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Smell-The-Glove

HX Stomp main use ?

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Hi guys,

 

I'm in charge of recommending multi-effect units to the manager of a big rehearsal structure.

Basically, they are willing to buy gear for artists who come for residencies and studio time so they have everything available during their stay.

 

My task is very simple : find a multi-effect unit that would suit most guitarists & bassists' needs. Easy right ? I wish it was that simple ! But I need your help.

 

I have already started my research and the Helix HX Stomp is in pole position (best functionality/price/compacity ratio according to our budget)

 

Now, I need to explain why it is a good option to my manager. And for this, I am listing all the potential uses that people have with it, so I'll be able to back up the purchase with solid proof :)

This is where you can provide a better insight on the typical uses, because we welcome a wide range of artists coming from various genres, from the regular W&P guitarist to signed bands as well as local independant songwriters.

 

So...

 

Could you guys explain shortly how you use your HX Stomp ?

  • Is it your only unit or do you use other amps/pedals with it ?
  • is it included on a pedalboard ? 
  • What kind of patch to you create with it ? Factory patches or custom ?
  • What does it "solve" for you ? (compact/reliable/quality tone) ?

 

If you can take the time to briefly answer those questions, that would help me immensely in my current task and I would be grateful ! 

 

Thank you very much for your help !

 

Cheers

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Compact and durable multi-function unit. I use mine as stand alone, as well as for AI with my PC Laptop. If you may want more footswitches consider the new HX Stomp XL.

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I honestly think this line of thinking is totally misdirected.

Just because you can get a unit that can do the job of a batch of pedals doesn't make it a good choice for a facility with a lot of very different users.

You can use it as a full system into FRFR (the PA potentially) or just as effects in front of an amp.

But!!!

The learning curve is definitely not for everyone, and not for the casual user.

If you've never used a Helix before, and you turn up for a rehearsal, the rest of the band will probably kill you while you stumble around totally lost, wasting their time, and failing to get good sounds.

The great flexibility comes with the disadvantage that these devices require setup.  Setup specific to the requirements of the user and song.

I doubt there is a Helix user who didn't need at least a few days before they had a basic kit of sounds - and they were absolutely bound to be totally aware that they were just at the start of their journey!

As an experienced user, I'd never turn up to rehearsal with a blank canvas - just adjusting a sound to work at band volume (maybe 5 mins of total fiddling) drives my band members mad!

I absolutely think effects in general are a black hole you should not enter.

A classic Fender amp or maybe one of the amps that have like 4 or5 sound types - clean/crunch/lead/metal type - on a knob is as far into that territory as I'd go.

Anyone who cares about their sound will bring a pedal board or their own multi effects unit - don't try to solve that for them - you totally can't!

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Maybe consider a Pod Go for this application - it has mostly the same effects and amp models but is much simpler.

 

The other way around complexity is to provide a bunch of starter patches for typical Fender, Vox and Marshall amp setups.

 

HX Stomp has the power, but with limited knobs, switches and blocks, it requires a lot more knowledge to use effectively.

 

 

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19 hours ago, rvroberts said:

I honestly think this line of thinking is totally misdirected.

Just because you can get a unit that can do the job of a batch of pedals doesn't make it a good choice for a facility with a lot of very different users.

You can use it as a full system into FRFR (the PA potentially) or just as effects in front of an amp.

But!!!

The learning curve is definitely not for everyone, and not for the casual user.

If you've never used a Helix before, and you turn up for a rehearsal, the rest of the band will probably kill you while you stumble around totally lost, wasting their time, and failing to get good sounds.

The great flexibility comes with the disadvantage that these devices require setup.  Setup specific to the requirements of the user and song.

I doubt there is a Helix user who didn't need at least a few days before they had a basic kit of sounds - and they were absolutely bound to be totally aware that they were just at the start of their journey!

As an experienced user, I'd never turn up to rehearsal with a blank canvas - just adjusting a sound to work at band volume (maybe 5 mins of total fiddling) drives my band members mad!

I absolutely think effects in general are a black hole you should not enter.

A classic Fender amp or maybe one of the amps that have like 4 or5 sound types - clean/crunch/lead/metal type - on a knob is as far into that territory as I'd go.

Anyone who cares about their sound will bring a pedal board or their own multi effects unit - don't try to solve that for them - you totally can't!

Thanks for sharing your experience. I totally get your point and be reassured that we're not trying to fix anything for others. We are mainly dedicated to understand how our artists will use the product so we can prepare patches or pedalboard with what reflects their use. And of course there will be artists who won't need it. That's fine. 

 

But that's a very interesting feedback nonetheless.

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As you may already know, Helix units are capable of easily interfacing with HX Edit (running on a PC or Mac) to edit, backup and restore Presets. This may present a complication for your facility's managing the units, or a desirable marketing feature for those clients that may already be familiar with and have their own custom edited Helix Patches and Favorites. As powerful and capable as the Helix units are, they are no where as intuitively obvious to use as dedicated amps and most FX Units. The deeper features of Cab and Mic configurations, as compared to preamp or Amp model Block Selections can be a mass of confusion for those not otherwise familiar with Helix gear. For those who are, having an entire warehouse of musical gear self contained in the Helix gear is outstanding.

 

Also, to consider is what your facility will be offering, if anything, for your Clients to monitor the Helix gear through? Will this be left entirely to Clients to bring? Or, will your facility offer Guitar Cabs, Line 6 Power Cabs, FRFR PA units, Floor Monitors?  

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On 3/19/2021 at 11:54 AM, Smell-The-Glove said:

Thanks for sharing your experience. I totally get your point and be reassured that we're not trying to fix anything for others. We are mainly dedicated to understand how our artists will use the product so we can prepare patches or pedalboard with what reflects their use. And of course there will be artists who won't need it. That's fine. 

 

But that's a very interesting feedback nonetheless.

 

I don't want to rain on your parade, but you're kinda setting yourself up for failure, for one simple reason: Guitar players are crazy, tone-obsessed, creatures of habit. Yeah, there are those blessed few who can make any rig you put in their hands sound magnificent... but the overwhelming majority rely on hundreds, if not thousands of hours of familiarity with their gear to be comfortable enough to perform at their peak, and you're not gonna find too many who are willing to experiment with new stuff at the 11th hour before a performance. If you hand a complicated device like Helix to somebody who's never used one before, you'll just get a blank stare, and they won't know where to start... and the odds of you having prepared for them in advance, tones that they'll like or find useful for their material, is nearly zero. 

 

You'll never get a consensus for how  gear like this is used because there isn't any... by virtue of how modelers are designed, approaches vary widely. Whatever works, works... and trying to guess what any one nutty guitar player will want or need is a virtual impossibility... there's really no "one size fits all" with this stuff.

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On 3/20/2021 at 5:28 PM, cruisinon2 said:

 

I don't want to rain on your parade, but you're kinda setting yourself up for failure, for one simple reason: Guitar players are crazy, tone-obsessed, creatures of habit. Yeah, there are those blessed few who can make any rig you put in their hands sound magnificent... but the overwhelming majority rely on hundreds, if not thousands of hours of familiarity with their gear to be comfortable enough to perform at their peak, and you're not gonna find too many who are willing to experiment with new stuff at the 11th hour before a performance. If you hand a complicated device like Helix to somebody who's never used one before, you'll just get a blank stare, and they won't know where to start... and the odds of you having prepared for them in advance, tones that they'll like or find useful for their material, is nearly zero. 

 

You'll never get a consensus for how  gear like this is used because there isn't any... by virtue of how modelers are designed, approaches vary widely. Whatever works, works... and trying to guess what any one nutty guitar player will want or need is a virtual impossibility... there's really no "one size fits all" with this stuff.

Hey Uber Guru, I appreciate your attempt to describe the never-ending quest of the modern guitarist tones but that's not the point of this topic ;) 

I'm simply asking the different ways that you guys use the HX Stomp. The decisions coming afterwards is our own business and we are all well aware of the complexity of offering a facility with multiple gear choices. Thanks for your feedback though.

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It sounds like the plan is to buy several for the place so that's why price is big part of the decision. I'll try and answer your questions. I personally have the Helix floorboard. These are merely my personal observations.

 

Is it your only unit or do you use other amps/pedals with it ?

     Many people use it with other pedals and the people that do that seem to do it with an amp. Coming in a close second is using it alone direct. It's sooo convenient. Put a Stomp in your guitar case...good to go. The other thing would be as a backup for the Helix. I plan on getting one and the main reason would be as a backup for the Helix with the convenience factor coming in a close second.

 

is it included on a pedalboard ? 

    Again, I think this is the main use. It seems like the people that use it that way go into an amp. If fact I think many people only use the FX in it when they use it this way leaving the Stomp's amps as an option if they need to grab something quick and easy for a quick gig.

 

What kind of patch to you create with it ? Factory patches or custom ?

    The general consensus is the factory patches are not great. Most everyone makes their own. I think more people will buy other peoples patches than will use the factory patches.

 

What does it "solve" for you ? (compact/reliable/quality tone) ?

The major thing is definitely size. The modelling quality is at the top of the heap, the exact same as the Helix's, and it fits in your hand. I have seen/heard about no reliability issues.

 

I would say the main issue for you would be the DSP. You probably already know this but it only has approx. 1/2 the DSP the full Helix has. Helix has two paths, Stomp, only one. I can see people getting frustrated that they won't be able to add as many FX as they want to. Especially if they want to use any of the new pitch FX. They take up A LOT of DSP. Another factor is the input/outputs. The Helix floor and even the LT has many more options for connectivity. I think people may get frustrated at the lack of it in the stomp. But just download the manual and see if it fits what your vision is for it.

 

Just my thoughts YMMV.

Good Luck!

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10 hours ago, brue58ski said:

Another factor is the input/outputs. The Helix floor and even the LT has many more options for connectivity. I think people may get frustrated at the lack of it in the stomp.

 

Having never heard of this "Helix" thing or even of that "Line 6" company before I tested the Stomp in my local music store last summer, I was actually overwhelmed how much connectivity this small device has literally "out of the box", for this price. Absolutely amazing!

(Disclosure: My previous "digital sound modeller & guitar effect unit" was a Boss SE-50 which I bought used back in 1992, and I haven't even used it for nearly 20 years until just recently, before buying the Stomp. It still works!)

 

On 3/18/2021 at 12:09 PM, Smell-The-Glove said:

Could you guys explain shortly how you use your HX Stomp ?

  • Is it your only unit or do you use other amps/pedals with it ?
  • is it included on a pedalboard ? 
  • What kind of patch to you create with it ? Factory patches or custom ?
  • What does it "solve" for you ? (compact/reliable/quality tone) ?

 

Copy & pasting one of my recent posts from another thread:

  • For bands where I play bass guitar, usually I'm alright with just the Stomp alone. No need for a pedalboard at all. Just the Stomp, the power unit and two cables. Everything's transportable in my gig bag.
  • For bands where I play guitar, I need an expression pedal plus additional footswitches to change snapshots and Exp1/2 – the latter not directly avaliable on my old Roland expression pedal. But my "pedalboard" – a modified metal plate 26 × 32 cm that's originally been part of an office computer shelf – must accomodate all of it, and everything must remain loose so that I can always remove the Stomp when going to play bass. Hence I opted for Disaster Area DMC.micro which is "minimalistic" but flexible enough to do what I need plus having an extra footswitch input that I use for tap tempo. Those additional analog footswitches also come from my decades old "gear archives", i.e. apart from the Stomp and the DMC.micro I'm "recycling" material that I already had since decades.
    As for DMC.micro vs MIDI Baby 3: DMC.micro can be programmed offline directly on the device, whereas for MIDI Baby you need an internet connection to change the settings. I definitely wanted the former.

So… essentially no amp. Plugging it directly into whatever is at the location.


E.g. if there's a real bass amp where I'd rehearse, I'd disable the cab block in my preset, use the amp block and a few effects only, and plug the Stomp straight into the power amp / FX loop input of the amplifier. On live occasions – well, there weren't many last year, sadly – I go straight into the PA via main out. Via FX Send block placed before the A+C block I go into my bass combo which I'm now using as a stage monitor only. Or as a backup if anything would go wrong with either the Stomp or with the PA. But at FOH, the Stomp sounds definitely better than my combo!

 

For the guitar, I'm using a pair of old small active Yamaha PA speakers. This is more complex to set up, and so I haven't found my ideal sound yet, playing a Les Paul in an Afro band who would in fact want me to have a Strat sound, but I hate playing Strat-like guitars and thus don't even have any. Duh. It's a work in progress: I haven't used the Stomp live with a guitar yet.

 

Why did I buy the Stomp in the first place?

We had a gig last year with the Afro band where I had my old Fender Blues Deluxe with me, only to find out that a power amp tube broke during transport. We've managed to work around it by using our bassist's spare mini bass amp connected directly to my the Fender's speaker. The next week I went to the store to buy replacement tubes, and ended up buying the Stomp as well… :D

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Personally I don't think you have a good use-case unless YOU are the engineer. I would just make three patches:
- Fender
- Vox
- Marshall

All with no Effects (or at least a Reverb & Delay) mapped to the two remaining buttons. Have the artists bring their pedal board or use effects in post (which is my preference anyway). In other words, create a "virtual backline" typical of any studio. But for Pete's sake, keep it simple!

 

I'm also questioning the amount of work you're putting in for a $600.00 purchase. It's a no brainer to have a Stomp or something like it around a studio, just in case... 

But since you asked, I'll answer how I use my Stomp:
- In front of amp(s) just for effects: I have it on my pedal board with other pedals and it goes out my buffer to whichever amp I'm using. I have Dr.Z Maz 38 with Z-Best 2x12, or my other amp, Dr. Z Carmen Ghia 1x12. In this config, I have one and only one patch with Delay/Verb, volume pedal and Wah. That's it... I keep it simple.

- Recording: For this I go out USB to my MAC running Pro Tools 2020. In this config, when I switch the playback engine in Pro Tools to HX Stomp, the Stomp becomes the audio interface. After I'm done with my tracking, I switch the playback engine back to my UA Apollo.

 

And I do track with the amps. Each amp has a two mic setup on them. Fathead II / SM57 to my UA Apollo with Unison UA Pre's.

 

Pretty much the only Amp model I use is the Princeton. i have three patches:
- Princeton with stock 1x10 Cab

- Princeton with Stock 2x12 Cab

- Princeton with Ownhamer V30 2x12 (57/121) IR --> this is the patch I exclusively use. I have Delay/Verb/volume Pedal/Wah and Fuzz --- plus all the other pedals on my pedal board.

 

Again, I keep it all simple. Hope all this helps!

 


 

 

 

 

 

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