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Considering a helix line 6


Scjohnson243
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Good morning i am a drummer turned home guitar player,  i was learning the riff on a whitesnake song and my little orange amp sounded pretty bad with the built in overdrive so i startrd looking at pedals and quickly got lost on all the different things,  I enjoy a wide variety of music and was hoping i could just buy one thing instead of multple different pedals.  I am a little concerned that i will need to be a guitar savant to understand and program different sounds,  is it easy to configure to get close to a specific sound?  Is there a way to download sounds other people have programmed so i can easily just use different ones?

 

Thank you

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I would be hesitant to recommend a Helix to a brand new guitar player.  It's a real handful as far as the depth of the technology and a complete paradigm shift from the typical "plug your guitar into and amp and play" situation most people are familiar with.  The modeling paradigm simulates the real world amp and effects situation, but it would likely take away from your primary joy of just learning to play...unless you would consider yourself to be a pretty technically inclined person.

It is fairly easy to find resources to download fully functional presets and just play, but the most reliable ones aren't the free ones typically.  At some point you still have to learn how to tweak them or troubleshoot them if you make adjustments and things go wrong.  That's probably fine for someone that's pretty technically inclined, not so good for someone that's not.

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21 hours ago, Scjohnson243 said:

Good morning i am a drummer turned home guitar player,  i was learning the riff on a whitesnake song and my little orange amp sounded pretty bad with the built in overdrive so i startrd looking at pedals and quickly got lost on all the different things,  I enjoy a wide variety of music and was hoping i could just buy one thing instead of multple different pedals.  I am a little concerned that i will need to be a guitar savant to understand and program different sounds,  is it easy to configure to get close to a specific sound?  Is there a way to download sounds other people have programmed so i can easily just use different ones?

 

Thank you

 

I'll add to the above by saying if you're playing high gain stuff like Whitesnake (similar to what I play), you may be unsatisfied with the Helix high gain models, depending how fussy you are. If you're okay with a reasonable high gain tone, you'll be fine. The Helix has a lot of versatility so you'll cure the pedal problem easily enough. If you are fussy about the high gain sound, I would consider a Fractal FM3. I know it's not popular to say it but truthfully, it does high gain better than most amp modellers. Helix does everything else pretty well, it just lacks a bit in the high gain authenticity, but as I say, it depends how fussy you are on those types of tones.

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If modeling is new to you, I recommend that you consider the PodGO. It is the same dsp as the HX Stomp and Stomp XL...It is greatly simplified and in terms of tweaking is more like the older HD, X3 Pods....It has most everything you need to spin up great tones. I used one for over year for a few gigs and songwriting during all of 2020...It's very easy to get under, has the HX models and it can sound just as good as anything else out there...Super simple to tweak. A full Helix or LT might be a bit overwhelming because the depth if you are new to modeling...I don't know if you are, but you're a drummer so there's that jk ;-)

 

If you really want something you will grow into all-in-one...then the Helix or LT is really the way to go....I use a Stomp XL with some outboard stuff that I prefer over Line 6 and a couple that simply do not exist in any HX or Helix.

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There are many free trials of amp sim software. Assuming you have a computer and audio interface, this will let you know what to expect. If you can wrap your head around software amp sims, then you'll be able to handle hardware versions. 

 

Sweetwater has comprehensive instructions on how to download, install, and activate a free trial of the Helix Native plug-in. This software is essentially identical to the Helix floor unit. Working with the free trial will let know you if Helix fascinates you, or makes your head explode. One of the best Helix features is that you can use the software in the studio as a plug-in with any DAW, and transfer the presets to a hardware Helix for live use. 

 

IK Multimedia also has a free version of AmpliTube that's a subset of the paid version. Similarly, Native Instruments has Guitar Rig Player, which is free and includes some of the modules from Guitar Rig 6. Waves has free trials of all their plug-ins, including the PRS Supermodel amps (they're excellent, although they're not really high gain types). You can also download free trials of amp sims from Positive Grid and Overloud's TH-U.

 

It will probably be overwhelming at first but contrary to drummer jokes, I've always found that drummers seem to have an affinity for technical stuff. Helix is awesome - spend a little time with Helix Native, and you might find it's your sweet spot. Good luck!

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If you can figure out how to set up a drum kit (I've tried), you can figure out how to use a Helix. Get a Helix Stomp. If you have a computer, use HX Edit to edit the sounds (its easier than using the hardware unit). There are plenty of youtube videos on how to create your own tones. Or, you can buy a set of "programmed" patches from the CustomTone section on Line 6 (there are also free ones). If you want a wah wah and volume pedal, and like lots more buttons, and you have lots of money — get the Helix instead of the Helix Stomp. Have a Merry Christmas.

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My advice is to see how many sounds you need at the moment.  Do you need to have clean, distortion, wah and an occasional solo and that's it?  Or do you need crazy U2 sounds in every single song? 

 

As others have mentioned, Pod Go is an excellent machine.  I have the Helix and Pod Go.  The Helix is big, heavy and powerful.  The Pod Go is light, compact and can easily fit into your gig bag.  The limiting thing about the Pod Go is that you must always have your amp/cab block in your signal chain, even if you don't need it.  It's wasting DSP.  But this setup is ideal for most applications, including how I have my signal chain setup.

 

I say this with confidence, for non-complicated cover bands, bar bands, etc, Pod Go will get the job done. If you have a couple of sounds and don't need to have different effects and complicated signal processing, this is the way to go.  It has all your amps, pedals.  It runs in stereo and can work as a recording interface.  It has all the sounds of the Helix, but has more limited signal paths, fewer buttons.  It has an expression pedal, switches, etc.  HX Stomp to me personally is way to limiting.  But if I only played AC/DC covers, then this would suit me perfectly fine.  IMO, Pod Go > Stomp for sure! 

 

Stomp XL to me is a stupid product.  It's just the Stomp + more buttons and no expression pedal.  Stomp is already limited and is 1/2 the power of a Helix, so why not use an almost equally-limited Pod Go instead that is lighter and has an expression pedal.  

 

Now for me personally, I need the big Helix because of how complicated some of the songs I play are.  Not all, but some.  My band requires a lot of effects, time-based effects.  I would not be able to easily play some songs with only one preset on the Pod Go.  I would have to break up my presets into "part 1" and "part 2" to get the job done.

 

I play more straight-forward music with my other band and use the Pod Go there.  In that punk band I just need: distortion, delay, wah, solo boost.  So I can get by with only one preset on the Pod Go easily.  

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