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Future of Helix


teknotard
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Long time line 6 user. I have an hx stomp for noodling/simple rig and hx effects for live rigs with a few different amps. Right now I mostly use helix native for recording.

 

All these new updates are amazing and I really hope line 6 continues the updates. I am pumped that all product line are getting the upgrades. I’m noticing that the newer models/verbs/delays are getting more resource intensive.
 

Occasionally I am getting limited on block in helix native. My stomp I keep simple but I don’t always get a chance to full explore and my hxfx is usually ok with the way I set up. 
 

anyways - to my question. Over the years I find myself less reliant on other pedal and even my tube amps. I feel like it is time to just bite the bullet, sell it all and just go with a full helix.

 

with all the updates it makes me wonder what line 6’s plans are. It wouldn’t make sense to develop a whole new line since the models are already excellent. At the same time, they haven’t introduced a new flagship in awhile.

 

 

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First, you will rarely get to know any of Line 6's plans. It's a long story but I understand why. One reason is just so the competition can't take advantage of that info. But that ain't the only reason. There's a guy you will get to see here and on The Gear Page called Eric Klein also known as Digital Igloo. He is the Chief Product Designer. He has said the Helix definitely has a few more years in it. I take that to mean anywhere from 2 to 5 years. If anything came out soon, I would say it would only be to make it more powerful DSP wise so you can have more blocks. Many of the new models of things are DSP devourers.

 

Regarding Native, I believe it has several settings in it that will limit the DSP it uses to help you create patches. One setting to simulate the Full Helix DSP limit, one to simulate the HX Stomp DSP limit and one that is only limited by your computers power. i don't know where the settings are located as I am not at home. But I would check that out. Another thing Eric mentioned is that they start working on new hardware products about 5 years before they are released. For me the Helix has reached the quality I've been waiting for in modelers and it fills all of my needs. I would like more DSP but other than that, the next Gen would have to have a major sim improvement and I don't know what a major one would be since it's so close now. What about a way to add more DSP to my current Helix? via the USB port perhaps? How would they implement that? I have no idea. It's probably not feasible. But I can dream, can't I?

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56 minutes ago, teknotard said:

Occasionally I am getting limited on block in helix native.


Hi,

 

You must have your version of Native running in one of the hardware compatibility modes. Turn this restriction “off” in the preferences window.

 

From the Helix Native Pilot’s Guide - Rev P (v.3.15) - English - pages 14 & 15.

 

“Off - Once a preset is saved in, or exported from, Helix Native in this HC mode setting, the preset can be loaded or imported into Helix Native in this mode setting with no translation required. When set to Off, the UI and options are essentially the same as the Helix HC mode, but with several restrictions removed (see the "HC Mode Feature Comparison Table").
Just remember when working in this Off mode—with greater power comes greater responsibility! Without the restrictions imposed as in other HC modes, it is possible to create a preset in a single plugin instance that can place significant CPU demands on your computer system. Creating a preset that exceeds the limits of other HC modes also means the preset will not be able to be translated and utilized in HX Edit with any Helix or HX device and only loaded in Helix Native when it is set to the HC mode Off state.”

 

https://line6.com/data/6/0a020a4179ea61fd2e9472da7/application/pdf/Helix Native 3.15 Pilot's Guide - English .pdf
 

As for “Future Helix” - don’t hold your breath. Digital Igloo said over on TGP something to the effect of “Do you really think we would be spending so much time developing Firmware Updates for Helix, if it was to reach EOL in the next few years - no!”. As noted by “brue58ski” in the post above - even if they did have something in the pipeline, this is the last place you would hear about it.

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

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15 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

I would like more DSP but other than that, the next Gen would have to have a major sim improvement and I don't know what a major one would be since it's so close now. What about a way to add more DSP to my current Helix? via the USB port perhaps? How would they implement that? I have no idea. It's probably not feasible. But I can dream, can't I?


As far as adding DSP that's pretty much limited by the very nature of what DSP is all about which has historically been referred to as "real time processing" but probably more accurately referred to as low latency processing.  However that fits into the same category as the CPU in your computer which really has to have direct access to the bus in order to be efficient as does the DSP processor.  Until you see the day you can upgrade your computer CPU via an external connection, I wouldn't expect you'll see anything such as you're describing.

I have recently come to my own conclusion about any Helix upgrades that may be in the offing at some point.  It appears to me that with the huge investment Line 6 is making in the HX technology and even now incorporating it into a stand alone amp, I would highly suspect the next generation of Helix may have better and more processing, but wouldn't likely outdate the current products.  There may be some upgrades that would be limited to a more powerful version, but I think it would be very hard to sunset the range of products they're continuing to introduce without alienating a bunch of customers.

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43 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

would highly suspect the next generation of Helix may have better and more processing,

 

Maybe that is what I am getting at more than anything else.

 

43 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

I think it would be very hard to sunset the range of products they're continuing to introduce without alienating a bunch of customers.

That was my thought. There is clearly a lot of investment in the current technology. Abandoning it would be a poor decision. 

 

I do not need to move to the full Helix yet, but I will one day.

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4 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:


As far as adding DSP that's pretty much limited by the very nature of what DSP is all about which has historically been referred to as "real time processing" but probably more accurately referred to as low latency processing.  However that fits into the same category as the CPU in your computer which really has to have direct access to the bus in order to be efficient as does the DSP processor.  Until you see the day you can upgrade your computer CPU via an external connection, I wouldn't expect you'll see anything such as you're describing....

 

Just like a CPU, I can see a time where a socket could be provided for a DSP, and a device's owner would have multiple options as to how fast and powerful a chip they wish to populate the socket with. Dependent on how much they want to spend and what capacity they require. That might require some overbuilding on supporting circuitry, however. Don't know if it would be cost effective but the flexibility would be grand.

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Line 6 has repeated the talking point that they are a software company and they release software updates for their gear. So in other words, 'don't worry about our hardware, you're good to buy into our flagship and not have to worry that we'll release a model-up right after you do. You're good, stick with us.'

 

If they did not keep Helix going for another 5 years or so, it would kill these talking points and lollipop off a huge population and the trust would be gone for more than a decade. They really can't afford to do that especially now that the Quad Cortex is available. There's just too many better "sounding" options out there. For someone who gigs, the Helix is still the most reliable. Its funny how you can have EVERYTHING dialed in at home and the rehearsal studio, have it all planned out and in the first 10 minutes at the gig, you're entire plan starts to unfold in front of you. Helix still reins supreme in being able to adapt to changing conditions. So keeping that reputation is critical to their long term business plan.

 

That being said, you are correct in that newer models are sucking up more recourses and I'd expect new amp models will do the same. But they only have one choice, make the software more efficient and stay within the constraints of the hardware. This will take some crafty coding, but if they cannot, IMO, they will have to release a new hardware solution inside of 3 to 4 years.

 

The way I would look to see which way the wind is blowing here is to watch their updates. Two things to look at. (1) how often do the updates come and (2) are the updates causing DSP constraints? If the updates like 3.15 come somewhat often AND they are not causing conflict, we are likely good for another 5 years +. If the updates are slow AND causing problems, that means they are having problems writing crafty and more efficient code.

 

That's my take of this very good question.

 

 

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On 2/17/2022 at 10:34 AM, datacommando said:

You must have your version of Native running in one of the hardware compatibility modes. Turn this restriction “off” in the preferences window.

I noticed this setting the other day before I posted. I honestly did not see an off but I looked quickly. It is definitely set to Helix right now. That is what got me a bit frustrated. I had a delay, verb and two instances of Ventoux. No cabs.

 

Thank for the info,  I will def go home and see if I can turn it off. My CPU can more than handle it. I have been running multiple dozens of instances of Helix at a time.

On 2/17/2022 at 10:34 AM, datacommando said:

As for “Future Helix” - don’t hold your breath. Digital Igloo said over on TGP something to the effect of “Do you really think we would be spending so much time developing Firmware Updates for Helix, if it was to reach EOL in the next few years - no!”. As noted by “brue58ski” in the post above - even if they did have something in the pipeline, this is the last place you would hear about it.

Totally Agree. I am not advocating  to sunset the helix. It would totally isolate the entire community, more wondering if there will be an incremental upgrade. Much like Fractal where everything is the same but as the hardware upgrades you can better take advantage of new presets.

 

All in all - this was more of a rhetorical questions/rant. I will continue to wait patiently because I really do appreciate all the upgrades we have been getting!

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I have had Helix Native as long as I have had the Helix Floor.  Since I started reading the Big book of Helix Thursday, I looked on Youtube on how to use Native in Logic Pro X.  I love Helix Native now, except I am not sure how to save a preset.  lol. Any help would be appreciated.

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2 hours ago, Jmontana19kc said:

I love Helix Native now, except I am not sure how to save a preset.  lol. Any help would be appreciated.


Well, the best place to start with things like “how to save a preset” is the manual - it never fails.

 

Page 33 - Using the Preset File Menu

 

Oh, if you can’t find it - choose the Pilot’s Guide option from the menu to open the PDF


Helix%20Native%203.%E2%80%8B15%20Pilot's

 

Hope this helps/makes sense.

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I'm a bit late to the party. I just ordered an HX stomp (after watching untold hours of content about it, testing Native extensively, owning/trying other multi-fx units etc.), and I don't think I'd regret this, even if they came up with a new flagship a day after I received it. For a few reasons:
 

1) The amps and effects are already very good. Introduction of a new product won't make them less good (in the absolute terms). There're many comparisons of HX vs. real amps and/or other, newer multi-fx units (FM3, Quad Cortex) out there, suggesting, that even if there's going to be an improvement in quality, it can't really be so big that it would render Helix modeling obsolete. 

2) "Good" or "better" is kind of a weird thing in the realm of music timbre anyway. Without going into a whole rant about this (I'm not the most qualified person, and God knows the world doesn't need another one of those) - there are tons of rackmount digital reverb/delay units from the 90's still getting studio use, either because they are still deemed "good" or "not good, but just the way I like it".
 

3) IR's kinda future-proofed all of the guitar effects units that are able to use them.
 

4) I'd need 3 more lifetimes to get as good as Tom Bukovac when it comes to guitar playing ability and getting tones as good as him... and he still has M9 from 2009 on his board. If the Line 6 "Legacy effects" are good enough for him they are good enough for me. 

I'm sure that the new generation of hardware is coming. The fact that XL came our last year, coupled with the chip shortage, makes me think that the new units are years away, but I don't really know. What I do know is that Helix is already able to generate great guitar tones, and that won't change no matter what and when Line 6 will choose to release next. 

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I have the floor Helix. For now, I think I will wait on a Stomp. My hope being they keep the same models etc. but use whatever new hardware that's been developed that will give it more DSP.. It would mainly be for a backup which I have a POD HD 500X for now. I realize my dream could never come to fruition. Just a thought.

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One update. I wanted to thank everyone for their comments and thoughts.

 

As I said before, I am not advocating to abandon the current technology but more rhetorically wondered when/if the hardware will expand to use the software even more. 
 

thanks for the info on native. Changed the setting and whole new world opened! I have made some pretty insane multiband processing. 
 

I will say I now know the limits of Helix floor and the possibility and I am even more hopefully for a potential expansion

 

but for now keep on rocking!

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