appears you've already gotten a lot of advice on the Helix units themselves.  I want to do you a favor and stress above all else that you don't skimp on your choice of speaker/s.  All the Helix, and similar mod devices,  change and improve daily and become dinosaurs before you know it.  Speaker technology is not only slower to change, but it also only puts out what you put into it.  So put as much thought and money as you can into your choice of speaker/s first and your concern for which Helix device - second.  If you spend a little extra and make a 'good' speaker choice, you'll be living with them a lot longer than a mod pedal.  If you approach this the other way around you'll just end up trying to put glitter on a turd I can assure you.  E) The short version: The Helix Floor and Powercab Plus 112 are simply awesome if you can afford it.  I'm of the opinion that if anyone disses the PC+ for bedroom or small venue play - they aren't using it correctly.  Happy hunting!

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38 minutes ago, jlondon53 said:

I'm not sure what your budget is and I'm not sure if you are interested in recording or have a computer setup.  Looks like you've gotten a lot of feedback so my 2 cents may be a repeat.  A) Regardless of what equipment you buy, if you're going 'too' cheap - don't bother.  You'll hate it.   B) Studio speakers or PA/Headrush/etc?  "IF" you're interested in having stereo and/or recording - then go with a couple of Yamaha HS8s or equivalent.  That will be very capable for in-home play.  If not stereo - then I can't stress, or recommend, highly enough - a single 112 Powercab Plus which will take care of the "cab in the room" thing you were referring to.  C) Floor/LT/etc? - well...IF you ARE  interested in recording and thinking of going the computer interface route, then you may be overlooking Helix 'Native' plug-in as an option, in which case you wouldn't need anything else other than an inexpensive hardware computer connection and most basic of recording software that typically is free with purchase of the hardware device.  This would be the least expensive route without sacrificing quality in my opinion - and opens up a lot of other possibilities as well.  D)  AGAIN - since it appears you've already gotten a lot of advice on the Helix units themselves.  I want to do you a favor and stress above all else that you don't skimp on your choice of speaker/s.  All the Helix, and similar mod devices,  change and improve daily and become dinosaurs before you know it.  Speaker technology is not only slower to change, but it also only puts out what you put into it.  So put as much thought and money as you can into your choice of speaker/s first and your concern for which Helix device - second.  If you spend a little extra and make a 'good' speaker choice, you'll be living with them a lot longer than a mod pedal.  If you approach this the other way around you'll just end up trying to put glitter on a turd I can assure you.  E) The short version: The Helix Floor and Powercab Plus 112 are simply awesome if you can afford it.  I'm of the opinion that if anyone disses the PC+ for bedroom or small venue play - they aren't using it correctly.  Happy hunting!

Definitely not trying to go the cheap route, which is why this post came up. I have been looking at the Yamaha HS monitors. Is 8 inch the minimum you would go for size for sound quality. 

 

Looking at the power cabs. What’s the difference between plus and regular? 
 

I’ll look into Helix Native. What are some of the hardware options you speak of? I’m pretty unversed with the computer guitar software world. Also, going this route, I would still need some nice monitors correct? Does Native still give you all of the effects and amp sim, but it’s just run through a computer? 

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Good thread. Good tips from all. I'm considering a Helix too - and also was wondering - ok, well we got all this excellent modeling and simulating - but if we don't out it something of equivalent quality it's all a waste. So big Q is what kind of amp/speaker system do we run the Helix into?

 

The actual reason I am reading and posting here is because I bought a new Les Paul Traditional and paired it w a Spider V 30. After a while I started thinking I'm not really hearing the full glory of the Les Paul cuz the Spider V 30 is no where near the quality of say a Marshall stack or Mesa Boogie. It's ok, I have fun w it - but there's no wow factor. 

 

So I want to get to the wow factor. Like when I stand in front of a Bose soundbar at Best Buy - that wow factor - 

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This is one summation of what the plus version has that the non plus does not.

 

Offers a digital readout with the option for up to 128 presets. These can be configured as any mode, whether it be flat response, speaker modeling or impulse response. The PowerCab 112 Plus also offers full integration into your existing rig by communicating with your Line 6 modelers via L6 LINK, or anything else you can throw at it with MIDI and AES/EBU digital inputs and outputs. It can also streamline your demo or live set recording processes by offering a built-in USB audio interface. The additional features of the PowerCab 112 Plus make it an ideal choice for players who need in-depth control over every aspect of their sound.

 


The plus also has more speaker options currently. It can also us IR's. I don't think the non plus version can.

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5 hours ago, Laroosey said:

Definitely not trying to go the cheap route, which is why this post came up. I have been looking at the Yamaha HS monitors. Is 8 inch the minimum you would go for size for sound quality. 

 

Looking at the power cabs. What’s the difference between plus and regular? 
 

I’ll look into Helix Native. What are some of the hardware options you speak of? I’m pretty unversed with the computer guitar software world. Also, going this route, I would still need some nice monitors correct? Does Native still give you all of the effects and amp sim, but it’s just run through a computer? 

 

Native by itself is $400. Add a basic quality interface $100. At $500 you're not far from an HX Stomp, and once you buy the hardware Native is $100.

 

Powercab plus can be controlled from full sized Helix models via L6 Link using presets and snapshots. It's also going to be updated with additional speaker choices. There are other advantages. Go to the L6 site and study up on it.

 

Bottom line is the audio reproduction system - speakers. Don't cheap out, but do your research into what other people use. 5" in minimum. I use 6" Rokits. They're a few years old but sound fine. Newer models sound better. Yamaha is VERY popular. If you haven't already, search here and on TGP for "FRFR". You'll find thousands of suggestions.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, colek98 said:

Good thread. Good tips from all. I'm considering a Helix too - and also was wondering - ok, well we got all this excellent modeling and simulating - but if we don't out it something of equivalent quality it's all a waste. So big Q is what kind of amp/speaker system do we run the Helix into?

 

The actual reason I am reading and posting here is because I bought a new Les Paul Traditional and paired it w a Spider V 30. After a while I started thinking I'm not really hearing the full glory of the Les Paul cuz the Spider V 30 is no where near the quality of say a Marshall stack or Mesa Boogie. It's ok, I have fun w it - but there's no wow factor. 

 

So I want to get to the wow factor. Like when I stand in front of a Bose soundbar at Best Buy - that wow factor - 

 

I don't know about the WOW factor, that's a personal/subjective thing. There have been a number of "blindfold" challenges on YT - Helix vs Kemper vs Fractal vs Spyder V vs you name it - wherein the Spider V has been mistaken for the much higher end units. IOW - don't mistake internet hype for reality. If it sounds good to YOU, it IS good! Also, stereo really does improve the experience for home players, not so useful on stage.

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16 minutes ago, colek98 said:

So I want to get to the wow factor. Like when I stand in front of a Bose soundbar at Best Buy - that wow factor - 

 

My opinion… A lot of the wow factor is in the hand... high end equipment is no substitute... to avoid falling down the gear acquisition rabbit-hole and probably remain forever unsatisfied... view gear as tools to give you more control over the tones that you can create.  It is still you creating the tones however.  That is the difference between a guitar amp and a bose speaker.

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1 hour ago, rd2rk said:

 

I don't know about the WOW factor, that's a personal/subjective thing. There have been a number of "blindfold" challenges on YT - Helix vs Kemper vs Fractal vs Spyder V vs you name it - wherein the Spider V has been mistaken for the much higher end units. IOW - don't mistake internet hype for reality. If it sounds good to YOU, it IS good! Also, stereo really does improve the experience for home players, not so useful on stage.

Wow - someone confused Spider V for Helix? I'd like to see that one. Digging deeper into the spider using the pc app, I have noticed quite a bit more potential than I had originally thought. Thx for the comments. Very interesting.

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1 hour ago, colek98 said:

Good thread. Good tips from all. I'm considering a Helix too - and also was wondering - ok, well we got all this excellent modeling and simulating - but if we don't out it something of equivalent quality it's all a waste. So big Q is what kind of amp/speaker system do we run the Helix into?

 

The actual reason I am reading and posting here is because I bought a new Les Paul Traditional and paired it w a Spider V 30. After a while I started thinking I'm not really hearing the full glory of the Les Paul cuz the Spider V 30 is no where near the quality of say a Marshall stack or Mesa Boogie. It's ok, I have fun w it - but there's no wow factor. 

 

So I want to get to the wow factor. Like when I stand in front of a Bose soundbar at Best Buy - that wow factor - 

 

Well that really depends on what "wow's" you I guess.  The rhythm guitar player in our band uses a Spider V 30 and it does an excellent job, even going direct into the mixing board.  But quite frankly I'm not "WOWed" by big sound, I'm wow'd by precision, articulation, and clarity and the ability to accurately get the sound and feel of any given song or style or genre I choose the play.  The Spider certainly does an adequate job of that, but doesn't have the flexibility of the Helix as far as range of capabilities.  But that's not so important to our rhythm player.  He only needs a handful of sounds to be happy.

But all of that capability and flexibility comes at a price well beyond the price of the unit because the Helix experience isn't exactly a plug in and play type of system.  The more you understand about playing in a live environment or a recording environment and the nature of different types of output devices, the more you'll be able to take advantage of all the Helix has to offer.  The rhythm player in the band would hate the Helix.  He only wants to plug in, adjust a few knobs and play because that's all he feels he needs...and he's right.  He would hate having to consider what type of stage monitoring system he'd need to connect to, or the various setups for managing his stage system and his interface to the mixing board.  Even worse would be trying to understand how and where to apply different effects in his signal chain or what kind of amp models, cabinet/IR, mic combinations and placements to setup in a patch to get the sound he's after.

I guess what I'm trying to get across is there's not a whole lot of people that are probably wow'd initially with a Helix unless they've been in the modeling world a while.  But if they're willing to invest the time and effort to understand the choices and what will fit them and what they need, they learn to love it because they can achieve pretty much anything their heart desires.

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1 hour ago, Laroosey said:

Definitely not trying to go the cheap route, which is why this post came up. I have been looking at the Yamaha HS monitors. Is 8 inch the minimum you would go for size for sound quality. 

 

Looking at the power cabs. What’s the difference between plus and regular? 
 

I’ll look into Helix Native. What are some of the hardware options you speak of? I’m pretty unversed with the computer guitar software world. Also, going this route, I would still need some nice monitors correct? Does Native still give you all of the effects and amp sim, but it’s just run through a computer? 

I went with HS8s because I'm not just using them to monitor recordings - I wanted something that would hold up to a little more aggressive guitar playing and volume as well.  They're a good value (a bargain considering what you have to spend for a comparable size/quality) and can be bought on Amazon in a package with cables and stands for between 700-800 in the U.S.  I have/love a Steinberg UR28M interface that came with a light version of Cubase (that I've upgraded since but you certainly don't have to) that was fairly reasonable.  Focusrite makes a wonderful/cheaper one ($100 maybe) that will do just fine though.  Helix Native is EXACTLY the same as the Helix Floor with the exact same features EXCEPT for the fact that you will have to use your own volume/wah pedal  coming out of the guitar if you want to use those expressions 'on the fly'.  Otherwise Native has wah/vol but is just a plug-in 'app' for a recording software and you have to add wah, vol and other expression 'changes' as a 'post' process to a 'recording' - not live play on the fly.  This is also true for preset/snapshot 'changes' as well.  You still 'create' presets/snapshots as usual and can export them to a Helix if you want (that's how I create my presets) - there's just no way of switching between them on the fly.  Everything else is business as usual.  If you went with the Powercab - for Pete's sake spend the extra $100 and get the "Plus" version so you'll have something to grow with over time like I explained previously.  I can't think of a single person/review that has not regretted going ahead and getting the Plus.  I'm pretty sure others have already explained the difference.  There are a LOT of opinions on this thread and they're all valid.  You just have to digest them all and see which combination fits your own needs the best.  Obviously the bigger the purse the easier that's going to be.  Native is awesome and I can't imagine not having it.  But I DID buy it for a lot less as a perk for buying my Floor unit.  My own "blessed" journey was as follows.  I'm a church and home player only.  I bought the Helix Floor 1st and an L2 Line 6 Stagesource Speaker.  Took advantage of the Native perk soon as financially able.  Got tired of carrying the speaker back and forth to church so I got two L3 Stagesource speakers for stereo at home.  They are wonderful PA/FRFR speakers (among other things including overkill studio monitors).   Somewhat recently got a 112 Powercab plus (PC+) that I consider to be a Godsend and I wish (for financial priority reasons only) I could have gotten it (and some studio monitors) before the Stagesource speakers but it wasn't invented yet.  Then very recently got a set of Yamaha HS8s.  I love it all and wouldn't change a thing unless a couple million fell from the sky.  Powercab Powercab Powercab!  (PC+)  I can't stress it enough!  I'm also a photographer.  The tech advance and resulting difference Powercab makes to the whole 'digital' sim thing reminds me of the day when digital cameras finally were legitimately and absolutely able to replace film.  The "PC+ and the coming advances in that tech is the final straw to the digital/analog battle in my opinion (ESPECIALLY for home/small venue play). 

 

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22 minutes ago, jlondon53 said:

If you went with the Powercab - for Pete's sake spend the extra $100 and get the "Plus" version so you'll have something to grow with over time like I explained previously.  I can't think of a single person/review that has not regretted going ahead and getting the Plus.

 

22 minutes ago, jlondon53 said:

I went with HS8s because I'm not just using them to monitor recordings - I wanted something that would hold up to a little more aggressive guitar playing and volume as well.  They're a good value (a bargain considering what you have to spend for a comparable size/quality) and can be bought on Amazon in a package with cables and stands for between 700-800 in the U.S.

Thanks for the advice man! I'll definitely keep researching the PowerCab+ and the HS8's. Appreciate your time and explanations!

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Any advice on buying a Helix unit used? Avoid it? Do it if the price is right? Any issues I will run into trying to register a used unit?

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