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Paulzx

Snapshots vs stomp box presets

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Guys i  need some opinions please. I'm going back through my helix streamlining my patches, I've decided I want to standardise my pedal layout on all my patches and just vary the amps etc,  so basically all the stomp effects do the same thing on each patch.

 

Anyway, with the release of snapshots, I adopted that feature straight away but as versatile as that is, I've now found it quite limiting because you can't turn off individual effects within a snapshot easily, you really need a snapshot for each scenario within a patch which gets tricky if you decide you want delay on with a phaser or something just on the fly, so although it seems like a backward step in some ways, I think I need to go back to just assigning a single effect to each stomp switch so I have the freedom to mix effects in and out at any time.

 

Does this sound sensible or am I missing something about the snapshot arrangement? Please don't tell me to do just what's right for me haha... I want to know what approach you guys have taken because you've got more experience with the unit than I have. I don't want to change everything back to then find out everyone is using snapshots now for reasons that i haven't realised yet.

 

I hope that made sense!

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8 minutes ago, Paulzx said:

Anyway, with the release of snapshots, I adopted that feature straight away but as versatile as that is, I've now found it quite limiting because you can't turn off individual effects within a snapshot easily, you really need a snapshot for each scenario within a patch which gets tricky if you decide you want delay on with a phaser or something just on the fly,

 

If you have the FX assigned to Stomp buttons, there's no problem turning things on and off on the fly. If you turn something ON, then switch Snapshots to one where the effect is OFF, but you want it to stay ON, just un-check Snapshot Bypass in the FX Block's properties (right click the Block). You can't set that property separately for every possible scenario, so, yeah, some advance thought is needed as to how you'll be using the Preset. You can also set Stomp Mode switches to Snapshots, so If you have 3 Snapshots, you can have 5 (LT, 7 Floor) FX Bypass switches. Is there some other scenario that is troublesome?

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That is what I am doing... I haven't really tried snapshots.... I don't really like the "preset per song" approach, not judging, just my preference.  I come from the hd500x world, so that is the approach I first took... having most presets with the same stomps in the same places, just changing amps or adding wilder effects.  I started using the snapshots to turn on some of the stomps when I ran out of buttons (I have the lt so I only have 8).  That works, but it is messy live.

 

I setup my board to go clean to crunchy to drive (with different amps) on the banks... so I know whatever bank I am on, preset a will be cleaner that preset d.    For the setlists, I would have a setlist for my LesPaul, for my Tele, and for my yamah with wicked p90s... then I would duplicate those setlists and as a SAVE setlist so when I screwed something up live, I could go back and get the good one.

 

Now that covid is here and I haven't played out since last February (damn, that hurts :)), I have changed my approach.

 

I have a setlist where I am grouping all the amps together.  I still have one or two basic "templates" with the stomps in the same places.  I will use those and just change out the amp.  I will have one for the pre and one for the Full amp.  I like this approach.  I have found it easier to find what I am looking (clean vs drive based on the amp).  All my presets will give me clean to drive settings, some with changing parameters in the amp and some with just stacking the Minatour and the Timmy.  

 

When I get a really good preset, I will put it in another setlist which is dedicated to each of the guitars.... so when I play out, I will have the few presets I need already together.  If I need something else, I go to my "amps" setlist that has all the amps setup.... 

 

image.png.da108b10cf5effabd7fe6c15ea6af8ab.png

 

This is one of my main "templates".  I have it setup so I can record the loop through the 1/4 out and my jamming through the other out... it records each separately.

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14 hours ago, Paulzx said:

Anyway, with the release of snapshots, I adopted that feature straight away but as versatile as that is, I've now found it quite limiting because you can't turn off individual effects within a snapshot easily, you really need a snapshot for each scenario within a patch which gets tricky if you decide you want delay on with a phaser or something just on the fly,

 

You seem to have overlooked the "snapshot bypass" feature that came with one of the latest firmware updates. 

You can set the on/off state of any effect to be completely bypassed by snapshots, therefore they operate just like stomp boxes in real life. 

 

FWIW... this is how I setup my Helix LT for LIVE use. 

I don't tone match every song.... I get the core tones I need from an instrument and apply effects as necessary. 

  • Presets: Each guitar I own has it's own preset. When I grab my tele I step on the Tele preset. When I grab my strat I step on the Strat preset, if I sit at my pedal steel I kick in that preset, etc... etc...etc... (this also applies to my baritone, 5 string banjo, mandolin, acoustic, dobro, and gut string)
  • Snapshots:  Within each preset, I use snapshots to call up my core tones. EG: For my tele my snaps might be "twang", "crunch", "classic rock" etc... etc... The Strat might be "Quack", "Blues", "Gilmour", etc... etc.. The names don't matter, it's just the core tones that I work with. Loading the snap will also adjust the parameters of the stomp effects to best match those tones.
  • Stomps: At my disposal I have 9 stomp boxes (including toe switch) I can engage/disengage at will just like a pedal board. Those include a tube screamer, chorus (dimension), phase, delay, boost, wah, etc... etc... Some are snapshot bypassed and some are not. 

The result of this approach.... (for me)

  • I never change presets unless I am changing instruments
  • I choose a snapshot at the beginning of a song, and rarely change it during a song...but can if I need to
  • I have a pedal board of 9 effects at my disposal... all optimized for each snapshot. 

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I do something very similar to codamedia - only rarely will I change preset, but rely on snapshots to get various gain levels and effect states (delays on solo snapshot only etc). Works really well, especially when adding an expression pedal into the mix... which I've set up as a conceptual "more" pedal, tweaked to each snapshot - usually to gradually "morph" the tone towards the next actual gain stage or fade in more obvious effects.

 

But I think it needs to be pointed out specifically that you can now configure what you want to see on which switches, when in snapshot mode (or preset more, or stomp mode). You can for example have a mixed setup, so the lower 4 switches shows snapshots 1-4 and the upper 4 shows stomp boxes. This way you can setup 4 core snapshots and still have traditional on/off control of specific effects - maybe phaser, boosts, delays etc..

 

And for even more flexibility there is the new features in Command Center where you can really assign whatever you want to each switch. I think this need a bit more work though, still too many bugs for my taste.

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As @KasperFauerby says, you can use a mixed setup of stomp mode and snapshots. Then you can go into Command Center to really control what you want to do. It is a little flaky and takes time to understand, but makes your switches VERY flexible in what you want to use them for.

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Okay guys, thanks for all the replies, I am trying to get my head around your scenarios that you're using. It's not easy to describe in writing how exactly everyone uses their switches, but I have taken some useful hints out of that, now wondering if the upper switch bank should be effects on/off and lower bank snapshots. To be honest I didn't know you could do that.

 

I'm not playing live, it's just for home use but what i'm aiming for is to set up a range of presets that all work the same way. I know what sort of effects I want available on each preset, they would all be the same, the only thing that would vary would be the amp models and IR's. The tricky thing for me was how to go between being able to activate the effects on and off individually, and also how to select a sound that might have multiple effects running, so that bit would have to be a snapshot.

 

So at the moment i am still using snapshots on all eight foot switches but i can't turn any effects on or off individually while playing. How do you set it up so you can footswitch on and off individual effects within the snapshot? And if I do use that mode, would that not reduce me to just the four lower snapshots now? Presumably the top bank just become stomp boxes? I haven't actually seen the Helix running in that mode so it's a bit difficult to see how it would work.

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Do you really NEED 8 Snapshots, or are you only doing that because you don't understand the previous responses?

 

You've got 8 Stomp buttons (10 if you're using a Floor - please be specific - sorry if I missed that info).

By touching a button while the Block is highlighted you'll be asked if you want to assign that button as bypass for that block.

You can now bypass that block IN ANY SNAPSHOT.

In Command Center, you can assign any Snapshot to any button not already assigned.

Once you've done these things, in Stomp Mode you'll see whatever combination of block bypass and snapshots that you've configured.

You're not confined to 4 UP and 4 DOWN.

If you want a block that's OFF in a given snapshot to be ON, just press it's bypass button. If you want the block to STAY ON between Snapshots regardless of it's saved status in different Snapshots, press the ACTION button and set Snapshot Bypass to OFF. Now, if you change the block's ON/OFF Status in a Snapshot, it will remain that way between Snapshots.

 

SUMMARY - you DO NOT need to use Snapshots to turn blocks ON/OFF. However, if you have 32 blocks, you've only got 8 (or 10) switches, so you need to PLAN IN ADVANCE how you'll most likely use the FX. Assign switches to FX that you're likely to want to change INDIVIDUALLY on the fly, assign FX bypass COMBINATIONS to Snapshots.

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I've got the original Helix floor unit. It was working out that I did need to use at least 8 snapshots on each of my presets because i wanted all my favourite effects available on each preset. Basically I've got my favourite three or four hi gain amp model/IR combinations that I like to use, so i have a different preset for each amp, but i want the foot switches to operate the same effects from one preset to the next, so what i end up with is four presets all using the same snapshots and foot switches, the only difference on each preset is the amp and IR.

 

So for example one snapshot had just the amp and reverb running, snapshot 2 had a short delay added, snapshot 3 had a long delay added, snapshot 4 had delay off and chorus added, and so on, so i easily used 8 snapshots using these various combinations of effects. The idea was to give me a lot of possible variations on the sound, it's not specific to any songs, just a generalised setup i can use to cover all bases, just using different amp models from preset to preset.

 

I'll go back and look at the presets and see what I can do with the bypass function then. Totally agree you need to plan ahead, that's really why I asked this question because i wanted a clear idea in my head how to go forward with my pedal setup. I'll see if i can implement what you've said above then with my existing snapshots, thanks.

 

Just on a side note, what got me thinking thinking about simplifying it all was the idea of coming away from snapshots and just having individual stomp switches for a chorus, a flanger, a long delay, a short delay, chorus etc. Only problem i see there is you would have to do some tap dancing if you wanted to just go from a dry amp sound, to switching on a chorus and a delay ay the same time, which i guess is where the snapshot idea comes from. Just too many options on the Helix!

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17 hours ago, Paulzx said:

So at the moment i am still using snapshots on all eight foot switches but i can't turn any effects on or off individually while playing. How do you set it up so you can footswitch on and off individual effects within the snapshot?

 

Have you overlooked "Stomp mode"? 

  • You can assign any effect block you want to a footswitch
  • The MODE button will toggle you to STOMP Mode and the effects will appear like stomp boxes. 
  • Snapshot bypass on any block will separate that effects on/off state from snapshots so they are completely independent. 

There is "preset mode", "snapshot mode" & "stomp mode". The Helix can be setup to in a variety of ways to display these in a manner that suit you best. If you are not aware of all your options, it might be a good idea to revisit the manual and/or some tutorials. 

 

 

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Yep you're right, I didn't know you could have all three modes running simultaneously, so now I really do have a lot of options.

Thanks for all the replies chaps, I need to start thinking in terms of switching between these modes then.

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Feature request: per path presets

 

Like in the OP's example, he could have all his post effects loaded into path 2 and switching to another preset would just load his pre effects and amp/cab/IR.

 

I don't know if snapshots are necessarily ideal for your situation because of the 2 amp per path limit. If that limit didn't exist you could theoretically load all 4 amps into the preset (which theoretically would all be in the same location in the signal flow, so all on the same path) , Snapshot Bypass all the effects, and use snapshots to switch between amps. In your case having individual presets that are the exact same except for the amps might be the only way to do it. Maybe if you can arrange your preset so that 2 of your amps are at the end of path 1 and 2 of your amps are at the beginning of path 2 (assuming you're running path 1 into path 2), you might be able to do it. 

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22 minutes ago, zappazapper said:

Feature request: per path presets

 

Like in the OP's example, he could have all his post effects loaded into path 2 and switching to another preset would just load his pre effects and amp/cab/IR.

 

I don't know if snapshots are necessarily ideal for your situation because of the 2 amp per path limit. If that limit didn't exist you could theoretically load all 4 amps into the preset (which theoretically would all be in the same location in the signal flow, so all on the same path) , Snapshot Bypass all the effects, and use snapshots to switch between amps. In your case having individual presets that are the exact same except for the amps might be the only way to do it. Maybe if you can arrange your preset so that 2 of your amps are at the end of path 1 and 2 of your amps are at the beginning of path 2 (assuming you're running path 1 into path 2), you might be able to do it. 

 

This is the type of layout I use when I want all 3 channels (Nrm/Brt/Jmp) of an amp in one preset. Whether I put one or two amps in each path depends on what other effects I'm using in the path. If I've got a bunch of high DSP effects in PATH A, I put one amp at the end of that path, two at the beginning of PATH B. If I've got the high DSP effects in PATH B I put two amps at the end of PATH A and one at the beginning of PATH B. It's all about DSP - each path has it's own dedicated  processor. There's a chart of DSP usage for the different amps and effects. I don't know where it is off-hand, you'll need to search for it.

 

If you want everything handy in one Mode, combine bypass switches and Snapshot switches in Stomp Mode. Else use all 8/10 switches in Stomp mode for bypass, and all 8 switches in Snapshot Mode for Snapshots, and toggle the Modes using the Mode switch.  Use Stomp Mode to bypass single effects, and Snapshots for multiple FX bypass. Remember that both Stomps and Snapshots can modify up to 64 parameters each, so there's never really any need to use more than one copy of a given effect unless you're stacking them.

 

There's really a lot of options available, but no matter how many options and how many processors are available, SOMEBODY will come up with a preset that goes over the top! It's human nature to push the boundaries. The only real limitations are in the physical and human realms. You can only fit so many switches into a box of a certain physical size. If I had 32 switches and 2048 presets with 32 snapshots each, the box would be way too big, and I'd never be able to remember what they all did anyway!

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53 minutes ago, rd2rk said:

 

This is the type of layout I use when I want all 3 channels (Nrm/Brt/Jmp) of an amp in one preset. Whether I put one or two amps in each path depends on what other effects I'm using in the path. If I've got a bunch of high DSP effects in PATH A, I put one amp at the end of that path, two at the beginning of PATH B. If I've got the high DSP effects in PATH B I put two amps at the end of PATH A and one at the beginning of PATH B. It's all about DSP - each path has it's own dedicated  processor. There's a chart of DSP usage for the different amps and effects. I don't know where it is off-hand, you'll need to search for it.

 

If you want everything handy in one Mode, combine bypass switches and Snapshot switches in Stomp Mode. Else use all 8/10 switches in Stomp mode for bypass, and all 8 switches in Snapshot Mode for Snapshots, and toggle the Modes using the Mode switch.  Use Stomp Mode to bypass single effects, and Snapshots for multiple FX bypass. Remember that both Stomps and Snapshots can modify up to 64 parameters each, so there's never really any need to use more than one copy of a given effect unless you're stacking them.

 

There's really a lot of options available, but no matter how many options and how many processors are available, SOMEBODY will come up with a preset that goes over the top! It's human nature to push the boundaries. The only real limitations are in the physical and human realms. You can only fit so many switches into a box of a certain physical size. If I had 32 switches and 2048 presets with 32 snapshots each, the box would be way too big, and I'd never be able to remember what they all did anyway!

This is why I love discussion forums. I would have never thought of doing things this way if someone wouldn't have brought it up as an issue and challenged everybody to come up with solutions. And I'm not even sure there's a solution here for the OP but I'm certainly rethinking my own approach. 

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On 10/21/2020 at 3:06 PM, rd2rk said:

By touching a button while the Block is highlighted you'll be asked if you want to assign that button as bypass for that block.

 

Hmmm, didn't know that.  Just tried it - wasn't asked about assigning it as a bypass.  Is there something else I need to do before this step?

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23 minutes ago, sweetpete said:

Just tried it - wasn't asked about assigning it as a bypass.  Is there something else I need to do before this step?


Hi,

 

When you touch a foot switch with the block highlighted the option is to assign that effect either as a momentary or latching switch. If you  assign, for example, a Script Phaser to latching on FS1, then engaging the switch will turn it on the effect and pressing again will turn off (bypass) the phase effect.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.
 

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3 hours ago, zappazapper said:

 

That's the one.

 

3 hours ago, sweetpete said:

 

Hmmm, didn't know that.  Just tried it - wasn't asked about assigning it as a bypass.  Is there something else I need to do before this step?

 

You might have to leave your finger on it for a second. If it still doesn't work, check in Global Settings>Footswitches to see if Stomp Select is set to Touch.

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I don't necessarily play a song or solo the same way every time, so I'm looking for flexibility and consistency in Helix layout so that it doesn't constrain playing what I feel is best for the moment. 

 

I start with a single patch that models the tones I need and use most of the time. I use 10 footswitch mode in order to be able to control lots of different combinations of effects quickly and easily. Complex tone changes are often done by assigning multiple max and min values to the same footswitch to control multiple parameters. Snapshots can do the same thing, but are limited in that you can't combine snapshots, you only get the last snapshot selected. With footswitches, you have control of all possible combinations of effects.

 

I do use snapshots, but for bigger, more unusual changes like open tunings (I use a Variax), acoustic tones, or other specific combinations of effects that might often be used together. 

 

Then I use presets for even more unusual needs that might be specific to a song, don't fit in my goto patch, or are effects I wouldn't normally use. A harmonizer effect is a good example since it has to be set for the key and mode of the song. 

 

I use the Mode switch to access footswitches, snapshots and patches as needed. It's an extra button press, but usually happens between songs.

 

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