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thaw

Follow up review. Replacing a real rig for gigs.

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This is a sort of follow up review for my (and I’m guessing many others ) use case. So I am a recent convert To helix. I play in local bars. Everything from country to sabbath. Replaced my Friedman and vibrolux and large pedalboard for a cover band (i never took both amps). Replaced kemper in studio too for different reasons. In general it is working really well. However I am running out of room from both a DSP and a button standpoint. 
 

first problem is buttons. I use stomp mode in 2.9 where the first 4 are snapshots of clean to scream. Then there are 6 remaining. I need more. 

Ultimate pedal list:

compressor

3 levels of dirt

fuzz

2 delays

phaser

vibe

chorus

trem

2 reverbs

flanger

volume /solo boost 

flanger

looper

 

that is 17.  Seems like a lot but it’s really not. It’s a few of each of the food groups dirt/ modulation and delays. I want to use it as I would a real board. I don’t want to be locked in per song. I would like to be able to “page” over to another set of 10 buttons 

Where I could put other effects. Is this possible or is the max 10 buttons per preset no matter what?  Seems that way. 


the next “problem” is more of a question: I run 2 amps. One typically clean and  the other dirty. I blend them per snapshot clean to lead. Sounds great and works well. Currently using litigator and lone star ch2 cleans. Each has an IR associated. By the time I do this I run out of DSP pretty quick. It seems to me the helix should have about twice the processing power?  
 

anyway.... my experience thus far, and the way i run it is that I replicate a dual amp / pedalboard setup. So far it does 90% of the things I want it to do.  It sounds really good and is completely viable as a solution. Maybe my analog rig was 10% better on a perfect day. Maybe not. Sometimes I hear sibilants in upper range, sometimes not. Almost ALWAYS goes away in a mix.  Helix is WAY WAY more flexible. Plus: I run 2 amps. Have more effects and more control over the effects. The best part is the volume control. The best master volume amp ever.   Helix also is more consistent and sounds better more often. I’m a big fan. 
 

To replicate the ultimate analog setup it lacks a page over button to expand your virtual pedals and lacks DSP. These things will eventually be fixed. Maybe line six is listening. In the mean time just about every non big name touring pro could tour with one of these and get the sounds they need IMO. In summary helix is a great gig option.  Cheaper , more flexible, lighter and has better volume control than any analog rig. I encourage people to give it a try. I encourage line 6 to make the helix 2 with a bigger engine.  Go make music!

 

 

 

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Hi Thaw - looks like you have this pretty much covered - and if you work on a per preset basis within a setlist will get pretty much everything you want.

 

Small point - Line 6 won't pick up ideas from this board - but if you submit to their ideascale process and enough others agree then it might arrive in a future update.

 

There is, sadly, only so much DSP...

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Are you using both the paths? If you fill up the first path and runout of dsp it's not that you ran out, it's just your using only one dsp chip so you need to use the other path. 

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I refuse to believe that you need all of that in in 1 song....I will bet you have never actually had Phase, chorus, trem, and flanger all running in the same song.

I have a pre 2.9 set up with 4 patches and 4 snapshots and 10 stomps that gives all you ask for in a very simple and easy set up. 
I also have a post 2.9 set up that I like better - two patches "Vintage" and Modern"", with 5 snapshots (three rhythms, two leads) plus 4 stomps plus the patch change to the other patch....all available without hitting the mode switch.
The Vintage patch uses the Litigator and the Interstate, with phaser and tape style delay, the Modern uses Placator and Cal Texas chan 1, with chorus and digital style delays.....

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Yes I never would use all of those in one song!  However in one gig ...yes. Like I mentioned, I like the flexibility to pretend I have a real board and don’t have to switch into a new preset. You are correct that I could organize it another way. It’s just less ideal “For me.” And yes I am using both paths. I fully realize that there are other ways to achieve what I want, they are just less ideal. The real take away is that it works really well for the most part. I also personally thought I would never run out of DSP but I do and often. So, it’s just letting people know. 

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2 hours ago, thaw said:

Yes I never would use all of those in one song!  However in one gig ...yes. Like I mentioned, I like the flexibility to pretend I have a real board and don’t have to switch into a new preset. You are correct that I could organize it another way. It’s just less ideal “For me.” And yes I am using both paths. I fully realize that there are other ways to achieve what I want, they are just less ideal. The real take away is that it works really well for the most part. I also personally thought I would never run out of DSP but I do and often. So, it’s just letting people know. 

 

That won't surprise anyone as most anyone that's had a Helix for any length of time understands the DSP limitations.  But DSP limitations is a natural byproduct of all modelers.  That's why the system is designed with a LOT of presets so you can organize things and don't have everything and the kitchen sink crammed into a single preset.  The advantage of a large physical pedalboard is that you can built it as big as you want, but you can't engage and adjust several effects with a single button action the same as a Helix snapshot which is always going to be more optimal than physically engaging multiple effect buttons.

 

I'd suggest rethinking your paradigm more along the lines of now you have an almost unlimited number of pedalboards you can use and organize those pedalboards along the lines of what are the demands of the music you play.  I'm at the other extreme end where I have a preset for each song, but many organize to have different presets for each TYPE of music they might play.  Whatever strategy that best compliments your general type of performance.

 

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2 hours ago, thaw said:

Yes I never would use all of those in one song!  However in one gig ...yes. Like I mentioned, I like the flexibility to pretend I have a real board and don’t have to switch into a new preset.


Oh, I see - even though your Helix can store 1,024 presets (arranged in 8 sets lists of 128 presets in 4 banks of 32) you aren’t happy if you have to switch from your idea of a “mega-rig” to a different preset. It should all be available in one preset? There is a reason they are referred to as “ setlists”. Next song, next preset - seems like a good idea to many users.
 

Your premise of “the flexibility to pretend I have a real board and don’t have to switch into a new preset.” and how you are approaching things rather defeats the object of having a Helix in the first place.
 

Frankly I’m baffled that you think that this is too complicated and want to do everything in one preset. The whole concept of this unit is flexibility. Which is precisely why the people at Line 6 added “snapshots” for the equivalent of a many presets within a single preset and “trails” on delays, reverbs etc, to carry over while changing from one preset to the next. The idea was to reduce the “tap dancing” involved with a huge analogue pedal board.
 

It may be me, but I don’t think that you are using what you have to it’s best advantage. What do you have in those other one thousand and twenty three preset slots? Your concept of not enough DSP being available is purely down to how you have chosen to use it. Sorry, I just don’t comprehend your logic, in fact it is totally illogical.

Your mileage, very obviously, does vary. 

 

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I won't say it in as harsh a way as some of the other posters here, but I agree that you're not reaping the full benefit of the device by trying to force it to work your way instead of using it as it was designed. I can't imagine how you're running out of DSP unless it's because you actually have a gazillion pedals loaded into a single preset which are bypassed 90% of the time.

 

It's not a 20-stomp pedalboard. But it has a ton of flexibility and capability (and PLENTY of DSP) to do what you need. Work with the tool's designed features instead of trying to bend it into a new shape and you will probably find you appreciate it even more.

 

Last point, even if you're running 2 amps, if you have them on paths 1 and 2 and use 1024-sample IRs, that should leave a lot of DSP to get whatever else you need on each path. I almost always run 2 amps, and I bring the signal in on path 1A, through any mono pedals in front of the amps, and then split it into 2 paths. From there split path 1A gets 1 of the amps, and the other split path goes down to Path 2B, where it gets the second amp. A picture is better than trying to describe those, so just see below... This is a patch with 2 amps+cabs as well as tonematching IRs after the amps, and there's still DSP to spare. This is an especially sloppy example because I even have some extra blocks that I ended up not using which are bypassed, and put a stereo reverb on each amp instead of combining it after they merge back together, so this could be done more efficiently. It's just an illustration of how much you can fit if you load each DSP chip equally.

2038859559_dualampstereo.PNG.1e492169eb55f16b1eca46b41a221867.PNG

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Is this patch on custom tone? It's upsetting to me that I just don't have the time to dig deep enough into the helix and get my own tones from scratch. I have a high output Parker fly, and I want a clean to breakup blues time and I just can't get it! Drat!

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39 minutes ago, mtyrrell1982 said:

Is this patch on custom tone? It's upsetting to me that I just don't have the time to dig deep enough into the helix and get my own tones from scratch. I have a high output Parker fly, and I want a clean to breakup blues time and I just can't get it! Drat!


Think of the time you spend on tone creation/searching as an investment. Prioritizing your time so that you learn how to create your own tones is time well spent. It’s not that you can’t make your own tones. It’s just that you haven’t yet spent enough time learning to do so. Rather you have been spending time searching, unsuccessfully, for tones that work for you. What if you had spent that time learning? 

 

Customtone can be useful but is ultimately frustrating because there are just SO MANY things other than the preset itself that go into the sound you hear. For instance, what are the odds that you’ll find a preset created by someone who also has a Parker fly guitar? That difference alone will make the sound heard by the tone creator very different from the sound you hear from the same preset. The chances that you will stumble across a preset that sounds great to you without significant tweaking are quite small. So, knowing that you will need to tweak anyway, you’ll need much the same knowledge and understanding to tweak as to create. Why not stop searching and start learning?
 

In the end you’ll be in a much better place knowing at least the basics of creating tones that you like rather than spending the same amount of time, or more, continuing the tone searching efforts you are finding frustrating.

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Your idea about having another "page" for 10 more buttons actually isn't a bad idea and probably not too hard to implement but I'm going to guess not a lot of people would use it. Me included. They have limited resources in trying to implement things so I'm guessing if it was decided to implement it, it would be low on the list. Instead of thinking of it as one massive pedal board, think of it more as a bunch of smaller pedal boards. Or at least two. For now, that would be your solution I think.

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11 hours ago, qwerty42 said:

I won't say it in as harsh a way as some of the other posters here, but I agree that you're not reaping the full benefit of the device by trying to force it to work your way instead of using it as it was designed.

 

^^^ this ^^^

 

@thaw  There are Presets, Snapshots & Stomps... as well as several combinations of ways to set those up. All available via footswitch. IMO, those options are far more efficient than tap dancing around an old school pedal board. 

 

Your request of a "page over" isn't a bad one, by all means suggest it over at IdeaScale... in the meantime - if you really need more foot control there are plenty of midi controllers available. 

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Yes I know there are other ways to achieve this result. FOR ME I would prefer a single expansive board. It’s not religion it’s preference. Also i think it’s amazing as i said and does 90% of everything i want it to do. That is a higher % than any analog board. 
 

Let me ask this in a way that will keep all panties bunchless....  since 2.9 we can now have snap shots in stomp mode which is amazing. Is there a way to switch quickly between presets where you switch between stomp mode on each preset?  Currently it’s three button presses I think. Mode to get to banks, banks to find preset, mode again to get to stomp. Can you toggle between two stomp mode presets?That is close to a “next page” button.

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3 hours ago, thaw said:

Let me ask this in a way that will keep all panties bunchless....  

 

I don't think I was being particularly harsh in my comments, more likely realistic.

 

If I was going to be harsh well....

 

Anyhow, on to your question.

 

Strange, now you seem to be considering using more than one preset. Simple solution, as you have noted that since the update to 2.9 the option to have both Snapshots and Stomps available, you could also use the Command Centre to change to a previous or next Preset.

 

Easy eh?

 

Here's a video walk through and Steve has left the patches on Customtone for anyone interested to try out.

 

See what you make of the idea.

 

Also you could configure you Helix Up/Down foot switches to 8 Presets , so that in when you're in Stomp mode going to the next Preset is a single click on the up or down buttons 1 & 7.

 

 

 

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Is one-button preset changes necessary, or just a preference? Like if you fill a preset to DSP, are you needing a second preset in one song, or more than 8 snapshots? It seems like a solution looking for a problem. 

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what you are asking can be done. 

 

you have 10 buttons available in stomp mode.  Just dedicate 2 buttons to Next/Prev HX Presets.  and that leaves you 8 buttons to setup as stomps (or combinations of things within one button) to create 'mini' pedal boards if you will.  

 

You could even 'bookend' your presets.  Example:

 

Preset 1:  Stomp button 1>HX Preset Next, this leaves 9 buttons for stomp switches to be used however

Preset 2-???: Stomp button 1 and 2 > HX Preset Prev/Next, leaves 8 buttons for stomp switches to be used however

Preset ???: Stomp Button 1> HX preset Prev, this leaves 9 buttons available for stomp switches to be used however.

 

Ive never been an analogue pedalboard guy, the tap dancing would surely leave me off balance and on the floor most the night lol, but if I had to set it up....I would create mini pedal boards based on sounds/genres or likelihood of use.  Instead of viewing it as 1028 presets, i'd see it as 1028 pedalboards.  I'd create my core items for my replacement rig (amps/cabs) and then place fx around those pieces to make my pedal board.  to allow the most space (again, not a pedal board guy) I'd put my amp at the end of signal path 1 and my cab at beginning of signal path B to give the most block spaces available pre/post amp/cab slots.  

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I use HX Effects in a Helix effects loop to provide extended foot switches and blocks. I typically put front of the amp effects in HX Effects and put the Helix send/return block pretty close to the input block. This keeps the signal path reasonably simple. This has brought new life to my HX Effects. I originally got it to use in front of my old Fender Showman amp. But much as I might wish to gig with that amp again, I'm pretty sure I never will. Variax + Helix + Powercab is just too flexible and easy to use.

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, amsdenj said:

I use HX Effects in a Helix effects loop to provide extended foot switches and blocks. I typically put front of the amp effects in HX Effects and put the Helix send/return block pretty close to the input block. This keeps the signal path reasonably simple. This has brought new life to my HX Effects. I originally got it to use in front of my old Fender Showman amp. But much as I might wish to gig with that amp again, I'm pretty sure I never will. Variax + Helix + Powercab is just too flexible and easy to use.

 

 

 

If the OP really wants to have so many stomps on tap, this probably is the best option, because even with a page-over option, he'll run out of DSP having 17(!) pedals loaded into a single preset. Extending it with the HX Effects in the loop gives you a mini-Helix that gives you even more pedals and footswitches to use.

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On 5/8/2020 at 12:52 PM, silverhead said:


Think of the time you spend on tone creation/searching as an investment. Prioritizing your time so that you learn how to create your own tones is time well spent. It’s not that you can’t make your own tones. It’s just that you haven’t yet spent enough time learning to do so. Rather you have been spending time searching, unsuccessfully, for tones that work for you. What if you had spent that time learning? 

 

Customtone can be useful but is ultimately frustrating because there are just SO MANY things other than the preset itself that go into the sound you hear. For instance, what are the odds that you’ll find a preset created by someone who also has a Parker fly guitar? That difference alone will make the sound heard by the tone creator very different from the sound you hear from the same preset. The chances that you will stumble across a preset that sounds great to you without significant tweaking are quite small. So, knowing that you will need to tweak anyway, you’ll need much the same knowledge and understanding to tweak as to create. Why not stop searching and start learning?
 

In the end you’ll be in a much better place knowing at least the basics of creating tones that you like rather than spending the same amount of time, or more, continuing the tone searching efforts you are finding frustrating.

Thank you for your input. It takes me 5 mins to download a tone and then tweek it. Then I can spend the rest of the 90 ish mins I get every couple of days actually playing. I can't pull time from nowhere to spend hours really getting to know this bit of kit (at least not while I'm working on COVID front line all the hours I'm awake) but thanks for taking the time to spell it out. 

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Thank you for your frontline work on covid. Stay safe!

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On 5/7/2020 at 11:27 PM, thaw said:

Yes I never would use all of those in one song!  However in one gig ...yes. Like I mentioned, I like the flexibility to pretend I have a real board and don’t have to switch into a new preset. You are correct that I could organize it another way. It’s just less ideal “For me.” And yes I am using both paths. I fully realize that there are other ways to achieve what I want, they are just less ideal. The real take away is that it works really well for the most part. I also personally thought I would never run out of DSP but I do and often. So, it’s just letting people know. 

 

I'm all with you. I'm also not using more than one patch per gig - and for very good reasons (basically it comes down to the fact that I can't adjust anything globally but the global EQ).

And fwiw, even without more DSP juice,  there'd be plenty of things that could be improved. Global blocks and more switches on multiple pages (I'd absolutely love that) being the most prominent ones coming to mind. With global blocks, one may not need more switches, though. And ever since the new Command Center, I also wish I could have the snapshot recall/discard setting per snapshot rather than having to make a global decision (I'd likely end up with 2-3 fixed snapshots and an additional "playground" one).

 

Anyhow, as far as running out of DSP goes, especially for live useage, I noticed that I just don't need multiple cabs. I have a bunch of allround IRs working equally well for pretty much anything between the occasional jazzy stuff and some solid rock sounds (note: I'm not into metal). Also, depending on the gig, I may use a patch with just one amp and add some drive/gain staging with pedals, usually resulting in quite less DSP load (and more routing freedom). At least for gigs not requiring all that much tonal bandwidth, this is working fine for me (in case it's supposed to be more on the rock-ish side of things, the 2204 Line6 mod set to very low drive is fine for me, for gigs akin more into clean territory, I like the Cali IV Rhythm 1 (used the real deal for a lot of years) as it goes pretty well with pedals and has the graphic EQ built in.

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1 hour ago, mtyrrell1982 said:

(at least not while I'm working on COVID front line all the hours I'm awake)

 

I can only second what silverhead said. Possibly couldn't thank you enough!

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