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Amp sim improvements since release

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Hello my linesixer friends

 

I am deciding on a purchase between Helix LT, Stomp or possibly some other modeler. I visited Helix few years ago and at that time there was this noise in sustaining/decaying chords that turned me away from it. It is referred to as many things, squirrels, disembodied distortion, digital fur, crackles, etc. Not a big deal but at that time, Helix floor was not cheap enough for me to be able to ignore that.

 

I am purchasing a modeler and I thought I would revisit Helix mainly because of the new Helix LT and Stomp. I realized there have been many updates and improvements, so I thought there is a high chance that the issue has been fixed. Searching for sound samples wasn't helpful as they are mostly from older patches, and I couldn't find any clear answer searching the forums. So I thought asking active members if the issue has been resolved. Also would be grateful if you can point me toward sound samples, preferably edge of break up sounds from recent firmwares. In case the issue is diminished or resolved I would be happy to jump on a Helix LT otherwise I would look at either Stomp or find some other modeler.

 

 

 

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If you've researched this, you know that some people hear what you're attempting to describe, and some don't.

I don't. I never did, and I've had my Floor since 2016, and my Stomp for almost two years.

The Rack, Floor, LT and Stomp are the same in terms of basic sound.

My only suggestion is to buy one somewhere with a good returns policy, make sure it's updated to v2.92, and try it out with simple Amp/Cab presets.

Connect it DIRECTLY to whatever you're using as a monitor. Plug it into a good quality power strip with EMI/RFI filtering. Use quality cables. Try different guitars.

If you still hear the noise, then maybe Helix isn't for you. It happens.

 

Good Luck!

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15 hours ago, veryax said:

Hello my linesixer friends

 

I am deciding on a purchase between Helix LT, Stomp or possibly some other modeler. I visited Helix few years ago and at that time there was this noise in sustaining/decaying chords that turned me away from it. It is referred to as many things, squirrels, disembodied distortion, digital fur, crackles, etc. Not a big deal but at that time, Helix floor was not cheap enough for me to be able to ignore that.

 

I am purchasing a modeler and I thought I would revisit Helix mainly because of the new Helix LT and Stomp. I realized there have been many updates and improvements, so I thought there is a high chance that the issue has been fixed. Searching for sound samples wasn't helpful as they are mostly from older patches, and I couldn't find any clear answer searching the forums. So I thought asking active members if the issue has been resolved. Also would be grateful if you can point me toward sound samples, preferably edge of break up sounds from recent firmwares. In case the issue is diminished or resolved I would be happy to jump on a Helix LT otherwise I would look at either Stomp or find some other modeler.

 

 

 

 

As already mentioned, one man's "couldn't care less", is another's deal-breaker. You might give Helix another shot and decide that it's exactly the same as your first experience, infinitely better,  or infinitely worse. Perception is weird, and largely without explanation. The only way you'll ever know is to give it a try... and I don't mean a couple of hours on a Saturday. You need to spend a significant amount of time with Helix (or any other modeler for that matter) to really know if it's the right fit for you or not. Buy from someplace with a decent return policy so you've got nothing to lose...a couple of weeks at a bare minimum... and see what's what. Relying on someone else's experience is almost entirely worthless... besides,  everybody here is a fan. You won't get much in the way of negative feedback... but a bunch of glowing reviews guarantees nothing. You might end up hating or anyway.

 

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As noted above, if you're just coming into modeling you're going to need some time to master it and understand it because it's probably not going to be like anything you've worked with before.  At the high end level it's going require a fair amount of knowledge and skill to get the hang of dialing in tones you like and understanding what's involved in that process.  Most of the things you mentioned in your post were only problems for people that didn't understand this process and got bad results not based on the modeler, but on their lack of familiarity with it.

What I'd suggest is spending some time familiarizing yourself with what the Helix does, the concepts and how to achieve great tones with it and the best place I can point you to is Jason Sadites YouTube channel for dialing in the Helix.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvhdK4-QIzo76Y_RIbxZctg

 

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Thank you for the responses. Back then when I tried Helix it was in a shop and played it for about 5 mins, checked out some of the stock presets and didn't do any editing. I did search about it and the noise after. 

 

For me, at the HX Stomp price point it would go from a deal breaker to couldn't care less. However, I asked in TGP  and people suggested using IRs and posted a video that had zero noise issue. I found out about Helix Native and the 15 day trial as well, so I am going to test it out. I am guessing it won't be representative of HX Stomp but that one is good for its price anyway.

 

In case any of you have had your helix since 3 year ago, have you experienced a change in modeling quality throughout the patches?

 

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46 minutes ago, veryax said:

I am guessing it won't be representative of HX Stomp

 

6 hours ago, rd2rk said:

The Rack, Floor, LT and Stomp are the same in terms of basic sound.

 

46 minutes ago, veryax said:

In case any of you have had your helix since 3 year ago, have you experienced a change in modeling quality throughout the patches?

 

 

I think it sounds better. However, with experience and the help of many here and over on TGP. I've become much better at quickly creating better sounds. I've also improved my playback systems, which is a major factor in making ANY modeler sound good. If you're referring to the stock presets, yes, they sound better too.

 

Again, and again, you're not going to know if Helix is right for you until you get one so that you can spend quality time with it. LOTS more than 5 minutes.

 

If you spend time on other forums (we're fans here), there's lots of people say that Helix is awful compared to XYZ. Others say they've spent time a/b ing Helix and XYZ, and the differences are splitting hairs. Others say the differences come down to personal taste, or the mystical "feel" factor. The amount of time you'll spend confirming what I've just said would MUCH better be spent trying it yourself. And, if you're planning your test around the sound that comes out of your 3" bargain basement "studio monitors" and your iPhone earbuds, well.....

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1 hour ago, veryax said:

Back then when I tried Helix it was in a shop and played it for about 5 mins, checked out some of the stock presets and didn't do any editing.

 

 

Ok... now I see your problem. 5 minutes with any modeler is woefully insufficient. Modeling is a whole other world... there are many things that aren't terribly intuitive or obvious when you're just getting your feet wet... give it 5 weeks noodling around and you'll start to get acquainted with it. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

 

And the factory presets are... how shall I put this diplomatically... oh, screw it. They're as worthless as an elevator in an outhouse. You have to build your tones yourself. It's the only way...

 

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9 hours ago, veryax said:

 

 

In case any of you have had your helix since 3 year ago, have you experienced a change in modeling quality throughout the patches?

 

 

Yes.  Not because of the modeler but because I got much more adept at how to arrange and use blocks in my signal chain, more informed about how to use cab/IRs and the choice and placement of mics, more informed on how to best use EQ and compression to fine tune my sound and most importantly how to appropriately gain stage all the elements in my presets and snapshots.  Modelers just do what they do which is mathematically simulate real world circuits on amps and effects.  The rest is up to me.

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On 11/16/2020 at 7:14 PM, veryax said:

In case any of you have had your helix since 3 year ago, have you experienced a change in modeling quality throughout the patches?

 

 

Are my tones better now than they were a few years ago? Yes... but as noted above, it's gonna be kinda difficult for anybody, even an experienced user, to determine precisely "why". Like anything else, the more you do something, the better you get at it... so figuring out whether my sounds are better because there has been some technological quantum leap delivered via a firmware update, or if I've simply gotten better at using the tools at my disposal, is almost impossible for anyone to determine. Personally, I'd argue against the "quantum leap" theory. While firmware updates often include new amp and effect models, I don't think that any huge changes are made to existing ones... and if there are, it's certainly not "night and day" obvious. But that's just my 2 cents, as I have no inside knowledge of what they actually do behind the scenes.

 

Here's the bottom line: any of today's top-tier modelers are fantastic tools that will deliver great sounds IF (and only if) you know how to use them... and that takes time. It's a computer, and like every other computer on earth, garbage in=garbage out. And no matter which unit you buy, none of them will deliver instant gratification right out of the box. That much I promise you...

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I can only vehemently echo what has been said.  If your going to try any of the Helix culture products...that include amp sims....here is the steps I would recommend for the most no frills easiest approach to 'evaluate' your experience.

 

Question 1:  What will you be playing this through an FX Loop in a 'real' guitar amp or something else like studio monitors or a FRFR powered speaker.  What ever your choice....should dictate which way you approach your testing....   'Real' guitar amp...bring your amp and hook it up into your amps fx return. This will bypass any of your amps Preamp coloration which you can add later once your more familiar with the cabling structure to do so.  If your going to use an FRFR power speaker, they should have one there you can try out, but try a few out, while the specs say they should be somewhat similar to novices there are great differences and can vary the results greatly...so again, knowing a piece of gear outside of your Helix will greatly change your experience.  If your using studio monitors, but want a tangible Helix to use, then try Native and see how it sounds...there is no difference between software/hardware versions and will save you some time with connections and such (though you add another piece of gear that can change your experience.

 

Question 2.....   Based on your answer to question 1.....  create a new patch/preset.....simply drop in the Amp (amp only, amp/cab, amp + cab) into a preset.  Depending on what you are connecting to that will change what you put in the preset.  Real Amp = Amp Only, FRFR/Monitors = Amp +Cab (seperate) or Amp/Cab (combined).  In this situation I would recommend the combined Amp/Cab to keep the chain as simple as you can to hear the Amp simulations the best.  I'm not a  huge fan of the stock cabs vs. IR's...however I can get usable sounds out of them and would never say they are trash ever.  I just like the 'feel' and response of some of my IR's from York Audio better.  

 

Step 3....   play with that single block...just like you would an amp at the store, stay out of the 'advanced' parameters....stick to the usual G/B/M/T/P knobs.   The joy of digital is that you CAN crank the Master if you want that to find that sweet spot of the amp, just adjust the output volume on the Channel Volume setting.  

 

Just reiterate  Step 1: choose a method of amplification that matches your most popular use at home/gigging.  Step 2: create a new preset, add amp/cab appropriately.  Step 3 adjust like a normal amp.

 

 

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For me personally...my own sound has definitely evolved for the better.

When I got my first Helix in October of 2016 they didn't have all the amp models they do now. So I was using the Rectifier and it's corresponding factory chosen cab in the "Amp + Cab" category. Sounded great to me at the time. (I play classic rock/80's hair band stuff)

And then over the last few years new amp models were developed that became my NEW "main amp" at certain points (Mesa MK5, Line6 Modded Marshall, PRS Archon) as well as new distortion models, etc.

And of course a couple of years ago when I started using 3rd party IR's...my sound jumped up to the next level. Complete game changer.

So yeah...it is impossible (and not very probable) for me to ascertain if the original amp models actually sound "better" than they did at first.

And as has already been stated...the factory presets are just pure garbage sounding. The key is to start with an empty preset and start building from scratch.

And then you'll get to a point where you go "Eureka!" and think you've finally achieved the "holy grail" for you tone-wise.
That will last a few months at best. Then you'll start tweaking and trying other amp models and IR's and delays and change the whole thing! lol

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On 11/17/2020 at 7:19 AM, DunedinDragon said:

What I'd suggest is spending some time familiarizing yourself with what the Helix does, the concepts and how to achieve great tones with it and the best place I can point you to is Jason Sadites YouTube channel for dialing in the Helix.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvhdK4-QIzo76Y_RIbxZctg

 

Thank you for the resource. The thing is my taste in tone is vastly different to the dude in that video. And I think that's the main take away here. Helix is so versatile that someone might build a tone that would totally sound like muffled farts to someone else. Like his Cali IV tone here: https://youtu.be/jRG9Ev9t2qw?t=818

After spending some time with Helix Native, Cali IV is one of my favorites, but from that video I would have though it would be useless to me. Not to say that his tone is bad, it's just not for me. 

 

I spent some time with Helix Native, and it is not at all what I remember. Some models still have some unrelated crossover distortion happening but newer models are awesome. I can pretty much get the helix tones in this video: https://youtu.be/O89uePlOZOk out of Native. Sounds awesome doesn't it? To me it sounds better than FM3 except maybe the Marshal and Soldano by a tiny bit. Also found this lead killer lead tone: https://youtu.be/vLJVW3lnTGs?t=304 Lots of clear high end, very transparent, beautiful in general.

 

On 11/17/2020 at 11:48 AM, rd2rk said:

And, if you're planning your test around the sound that comes out of your 3" bargain basement "studio monitors" and your iPhone earbuds, well.....

Man, don't insult my trusted 3 inchers. Everyone says size doesn't matter.  

 

On 11/18/2020 at 12:14 AM, themetallikid said:

Question 1:  What will you be playing this through an FX Loop in a 'real' guitar amp or something else like studio monitors or a FRFR powered speaker.

I am currently trying Native with a pair of yamaha monitors, but in general I want to play through FRFR. I am debating between a Headrush 108 and Yamaha DXR10 atm. I am guessing with FRFR I would be able to get a similar tone to monitors, but you are right, no way to know without testing.

 

On 11/18/2020 at 12:14 AM, themetallikid said:

Step 3....   play with that single block

 

I tried that and found it very useful to identify the models I like. Big thumbs up.

 

With your helpful comments, this recent firmware out, and considering the tones I could get from Native, I think this thread can be put to rest. Helix would be a much better choice for me personally.

Thanks all.

 

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4 hours ago, veryax said:

 

 

Thank you for the resource. The thing is my taste in tone is vastly different to the dude in that video. And I think that's the main take away here. Helix is so versatile that someone might build a tone that would totally sound like muffled farts to someone else. Like his Cali IV tone here: https://youtu.be/jRG9Ev9t2qw?t=818

After spending some time with Helix Native, Cali IV is one of my favorites, but from that video I would have though it would be useless to me. Not to say that his tone is bad, it's just not for me. 

 

I spent some time with Helix Native, and it is not at all what I remember. Some models still have some unrelated crossover distortion happening but newer models are awesome. I can pretty much get the helix tones in this video: https://youtu.be/O89uePlOZOk out of Native. Sounds awesome doesn't it? To me it sounds better than FM3 except maybe the Marshal and Soldano by a tiny bit. Also found this lead killer lead tone: https://youtu.be/vLJVW3lnTGs?t=304 Lots of clear high end, very transparent, beautiful in general.

 

Man, don't insult my trusted 3 inchers. Everyone says size doesn't matter.  

 

I am currently trying Native with a pair of yamaha monitors, but in general I want to play through FRFR. I am debating between a Headrush 108 and Yamaha DXR10 atm. I am guessing with FRFR I would be able to get a similar tone to monitors, but you are right, no way to know without testing.

 

 

I tried that and found it very useful to identify the models I like. Big thumbs up.

 

With your helpful comments, this recent firmware out, and considering the tones I could get from Native, I think this thread can be put to rest. Helix would be a much better choice for me personally.

Thanks all.

 

 

I have the Yamaha DBR10 as a monitor for my acoustic shows and its serviceable as that.  it feels a bit 'boomy' even with the settings as 'flat' as they allow.  My headphones are notably bassier and that is all ok, as long as you know what how your monitoring solution sounds vs. anything you might play out live with like PA or FOH systems.  

 

For my full band I create presets in my headphones, making them slightly more muffled than I care for in reality....then try the presets through my 15" powered speaker to get some 'real air' idea of whats there...then at the gig I have really just minimal EQ'ing to do if something is out of whack.  I run our sound from stage and am quick enough with my guitar's channel EQ that I can fix stuff quickly.  I know people warn against using the global EQ but for my setup and approach it helps too.  If my presets are globally bright or bassy, i adjust in the Global EQ...then next time at home look at that EQ and adjust the presets then reflatten the global eq.  Its sorta a live scratch pad to make my presets sound good on the fly with my not ideal monitoring solution in my apartment.

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11 minutes ago, themetallikid said:

I know people warn against using the global EQ but for my setup and approach it helps too.  If my presets are globally bright or bassy, i adjust in the Global EQ...then next time at home look at that EQ and adjust the presets then reflatten the global eq.  Its sorta a live scratch pad to make my presets sound good on the fly with my not ideal monitoring solution in my apartment.

 

That's exactly how the global EQ is supposed to be used... minor tweaks to otherwise "done" patches in different acoustic environments and at different volumes, etc. etc.

 

The only way you can get into trouble with the global EQ is leaving it on when creating patches from scratch. A curve that works for dirt often won't for clean, or silly loud vs. living room levels, etc etc.

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12 minutes ago, themetallikid said:

 

I run our sound from stage and am quick enough with my guitar's channel EQ that I can fix stuff quickly.  I know people warn against using the global EQ but for my setup and approach it helps too.  If my presets are globally bright or bassy, i adjust in the Global EQ...then next time at home look at that EQ and adjust the presets then reflatten the global eq.  Its sorta a live scratch pad to make my presets sound good on the fly with my not ideal monitoring solution in my apartment.

 

As cruisinon2 stated, that's exactly how you're supposed to use global EQ.  That being said I never use it for the following reason.  If your guitar sound is being affected on certain frequencies, every other instrument and voice in your setup is being affected in the exact same manner, so they all should be tuned for the room.  It's also important to understand the stage may have a different effect on your monitor system than the house is having on your mains.  This is most often true in open air or larger venues.  This is what the final EQ just prior to the main faders is used for, to adjust the EQ globally across the mix.  This may or may not be that important in your case.  My mixing board (QSC TouchMix 30) comes with a built-in Real Time Analyzer (RTA) and Feedback Wizard for notching out problematic frequencies which I use for both the main feed and the monitor feed for room adjustments.  These types of facilities can also be an add-on to other mixing board setups as well.

Just something to be aware of.

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16 hours ago, veryax said:

 

 

Thank you for the resource. The thing is my taste in tone is vastly different to the dude in that video. And I think that's the main take away here. Helix is so versatile that someone might build a tone that would totally sound like muffled farts to someone else. Like his Cali IV tone here: https://youtu.be/jRG9Ev9t2qw?t=818

After spending some time with Helix Native, Cali IV is one of my favorites, but from that video I would have though it would be useless to me. Not to say that his tone is bad, it's just not for me. 

 

I spent some time with Helix Native, and it is not at all what I remember. Some models still have some unrelated crossover distortion happening but newer models are awesome. I can pretty much get the helix tones in this video: https://youtu.be/O89uePlOZOk out of Native. Sounds awesome doesn't it? To me it sounds better than FM3 except maybe the Marshal and Soldano by a tiny bit. Also found this lead killer lead tone: https://youtu.be/vLJVW3lnTGs?t=304 Lots of clear high end, very transparent, beautiful in general.

 

Man, don't insult my trusted 3 inchers. Everyone says size doesn't matter.  

 

I am currently trying Native with a pair of yamaha monitors, but in general I want to play through FRFR. I am debating between a Headrush 108 and Yamaha DXR10 atm. I am guessing with FRFR I would be able to get a similar tone to monitors, but you are right, no way to know without testing.

 

 

I tried that and found it very useful to identify the models I like. Big thumbs up.

 

With your helpful comments, this recent firmware out, and considering the tones I could get from Native, I think this thread can be put to rest. Helix would be a much better choice for me personally.

Thanks all.

 

 

I like Jason's videos, but not because of the actual tones he gets.  He's clearly very much focused on "direct digital recording/computer speaker monitoring" type of sounds- the kind of stuff where you want to simply plug guitar parts into a mix with minimal fuss.  For me, I am looking for more visceral, present tones, hence why I run the Helix into a real tube amp set fairly neutral and clean.  The value in his videos is how well he explains his approach and each parameter.  That way, even if you don't use the same settings he does at all, you understand how each of them works.

 

As you said, the versatility of the Helix Floor is what really works here.  When you start adding a couple of EQ blocks into the mix, you can usually shore up any weak spots that you find in the basic models.

 

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On 11/21/2020 at 11:31 AM, JimGordon said:

I like Jason's videos, but not because of the actual tones he gets. 

 

Yeah his videos have lots of good info. Tone is subjective though, he cuts too much off of the high end for my liking but there is no right or wrong there.

 

I found that helix is great in that it doesn't cut your high end like fractal does, leaves it up to you. I like a bright tone.

The fact that a major firmware update just released and another is in plans to improve the amp sims is a major plus. Helix Native for 99$ is nice too, although would have been nice to have it bundled with the hardware. So here's mine brand new:

lixlt.jpg

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OMG - shiny

 

For a couple of years I thought my main interface window was looking more and more mank - then I realised it had a plastic film cover - duh!

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8 hours ago, veryax said:

 

Yeah his videos have lots of good info. Tone is subjective though, he cuts too much off of the high end for my liking but there is no right or wrong there.

 

I found that helix is great in that it doesn't cut your high end like fractal does, leaves it up to you. I like a bright tone.

The fact that a major firmware update just released and another is in plans to improve the amp sims is a major plus. Helix Native for 99$ is nice too, although would have been nice to have it bundled with the hardware. So here's mine brand new:

lixlt.jpg

 

Interesting- I didn't know that the Axe-FX automatically shelves high frequencies.  That surprises me because I always thought their selling point was total, in-depth user control (that, and an insane amount of amp models). Maybe there's an auto high cut option somewhere in there that is on by default?

 

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16 hours ago, veryax said:

 

Yeah his videos have lots of good info. Tone is subjective though, he cuts too much off of the high end for my liking but there is no right or wrong there.

 

I found that helix is great in that it doesn't cut your high end like fractal does, leaves it up to you. I like a bright tone.

The fact that a major firmware update just released and another is in plans to improve the amp sims is a major plus. Helix Native for 99$ is nice too, although would have been nice to have it bundled with the hardware. So here's mine brand new:

lixlt.jpg

Welcome to the family!

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