Line 6 Helix

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  • I’ve never really looked into the helix much. Can it genuinely go toe to toe with Axe Fx and Kemper?

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  • handsomerikhandsomerik Frets: 550
    Most people think so. Some people deeply involved in the ‘church of Cliff’ may disagree. 

    Pete Thorn has a full fat helix as his back up. He knows tone and can use any gear he wishes financially. 
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12471
    I’ve never really looked into the helix much. Can it genuinely go toe to toe with Axe Fx and Kemper?
    Tone-wise, I believe so. As with all modellers and digital gear, it depends whether you want 100% fidelity in tone-chasing, or whether you just want to make great sounds. Each of the big modellers has its own idiosyncrasies in terms of tone; for example, I don't really like overall sound of Fractal gear. I don't know why, I just don't. Kemper's a special case in that when you've got a good profile, it naturally sounds noticeably more "real" than the others.

    Focusing on tone alone, though, is where I think a lot of folk go wrong with modellers. The reality is that, in a band mix and assuming equal skill and effort put into setting a patch up, nobody on the other side of the room would really be able to tell which of the big three (or maybe even four) is being used. It's really about usability for me, and the ergonomics of actually using the unit in a live context; that's where the units really differentiate themselves.

    For my purposes, the Helix snapshots fix all of the complaints that I had about other modellers on the market, and that's enough for me.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 1840
    I've not compared my Helix to anything else directly - I don't think such comparisons are relevant.

    My criteria are:
    • Does it sound good enough?
    • Is it easy to use?
    • Is it more convenient than an amp/cab/pedalboard?
    The answer to all three questions is "yes", so the Helix stays :)

    R.

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  • I think it has got to the point now where quality wise they are pretty much on par. It comes down to miniscule tone differences that some people prefer over the other.

    For example if you had several JCM800's side by side there would be subtle differences between them. Different people would prefer one amp over the others. Digital modelling now in the higher end units is like that for me.

    I for one love the Helix, firstly I love the sound and secondly the User Interface is second to none in it's ease of use.

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  • shuikitshuikit Frets: 146
    siremoon said:
    Jumping into this in prep for buying the stomp probably but can helix do a decent transpose for drop tunings? What patch does this well?
    No is the short answer at the moment.  It has a pitch shifter block which is sort of just about ok-ish for single notes but truly awful with chords.  However the hints and rumours are that something vastly superior is in the works for a future release as Line 6 hired some pitch shifting gurus a while back.  
    Sounds like they're working on it https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/27290357/
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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2194
    I’ve never really looked into the helix much. Can it genuinely go toe to toe with Axe Fx and Kemper?
    I get a bit of stuck here for having all three but it does give me the opportunity to give an opinion based on using them side by side with enough time spent to work out the bugs of each one
    Axe Fx you can do a lot with it and the FX are good, the amp modelling itself I personally aren’t as convinced by as the Helix but it does do more ‘wacky shit’ It’s loud with a fan and the foot controller programming is a bit clunky.
    The Kemper does good amps depending on the profiles however it only does 1 at a time. The FX have come on leaps and bounds from the early days but some are passable at best. The foot controller is easy enough to program but sets and multiple patches/performances are a boot in the nuts to set up and manage
    also the whole thing is a bit of an arsehole to edit, especially under gig conditions.
    The Helix is the best overall compromise for me. The amp modelling can be great with the right tweaks. The FC are a good balance of what you need at a reasonable quality with some exceptional models. The flexibility and ease of use are unparalleled in my opinion so you can get more of what you want quicker.
    Easy to deal with in gig conditions and it’s the one I use live
    In fact so much so i don’t even take an amp any more
    i just don’t notice the difference on stage

    Thats just my opinion based around what suits me. Hope it’s of some use
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  • Cabicular said:
    I’ve never really looked into the helix much. Can it genuinely go toe to toe with Axe Fx and Kemper?
    I get a bit of stuck here for having all three but it does give me the opportunity to give an opinion based on using them side by side with enough time spent to work out the bugs of each one
    Axe Fx you can do a lot with it and the FX are good, the amp modelling itself I personally aren’t as convinced by as the Helix but it does do more ‘wacky shit’ It’s loud with a fan and the foot controller programming is a bit clunky.
    The Kemper does good amps depending on the profiles however it only does 1 at a time. The FX have come on leaps and bounds from the early days but some are passable at best. The foot controller is easy enough to program but sets and multiple patches/performances are a boot in the nuts to set up and manage
    also the whole thing is a bit of an arsehole to edit, especially under gig conditions.
    The Helix is the best overall compromise for me. The amp modelling can be great with the right tweaks. The FC are a good balance of what you need at a reasonable quality with some exceptional models. The flexibility and ease of use are unparalleled in my opinion so you can get more of what you want quicker.
    Easy to deal with in gig conditions and it’s the one I use live
    In fact so much so i don’t even take an amp any more
    i just don’t notice the difference on stage

    Thats just my opinion based around what suits me. Hope it’s of some use
    Nice one thanks, its good to hear from someone who has used all three rather than "well I hear that...."

    Basically i'm quite interested in the HX Stomp. If it has the same sound quality as the Helix, and the Helix is as good as you say then i'm sold!

    Facebook: @northernstomps // Instagram: @northernstomps // Twitter: @northernstomps

    Specialist Retailer Of Handmade British Stompboxes // https://www.northernstomps.com/

    Currently Stocking: Hudson Electronic/Raygun FX/Zander Circuitry/ThorpyFX/Rainger FX/Life is Unfair/ Magnetic Effects/Fredric Effects

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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2194
    In that price bracket its a no brainer.
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  • Jonathanthomas83Jonathanthomas83 Frets: 1077
    edited October 9

    Cabicular said:
    In that price bracket its a no brainer.
    Absolutely this. I'm a very happy Kemper user, and would rate that as it better suits my needs for tones but the HX Stomp has even piqued my interest to compliment it.
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  • Mr Igloo apparently said that the 6 blocks are because the amp modelling is going to take up a lot more DSP in the future. I’m assuming this will be in 3.0 sometimes next year. Not entirely sure how much better it can get!
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  • sgosdensgosden Frets: 680
    Mr Igloo apparently said that the 6 blocks are because the amp modelling is going to take up a lot more DSP in the future. I’m assuming this will be in 3.0 sometimes next year. Not entirely sure how much better it can get!
    channel switching in one block?
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  • sgosden said:
    Mr Igloo apparently said that the 6 blocks are because the amp modelling is going to take up a lot more DSP in the future. I’m assuming this will be in 3.0 sometimes next year. Not entirely sure how much better it can get!
    channel switching in one block?
    I don’t think they would keep the blocks down for that. There’s lots of one channel amps on there. Think it will be some new super HD special mojo diode code amp modelling they’re working on
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  • siremoonsiremoon Frets: 577
    Mr Igloo apparently said that the 6 blocks are because the amp modelling is going to take up a lot more DSP in the future. I’m assuming this will be in 3.0 sometimes next year. Not entirely sure how much better it can get!
    He also said that the size of the screen they could fit onto the HX Stomp was a major factor and that 6 blocks was considered the most they could accommodate without compromising the reputation that the Helix range has established for its UI and ease of use .
    “He is like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” - Noel Gallagher
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  • It was the night before Christmas...

    We usually get updates on Thursdays don’t we? Looking forward to seeing what they’ve been up to, not really bothering there’s no more models in this one. 
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  • JetfireJetfire Frets: 586
    Im interested in what other part of the update will be...but I never found the tuner bad in the first place!
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  • timmysofttimmysoft Frets: 1792
    Jetfire said:
    Im interested in what other part of the update will be...but I never found the tuner bad in the first place!
    Same here! 
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 913
    Does anyone else find the Helix's headphone output quiet? I'm having to put the Headphones dial at almost maximum to get decent level. These are AKG phones, with typical studio impedance of a couple of hundred Ohms, I think.

    It could be a gain-staging thing that I'm getting wrong, but I don't think so. Unless I've missed it, there's no way to monitor 'signal' levels in the signal path.

    Any advice?

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  • TimmyOTimmyO Frets: 3095
    goldtop said:
    Does anyone else find the Helix's headphone output quiet? I'm having to put the Headphones dial at almost maximum to get decent level. These are AKG phones, with typical studio impedance of a couple of hundred Ohms, I think.

    It could be a gain-staging thing that I'm getting wrong, but I don't think so. Unless I've missed it, there's no way to monitor 'signal' levels in the signal path.

    Any advice?
    Turn the dial to almost maximum 
    "Congratulations on being officially the most right anyone has ever been about anything, ever." -- Noisepolluter knows the score
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  • timmysofttimmysoft Frets: 1792
    I find it pretty quiet with my sennheisers but with my iems it’s mad loud! 
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 913
    TimmyO said:
    goldtop said:
    Does anyone else find the Helix's headphone output quiet? I'm having to put the Headphones dial at almost maximum to get decent level. These are AKG phones, with typical studio impedance of a couple of hundred Ohms, I think.

    It could be a gain-staging thing that I'm getting wrong, but I don't think so. Unless I've missed it, there's no way to monitor 'signal' levels in the signal path.

    Any advice?
    Turn the dial to almost maximum 
    :) Obvious solution is obvious, but ... if I've c*cked up the gain-staging somehow, it's not a good idea. I risk getting a huge boost in volume - through headphones - by inadvertently altering the relevant setting.

    It's that brain-dead thing every guitarist does once: "I can't hear anything, so I'll turn it all the way up and fiddle".

    Which is why I was asking about volume levels and headphone impedance.

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  • CabicularCabicular Frets: 2194
    goldtop said:
    TimmyO said:
    goldtop said:
    Does anyone else find the Helix's headphone output quiet? I'm having to put the Headphones dial at almost maximum to get decent level. These are AKG phones, with typical studio impedance of a couple of hundred Ohms, I think.

    It could be a gain-staging thing that I'm getting wrong, but I don't think so. Unless I've missed it, there's no way to monitor 'signal' levels in the signal path.

    Any advice?
    Turn the dial to almost maximum 
    :) Obvious solution is obvious, but ... if I've c*cked up the gain-staging somehow, it's not a good idea. I risk getting a huge boost in volume - through headphones - by inadvertently altering the relevant setting.

    It's that brain-dead thing every guitarist does once: "I can't hear anything, so I'll turn it all the way up and fiddle".

    Which is why I was asking about volume levels and headphone impedance.
    Have a check of what the big knob is assigned to as well
    from memory I don’t know if it can be assigned to the headphone output at the same time as the headphone volume
    also watch volume pedals etc
    what is the impedence of your cans anyway? You were kind of vague and it is important :)
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  • TimmyOTimmyO Frets: 3095
    If they are 250ohm studio-spec type then you might expect them to be harder to drive than domestic style. I'm
    In the market for new cans and am erring toward the 32ohm version of the DT770 for this reason (and using with iPad, laptop) 

    Although I THOUGHT I recalled the L6 guys saying that Helix was good to drive all phones 
    "Congratulations on being officially the most right anyone has ever been about anything, ever." -- Noisepolluter knows the score
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  • TimmyOTimmyO Frets: 3095
    If you end up needing max volume cans then look at the 80ohm DT770 - they use a different coil design precisely to generate max volume 
    "Congratulations on being officially the most right anyone has ever been about anything, ever." -- Noisepolluter knows the score
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  • TeetonetalTeetonetal Frets: 6038
    TimmyO said:
    If they are 250ohm studio-spec type then you might expect them to be harder to drive than domestic style. I'm
    In the market for new cans and am erring toward the 32ohm version of the DT770 for this reason (and using with iPad, laptop) 

    Although I THOUGHT I recalled the L6 guys saying that Helix was good to drive all phones 
    When I was moaning about headphones @Digital_Igloo popped up to say helix works best with high ohm phones
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  • goldtopgoldtop Frets: 913
    Thanks chaps - I will check the actual headphone specs tomorrow and report back.

    I need to get deeper into the manual - perhaps there's some sort of metering block I can add to check that I've not somehow lowered the signal level at some point in the chain.

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  • SteveFSteveF Frets: 235
    I'm using some AKG K271 Mk2s.  They're 55 ohms and sound great with the Helix.  I'd have to check later where on the dial they get too loud, but I certainly don't recall ever coming close to running out of volume.  I think I'd be well into hearing damage levels long before I got there. 
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  • siremoonsiremoon Frets: 577

    goldtop said:

    I need to get deeper into the manual - perhaps there's some sort of metering block I can add to check that I've not somehow lowered the signal level at some point in the chain.
    There isn't at the moment.
    “He is like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” - Noel Gallagher
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 19187
    TimmyO said:
    If you end up needing max volume cans then look at the 80ohm DT770 - they use a different coil design precisely to generate max volume 
    I have several sets of these in the studio- they are fine, but do boost the bass.
    If designing patches you might want to consider this.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 19187
    I’ve never really looked into the helix much. Can it genuinely go toe to toe with Axe Fx and Kemper?
    I have a Kemper, a Helix and an Axe FX 2 (plus an FX8).

    Tonally yes definitely- but they all have their relative strengths and weaknesses.

    The main PITA with the Helix is it is a little low in output when going direct to my DAW, compared to the others.
    I compensate by either using an EQ block last in the chain and boosting by 6db, or by applying 6db of boost from one of the preamps.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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