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Vang201

The future of Helix

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So, the helix being a great unit with its versatility. Is known (to some) to be a solid piece of gear. 

I'm debating on purchasing one because of the "outdated" factor of technology. In a few years, a new modeler will come out from line 6, and then all the hype will be on that device. And the helix may eventually become "obsolete". I assume I would eventually have to try and sell the helix for the new product.  The cycle becomes never ending, right?

 

Where as an analog set up will always have some usage. Look at the old hw vox amps and older overdrive pedals being used to this day from a decade or 2 ago.

 

 

What are your thoughts on this? 

I apologize if this has already been covered previously. 

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Done repeatedly. For the sake of redundancy:

 

Every living thing is born, grows old, and dies. That's life.

Helix is not alive. It sounds good today, it'll sound good in 10 years.

Buy it because you like it. In X years there'll be a new model, but you can't buy it now. Putting off your purchase waiting for it is a never ending cycle.

 

FWIW - L6 just spent a great deal of time and money standardizing the underlying architecture of the entire Helix line. The purpose being to make updates and improvements easier and faster across the line. Does that sound like they're about to drop the line for a new latest greatest?

 

Lastly, analog in this context pretty much means tube amps. Tube manufacturing is environmentally irresponsible. IIRC, there's only four major tube manufacturers left in the world.

Many of the transistors and other components used to make the classic effects are no longer manufactured.

 

NOTHING is forever. Live in the moment, tomorrow is not guaranteed.

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4 hours ago, Vang201 said:

In a few years, a new modeler will come out from line 6, and then all the hype will be on that device. And the helix may eventually become "obsolete".

 

That's right... and you can lament that fact until you turn blue, but it won't change a blessed thing. Welcome to the planned obsolescence of a disposable economy. "The next big thing" is always just around the corner...and the frequency with which each new iteration arrives will only increase as technology marches on. It can't be stopped. If you obsess over it you will be in a constant state of waiting, and you'll never buy anything.

 

Quote

 

I assume I would eventually have to try and sell the helix for the new product.

 

That's entirely up to you, your financial situation, and whether or not you're a pack rat... but either way, it has no relevance to the rest of the conversation.

 

Quote

 

The cycle becomes never ending, right?

 

Yup, so you may as well stop thinking about it.

 

Quote

 

Where as an analog set up will always have some usage. Look at the old hw vox amps and older overdrive pedals being used to this day from a decade or 2 ago.

 

Anything that still functions when you turn it on has use... not only stuff that has tubes in it. Just because something is old doesn't make it garbage. If that were the case, then there'd never be a market for "vintage" anything... but clearly that's not the case. Hell, people love the idea of old crap so much that they actually spend good money on fake old $hit. Fender and Gibson will happily sell you a brand new guitar that's been beaten up with a belt sander and bicycle chain so that it looks like you found it in a pawn shop...POOF! instant "character", that'll be $2K, please... but I digress.

 

Quote

 

What are your thoughts on this? 

 

 

See above...;)

 

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Personally, I don't fear the Helix to be obsolete at any time. Good sounds and proper usability won't become worse all of a sudden. A Marshall amp is as outdated as it gets, so is an acoustic piano - and still people are using them all over the world.

At least for me, there's a huge difference between earlier modelers. Their sounds would indeed become outdated because pretty much everything (at least out of the things I've tried) left something to be desired (or even plenty of that). With these days modern modelers, for me that's not the case anymore. IOW, I can get some sounds out of them which I don't need to be improved anymore. Sure, there's always the one amp or pedal that you might want to have included, there's better FX algorithms and usability improvements. And it's not unlikely that you may want these in your hands and hence buy a Helix V2 one day. But that still doesn't mean the current Helix will become obsolete - unlike, say, my Boss GT-5, GT-10 or my old POD units, which are simply outdated because of their sound.

My biggest fear is that the Helix hardware will not hold up too well, it's just not as heavy duty as I wish it would be (in fact, it's even sort of fragile on some parts).

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11 hours ago, Vang201 said:

So, the helix being a great unit with its versatility. Is known (to some) to be a solid piece of gear. 

I'm debating on purchasing one because of the "outdated" factor of technology. In a few years, a new modeler will come out from line 6, and then all the hype will be on that device. And the helix may eventually become "obsolete". I assume I would eventually have to try and sell the helix for the new product.  The cycle becomes never ending, right?

 

Where as an analog set up will always have some usage. Look at the old hw vox amps and older overdrive pedals being used to this day from a decade or 2 ago.

 

 

What are your thoughts on this? 

I apologize if this has already been covered previously. 

 

I assume you own a computer of some sort, since you were able to make this post. You somehow managed to get over the same concern at that time. Purchasing Helix is no different from purchasing a computer or virtually any other  product, technological or not. Do you also own a car, or bicycle, or skateboard, or is the knowledge that there will be a better one next year too much of an obstacle?

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Buy a used one I'd your concerned about your gear depreciating.   

 

As far as future support, I expect another 2 years of firmware updates to address the lack of HX reverbs and the oft mentioned pitch shifting.  After that who knows.  Other than cab and IR changes, not sure where else there is to improve 

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2 hours ago, erabjohns said:

Other than cab and IR changes, not sure where else there is to improve 

 

I could think of several things.

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I used a Pod 2 for many years, right up until I got my Helix a couple of years ago. Didn’t pay any attention to new products from Line 6 until then. The Pod was perfectly satisfactory for me for all that time.

 

As an aside, because of my long-time Pod use, I am completely ignorant of the developments in modellers between the Pod and the Helix. Doesn’t bother me though. :)

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Helix is an investment in convenience. I think it’s safe to say all modelers will be outmoded and loose value over time especially as new generations are released.  However the intrinsic value of the device never changes.  It’s really about what tools inspire you to create music or what tools aid in that journey.  

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14 hours ago, Vang201 said:

I assume I would eventually have to try and sell the helix for the new product. 

You might decide you want to, but you certainly would not have to. 

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On 11/29/2019 at 9:29 PM, rd2rk said:

FWIW - L6 just spent a great deal of time and money standardizing the underlying architecture of the entire Helix line. The purpose being to make updates and improvements easier and faster across the line. Does that sound like they're about to drop the line for a new latest greatest?

 

IMO... ^^^ this^^^ is the most important fact regarding the Helix Line at this current time. They wouldn't have done this if they were planning on moving on in the very near future. 

 

People think of the Helix as hardware... but it's the software that does everything. The hardware choice you make dictates the quantity of foot switches and I/O options... that's it! Any other limit or change is software, and Line 6 has shown a commitment to keep that moving forward. 

 

So to anyone that asks when the next Helix is coming out I ask this question. 

What is "missing" from the Flagship models (Helix Floor, Helix Rack/Controller) that keeps you from buying one?

 

Slightly off topic... but IMO Line 6 has done an incredible job with the Helix line both in terms of hardware design and software UI. Has anyone else noticed that every modeler released since 2015 looks and acts suspiciously "like" the Helix?

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11 minutes ago, codamedia said:

 

IMO... ^^^ this^^^ is the most important fact regarding the Helix Line at this current time. They wouldn't have done this if they were planning on moving on in the very near future.

 

They might not exactly be "moving on" but they might come up with new hardware, a Helix V2.

The software foundation being "unified" should however result in the current units to stay up to date for quite a while to come. They might not be able to run whatever super-duper polyphonic pitch blocks in complexed patches anymore, once there's new, more powerful hardware released, but well, that still doesn't mean the current HX family would be completely excluded from updates.

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25 minutes ago, codamedia said:

So to anyone that asks when the next Helix is coming out I ask this question. 

 

What is "missing" from the Flagship models (Helix Floor, Helix Rack/Controller) that keeps you from buying one?

 

 

 

It's conditioning... and it's not even product- specific. We could just as easily be taking about golf shoes. The fear that they won't have the "latest and greatest" device twelve minutes after opening the box is what's doing it. It has nothing to do with what is or isn't in the Helix. The populace has been very successfully brainwashed into believing that if they don't acquire the newest (insert product here) the instant it's available, not only  are they missing out on something "better", but everybody else will have something that they don't. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is what drives our economy.

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28 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

They might not exactly be "moving on" but they might come up with new hardware, a Helix V2.

 

I don't disagree, but that's why I ask this in the same post.

 

"So to anyone that asks when the next Helix is coming out I ask this question. 

What is "missing" from the Flagship models (Helix Floor, Helix Rack/Controller) that keeps you from buying one?"

 

I'll add two hardware changes that I wouldn't mind... but neither would stop me from buying today!

  • More processing power
  • Maybe (a big maybe)... a touchscreen. 

My "software wishlist" is longer, but I don't believe I should require a "new Helix" to run any of my wishes. (processing power being the only caveat I can think of)

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25 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

 

Conditioning...the fear that they won't have the "latest and greatest" device twelve minutes after opening the box is what's doing it. It has nothing to do with what is or isn't in the Helix. The populace has been very successfully brainwashed into believing that if they don't acquire the newest (insert product here) the instant it's available, not only  are they missing out on something "better", but everybody else will have something that they don't. "Keeping up with the Joneses" is what drives our economy.

 

Which is precisely why I ask that question! It forces people to realize the current hardware isn't a bottleneck...

Not unless they feel they can't program anything without a touch screen - LOL! 

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1 minute ago, codamedia said:

 

To which I ask you to provide "your wish list" for the question I asked in that same post you quoted.

 

Well, you asked what would keep one away from buying a Helix... and as I already bought one, that question didn't exactly apply in my case.

 

But anyway, here we go:

 

- More switches and knobs. Wouldn't mind a Helix XL. Would like one extra row for each and wouldn't mind if the switches were a little further apart from each other, either.

- More CPU power to accommodate whatever new algorithms that might come along. Would perhaps even allow for gapless switching in case you're not maxing out the unit (not too relevant for me, though).

- Better hardware. That's something I'd gladly pay extra money for, especially for better joysticks (ideally, there would be no joysticks at all, unless they're really "military grade").

- Wireless connectivity for editors (which would then exist for iOS/Android as well - but that's not a hardware thing) and controllers (TouchOSC and the likes).

- Perhaps a touchscreen, but in case there were mobile editors, that'd make pretty little sense.

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28 minutes ago, codamedia said:

My "software wishlist" is longer, but I don't believe I should require a "new Helix" to run any of my wishes. (processing power being the only caveat I can think of)

 

Answered to your post before you added this...

And yes, I would totally agree. Most of the things could be adressed by software updates. It could even pretty much render my wish for more knobs and switches obsolete (of course it wouldn't place the switches further apart from each other - unless there's some real "physical modeling", or rather "modeled physics"...). Even more CPU demanding blocks wouldn't get in the way in case things such as my personal favourite - namely "global blocks" - would be adressed, one could just switch between patches more often and use less CPU juice per patch.

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On 11/29/2019 at 8:56 PM, Vang201 said:

So, the helix being a great unit with its versatility. Is known (to some) to be a solid piece of gear. 

I'm debating on purchasing one because of the "outdated" factor of technology. In a few years, a new modeler will come out from line 6, and then all the hype will be on that device. And the helix may eventually become "obsolete". I assume I would eventually have to try and sell the helix for the new product.  The cycle becomes never ending, right?

 

Where as an analog set up will always have some usage. Look at the old hw vox amps and older overdrive pedals being used to this day from a decade or 2 ago.

 

 

What are your thoughts on this? 

I apologize if this has already been covered previously. 

 

Short answer is this.

 

Lets say they stop all updates and such for the Helix today and announce the next Line6 modeler (not likely considering they just did a major overhaul of the firmware to make future updates easier and such).  You would then have a great sounding, easy to use, versatile piece of gear that you could use in a multitude of ways.  So, if you like the Helix, go ahead and buy it.

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Maybe this will help. I've bought every modeller after the first one Line 6 made. And I owned a Vetta. To me the Helix finally got modelling to where I wanted it to go. So much so that even if there's a Helix II, it would have to be pretty special and different for me to get one. The Axe FX is better IMO but only slightly. Not $1,000 better that's for sure. So if you're looking for something that won't be made completely obsolete, this is it. I see no reason to get the next latest and greatest where with the previous modellers, I was looking for the next latest and greatest. Not anymore. Just find somewhere with one of those 30 day money back guarantee things to be sure.

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I purchased the Helix for the "what if" possibilities it seemed to open up.  I have stayed for the same reason.  It is very versatile for me and has paid for itself with the multitude of upgrades I have worked through.  I use it with two paths - 4CM to a Mesa Boogie and complete emulation path out to PA with 3rd party stomps.  I also use it as an all-in-one FX-Amp modeler now that the KOT has been modeled.  While practice on my instrument is required to improve my ability and technique daily I have discovered the Helix has allowed me to really dive into a very creative sonic realm regarding the "I wonder what placing this or that block in this or that path in this or that way will do or sound like".  It is rare I sell gear after a mistake I made with a 1969 ES-335 back in 1976 but someday I am sure I will be in a place to down-size - someday hasn't come yet ;-)

YMMV

Dennis

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People should be more worried about whats going to happen to tube amps, not modelers. 

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12 minutes ago, Heavyville said:

People should be more worried about whats going to happen to tube amps, not modelers. 

 

I'm not exactly worrying about them. One is in pretty good hands, the remaining two are collecting dust, waiting to find someone else to make use of them (or not, I actually don't care).

I think tube circuits have been analysed and copied exhaustingly enough so the world will be fine without whatever remaining role models. Regardless of whether there will be some left over tube enthusiasts in plenty of years to come, eventually tube amps will go the way of vinyl records.

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57 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

...eventually tube amps will go the way of vinyl records.

 

And followed inevitably by a nostalgic "tube revival" wave, just like the renewed fascination with vinyl, of recent years. Everything comes back sooner or later...even if it's only to satisfy the collector's niche. "Vintage" and "tradition" are two of the most successfully monetized words in the English language.

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2 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

Regardless of whether there will be some left over tube enthusiasts in plenty of years to come, eventually tube amps will go the way of vinyl records.

 

Instagram-14bf1f.png

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I mean there's no reason to upgrade stuff at this point unless there is a major advancement in DSP or modeling, or the hardware doesn't work. The Helix will sound as good in 10 years as it does today as long as it's working. Of course there will be a "next thing", but basing your purchase decision on maybes or probablys is gonna put in you forever in a cycle of "Hmm, maybe something new is coming". If this kind of option paralysis is an issue for you, maybe something as extensive as a modeler isn't the right device for someone anyways.

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38 minutes ago, gunpointmetal said:

"Hmm, maybe something new is coming".

 

That's just it... there ain't nothing "maybe" about it. It's an iron-clad certainty, and it shouldn't puzzle anybody at this point... unless they've been living in a cave for the last 20 or 30 years.

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1 hour ago, phil_m said:

 

Instagram-14bf1f.png

 

Every bit this!

I'm just having a sort of hot discussion on Gearslutz about options for bedroom guitar recordings. People are all over it how much better a small, isolated tube amp would sound, compared to any modelers. Right...

The funny thing being that nobody of those purists has posted any sound examples (I did, see attachement, just some random stuff, forgive the random levels...) of any decent bedroom level recordings they have done. "No, I won't post my music here!" (right, a few riffs would actually be a goldmine for copyright thieves...). Followed by the good old "But real amps sound so 3D!"
I'm sure you're all familiar with these kinda happenings...

SF_Bedroom.mp3

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7 minutes ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

Every bit this!

I'm just having a sort of hot discussion on Gearslutz about options for bedroom guitar recordings. People are all over it how much better a small, isolated tube amp would sound, compared to any modelers. Right...

The funny thing being that nobody of those purists has posted any sound examples (I did, see attachement, just some random stuff, forgive the random levels...) of any decent bedroom level recordings they have done. "No, I won't post my music here!" (right, a few riffs would actually be a goldmine for copyright thieves...). Followed by the good old "But real amps sound so 3D!"
I'm sure you're all familiar with these kinda happenings...

SF_Bedroom.mp3

 

Let the cork sniffers wax poetic about the relative wonderfulness of the vacuum tube... you'll never change their minds anyway. And while they're philosophizing about the endless satisfaction they get from their ONE sound, go enjoy the nearly endless options you have at your fingertips, at a volume that won't raise the dead.

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11 minutes ago, cruisinon2 said:

And while they're philosophizing about the endless satisfaction they get from their ONE sound, go enjoy the nearly endless options you have at your fingertips, at a volume that won't raise the dead.

 

Sure - but they could at least post some examples of that *one* sound - because I really happen to have no idea of what that would sound like. I mean, that thread is about options for bedroom level recording - and before I make a decision, I'd rather listen to some examples than just reading some esoteric blurb.

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5 hours ago, SaschaFranck said:

 

eventually tube amps will go the way of vinyl records.

The sales of vinyl records surpassed the sales of CDs for the first time in a long time this year.

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9 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

The sales of vinyl records surpassed the sales of CDs for the first time in a long time this year.

Yes because they are equally irrelevant, however vinyls have the advantage of being cool.

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8 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

The sales of vinyl records surpassed the sales of CDs for the first time in a long time this year.

 

Actually it's revenues - and given the relative price, it's likely that CDs are still outselling vinyl 2 or 3 to 1.

 

(But yes... I don't expect tubes to disappear, as long as there are analogue fans in the world.)

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On 12/3/2019 at 11:50 AM, brue58ski said:

The sales of vinyl records surpassed the sales of CDs for the first time in a long time this year.

 

Which breaks my greasy heart. MP3s did a real number on our culture. Convinced us digital was inferior (when actually, it's that inferior digital is inferior).

 

CDs blow the sound of vinyl out of the water. Always have and always will, but the story about the Emperor having no clothes is as true today as it was when first told. 

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Truth is, high bitrate MP3s CAN sound very good. Not perfect, but way better than the vinyl and cassette of my youth. And yes, you're right about the emperor's clothes.

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On 11/30/2019 at 2:56 AM, Vang201 said:

So, the helix being a great unit with its versatility. Is known (to some) to be a solid piece of gear. 

I'm debating on purchasing one because of the "outdated" factor of technology. In a few years, a new modeler will come out from line 6, and then all the hype will be on that device. And the helix may eventually become "obsolete". I assume I would eventually have to try and sell the helix for the new product.  The cycle becomes never ending, right?

 

Where as an analog set up will always have some usage. Look at the old hw vox amps and older overdrive pedals being used to this day from a decade or 2 ago.

 

 

What are your thoughts on this? 

I apologize if this has already been covered previously. 

 

Funny how the initial post resulted in a discussion on MP3, CD and vinyl.

 

Anyway, to the OP: Just buy what you can afford and gives you the tones and controls you need. The Helix is insanely versatile and can give you an enormous amount of different tones. For me, apart from the tone, the interface, control and connectivity are equally or maybe even more important. You can create a usable tone quickly and adding effects wherever you want them in the signal chain is extremely easy. This is also a downside I have noted because making a decent starting tone sound awful is a risk that comes with the versatility of this device. As the Germans would say "Ubung macht den Meister", i.e. you need to put some practice into creating the tones and experiment.

 

Yes, you may want to wait for the next generation Helix, but nobody knows when that will come... and even once it is there it doesn't mean the Helix we know today will become obsolete straightaway. I still have a Pocket Pod that I use every now and then. No super tones, but for practising or even recording some ideas it will do the job. There's many people still using the POD(X) HD series. They still work and will continue to work.... until they break ;-) 

 

In my case I worry more about my playing than about my Helix (LT). But, if it would break, got lost or stolen, I would buy it again immediately and not settle with my pocket pod waiting for "the next generation".

 

Just my 2 cts.....

 

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Dude. "In a few years"? Why are you even thinking about what Line 6 will release in a few years? All things change in a few years. Do you not purchase a cell phone because Apple will release a new model in "a year"? Do you avoid purchasing a vehicle in 2019 because they'll release a new one in 2020? Would you not buy a laptop because it's obsolete in 3 years? 

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On 11/29/2019 at 7:56 PM, Vang201 said:

Where as an analog set up will always have some usage. Look at the old hw vox amps and older overdrive pedals being used to this day from a decade or 2 ago.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

 

  • When I first bought a SansAmp back in the early 90's... I knew amps sims were in their infancy. 
  • When I bought an original bean POD in '99... I knew amp modeling was in it's infancy.
  • When I bought an X3 Live... I got more flexibility, but I didn't feel the modeling had progressed much (if at all) since the original POD
  • When I bought an HD500.... I felt empty. Some improvements but many, many losses. 

Up to that point in time, I KNEW I was dealing with products that would become obsolete! This wasn't limited to the L6 family... the offerings from BOSS/Roland, Zoom, Digitech, etc.. were all in the same boat.  

 

Enter the HELIX and the next generation of modelers (Helix, Fractal, Kemper Profiling, etc...)

As soon as I got my Helix I had a completely different feeling than all other units. The modeling had matured... both with the amps and the effects, and the flexibility was also there. It was no longer a technology in it's infancy... it had grown up! 

 

Sure, there will be a new model at some point, but I do not believe it will render this era obsolete.

  • The BF Fenders did not render the Tweeds obsolete
  • The Marshall JCM line did not render the 1959/1987 (aka... plexi) obsolete
  • A modern custom shop Strat does not render a "50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's" Strat obsolete 
  • A modern TS-808 does not render any older Tube screamer obsolete.

That's where I believe modeling is now at!

 

As long as this era of Helix (and other modelers/profiling) is still running they will be useful products! Sure, they might become shy a feature or two, but it will continue to hold it's own in regards to tone and flexibility.

 

Just my 2 cents... 

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1 minute ago, plarkin said:

Maybe Line 6 and Apple could get together and produce the Helix Watch :)

You know, Boss just came out with modeler headphones... so you're not too far off!  :)

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I think the Helix is a long lived product. It’s current needs, to me, are improvements in the its UI and usability tweaks. That’s it. 

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