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TheRainEnsemble

Helix Reverbs Mono VS Stereo

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Hello. Everyone knows there are complaints about Helix reverbs. Well, many of us tried comparing them to other modeler's versions, or standalone pedals (like Strymon). As a result, Helix reverbs were not so bad in comparison, sometimes even good and better. But.. it all happens in stereo mode, when they are nice and wide. Worst things happens when you set your Helix reverb to mono, it instantly sounds "bad" (not that bad as "awful", just nos as good as others). It never happens with Strymon, they are equally good in both modes. Also, standalone reverbs have smoothed tails, when in Helix reverbs you can hear particular delay dots in reverb tails, if you are lucky enough.

 

That's just food for thought for now, i'll prepare more information with comparisons and facts after 3.1 (if reverbs will not be improved by that time). Hopefully that will help our dear developers.

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Oddly enough, I've never felt encumbered or constrained in any way with the reverbs in Helix over the last 5 years and 300 plus presets.  But, that's probably because I play guitar...not effects.

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6 hours ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

Hello. Everyone knows there are complaints about Helix reverbs. Well, many of us tried comparing them to other modeler's versions, or standalone pedals (like Strymon). As a result, Helix reverbs were not so bad in comparison, sometimes even good and better. But.. it all happens in stereo mode, when they are nice and wide. Worst things happens when you set your Helix reverb to mono, it instantly sounds "bad" (not that bad as "awful", just nos as good as others). It never happens with Strymon, they are equally good in both modes. Also, standalone reverbs have smoothed tails, when in Helix reverbs you can hear particular delay dots in reverb tails, if you are lucky enough.

 

That's just food for thought for now, i'll prepare more information with comparisons and facts after 3.1 (if reverbs will not be improved by that time). Hopefully that will help our dear developers.

 

Help the devs do what? If you're waiting for some future update to deliver reverbs as lush as what you get from a Strymon (or anything comparable), you're gonna be disappointed. Many of those pricier reverb units that can drown you in impossibly saturated stereo reverbs are capable of doing so because they have as much (if not more) DSP than Helix does, and it's all dedicated to doing just one thing... reverb. Modeling any of those pedals would likely use up so much of Helix's available DSP resources, that you wouldn't be able to have much else in your signal chain. Don't hold your breath...

 

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The reverbs are fine as they are.  

If you're that picky, Helix has four effects loops for you to insert your Strymon.

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I don't get excited or waste too much time with any effect that changes dramatically from venue to venue! Reverb is the prime example of that! The reverbs in the Helix easily get the job done for my live needs, and in the studio I'll use a different set of reverbs anyway - or leave it to the producer/engineer when applicable. 

 

I can respect that others have different needs, I'm just stating mine :) 

 

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On 1/21/2021 at 10:06 AM, TheRainEnsemble said:

Hello. Everyone knows there are complaints about Helix reverbs. Well, many of us tried comparing them to other modeler's versions, or standalone pedals (like Strymon). As a result, Helix reverbs were not so bad in comparison, sometimes even good and better. But.. it all happens in stereo mode, when they are nice and wide. Worst things happens when you set your Helix reverb to mono, it instantly sounds "bad" (not that bad as "awful", just nos as good as others). It never happens with Strymon, they are equally good in both modes. Also, standalone reverbs have smoothed tails, when in Helix reverbs you can hear particular delay dots in reverb tails, if you are lucky enough.

 

That's just food for thought for now, i'll prepare more information with comparisons and facts after 3.1 (if reverbs will not be improved by that time). Hopefully that will help our dear developers.

 

They are working on new reverbs (a dev said that on Reddit). Im also stuck with Strymon pedals, as Helix reverbs, when used for ambient or similar, are muddy and boomy as hell. (thanks lord L6 isnt listening to much the "is all good" folks over here lol!)

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On 1/21/2021 at 9:06 AM, TheRainEnsemble said:

It never happens with Strymon, they are equally good in both modes. Also, standalone reverbs have smoothed tails, when in Helix reverbs you can hear particular delay dots in reverb tails, if you are lucky enough.


As mentioned by “cruisinon2” in the post above, Strymon reverb units use the equivalent of one of the 2 available DSP chips in the Helix floor model. That single chip is dedicated to reverb only. Considering the clamour around Line 6 HX Product users wanting Poly this that and the other, when it arrived many were surprised at the amount of processing power swallowed up by those Poly FX. 

 

Be carefully what you wish for, and as I have said many, many times - one of the reasons that Helix has Send/Return FX loops is so you can add your favourite effects boxes externally without guzzling DSP.


Obviously this won’t help or make sense to you.

 

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On 1/22/2021 at 3:42 PM, datacommando said:


As mentioned by “cruisinon2” in the post above, Strymon reverb units use the equivalent of one of the 2 available DSP chips in the Helix floor model. That single chip is dedicated to reverb only. Considering the clamour around Line 6 HX Product users wanting Poly this that and the other, when it arrived many were surprised at the amount of processing power swallowed up by those Poly FX. 

 

Be carefully what you wish for, and as I have said many, many times - one of the reasons that Helix has Send/Return FX loops is so you can add your favourite effects boxes externally without guzzling DSP.


Obviously this won’t help or make sense to you.

 

Sure. The thing is - main topic here was mono vs stereo. I never said Helix reverbs suck. They just sounds better in stereo, when some other reverbs can sound really good even in mono. Knowing that, developers can update reverb's logic, so they can sum up to mono better. Also, switchable smoothing for tails would be good addition. So everybody can use what they can afford DSP-wise. Anyways, that thread was just to tell something, not to get any answers. On this forum everybody seems to be loving what they have no matter what, and that's fine.

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48 minutes ago, TheRainEnsemble said:

I never said Helix reverbs suck.

Actually they suck!
I have watched Jason Sadities video on reverb comparisions. He took Legacy Plate and compared it to Stymon, Fractal an IK Multimedia. The results were only IK plate was worse.
The conclusion was - nobody is able to tell a difference. If one is - cork sniffer alert! ;)
 



I do not posses neither of the plates he used for a blind test so I am not able to replicate his demonstration but I can compare Helix Legacy Plate to the plates I use nowdays.
Being sound engineer for 20 years I had a chance to listen to some real plate reverbs and a lot of digital emulations, cheap and expensive ones, starting from Alesis Microverb, , Digitechs, Lexicons LPX, MPX, PCM and so on. I remember I sold my TC M5000 couple of years ago after I compared it to Bricasti M7. No, I do not have M7 now to compare either.
Back to the test: UVI plate is CPU hog so it wouldn't be a fair comparision. What about quite cheap (50$) and DSP resources light Valhalla Plate?
Please, make a comparision by yourself. For me it is a night and day difference. Valhalla demo is free.
https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-plate/

And for Line 6 fanboys: I know the Legacy Plate is taken from POD HD, I do not claim it is not playable - if you do not have any other plate reverb to compare you can even claim it is decent. Not for me - if I have to low pass filter at 1kHz to get rid of that awful claustrophobic, concrete feeling, grainy and messy mid/high range I just choose anything mercyful instead.
Sometimes I ask you - what reverbs you think are worse than Helix reverb algorithms? They say Kemper ar Mooer. Maybe. Maybe just single Sharc DSP is not capable of producing anything attractive in the reverb department any longer due to its low DSP power? IDK but I do not think so. Sharc with good software can deliver even in 2025.

To Line 6 whoever:
I still hope there is somebody at Line 6 still developing reverb algorithms and some day they will be avialiable to me and I could call them decent.
Yes, if the third party companies would release their software for the Helix platform I will pay for Valhalla.

For the original poster: I have checked that plate mono and stereo. Nothing really bad is happening there. It sucks in both cases.

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LOL....who's buying a BlueSky to use it as a short plate reverb?. Just do a test using high wetness levels on a old BlueSky (or even better, on a Flint), and then try to do the same with any of the Helix reverbs.....ewwww. Major weakspot for me, is on the wetness (very foggy on the helix), and frequency gates (low/high filters) which seems using a weird algo, since whatever you try to shape, at high wetness, it's mud fest that you want to shut up (at high volumes really it's a torture as makes a very boomy mess). The new reverbs (non legacy) are a bit better, but still clarity isnt there when using high wetness levels (doesnt matter the decay). There is something in the way L6 mixes dry with wetness, that isnt really working good, IMHO of course. Could be the base algo is fine, and they just need to improve the way it does interact with dry signal.

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3 hours ago, PierM said:

Just do a test using high wetness levels on a old BlueSky (or even better, on a Flint), and then try to do the same with any of the Helix reverbs.....ewwww

Somebody may say Strymon uses the whole Sharc DSP but as far as I remember Hx is 450MHz and Strymon 266 or 300Mhz, also Strymon is advertised as being 96kHz sampling rate, so probably Strymon reverb algorithms would use less than 50% of one Hx DSP path, not mentioning Strymon does not have to optimize them to lower DSP resources just because their target likes "hardware modular" approach to FX products and saving 3$ on a DSP clock would be weird. :)
I think the reverb quality is all about its algorithms and the Helix platform is waiting for them.

Edit: There is one more Sharc DSP platform - UAD, based on the same 450Mhz version:
From DSP charts (one DSP usage):

Lexicon 224 Classic Digital Reverb 15.3% 17.0%
Lexicon 480L Digital Reverb and Effects  59.9%  60.3%

EMT 140 Plate Reverb 14.6%15.0%

 

 

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A reverb hint that I really like is to turn the PreDelay up to about 130ms

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10 minutes ago, DBCrocky said:

A reverb hint that I really like is to turn the PreDelay up to about 130ms

 

PreDelay always a good touch for plates, room and studio, and in general when dry is in front of wet. The more the wetness, the less the predelay. For very large ambient reverbs, predelay is breaking things apart (while you'd need exactly the opposite to avoid unwanted resonances) and making the effect pretty messy. 

 

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2 minutes ago, PierM said:

 

PreDelay always a good touch for plates, room and studio, and in general when dry is in front of wet. The more the wetness, the less the predelay. For very large ambient reverbs, predelay is breaking things apart (while you'd need exactly the opposite to avoid unwanted resonances) and making the effect pretty messy. 

 

I don't generally use large ambient reverbs, I am sure you are correct.

 

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Yes, the Helix reverbs "do the job" but that's about it.  To me, they're either too much or too little so I have to err on too little. The Lexicon reverbs that my Digitech GSP2101 and GSP1101 had are something that I do pine for every now and then.  They were so sweet and so lush  even at the lowest settings but they were never overbearing at higher settings which the Helix's reverbs can definitely be. No, I'm not gonna be attaching anything to the Helix's FX loops.

 

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2 hours ago, DBCrocky said:

A reverb hint that I really like is to turn the PreDelay up to about 130ms

 

1 hour ago, DBCrocky said:

I don't generally use large ambient reverbs


The PreDelay adds to total reverb time. 130ms multiplied by the speed of sound (0,34m/ms) /2 for the return, equals 22m to the nearest wall.
I know, I am a strange cookie. :D

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